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Jerad Walker

Harrison Smith is at the forefront of a new generation of young rock musicians who've never known anything other than limitless possibilities. Smith's project, Turtlenecked, has been steadily fulfilling that potential since 2015. Although he often performs as a drummer, Smith plays every instrument in the band and largely produces and writes his own material, which has grown leaps and bounds in just a few years.

In person, folk musician Haley Heynderickx is shy and soft-spoken. She gets what she calls "sweaty impostor syndrome" when asked to talk about her music. But in performance, the Portland-based artist has the confidence to lay herself bare. Two years ago, she released a promising four-song collection called Fish Eyes that was so unguarded, it was almost uncomfortable to listen to.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

Matt Dorrien audibly shifts in his chair, his feet pushing onto the pedals of a piano, as the opening chords of "Baby I'm So Lost" ring out. It's a simplistic, purposefully plodding introduction that's unusual in its total disregard of modern pop convention. But like most interesting things, patience is rewarded here. A beautifully broken love song slowly unfurls, complete with sad sack vocals and dueling clarinets that could close any dive-y lounge down.

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