Featured Arist: Pepper Rabbit

Pepper Rabbit is the rare sort of band that you can’t help but like. Even though they don’t call Louisiana home, it’s no secret that the Los Angeles duo takes most of its inspiration from New Orleans, the city where they recorded their strikingly fun debut LP, Beauregard. And while multi-instrumentalist frontman Xander Singh and drummer Luc Laurent don’t play anything resembling zydeco or hot jazz, the Big Easy’s unmistakable vibe also permeated the sessions for Beauregard‘s excellent follow-up, 2011′s Red Velvet Snow Ball. Whether Singh is playing ukelele, clarinet, or whatever else he can get his hands on, he and Laurent manage to conjure and capture New Orleans’ joyous musical mojo every time out.


Featured Artist: White Sea

If you’re a fan of M83, you’ll almost certainly recognize Morgan Kibby’s heavenly voice from the French band’s albums, particularly the 2008 breakthrough Saturdays = Youth. Even though she’s still a member of M83, Kibby has started to make her solo mark under the White Sea moniker as not only a recording artist, but also an in-demand remix producer for, among others, Britney Spears and the Naked and Famous. Her debut EP, This Frontier, possesses a lush, grand sound we can’t get enough of – perfect for when you’re getting yourself ready for a big night!


Featured Artist: The Black

Their rootsy music conjuring images of sun-bleached barns and beach barbecues, the Black are one of the most Americana-laced bands we’ve heard in quite some time – perfect for the summer to come. The Austin, Texas foursome weaves classic vocal harmonies over barroom-ready melodies in a rich tradition that stretches from Bob Dylan circa The Basement Tapes to Wilco’s Being There / Mermaid Avenue period. You can bet the farm that the Black’s latest album, Sun In The Day Moon At Night, will be the first thing we cue up on our next drive down a lonesome highway.


Featured Arist: Jess Penner

Spending her childhood on a Hawaiian farm but long since relocated to the US mainland, Los Angeles singer-songwriter Jess Penner continues to carve out her own niche. On the heels of her 2010 solo debut, Love Love Love, we’re now super-excited for her follow-up LP, Growing In The Cold, which Penner self-produced at home. Trading in Love Love Love‘s summery vibe for a crisp and confident – but still catchy – blend of folk and easygoing electro-pop, Growing In The Cold is destined to become one of our listening mainstays…and perhaps one of yours as well!


Featured Artist: Jessie Ware

It’s so refreshing when a new singer comes around, especially when she keeps releasing great singles. That’s how we felt when we first heard Jessie Ware, who’s last two songs keep getting stuck in our head (in a good way!). Earlier this year she released “Running,” which is a hypnotic, pulsing pop song highlighting her classic diva vocals. Now this week she came out with a new single, “110%,” which features a sample from Big Pun which sits in sharp contrast to her quiet, emotional whispered vocal. It’s beautiful, and we’re totally fans now. We’re definitely going to keep track to see what she comes out with next!


Featured Artist: New Build

The two lead singers from Hot Chip usually get all the credit for that band’s hit songs. But credit is definitely due for the incredible rhythm section, who have taken time out from their main band to form New Build. Wriggling and writhing with the same infectious beats and soulful melodies of their day job, the songs of New Build sound familiarly awesome! Their first album, Yesterday Was Lived and Lost was just released and we can’t stop listening to it.


Featured Artist: Chromatics

Five years in the making and recorded in Montreal, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Paris, Jarkarta and their hometown of Portland, the Chromatics‘ new album “Kill For Love” was finally released last week. All of their efforts ended up in the music, with not a moment wasted (the album is an hour and a half long!). You might have heard their song “Tick of the Clock” on the soundtrack to Drive last year, and you can except more of the same icy, methodical electro on the new album. We love the title track, embedded below, and think you will too!


Featured Artist: Tanlines

After a somewhat brief hiatus (their last EP came out in 2010) one of our favorite synth pop duos, Tanlines, has just released their debut full-length album Mixed Emotions. It’s already one of our top albums of the year so far. You can download a copy of their lead single, Brothers, direct from the band to see if you agree. Do it!


Featured Artist: Young Prisms

The quartet of San Franciscans who make up Young Prisms aren’t old enough to have been picking up My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Cocteau Twins records upon first release a couple decades ago, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to their powerful, yet alluringly hazy music. The band’s upcoming second album, In Between, pays homage to all those legendary acts, but does so in a way that’s fresh and exciting rather than shamelessly derivative.


Featured Artist: Jasmine Ash

Known until recently as the main creative force behind Los Angeles indie pop band Oh Darling, Jasmine Ash has just released her own album, Beneath The Noise, a songwriting/production collaboration with ex-Phantom Planet members Jacques Brautbar and Sam Farrar. Her delicate vocal style may remind us of the great Kate Bush, but her infectious melodies are hers and hers alone – and there’s no better example than her new single, “Killer“. If you like what you hear, you can keep track of her on Twitter and Facebook.