Five to Discover: Acts You Need to Know

In this – the age of the Coronavirus – many of us are stuck at home, isolated with only TV screens and the glow of laptops and phones to keep us connected. In other words, there isn’t much to do.

Videos by American Songwriter

However, one thing that is available to us all is the wide world of recorded music. And now is as good a time as ever to get to know some bands you may not have heard of but ones that you will assuredly enjoy, dear reader.

So, buckle up and get ready for a digital ride around Seattle, Maui, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Draze, “Building Black Wealth,” Seattle
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Here at the Discovery series, we love a good themed song. And Draze’s track based on the idea of investing in communities of color – specifically, Black businesses – is felt poignantly today as much as any time. Collaborating on the track with the excellent trumpet player, Owuor Arunga, who has played all over the globe and rose to fame with Macklemore, Draze delivers. If nothing else is taken from this piece, let it be this: invest in community businesses, especially Black ones.

Drew Martin, “River Still Runs,” Maui
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There might not be anyone having more fun playing music than Hawaii’s Drew Martin. An expert slide player, his technique is that much brighter when shredding or shedding on a 12-string. Here with “River Still Runs,” featuring the talented singer, Erin Rae Murray, Martin delivers some classic folk music from a people contented by the water source flowing free. It’s a song of peace, joy and warning: just think, what would happen if the water dried? Let’s make sure that never occurs.

Oceanator, “Nowhere Nothing,” Brooklyn
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Ethereal and numinous but nevertheless astonishingly powerful, Oceanator delivers the perfect songs for solitary moments of disoriented wonder. Turning a corner down a new boulevard, the song of your thumping heartbeat will assuredly be in time with the music of Oceanator. Set to ask your boss for a raise or more shifts? Press play on “Nowhere Nothing” and wait for the electric-magic-punch at the end to propel you forward.

Blimes And Gab, “Shellys (Its Chill),” Los Angles
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First question: what doesn’t this song have? Between the video and the lyrics, there’s comedy, elaborate and expert art, retro aesthetics, dance clubs, a perfectly rolled blunt, I could go on. But, more than anything else, Blimes And Gab – the two west coast rappers turned into super group duo – are poised to rocket to the sun, light a spliff, and come back to earth to spit more rhymes. We want more. Second question: when will the next single drop? Hopefully soon.

Ben Todd, “Unforgettable,” San Diego
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This spider-fingered blues man, who’s also gone by the name Lonesome Shack, is imbued with the tension of a match mid-light, extended for minutes on end. When Ben Todd says the spark is ready – that’s when it’s ready. And, when so, prepare for a blaze and the sorrowful remorse that comes after any burn. But that’s the beauty of the blues, ain’t it? As life takes away, the music replenishes, a mixture of wisdom and forlorn beauty.

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