Sounds Like: Ray Lamontagne with access to running water, Robin Thicke after marriage counseling, Daryl Hall in Warby Parkers
For Fans Of: Allen Stone, Mayer Hawthorne, Willy Moon
Why You Should Pay Attention: Is there room in the retro-pop renaissance for a 38-year-old reformed rocker from Norway? That's what Jarle Bernhoft aims to find out with Islander, an album of stylish, slightly off-kilter soul that crackles in all the right ways (yet, tellingly, is also available as "the first true HD music app"). He's already done Glastonbury – and Ellen – and scored a YouTube hit with "C'mon Talk." Now, he's looking for more: "I'm setting my home country up as an island that accelerates away from the mainland," he says, "I'm trying to find myself in the world."
They Say: "My thing live is trying to be shamelessly entertaining for an hour or so, luring my audience into holding hands and singing together, whereby we can create an oasis in the desert of worry," Bernhoft says. "Being from Norway, I've found that my clout in making such maneuvers abroad is a bit thin, so I've written an album about that."
Hear It For Yourself: Islander's opening track, "Come Around," is a perfect primer, showcasing Bernhoft's lithe vocals (and up-with-everybody ethos) atop a liquid, "Love Train" groove. by James Montgomery