Rania Woodard — LAANDS
The power of sound can intangibly liberate emotion, celebrate diversity and foster communal growth. One artist who champions this sentiment is LAANDS. This band is quickly making a name for themselves in Duval with alluring vocal melodies, indie-pop inspired instrumentals and samples that will break your heart.
“Jacksonville is on the rise, if not already,” Rania said. “There are tons of amazing, talented individuals quietly making noise on the scene right now. The noise is getting louder, and I’m super stoked to be a part of a great city. Much love to the entire Murray Hill community and everyone who’s been involved.”
Luke Barber — Yashira
Yashira sows sorrowful seeds in Duval through pissed-off guitar riffs, sporadic song structure and lyrics likened to text from the Necronomicon. This sound will certainly grow into something evil. Converse, yes the shoe company, chose them to record two songs in Brooklyn (NYC) in September, and they plan to release a full-length album next year.
“I’ve done a lot of pointless things in my life that feel like a huge waste of time. Music is not one of those things,” Luke said. “The sensation you get when you hear, play or even think about a song you love is a feeling that is remarkably specific and unmatched. It’s probably the most non-boring thing I can think of.”
John Shannon — Wise River
Dream pop is exactly what it sounds like it is. Beeps and boops, electronically altered vocals, piercing percussion and catchy melodies one would expect to hear while riding a cloud in a sea of pink and blue skies. No one knows about creating this unique experience better than Wise River.
“Originally I moved to jax because it was a city I was familiar with, my dad grew up here and we would visit from CT every summer. Now, I stay here because I’m amazed by how much this city has to offer and how much room it has to grow. A lot of people move from places like Jacksonville to go to a city that’s already 100 percent established, and that’s fine, but I want to stay here — in the city I’ve really grown to love, and a place that I think needs creative young people to stay. It’s a blank slate, you won’t find that in a lot of other cities, but the audience is here just waiting for people to create art for them.”
Russell Beard — Boysin
Boysin is cool. Their cohesively calculated guitar tones, deep-cutting lyrics and visual brand creates imagery that pushes the boundaries of music’s relationship with storytelling. Before Boysin’s live show, all conversation seemingly pauses as the audience anticipates a sonic scenario unlike ever before. It’s a calm before the storm, and Boysin is a tidal wave.
“I grew up in Jacksonville and met my bandmates here, so besides already being here, there’s not a huge reason why specifically [I’m in] Jacksonville. But I do love the city,” Russell said. “It’s super rich in culture and has so many cool things to offer. The scene here is so welcoming and so full of hyper-talented people. It’s hard not to be proud of the city and be proud of my peers’ accomplishments. We’re like a big happy family.”
Nicholas Izzard — N.W. Izzard
It’s hard to organize the sound of N.W. Izzard into a single genre. It’s blues rock with a pinch of funkadelic righteousness and pop sensibility, which may simply translate to Southern rock to some. But there’s just something curiously groovy about the music. The vocal flow is like a machine gun that shoots at its own pace, the guitar licks could set off Vietnam War flashbacks and the drums add a progressive flavor to the mix.
“Music is the ultimate form of creative self-expression, combining written word, composition of sounds, performance, visual arts and more. It is one of the few universal languages. Think of the millions of people around the world singing Beatles songs without knowing the meaning of the lyrics, the feeling is all the same. Real music is emotional, spiritual, rebellious and enlightening. It’s nostalgic — able to transport us back in time with a simple melody. The ultimate storyteller, it can start wars or inspire us to cease fire. Put simply, music is the fastest way to change the world.”
Brennan Hamill — Moyamoya
Moyamoya sounds like a complete puzzle with tiny, intricate pieces shaping their big sound. The word “moyamoya” is Japanese for “puff of smoke,” which visually represents miniature working parts to overcome blockage, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Well, this Jacksonville group is giving it a new angle on the definition through lyricless noise and song structure that will afflict the comfortable.
“All of us have played music for most of our lives,” Brennan said. “At this point, it would be weird not to play. It’s just who we are, and we’re no good at sports either.”
Jeff Flores — The Lifeforms
Rock and roll is alive and well on the First Coast thanks to The Lifeforms. Their spin on a nostalgic genre is pumped with youthful energy and a vintage sound that is impossible to stand still to. This local three-piece is preserving and pushing its surf rock sound to a venue near you. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes.
“Our goal in performing is to play music that’s good enough and fun enough for more than just our friends to stick around and listen to. [We live in Jacksonville] because this is our hometown, and we’re too big of Jaguars fans to move away and be poor musicians in some other city,” Jeff said.
Jack Ringca — Jackie Stranger
Americana music is a timeless ode to life in the U.S. through a mix of blues, rock and a whole lotta soul. Jackie Stranger pushes to tell the narrative of the human experience through subjects like love, quarrels, hope and letdown.