Stephen Kallao

The first thing you notice about George Ezra, besides his incredible voice, is his demeanor. He's warm, friendly and engaging to talk to. There's a similar charm in his songwriting. Ezra pulls you in as a storyteller. You want to root for him. His 2014 debut LP includes the breakout smashes "Budapest" and "Blame It on Me," which showcase his voice and charm in spades.

Caroline Rose has arrived. I know this sounds a little unusual to say considering her new record LONER is her third studio album. But for a point of reference, if you listen to a moment of "Red Bikini Waltz" from her 2014 album, I Will Not Be Afraid, to her new album, LONER ... Yeah, it's a little different. But this is who Rose is.

In 2011, Alejando Rose-Garcia burst onto the scene armed with a guitar and suitcase kick drum and released his first album as Shakey Graves. Seven years later, he's about to release his latest studio album, Can't Wake Up, out on May 4. It's a record that explores themes of death and dying, sleep and sleeplessness, and it has the most interesting sonic landscape to match the lyrical content.

After the 2016 election, how did you feel? What did you want to do? Mac McCaughan asked himself these questions, and pounded out the lyrics to 11 new Superchunk songs in a matter of months. The result? The band's most focused and aggressive albums in years, entitled What a Time to Be Alive.

In 2013, roots musician Ben Harper teamed up with legendary harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite for a blues record called Get Up! The album went on to win a Grammy for best blues album — not a bad way to start a partnership.

One does not simply "start a band" in your garage or basement in the 21st century. Our buzzed-about guest today, Superorganism, prove that point, stretching the notion of a craigslist connection to completely new heights.

Field Report's new album, Summertime Songs, was recorded before 2016's election, but frontman Chris Porterfield says he's still thought a lot between then and now about how his work fits into the current social and political atmosphere in the U.S. "In the lead-up to putting this record out, I struggled with whether the world needed another white man's record right now," he says.

There's few people who enjoy telling a story as much as Kyle Craft, and boy, does he have plenty of inventory to keep you engaged. There was that one time he was stranded while working on an illegal pot farm. Then there was the moment he contemplated a different career path other than music — working in herpetology, the study of amphibians and reptiles, because he was really good at catching and identifying snakes as a kid. There's also the story about his good female friend who breaks men's hearts for fun.

Jonathan Wilson is an incredibly talented and in-demand producer. He's worked with loads of folks, including Father John Misty, Dawes, Conor Oberst and Karen Elson — and that just scratches the surface.

Since the early aughts, The Decemberists have been making a unique blend of lyrically dense indie-folk rock. But on the band's latest record, I'll Be Your Girl, the members deliberately switched up their sound, notably in their word economy and use of keyboards — Depeche Mode keyboards!

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