Let’s get into the winter spirit with a welcome as warm as yuletide logs for Sufjan Stevens! Our rainy day playlists would not be complete without our favorite soft-spoken indie folk icon. Coming out of Detroit, Sufjan Stevens has essentially defined the genre since his 2003 album named for his home state: Michigan. Since then, he’s released a plethora of albums and has been featured on award-winning soundtracks.
I think I used to release a record and go into hiding. I needed to recede and have solitude. But now, I’m putting less emphasis on the album and tour cycles and more emphasis on being productive and engaged — and doing it in a way that’s healthy and in moderation. I feel less ambitious and more curious. I’m more interested in just creating without objective.
Sufjan Stevens, Hollywood Reporter
Though Stevens is a veteran in the independent singer-songwriter scene, he still experiments with his sound. On his latest release, 2019’s The Decalogue, he trades his acoustic guitar for a piano. However, if you want to see Stevens perform his signature sound live, be sure to head to his official website for tour dates near you.
Sufjan Stevens creates his intricate tracks with Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys on electric and Phosphor Bronze Medium Lights on acoustic.
Try not to get too emotional with Sujfan Stevens‘ honest tracks below.
Old fashioned rock and roll in a sleek, modern package — that’s Royal Republic for you. After meeting at the Sweden’s Malmö Academy of Music, the band has released five albums solid with certified rockin’ hits. Their sound ranges anywhere from hard rock to pop; there are even elements of disco thrown in on some tracks.
Royal Republic don’t believe in guilty pleasures — only pleasures, free of compromise. They’ve become Sweden’s most addictive rock ‘n’ roll export, mixing riffy guitars, king-sized tunes, and jet-packed beats with their own eclectic tastes and inimitable joie de vivre. Plus the kind of snazzy suits most of their contemporaries wish they had the balls to pull off.
Royal Republic Official Bio
This year, Royal Republic released Club Majesty, an album full of sparkling riffs and crystalline vocals. The album shows off the band’s ability to infuse a variety of influences — from new wave to garage rock — into their own package. Check it out down below, or head over to their official website to grab tickets to a live performance.
Royal Republic use Ernie Ball Power Slinkys and Regular Slinkys on electric guitar and Everlast Coated 80/20 Bronze Medium Lights on acoustic. On bass, they opt for Hybrid Slinky bass strings.
This week, we have another welcome to the Ernie Ball Family — Lucy Dacus! This indie rocker from Richmond, Virginia is a force to be reckoned with. Last year, her and fellow Ernie Baller Julien Baker made waves with their collaborative project, Boygenius. This year, Dacus released an album encapsulating the year, titling it simply: 2019. Based around the six national holidays (plus Bruce Springsteen’s birthday), she throws in some beautifully executed covers along with her dazzling originals.
We had all these songs recorded and I was like, ‘How will I share these?’ I looked at them and tried to find a common theme. It just so happened that we created this template for the songs to come out through. I was sad that nobody’s hearing them, so it’s been cool — like unexpectedly cool — this year to slowly put out things. It felt like, zero pressure. It’s just been a little gift here and there to anyone that would care.
Lucy Dacus, WSUM
Lucy Dacus is someone to keep an eye on in the upcoming years. She has big plans and great music to show for it so far. If you want to keep up with the latest of Lucy Dacus, you can keep an eye on her latest updates on her official website. You can also check out her tour dates if you want to catch her live.
Lucy Dacus uses Ernie Ball Power Slinkys, Earthwood Silk and Steel 80/20 Bronze, and Ernesto Palla Clear and Silver Nylon strings.
Reflect on 2019 with Lucy Dacus down below.
Up next, we have another band from Sweden: Millencolin. Millencolin is the definition of skate punk. In fact, even their band name takes from a skateboarding trick — the melancholy. They even made it onto the classic soundtrack of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game. After a brief span of time without any releases, Millencolin has returned in 2019 with S.O.S., their ninth.
It’s clear the band members are just as unified as they were when they formed Millencolin, roughly 26 years, eight albums and 2,000 live shows ago. ‘We’re a band truly formed from respect and understanding for each other and our passion for rock music,’ explains vocalist/bassist Nikola Sarcevic. ‘If you ask us, this is the best job in the world!’
Millencolin Official Bio
There is nothing like a little upbeat ska punk to jump start your day. Millencolin is an absolute blast to listen to, and their message on S.O.S. is an important one for fans to hear. If your urge to jump into the pit and catch the elbow-throwing goodness live is overwhelming, head over to their official site for tour dates near you.
Millencolin tears it up with Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottoms, Beefy Slinkys, and Hybrid Slinky bass strings on the low end.
Get the best of Millencolin down below.
Superet describes themselves simply: “Superet is a band,” they say. But, anyone who has heard this indie rock group knows that they are more than just a band. Their sound ranges from pared down acoustic indie rock to the shining, electrified sound of ’80s new wave.
They present Superet as the culmination of their longstanding creative kinship. Snatched from the facade of a decrepit Los Angeles church (cult), the Latin word “superet” translates to ‘may it overflow,’ an apt description of the reclusive band’s modus operandi.
Superet Official Bio
To exceed to overflow — yeah, that’s Superet.
Their latest album, How To Work A Room, certainly borrows inspiration from an era defined by sparkling synthesizers and earworm guitar riffs. The album spans 14 tracks, including their “how-to” intermissions. Working a room is just the first interlude on the album, providing an ethereal introduction to some certified classics from Superet. If you want to watch them work a room live, check out their official website for tour dates near you.
Superet shows how it is done with Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottoms and Paradigm Regular Slinkys.
Listen to the top tracks from Superet down below.