INsiders Guide: Kodie Shane, Hot Chelle Rae, Marcaux And More… By OLC!

A year to-the-date from the release of her critically adored debut studio album, mold-breaking Epic Records artist Kodie Shane unleashes her brand-new single “2 Many”. Once again, she gleefully breaks barriers between rap and pop by threading together fiery and flirty come-ons with a hashtag-worthy hook, “I can take that many girls to the club when I’m riding in a Porsche. I can take that many girls to the club when I’m riding in a Maybach.” Her voice cruises over airy guitar and a slick beat, with production by Southeast staples Che Rhenosonce and WLPWR, as she confidently declares, “I’m everybody’s one!”

This week, Kodie also returns to the road on SAINt JHN’s North American Ghetto Lenny’s “IGNORANt Forever” Tour. After beginning in Miami earlier this week, it stops in major markets across the country before concluding at Webster Hall in New York, NY on December 17. Her live show is not to be missed: known for her energetic performance style and Rockstar-level attitude, Kodie wrapped up her first-ever headlining World Tour earlier this year, which was spotlighted by the likes of The New York Times, The New Yorker and beyond. She has previously shared the stage with the likes of Billie Eilish, Juice WRLD, Lil Yachty, Jhene Aiko and more.

Multi-platinum selling band, Hot Chelle Rae, is back with their highly anticipated new single “I Hate LA”. Inspired by their love/hate relationship with Los Angeles, “I Hate LA” is a memorable, catchy anthem with unique melodic pop hooks partnered with hints of R&B guitar, countering the lyrical word play that the band is known for and serving as a sneak peek for the new music they plan to release in 2020.

“When we made the decision to get back together as a band, it truly felt like no time had passed,” said Hot Chelle Rae, “and for the past two years, we have been locked in a studio in LA, focused on creating new music. We did things differently this time around – giving ourselves the space to find our voice and hone in on our true sound. We’re looking forward to bringing our fans new music that reflects where we are now, but is still reminiscent of the high energy sound that they have always embraced.“

Formed in Nashville, the band consists of Ryan Follesé, Nash Overstreet, and Jamie Follesé. Having grown up in musically inclined households, the three band members came of age amongst the songwriting community in Nashville.

Hot Chelle Rae gained widespread acclaim from their 2011 triple platinum single “Tonight Tonight,” which went #1 on Top 40 radio and sold over 3 million copies, followed by their platinum selling single, “I Like It Like That.” Their skills as songwriters are mirrored by their live performance chops, refined through years of touring alongside the likes of Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato and Justin Bieber. Hot Chelle Rae has become known for their incredible musicianship and intoxicating energy on stage.

Genre-hip-hop/indie/Pop/alternative artist from Long Island, New York, Marcaux has a new single entitled “Cedar Creek.”

Marcaux says, “Cedar Creek is named after the park that we would hang out at when we were kids. The song speaks about all of the bad things I’ve experienced since then, while explaining that life keeps going, and thats ok, but I would love to feel the feeling of being back at Cedar Creek before we had to grow up. Hopefully something everyone can relate to, because we all have our own ‘Cedar Creek’”.

This past August he released his other single “Harm” that was featured on The Fader and has over 350,000 streams on Spotify and counting along with being placed in Internet People, Varsity Bars, Fresh Finds, Fresh Finds Fire Emoji playlists.

In support of his new music Marcaux has been doing some local tour dates. He just wrapped up a Sold Out show as direct support to 8 Graves and then on November 14th has a show at in Brooklyn at Elsewhere with Superwhatever.  

Marcaux is basically an R-Rated version of Jon Bellion or Twenty One Pilots. Blending hip-hop, alternative and pop . Marcaux isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve and tell his story. The upcoming Cedar Creek tells his stories of Love, Loss, self doubt, substance abuse, as well as a look back at his past and his childhood through nostalgic eyes. Marcaux is know for his amazing and raw live show , where he brings a ton of energy and a punk rock ethos. Influences range from the Bad Brains to Eminem, which is what helps make Marcaux such a cool and unique act. “Harm” is the first track off his upcoming EP “Cedar Creek” . Harm being the sole “Flexing Record” on a project based off Nostalgia through real lyricism.

Austin, Texas’ own psychedelic/rock band, The Cuckoos will release their debut album I Hate Love on January 17, 2020. The 10 track endeavor features the four singles that have been released this year:  “We Can Take A Trip To Another Day”, “Why Don’t U Ever Call Me Anymore”, “Carpe Diem”, and “Lady Boy”,  with six previously unreleased songs.

Lauded by many outlets such as PopMatters, RELIX and Culture Collide, who said, “This retro-inspired four piece play classic late 60’s style acid rock with such authenticity, you’d never believe these guys were born in the 90’s.”

Popmatters took it a step further by saying, “The Cuckoos have a reputation for mixing the eerie, post-punk sounds of Joy Division with psychedelia and funk…the group transports us back to an era filled with the kind of vibrant hues favored by the Doors and Love while remaining very much of this moment and, ever so slightly, the future.”

Lead singer Kenneth Frost talks from the heart about the release, “A lot of the record is from personal angst that we have gone through, and it’s really a trip through the ups and downs of love. The songs aren’t sappy but they aren’t bitter. They just kind of mark where I was in my soul at the time.“

In their early 20’s, the band is far beyond their years in not only the subject matter, but the overall sound, musical construction, and the lyrics of the songs. Heavily inspired by iconic artists such as Joy Division, Prince, The Doors and Madonna combined with more modern artists like Tame Impala and The Strokes, The Cuckoos have a throwback feel told through a modern lens matched with a live show that has gotten them many fans in the last two years.

I Hate Love is rooted in their primal psych-rock-post-punk soul but broadens its scope. It’s a new signature sound, one that will appeal equally to folks weaned on essential art-rock like Talking Heads and those attracted to retro-future acts like Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats.

I Hate Love was produced and mixed in Austin by Chris “Frenchie” Smith (…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Toadies, Fastball) at the Grammy-nominated producer’s studio, The Bubble, and mastered by Gavin Lurssen (Chris Cornell, Frank Zappa, Iggy Pop, Kid Cudi) and Reuben Cohen (Leon Russell, Dweezil Zappa, The Motels)

Ming & Ping are an Asian American electronic pop band from Los Angeles, California. The duo consists of Hong Kong born identical twin brothers Ming and Ping and their producer/creative director Bao Vo. Originally formed in San Francisco, California, Ming & Ping have crafted a sound combining vintage synthesizers with an excess of layered vocals and heavy influences from 80s new wave bands such as Pet Shop Boys and New Order. 

Their new three-track EP Los Angeles November 2019 is designed to be listened to continuously, taking listeners on a journey of death, birth, life and death again. Written as a tribute to the retro-future themes of Ridley Scott’s movie Blade Runner, the release perfectly creates both a musical and conceptual journey. It is essentially the lifetime of a “replicant” told in 12 minutes. Exploring narratives such as humanity, identity and reality (all themes that are found in the story of Blade Runner), the EP strikes a chord deep in the soul, with their thought-provoking lyrics. Ming & Ping reveal, “We ask what it means to be alive and to be human. We celebrate life and love. And we mourn for when it must end too soon and all those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. The message of the songs is that life and death, sadness and joy all come in cycles and that change is the only reliable thing. At first, there is confusion, then awakening and celebration, conflict and decay, and finally surrender. It is all to say that it’s alright to feel it all”. 

Ming & Ping combine their love of sci-fi movies and New Wave music, resulting in a unique amalgamation of sounds and influences. The music oozes with cultural diversity, featuring samples which were recorded whilst living in three vibrant cities – Hong Kong, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The duo shares, “Many of the lyrics have taken on more depth while exploring the chaos, grit, speed, and loneliness of a crowded urban environment. Although we grew up in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, which is quite a chaotic place, we find more realism in the humanity and desperation we see in Downtown Los Angeles”.

Influenced by the likes of Daft Punk, as well as old songs by Giorgio Moroder and more recent songs by a multitude of new Synthwave artists, Ming & Ping succeed in fusing both modern and retro sounds. ‘Heaven’s Light’ showcases twinkling synths, determined rhythms and soaring soundscapes, all underpinned by intricately layered harmonies. Then there is ‘Ride or Die’ a track which highlights stomping basslines, groovy syncopation and infectious lyrics. ‘The End’ is a darker and more fast-paced song, evoking the sense of racing against a ticking time bomb.

Ming & Ping have garnered placements in numerous film and TV shows, as well as landing promotional spots from major companies like Burton SnowboardsBombardier Ski-DooTransworld SnowboardingOakleyCrossFit, Alliance Wakeboard, among others. The duo have been considered a pioneering Asian-American performance art project, best known for combining music with visual art and an elaborate multimedia stage show featuring video projections, eccentric costumes and a man-sized monkey named “Cymbal Monkey” who serves as a hype man. Their Cantonese Opera inspired live performances known as “The Ming & Ping Dynasty” have been exhibited on tour with Freezepop (Guitar Hero, Rock Band) and with groups such as Major LazerWest Indian Girl and Ultraviolet Sound (Katy Perry). ‘Heaven’s Light’ is currently available worldwide. 

In a world where we are constantly defining the sum of our lives through the filter of another’s gaze, genuinely unchained artists like Winnipeg-bred Hamilton-based singer-songwriter IsKwé (pronounced iss-kway) are becoming a rare breed.

Named one of the ‘Top 10 Artists to Watch’ by CBC Music, IsKwé (which means ‘woman’ in her native language) is fostering an unmistakable sound that weaves together her Irish and Cree/Dené roots with poignant politically charged lyrics, dark soulful R&B rhythms, electronic flourishes, and trip hop breakbeats.

“I have always gravitated towards darker, deep-cut, bottom-heavy sounds,” says IsKwé. “That’s just what resonates with my creativity. I am hugely influenced by that fundamental darkness that came alive in bands like Massive Attack and Portishead as part of the Bristol sound, but I also love strong, bold women like Bjork and Erykah Badu.”

Captured fully on her brand new single “Sometimes,” which is the first release off of her sophomore album The Fight Within (Summer 2017), the song is a brooding and introspective anthem to an ex that sees IsKwé drawing upon the poise and power she felt in learning to let go of love.

“I think that in any relationship, even the unhealthy ones, it’s important to own yourself and to be able to say, ‘Okay, I’m making the choice right now to stay’ or ‘I’m making the choice to leave,’ and then feeling confident in that decision because it’s yours. This song is very much about the power I felt in leaving. Even though there was anger and sadness inside me when I wrote it, it wasn’t born out of animosity––I was really pulling from a place of empowerment on this one.”

While Iskwé’s music is undoubtedly a source of deep personal strength it is also a form of protest––protest against the continued hardships of the Canadian Indigenous community and protest against the fallout she has faced as a female speaking out on the subject openly in the music industry.

“There are people who assume that I won’t feel strong enough to speak my mind about my own culture and gender and that’s fine, but I won’t be silenced,” says IsKwé. “I’ve never been timid or shy about addressing those sorts of topics in my music because that’s not my spirit and it doesn’t reflect me inside.”

Bridging cross-cultural aesthetics while exploring her own struggle to both fit into and breakaway from modern Western archetypes has been an important part of IsKwé’s artistic vision since the release of her self-titled debut album in late 2013. Her debut single “Nobody Knows,” which was produced by Juno Award nominees The Darcys and is currently being featured in the Netflix series Between, captivated audiences by turning a stark spotlight on the more than 1200 missing and murdered Indigenous women here in Canada.

The song, which perfectly paired IsKwé’s signature downtempo tones with harsh reality, revealed an artist whose true beauty and undeniable appeal lies in her ability to find strength in the weight of her emotions.

“This new album, and most of the things I write, are rooted in an emotional place that’s not quite sadness,” explains IsKwé. “I think the strength in whatever I’m feeling is generally where I write from and I really try to embrace it all rather than seeing weakness in those emotions.”

During her live shows, IsKwé pairs her songs with elaborately adorned face paint both as an homage to her ancestral roots and as a platform upon which her message really comes to life. “Painting was one of my first loves. Incorporating it into my live show has not only become a way for me to expand my creative expression but it is also very much an act of reclaiming tradition.”

Inspired by both Dené and Inuit facial tattooing, IsKwé views the face paint as an act of rebellion against cultural appropriation and the limitations that have been imposed upon her as an artist. “Even if it isn’t entirely understood, painting my face prompts people to ask me, ‘Why?’ If I were to be subtle about it, I’d risk the message being lost in translation but when I’m loud and over the top with it, I think people find it harder to look away. That’s important to me because it prompts dialogue and it lets me know that the conversation is still very much alive.”

Unafraid to challenge the convictions of her detractors by honouring her heritage, standing steadfast in her viewpoints, and embracing her sexuality, IsKwé’s artistry knows no bounds. Blending soulful, breathlessly delivered lyrics that are coloured by the many shades of human nature with a sonic palette that takes its queue from the shadowy atmospherics of the 1990s Bristol sound, IsKwé’s music revels in her strength of self and that is her true rallying cry.

Pop/r&b singer-songwriter Amy Cohen is gearing up to release the acoustic version of her song “On Your Side,” from her debut EP, Direction. 

Amy’s music is intricately woven with honest personal reflections and r&b undertones. Cohen’s acoustic release proves that her talent is boundless and not reduced to the studio magic of many pop artists. 

(Photo Credit: LEE HALBROOK)

Kris Angelis explores hope and heartbreak on her new single, “I Hope I Never Fall In Love Again.” The singer, songwriter has been riding a wave of success since the release of her 2018 EP, “Pieces That Were Stolen.” The award-winning EP made its debut on the Billboard Top New Artist chart and shot to #3 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter chart. Her hooky single, “Heartbreak Is Contagious” was added to SiriusXM “The Pulse” while the track “Kevin Bacon” was featured in Costco stores nationwide. Between recording and writing in LA, she just completed her 50 state tour across the country and was recently chosen for the Grammy NEXT program, solidifying her rapid rise to future stardom.

On her new single, “I Hope I Never Fall In Love Again,” she explores the ache of heartbreak and questions whether loving and losing is indeed better than never loving at all.  Her voice soars over each verse, bolstered by the rhythmic sway of the guitar and the angelic layers of vocals building behind her.  Her hurt is palpable, unfurling emotion through every tender plea for a return to the love that once was. Or, in the future, a love that won’t end.  It’s a raw look at healing and still having hope for the future, the kind of track that perfectly encapsulates who Angelis is as an artist. Check out Kris Angelis’ ” I Hope I Never Fall In Love Again,” out now.

Swansea based country crossover artist Eleri Angharad has released the cinematic video for new single ‘Staircase’. The track is the latest single to be officially lifted off Eleri’s 2019 debut album ‘Earthbound’ which has been streamed in excess of 12,000 times across Spotify since its release – impressive numbers for an independent artist still in the preliminary stages of their career. Numbers which keep on growing, with an excess of 4,000 monthly listeners, streaming is a playing a huge part in the success of Eleri’s music.

The song is all about falling fast and hard for someone before you even really know them – a sentiment many listeners will be familiar with; “Staircase is all about that moment you catch eyes with someone and your mind goes into overdrive imagining a whole lifetime set out. It’s about falling incredibly fast for someone and never knowing whether it’s real or all in your head”, Eleri states.

Shot on location at The Hyst, in the city of Swansea, the ‘Staircase’ video brings the track to life perfectly thanks to the stunning filmography from Morris James Blanco of MJ Motion Films. Speaking of the official video’s treatment, Eleri Angharad says: “For the video I wanted to go with the concept of returning to the place you met someone the next day, in broad daylight and wondering whether you dreamt it all. We filmed in The Hyst, one of my favourite home-town music venues”.

Eleri Angharad is a huge talent within the burgeoning UK country music scene and with her inaugural LP racking up thousands of streams, and several European tours already under her belt, the rising star who shares a similar vocal tone to that of Nashville TV star Clare Bowen, has the world at her feet as we enter into 2020.

The ‘Staircase’ video shows another side to Eleri and with more than 6,000 YouTube views so far the Welsh singer/songwriter is looking to crash through the 10,000 view mark when the video premiers.

Emerging singer-songwriter Trevor Knight is a recording artist, pianist and singer-songwriter hailing from the dirt roads of Minnesota. Influenced by soul-pop and great hooks, Trevor writes meaningful ballads to inspire others through his lyrics. His sound was developed while being apart of an a cappella group at Dartmouth College. Once placing as a finalist in the “Dartmouth Idol” competition, he started envisioning a career in music and moved to NYC shortly after college. Throughout the process of crafting and recording his debut single “Giving It Up,” Trevor got a glimpse of what a life in music could be like–and he was hooked. Trevor has traveled to music conferences throughout the United States such as CD Baby’s Music Conference and has used his knowledge of the industry to be featured on notable publications such as ANR Factory. His new single “Not That Kind Of Guy” is set for release on Friday, November 8th, 2019 on all major streaming outlets. The song touches on being gentleman in a relationship and treating someone you are starting to seek interest in with respect by not rushing into anything. Trevor quoted, “NTKOG is a head-bobbing anthem – a proclamation that not all guys are the same, and a spirited reminder to remain comfortable and confident in one’s own skin.” He is set to perform this song and many other fan favorites at his show at  the famous Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 in New York City on Nov 20. Stay tuned for more from Trevor Knight in 2019-2020!

Nuela Charles is a singer-songwriter known for her soulful vocals and captivating stage presence. Kicking off 2019 with her second JUNO Award Nomination for her self-released EP “Distant Danger,” Nuela is solidifying herself as a Canadian music staple. “‘Melt’ is the followup to, and wrapping up of the “Distant Danger” musical chapter. It is the culmination of 2 years of creative work, as I took back more control of the recording process, and dove into aspects of production and mixing that I never did before. I was able to work with my producers to mold each song into its final form, not settling for any aspect of it and making sure that I believed in it 100%.

It was a period of realization and re-affirmation that I do know what I’m doing and that I should trust my artistic and creative abilities more.  I am really excited to be closing this chapter and opening up the next phase of my career as I begin to work and experiment with new producers and new sounds.”

Olive Louise is a singer, songwriter and composer from New York. Known for her championed ability to intertwine her classically trained background with a refreshing take on today’s contemporary pop landscape, Louise translates her vast wealth of experiences into music that is timely as it is timeless. 

Growing up on the very estate that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby in Kings Point, New York, Louise’s youth was sound‐tracked as much by the classical and jazz greats as it was by the impeccable talents of her mother, the lead pianist of the Long Island Philharmonic orchestra. While her upbringing took a tragic turn following the passing of her parents before her formative teenage years unfolded, Louise has since worked to consistently rise above, refusing to put her tragedies in front of her handshake and calling for others to get to know her through the music she creates. 

New single ‘Fool’ details embracing your most authentic self and not feeling guilty about being happy in life. Louise highlights the importance of not letting others ideas of you define you, or get you down. It’s a personal narration of Louise’s own struggles, written from a dark time in her life, when she was drowning in people’s negative opinions on what she should be doing, or what she should look like. The New York native confides, “I was at a really low point in my life, I had gained weight, was too nervous to run into people I knew for fear of judgment, and felt like some of the people I had been there for the most didn’t want the best for me. It was hard to trust myself and my judgement”. ‘Fool’ is a self-love anthem which screams the attitude of ‘paint me how you want, nobody has the power to hurt me anymore’. Written with a hint of sarcasm, the track is the singer’s way of letting go of the negativity, cleansing all cynicism and showcasing her new IDGAF demeanor. She declares, “I’m confident in my skin, I’m confident in myself and I trust that I’ll always find my way”. 

Mixed by Andrew Wuepper (Justin Beiber) and mastered by Chris Gehringer (Beyonce, Rihanna, Cardi B, Lady Gaga) the track showcases ethereal soundscapes, floating synths and layered vocal harmonies. The stunning minimalistic instrumentation creates a powerful and eerie atmosphere which is sure to resonate with listeners. 

Louise explains how writing for her is a form of therapy and that allowing herself to be completely transparent and vulnerable with others has enabled her push boundaries, coming out stronger than she ever has before. The songstress hopes that her music will inspire others to let go of whatever is holding them back and start being their true selves, sharing “I hope it inspires people to embrace the beauty in what makes them different and offers them new perspective. I believe that when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. ‘Fool’ is out now.

Before you ask, Jackie is not a rock band. Or a pop band. Or one of those alt-indie darlings that you just know has been packaged for FROSH week. If you must put them in a box, it’s best you just call Jackie a black sheep.

Take, for example, the band’s debut single, New at Drugs, a propulsive slice of guitar pop that shimmers and warbles like a synth-led banger. As the name suggests, that intersectionality may have something to do with its creation: buzzing on psychedelics and more than a little red wine, the group — singer/songwriter Jackie Mohr, guitarist Marc Girardin and drummer Max Trefler — caught the energetic vibe of producer Hawksley Workman, working quirky riffs that shouldn’t work but do under big, shiny melodies. “Like trying to play a D chord weirder than a D chord,” Mohr explains. “I honestly don’t remember it all so clearly, but I remember lyrics pouring out of me so fast.”

The rest of the songs that comprise the band’s upcoming EP flowed shortly after, and likewise contain a funky sense of wonderment and a nod to pop legends. It’s no wonder Mohr counts Chrissie Hynde and Michael Jackson as her favourite singers.

Jackie rises from the ashes of The Mohrs (you may have seen them share stages with the likes of Soundgarden, Jane’s Addiction and The Glorious Sons). Originally from Winnipeg, Mohr and Girardin have been playing together since they were teenagers. Moving to Toronto in 2012, the pair eventually hooked up with Trefler and released their debut rock album on Light Organ before renaming. “We changed our sound on this new EP, replacing bass with analog synth, and went back to having just us three as the core of the project,” Mohr explains. “After a few year hiatus we’ve come back as ‘Jackie’. More aware of where we want to take our place in music.

That transformation was partially fuelled by Mohr’s experiences as one of the few females in a male-dominated landscape. “I’ve never had a problem holding my own in this industry, or with men, but it really does make you question why there’s so little female presence,” she points out.

“When I was promoting my first single my radio team told my management it was going to be very difficult getting “a female on rock radio”. I don’t think I’ve ever hated a comment more. I didn’t get it then, and I don’t get it now,” Mohr continues. “I think it’s time for a new narrative. This is especially important in the LGBTQ community. Heteronormative relationships are only a small part of what’s out there, and how people love one another. Other communities need to be represented as well. I remember on my debut album I worried about saying ‘her’ or ‘she‘ as a lyric because people would class me as a ‘gay artist’. This sort of thing is important for sure, and I am a gay woman, but it’s not all I am, and I never wanted that to be the focal point of my/ our music, or my musical career. The band, our music, and myself are much more than that. Music is for everyone.”

That open and ferocious approach to music can be heard throughout Jackie’s music.

“We write songs for the everyday radio listener, and the guitar nerd,” Mohr, who’s prized possession is a 1962 ‘Silverstone 1423’ aka ‘Monicka Del Toro,’ explains. “Maybe writing quality music will be more important than having Instagram followers again someday.”

Karima Francis is a critically acclaimed musician and songwriter hailing from the illuminated seaside resort of Blackpool. Known for her ability to blend haunting melodies with honest lyrics and an alluring ambiance, Francis creates entirely captivating music, oozing with emotion and rooted in sentiment. 

Taking her first steps into the music industry at only 13 years old, Francis relentlessly taught herself drums and before long progressed to the guitar and songwriting at age 18. Soon after she unveiled the debut release of The Author, which lauded praise from prestigious publications, propelling her into the limelight. Her consequent album’s The Remedy and Black further acknowledged the musician’s profound talent, each time showcasing a denser amalgamation of sounds and textures. 

Seeking new inspiration and an escape from London life, Francis recognised her overwhelming sense to explore something new in Los Angeles. Selling some of her most beloved guitars and purchasing a ticket to the West Coast, she was finally able to soak up the laid-back Californian lifestyle and her music found a fresh perspective. Francis reveals, “I was very influenced by the West coast indie folk singer songwriter revival that’s happening out in LA right now, when I heard the Phoebe Bridgers record I was blown away by the production and musicality from the players and wanted to find them for my music so I sold up and went out to start making new music relations in LA”. 

Her time spent there resulted in the highly anticipated single ‘Shelf Life’. The stunning track narrates Los Angeles’ deepening homelessness crisis. On the surface the City of Angels is a place of celebrities and million dollar mansions, but scratch a bit deeper and you will find the devastating truth which is encompassing so many people’s lives. Karima felt beyond compelled to write about the epidemic and shine light on the reality of the situation, sharing “The music was inspired by the homelessness crisis out in LA. I was just devastated by what I was seeing and the contrast between the rich and poor out there was uncomfortable to see”. 

‘Shelf Life’ emits a melancholy warmth through contemplative lyricism and organic instrumentation. Soulful velvet vocals envelop the celestial melodies, delivering an intimate and authentic release. Recorded with artist and producer Tim Carr (Fell Runner), Carr brings the West Coast sonic laziness and beauty that Francis had been searching for. ‘Shelf Life’ takes a step away from Francis’ typical autobiographical songwriting, admitting, “I wanted to try and explore new ideas and context when it comes to writing. I think tone helps with writing also, if you have a beautiful guitar sound that makes you feel a certain way, this can open up new realms in your creativity and expression”. 

The visuals for ‘Shelf Life’ feature a day in the life of a homeless man. After Francis and video director Joseph Calhoun explained the concept of the video to the man, he instantly wanted to be a part of it and help raise awareness. The outcome is a personal, poignant and truly captivating insight into the homeless crisis. 

Inspired by the organic sound of analogue audio, Francis was drawn to recording to tape and capturing the essence of the performance through both creatively adept musicians and the finest quality equipment. Her musical influences blend the best of modern day greats such as Sharon Van Etten, The National and Big Thief with old time producers including Berry Gordy (Marvin Gaye) and William Mitchel (Al Green), to create a sound leaning towards indie rock, folk and alternative route. Francis recently studied music production specifically to learn how to use analogue mixing desks with the intention to be more creative in the studio and produce her own music. 

Karima Francis’ journey has found her playing on Later… With Jools Holland, supporting the likes of Paul Simon, Amy Winehouse and The Stereophonics, as well as working with renowned producer Flood (Nine Inch Nails, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Depeche Mode). ‘Shelf Life’ is currently available worldwide.

Colour of the Jungle are a five-piece rock band, whose captivating songwriting and raucous energy has been resonating with audiences from Munich to the South coast of England. Their catchy-but-emotional, approachable-yet-raw sound is built upon sexy bass-driven rhythms and edgy instrumentation, creating music that sticks in the head and the heart.

The group of five friends initially started jamming for fun before swiftly moving to the studio where they soon discovered their true potential and recorded their debut EP The Jungle Book. The four-track release perfectly captured the complex basslines of John Harris, confident drum beats of Dan Fiford, rhythmic riff and leads of Joe Costello and Brendan McVeagh, and intriguing lyrics of Jack Evans. Colour of the Jungle succeed in combining each individual’s unique styles, forming a fresh yet genuine fusion of sounds. 

Following the release of ‘Steel Tray’ which garnered both critical and commercial acclaim, the band are dropping ‘Humblebee’. The single narrates the current environmental crisis and how years of ignorance from the human race has taken its toll on the planet. It highlights how our selfish acts have caused us to forget the bigger picture and are ultimately destroying our future. ‘Humblebee’ was sparked from life events and retains the feeling of authenticity and honesty throughout the lyrics. Evans confides, “My sister had gone to a bee farm after her fight with leukaemia and my friend was struggling with a cocaine habit. These events inspired my lyrics. Everyone has stuff going on whether it’s happy or not. I try to deal with my ups and downs by writing songs and each one marks that point in my life”. Showcasing plucky guitars and gritty vocals which showcase Evans impressive range, the track builds into an upbeat anthem reminiscent of The Milk Carton Kids. Their broad palette of sounds and textures allow the band to craft an engaging and diverse sound. 

Inspired by iconic rock and roll greats such as Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Growlers, Colour of the Jungle are sculpting their own identity of playful modern garage rock with the release of ‘Humblebee’.

Intertwined,” my debut single as Frank Mighty’s Hotline, was inspired by a conversation I overheard on the subway – two people discussing sex, money, and life, not caring what anyone around them thought. They were being themselves and it inspired me – these people talking about these taboo subjects so freely. Why shouldn’t everybody do the same? This led me to an overall feeling of following your instincts, doing what you love.

The song was produced by Jordan Shrew. As it was our first time working together, we got to know each other as friends and professionals during the process, spending many late nights having long chats about the song’s meaning. As the first Frank Mighty’s Hotline release, “Intertwined” represents the project’s baseline and the groundwork of its sound. 

I hope that for you, the track encourages self reflection. Especially in songwriting, you should be yourself, writing about what inspires and challenges you. Don’t write for other people, or else you’ll never really like what you have created.

I look forward to sharing my next single with you soon. Thanks for listening,”—Frank Mighty’s Hotline

2019 has been a banner year for indie-pop newcomer Gavin Haley. He released his debut EP, Long Gameto rave reviews, and completed a North American tour opening for Ashe. Today, Haley shares an acoustic version of his EP title track, “Long Game.” With just his guitar and vocals to rely on, Haley’s acoustic rendition of “Long Game” highlights the intimacy of his lyricism and his ability to tell universally relatable stories through his songs. Listen to “Long Game (Acoustic)” here.

Gavin Haley’s life journey has been anything but traditional. Before he uncovered his love for music, Haley had his sights set on a career in cycling. At age 16, he moved to Europe as part of the US national cycling team. He made the top 3 by age 17, and became the youngest signed US cyclist by age 18. Shortly after turning pro, Haley got into a bike crash that forced him to step aside from cycling and reexamine his professional path. Stranded in Europe, he began to explore the underground music scene, falling in love with a variety of different sounds and the way they can make you feel. Once recovered from his cycling crash, Haley relocated to Los Angeles where he began to record and release his own music.

Informed by his clear-eyed musings on human interaction, the 22-year-old singer and songwriter bring a genre-bending approach to pop. He pairs a plethora of contemporary influences with introspective lyrics, crafting sonic narratives that feel accessible at all levels. Despite his own personal roadblocks and hardships, Haley strives to make music that, as he puts it, “makes you feel good.”

Growing up between the East and West coasts, American singer-songwriter and actor Dante Palminteri matured his musical styling at an early age, drawing inspiration from John Mayer’s poetic mastery of the human psyche and Ed Sheeran’s genre-defying melodies. His lyrics narrate complex compilations about unrequited love, soul mates lost and found, and the growing pains of adulthood. Struck by the lyrical prowess of Americana muses Jason Isbell and The Tallest Man On Earth, Palminteri explores his own roots, weaving personal narratives on the intricacies of falling in love with whimsical acoustic melodies. 

An early sufferer of anxiety and dyslexia, Palminteri found solace in the last place one would expect: written word. Dreaming up lyrics on teen heartbreak and defying the status quo, he set his sights on a long-term career in songwriting, eventually strumming his way into Berklee College of Music. He confides, “Growing up I couldn’t relate to using words in an academic setting, but when I discovered how to manipulate them to write my music they became a superpower. I want my music to speak to others and give them a soundtrack to their own lives”.   

Following the release of the floaty, synth-pop record, “Miles Apart” – a heartfelt reflection on the regret and longing felt after an abrupt breakup, Palminteri is unveiling a handful of new singles, one by one. Simultaneously toeing between stories of love lost and won, Palminteri reflects on his own vulnerability, recounting real-life experiences facing rejection and loneliness, alongside feelings of heartfelt passion and intimacy. A common theme throughout the new music is change. The songwriter reveals, “Beginning last Summer, I went back to the drawing board to rebrand my music and artist image. I needed the time to get everyone’s preconceptions and rules out of my head with the goal of honing in on what it is I want to be creating. For the first time in a long while, I am making music that I am truly passionate about and I am excited to continue on this path of self-discovery”. Now, having found his own voice, Palminteri is defining who he is and baring it all, he continues, “Originality and being true to yourself is essential when making art in any form”. 

Leading single ‘Far From Me’ showcases simple guitar melodies, velvety vocals illustrating his impressive range and yearning lyrics which tug at your heart strings. The musician reveals, “Writing for me is like therapy, all of my emotions and experiences get baked into my music. All of these songs are about very different points in my life. All of these songs are a narration of what was happening to me at the time. Without giving anything away – some are inspirational, some are depressing, and everything in-between”.  ‘I Don’t Even Need You’ highlights Palminteri’s use of fun infectious melodies, upbeat rhythms and quirky lyrics which burst with personality.  

Palminteri has bared it all on stages across the Tri-State area, from Feinstein’s 54Below and Arlene’s Grocery, to Rockwood Music Hall and Bethlehem Musikfest. ‘Far From Me’ is currently available worldwide.

ICON the GREAT was formed when Big Wave teamed up with long time collaborator and best friend Tripper, to try and create something raw, pure, and most importantly fun. “We both came in with clean slates of our musical pasts and laid down what felt natural and exciting. We crushed a case of Miller Lite’s, talked, hit record and let what happen happen,” Tripper recalls.

The result is ICON the GREAT’s first single “Back For More”, a ferocious emotional unloading about how no one else matters but you and the people you hold close. “This shit is the two of us and that’s it.” says Big Wave. “We write it, produce it, make the artwork, get our friends to help with videos and pictures, and if you want to come along for the ride then be our guest.”

With a sound reminiscent of nostalgic 90s rap rock infused with modern alternative and underground SoundCloud hip hop, ICON the GREAT is here to prove that genres and expectations are a thing of the past. “The best part about music in today’s climate is the line between genres is dissolving quicker than ever. Fuck what you listened to in the past. ICON the GREAT is here for everyone to let their demons out no matter where you’re from.”

Colombian-American alt-pop artist Jackie Castro is thrilled to unveil her emotional new single “Hourglass” in honor of her late grandmother. This deeply personal song about losing someone to memory loss is available now and the official music video was premiered by American Songwriter.

Jackie says, “I wrote Hourglass the day after I got the call that my grandmother would be passing away in a matter of days after an 8-year battle with dementia. What I realized I was grieving the most in that moment was the loss of time. I wanted to get back all of those years that my grandma was still here but unable to communicate with me. There was so much more I wanted to know about her, but time was running out and I couldn’t get it back. Memory loss brings about a different kind of pain and this song is me honestly addressing all the questions and fears I had as my time with her came to a close. I hope this song helps people feel understood, comforted, and like they’re not alone in their pain. I hope it helps them process their own feelings the way this song has helped me process and come to peace with mine.”

This is her third single release off her upcoming album following the August release of “You Want It, I Want It” . This debut single received radio play in Boston & Dallas and is currently featured on Pandora’s Today’s Hits Radio Station. In September, Jackie released “Romanticize” which was added to Spotify’s Fresh Finds Fresh Finds-Poptronix playlists. Both releases were co-written by Jackie Castro.

In 2016, she made a successful debut into the music industry with her band Castro, a folk/pop trio consisting of her brothers Jason and Michael Castro. With the release of their EP ‘Diamond Dreams’ debuting at #1 on the Singer/Songwriter charts on iTunes and gaining over 9.5 million streams on Spotify, they made a national television appearance on The Wendy Williams Show and toured with acts such as Andy Grammer and Gavin DeGraw. In 2018, it was time for her to part ways and find her own voice. Leaving behind a deal with Curb Records, this Dallas native moved to Nashville where she worked to develop her artistry within the pop community. In doing so, she discovered she had a story to tell. Her sound is a mix of whimsical melodies, lush vocals, a balance of synths and acoustic instruments, and honest songwriting. 

Finn Matthews is thrilled to release his new R&B/pop single “Sunny Daze”.

Finn says, “This song is about an experience that I think a lot of people who move away from their families can relate to. In my case, it was LA. When you first get here, everything has this shiny veneer to it. It’s exciting and the possibilities seem endless. But after awhile the reality comes into focus and you have to decide who and what is important to you. It’s all a part of growing up that I wanted to capture.”

Finn’s career started when he met songwriter and artist Elijah Blake. Blake, who has penned hits for artists like Rihanna, Usher and Rick Ross, was floored by Finn’s delicate, yet soulful, falsetto voice.

At 16, Finn moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles to work w/ Blake and pursue music full time. Soon after, he received a development deal from Live Nation and released his first single and music video for the song “Julia” which hit over 1.2 million views on Youtube.

But Finn wasn’t content to just stay in his lane as a pop vocalist. He honed his skills as a guitarist, writer and producer, working on records for artists like Jordin Sparks as well as Blake. And as Finn matured, so did his sound.

Now, with his debut album, Sunny Daze (which he wrote and produced), Finn presents a blend of vibey, bedroom pop rooted in R&B and marked by his signature vocal. Comparisons to artists like Daniel Caesar, Zayn, and even Lauv come to mind but, like his voice, this is a unique sound that is entirely Finn.

Vibrant indie Nashville, indie pop band ELEL are thrilled to release their new single “Gravity” that is out now and featured on American Songwriter.

Ben Elkins says, “I couldn’t see a way forward, and wasn’t sure I’d make it, but at least I had a lot to write about.”

ELEL’s new single Gravity is Elkins’ cry to carry on even if all the circumstances are against you. It’s the moment right before the end when someone begs for another try. It may be foolish, but it also may be worth it.

The all-out optimism is surprising considering Elkins wrote “Gravity” while everything crumbled around him. His job, band and family were all torn apart with the discovery of his affair. “I was suddenly very alone. I’d been on an exciting path, and that all fell apart. The only thing that made me feel worth a damn was writing and recording new songs,” Elkins says.

This was back in 2016 when things were going well for ELEL. They’d just released their debut album on Mom + Pop Records, they’d appeared in Mike Birbiglia’s feature film “Don’t Think Twice,” and were touring steadily. By the beginning of 2017, things had become very quiet, except in Elkins’ headphones.

With the help of founding members Zach Tichenor and Tim Cook, new songs began to take shape. Eleven of them are recorded on an album they’ll start releasing in early 2020.

Elkins’ solo vocal performance links “Gravity” with all the new songs. He leaves behind the massive group vocals ELEL has become known for in songs like their breakout single “40 Watt,” preferring to sing alone about his journey. He wants the lyrics to be clear. They tell the story.



Written By: Neill Frazer

No Comments

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: