Alex Clare. This British singer-songwriter released his first album, The Lateness of the Hour, in 2011. It failed to get much attention until one of its songs was featured in an advertisement for Internet Explorer 9 in the spring of 2012. That put his music on charts around the world. Personal stuff: He's an Orthodox Jew who plays a half dozen instruments and once dated Amy Winehouse. Want more? Go here.
|Alex Clare in all his full ginger glory.|
Song & Video: "Treading Water"
Manchester Orchestra. Emerging from the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, in the mid-2000s, this indie rock quintet is fronted by rhythm guitarist-singer-songwriter Andy Hull. The band's breakout album, Simple Math, arrived in 2011. An extraordinary video for the album's dynamic title track became one of my favorites for the year. Trivia about Andy Hull: Although born in Atlanta, he spent a large portion of his childhood in Ontario, Canada. He chose his band's name as a nod to one of the most popular alternative rock bands to ever emerge from Manchester, England -- The Smiths. There's a new album and tour for 2014. Check them out here.
|Manchester Orchestra; that's lead singer Andy Hull front and center.|
Horse and Hammer. They're a musical comedy duo otherwise known as Ben Johnson and Eric Daniel Schiffman. You can hardly blame them for wanting to affectionately mock the hipster beard and glasses trend you've seen everywhere the last few years with a goofy song and video. Sure, they've got a sense of humor, but the fact is, these guys look great with their beards and glasses, too. Even if you don't like the song enough to buy it, you can always get a t-shirt.
|Ben Johnson (left) and Eric Daniel Schiffman (right), Horse and Hammer|