When Philadelphia's own Free Energy formed in 2008, they lived in relative darkness before deciding to step into the light a year ago. Upon their arrival, the five piece outfit was met with an enormous amount of buzz, and with the release of their debut album, they are taking the rock world by storm in 2010.
The debut album North Hills from the local LA quartet Dawes (featuring members of the old Record Collection Simon Dawes) fringes with a blend of classic 70's folk-rock and contemporary embellishments. Ultimately this clever mixture evokes a sense of nostalgia and refreshing anticipation all at the same time.
With a beautifully confident style, Beach House's rich and atmospheric sound have brought them to the forefront of today's indie scene. The dream pop-rock duo formed in 2005 after a chance meeting between guitarist/keyboardist Alex Scally and vocalist/organist Victoria Legrand.
The XX, comprised of four young 20-year-olds from South London, has recently stormed the indie-pop scene with their dark, 80's new wave style. After meeting in London's Elliot School, which claims alumni such as Four Tet, Burial and Hot Chip, the band began toying around with what would become their critically acclaimed debut album.
When most people think of the best of jazz and soul, a skinny white kid from Ann Arbor, Michigan, is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. But Mayer Hawthorne (Andrew Mayer Cohen) is well on his way to changing that. With influences like Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield, and the collaboration of Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, and Eddie Holland Jr, Mayer has a retro sound that bespeaks a seasoned yet refreshing soul.
Cory Chisel is one of those rare, contemporary folk artists whose authenticity is indubitable. No matter how you define authentic, you'd be hard pressed to put a finger on anything not-so when listening. From the emotion to the influences to the background, Chisel doesn't let one iota of insincerity into his work. For this reason (and because of his undeniable talent) XPN is choosing him as the Artist to Watch for October 2009.
Breakups are never easy. But often times the emotions found in the aftermath can lead to a new level of artistic expression. Few understand this better than the Philadelphia quintet East Hundred. Through the ashes of the breakup between two band members came the group's remarkable debut album, Passenger.