: Dreamy girl vocals dominate this indie pop group from San Francisco. Mammoth Life's brand of indie evokes sunshine, day dreams, and sweet nothings -- with perfectly combined keyboards, driving guitar rythms, and sweet, sweet harmonies. The four-piece started in faraway Lawrence, KS but has, as many young artists do, chosen to make San Francisco Mammoth Life's real home. The city, with its ample room for youthful adventures, speaks to those who want to create, and Mammoth Life, with their charming blend of dream pop and indie, are certainly creating something for city dwellers and the indie world at large to enjoy and remember. Think Beachwood Sparks, but girled up and simplified for today's pop lovers. Singer Kix often chants softly, but still lends her voice substantial power when needed -- power that is backed by compelling guitars, drums, bass, and excellent keyboard/organ riffs. Put on some headphones and relax, while taking in the small details that make the band so compelling. Mammoth Life are talented musicians that sound like they love what they do: and what they do is make brilliant, sun-soaked pop for lovers. Lyrics about living for today appropriately dominate the band's upbeat tune "Teen Dreaming," along with perfectly crafted guitar solos, layers of oohs and ahhs, and a cheerful spirit. Mammoth Life is definitely a youthful group, that both pays homage to indie poppers of yore and creates something all their own. Delightfully sweet or record as well as live, the band is sure to make even the hippest audience move their toes and sway.
The Stand Out State
: Sacramento's earnest Stand Out State is here to deliver tight indie gems with plenty of harmonizing, spirited rhythm and lead guitars, and pounding drums. The band appeals to lovers of indie classics who crave an energetic live show. The Stand Out State, worthy of their name, somehow makes their sound feel bigger, so they can encompass the audience with their positive energy, and blast away any lingering doubt that alternative rock is a worthwhile pastime. Stand Out State's sunny, happy songs with excellent vocals -- both lead and background -- make for an interesting indie experience. On their latest release, an acoustic EP, the band leans heavily on their well-executed harmonies, along with stellar guitar, and intricate little details of sound such as slight pauses, well placed mute strums, short bursts of falsetto, and of course singer Adam's emotional vocal delivery. A band that can harmonize this well must be best friends -- and live, you can tell these boys are enjoying every minute on stage. Bouncing, smiling, and giving off the "we're having fun now" vibe, the four piece supply the jams -- the audience supplies the dancing.
: Sweet, even adorable, vocals mixed with ukulele and heartfelt lyrics make Kitten Grenade a bomb of cuteness just waiting to go off in your ears. Like early acoustic Rilo Kiley with a deeper female lead vocal reminiscent of She & Him, this indie band is definitely out to win your heart and mind. Kitten Grenade is just instantly loveable -- which is something supremely valuable in the indie world, where audiences can look the other way pretty quickly. Well-layered vocals combined with vocal percussion, ukulele, and drums, make for songs that stick in your head long after you've stopped listening. Lyrics are intimate glimpses into the life of a young San Francisco musician, and are pretty damn relatable to anyone navigating through life. Singer Katelyn Sullivan brings all the energy of a performance poet fighting to win a poetry slam to her songs, with simple percussion by drummer Ben Manning to set the tone and musicality. It's a perfect combination for an indie pop masterpiece, waiting to happen. Rich vocals by Sullivan hold the songs together, even if they are only adorned with some slight drumming and ukulele. That's what makes this duo (sometimes threepiece, live) so fun to watch and listen to. Live, the audience is completely drawn through the Kitten Grenade experience -- it's hard to look the other way.
: You may have guessed by the name, but Electric Strawberry is really into grooves from the past, far flung sounds that have been heard only on vinyl for decades. Now, that sound is making a comeback in the form of the energetic, female fronted, Bay Area four piece. Deep, sultry vocals are complemented by gifted rhythm section for a retro-inspired take on the indie blues -- thing Jefferson Airplane meets Florence and The Machine -- with the best bits of every era smashed in for good luck. Dramatic performances backed by skill and an ear for pop tunes are the name of the game for Electric Strawberry. The group's vocalist and songwriter, Briana, has an amazing voice and the ability to really wield it for dramatic effect. The band is lively, filled with youthful energy -- some might call them electric. And with influences culled from every era of pop, they are pretty captivating with their fun sense of youth and strong musicianship. Expect a few covers from all across the board during their epic live show.