Vienna Teng

"So come out. You have been waiting long enough."

This clarion call opens Aims, Vienna Teng's fifth studio album. It's as much a reminder for Vienna herself as an invitation to her listeners – a call to awaken the full potential within all of us.

The singer-songwriter lives by her own words. A Computer Science major at Stanford, she worked briefly at Cisco Systems in Silicon Valley before signing a record deal. She spent the next seven years as a full-time musician, releasing four acclaimed albums and touring both stateside and abroad. Her song craft, has gathered accolades from the likes of NPR, David Letterman and Entertainment Weekly. But in 2010, she shifted gears yet again, this time in pursuit of decidedly non-musical interests: a graduate program in sustainability at the University of Michigan. "I like to joke that I have long-term ADD," she says of her unorthodox career moves. "But going back to school made total sense to me. It was time."

Now graduated with, an MBA and an MS in Environmental Science, she brings new intention and ambition to her song craft—as well as a newfound lightness. "I want to write songs that feel aware of the wider world," she explains, "songs that speak to you on a personal level and on a grander scale at the same time. The issues we grapple with as a society are just variations on what happens inside a family, or between lovers. I want to shine a light on that connection." Not an easy task, but Vienna found it a joyful endeavor. "I got to fall in love with music again," she says. "Being a musician no longer defines my whole identity; I'm doing other work now, too. So I'm not pinning so many expectations on these little songs. I don't need them to be 'successful' in ways that are beyond my control. I can just have fun."

Indeed, the new album finds Vienna in full adventurous mode. Recorded in Nashville with producer Cason Cooley (Katie Herzig, Matthew Perryman Jones), Aims is exuberant and buoyant in its enthusiasm, yet crafted with the same creative precision that has defined her previous work. The acoustic piano, once the centerpiece of her recordings, plays an occasional supportive role here; in its place are intricate layers of electronica, percussion, strings, and electric guitars. "Cason and I built a playlist of reference songs when we started working," Vienna remembers. "We put Beck and Florence & the Machine and Kanye West on there. James Blake, Foster the People, Vampire Weekend. We started by stealing from the music we were obsessed with."

The result is glorious, intelligent pop music with a signature all its own. Against a backdrop of stomping percussion and a gospel-inspired refrain, "In the 99" rejects the black-and-white, us-versus-them conflict view of the Occupy movement, instead exploring inequality through the eyes of a compassionate investment banker. In the gorgeous and disturbing "Hymn of Acxiom," Vienna sings from the perspective of Big Data, densely layering and manipulating her vocals into an electronically-textured choir to spin an eerily relevant cautionary tale. There are tender moments as well, as in the folk-tinged album closer "Goodnight New York," a love letter to a previous home, relationship, and perhaps vocation. "I'll say goodnight but it's never goodbye," she promises. If Aims is any indication, there's even finer music to come from this artist in the years ahead.

Barnaby Bright

Brooklyn-based indie folk rock duo Barnaby Bright, have garnered high accolades for their lyrically captivating and impeccably balanced songwriting and sound. The ying to each other's yang, Becky's angelic voice enchants audiences, while Nathan's brilliant mastery of multiple instruments and writing styles guides the songs down their path. Finalists in the prestigious New York Song Circle Contest for two years in a row, Barnaby Bright was awarded the Grand Prize, winners in November 2010 for their song, "Don't Look Down."

Between Nathan's bachelor degree in saxophone performance and jazz composition from Berklee College of Music as well as a Masters of Recording from The Conservatory of the Recording Arts & Sciences in Tempe, Arizona and Becky's degree in vocal performance, it's no surprise the married duo wrote and self-produced their first album, "Wake The Hero," garnering accolades such as being highlighted as an "Emerging Artist" at the legendary Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in July 2010. Their music has been featured on ER, Days of Our Lives, and Roadtrip Nation, and the catchy, melodic "If I Came Back As a Song" placed third in 2007's International Song-Writing Competition, whose panel of judges including Tom Waits.

A positive, gracious attitude lures audiences from all over the world into a Barnaby Bright performance, captivated not only by the gorgeous melodies they produce but also by the simplistic spirit of two musicians who truly love their art as much as they love each other. They have toured all over the US in addition to completing two successful month-long European tours, dazzling fans with unique instrumentation, powerful harmonies, intelligent lyrics, and genuine warmth on stage. Inspired by literature, life, human behavior, and a hint of fantasy, Barnaby Bright is a classic vision of timeless indie folk rock in all its glory.

Their first Mishara Music recording will release in May 2011 – a six cut EP, including both award winning songs from "Wake The Hero" and two new songs - "Reverend's Son and the first radio track "Gravity".

$25; $55 VIP meet and greet

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