The XX have accomplished something few other groups have: critical raves, a sellout worldwide tour, and unexpectedly stellar album sales. The best part? They're all 20 years old.
A superstar in the Canadian music world, Sam Roberts' songwriting has garnered him multiple Juno Awards and plenty of critical acclaim in both the U.S. and Canada.
Illinois-born Lissie offers some of the best Americana music to come out of the Midwest in recent decades. Now living in California, the musician -- Lissie Maurus by birth -- examines life in small-town America and growing up in a rural area.
Owatonna, Minn. isn't nationally recognized for a lot of things, but it can be proud of its most famous native son - Sean Tillman, a.k.a. Har Mar Superstar. After stints in the noise band Calvin Krime and his own Sean Na Na project, Har Mar's exploration of R&B and raw sexuality has found him international fame.
Kyp Malone is a famously prolific musician, and for good reason. In addition to his side project, Iran, and his main band, TV on the Radio, the singer-guitarist has been making solo music since 2000. His current incarnation, Rain Machine, released its self-titled debut this summer on Anti-Records.
Beginning his career in music in the early '80s in a punk band, Moby eventually moved into electronic music in the early '90s and achieved wide-spread success in 1999 with the release of "Play," an album that eventually sold over ten million albums and won many awards.
The Arctic Monkeys won the Mercury Prize in 2006 for their album, "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" and have continued to rise in popularity ever since.
Johannesburg, South Africa's BLK JKS (pronounced Black Jacks) began five years ago as a group of friends jamming. Influenced by jazz and rock, they also pull from Zulu, Xhosa, and other traditional South African cultures.
Brandi Carlile made her stage debut at the age of performing Rosanne Cash's "Tennessee Flat-Top Box" at the Northwest's version of the Grand Ole Opry.
It was very special for me to get the chance to do this feature with Mason. He tells the story of how I was the first DJ that he heard play his song!
Never have three songwriters who sing come together for such a project in such a diplomatic way, even to the point of taking it on tour.
Zee Avi's music career began after she posted a video of her first song on YouTube for a friend, who had missed her first performance in Kuala Lumpur. After recognizing her online popularity, Brushfire Records signed Zee in 2008.
From Bowling Green, Kentucky and by way of the rough neighborhood of Leyton, England, Cage The Elephant have emerged onto the musical horizon with their grunge-tinged Southern punk.
A bluesy diva teams up with raucous, garage rock ruffians to form The Noisettes.
Listen to the stories that Francis tells and see if you can guess as the playlist unfolds, what is the theme that links it all together?