THE BLOG
12/02/2013 04:54 pm ET Updated Feb 01, 2014

A-Sides with Jon Chattman: X Ambassadors Rank, and Ha Ha Tonka's Valuable Lessons

R.I.P. Andrew Youssef.
R.I.P. Paul Walker.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, and after I'm done saying it again, I'll probably say it again later: rock n' roll is far from dead. Sure, it's easier to find a hamburger at a vegan bun convention than to hear a rock song on terrestrial radio (sorry Imagine Dragons isn't enough), but if you look for it (or listen for it) you'll find that the genre is well and good. I've already given props to bands like Mona, Diamond Youth, XNY, and Blondfire, and today A-Sides - and by that I mean this guy (points to self) - really wants to get two other bands on your proverbial radar. Maybe they're already there.

Indie rockers X Ambassadors are having the kind of year that pimply kids in high school bands could only dream about. After getting discovered by Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, who introduced them to Alex Da Kid who then signed them to his label KIDinaKORNER, the Brooklyn band's been touring with the likes of Jimmy Eat World, The Mowgli's, and yes, Imagine Dragons. Fittingly, by the way, the band (Sam and Casey Harris and Noah Feldshuh) formed in middle school - adding L.A. drummer Adam Levin later on. Anyway, they recently dropped their official debut EP Love Songs Drug Songs , and frontman Sam Harris' vocals can be heard on the deluxe edition of Eminem's recent Slim Shady sequel. That's "not too shabby" as Adam Sandler once said before he stopped being funny. Just prior to Thanksgiving, the Brooklyn by way of Upstate New York band stopped by the Music Conservatory of Westchester to film an A-Sides session. There, they performed two songs that evoke their eclectic rock and soul sound and sat down for an informal ten-minute chat. Watch "Unconsolable" embedded below.

Bonus Jonas: Listen to their A-Sides performance of Litost

Like X Ambassadors, Ha Ha Tonka are an indie rock band who you should've legally downloaded awhile ago. The Alabama quartet (Brett Anderson, Lennon Bone, Lucas Long and Brian Roberts) recently released their fourth full-length album, Lessons, and - dare I say it - it could very well be their best. My Old Kentucky Blog once dubbed their sound as "southern rock meets The Cure" and it's pretty spot on, but rather than label them in any kind of way, I'll just say their music is as authentic as you're going to get. Their sound has elements of Southern rock grit but with an indie sensibility if that makes any sense at all. It doesn't matter. Music is subjective. I'm just a guy telling you to listen to this band's music. Late last month, they also stopped by the Conservatory for an A-Sides session, and crushed it. Watch. Listen. Love.

Bonus Jonas: Listen to their exclusive performance of Colorful Kids.

A-Sides "Delve Into Twelve" Countdown
Each week A-Sides unleashes its Top 12 tracks of the week AKA the "Delve Into Twelve"based on the following contributing factors: songs I'm playing out that particular week NO MATTER WHEN THEY WERE RELEASED (think overlooked songs, unreleased tracks, and old favorites), songs various publicists are trying to get me to listen to that I did and listened to and liked (phew), posts and trends I've noticed on my friends' Facebook walls, and - most importantly - the songs my 1 1/2+ year-old son gravitates toward. Yeah, you read that right. This weeks follows below (LW= last week's rank):

12. "Blew My Mind" - Dresses
11. "Chain My Name" (LW-10) - Polica
10. "Come Walk With Me" - M.I.A.
9. "Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)" (LW-5) - Arcade Fire
8. "Bad Blood" (LW-4) - Bastille
7. "Ain't Your Right" (LW-3) - Sky Ferreira
6. "Modern Jesus" - Portugal. The Man
5. "Wings" - Haerts
4. "Do What U Want" - Lady Gaga & R. Kelly
3. "Black Out Days" - Phantogram
2. "Holding On For Life" (LW-2) - Broken Bells
1. "Reflektor"(LW-1) - Arcade Fire

About A-Sides Music
Jon Chattman's "A-Sides Music" series was established in August 2011 and 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.