Of Monsters and Men is a six-person collective hailing from Iceland and the makers of very catchy folk-pop. The group came together in 2009 when lead singer Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir began recruiting back-ups for her acoustic solo act. In 2010, Of Monsters and Men gained national fame when they won an annual Icelandic battle of the bands competition, and since then, the buzz has only grown.
A surfer and songwriter, Ben Howard's two loves intertwined when the England surfing community became the first audience for his quiet, meditative music. At the encouragement of friends, Howard released two EPs and was invited soon after to tour with Xavier Rudd. Like Rudd, Howard is a no-nonsense, no-frills singer-songwriter. He began to write his own music "as a kid" and decided at the age of 21 to become a full time musician.
By now, Daniel Rossen's name is synonymous with the kind of raggedy, whimsical, airy music that he writes. A contributing song writer and musician in Grizzly Bear, Rossen often saved his more personal compositions for his other band, Department of Eagles, both of which have roots in Rossen's undergraduate years at NYU.
Karl Wallinger is perhaps best known as the brains and brawn behind the Brit-pop band World Party. Wallinger is a Welsh singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer who had an early obsession with all things folk and pop, from the Beatles to the Beach Boys to Bob Dylan. After some experience directing The Rocky Horror Show and working in music publishing, he played keyboard for the Scottish folk rock collective The Waterboys.
Simone Felice translates tragedies and miracles into Americana stories and songs. Channeling a love for music and two-near death experiences, Simone Felice's solo debut is a meditation on life and death. Yet, the album is hardly Felice's first foray into such hefty subject matter or into story telling.
Bonnie Raitt is a blues-rock living legend, holding a hefty nine Grammys and five platinum albums under her belt. Her rootsy and passionate take on everything bluesy, combined with her intimate understanding of composition, deft slide guitar skills, and soulful vocals, have helped Raitt become an icon.
Named as World Cafe: Next Artists just this past March, the charming sister duo First Aid Kit are back with a full-length World Cafe show. Swedish sisters, Johanna and Klara Söderberg are barely into their twenties but they've already got an international reputation for their incredibly rich harmonies and simple, rousing folk.