I remember when I was in college, I was the first of my friends to buy the cassette tape (damn, I'm oldish) of Liz Phair and a bunch of other talented artists. When the 1990s edgy singer/songwriter broke, it felt so good to brag to friends how I discovered her even though, clearly, I didn't. I just was interested in hearing new music, and always knew Exile in Guyville was going to take off. I've been ahead of the curve many times in my life from Bon Iver to The Ting Tings, and found it gratifying to make a point of telling people that I bought the music before they broke through. Let's face it: everyone likes to feel that way at some point about a band or a performer. Who doesn't love to say they were the first to discover an artist before they hit it big weeks, months or years later? At the very least, it redeems your taste in music and provides an opportunity for you to feel cool for a milli-second. It's all BS really, but in the moment, you sort of feel bad ass.
That brings us to this week's A-Sides, which features an eclectic mix of artists who, I feel, are about to really take off like a kite operated by a specialized kite owner. If you get on the train now, you will be able to tell your friends you knew them before success went to their heads -- you know a time in which they were willing to shoot a FlipCam video with yours truly at a music school in Westchester (read: Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains.)
The first act, L.A.-based indie rockers Early Morning Rebel, have already taken off in Europe and have made a career so far of playing various fashion shows around the world. Their rock and soulful sounds -- notably single "Lifeboat" -- has been receiving airplay in the States as well -- including an "appearance" on the hit melodrama Grey's Anatomy. That TV series is McCrappy. This band is not. Early Morning Rebel are currently on the road and will release their debut album later this year. Watch their performance of "Find an Easier Way" below, and you'll see why they're well on their way. Watch. Listen. Love.
The next artist is Jake Miller, an on-the-rise rapper, singer, and songwriter, who probably will get a record deal by the time you finish watching these videos. The emerging star from Weston, FL has been getting a lot of buzz thanks to music videos he uploaded on YouTube last year. The fact his manager also works with Jason Derulo is pretty much a sign he's going to blow up like Violet Beauregard (Google it, folks. I can't do it all.) Pretty soon, Miller will put out a full-length album. For now, watch a tune and the interview.
JM performs "Beast Mode"
(To watch Jake Miller perform "I'm Alright," click here.)
The final artist is Logan Venderlic, a singer/songwriter from West Virginia, who is already earning praise for his self-titled folkish debut album which can be compared to a Connor Oberst record with extreme foot stomping (see video below). I recently chatted with the rising artist and asked him about the contrast between growing up rural and playing big cities. Check him out below and catch him on tour this summer. Thankfully, he didn't break anything.
LV performs "Walk with a Girl"
To watch Logan Venderlic perform "Jerkwater Town" live, click here.
About A-Sides with Jon Chattman
Jon Chattman's music series 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.