Cave Women – Second Chances

Self-released, 2014

A young Sacramento outfit of four (sometimes five) women who all sing beautifully, the ladies bring a layered mix of folk and jazz-inflected pop songs where the graceful harmonies mirror the sophisticated stand up bass, pianos, accordions and flutes. A lush, textured, and organic listen that’s all too easy to become infatuated with, it’s no surprise that all the players here are music school graduates who bring their respective talents to the mesmerising equation.

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The Last Bison – VA

Self-released, 2014

Indie-folk that isn’t afraid to embrace classical ideas, the strumming folk sounds of┬áThe Last Bison’s earlier albums is still some of the best out there, while the warm strings and yearning ballads reel the listener in on an emotional level. Anthemic in its own way, VA is full of chamber pop, Americana and roots rock flavour, as these Virginians find their own unique niche in a common subgenre.

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The Asteroid No. 4 – The Asteroid No. 4

Bad Vibrations, 2014

The long running psyche-rockers return with a massive amount of layering and crucial attention to detail that call upon Americana, Southern rock, and floating ’60s feelings. Much like their name, it’s often a cosmic, surreal delivery, but they’re also prone to thickly reverbed vocals and grungy guitars, as well as the occasional neo-folk ballad. Fans of space-rock, old and new, need to introduce themselves here.

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The Jason Spooner Band – Chemical

Self-released, 2014

Spooner and his band seem more suited for the mountains than their home of Maine, but their mix of roots rock, country and jam band influences seems extremely genuine and is fleshed out with gritty guitars, melodic keys and minor touches of jazz. It’s a sophisticated listen where Spooner takes the high road lyrically, and similarly the alternating between twang and louder anthems is consistently graceful but always a little rugged. If you just can’t bring yourself to like John Mayer, this is your man.

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Liminal Digs – Dragonfly

Fluttery, 2014

A collaboration between East Bay-via-New York singer-songwriter Mama Crow and California-via-Ecuador producer Daniel Lofredo Rota, Dragonfly is an evocative mix of electronics and folksy acoustics. The former is sometimes glitchy, sometimes broodily atmospheric, the latter takes the form of guitar plucking and Crow’s soulful, ethereally forlorn vocals. Pick it up for the price of a pint at Bandcamp.

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Raul Midon – Don’t Hesitate

Mack Avenue, 2014

A blind one man band who recorded and engineered this album himself, Midon keeps his roots intact through an eclectic outing of folk-pop, latin influences and the dusty sounds of his upbringing in the Southwestern US. Midon splits the lyrical matter between political and love songs, using his strong acoustic guitar playing and powerful singing that integrates blues and jazz. Imagine if Stevie Wonder grew up on Calexico.

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