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Maryam Qudus grew up in a Muslim household, the daughter of Afghani ex-patriots, with early musical gifts that led her onto the Berklee College of Music in 2011. She has been making music constantly since that time, writing all of her material and mastering many instruments, while perfecting her enigmatic voice.

Here we have Kaiser Chiefs taking an acoustic turn through Education, Education, Education & War‘s “Bows & Arrows”. If it’s possible, this take is a bit of a mellower affair than the very electric album version. The At: Guitar Center with Nic Harcourt podcast includes live performance clips, as well as engaging interview portions where the artists discuss the creation of their music.

Carly Ritter grew up in a musical home with her parents large collection of rock ‘n’ roll records. But it’s when she decided to explore her grandfather’s traditional forms of country music that she truly found her voice. In college while majoring in philosophy, Ritter spent her senior year “in the basement of the music library scouring sheet music for all these old folk songs, spirituals, blues and country songs.” That devotion has paid off with this fine debut. Teaming with Ry Cooder, his son and his son’s wife among others, Ritter now offers up Carly Ritter.

Pigeon John grew up listening to pop as much as hip-hop and he brings that broad sensibility to his work, creating songs that are fiercely independent of any genre expectations. That musical exploration and curiosity always renders Pigeon John’s records as intriguing listens.

Having risked it all searching for success as an indie folk artist only to come up cold, Noyes decided to start with a completely fresh canvas and a new palette. His songwriting gift has never been in question as Noyes can write a great tune in any genre, but with his new Handsome Ghost project, he has really found his unique voice. Warm electronic beats and textures underpin gorgeous dreamy vocals that just seem to lift higher in every measure. This music feels organic, like it emerged fully formed into instantly memorable tunes.

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