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INsiders Guide: American Authors, Anna Akana, Saint Slumber, Taylor Knox and Soaware

Each seasonal cycle informs, impacts, and inspires growth. American Authors translate those cycles of change into genre-blurring alternative anthems, bordering pop ambition and rock spirit undercut by a rhythmic hip-hop boom. Touting airtight songcraft and sonic adventurousness, the Brooklyn-based four-piece—Zac Barnett [vocals], James Adam Shelley [guitar, banjo], Dave Rublin [bass], and Matt Sanchez [drums]—push forward and progress yet again on their 2018 third full-length, the aptly titled Seasons [Island Records].

It distills a near-decade journey into a dynamic, distinct, and definitive offering for the quartet.

“The biggest thing is the change American Authors went through to get here,” Zac exclaims. “We had to go through all of these experiences and moments of experimentation to reach this body of work, which is the most genuine and pure thing we’ve ever done. It encompasses every season of our music: the ups, the downs, the highs, the lows, and everything in between. We let go of where we started, fell into the place of writing from the heart, and captured what came out naturally.”

Since their 2012 emergence, American Authors have set the stage for such evolution. By 2018, the guys impressively generated over 1 billion global streams on a string of alternately striking and soaring smashes. Their inescapable and instantly recognizable breakthrough “Best Day of My Life” earned a triple-platinum certification from the RIAA and vaulted to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in addition to receiving countless film, television, video game, and sports syncs. Their 2014 full-length debut, Oh, What A Life, achieved gold status, while the follow-up What We Live For, spawned another Top 20 hit, “Go Big or Go Home,” in 2016. Along the way, they sold out shows around the globe and ignited stages at festivals, including Lollapalooza, Firefly Music Festival, BottleRock Napa Valley, Reading Festival, and Leeds Festival, to name a few. As early as March 2017, the group commenced writing their next chapter.

Collaborating alongside producers Cason Cooley and Trent Dabbs, the band leveled up their signature sound.

“It was so inspiring,” the drummer continues. “We put our emotions and visions through this distillation process as the weather changed right before our eyes. As far as production goes, Carson and Trent have this way of pulling things out of us that make it all cohesive. Sonically, it’s our most ambitious work to date for sure.”

Dave adds, “Thematically, it felt like we were accepting life for what it is as well as taking responsibility for both the positive and the negative. That was a big common thread. You’re seeking reconciliation for times of being down and out and rediscovering old friends. The music is like our beacon to everybody announcing, ‘This is who we are. We’re not afraid to go into the world and talk about it’.”

That conversation started with initial tracks “Deep Water” and “I Wanna Go Out” paving the way for the record’s arrival. By the close of 2018, they shared yet another album anthem—the stomping gospel-infused “Say Amen” [feat. Billy Raffoul]. Culminating on a steeple-size refrain, its rustling guitars and gritty duet between Zac and Billy proves equally heavenly and hypnotic. Meanwhile, the upbeat and energetic first single “Neighborhood” delivers a sincere, yet bittersweet message via nostalgic lyrics such as “Goodbye, so long to my neighborhood…and I know that I’ll see you again, because I’ll always come back to my neighborhood.”

Elsewhere, “Stay Around” charges forward on a handclap-driven beat augmented by a groundswell of synths, echoing guitars, and unshakable falsetto on the hook, “I hope you stay around…when you see me at my worst.” “It’s about calling on friends and loved ones in your life to help you get out of tough times,” says Zac. “It’s really difficult for me to open up and let others in my life as far as my troubles and problems are concerned. You’ve got to be able to confide in those closest to you though. On the song, I’m opening up and admitting I’m not perfect, but showing I can be better.”

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The powerful piano chords of “Calm Me Down” uphold a confessional and catchy admission on the chorus. “You’re telling somebody that you need them,” adds Matt. “It’s not easy to do, but it’s important.”

In the end, Seasons shows American Authors at their purest and most powerful.

“I want people to see a different side of American Authors,” Zac leaves off. “I hope they realize there’s a message of hope, but it’s transmitted in a new and more exciting way for our band. Growing up, listening to my favorite artists helped me through so many hard times. It was the best therapy. I’ve seen fans take that away from our music in the past, and I hope they continue to do so. That’s the ultimate goal for us.”

(Photo Credit: Jared Heveron)

Emmy nominated actress, producer, filmmaker, writer and musician, Anna Akana, has released another new song “Alone Together” from her forthcoming album, expected later this year. “Alone Together” follows the release of the first official single, “Intervention,” released last month. Anna says, “This is my first pride since coming out. I’m so excited to experience it alongside putting out content that showcases a side of myself I’ve hid for so long.

On her debut album, Anna Akana takes an unapologetic and uncompromising look at all the battles she’s faced throughout her life, from depression to abuse to toxic relationships. But with the same unstoppable spirit and magnetic presence she’s shown in her self-driven career as an actress, producer, filmmaker, and writer—as well as a social media superstar whose YouTube channel boasts over 2.5 million subscribers—Akana turns all that pain into a message of strength and self-empowerment.

In support of her new music, Anna is embarking on her debut headline concert on July 24th in Los Angeles, CA at Moroccan Lounge.

(Photo Credit: Richard Allen Dehrone IV)

Alt-Pop band, Saint Slumber are thrilled to announce their new EP and the last chapter of their Trilogy, YOUTH//3, to be released on August 16th. To celebrate they have released the first single “MANTRA” that is out now. YOUTH//3 will continue to tell the trilogy’s story of the trials, tribulations, growth and celebrations of the youth coming into their own. The band says, “Choosing the first single for our new record was an important process for us. YOUTH//3 isn’t just a “new EP” for Saint Slumber, it’s the final installment in what we consider to be our debut record: the YOUTH// trilogy. It marks the completion of us finding our voice, finding our sound, and there was no better song to signify that than MANTRA. MANTRA is the distillation of every song we’ve ever written, it’s the sound that you can hear us trying to find on our first two records, YOUTH//1 and YOUTH//2. It’s a song about idealization, about placing everything you have on one hope, one dream, one person, and it serves as our thesis statement as a band”

With the goal of breaking a full-length album into three parts, both YOUTH//1 (Red) and YOUTH//2 (Blue) The previous EPs were met with an outpour of press and industry support which garnered coverage from Billboard, Earmilk, Alternative Press, Nylon and other prominent media outlets throughout their respective campaigns. In 2018 the band played a handful of iHeartRadio Music Festivals in Philadelphia, PA sharing the stage with artists such as 30 Seconds to Mars, Walk the Moon, Portugal. the Man, The Struts, and more! The band wrapped up their 2018 touring schedule with an East Coast / Midwest run with Young Rising Sons and then headed straight into the studio shortly thereafter to begin recording YOUTH// 3 with producer Nicholas Goncalves of 8 Graves.

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(Photo Credit: Maya Fuhr)

There has always been something magical about nighttime. For Taylor Knox, this epiphany was especially true and present on his sophomore album, ‘Here Tonight’. Forever a creature of the night, Knox’s preference for night became thematically important on his second LP. Here, he thought precisely what he was thinking about—and what he wanted to do or say with it. To use this time for reflection purposely and deliberately, not wasting the gift of insight that nighttime stillness provides.

Italian alt/electro-rock duo Soaware are proud to announce the release of their video, “Puddle,” ahead of their debut self-titled album, due out July 12, [Puddle] is a great example of the mix of emotions you’ll hear on Soaware’s debut.” (Pure Grain Audio) “SOAWARE are helping people win over their own demons.” (Metal Nexus)The song details the woes of unrequited love and the pains of falling in love. Combining eclectic rock and electronic elements, Soaware have created an immersive piece that echoes the intense emotions of its writers.

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