Tag Archives: discovery thursday

Discovery Thursday: Marie Hines


It’s a rare talent to be able to write music that a listener hears more in his body than in his ears, but when an album like that comes along, I like to drink it in until it fills me up and sloshes around inside me a little. And so it is with Marie Hines newest EP, HeartCrash.

The young Nashville singer/songwriter has seen early critical success with her debut album, Worth the Fight, and the live follow-up, The Living Room Sessions, but despite its brevity, HeartCrash seems to carry more weight, to linger on one’s mind and in one’s heart, each song ebbing in and out like the tide.

“Hammer” trickles in lightly, beginning the album with a quiet forlornness. By the time Marie’s telltale string quartet sweeps in and takes up the instrumental bridge, the story is clear and wrenching, lyrics like “You never think your lover’s words could kill you, and you can’t foresee the blow that is your last” painting a striking, desolate picture.

The title track struts in a way that Hines has not explored in previous efforts. Written not out of love or loss of love, but out of anger, “HeartCrash” boasts an unpredictable melody reminiscent of Regina Spektor’s newer work and a feminine brazenness that recalls Sara Bareilles’ singles.

“Mending” is without doubt the biggest step forward on HeartCrash. The tune begins delicately, showcasing Marie’s velvety piano and penchant for lithe, ardent lyrics, but the beat pounds like a quickened heart and the dynamics exude a sense of urgency and fervor. An instrumental section plaits a 3/4 rhythm and a 4/4 rhythm seamlessly, building them up to a burst of rapturous, symphonic color and sound.

The golden, glowing “Perfect Kiss” is a breezy, infectious tune that acts as a divine snapshot of a couple in the throes of love, the most memorable lyric, “You would sink to the depths of the sea still breathing my name.”

And “Poison in the Well” is a yearning, lamenting tune about forgetting the past that calls forth a churning melody and desperate vocals with lyrics like, “How many times did I try to sever ties between us? How many times did I try to tell the lies to leave us, leave us, leave us be?”

I’ve been a big advocate of Marie Hines since I heard Worth the Fight a little over a year ago, but HeartCrash is converging on bolder, more seasoned territory. Give it a listen and let the current do the rest.

Watch the music video for “Perfect Kiss” here, and just try to not love her: 

And now that you’re convinced, buy the EP here on Amazon. As always, you’re welcome.

Discovery Thursday: Ivan & Alyosha

not pictured: Ivan, Alyosha

Ivan & Alyosha first drew me in because I read somewhere that their name was taken from characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Any band with such highly literary minds is worth a listen in my book. And thank goodness I did! The Seattle-based quartet has become another new favorite. They have yet to release a full length album, but their two EPs – 2009’s The Verse, The Chorus and their early February release, Fathers Be Kind – are enough music to get you started.

The band’s folksy melodies are just so eeeeasy to listen to. Sometimes the vocals remind me of an old, very acoustic Rufus Wainwright, but other times, I hear something more along the lines of The Decemberists. Either way, Ivan & Alyosha’s catchy rhythms and casual instrumentation are simply magnetic.

One song in particular from the new EP (which can be purchased on Amazon (you’re welcome)) really hit me. The whining harmonica, careful harmonies, and cleverly penned lyrics of “Glorify” just melt me: “Glorify the Lord above, with your drink and making love / Glorify the Lord my son, with your whiskey and your gun.”

NPR featured Ivan & Alyosha in one of their Tiny Desk Concerts, which I highly recommend if your interest is piqued. You can also go to their MySpace and listen to tracks from both EPs and download “Glorify” for free. Now go!

Update (3.20.11): Just found this incredible video of the band performing “I Was Born to Love Her” at SXSW earlier this week. Had to include it.

Discovery Thursday: Katie Costello

one slick chick

Katie Costello is only 20 years old, which kind of makes me sick. She’s 20 years old and just put out her sophomore album, Lamplight, which is a beautifully crafted collection of Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles-esque ballads and pop tunes. Costello’s magnetic vocals and poignant turns of phrases speak to her maturity as a singer/songwriter, her light-hearted approach to thematic elements that occupy every young girl’s head and heart exemplify the sprightly youthfulness of her songs.

With Lamplight, which was released a mere two days ago, Katie is already seeing some serious traction in the industry – big names like Billboard, Paste, Spinner, and BeatWeek devoted headlines to her blithe melodies and up-and-comer status. Update (3.23.11): links to articles added.

If you only listen to four tracks, try “Cassette Tape,” “Ashes Ashes,” “People: A Theory,” and “Stranger.” Two of these four can be heard on her websiteLamplight is available on Amazon, but if you’re still not convinced, read my official review and watch this ADORABLE video for “Cassette Tape:”

Discovery Thursday: Andrew Belle

just a regular guy

Local Nashvillian singer/songwriter Andrew Belle is probably one of Music City’s most promising new artists. He’s working hard to grow his fan base organically (which I majorly appreciate; I like musicians who have earned their success as opposed to just stumbled into it), currently touring across the country. Belle is also a member of the critically acclaimed Ten Out Of Tenn, 10 folksy singer/songwriters that call Nashville home but tour together and play collaboratively onstage (similar to Hotel Cafe). Andrew released his debut EP All Those Pretty Lights in 2008 and his debut full-length album The Ladder on February 23, 2010. His musical styling is often compared to Coldplay, The Fray, and John Mayer, but his vocals are memorable and unique despite Belle’s gentle, understated approach. Fans and critics often refer to his songs as “smart pop,” defining the term as nuanced melodies and sophisticated, contemplative lyrics coupled with bold, infectious hooks.

Head over to Andrew Belle’s MySpace for a listen – “The Ladder,” “Don’t Blame Yourself,” “Make It Without You” are all highlights of the new album – or see below for my absolute favorite song, “Static Waves,” featuring Katie Herzig:

Discovery Thursday: Two Door Cinema Club

they're being ironic

In honor of their first Coachella appearance (the entire lineup of which was announced this week), my Best Band You May Not Have Heard Of for this week is Two Door Cinema Club, an alt-rock trio from Northern Ireland. Their debut album, Tourist History, was released March 1, 2010 in the UK (April 27, 2010 in the US) to solid critical acclaim.

The band is young (formed in 2007) as are its members (these kids can’t be more than 23), but they seen quite a bit of success: Tourist History certified silver in the UK. TDCC has opened for well known European bands like Foals, Phoenix, and Delphic and is currently making US rounds.

Two Door Cinema Club sounds like Franz Ferdinand meets Vampire Weekend, with some electronic bits and cool samples thrown in too. Their songs are upbeat and infectious, their instrumentation modern and layered. Tracks to check out include “Cigarettes in the Theatre,” “Something Good Can Work,” “I Can Talk” -all of which can be found on the band’s MySpace – and newest single “What You Know,” which is right here:

P.S. The album is currently available to download from Amazon for $5. DOO IT.