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Music: 5 Bands and Artists to Watch right now

It’s spring, and the creative juices of some well-known artists and bands – as well as those on-the-rise – are flowing. Here’s a quick rundown of new releases that merit a listen.

Forest Blakk

Canadian singer-songwriter Forest Blakk caught our ear via a Passport Approved show at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge recently. A native of Montreal, Quebec, he’s been inspired by the music of Joe Cocker, Don Henley and Ben Howard.

Currently on PRP’s playlist, here’s his captivating new single “Love me“:

Death Cab for Cutie

Their first album without founding member Chris Walla, “Kintsugi” drops this coming Tuesday. From what we can hear, the new album – their eighth release – has all the hallmarks fans have loved for years: tuneful, introspective topics, Ben Gibbard’s plaintive, personable vocals and cohesive, memorable arrangements.

Black Sun,” for instance, is outstanding. Have a listen:

Currently on tour to promote the new album, Death Cab plays Bend’s Les Schwab Ampitheater in July.

Gengahr

High recommendations for Gengahr, whose new EP “She’s a Witch” released this month. This great Alt-Indie band from London scores points for evocative, etherial tracks a bit akin to American Indie Rock band The Shins.  With engaging vocals, lighthearted whimsical melodies and good musical instincts, they’ve got their act together.

They recently opened for Alt-J and earlier this month journeyed to the U.S., where they appeared at Austin’s SXSW Music Fest.

Check out  Haunter” from their sound cloud:

On An On

From Minneapolis, Minnesota, On An On band members are: Nate Eisland and Ryne Estwing, guitars, and Alissa Ricci, keyboards.

They released their debut CD “Give In” two years ago on Roll Call Records. It’s a great collection of dream-pop with uplifting tracks and creative synth touches. With an Indie-rock vibe a bit reminiscent of Snow Patrol, we think you’ll love their solid arrangements and unique style.

Here’s their brand-new single, “Drifting“:

James Bay

Lest you’re thinking we’ve forgotten about England’s current music sensation, not a chance. Last week, singer-songwriter James Bay – who in the past has opened for both Hozier and Kodaline – released his first full-length “Chaos and the Calm” CD. “Chaos” opened at number one on this week’s UK Album Charts, and merits an ovation for compelling, artfully crafted songs delivered with conviction.

The new album was produced by Jacquire King (Dawes, Ingrid Michaelson, Kings of Leon) at Nashville’s Blackbird Studios.

There’s an immediacy to Bay’s musical style that’s nigh impossible to ignore – his “Hold Back the River” music video has already accrued more than 15 million hits, and counting.

Hold Back the River

James Bay plays Portland’s Wonder Ballroom May 11.

Support public radio and great musicians

PRP’s passionate radio professionals love lending an ear to good music and great musicians; we hope our listeners will continue to support them, too.

Explore their websites and buy their music (available on iTunes). We think you’ll love the musical inspiration spring seems to have brought forth from these exceptional bands and artists.

Cynthia Orlando

Cynthia Orlando is a music enthusiast who reviews pop, Indie, rock, blues & bluegrass artists. Also a certified arborist, you can follow Cynthia on Twitter.Listen to PRP

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