Christina Perri recommends Lissie (and a slew of other artists)

Christina Perri and Lissie

Christina Perri and Lissie

Christina Perri’s recommendation: “My musical influences are all around me, mainly love + relationships + beauty + feelings + good songs + good melodies + good lyrics. I am influenced by singer/songwriters like John Lennon + Paul McCartney + Jason Mraz + Elton John + Lady Gaga + Conor Oberst + Lissie + The Swell Season + Adam Duritz + Adele + Dean Martin. I’m really into Lissie’s new album Catching a Tiger. I love her voice + style + overall performance. I’ve seen her live a few times and she is just amazing!”

Christina Perri About our guest author, Christina Perri : Christina’s rise is as Cinderella as you can get. She moved to Los Angeles with dreams of making it big. She worked as a café manager and posted YouTube videos of herself singing both originals and covers. Bill Silva Management took interest and she began recording. Her song Jar of Hearts was featured on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance and the rest is history. The song was downloaded over a million times and she snagged a deal with Atlantic Records. Christina was asked to perform the song live on the show and she went on to record eleven more songs for her full length lovestrong collection that was released in May of 2011 and was produced by Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, Tori Amos, The Shins). She’s now on the road and playing to capacity crowds. Merch, news and more can be found over at

Harper Simon recommends Richard Hell and the Voidoids

Harper Simon and Richard Hell

Harper Simon and Richard Hell (Harper Simon photo: Autumn DeWilde)

Harper Simon’s recommendation: “Blank Generation, Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Lower East Side manifesto is a seminal New York album and an essential for any young art punk or misfit discovering narcotics, poetry or DIY culture. The poetry is so strong, the vocal delivery so effortlessly hip. Decadent, druggy, fucked out, nihilistic and literate, the Richard Hell of Blank Generation doesn’t care what you think. Plus he’s got the Voidoids to back him up. Bob Quine was a totally unique guitar player who I had the pleasure of playing several shows with in the 90′s. His guitar playing jabs at you, it doesn’t jangle. But it avoids cliche at every turn and perfectly sets up Hell’s gutter rat Rimbaud of Rivington Street thing:

I was sayin’ let me out of here before I was
even born – it’s such a gamble when you get a face
It’s fascinatin to observe what the mirror does
but when I dine it’s for the wall that I set a place

New Pleasure. I’m Your Man. Down At The Rock N Roll Club. The Plan. Betrayal Takes Two. Blank Generation.

Richard Hell. God’s consolation prize!”

Harper SimonAbout our guest author, Harper Simon: Harper Simon grew up in NYC and later attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. He then spent time overseas in London where he was part of a band called Menlo Park. His self-titled solo effort was released in 2009 and sported quite a lineup of backing musicians. We’re talking about everyone from Sean Lennon to Elvis’ bass player, Mike Leech. Harper’s album is filled with smart, strong lyrics and lush production (Harper produced the album and Tom Rothrock, who has produced albums for Beck and the late, great Elliot Smith mixed the final product). Simon commands both the sparse drum and piano arrangement of The Audit and the infectious bounce of Tennesse equally and his easy vocal delivery and intricate finger picking definitely draws on the influence of his dear old Dad (Paul Simon). Reviews of the album were strongly favorable, especially one from that called the effort “…one of the most enjoyable and understated records of the year.” We anxiously await new sounds, but in the mean time, be sure to check Harper’s online site to purchase his music and merch as well as his upcoming live performances. And don’t miss the fantastic video for Berkeley Girl starring Jena Malone below.

Alina Simone recommends Daniel Johnston

Alina Simone and Daniel Johnston

Alina Simone and Daniel Johnston

Alina Simone’s recommendation: “I love Daniel Johnston. I spent three years living in Austin when his cassette tapes were still on sale for three dollars next to the cash registers of most of the record stores in town. One of the tapes I bought then, Yip Jump Music, lives in a little portable tape player I bought for this express purpose. His music manages to combine the pop genius of Beatlesque melodies with the heart-clawing rawness of outsider art. Lately I’ve been listening a lot to Rocket Ship. I love the chilling falsetto of Johnston’s voice, the way he pumps the chord organ propulsively to build the tension as we approach lift-off, and the glorious, sloppy, shimmering mess of the last verse, “The stars are blurry, we’re going fast!” The whole thing is more like an audio poem, the words anthropomorphized by the quaver in Johnston’s voice and the klang of the cheap air organ keys hitting the baseboard. As a singer, my chief concern is always, “How do I make people FEEL something? How can I make every note interesting and every word matter?” I never want to just coast through a song. I hate “mellow.” I want the tension strung like a tight wire. It’s a reason to love my music or hate it. Daniel achieves this seemingly effortlessly. We are with him in that rocketship. And even if it’s made of cardboard and the controls are nothing but a string of christmas lights, we’re taking off.”

Alina SimoneAbout our guest author, Alina Simone: We learned about Alina Simone from our long time friends at and shame on us for not hearing about her sooner. This Brooklyn based indie wonder made USA Today’s Top 100 People List in 2008 and from there the praise just kept on a-comin’. Her 2008 release Everyone Is Crying Out To Me, Beware snagged 3 1/2 stars from Spin Magazine and landed on Yahoo Music and The Huffington Post’s best music of the year lists. Her new record, Make Your Own Danger has perked up the ears of Pitchfork who praised her as ‘…always being on the verge of blowing up’ and secured a solid 7.2 rating. And if all the acclaim for Alina’s music wasn’t enough, she is also getting attention in the literary world for her collection of essays, You Must Go and Win. Be sure to check Alina’s site for Summer tour dates.

Check the single (MP3): Beautiful Machine by Alina Simone from Make Your Own Danger

And stream the entire album here:

Archer Prewitt recommends Liam Hayes

Archer Prewitt and Liam Hayes

Archer Prewitt and Liam Hayes

Archer Prewitt’s recommendation: “I was tempted to break it to you all about the Chicago soul genius that was Curtis Mayfield, but I have to assume that you already have a good deal of his remarkable output. No, I’m going to have to go for a living Chicago genius right now. Liam Hayes. He is Plush. And I cannot recommend enough his first full-length record, More You Becomes You. This is his voice and piano with a touch of French horn, and it is a thing of beauty. Recorded by Steve Albini, Konrad Strauss and Bob Weston in 1998, at a few different locations – it clocks in at under a half hour. A real stunner. It slows your heart. Intoxicating. The coloration of these timeless melodies could only be realized and brought to life by this strange man out of time. He deeply feels this music. This record is a gift. I’ve always been drawn to and fascinated by albums that are thematically consistent: Birkin’s/Gainbourg’s Di Doo Dah, Drake’s Pink Moon, Gaye’s What’s Going On, Davies’ Instinct, Evans’ Moonbeams, Sinatra’s In The Wee Small Hours, Morrison’s Veedon Fleece, Mitchell’s For The Roses, Wilson’s Pet Sounds, Mayfield’s There’s No Place Like America Today, and the list goes on. This is not to say that Hayes’ other records aren’t perfect as well. They are – full of rich ideas and crystal-clear orchestrations that shift restlessly. Ambitious and disarmingly intimate. You can feel the struggle of their necessary birth! But, I have to say, this is the one that consistently moves me. A genuine classic, dammit!”

Archer PrewittAbout our guest author, Archer Prewitt: Where to start when talking about Archer Prewitt? Before you even talk about his music career, you can rave about his other artistic outlet, his Sof Boy comic book which is quite the rage in Japan. Archer’s art work has also been published in McSweeney’s comic collection and in Chicago Quarterly. But let’s talk music, shall we? Those familiar with the Chicago indie scene may remember Archer as a co-founder of The Coctails. Archer has since released a bunch of albums and an EP as a solo artist, but he is also a member of the jazz-pop-rock-Brazllian-electronic supergroup, The Sea and Cake. The band wrapped opening for Broken Social Scene in 2010 and released their ninth album, The Moonlight Butterfly in 2011. The band is already hard at work on their next album which is expected to be released by early 2012. Follow news about the band here.