By Amanda DK

It seems like Seattle sextet, The Head and The Heart have been everywhere in 2011.  In fact, I have it on good authority that by the end of the year they will have played over 250 shows.  Pretty mind boggling.  After self-releasing their debut album in June 2010, it eventually caught the attention of indie label Sub Pop who signed the band and then re-mastered and re-released it in January with a couple new tracks.  Since then they have been all over the world charming audiences with their warm, rowdy alt-country energy, compelling songwriting and rich harmonies.  NPR named them as one of “Five Artists You Should Have Known In 2010,” and they made it onto several “Best of 2010” year end lists, including I Am Fuel, You Are Friends and, well, Tadpole Audio, to name a couple.  I’ve reviewed their live show twice, once for SXSW 2011 and most recently for the 2011 Treasure Island Music Festival.  In the wake of their success, several other 5+ member groups that all excel in resonant, melodic folk have emerged equally deserving of attention.

There’s No Place Like Home?

Typhoon “CPR – Claws Part 2”

Jared Mees & The Grown Children “W.W.J.B.D.”

The Head and The Heart “Rivers and Roads”

Hey Marseilles “Rio”

Telegraph Canyon “Safe On The Outside”

Typhoon

A collective of somewhere between 10 – 14 players at any given time, Typhoon is one of the most exciting Oregon bands around.  On their most recent EP, A New Kind of House, Typhoon proves that they a master (and magical) musical storytellers, blending catchy choruses with complex, orchestral instrumentation.  They havebeen heard in television shows like Being Human and Chuck, and it is only a matter of time before frontman Kyle Morton is asked to translate his talent to the screen.

Jared Mees & The Grown Children

Another Oregon band that will put a smile on your face, Jared Mees and The Grown Children live up to their name, dishing out a healthy dose of earnest folk pop on their debut album Only Good Thoughts Can Stay (released this past May on Tender Loving Empire).  They skillfully blend trumpets, piano, and acoustic guitar with lithe percussion and friendly vocals for a rollicking ride you’ll want to go on again and again.

Hey Marseilles

Hailing from the same hometown as The Head and The Heart and one member larger, Seattle band Hey Marseilles is seriously due for a new album.  Their first effort To Travels & Trunks garnered generous buzz when it came out in 2008.  Lush melodies with heavy emphasis on strings and accordion will make your heart swell; dynamic, whimsical and poignant at the same time.  Fortunately their new 7”, Elegy, is about to drop on November 15th with two new songs, so add that to your “must buy” list.

Telegraph Canyon

The only collective on the list not from the Pacific Northwest, Dallas band Telegraph Canyon is certainly the most earthy of the bunch.  Grounded by the expressively rustic voice of frontman, Chris Johnson, the septet’s 2009 album The Tide and The Current feels wizened, while still brimming with heart.  A polished yet soulful version of Americana, always with a foundation in banjo or accordion, but stripped down and laced with accordions and other unusual instrumentation – always remaining connected to it’s Southern roots.