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INsiders Guide: TEMPOH Slow, Snøw, Kevin Devine, Eric Darius, Christina Wheeler, Jak Lizard, REAL FRIENDS, Emblematics, Mahogany Frog, ADMT, Lia Rye….

Emerging LA based newcomers TEMPOH Slow step out with their stellar new EP, PUNXX NOIR.  A standout body of work from a duo to watch, Tempoh Slow comprise of Nicholas Suhr ( long time drummer of K-Flay)  and Nick Spreigl (formerly with The Wind and the Wave and Cray),  TEMPOH Slow became the anchor for their lives while Los Angeles and its music scene lay vacant due to Covid and the uncertainty of live music.  Aggressively emotive, visceral and uncompromising,they revel in being musical shapeshifters averse to genres.  Speaking on the release, they state:

 “My Own Worst Enemy” is about getting in my own way, which I think we all do. When it comes to love, our goals, and our own happiness, we often self sabotage because it’s easier to stay in the same spot. Even when it’s time to move on, stop bad habits, and improve, I think we often romanticize where we are and don’t realize that there is something better and more exciting ahead. I needed to stop thinking that the past me was still here. It’s about moving on from yourself.

 “This EP goes to so many places sonically and lyrically, but the whole thing is pretty much a back and forth internal dialogue. I went through a gnarly time w/ anxiety and depression, and these songs were originally sad little poems or lines I would write. But the brightness and power of the music brings it to a place where anyone can hear them and just think they are love songs. Maybe they are! Maybe they aren’t. 

Photo Credit: Kaytlyn Justo

Salem native Snøw has revealed his highly anticipated debut album I Smoke To Cope today via amuse. Along with the record, he has also unveiled the visualizer for the focus track “Misbehave.” Teaming up with his longtime collaborator Skinny Atlas, he offers vivid portraits of struggling with addiction, practicing tough love, grieving through loss, and exercising vulnerability through an extensive 10-track work. Every song invites his audience to indulge in the vivid and chromatic styles of his sound that attest to his versatility in taking the lo-fi genre to refreshing territories. 

New York-based songwriter and musician Kevin Devine finally shares his highly anticipated cinematic album, Nothing’s Real, So Nothing’s Wrong out everywhere now via Triple Crown Records. Plus, hear the new music and more live this spring as Kevin Devine heads out on tour across the U.S. with support from Pronoun, Kississippi and Kayleigh Goldsworthy, beginning on April 6th in Baltimore, MD. Tickets are on-sale now and can be purchased on kevindevine.net.

Over the eleven tracks, Devine aims to preserve himself as he wrestles with existential questions amidst immense struggle and collapsing societal systems. Produced by longtime collaborator Chris Bracco, the expansive work is an eclectic mix of orchestral acoustic indie, lo-fi psych-folk, and melodic guitar pop. Devine manages to brilliantly strike a delicate balance between being intimate while vast, personal while universal, and discouraged yet hopeful as he aspires to re-imagine something bigger and believes in something better.

The release of the album comes after Devine treated fans to the first three dynamic, well-received singles, “Albatross,” “How Can I Help You?” (plus a bonus acoustic version premiered by The FADER) and “Override.” Each track offers a slightly new, refined side of the musician, yet sees Devine remain fiercely true to himself.

It’s A Trap!” is a whimsical, tongue-in-cheek tune where Devine repeats in the chorus, “It’s a trap! /

And I set it! / Now we’re in it and we’re all gonna die. Devine describes the track as what he thinks a pop song is, saying, “sugar and salt on the tongue and in the gas tank, gallows humor at the moment of transition/transcendence, and you can’t save your ass and your face at the same time, and the only way out is through, and the truth will set you free, but how free do you want to be?”

Jazz/R&B Saxophonist, Songwriter, Producer, and Performer, Eric Darius is thrilled to release his new single “That’s My Jam” that is out now. That’s My Jam is a song that Darius wrote that pays homage to one of his closest friends who recently passed, Willie Payne. The song features Justin Lee Shultz. Darius most recently dropped, “Summer Feelin’” Featuring Paul Jackson, Jr., the first single from his upcoming album which became a rallying anthem of hope during the pandemic, capturing the feeling of togetherness. This upbeat, feel-good song captures the exhilarating grooves and high energy of his legendary live show and already at the first week #1 Most added Song on  Billboard charts and Groove Jazz Charts.

Photo credit: Coco Haus

Berlin/Los Angeles-based composer, multi-instrumentalist, and multimedia artist, Christina Wheeler, shares her poignant full-length album, Songs of S + D, out everywhere now. Over the twelve tracks, Wheeler personalizes the full spectrum of universal emotions, examines the human experience, and contemplates existential questions through blending vulnerable, honest songwriting with her own distinct “soul-gaze” sound–a combination soul and shoe-gaze.

While built out of personal experience, Songs of S + D allows Wheeler to observe the human condition through a necessary, discerning lens. With extensive instrumental and compositional knowledge, Wheeler uniquely melds genres, pushing beyond a conventional understanding of sound as she uses everything from electro-acoustic instrumentation, which she interpolates with analog and digital electronic processing, to metal tines of the African kalimba to the autoharp.

Throughout much of her work, Wheeler explores the porous, delicate lines between universal dichotomies such as good and evil, life and loss, and elation and devastation. 

 Songs of S + D distinctively asks what it might sound like to fuse the sounds that surrounded Wheeler in her childhood, from soul, to R&B, funk, and disco, with shoe-gaze. The album’s recording process took place between Red Bull Studios Berlin and New York City, as well as Berlin’s Vox-Ton Studio. Wheeler expanded the record’s scope and quality with several collaborators including Melvin Gibbs, (electric bass) Marque Gilmore (drums, programmer) and Marika Hughes (cellist). Additionally, Joe McGinty and Kelvin Sholar added synths and synth bass lines, while Christian Prommer, Antonio Pulli, Simon Goff, Chris Tabron, and Evan Sutton engineered the recording. Veteran engineer Scotty Hard mixed the album, and Michael Fossenkemper mastered the recording.

The soulful serenades of New York City based singer/songwriter Jak Lizard is the positivity everyone needs infused in their lives. Born and raised in Long Island to a guitar-playing father and a former street-performing mother, as well as three older musician brothers; he had creativity and encouragement in abundance.

Growing up listening to the likes of Stevie Wonder and Sly and the Family Stone, Jak found himself connecting most to R&B/soul artists, but he was also captivated by the controversial stylings of Bob Dylan — to the point of learning both guitar and harmonica, and jokingly admitting, “I was definitely just trying to be Bob Dylan for a little bit.” The singer’s love for Bob Dylan initially inspired him to write politically-charged songs, however Jak quickly realised that his own music felt more authentic when he put a positive spin on negative situations, expressing, “I wanted to make music that reflected the aspirations of feeling more positive about life.”

His new single “Ride Home” was created as an ode to home, wherever or whatever that may be for others. Written alongside Sean Smith, Julia Zivic and Fatherdude (the latter two being the featured artists on the song), it was a moment of true collaboration. Curating harmony-driven sounds and sunny melodies, Jak explains, “”Ride Home is a song dedicated to the sense of belonging that we can attach ourselves to in the darkest of times. The refrain says “keep the light on, I’m coming right home” as if to say that even in my weakest hour, there’s a sense of home in my heart that I hold onto. It keeps me grounded and lets me know there’s love as long as I believe in myself. A dedication to the physical and spiritual entities that make us all feel like we have made it home, safe and sound. Whether it’s a front porch light being  on, or a friend from far away reaching out, we all get home in different ways, and all of them are worth celebrating.” 

His positive and optimistic approach to life is the focal point of his music, beaming vividly throughout the uplifting instrumentation and his vivacious vocals. Injected with an amalgamation of genres that have shaped him as an artist and set among a kaleidoscope of chirpy keys and buoyant beats, you can pinpoint inflections of some of his favorite artists, though presented in a way that is exclusively him.

His refreshingly bright outlook on life isn’t just a story he wants to project, but the mantra he lives by, with him revealing “Every song I’ve ever written has happened within an environment of joy and love. Those are definitely the prerequisites.”

Illinois-based band REAL FRIENDS have released new song ‘Tell Me You’re Sorry’, which is out now via Pure Noise Records.Speaking about the acoustic version of ‘Tell Me You’re Sorry’ bassist Kyle Fasel said  When we were all growing up, our favorite bands always made acoustic versions of their songs. And they typically kept it pretty stripped down. In today’s world it’s easy to go over the top and add in pretty much any instrument you want with a click of button. With ‘Tell Me You’re Sorry’ we decided to keep it simple with just acoustic guitar and vocals. I think it helps convey the raw emotion of the lyrics. It also gives it a timeless sound, which is what we are always striving for.’

Photo Credit: Sara Kuefler

Calgary indie rock band Emblematics are following up the release of their acclaimed track ‘Festival Door’ with ‘An Impact’the 2nd single from their Navigation EP out on April 22nd. Navigation is the second EP that Emblematics have released during the pandemic and this plays out in the overall themes of the EP, which revolve around concepts of anxiety, mental health, and the ability to cope. The band’s latest single ‘An Impact’ highlights those themes. 

‘An Impact’ is a surly, spacey song, and was the first track demoed for the EP,” says vocalist/guitarist Michael Yun. “It essentially started as a simple synth-pop song by playing around with a keyboard patch, and we then tried to mess it up more by layering different ambient type guitars and effects on it. The lyrics fit with the general theme of the EP: coping with an anxiety event.”

Photo Credit: Sarah Epp

Winnipeg instrumental electric rock band Mahogany Frog is pleased to announce the release of their ambitious new album Faust, an original score set to the eponymous 1926 German silent film. The album is out today on all digital streaming platforms. Listen hereDirected by F. W. Murnau, Faust is widely regarded as being among the greatest films of the silent era. It tells the classic legend of fate and temptation that dates back centuries. In this, their latest offering, Mahogany Frog brings together their collective experience in composition, experimentation, electronics, intense rock & roll, and searing fuzz guitar. Together they weave a dark and diverse score around Faust’s brooding tale of corruption, devastation and redemption.The 2nd single and video from the album, ‘Flying Carpet II: Sword Fight’, is also out today. Driven by an ominous and persistent beat, the track takes the listener on a wild journey. “Layers of cinematic war drums lay the foundation for fornication and murder,” says guitarist / keyboardist Jesse Warkentin. “Soaring backwards fuzz guitar imposes sporadic blankets of tension. The innocence and passion of youth turns horrifically awry, and the fate of the fair and virtuous now points towards inevitable shame and doom.”

Written in response to missing someone special, One Night comes as an intoxicating next installment from the Doncaster based rising-artist.

 Coming as an impressive display of ADMT’s passionate, articulate lyricism and effortless vocals, One Night is yet another reason why ADMT is someone to pay attention to. Sharing more about the song, he explained: I wrote this song when I missed someone a whole lot. It seemed like all I wanted was one more night with that person, so I could feel all the feelings of when we were together. I thought that it would fix how empty I felt. It took a long time to realize that the solution had to come from within and it wasn’t about getting more time with that person.

 Your value doesn’t change depending on someone else’s perception of you and that’s important to remember. Always back yourself and stop comparing yourself to others – you’re fucking sick. 

With live music at a stand still during the pandemic, it’s been an exceptionally difficult time for emerging artists over the last two years. Tenacious and hard working, ADMT took to busking in his neighboring towns whenever lockdown restrictions allowed (Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds). ADMT found a way to give people a taste of their much missed live music, captivating thousands of new fans in the process and evening bagging a feature on Apple Tv’s Ted Lasso. “Busking has been my saving grace through all of this. It’s been my fresh air. It’s allowed me to be me.. And without it I’m not sure I’d have made it through this pandemic as easily.”ADMT added.

Lia Rye is an 18 year old South London based artist whose music dances on the borders of alternative pop and rock. Showcasing mellow, reflective themes, Rye incorporates honest, relatable lyrics through a storytelling approach, captivating listeners with her colourful tales of characters and how they perceive the world around them. 

Having studied at The Brit School and releasing her debut single at the young age of 15 years old, Rye found a stronger confidence in what she could achieve musically and accepted her unique artistry. Taking inspiration from the likes of Against The Current, Bring Me The Horizon and Lorde, Rye has established her exclusive sound with varied foundations.

Her latest single “Habits” tells the story of a self-centred person building their own reality to the detriment of others and eventually themselves. By the track’s conclusion, they accept that they’ll never be what others want them to be, defiantly yet sadly welcoming this realisation. The artist shares, “It’s sort of bittersweet as I learnt not to make excuses for unacceptable behaviour, but I had to ponder on the journey it took for me to gain that understanding.” Ultimately, “Habits” is about not caring what people think no matter whether you’re the villain or the hero.

Brooding guitars, fierce vocals and pounding drums create an overall determined and assured atmosphere. With an 80’s pop tinge shimmering a top crashing alt rock instrumentation, the musician has crafted a sound which is undeniably her own. 

Off of her upcoming EP Fever Dream, the release acts as a form of catharsis, seeing the artist move on from the fear and longing she initially had when wanting to pursue music. Beyond her sound, Rye wishes to break the genre stereotypes for black artists and represent those who look like her, whilst sharing her love of alt music.

Having performed at prestigious venues across London, along with support from BBC Introducing, Lia Rye is set for an exciting and promising 2022 and it’s one you’ll want to be part of.

It’s not often you get to say your track was featured in a hit series executively produced by Drake…unless, of course your name is BZ. From the booth to the big screens, South London’s newcomer has unveiled his latest menacing single, ‘2 G’s’, featured on the reputable TV series Top Boy.   STREAM/DOWNLOAD: BZ – 2 G’S Fearless, unapologetic, and daring, the three words that come to mind when hitting play on this wheel-up worthy listen. Capturing the grit of London’s inner city, ‘2 G’s’ accommodates a charged-up and cinematic production courtesy of LiTek (Aitch, ArrDee, Blanco) that enables BZ to pierce through with a fiery flow and bodacious tone. Introduced with the waking sounds of sirens, a bold percussive backdrop swiftly paves a way for the rap riser to boast his impressive pen game and punching flows throughout, “Two G’s tryna get it all night / Cah the top is our right / Jiggy jiggy our time / Oopsie if they hitting our side / They ain’t hitting our hype / Tell them oppers bye bye”, he raps. 

London four-piece GUISE are joined by Emily Barker on sublime new single ‘I Know When You Leave’.  LISTEN TO ‘I KNOW WHEN YOU LEAVE’ ON YOUTUBE HERE || STREAM ON ALL SERVICES HERE  Ahead of the release of their debut album Youngest Daughter (due 29th April via Xtra Mile Recordings), the latest offering from London-based GUISE is a dazzling, vocal harmony led track that sees the foursome joined by singer-songwriter Emily Barker Grappling with the hardship that comes with being apart from someone you love, the track is as sublime as it is stirring with frontwoman Jessica Guise’s emotive lyricism brought to life with lush vocal harmonies and sparse instrumentals.  Discussing the story behind the heartfelt new track Jessica explains:“I wrote the words to ‘I Know When You Leave’ on a bus in Italy, and the tune came to me later back in London, Separation from the person I love is a pretty normal part of my life, but that doesn’t make it easy all the time; things are generally just a bit worse when we’re apart, and that’s what this is about.” 

A modern music collaboration — Black Sands is the recording project of American producer Andrew Balfour. Collaborating with unique international vocalists on each record, he produces a synthesis of alt-pop, modern rock and experimental R&B reminiscent of The Weeknd and The 1975. 

 Following the release of his debut EP Afterglow, which was inspired by the loss of his sister and the process of stepping forward through grief, Balfour wanted to be intentional with the new songs he was writing. Originally inspired by the dark, confusing emotions of grief, Afterglow was about stepping forward into the light. He continues, “These new songs I’m releasing this year are all built around the concept of “Lightwaves” which is about embracing the dark and the light. Finding harmony and balance with the good and bad that life brings.” 

His latest single “Deserve” brings a new collaborator into the mix – Isadora, a rising R&B artist based in Australia. Her Ariana Grande-esque vocals help bring a new element into the Black Sands sound. Taking inspiration from the tides of the sea, the song emulates the ebb and flow of the waves, reflecting the push and pull of something that feels organic, rhythmic and hypnotizing at the same time. “Deserve” symbolizes the concept and feeling of “Lightwaves”. Balfour shares, “There’s something beautiful yet dark about it. Deserve hits on the theme of loyalty and gratitude. Staying loyal and true to friends and relationships even when people are at their worst to help them persevere. The song comes from the perspective of being grateful for the people who stay by your side through thick and thin.”

Isadora’s vocals embellish the song with more power, dynamicity and emotional drive. Layered atop colorful synths, a throbbing bass line and oscillating percussion, the song comes alive, radiating the natural rhythms of the waves crashing against the sea shore and the airiness of being next to the water. He explains, “I like to take inspiration from all around me including nature, cities, architecture and design.” 

Black Sands has been featured in prestigious publications including EARMILK, Rolling Stone, Variance, Atwood Magazine and Wonderland, to name a few. Working with collaborators across the globe including LUXXURY, OIJ, Trenton, Martino, Joe Sheriff – Black Sands continues to bring his unique brand of pop to the world.

Whoever Allan Rayman is, he’s made a hell of a body of work so far. The Wyoming born, Toronto based artist has delivered one head-scratching, hypnotic and heavenly project after another, including Hotel Allan [2016], Courtney EP [2017], Roadhouse 01 [2017], Harry Hard-On [2018], and CHRISTIAN [2020]. Along the way, he generated over 250 million streams, sold out tours in Europe, The United States and Canada, and shined at festivals, including Reading & Leads, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Ohana, Austin City Limits, and Osheaga. In the midst of this whirlwind, he gained a newfound clarity and applied it to finishing ROADHOUSE 02 during the Global Pandemic.

Every side of Rayman shines on ROADHOUSE 02. Thematically inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s classic Slaughterhouse-Five, Rayman sonically nods back to the nocturnal R&B of his early work. The 13-track album focuses on the musician’s career to date; being signed and dropped, to the feeling of not being “the right guy for the job” and the struggle of finding positivity in all this negative space. Touching on maturity and the revelations that come with it, Rayman becomes unstuck in time and is shown his life and what’s to come of it if he continues to let Mr. Roadhouse have full control. It ultimately leads to depression and unfortunately death. ROADHOUSE 02 is Rayman being shown his options and having to make the decision on where he wants his life to go.

Opening track “Dead Frogs” is about studying his favorite artists and seeing where they went wrong. He confides, “Most of them died young and if they didn’t they’d become something else that I would like to avoid.” Then there is “Lately” which speaks to the duality in people and how there is more than one personality in all of us, “Mine gets the better of me often and I let that happen especially for performance sake.” The brooding “Good Enough” is about chasing something that ultimately is bad for you and that the steps along the way are the real important moments – happiness. Narrating the closing of a chapter, “Bye Bye Blondie” says goodbye to an old version of the artist – Christian album Allan. “Rider” sees the musician being able to view life in its entirety from beginning to end, learning how he can avoid going down a different road, so death doesn’t come for him. It allows him to become unstuck in time and move around the moments of his life as if he were visiting a zoo. “Ghost” is about an old friend who passed away that Allan believes has contacted him in his dreams, “I believe it is when we are asleep that ghosts can communicate with us so as to not scare us.”

Korean-American singer, songwriter and composer, eaJ, is set to release his first official track as a solo artist on April 8th at 12:00AM EST. eaJ first performed “Car Crash” on the main stage at 88 Risings Head In The Clouds Festival at Rosebowl Stadium last November. His solo career had not yet even officially begun as he took to the most well-known main stage for Asian American music. Now in 2022, eaJ has moved back to his hometown of California and is ready for this new journey to begin with the release of “Car Crash.”

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

Socials: @neillfrazer

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Written by Neill Frazer

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