Our Tastemakers video series presents a closer look at -- and an exclusive performance from -- the cool artists hitting the Billboard Tastemakers chart, which brings you the top-selling albums each week based on an influential panel of indie stores and small regional chains.
Load-in featured the usual suspects: guitar, bass, and not one, but two drum kits. Throw in a little tambourine, melodica, xylophone, ukulele and flute and you've got the sound of five Lafayette, La. kids who are all on the same musical page.
Meet GIVERS -- Tiffany Lamson (vocals, percussion, ukulele), Taylor Guarisco (vocals, guitar), Kirby Campbell (drums, programming, vocals), Nick Stephan (keyboardist) and Josh LeBlanc (bass, guitar) - a zydeco-pop quintet with absurdly infectious songs that are as instinctive as they sound. Blooming melodies delivered by boy-girl vocal duo of Lamson and Guarisco and multi-layered instrumentation all around make up this organic whole.
Guarisco explains the unusually swap-happy set-up: "This is the first band I've ever played guitar and sang in; this is the first band that Josh has ever played bass in; this is the first band that Nick has ever keyboards in; this is the first band that Tiff has ever been in the front singing in."
"Or playing ukulele. Never saw that one coming," adds Lamson.
Back in 2009, GIVERS caught the eye of Glassnote Records, the indie hit factory that's home to French electropop powerhouse Phoenix and Grammy-nominated Brit-folk band Mumford and Sons, both no strangers to the Billboard 200. Soon after, the quintet found themselves recording their debut full-length, "In Light," released back in June.
Video: GIVERS, "Meantime" Live at Billboard Tastemakers
"Up Up Up," the LP's lead track, is reminiscent of their days spent in Lafayette, where the celebratory vibe of their music is firmly rooted in their hometown and its annual bash Festival International that they each grew up attending.
"It's a lot of international music, francophone, French-speaking countries. A lot of West African influence comes through Lafayette, and we get to tap into those rhythms and even play with some of those people."
The recent revival of fun-loving, folky jams compliments of Sub Pop's The Head and Heart and Los Angeles' own Grouplove (to name just two), is where GIVERS wants to be in the ever-changing musical landscape.
"I think we have that outlook on life. There's enough dark stuff going on," says Lamson. "It's fun for us to play together and that's sort of the driving force. If it isn't fun, then why are you doing it?"
Guarisco adds, "It's something we're still digesting, still processing -- with really big smiles."
GIVERS kicks off a US tour with Portugal. the Man today (October 13) and will hit the CMJ circuit next week while in NYC.