02/18/2011 10:52 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Dog Ears Music: Volume 163


Ocean Carolina
Brooklyn-based Americana rock unit Ocean Carolina is the brainchild of the Tar Heel import Michael Simone. A multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, and producer, Simone began as a solo artist in the late '90s. Just a skip after Y2K, he relocated to the Big Apple, launching Lovesky and then Starling Crush (with Jennifer Glass). Ocean Carolina, produced by Simone (vocals, guitar) and co-produced by Alex Cox (bass), features Jon Graboff (pedal steel; Ryan Adams & The Cardinals), Aaron Fisher (drums), Chris Buckle (guitar), and Glass (backing vocals). Discover Ocean Carolina's hope-filled reverie with "Blue," from their 2011 debut Leave On. Buy full set--play it loud!

Genre: Americana/Rock

Artist: Ocean Carolina

Song: Blue

Album: Leave On

Jesse Sykes
Upstate New York singer/songwriter Jesse Sykes has a captivating air. Currently Seattle based, she toured the globe with Hominy and Whiskeytown, following a RISD arts education. Sykes released her debut in 2002 and has since issued two full-lengths, as well as gracing a number of compilations. Her backing band, The Sweet Hereafter, includes partner-in-crime Phil Wandscher (guitars), Eric Eagle (drums), Bill Herzog (bass), and Anne Marie Ruljancich (viola, cello). Collaborations/shared stages include Nicolai Dunger, Neko Case, Boris, Sunn O))), Black Mountain, and Pink Mountaintops. Download "Grow a New Heart," from Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter's 2004 project Oh, My Girl. It just smolders.

Genre: Alternative

Artist: Jesse Sykes

Song: Grow a New Heart

Album: Oh, My Girl

Elvis Perkins in Dearland
Singer/songwriter Elvis Perkins was born in the mid-'70s of Hollywood royalty (Anthony Perkins and Berry Berenson). Elvis spent his boyhood on both coasts steeped in art, science, and music. He learned saxophone, guitar, and songwriting, and, as a tween, found a mentor in bassist Prescott Niles (The Knack). At Brown University, Perkins started making his music bones. By 2007, he released his freshman project, Ash Wednesday. Collaborations/shared stages include Chris Shaw, My Morning Jacket, Cold War Kids, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The Elvis Perkins in Dearland ensemble includes Brigham Brough (bass), Wyndham Boylan-Garnett (keys, guitar), and Nicholas Kinsey (drums). Rediscover the mighty "I'll Be Arriving," from the 2009 collection Elvis Perkins in Dearland.

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Artist: Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Song: I'll Be Arriving

Album: Elvis Perkins in Dearland

The Bar-Kays
Funk-soul outfit The Bar-Kays were born in Memphis in the mid-'60s. The ensemble made their way backing the immortal Otis Redding. Whilst on tour in '67, a plane crash took the lives of Redding and most of The Bar-Kays. Crash survivor Ben Cauley (trumpet), along with James Alexander (bass), who fortuitously missed the doomed flight, went on to refresh The Bar-Kays. Highlights include Stax legends Isaac Hayes and Booker T. & The MGs. Credits include scores of original recordings along with films Wattstax, Spies Like Us, and Superbad. Rediscover The Bar-Kays' hit "Soul Finger," from What It Is! Funky Soul and Rare Grooves (1967-1977).

Genre: R&B/Soul

Artist: The Bar-Kays

Song: Soul Finger

Album: What It Is! Funky Soul and Rare Grooves (1967-1977)

Claude François
Chanteur/percussionist and music impresario Claude François was born of French and Italian descent in pre-war Egypt (1939), where his father worked in shipping. Claude's youth was filled with music studies: violin, piano, and drums. By 1956, the Suez Canal crisis forced the troupe to relocate to Monaco. The senior François took ill, leaving Claude, still in his teens, to fend for the family. He took odd jobs and performed the Côte d'Azur circuit. The early '60s saw François take the City of Lights with his Vegas flair. He released dozens of hits before his tragic death in 1978, when he was accidentally electrocuted in his bathtub. Remember Claude François with the Sonny and Cher hit en Français "Je t'Aime Trop Toi" ("I Got You, Babe"), from his 1964 album Même Si Tu Revenais.

Genre: World

Artist: Claude François

Song: Je t'Aime Trop Toi

Album: Même Si Tu Revenais

Cloud Nothings
Cloud Nothings is the grunge-punk-pop Frankenstein of Cleveland's Dylan Baldi. The unit's live pack is filled out by TJ Duke, Jayson Gerycz, and Joe Boyer. Their bluster of floating abandon resounds after the music stops. With a bunch of releases to date, get started with "Strummin'," from the 2009 EP Turning On, then check out their 2011 debut full-length Cloud Nothings. It's alive!

Genre: Rock/Pop

Artist: Cloud Nothings

Song: Strummin'

Album: Turning On