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INsiders Guide: TEE, The Hip Abduction, Moran, areté, Anna Dellaria, Kayla Diamond, Blitz//Berlin, Summer Salt, Ted Z and The Wranglers, Opeongo, Roman Rouge

“My debut single – “Good Lovin’ Feelin’” – is a product of pent-up energy, anxiety and excitement. Created on the first night of a writing trip to Nashville with three of my best friends, we knew we had something special from the very first demo.

I’m typically a pretty moody person, so it’s very easy for me to default to downtempo vibes when I’m making music. With my first release, however, I wanted to challenge myself by creating a song that would make you feel good. I went against my own grain to craft an upbeat, uptempo, uplifting dance-pop song while still preserving a few hints of moodiness.

“Good Lovin’ Feelin’” promotes self love and reminds you to take care of yourself first. It’s easy to find yourself entangled in other people’s misery and negative patterns – by valuing the good in yourself, you will set yourself free”.—TEE

This release by The Hip Abduction is a sonic expedition past genre barriers, aiming to guide listeners towards anthemic bliss, and is the band’s fourth full-length independent album. The band, David New (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Chris Powers (Bass), Dave Johnson (Baritone, Tenor Saxophone), Cody Moore (Keyboards), Matt Poynter (Drums, Vocals), and Justino Walker (Guitar), call St. Petersburg, FL home and mined an expansive well of local and global influences to sharpen their signature style on To the Ends of the Earth. New describes the sound best as, “an ethereal journey to the ends of the earth,” after which the album was named. The band, along with producers Jackson Hoffman and Ryder Stuart, set out to create a timeless record, remembering back to their early days of informal jam sessions. To the Ends of the Earth is out now.

Israeli songwriter Moran releases her latest single “So Cruel” exclusively withThisIsTheLatest. Following in the path of her previous single “Are You Happy?”, Moran cements herself as a raw and honest songwriter who does not fear being vulnerable in her music. Moran always pursues the best team to create her music. For “So Cruel”, she had the awesome opportunity to collaborate with producer Omer Lempert. Together they were able to bring forth Moran’s story of a love she thought she finally got to experience, but in an instant, it all broke down.

From an early age, Moran knew she wanted to sing. She has grown as an artist in her native Israel, releasing multiple singles and gaining a loyal fanbase. Moran has appeared in multiple publications such as Yediot Ahronot, Maariv Lanoar, HOT Bidur as well as singing on an Israeli TV series alongside Avri Gilad. After winning a music competition, Moran also had the opportunity to perform alongside famed vocalist Sarit Hadad.

“So Cruel” is the second English single for Moran as a songwriter. After a horrible accident two years ago that left Moran with broken hands, she understood the need to pour her thoughts and feelings into something. It wasn’t long before she reached her recovery and began writing over 60 songs in 6 months. “So Cruel” is one of her most personal singles and reflects Moran’s vulnerability as an artist.

Androgynous, adventurous, assertive: areté. Challenging expectations through avant-pop music and provocative visuals, this NYC-native combines poetry and evocative choreography with a fresh take on an electronic dance-inspired sound. A spiritual descendant of rebellious game-changers such as Bjork, Grace Jones, Patti Smith, and Laurie Anderson, areté draws from their background as a director of theatre and film to thrill your senses and subvert your expectations. Pulling from their experience in Los Angeles’ queer underground dance scene, areté creates their own brand of unrestricted, experimental art.

Leading single ‘Trip’ carries the feeling of the future past, fusing elements of Runaways, Iggy Pop and other synthpop/new wave such as the Pet Shop Boys and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Highlighting stomping electronic beats, ethereal vocals and dreamesque soundscapes, the track takes listeners to another dimension.

The visuals showcase areté’s signature style of experimental, surrealist and expressionistic storytelling, narrating areté’s origin story. When aspiring actress Cassandra Hardt relocates to Los Angeles she gets caught up in a roller-coaster romance that ends with her in an institution, accused of a murder she can’t remember committing. ‘Trip’ flashes back to the beginning of the relationship, the beginning of any troubled relationship – the thrilling feeling of heading up to the apex of the rollercoaster, ultimately knowing the descent is ahead. ‘Trip’ is about escaping, filling up your void with sex and drugs and feeding your inner adrenaline junkie. Cassandra is a character and a character begins in one place and ends in another – ‘Trip’ is the beginning of Cassandra’s journey into herself.

The story itself is inspired by areté’s traumatic “me too” experience – it centers around a woman who allows a man to convince her that she has multiple personality disorder. The story is dramatized, including cinematic elements like murder and institutionalization, but the experience is universal. areté confides, “Nearly every woman and queer person I know has been in a relationship with someone who controlled them, whose needs became more important than their own, who destabilized and – in truth – emotionally if not physically abused them.” ‘Trip’ acts as a reminder to focus on the process of taking command of your own voice.

areté’s upcoming EP Cassandra is the first of a series of surreal concept albums with interactive narratives. Immersing the audience in an alternate universe via performance, sound, digital and visual art, areté transforms your perspective on reality.

areté is ready to reveal her origin story: Cassandra’s metamorphosis.

(Photo Credit: Alex Morehouse)

Singer/songwriter, Anna Dellaria , paired up with Music Human and Seahorse Sound Studios to deliver a powerful, live rendition of her recent single ” At My Worst “ — Out everywhere today. Dellaria’s previous releases have been showcased on Younger , HBO , Nickelodeon, and more.

“I hope this song enables everybody to be their boldest selves and celebrate their quirks or imperfections as the tools that allow us to be stronger, better and so much more” , says Dellaria.  “Most importantly, I hope the song inspires people to grab a friend or drink (or both!), and yell “Want me at my best? Then take me At My Worst” and vow to never settle for less, and to celebrate their “crazy” or “weird” sides.”

“My songwriting stemmed from the realization that I was more into women than men. I could never relate. I’d listen to all of these songs on the radio and wonder why or how Rihanna was writing about love? I’d never felt that way, and I’d dated so many guys.

Listen to “Next X,” the newest single from my Dirty Laundry EP (officially out now), wherever you get your music! ❌

I wrote this one in LA with Justin Gray. It was our first time meeting, and we just had it right off the bat. I had written something in my notes on my phone about how jealous my ex was when I would sing about previous relationships – I felt trapped between my career and her.

The words “Next X” came to Justin and I instantly. The trap vibe mixed with a more rock chorus captured the anger and angst I needed to convey.

My last EP was more upbeat pop, more major chords. Happier and depressing. Dirty Laundry is more attitude. Kind of like “I miss you, but fuck you.”—Kayla

Blitz//Berlin is a group of experimental film composers based in Los Angeles. In the past two years, members Martin Macphail, Tristan Tarr, and Dean Rode have seen a meteoric rise in the world of international film and TV music, earning numerous accolades from around the globe, including a JUNO Award nomination for “Instrumental Album of the Year” in 2017.

Blitz//Berlin have also found sustained success composing music for movie trailers, including the trailers for such films as BirdBox, The Girl On The Train, Bad Times At The El Royale, Fifty Shades of Grey and many more. In 2016, Blitz//Berlin won the Clio Award for “Best Use of Music” for their work on the trailer for The Girl On The Train. Most recently, the band won the 2019 Golden Trailer Award for “Best Thriller” for their work on the Birdbox trailer. In addition to movie trailers, Blitz//Berlin have also composed music for several award-winning feature length films, including The Void and Still/Born. They also composed the music for the Blade Runner 2049 prequel “Nexus Dawn”, starring Jared Leto.

(Photo Credit: Andrew Reiner)

Based in Austin, TX, Summer Salt blends vibrant yet breezy vocal harmony and colorful elements of 1960s pop, Bossa Nova and jazz. 

The group was originally formed around the talents of Matthew Terry (vocalist/guitarist) and Eugene Chung (drummer) during their senior year of high school. 

Before moving to Austin, Matt and Eugene enjoyed playing intimate shows at small coffee shops, friends living rooms, and local venues around the Dallas and Denton area where they began to work on and craft the musical nature of what is now Summer Salt. 

In 2012 the band fledged away from their hometown to pursue music in Austin TX, where they began writing their first EP Driving to Hawaii. 

Driving to Hawaii (2014), contains the essence of a never-ending vacation and is rich in guitar pop and silky harmonies that is reminiscent of the Beach Boys. The EP features fan favorites such as Sweet to Me, Rockaway, and of course their title track, Driving to Hawaii, which has iconically represented the basis of all Summer Salt lyrics: trying to slow down and enjoy the ride of chasing what appears to be an unattainable pipe dream. 

Their next release, Going Native (2015), was inspired by a trip abroad where Terry began diving into artists such as Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Gilberto Gil which lead to a new writing direction using Latin elements.

Succeeding the energetic and live sounds of Going Native, So Polite (2017), was the perfect appetizer for the band’s debut full-length album, the wildly colorful, Happy Camper (2018) which features a more polished production quality from Sub-Pop stalwart Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, The Shins).

The infectiously melodic ensemble has cultivated a loyal following with their endless summer, ocean dream music that can be heard in influences such as the Lovin’ Spoonful, Donovan, Frankie Valli, the lovely Lady Day or other musical genres of 1960s Rocksteady or African Highlife. Moving forward, with the anticipation of their forthcoming release Honeyweed, Summer Salt maintains phonetic components of Brazilian tropicalia and 60’s folk pop while drawing inspiration from seasoned topics of loss and renewal.

Summer Salt’s building success on the road lead to a 31-date sold out North American tour in the Summer of 2018. Featuring the recent addition of guitarist/vocalist, Anthony Barnett, and bassist, Elliot Edmonds, the group is now preparing to embark on their second headlining US tour with wonderful and humble support of Motel Radio and Dante Elephante. 

Summer Salt 2019 Summer Tour Dates

8.09 – Fox Cabaret – Vancouver, BC

8.10 – Neumos – Seattle, WA

8.11 – Aladdin Theater – Portland, OR

8.13 – Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA

8.15 – Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA

8.16 – House of Blues – San Diego, CA

8.17 – Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ

8.18 – Lowbrow Palace – El Paso, TX

Ted Z and The Wranglers, of Southern California, deliver outlaw country-charged rock. Ted‘s catchy story-songs are fully-realized tales of love, regret, getting older and getting in trouble. The band stirs up it’s Americana influences, featuring quick picking and bluesy slide guitar over galloping train beats and swinging shuffles.

The Wranglers are Collin Mclean (bass), Jackson Leverone (lead and slide guitar, vocals) and Jordan Lipp (drums). The band has honed it’s sound on big stages and in biker bars alike. They get audiences dancing and bring them back for more.

Ted Z and The Wranglers were signed to Rip Cat Records in 2015. Their first label release, Ghost Train, was recorded at Yellow Dog Studios in Wimberley, TX and produced by Monty Byrom (Big House, Eddie Money). 2017 Winner Hard Rock Rising LA, Jam in The Van (2017) Headlined Sturgis Buffalo Chip (2018).

Opeongo is the moniker of 26-year-old singer/songwriter Keegan Trumpour. Originally from Midland ON, Keegan now resides in the city of Toronto. Keegan is currently in the midst of releasing Opeongo’s debut LP “Miasma” recorded with producer/multi-instrumentalist Aaron Goldstein at Baldwin Street Sound. It features appearances by such noteworthy musicians as Daniel Romano, Aaron Goldstein, Aaron Comeau, Carleigh Aikins, and Arif Mirabdolbaghi. The record was mixed by the talented Christopher Stringer, and was mastered by Grammy-nominated Philip Shaw Bova.

The songs from this record are largely characterized by their elaborate lyricism, the content of which deals with the struggles of mental health within the realms of these modern times, and the external and internal influences on such a thing. These songs were written through a period of immense change, change signified by moving from a small town to a large city, change signified by heartache, and change signified in the recognition of the times before us.

Roman Rouge is a R&B pop singer/songwriter from El Paso, Texas. Born with music running through his veins, the musician was exposed to the industry from a young age and never looked back. Despite various struggles which he faced throughout his childhood, including his single mother trying to make ends meet, Roman took every obstacle in his stride, ultimately building his character and making him who he is today. Through every failure came strength and eventually the hardships paid off.

The passionate and driven artist now not afraid of anything that may come his way, is ready for the next step of his journey. Inspired by personal events and poignant moments in life, the singer confides, “The message in my music overall is always relatable, something you’ve been through can and always affect the decisions you make in the future. My songs are linked to each other, I like to convey a story and be as honest and forthcoming as I can”.  

Following the release of his debut EP Voicemails, which garnered acclaim from his local music scene, with single ‘Fast Car’ receiving notoriety throughout El Paso, Roman is dropping his highly anticipated track entitled ‘Nobody’. Written by Frawley and produced by Beacon Hill (Khalid) the song narrates the desire for wanting a reciprocal feeling from the person you like. Within the intensity of the song there is also a vulnerability that comes along with it. Featuring energetic bass and drums, which contrasts with the soft, raspy vocals, ‘Nobody’ evokes an impassioned and fiery essence through it’s stunning cinematic soundscapes.

Influenced by the likes of Majid Jordan and The Weeknd, Roman is following a similar path to creating music bursting with personality, whilst encouraging others to be their most authentic selves. Roman reveals, “The main theme of my music is to be aware of why you are who you are, and how you can let your past experiences define you, learn from your mistakes, move on and be better”. Roman continues to deliver audiences with his unique and fresh combination of moody and sweet tones, emphasizing the contrast between light and dark.

What do you think?

Written by Neill Frazer

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