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What I’ve Been Digging This December: Soundfly Alumni Edition!

Flocks and the Lookout

Happy Holidays from the Soundfly Touring on a Shoestring crew!

Earlier this year, we launched one of our most ambitious flagship courses, with the hopes that we’d be able to help aspiring and emerging artists everywhere take their music on the road. Since then, we’ve been so incredibly inspired by all the artists and bands who signed up to learn more about booking and promoting DIY tours, that we decided that it was time to give a warm, holiday shoutout to our top 11 Touring on a Shoestring alumni bands!

Keep these folks on your radar as they will surely be the next amazing act to come through your town on tour! And keep sharing your awesome music with us! We love listening to it.

Catch up on everything else we’ve dug in the “What I’ve Been Digging Lately” series!

BYSTS — “Taste”

BYSTS are a Salt Lake City-based electronic rock duo and one of my favorite new discoveries of the year! High energy drums and emotive melodies come together here to produce some very memorable hooks. I’m an immediate fan!

Rock Steady Foot Clan — “Wake Up Yet”

This prolific hip-hop group from Toronto featuring two young MCs, who (I think) do their own production, create some really smooth beats over some high-powered samples. Now that I live just a few hours away from Toronto, I’m hoping the Rock Steady Foot Clan will make some moves eastward next year!

Flocks and the Lookout — “Hills and Valleys”

(from Hills and Valleys)

Flocks and the Lookout are an indie-rock quartet from Chicago, based around the husband-and-wife duo of Austin and Hannah Massey. If you sign up for their mailing list you automatically get delivered a free tune, and believe me, it’s well worth it. This is rainy-day-train-journey music, reminiscent of the best parts of bands like Bon Iver and Camera Obscura. These guys are on the road in March/April. Catch them when they come through your town!

+ Learn more: Come hang out with these great musicians and many more in our FREE DIY touring course!

Valarie Mulberry — “Higher”

(from The Simple Things)

Valarie Mulberry has dubbed her own music “sunshine rhythm and blues,” blending folk, pop, and the blues with a sincere, uplifting perspective. On “Higher”, that’s exactly what we get. While she seems to have a nice grasp on coastal California, we’re all waiting for her wheels to roll eastward.

Joyful Door — “Man in Monochrome”

(from Man in Monochrome)

Zac Gauthier is a versatile drummer hailing originally from Northern Ontario, and aside from all of his music being technically and aesthetically wonderful, he caught my eye as he’s also a seasoned music teacher! Zac shares all the same passions we do (namely, touring, teaching, and the great outdoors!). Here’s a Radiohead-esque track from just one of his many musical projects, Joyful Door, but check out his website to see all the others. You will not be disappointed!

Sushi Twin — “Home”

(from Home)

Sushi Twin are a brotherly trio from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Since they hail from so close to the sea, I can’t help but wonder if that’s what people called the Mulkey Brothers growing up… the sushi twins. This 5-song EP is somehow able to cram in a nice variety of acoustic, electric, punk, emo, and straight-up indie rock and you can buy the CD for $1. Amazing. Take that, commerce!

Melikebees — “Naked Trees”

(from The Ides)

Missouri-based Melikebees has 28,000 plays on the above tune. They might just be the most famous band in the Touring on a Shoestring lot, so I hope they get their national tour on ASAP. Singer Luke Sheafer has a Modest Mouse-thing happening with his voice which sounds great over the band’s Clap Your Hands Say Yeah signature vibe.

Adam & I — “Best Thing”

(from Meanwhile in Virginia)

Adam & I are a folk/Americana duo from Nashville. They love to tour, and they love to play in people’s houses and apartments. I’ve done a few of these intimate concerts myself, and I completely understand the special atmosphere it creates around your music. I’m sure, for Adam and Andrea Melia, that direct personal connection they make while locking eyes with their audiences is part of it! “Best Thing” is culled from their recent release, Meanwhile in Virginia, a great exploration into the roots of American musical forms.

The Heydays of Silence — “Liars / Thieves”

(from Fast Asleep in Vast & Deep Oceans)

The Heydays of Silence has perhaps one of the most misleading band names imaginable. This hardcore trio from Maryland leaves barely any room for silence or contemplation in their double kick-laden, screamo rock. Some super tight, intricate motifs in here make this track an interesting listen. It breaks down and disintegrates around 2 minutes only to pick back up with the urgency and intensity of a power-pop radio hit and then eases out with a nod to sound design.

Katie Lott — “Ballerinas”

(from Katie Lott – EP)

Birmingham-based Katie Lott, to me, is like the lovechild of Sara Bareilles and Tori Amos. Katie has been very enterprising in finding performance opportunities at spaces around the South that allow her to showcase her talents well, but she’s looking to expand her artistic reach next year with a longer tour path. Help her out if you have booking ideas in your city!

+ Read more: “The 5 People You Need to Know When Booking Shows”

Tobias Sebastien — “Hitoto Yo”

London-based Tobias Sebastien is an incredibly talented guitarist with an arsenal of instrumental covers that live amongst original songs in his repertoire. He plays pub gigs and busks around Trafalgar Square where he seems to meet an astounding number of new international fans! Taking your music to the streets and developing a fanbase digitally is hard, but he’s somehow managed to crack that code pretty nicely for himself!

Do you have a recent release we should hear? Share it in the comments below, and then sign up for our free course on how to book a tour, and check out the full “What I’ve Been Digging Lately” series!

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Jeremy Young

Jeremy is a music business guru and loves giving advice to young, emerging bands on how to make their tours more effective. He also plays guitar, publishes audiobooks, runs a record label, and is an artist working in sound media. He has performed and released material throughout Europe, Asia, the US, UK and Canada, mostly with his trio Sontag Shogun.

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