best-emerging-bands-artists

Vow of Volition Make the Final Round of the Battle for Warped Tour

The Vans Warped Tour was the first festival for many of us back in the day. As young'ns, it's likely we didn't necessarily think about all that went into figuring out the bands to book and play the whole shebang. Part of that process, at least locally, seems to be through a series "battle of the bands" style competitions specifically for landing a spot on the fest. Quite a few Portland bands have been furiously playing against one another for said spot, and djent/prog metal act Vow of Volition are one of the acts that made it to the finals.

Warped Tour was always the type of festival that included much in the realm of pop punk, punk punk, emo and metal, so Vow of Volition's advancement to the final round is no surprise. Their incredibly technical, at times jazzy metal stands out in Portland's pretty linear popular music scene, and is much worthy of the attention its getting.

Those that want to support Vow of Volition in driving home the permanent spot can go to the Battle for Warped Tour finals Saturday at the Hawthorne Theatre.

Jordan Suaste ascends past heartbreak in new single "Patience"

Jordan Suaste is both the creator and spectator of the brilliant sonic rivers of romance that flow in his latest single, “Patience.” Where some would fear allowing their emotions to flow, Suaste does not as he flexes his vocal prowess to posh instrumentation comprised of cute piano leads and sway-inducing beats sprinkled with the sweetness of R&B. Suaste debuts in “Patience” a glossy heartbreak track that serves both as a winter warmer and a shinny treat you can’t help show your friends. As Suaste ascends vocally in the song’s bridge, you cannot help think he is a young man that knows where he is headed, and it is up there; take a moment to stream the new music video for “Patience” below. - René Cobar

Kate Davis pays tribute to Daniel Johnston

The Deli isn’t sure how many résumés include qualifications like “adolescent jazz prodigy who shreds on double bass and who holds a degree from the Manhattan School of Music”, “live gig played with Jeff Goldblum", “appearance on a U. of Miami musicology panel alongside Ben Folds”, “taking a left turn into indie rockdom with a widely-praised debut LP in the format”, and finally, “co-writing a hit song with Ms. Sharon Van Etten”. Based on these credentials, if you're ever competing with Kate Davis for a job whatever it may be, we'll just go ahead and wish you better luck next time. 

In case you’ve not seen nor heard the music video for the Von Etten/Kate Davis collab the song is a lovely aching ode to adolescence (Rachel Trachtenburg plays Sharon’s younger doppelganger in the video) and on the visual side it's a lovely aching ode to NYC independent music venues--past and present, living and deceased--with full knowledge that the city plows on as always steamrolling its past and building who knows what in its place.

Back to Kate Davis. Her latest release dropped yesterday--a sneak preview single from her upcoming full-album tribute to Daniel Johnston (1961-2019) who was an OG of what some people call “outsider music." Johnston launched his music career by handing out cassettes of his homemade music at the McDonald's where he worked in Austin, Texas ("would you like some fries with your free copy of Songs of Pain?") and then crashing the stage when MTV was in the city filming a special on "The New Sincerity" which hardly anyone remembers anymore. Now that’s DIY. Also those photos you've seen of Kurt Cobain wearing a t-shirt that says “Hi, How Are You” that’s Daniel Johnston

Back to Kate Davis, really this time. Kate says "when I first heard Daniel Johnston I was struck by the directness and clarity in his writing. I wanted to gain perspective into that directness." See below for her stirring rendition of “Oh No” and see below that for Ms. Davis discussing the bond she feels with Daniel Johnston--his unique gift for songwriting and his lifelong struggle with mental health issues.

Strange Boy: Daniel Johnston 'Retired Boxer' Cover Album is being released in conjunction with the Hi, How Are You Project, an NPO formed by Daniel Johnston’s family to raise awareness around and remove stigma from mental illness. You can pre-order it on blue vinyl whoooooa like how much more blue, none more blue! But before the album drops in early 2021 you'd be advised to check out her already-existing one called Trophy. Kate's music casts an intimate glow but it can be muscular too case in point being the title track. This song has what we in the industry refer to as an arc. At first it sounds like it just needs a hug but by the middle it’s trying to seduce you and then by the end it’s ready to throttle you but consensually no doubt. (Jason Lee)

photo up top by Erica Synder

Pretty Sick explore the "Deep Divine"

Deep Divine is the “coming out” LP or EP or whatever you want to call it (seriously these terms mean next to nothing today) from the rock combo Pretty Sick. Regardless, both the band name and the record name are spot on. Deep Divine is the sound of teenage kicks colliding with the imperative to “just grow up, be adults and die” in the words of one Veronica Sawyer--a deep dive into the muck and the majesty of teenhood and early adulthood. 

Lead singer, songwriter, and bassist Sabrina Fuentes self-reportedly wrote the songs heard here between ages 12 and 20 and the intensity of these transitional years bleeds into every note. Pretty Sick are indeed pretty sick (double-entendre no doubt intended) and appear to be influenced by early, ground-breaking releases on labels such as Sub Pop, Matador, and Kill Rock Stars--a sound that even a generation later is effective sonic shorthand for surviving adulthood with some degree of mental functioning, passion, and sick humor intact. 

Deep Divine not only captures but updates these sounds and sentiments from the past--for one thing the gender fluidity at play in Fuentes’ lyrics is a clear marker of the contemporary moment (he’s and she’s are pretty much interchangeable). The cover image of the record too is a clear riff-on-cum-update-of a certain iconic album cover for this one old record you may have heard of by some band or other, but minus the dollar bill on a hook seeing as record labels aren’t handing out too many million-dollar contracts these days.

Finally this is also a New York City record to the core. The grungetastic 54-second-long instrumental intro called “Comedown” (perfect place to start!) merges straight into “Allen Street” with its subject staring “out on Allen Street at 7:00 in the morning” the song turns into a mini-travelogue taking the listener from the titular LES location to the “Bowery at midnight in the summer” finally ending up “back in Harlem now you won’t even call me / cut myself up now it makes me feel more holy.” Punny-ness aside this last line captures the tightrope act that Pretty Sick has already mastered: balancing hookiness and grittiness and lower bodily stratum and spiritual elevation. (Jason Lee)

 

Sun Kin debuts refreshing house single "Blue Light (Keeps Me Up at Night)"

Los Angeles-based artist Sun Kin keeps his brand of house music refreshingly alternative: with his new single “Blue Light (Keeps Me Up at Night)” featuring syrupy electric guitar leads, Caribbean rhythms, and a sugary pop aesthetic, he is very much in vogue. In the breaks in rhythm, Sun Kin uses his sharp vocals to keep the dreamy, watery texture of the music going, rippling as the beat returns. “Blue Light (Keeps Me Up at Night)” is the lead single from Sun Kin’s upcoming record After the House, out on February 12th. For the type of house music that chills the mind while firing up the body’s movement, stream “Blue Light (Keeps Me Up at Night)” below. - René Cobar

Syndicate content