Anju's Pale Blue Eyes: San Francisco, CA

Anju’s Pale Blue Eyes is a San Francisco-based group that coalesced in early 2011 based around the confessional singer/songwriter stylings of Nick Anju.  The Locavaux Crew didn’t get a good look at his eyes, per se, but we have a feeling he’s got some lovely pale blue ones.  But our guess as to the eye color of the band's lead singer is the only uncertainty we have about this group—we are pretty firm in our decision that they are one of the more entertaining, musically talented groups that we’ve seen on the West Coast.  Incorporating a classically trained cello backbone, postpunk and r&b guitar playing, and the rhythmic pulse of the Adirondack banjo, this San Francisco trio is sure to get your foot stomping and your beer glass up in the air.  With such influences as acoustic folk, indie rock, bluegrass, classical harmony, psychadelic, and somewhat of a rockabilly flourish, Anju’s Pale Blue Eyes evoke all at once a Tallest Man on Earth sound with an Iggy Pop vocal flair.  The trio us currently working on their debut EP, so be sure to check out their collection of singles in preparation for what is sure to be a great full length musical feature.  Nick Anju’s (supposed?) pale blue eyes aren’t the only good thing this group has going for them. Learn more about Anju's Pale Blue Eyes here!

Listen to their music here!

Anju's Pale Blue Eyes at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, CA


Chris Shields (of Cosmos & Cameo): Park City, UT

Chris Shields, one half of a DJ and production duo based in Park City, Utah, is too modest considering just how good he is.  The young DJ hopped into our car and shyly spoke about his work schedule and move from Traverse City, MI to Park City, UT after high school.  We drove to Chris' studio, part of an arts collective right at the edge of town, and sat down to listen to a few of his track in the making.  The moment Chris opened his computer and began playing his electronic hits, we were hooked.  His passion for bass music, heavily influenced by trap, dubstep and house, is evident in the earnest care Chris takes to craft tracks that are layered and complex, unique and totally dance-able.  We were even lucky enough to watch Chris perform a mini-set at the DJ-exclusive Park City club, Star Bar.  Trust us, watching him live proves that being a DJ is no simple deal.  Chris is consistently moving and striving for new sounds off and on the stage.  So check out Chris' work with Cosmos & Cameos--we bet our bottom dollar that you'll be edging your way to the front of the main Bonnaroo stage in just a few years in order to catch a glimpse of this rising star of a DJ. Learn more about Chris and Cosmos & Cameo here!

Listen to Chris' music here!

Chris Shields (of Cosmos & Cameo) at Star Bar in Park City, UT

Ehren Wright (of So Down): Boulder, CO

Let us introduce you to Ehren Wright, Boulder native and lead DJ for So Down music.  The Locavaux Crew was lucky enough to interview Ehren while visiting Boulder and ask him a few questions about the popular DJ scene in Boulder and his role as a local DJ in this country-wide famous electronic scene.  Ehren’s music is largely bass, driven by the electronic scene and EDM movement, but he is unique in his attempt to break new ground and create new bass music amidst a musical genre many people find monotonous and lacking originality and forward-thinking.  As Ehren stated, “To be So Down is to seize every opportunity, explore new grounds, try new things and ultimately live the most epic life possible.  This universe is far too beautiful and life in simply too short to not do what makes you happy.  Unconditional love is the most powerful force in the world and Bass Music is my way of expressing it.”  Take a look at Ehren’s material online and listen to just where So Down music is leading the electronic movement.  We're down with what he's doing! Learn more about So Down here!

Listen to his music here!

Des Munks: Des Moines, IA

Something the Locavaux Crew has learned during our journey through the Midwest:  don’t write off the plain states.  In particular, don’t go ignoring Iowa.  For most, Iowa is just another state to drive through while on Route 80, or that state that you sometimes confuse Nebraska with.  After driving through Des Moines, IA and stopping to take a peek into the practice session of local band, Des Munks, we really can assure you that Iowa is worth it.  Des Munks (say it like Des Moines) is a trio of friends that pride themselves on not only their musicianship and live improvisation, but also their  transcendence of musical genres.  Driven by an incredibly talented drummer, bassist and guitarist, Des Munks are largely influenced by a funk-sound that blends a little bit of blues, reggae, jam, and classic rock to create one unique sound.  Having only played together since late 2012, this group of three Des Moines natives already has a wonderful ability to improvise their musical style and switch sounds while on stage in order to get audience members up and moving, dancing and grooving to their unique, rock beat.  So don’t just cruise through Des Moines, IA next time you’re making a cross country trip—stop by and take a listen to Des Munks and their wide array of musical offerings, you’re sure to be pleasantly surprised! Des Munks of Des Moines, IA

practice session with Des Monks in Des Moines

Learn more about DesMunks here!

Listen to their music here!

Chasing Shade: Iowa City, IA

Did you know that Sean White plays in a band?  Kidding, he doesn’t, but his doppleganger sure does.  Chasing Shade, comprised of Iowa City natives Griffen Harris,  Sean White’s identical twin. Elliot Beenks, and Tom Cigrand, has the incredible musical talent equivalent to Sean White’s epic snowboarding skills.  Although we were only able to sit down to coffee with Griffen and Elliot and discuss Iowa City local music, plans for their future (of which there are many—they’re moving to Los Angeles in the not so distant future!), and the wonders of Kickstarter campaigns, the Locavaux Crew got the feeling that not only were these two some of the nicer fellows that we’ve met on the road thus far, but that they were simultaneously holding back on explaining just how brilliant their music really was.  Two hours later, their full-length album, Pen to Paper, downloaded and playing on the bus speakers, we knew we were spot on. Filled with their signature indie-beach-blues sound, Chasing Shade’s blend of acoustic and electric guitar, drums, bass and vocals cover a lot of ground with only three musicians.  A spot of Local Natives's alternative, a tad bit of Jack Johnson's easy-listening, and just a smidge of My Morning Jacket's rock are apparent in their recordings, but Chasing Shade emits a blend of laid-back vocals and jazz-blues that is uniquely their own.  What’s more, they’ve since added a horn section to their line-up, so we can only imagine how wonderful a strong, brass sound might embolden their beach vibes.  So take note and listen up on these guys’ current recordings before they make it big in Los Angeles.  You wouldn’t want to be like one of those lame people who likes bands only after they get all popular and nationally renowned, would you? Learn more about Chasing Shade here!

Listen to their music here!

The Olympics: Iowa City, IA

Go to Google and search “The Olympics Band in Iowa City, IA.”  We dare you.  Then go to The Olympics’ Facebook page and tell us what you learn.  Band Interests:  “All we care about is the money and fame.”  Genre:  “Indie/Pop Rock/Dark Pop/Dad Rock.”  Huh?  The Locavaux Crew, though unsure what to expect of The Olympics upon their initial Google search, was more than pleasantly surprised by the Midwestern self-ridiculing, incredibly talented, and all-around goofy group of five friends who they met up with in Iowa City, Iowa.  This gang of locals from Iowa City and Cedar Rapids is a uniquely charming and powerful ensemble who mixes the perfect amount of pop and rock, their songs punctuated by impressive guitar riffs and catchy refrains akin to The Fratellis and The Arctic Monkeys.  The Olympics are not only talented musicians but also experts at capturing their audience’s energy and throwing that same enthusiasm right back at their fans with energetic stage-presence, witty on-stage banter, hilarious outfit choices and a general sense of laid-back fun.  With a full length album, entitled “Barefoot Blondes,” under their belt and the experience gained from opening for more experienced, well-known groups such as Manchester Orchestra and Margo and the Nuclear So and So’s, The Olympics have a successful future ahead of them.  So do as the Locavaux Crew did and check out these up-and-comers—one look at their Tumblr page and you’ll want to book it to Iowa City just to hear these goons live and in person!  Hopefully you’ll get to hang out with the band, too, because man is it chalk full of funny people.  Ask them for the story on their new band stickers—trust us, it’s ridiculously funny. The Olympics of Iowa City, IA

practice session with The Olympics in Iowa City

Learn more about The Olympics here!

Listen to their music here!

Carroll: Minneapolis, MN

We’ll put it simply.  We like Carroll.  We like Carroll a lot, particularly after seeing them play live at the famed Seventh Street Entrance in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  We like Carroll so much that we bought their CD.  We like Carroll so much we played said CD at least five times in a row while traveling on the bus.  You get where we’re going with this—we just really like Carroll.  Carroll, consisting of four friends and recent Macalester graduates currently situated in the MPLS area, crafts perfect indie-pop tracks that evoke the ideal blend of nighttime ambience with beach-house vibes.  Carroll’s dreamy, psychedelic guitar riffs, drawn-out keyboard tracks and melodically smooth vocals remind audience members of a more laid-back Phoenix and even hint at some Feist-style, classic indie-pop hooks.  The crowd, along with the Locavaux Crew, was anxious for more of their characteristic layered, distinctively distorted sound and dissonant chords all evening—their most popular singles, “Lead Balloon” and Millionaire,” got the crowd excitedly dancing and swaying to while surrounded by atmospheric beats.  Despite the notoriously hot summers in Minneapolis, we’re pretty sure that Carroll’s four innovative band members will bring a much-needed breath of fresh air in the coming months.  Don’t let this local gem go away unnoticed—take a listen to their debut EP, Needs, because we think it’s going to pop the indie music scene’s bubble in the not so distant future. Carroll

Carroll at 7th St. Entry in Minneapolis


Learn more about Carroll here!

Listen to their music here!

Brad Emanuel: Minocqua, WI

There are a few things you’ll come to realize after seeing Brad Emanuel perform at Otto’s Beer and Brat Garden in Minocqua, Wisconsin on any given Tuesday or Sunday night performance:  1. There are a lot of people in this world that know every single word to “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show; 2. There are also a lot of people in this world that are quite tone deaf, but that doesn’t stop them from singing/yelling along to classic hits at the top of their lungs; 3. “Get ‘em up, get ‘em get ‘em up!  3, 2, 1… Drink!” is a dangerous cheer (as initiated by Brad every two songs) to repeatedly follow orders on; 4. It’s ok to dance on tables that, in only a few short hours, will be occupied by (seated) families enjoying a lunchtime brat; 5. Brad Emanuel, locally celebrated acoustic guitar player and singer from the northern Wisconsin region, knows how to bring the house down with just his guitar, his voice, and a unique proclivity to make audience members drink “just a few” beers.  Brad Emanuel, his set consisting of upbeat and exciting covers of pop hits and classic rock anthems, is a mainstay in the music and nightlife scene of Minocqua, Wisconsin.  Beloved by locals, season camp counselors, lodge staff and annual vacationers from across the country, Brad knows how to get the lake-goers dancing on table tops, arm in arm, singing along to everything from “Hey Soul Sister” by Train to “The Weight” by The Band.  Perfectly paired with a local Wisconsin beer (New Glarus’ Spotted Cow!) and summer pals, Brad’s show provides the backdrop for those July nights you won’t soon forget.  So come to Otto’s Brat and Beer Garden in Minocqua with a few friends, make some new nighttime comrades while singing the lyrics to “Wagon Wheel,” and learn what all the hype is about way up north in the land of the pines.

Brad Emanuel at Otto's


Learn more about Brad Emanuel here!

The Marvins: Sayner, WI

There are those bands you can see once and say, “Ok, great!  I can check that one off the bucket list.”  And then, there are those bands you can see every Wednesday night at the Sayner Pub in Sayner, Wisconsin with the same excitement and amped-up attitude with each return.  The Marvins are one of the latter.  Having performed every Wednesday night at the small, hole-in-the-wall Sayner Pub in northern Wisconsin for the past twenty summers, The Marvins have their act down to a fine, albeit somewhat ridiculous, art.  Marvin, the band’s namesake and seventy-five-years-of-age drummer and singer provides fun, goofy covers of everything from classic rock to 1990s pop hits.  The Marvins' summer audience is a reliable mainstay at the Sayner Pub, consisting of local fisherman, townspeople, and girls and guys camp counselors (one of whom used to be Locavaux Crew member, Katie Scribner!).  Marvin’s laid-back, care-free attitude with regard to singing and general merry-making provides for the perfect dance-floor music; his covers have even become the soundtrack to such dance-floor traditions as “surfing” (the boys take off their shirts, get down on all fours, and provide a human platform on which girls can “surf” during Marvin’s cover of “Wipe Out”) and Clearwater Camp’s cheer during Marvin’s take on “Sweet Home Alabama.”  So if you somehow find yourself in the Northwoods after a long day out skiing on one of the many beautiful lakes in the area, look no further than the Marvin’s at the Sayner Pub—don’t say we didn’t warn you about Marvin’s rather “colorful” character (the man sells thongs with his band’s name on it for crying out loud).  Get ready for some, as Marvin likes to put it, “family fun the old fashioned way.”  


The Marvins at Sayner Pub

Learn more about The Marvins here!

Billy Strings and Don Julin: Traverse City, MI

At first glance, Billy Strings and Don Julin don’t seem like the makings of one of the best bluegrass duos in all of Michigan.  A tattoo-covered, twenty-year-old guitar-picker and singer working with a forty-five-year-old mandolin teacher?  The Locavaux Crew was skeptical to say the least, but when we boarded the Traverse City catamaran, the Nauticat, and listened to the two men pluck just a few strings together, we were mesmerized.  Having specialized in American traditional bluegrass and folk since he was a small child (he learned to play guitar at age three!), Billy Strings’ talent is almost hard to believe—at such a young age, he exudes the spirit of an old soul mountain man dressed impeccably in a crisp suit and tie.  He picks his guitar riffs at the speed of a machine gun and sings along to the melodies with sharp precision and impeccable tone.  Don Julin is no amateur, either—the older half of the duo has played mandolin for decades and is one of the best at his craft.  His flawless plucking, along with his perfectly harmonized voice, creates an incredible counterpart to Billy’s musical abilities.  You might be thinking to yourself, “Bluegrass?  In northern Michigan?  It can’t be that good.”  Well trust us, don’t ask questions and take a listen to this duo’s latest album release, Rock of Ages.  Their talent even has veterans to the bluegrass scene scratching their head in incomprehension and wonder.  Side-note:  if you have the chance to see them on a midnight cruise, underneath the clear, northern Michigan starry sky, we recommend you take that opportunity pronto. Billy Strings and Don Julin on the Nauticat sailboat in Grand Traverse Bay

Billy Strings and Don Julin on the Nauticat sailboat in Grand Traverse Bay


Learn more about Billy Strings here!

Listen to Billy and Don's music here!

Valentiger: Bellaire, MI

Are you a fan of Wilco, Ryan Adams, The Avett Brothers and (throwback!) The Jayhawks?  Then boy do we have the band for you!  The Locavaux Crew had the pleasure of listening to and speaking with Valentiger, a local Grand Rapids, Michigan band, at the northern Michigan brewery, Short’s Brewing Company.  Valentiger, consisting of three friends and all around fun-time guys, have put their guitar, bass, drum and harmonic skills to good use.  They’ve created fun, laid-back, folk rock tunes that are easily danceable and sure as heck sing-a-long-able.  The Short’s Brewing Company’s stage area was packing with dedicated local fans who knew the words to the group’s original song material; couples young and old were up and on their feet, swing dancing and twirling to the upbeat guitar riffs and harmonica solos.  The group, on the cusp of releasing their fourth independently produced album, have become masters of rockabilly songs that exude a care-free attitude and leave people thinking:  Let’s dance.  So make sure to clear your calendar and find a time to see one of Valentiger’s shows in America’s “high-five” state—you’ll find yourself buying their albums immediately after the show (just as we did), we guarantee it! Valentiger at Short's Brewing Co.

Valentiger at Short's Brewing Co.

Learn more about Valentiger here!

Listen to their music here!

Hung Up: Ann Arbor, MI

Well we've done it.  We've officially attended a heavy metal, punk-inspired concert.  Not that we consider ourselves music snobs, but the Locavaux crew definitely didn't think that they would find themselves in central Michigan attending a metal show.  But hey, different musical strokes for different musical folks is what this project is all about, right?  We had the fortune to listen to an up and coming (only together for 8 months!) band called Hung Up at the Ann Arbor, Michigan rock and metal hotspot, The Bling Pig.  An alternative sound with a heavy pop punk influence, these four skaters and childhood friends gave an awesome, Iggy Pop-inspire performance that had the whole crowd head banging (even Locavaux crew member, Katie).  If you're looking to turn up the volume on your speakers, look no further than these rockin' Ann Arbor natives. Learn more about Hung Up here!

Listen to their music here!

 Hung Up performing at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, MI

Bus Playlist Numero Uno

Plenty of mileage + slow travel speeds = a lot of time spent on the road!  Check out what (not-so-local) music the Locavaux Project is listening to these days while spending time on the bus by checking out this 8tracks playlist.  We'll be posting a number of playlists to our 8track's account throughout the summer so stay tuned!  

Rabbit in the Rye: Hamilton, NY

OK, so this might be cheating—we didn’t actually see Rabbit in the Rye perform live while we were in Hamilton, New York, the home and devoted audience for this progressive folk rock group.  The Locavaux Crew did get to hang out with Joseph Mettler, guitarist and singer of Rabbit in the Rye, and hear a few of his own songs by the light of a Sunday night campfire, so we feel that his group’s music should be included here on this blog no question.  Rabbit in the Rye, a Colgate University student (Locavaux Crew included!) favorite, deftly weaves folk influences with a louder rock sound reminiscent of modern day indie folk mainstays such as Laura Marling and The Decemberists.  Yet their musical style of storytelling and infectious sound, simultaneously waltz-like and rapturously bold, are amazingly more intriguing than most.  Make sure to put a full listen-through of Rabbit in the Rye’s latest EP, Tabled Fables, on your musical to-do list—they’re not to be missed! Learn more about Rabbit in the Rye here!

Listen to their music here!

Master Thieves: Hamilton, NY

Master Thieves, comprised of four close friends from Syracuse, New York, just might be having more fun on stage performing a fusion of classic rock and guitar jam-inspired funk that anyone else in the Central New York area. But don’t be alarmed—their laidback vibe and spirited performance will have you up and dancing right alongside them in no time. The Locavaux Crew had the pleasure of working with and listening to Master Thieves during our launch party at Good Nature Brewing in Hamilton, New York; their Rusted Root inspired sound was the perfect soundtrack to the celebration of our project and a summer’s evening in Central New York. So do yourself a favor and get your hands on their latest EP, Nature of Gravity, and play it during your next outdoor BBQ with friends! Learn more about Master Thieves here!

Listen to their music here!


Master Thieves at Good Nature Brewing

Gregory Brown: Hartland, VT

Greg Brown, host and MC to the open mike night at the Skunk Hallow Tavern in Hartland, Vermont, was a quiet presence on stage as he deftly and skillfully played guitar in a mesmerizing wash of finger picking.  Working alongside other local artists, from singer-songwriters to drummers and bassists, Greg’s talent was obvious yet never ostentatious.  When he gave the Locavaux Crew his CD, performing as Gregory Brown of the Gypsy Twins for “The Basset Hounds Sessions,” he described his own album sound as a unique and light-hearted blend of Dave Matthews and Jack Johnson—we were intrigued to take a listen having watched his performances that evening, and boy, was his description spot on.  As we drove through Vermont and tried out Greg’s album, it was as if the bus was transported to a surftown beach.  Greg’s skillful and calming guitar, mixed with laidback vocals, a little bit of funk reminiscent of G. Love and Special Sauce, and catchy lyrics were just the ticket for some open road, windows-down driving.  Check out Greg Brown and add him to your summer playlists now! Learn more about Greg Brown here!

Listen to his music here and here!

Maine Marimba Ensemble: Portland, ME

The Locavaux Project prides itself on being open and embracing to filming and listening to all sorts of music, be it folk, classic rock, or even a little heavy metal, but man were we taken by surprise when the opportunity to see a marimba band presented itself to us in Portland, Maine.  Inspired, and largely in the style of Zimbabwean marimba music, these guys were nothing short of awesome to watch play.  Playing a range of bass to alto marimbas, MME filled the practice space with bold, full-bodied rhythms.  The group was incredibly fun to watch as they bounced up and down behind their marimbas and threw their entire upper body into playing the infectious beats.  It’s no surprise they can get an entire restaurant up on their feet and dancing around, we found it hard not to start our own tribal dances right then and there in the studio space!  So if you’re ever in Portland, craving a legitimately Mexican fish taco (trust us on that one), and looking for some fun, light-hearted music, head over to El Rayo, where MME often plays to a dancing and energetic crowd—you won’t be disappointed. Learn more about Maine Marimba Ensemble here!

Listen to their music here!

Maine Marimba Ensemble in Portland, Maine

Vudu Sister: Providence, RI

The artists that collectively make Vudu Sister were a hard act to miss—their orchestra, including a violinist, a cellist, a banjo player, and lead singer and guitarist, Keith McCurdy, took up the majority of the stage.  Yet it was their unique and full sound of bluesy rock n’ roll, rather than their ominous stage presence, that got the Locavaux crew’s attention.  Vudu Sister, playing an unplugged version of their latest album, Household Items, filled the small performance room with full-bodied string sections and poignant harmonies; while their songs’ subjects are on the darker side, discussing death and timeliness on earth, the Locavaux crew couldn’t help but tap their feet to the haunting beat.  If you’re ever in the Providence area, make sure to take the time to see these guys live—we promise they’re unique blend of Nirvana rock and Neil Young jam are totally worth it! Find out more about Vudu Sister here!

Listen to their music here!

Vudu Sister Performing at As220 in Providence, RI

Haunt the House: Providence, RI

Will Houlihan might be humble and soft-spoken in person, but on-stage as Providence’s own Haunt the House, Will steals the spotlight with his striking vocals and inspired guitar.  His thoughtful lyrics, as well as a few haunting harmonic riffs, provide for some incredibly laid-back and calming listening.  Is it too much to call him a modern day 1960s Bob Dylan?  We think not.  Will has provided the majority of the bus-driving soundtrack for the Locavaux crew—we suggest you get your hands on Haunt the House’s latest EP, Rural Introspection Study Guide, and see just what you’ve been missing out on this whole time. Find out more about Haunt the House here!

Listen to his music here!


Will Houllehan of Haunt The House performing at AS220 in Providence, RI

Hot Sauce Sandwich: Ocean City, MD

We won’t lie:  upon researching Hot Sauce Sandwich, comprised of the four young twenty-somethings Aj Fox, Zach Engh, Jesse Harman and Cory Chavis, via their Facebook page, we weren’t quite sure what to expect.  Their descriptions left us scratching our heads, wanting to know more (or really anything at all):  “Hot Sauce Sandwich is its own genre of music with it’s unique style based off influences from many different types of music.  Each member as their own individual favorite type of music and bringing all of them together crates a style that you can’t really put a name to.”  Despite the hilariously vague description of their music, this group of four, nineteen-year-old Ocean City, MD natives blew our minds with their unique and talented take on reggae and classic rock.  Take note:  their cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” was out of this world!  If you’re seeking guitar jams and funk-inspired sound, look no farther than Hot Sauce Sandwich.  They’ll have you dancing at one of the many Ocean City nighttime hotspots in no time. Find out more about Hot Sauce Sandwich here!

Listen to their music here!

Hot Sauce Sandwich performing at Kirby's in Ocean City