Elizabeth Powell (Land of Talk) - Liz Powell may have the most beautiful female voice in the music industry. Her music in Land of Talk has ranged from grunge in their first album to a steady lean into indie rock as of late with this year's Cloak and Cipher (which easily made my list of top ten albums of the year). I cannot recommend all of this band's music highly enough. On a side note, their current drummer Andrew Barr makes up 1/3 of the greatest jam band of all time, The Slip.
Sample Track: "It's Okay"
Jentri Colello - This Madison, WI girl has a band that's gone through a lot of name changes. She started with a backing band for herself, which became a full-fledged band under the guise of Flatbear when Colello realized her backing group was offering a fair portion of her overall sound. They're now known as Flight for some reason. I caught them at Milwaukee's Summerfest on a whim when they were still called Flatbear and was completely blown away. I have to admit, she is my favorite female singer, and because of that I'm not afraid to admit I have a huge crush on her as well. It's not creepy, though. I swear.
Sample Track: "Rattled"
Sharon Van Etten - I saw her open for the band Junip this past year and fell in love with her music (and her awkward stage banter). I scooped up her album right away, not realizing it would become one of the hottest albums of 2010.
Sample Track: "Don't Do It"
Maria Q (Archive) - She'll make you feel like no other.
Sample Track: "You Make Me Feel"
Feist - She was bound to appear in this thread anyway.
Sample Track: "Gatekeeper"
Imogen Heap (Frou Frou) - Her too.
Sample Track: "Psychobabble"
Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) - You may have actually heard Shara Worden's voice on The Decemberists' Hazards of Love album. It's pretty recognizable.
Sample Track: "Feeling Good"
Liz Harris (Grouper) - A friend of mine posted about her on a shared blog, and I think she described her album Dragging a Dead Deer Up A Hill best, so I'll let her do the talking: "Grouper is the ambient/noise project of Portland native Liz Harris. And this is my favorite record in general. I couldn't be happier to be showing it to you right now in the thick of my favorite season. It's a good winter album too. I showed it to one of my old boyfriends from high school the other day and he said it was cheesy. IT IS NOT CHEESY. It's really layered and deep, and it might not hit you the first listen. But lemme tell you, one of these days you're going to be trudging through Midwest snow and wish you were listening to Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping (track 2) on repeat. It's also perfect sleepy or study music. It's just pretty, meditative, drone-y, dreamy, reverb-drenched sweet singing layered over minimalist strummed guitar and Wurlitzer keyboard. Try it out."
Sample Track: "Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping"
Marnie Stern - The amazing drummer Zach Hill actually tours with her, but I really shouldn't let him take the spotlight. Damn, can this girl sing.
Sample Track: "For Ash"
Feathe - A lot of people screw up the pronunciation; it rhymes with "breathe." Anyway, you remember that Grouper description from my friend not two bands ago? This is her folk band. They're actually pretty good.
Sample Track: "Messy Rooms"
Adelyn Rose - Here's a side project of one of the other members of Feathe. I actually included her debut release with my top releases of 2010, but I sincerely meant to.
Sample Track: "Willow Tree"
Amanda Tvedt (All Envy Aside) - Here's another local band from the Midwest. They actually won MTVU's Best Band on Campus one year, and it was rightfully deserved. Unfortunately, they broke up shortly after (mainly due to the singer from what I've heard) before they could get anywhere, but that doesn't change the fact that Tvedt's voice is still one I enjoy listening to to this day.
Sample Track: "Burning Again"
Sara Brauer (World Minus One) - Half of All Envy Aside decided to get back together with a new female vocalist (as well as some other members) to form a new group that has the same general sound, but I really dig Brauer's voice in its own unique way. It's different and unique enough from Amanda Tvedt's voice to warrant its own post on here. Plus, if you like what you hear, they actually released this sample track on the Rock Band Network, so spend the money to support the band while beating and clicking along to their track on plastic instruments!
Sample Track: "Still Alive"
Alice Cooper - Nah, I'm just messin' with ya.
Sample Track: "No More Mr. Nice Guy"
I'll probably edit in more as I think of them, but this is what I've got so far. Many of these are local bands from the Midwest area, but what can I say? The Midwest kicks the rest of America's ass when it comes to music. So, Screenies, what do you have to offer?