Featured Listens is a periodic column highlighting the latest in local music and other songs that are available for your listening pleasure. Whether it's the local and regional artists or just some of our favorite tunes from across the Web, this column represents the best of what's play for us this week:
1. Fresh Brewed Talent
Anyone who's been around the scene long surely knows Fresh Brewed Coffee House for it's laid-back atmosphere, it's popular open mic night and it's standing as one of the premier spots for singer-songwriter types in this town.
However, it appears in the new year the coffee shop is focusing even more on promoting it's offerings of live music, artist exhibitions and classes on everything from pottery to doing your taxes.
Along with this push is an outstanding upcoming lineup of local and touring musicians that are definitely worth trading in your lager for a latte in order to check out. Here are songs we like from a few of them:
See more on the venue on upcoming lineup at http://freshbrewedcoffeehouse.com/
2. Risa Lee "Fill Ya Shoes"
This upbeat R&B number is among the initial crop of releases from Risa Lee. The 23-year-old songstress originally hails from Milford, Connecticut, but graduated from North Myrtle Beach High School in 2006 and attended Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Fla., before settling back in at the beach.
This hard-working mom is currently working to follow her dreams as a musician, while also balancing family and raising a child, but still manages to pop up around the Grand Strand, performing alongside some of the area's top hip-hop acts at showcases, open mic and anywhere else they'll let her do her thing.
She's currently working on recording her first album "Dreaming Out Loud" which will feature "Fill Ya Shoes" another recently released track, a slow jam called "Don't Judge Me," and a host of other soulful songs.
3. Voices Green And Purple
The Voices Green & Purple is a unique idea started by A.J Herring of Florida-based group Velma & The Happy Campers. The project, a collection of EPS from various artists and bands, asks that musicians create an EP that follows these strict guidelines:
1. The EP must contain at least 3 songs/pieces
2. The total running time of the ep cannot exceed 3 minutes
It's what some might call an odd experiment, but based on the interesting variety of results it could also be considered as a challenge by musicians who are tasked with conveying a message of telling a story of some sort in a period of time more often allowed to a single song.
The project came to our attention as local producer/engineer/musician Brian McKenzie shared one of these EPs from his new project Feel No Other aptly titled "3-minute EP."
Check it out below or find the Voices Green and Purple on Bandcamp for more EPs or details on how to participate.
4. Area 51
Area 51 is a four-piece rock band from Myrtle Beach has been playing together for just under two years. The group started out performing at the first Myrtle Beach FAME Festival alongside well-known "Gospel of Rock 'N' Roll" spreader Sista Otis, and has also played Senor Frogs and Suck Bang Blow, opening for AC/DC tribute group Highway To Hell during bike week.
The group's current lineup of Nick Cheri (Guitar/Vocals), Liz Blackstone (Bass/Backing Vocals), Joe Milo (Drums) and Chris Slider (Keys/Effects) has been playing together for about three months.
"We have been building our web presence in preparation for our new live show featuring old Area 51 originals as well as new material," writes Blackstone. "The band has incorporated an all senses experience where we use video, lighting, sound effects and insence style aromas to create a 3-D musical experience."
The band's upcoming show at The Sound Hole on January 20 has been cancelled, but they have assured friends and fans that they are working hard on recording, writing and booking shows around the area in the near future.
Check out their new single "Fiend" below or keep up with the band via Facebook.
I'm not exactly sure what to say about this one, but it was strange enough that I had to share. Thanks Michael Wood for never ceasing to surprise. You rock man!