The hip foursome from the chic Paris suburb of Versailles needed to record two albums before convincing French music fans of their talent. But, right from the start of their career, Phoenix’s upbeat mix of pop, rock and electro proved to be a big hit abroad. The three founding members of Phoenix, who came from a comfortable middle-class background with parents in teaching, finance and the hotel business, hooked up together at school. From the age of 10, Thomas Mars Jr (born in 1977) and Deck D'Arcy (a budding musician with classical piano training born the same year) had been playing music together. And the duo were soon joined by Christian Mozzalai (also born in 1977).
THE HEAD AND THE HEART
So many decisions in life and in the music we love can come down to a critical tug between the logic in our heads and the hot red blood beating through our hearts. Seattle’s The Head and the Heart live authentically in that crux, finding joy and beauty wedged there. Their music pulses effervescently—both explosively danceable and intuitively intelligent. With Americana roots and strong vocal harmonics that swell like a river, this band finds its anchor in solid songwriting that has even the jaded humming along by the second listen.
LITTLE GREEN CARS
Few of us make much out of the endless weekend hours we spend together when we're young. Draping ourselves throughout our friends' houses and airing out the angst and dreams and heartbreaks that will shape us before they fade away with time, we may make mixtapes, or weave friendship bracelets, or simply craft inside jokes and rosy memories to cherish in years down the line. But for Dublin folk rock quintet Little Green Cars, those Sunday afternoons may have built the most important adventure they'll ever take.
On Shannon Labrie’s debut album Just Be Honest, she kicks off the proceedings by staring down her demons and admonishing her biggest fears with “Secret,” a retro-R&B influenced song laced with vibrant horns. The young songwriter comes by her fears honestly, battling a serious (and ongoing) illness at age 9 and losing her father at 14. She grew up fast, at first rebelling, then spending several years on a curious solo journey across the country studying philosophy, theology and writing songs before settling into Nashville’s thriving independent music scene.