04/22/2013 12:40 pm ET | Updated Jun 22, 2013

A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Can't Stay {Away} From Villagers, Cheatahs, or Danielia Cotton

Nothing kills the momentum of a good weekend more then the realization mid-afternoon Sunday that your workweek is right around the corner. Mondays suck. They always have, and always will. To help ease your "case of the Mondays" today, here's an eclectic mix of highly-talented artists whose music will have you thinking and feeling something. Sorry Ke$ha.

Their debut EP Hollow Kind and full-length album Becoming a Jackal
made them legends in their homeland, and led to a highly-prestigious Mercury Prize nod. Their follow-up, {Awayland}, is bucking the buzzworthy trend abroad and here in the states. They're Irish indie folk band Villagers, and if you don't know them by now, you soon will find yourselves hearing them somewhere and wondering quietly - almost immediately - to yourself: "How did I only just hear this band now? Where have I been? Where am I going? What is wrong with me?" Anyway, you get it.

Earlier this month front man Conor O'Brien performed "Earthly Pleasures" and discussed it at an A-Sides session filmed at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains, NY. Watch the intimate performance and interview below, and scratch your heads no more!

"Earthly Pleasures"

Villagers' Conor O'Brien Interview

Cheatahsarrived at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains for an A-Sides filming, and were immediately taken aback. The London-based band had expected to fully plug-in for their performance, and didn't really know what to do with the classroom vibe I provided them. Initially they were going to just let front man Nathan Hewitt play his guitar and perform a track acoustically. But like all gifted and spontaneous musicians, they found a way to make it work - deciding instead to perform their song "Short Cuts" in - yes - acoustic fashion but with whatever instruments they could find to add some umph to their performance. The end result was so much cooler than any of us could've predicted. Being cool is just something that comes natural to Cheatahs. The band has garnered acclaimed in the UK with their respective EPs Coared and SANS, and are getting American audiences in on it by currently touring with Waaves. Watch the band, who will drop a full-length album this summer
(Extended Plays, a compilation of the two UK EPs is currently available to hold you over), perform below and talk about where they're going, and where they've been. Watch. Listen. Love.

Cheatahs "Short Cuts"

Cheatahs Interview

"When life gives you lemons just say f--k the lemons and bail..."

Those are hilarious words of wisdom from a clueless stoner Paul Rudd played in the 2008 underrated comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. At that line's core is the antithesis of the notion that so many of us would rather bask in a pool of self pity and sorrow when times get tough. Singer/songwriter Danielia Cotton isn't one of them. Rather than packing it in after going through heartbreak (she lost twins after five months of pregnancy and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last year), she therapeutically and courageously decided to rise above it all and continue making some sweet, kick-ass rock music. Using the life experiences that challenged her resolve, she came up with arguably her best - and most personal album - The Gun in Your Hand. Earlier this month, the musician (and NYC marathon runner) performed "Lighthouse Keeper" at an A-Sides session filmed at the Digital Arts Experience in White Plains, NY. Watch it nelow, but first listen to her story in the A-Sides podcast below!

Jon Chattman's "A-Sides Music" series usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing. Support A-Sides' Kickstarter campaign here!

Subscribe to the Entertainment email.
Home to your favorite fan theories and the best movie recs.