Artist Spotlight

Indie Artist Spotlight: 13 Editor Picks from 2013, Pt 1

1 Comment 1 January 2014

Indie Artist Spotlight: 13 Editor Picks from 2013, Pt 1

During the summer of 2013, Indie-Music introduced a revamped reviews section to the website: our new “Indie Artist Spotlight.” In years past, this section had evolved from anywhere between 10 to 50 reviews per month; at the time, social networks weren’t dominant, we weren’t able to embed streaming videos and audio links, and album artwork could jam and slow up website performance. All the bells and whistles that are commonplace today, weren’t so common way back in 1999.

When it came time to re-imagine how this section could look, sound and feel NOW we wanted to put the emphasis back on the artists - discovering new talent and rediscovering old favorites that get us excited about the independent music scene. We’ve rekindled some great partnerships with GoGirls and the Independent Music Conference┬« (two wonderful longtime supporters of DIY artists) and brought in guest editorial from our new partners at BitCandy Music Filter. We have more plans for the coming year at Indie-Music, and I can’t wait to reveal those to you when the time is right.

I look forward to what 2014 has to offer both musically and creatively, and encourage all of the artists out there to visit our submissions policy and keep sending in your material for review. You continue to inspire and the time has never been stronger for independent musicians to self-direct their careers as they see fit.

But for now, I wanted to take a moment and press “play” again on some of MY favorite reviewed albums from artists that appeared in our Indie Artist Spotlight in 2013 - a top 13 Editor’s Picks of 2013. In no particular order, here is the first installment: 


First, a trio of female-dominated releases from Seattle…

Shelby Earl

Shelby Earl, “Swift Arrows”
It has been the year of the female in the Pacific Northwest. And Shelby Earl’s Swift Arrows has continued to deliver torchy vintage warmth with every listen. This album is an assured, accomplished and fully realized piece of work that hits all the right chords. It comes as no surprise to me that notice of this record has continued to swell since its release this summer. Shelby Earl writes songs with wit, charm and great musicality.

Read the review here:


Tess Henley

Tess Henley, “High Heels & Sneakers”
On the flip side of torchy is Tess Henley; a smooth singer/songwriter who lives and breathes musicality back into the neo-soul genre. It’s easy to fall into the relaxed and satisfying groove of this record. This is classic soul laced with mainstream pop and R&B appeal. It’s joyous and wonderfully balanced with classic sounds and a youthful vibe. Tess is a talent to watch, and we will be excited to say we knew her when…

Read the review here:



Tangerine, “Radical Blossom”
What a welcome surprise I got when I opened up this EP from Tangerine. “Feel This Way” had me hook, line and sinker from the first play. I find myself humming this song all the time. It’s summertime personified. But Tangerine is not a one-song wonder; and I have a feeling that as their gigs increase, the fans will follow. Sisters Marika and Miro (as well as bandmates Ryan and Toby) have quite handily captured my attention with both the songs included on this record, and a style that seems simple on the surface, but hides its complexities well. They are one of my favorite finds of the year.

Read the review here:


And now a modern-day troubadour…

Gregory Alan Isakov

Gregory Alan Isakov, “The Weatherman”
I’ll admit that I set a pretty high bar for Gregory Alan Isakov when I sat down and press play on The Weatherman for the first time. His easy turns of phrase and often hypnotic songwriting style have made him a critical darling even before this release. But this record comes together with such warmth and revels in its simplicity and lyrical transparency. This is strong, straitforward classic songwriting for the modern age, but with a vintage vibe. Isakov not only doesn’t disappoint, he delivers his strongest effort and one of the best albums of the year.

Read the review here:



...and an inventive songwriter of a different troubadour tribe.

Happy Chichester

Happy Chichester, “Torchwood Loop”
Another artist that I hold to a higher standard than most is Happy Chichester. It would be totally unfair on my part if he wasn’t such a dynamic songwriter, lyricist and performer. The more closely I listen to his entire body of work (both with bands and as a solo artist), the more I appreciate his ability to wind up from a whisper to a scream and marry all of the musical influences that show themselves through his songwriting. He can be a chameleon, taking his listeners on a journey through rock, soul, folk and pop (often within the confines of one song) with a natural and seemingly effortless ability to connect the dots that no one else sees or hears. Happy’s material is never one-dimensional, and it’s always interesting. Torchwood Loop propels him further along his solo path, and the result is an album that continues to reveal its intricacies with every listen. He is a musician’s musician, and it shows.

Read the review here:



A pop music masterclass…

Late Cambrian

Late Cambrian, “Peach”
With a shimmer and shake, the biting lyrics and insanely catchy melodies that this trio from Brooklyn put on display with the release of Peach were a welcome addition to the summer of 2013. Late Cambrian reminds us that rock and roll can be joyful, cheeky, creative and fun…all while employing outstanding musicality and performance. This is a band that is hitting on all cylinders. And while we know Ryan Gosling looks good, he has never “sounded” better.

Read the review here:



...and a brand new band with lots of potential.

The Raised By Wolves

The Raised By Wolves, “Sadie Hawkins”
I love it when something takes me by complete surprise. And this record by The Raised By Wolves came hurtling out of nowhere with such a unique and unconventional pop sensibility that I knew we had to feature it. This is another one of those albums that just restores my faith in making the effort to do what we do here at Indie-Music. If even a few folks have the opportunity to get turned on to this duo’s music, I’ve done my job for the year. Sadie Hawkins is the type of album that deserves a wider audience, and you will find growing on you the more you listen to it. Take a chance, and press play below.

Read the review here:



Stay tuned for the second installment of my favorite reviewed artists from 2013. For now, give these a second listen and continue supporting the independent music community!

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Your Comments

One Comment

  1. Noel Ramos says:

    Thank you Heidi for all the hard work you put into supporting independent musicians! I’m so happy that Suzanne’s legacy is in such good hands.

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