5 Artists You Should Know: Local edition

1) The Singer and The Songwriter

Blending jazz, folk and pop, Rachel Garcia and Thu Tran form the profound duo The Singer and The Songwriter. Their folk influences often shine through in deep cuts like “Summer Song,” with whimsical guitar riffs and playful lyrics. Maintaining individuality, Garcia’s smooth voice and Tran’s sinuous guitar patterns bring a jazzy undertone to their sound in songs like “Art Of Missing You” and “Unlove You.” Their debut album, “What A Difference A Melody Makes,” perfectly captures their ability to merge two contrasting genres, folk and jazz, and create something so melancholic, yet whimsical. While their debut album shows a softer side of their sound, their EP, “Directions,” gives  more of a fast-paced folk-pop blend. Garcia’s ability to hold high notes and Tran’s intricate riffs create an overall sound that makes them an unforgettable duo.

Listen for yourself: Their opening track to their debut album “The Art Of Missing You” highlights Garcia’s smooth voice and Tran’s ability to make a simple guitar pattern sound jazzy.


2) Ariel Wang Music

Ariel Wang Music, a band from the East Bay, creates music that is reminiscent of the Fleet Foxes. With playful instrumentals including the cello, guitar, pianos, violins and airy vocals from frontwoman Ariel Wang, this collective creates sinuous and memorable tracks. Their EP, “Cat Faze,” provides rambling lyrics and winding instrumentals. The opening track, “Moontide,” reflects the sound that this collective is aiming for — a dreamy yet folksy sound. The rest of EP follows this similar sound with fun cuts like “Time Tigers And Rabbits” and “C Shanty.”

Listen for yourself: “Moontide” is an intricate song with whimsical lyrics and winding guitars.


3) Benny

Benny, a rapper from Vallejo, began his promising career with the drop of his debut album “Dangerous” in 2018. “Dangerous” is a bold and empowering record, with his lyrics ranging from homelessness to love and heartbreak. Benny portrays his struggles with homelessness through riveting lyrics such as “The music’s all I got, and that’s why I fight for this,” also revealing how music helped him overcome that struggle. . With deep cuts like “Fold” and “Bodies,” Benny shows his true talent as a lyricist; by using astounding, gritty metaphors to convey his overall theme of “rags to riches.”

Listen for yourself: “What Time It Is” is Benny’s breakthrough single that really shows vulnerable lyrics through a quick and catchy beat.


4) Trail And Ways

This Oakland-based band brings a new lush sound to the Bay. Using dreamy guitars, synthesizers and smooth vocals, the band delievers tunes with catchy yet intricate lyrics. While sticking to a typical indie sound in their debut album ,“Pathology,” with electronica-infused synth beats, this collective found themselves branching out with their sophomore album, “Own It,” by blending in 80s synth-pop tunes with experimental sound. From deep cuts like “How Do I Turn” to the opening track “Get Loud,” “Own It” finds itself mixing sounds while still making it flow artistically.

Listen for yourself: “Mtn Tune” offers a look into what this band is aiming for, and indie-rock sound with over the top lyrics and lushful guitars.


5) mxmtoon

Maia, an Oakland-based 18-year-old, tackles love, loss and every other problem a teenager faces, with just her ukulele and her smooth flowing vocals. Her entire discography plays out like  a coming-of-age story with innocent and intricate lyrics. Her debut EP “plum blossom” creates a vibrant yet melancholic sound with deep cuts like “porcelain” and “i feel like chet.” Garnering attention with her melodious songs, Maia amassed a large following of teens across the country.

Listen for yourself: “cliché” encompasses the “relatable-teen” sound with playful ukulele riffs and eccentric lyrics about falling in love.