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INsiders Guide: PHNTMS, Charm of Finches, Annabel Gutherz, Cassie Marin, Andrew Smith, Freya Beer, Lexi Mariah, Andrew Tejada, Skinny Lister, Rosie Tee….

Sitting somewhere between arena rock and the classic sound of 1960’s soul singers, Philadelphia based band PHNTMS creates music bursting with vast soundscapes and colliding instrumentation. Together, Alyssa Gambino, Adam Jessamine, and Mikal Smith are bringing back rock music while simultaneously putting their own unique stamp on it.

Inspired by everyday situations, relationships, and growing up, the band aims to create a feeling with which listeners can easily identify. Gambino reveals, “I think as songwriters, we try to capture these moments and make them as detailed as possible. We’ll always be fascinated by the fact we can freeze these moments…”

With the lead singer of the band identifying as queer, PHNTMS also hope to reach out to and support the LGBTQA+ community.

PHNTMS has seen success having performed opening spots for such acts as Kings of Leon, The 1975, Bastille, Fitz & The Tantrums, Empire of the Sun, Pale Waves, Emarosa, and Half Noise.

Melbourne sister duo, Charm of Finches, sing haunted folk tunes about love, 

grief and whispering trees with their signature tight sibling harmonies and chamber folk sound. Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes emerge from an eclectic musical childhood of Celtic strings and busking old-time tunes. 

 Their debut album “Staring at the Starry Ceiling”, produced by Nick Huggins of Little Lake Records and featuring the duo’s signature angelic vocal harmonies and captivating chamber folk sound, was praised for its candour and originality and named one of the best releases of 2016 by ABC Radio National. Their sophomore album “Your Company” in November 2019 on their independent label Conversations With Trees, they toured Australia widely.  This album was Melbourne’s PBS Radio Album of the Week and winner of the Best Folk/Singer-Songwriter Album in the Independent Music Awards (IMA). 

 The duo has won many awards nationally and internationally and their music has featured on Australian TV. Their influences include Sufjan Stevens , Gillian Welch, Danish songstress Agnes Obel and First Aid Kit as well as the incredible homegrown talent in their local Victorian folk scene.

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Montreal-based singer & songwriter Annabel Gutherz releases her debut album, Loose Ends. The 11-track record includes 6 previously released singles and 5 brand new tracks. The album was co-produced by Dominique Messier, a long time band member for Céline Dion and owner of Studio Piccolo in Montreal, Quebec.

Loose Ends is stylistically eclectic yet entirely authentic. It’s a comforting record that cathartically encapsulates life’s unfinished moments: “Many times in my life, I was unable to get closure. Instead, I was left to bear the weight of the words I never said and the inescapable memories that tethered me to my past, suspending time. Understanding my need to let go of these ‘loose ends,’ I turned to song,” Annabel says.

Throughout the album, Annabel explores these complex and imperfect defining life experiences with a diaristic touch. Her ardent and perspective storytelling is on full display, complimented by honeyed melodies, layered instrumentation and full-bodied vocals. She takes listeners on a journey as she writes from the heart with raw honesty and emotional conviction.

 Los Angeles-based vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist Cassie Marin unveils her new single, “Tanto.” 

“Tanto” is a track that sees Cassie wading into new musical territory. She pays homage to her Cuban-American upbringing by singing in Spanish – her first language – and weaving vibrant, rhythmic latin beats with her signature indie-electronica sound. Lyrically, Cassie is at her most vulnerable on “Tanto” as she opens up about the autoimmune disease she has been battling in private over the past seven years. Elaborating on how her health battle inspired the new song, Cassie says,

Elaborating on how her health battle inspired the new song, Cassie says, “after waking up one day completely covered in burning hives, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that no doctor I sought out could seem to give a name to. I felt helpless and defeated looking at my body in the mirror covered by this red shape that seemed to be snaking its way along my body, taunting me with a loss of control. My hives come and go, making themselves known on what felt like the most inconvenient of days. I felt like I needed to hide from people so they wouldn’t cringe, ask questions or feel sorry for me. Every morning I would wake up with something new on my plate to face, and that’s exactly what ‘Tanto’ is about. I’ve bloomed so much from this experience and I’m still learning how to approach every obstacle with a sense of excitement and curiosity, but most importantly, I’ve grown to have so much gratitude for my body and all that she does for me.”

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NYC-based indie pop artist Andrew Smith creates bright and nostalgic piano-driven songs that are undeniably catchy. His unabashedly honest lyrics are both humorous and melancholy, and aim to better understand complex feelings about life and purpose. The songwriter confides,Many of my songs are born of reflections I have about my life, or discoveries made in therapy, etc.”

 Born south of Boston in 1993, Andrew Smith grew up performing in theatre and writing short films at a young age. However, it wasn’t until he studied at Berklee College of Music that he began writing and producing original songs alongside longtime collaborator, Jackson Hoffman. From there, Andrew knew that music was his emotional outlet, oftentimes comforting him in times of uncertainty, fear, anxiety and depression. 

 Smith’s last EP, To My Therapist, addresses his journey to self-acceptance, the ups and downs of coming out, and finding romance in modern-day Manhattan. Inspired by his love of songwriters like James Taylor and Randy Newman, Smith pulls elements from 1970s piano pop, The Great American Songbook, and contemporaries such as John Mayer and Ben Rector. With To My Therapist,  Andrew thematically hopes to bring a deeper honesty and inspiration to the often challenging and confusing experiences we all navigate on the road to self-acceptance.

 His new single “Twenties” was written in his parents attic during the pandemic.  The poignant song narrates Smith’s feeling of being overwhelmed by his own path and feeling unaccomplished and unworthy.  He confides, I spent many years of my twenties putting my personal life on the back burner. Am I falling behind!? When I’m being critical of myself, my demons say that I’m late to the party. I’m “falling behind. This has been a huge lesson as I navigate self-acceptance and self-love. Time and showing myself compassion is a theme through many of my songs lately.” Featuring sprinkling synths and warm tender vocals over 80s-dipped landscapes, “Twenties” is stunning, anthemic and intimate at the same time.

 “Magic Mess” is about finding your true identity in a time of feeling lost and overworked.  It also pays tribute to the “people who applaud you for being you.” Smith reveals, “I had so many beautiful people cheering for me as I fell on my face. They dusted me off again and again. This song is really about people who applaud you for being you. I’ve always been a very clean-cut person, and the song is also about leaning into your wrinkles, messing up your hair, choosing the t-shirt over the tie.” The song was co-written by Jackson Hoffman and Ryder Stuart who helped craft the indie pop bop. Shimmering vibrant synths float alongside funk-fueled bass and soaring layered vocals creating a release that is contagious as it is thought provoking. 

FREYA BEER can confirm the release of her long-awaited debut album: ‘Beast’.

Released via her own Sisterhood imprint, it will be available digitally and on CD, next week on Thursday 7th October 2021.

Letting the news off the leash with one of the record’s most ensnaring moments, Freya is accompanying the announcement with the unveiling of its title-track, “Beast”, which you can listen to right now.

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“Don’t tell me this is wrong to enjoy all these feelings”, Freya purrs with a lip-smacking sense of relish. A song all about the conflicting feelings that can shadow a sense of empowerment, “Beast” finds Freya stepping into the shoes of Lady Justice and taking the scales into her own hands. Laden with the typically evocative imagery we have come to expect from the London songwriter, its lyrics toy with our notions of lust and love, guilt and the truth, the milk of human kindness and the poison of power; to create something exhilarating and asphyxiating in equal measures. 

Produced by Peter Hobbs (The Boy Least Likely To), it’s a track of unrelenting intensity that locks the listener with clenched jaws from the outset. As its spiralling arrangements hypnotise and Owain Hanford’s prowling percussives paralyse, its Freya who delivers the deathly sting in the tail with puncturing guitar barbs that will spare no-one in their path.

“Beast” will be accompanied by a music video as-directed by Paul Gallagher and edited by Pete Kingston, to be revealed very soon. 

Lexi Mariah is an American pop artist known for her powerful songwriting and infectious melodies. Her music is an instant indicator of her personality, sharing distinctive lyrics that take you on a journey through her struggles of past losses and how she has learned to cope. Musically influenced by artists such as Bebe Rexha, Cher Lloyd and Taylor Swift, Lexi’s sound is described as vivacious, glamorous and energetic.

Her latest single “Demons” touches on battling with your inner demons, resulting in struggling to let people in and trust others. Mariah shares, “I’ve made mistakes in the past of opening up too much, too fast and oversharing with people who I shouldn’t have overshared with. Because of this, I don’t always like to let others know how I’m feeling, so I’ll often hide my emotions even if they’re super strong.” 

Produced by Kenny Cash (Sony, Disney, Nickelodeon, Netflix), the track hones in on delicious 80s flushes and influence from Dua Lipa’s 2021, Future Nostalgia album.  “Demons” includes pulsing energy of glittering synths, bursting with vibrancy as the track flows in and out of a funk guitar bringing an electro-retro-dance vibe. With a fun, cohesive pull on bringing disco to 2021 through pop, this track is bursting with dominant bass lines and a bright shimmer of power and strength in the strong hooks and truly catchy chorus. 

Lexi’s music has accumulated thousands of streams across all digital platforms. The singer has managed to gain a dedicated and ever-growing fan base from her catchy melodies and self-empowering lyrics.

Continuing to build serious heat, rising Dominican R&B artist Andrew Tejada is flying back into the sound-sphere with his latest heartfelt single “Perdoname”.

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Layering a sleek R&B bassline with polished trap undertones, Andrew delivers another emotive performance in his native language, lyrically exploring the guilt and heartache of coming clean about a romantic betrayal. Finessed with psychedelic effects, the track’s video acts as a simple but effective mirror to Andrew’s artistry for relaxed R&B grooves.

Speaking on the track, Andrew states “The story behind “Perdoname” is that of a man who acknowledges all his wrong doing during his relationship and seeks forgiveness. Not only for the unfaithful act towards his significant other but also for the betrayal towards his best friend. In her he found a friend way before a lover.”

One of Latin America’s most exciting emerging talents, Andrew Tejada is your enigma-next door. Raised between New York City, The Dominican Republic, and The Netherlands, he was exposed to a broad spectrum of music growing up, with his grandmother playing him the likes of José José, Marco Antonio Solís and Anthony Santos from a young age. Simultaneously on his own journey, Andrew developed a passion for Johnny Mathis, The Bee Gees and Usher – the Confessions record in particular.

This breadth of influence was channelled into crafting his own musical landscape, which culminated in Andrew’s debut single “Morena”. With an impressive slew of releases so far in 2021– “Buena Vibra”, “Sube”, “Cuando Quieras” and “Pregunta” – the tracks have collectively racked up over 1 million plays across Spotify and YouTube, receiving strong editorial support from Spotify and attracting early hype from the likes of Mixtape Madness, Wordplay, Vibras TV and Entertainment Rocks.

A testament to his authentic artistry, “Perdoname” look set to draw serious attention and offer a further glimpse of the exciting sounds we can expect from Andrew’s album out later this year.

Celebrating all the best things life has to offer – SKINNY LISTER – return with a jubilant new single this Autumn. 


A Matter Of Life & Love is the title-track of their fifth studio album (out 22nd October 2021 on Xtra Mile Recordings) and one of its finest, catchiest, and most uplifting moments.
Nodding to the works of Madness or The Specials at their ska/pop peaks, Skinny Lister’s new single ‘A Matter Of Life & Love’ pays loving homage to that classic sound with its cheerful bar-room pianos, walking basslines and woozy saxophones in abundance.
Sung by the band’s Dan Heptinstall, it’s a track that encourages us to look on the bright-side of life and treasure the trivial; a recurrent theme throughout their upcoming album. As Dan explains:
‘A Matter Of Life & Love’ is us capturing a collection of very true stories and feelings, that have really ‘mattered’ to us over the past year or so. And the title track is a reminder to recognise the moments in life that really matter, but that can sometimes seem ‘trivial’ or ‘throwaway’ – a sentiment likely borne out of those months of enforced limited social contact last year.”
Paired with a humorous official video filmed on Hastings beach that quite literally sees the Skinnies jumping for joy, you can check it out here and now:
A Matter Of Life & Love swiftly follows: ‘Damn The Amsterdam’, a sea shanty which featured guest harmonies from: The Longest Johns (who will also be joining them for their Winter UK tour – details below). 

Both tracks will feature on A Matter Of Life & Love, a new Skinny Lister album written over the past 18 months and the first to be entirely written, produced, recorded and mixed by the band themselves. Bringing together all their influences and styles, from ska to rock and from folk-punk to traditional shanty, throughout its 12 tracks ‘A Matter Of Life & Love’ is in many ways the distillation of everything that has seen the world fall for Skinny Lister’s charms. An album about camaraderie and companionship through thick and thin, to cherishing the simple things freedom brings; ‘A Matter Of Life & Love’ finds a band brimming with a zest for life, love, music and good-times. It’s released everywhere on 22 October, via Xtra Mile Recordings (pre-order).

In support of the album, Skinny Lister will be hitting the road for a UK headline tour throughout November and December, with Manchester and London shows already sold out. The band will also be supporting Less Than Jake and embarking on a headline German tour in the new year.

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Avant-pop wunderkind Rosie Tee is proud to unveil her much anticipated new EP, entitled Earth, Embrace Me In. It’s a six-track collection of love songs but not for people, for the planet. A landlocked Brummie pining for the sea, bittersweet and fraught with climate anxiety, these songs demand to exist in a physical space and now live music is back, the time for release has come. 

 Following on from her much loved 2019 release Chambers, the new record amplifies her exploratory compositions through a new of line-up of vocals & glockenspiel, offkilter synths (Piera Onacko), swarming bass (Dan Cippico) and textural drums (Kai Chareunsy). The quartet blend woozy electronica and jazz sensibilities, inviting listeners to sink into Tee’s world.  

   Rosie Tee knows how to make things happen; her band have recorded at Abbey Road Studios and her compositions for professional ensembles & orchestras have been performed internationally. Nominated for Best Jazz Act by the Birmingham Music Awards, the composer/performer has received national airplay on BBC Radio 6 Music and has been described as “a rare idiosyncratic talent” by The Unsigned Guide.  

   Earth, Embrace Me In has been a long time coming. Recorded back in 2019 at Megatone Studios in the heart of her Birmingham hometown, it’s been gestating ever since. Already described as “a truly mind-altering release” by Earmilk and “a joy” by BBC Introducing, this EP is a celebration of live performance. The character of each musician in Tee’s quartet bubbles to the surface through her distinctive compositions captured and pressed onto the medium of 12″ Vinyl for the first time. 

   Each of the six singles are undoubtedly bittersweet, highlighting the beauty and darkness in the place the musical inspiration resides. “Emerald” is a glassy collection of raindrop production and rippling melodies oozing in jazz. With a warbling delay of vocals, the track feels calm and free-flowing, like the movement of the ocean, it’s both beautifully graceful and unpredictable. “Wither” is an ever-changing kaleidoscope of sounds. The rise and fall of her melodies are swept up into a pool of shimmering synths, bringing a stunning electronic element to the table. 

  As a record, Earth, Embrace Me In is both cinematic and intimate. Wrapped in a blanket of whirring Rhodes piano (performed by Tom Harris), Tee’s imagist lyrics paint epic landscapes, populated by dissonant synth textures and star-bright glockenspiel. Her classical background shines through, but field recordings and boldly minimalist arrangements lend the songs coarse humanness. The EP flutters throughout with angelic synths, swirling around complex jazz drums and melodies, mixed with unexpected twists and turns lending to Tee’s avant creative nature. 

  Bookended with performances from RIOT String Quartet in “Lungs” & “Swept”, Earth, Embrace Me In holds the listener’s hand in readiness before lead single Anchors lumbers on to the scene. It’s got more weight than anything heard from Tee previously. Her crystalline vocal rings out as the listener is buffeted by an oppressive, pulsating bassline. Written by Tee while living alone in Rotterdam, Anchors is tinged with jazz and homesickness, clutching for stability in an existential mess. “We wrestle with our skin,” she sings, “so earth, embrace me in.” 

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