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Grand Rapids, Michigan quintet Sleep Waker ponder many uncomfortable truths, asking listeners to examine who we are, how we quantify our reality, and what it means to be alive on their new album Alias. The record, which just dropped on July 23 on UNFD, follows the 2017 debut EP Lost In Dreams and the 2018-released full-length Don’t Look at the Moon. Sleep Waker – guitarists Jake Impellizzeri and Jason Caudill, vocalist Hunter Courtright, drummer Frankie Mish, and bassist Aaron Lutas – mix high-concept, thought-provoking lyrics with technical riffing and complex arrangements, while drawing inspiration from the dream-like surrealism of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks series, and futuristic sci-fi movies The Matrix, Blade Runner, Ghost In The Shell, and Japanese sci-fi anime series Cowboy Bebop. As a result, the music is a mix of heavy riffs and bright fascinating awareness.
Watch: “110 Minutes” Official music video.
Sounds Like: Born of Osiris, Of Mice & Men, VCTMS
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Dr. Molly Miller is one of Los Angeles’s most sought-after musicians, recording and touring with artists such as Jason Mraz, Black Eyed Peas, Donna Missal, and Morgxn, at venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Royal Albert Hall, Coachella, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. In her feature in the renowned magazine, Guitar, Michael James Adam notes, “she slings the guitar like a wordsmith, wry and sarcastic with a playful slant and flows from hushed whisper to bursts of elation with aplomb”. Miller is featured on Jason Mraz’s 2018 album Know and his forthcoming record, out in Summer 2020. She is in the house band on The Bachelor’s newest ABC primetime show, Listen To Your Heart. Soon after earning her Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Southern California in 2016, she became the chair of the Guitar Department at Los Angeles College of Music, a position she still holds. When Miller’s not on tour, running a guitar department, or in the studio, she heads her own trio, Molly Miller Trio, showcased on NPR’s Fresh Air. The second album by Molly Miller Trio is slated for release later in 2020.
Watch: Official live music video for “Spry“
Sounds Like: Julian Lage, Ariel Posen, Blake Mills
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Singer/songwriter Kurt Vile broke through to mainstream success after years of steadily working on his craft after co-founding the War on Drugs, but ultimately leaving to focus on his solo work. His almost sleepy-sounding indie rock takes inspiration from artists like Neil Young, Sonic Youth, and Dinosaur Jr. and after releasing several albums for various indie labels, he signed with Matador in 2009 and found both success and a new home. After Vile’s 2013 album Wakin on a Pretty Daze serving as his breakthrough album, Vile has collaborated with artists like Steve Gunn, Courtney Barnett, and the late legendary John Prine. Now with a new EP out titled Speed, Sound, Lonely KV, Kurt mixes both his relaxed vocal approach with a tinge of country themes while still keeping his foot in his indie-rock world.
Watch: “Pretty Pimpin” Official music video.
Sounds Like: Neil Young, John Prine, War On Drugs