J.Rod’s Music World

Justin Rodstrom

As temperatures continue to fall, some new tunes can transport us out of the winter chill and into the warm sounds of springtime.

These little-known artists are a refreshing break from today’s mainstream music and the college student’s repetitive daily routine.

Matt Duke’s “Winter Child”

With his debut album titled “Winter Child,” Matt Duke has created a quiet, yet resonant, blend of acoustic soul with intimate, heartfelt songwriting. Moody and reflective, Duke steals a page from the John Mayer songbook; he is a Jack Johnson with a more intelligent sound and spirit.

His songwriting prowess is rewarded and complimented by contributions from some truly legendary musicians, including David Mansfield and Marshall Crenshaw.

Tracks: “One Small Bird,” “Taxidermy & The Skiffle Explosion”

Anais Mitchell’s “The Brightness”

Her music centers you. You have to stop whatever you are doing and just listen.

Mitchell’s music gives you a lingering, mystical perspective on life. The album cover describes the listless wonderment attached to the melodies and moods infused in the balladry that hangs like stars in the night.

Her voice moves lightly over thoughtful piano pieces and serene backing vocals. This is an inspiring, moving piece of work from a woman with a unique take on songwriting.

Tracks: “Namesake,” “Shenandoah,” “Song of the Magi”

K-OS’s “Atlantis: Hymns for Disco”

If you’re looking for groundbreaking, challenging hip hop with real soul, look no further than K-OS. With an unbelievably slick, experimental jazz meets hip hop sound, K-OS has taken his home country of Canada by storm.

Heavy hitter K-OS has the triple crown for highest sales debut in the Canadian urban genre, highest attendance to a Canadian hip hop concert ever, as well as the No. 1 most downloaded “Single of the Week” on iTunes Canada.

Musically, the focus of “Atlantis” is a mix between the rock/rap feel of Gym Class Heroes and the funk soul of Gnarls Barkley, with uplifting and intelligent lyrics. Every track offers something fresh and funky, leaving no reason to hit fast forward.

Tracks: “The Rain,” “Equalizer,” “Valhalla”

The Hoots and Hellmouth

Harnessing Southern-roots music and filtering it through Rolling Stones rock ‘n’ roll, The Hoots and Hellmouth can turn from spellbinding hellhounds of the Charlie Daniels Band to gentle souls seemingly in an instant.

The duo of Sean Hoots and Andrew “Hellmouth” Gray has created a sound all its own and has settled into a wonderful stream of creativity. Every moment is carefully crafted and worked into a soulful quilt of sounds, evoking just about every emotion in a matter of seven tracks.

Tracks: “New Shoes,” “It’s Close, I’m Come Undone,” “The Weight of You In Your Resting State”

Jonny Lives!’s “Get Steady” EP

Hailing from the art-soaked streets of the East Village in Manhattan, Jonny Lives! delivers catchy rock melodies, solid instrumentals and a blend of indie and hard-rock styles. The New York-based power trio consists of Christian Langdon on guitar and vocals, Tommy USA on bass guitar and Jon Weber on drums.

The trio has just finished touring in support of their new album “Get Steady”; the tour doubled as a promotion for “Van Wilder 2.” The three lent their talents to the soundtrack for the movie, along with tourmates Kal Penn and Art Alexakis of Everclear.

Though short and sweet, “Get Steady” EP gives just enough of a taste for listeners to go out and pick up the full-length “Get Steady,” due out March 6.

Tracks: “Get Steady,” “Lost My Mind”