The day Ray LaMontagne shaves off his beard will be a dark day in the world of facial hair, and the world in general. I can actually picture vigils set up in some countries with mourners wearing fake beards like they currently do in Boston. Anyway, I only bring it up LaMontagne because an emerging singer/songwriter very well follow his career path. Actually, he may surpass him, and it’s not because he lacks any facial hair to arguably hold him down. James Bay has a very distinct voice, and that description is two-fold. Yes, his vocals are original and spot-on, but it’s his lyrics that especially soar. Take a listen to his debut EP The Dark of the Morning, and you’ll get what I’m throwing down. It’s no wonder the 22-year-old UK musician just wrapped up a tour with ZZ Ward, and opened a date with The Rolling Stones in his homeland. Last week, in the midst of CMJ in NYC (Google both if you don’t know what they’re short for), Bay stopped by the Music Conservatory of Westchester to film an A-Sides session. Watch him perform first single “Move Together” below and put up with my interview shenanigans below. Watch. Listen. Love.

1990s alt-rock never went away, and it’s not going to thanks to Sleepy Kitty, who are keeping the “sound” alive in a very 2010s way. The band actually started as a project for a class vocalist Paige Brubeck was taking in Chi-city, but quickly evolved into so much more. She and Evan Sult (ex-Harvey Danger drummer) found themselves wanting to make more Sleepy Kitty music almost immediately, and both left their “day jobs” in other bands. “High praise” came for their garage-pop sound, – it’s no wonder really that two EPs led to opening spots for Chuck Berry and Neon Trees. Not together. No one wants to see Berry play with that band. Anyway, the St. Louis duo filmed an A-Sides session (asidesmusic.com) at the Music Conservatory of Westchester last week, and crushed their new single. Watch it below, and keep an eye out for their new album next year. Meow indeed.


A-Sides “Delve Into Twelve” Countdown
Each week A-Sides unleashes its Top 12 tracks of the week AKA the “Delve Into Twelve”based on the following contributing factors: songs I’m playing out that particular week NO MATTER WHEN THEY WERE RELEASED (think overlooked songs, unreleased tracks, and old favorites), songs various publicists are trying to get me to listen to that I did and listened to and liked (phew), posts and trends I’ve noticed on my friends’ Facebook walls, and – most importantly – the songs my 1 1/2+ year-old son gravitates toward. Yeah, you read that right. This weeks follows below (LW= last week’s rank):
12. “Nineteen” – Tegan and Sara
11. “Terraplane Sun” – Terraplane Sun (Watch them on A-Sides soon!)
10. “Bad Blood” (LW-7) – Bastille
9. “Copy of a” – Nine Inch Nails
8. “We Exist” – Arcade Fire
7. “Methuselah” (LW-5)- San Fermin (Watch them perform it here on A-Sides!)
6. “Creep in a T-Shirt” – Portugal. The Man
5. “Don’t Save Me” (LW-6) – Haim
4. “Chain My Name” (LW-2) – Polica
3. “Getaway” (LW-3) – Pearl Jam
2.”Bitter Rivals” (LW-1) – Sleigh Bells
1. “Reflektor”(LW-4) – Arcade Fire

About A-Sides Music
Jon Chattman’s “A-Sides Music” series was established in August 2011 and usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles — just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I’m hoping this is refreshing.