• Weaverville-based The Billy Sea is really a local world music super group, with Billy Cardine on slide guitar, River Guerguerian on percussion and Jake Wolf on bass. The three musicians banned together last year in a musical project conceived of by Cardine but which is ultimately a collaborative effort.
• First, Washington, D.C.-based Mambo Sauce plays a hometown BBQ battle, then the band heads south for its Bele Chere date. According to their website, “Mambo Sauce delivers a high-energy, fresh fusion of old-Soul (think Marvin Gaye), new school Hip-Hop, cross-bred with Rock and the deep and thick percussions of Go-Go, the indigenous sound of DC.”
• “The sound is crafted out of a deep love for classic Americana and country music fused with rock and roll,” says the website for Asheville-based Clouds of Greer. The sound has a delicious Mazzy Star/Sparklehorse melancholy; the musicians are culled from much-loved local bands The Whappers, Broomstars and Hello Hugo.
• Brooklyn-based Mamarazzi was formed a group of Wesleyan alum. Whatever that means it should sound like, it probably doesn’t. Mamarazzi describes itself as “like a ripe grapefruit, is that just-right combination of unlikely elements: tart funk, acidic groove, and nectar of ancient lullaby.”
• Asheville’s Kovacs & the Polar Bear recently won an award for its “Skeleton Crew” video (below). And while the band possesses a charming shyness, they’re festival favorites. Catchy indie-folk songs with clever lyrics and melodies that seem familiar from first listen are all signs of a band on its way to bigger and better things.