INsiders Guide: Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts, ari hicks,  The Isley Brothers And Beyoncé, LE JUNK, “From Our Point Of View”, Bahjat, Monowhales, KRAMIES, Alison Sudol…


American singer-songwriter and actress Alison Sudol shares playful new single ‘Playground’, out via Kartel Music GroupStream ‘Playground’ Here Taken from the upcoming autobiographical album ‘Still Come The Night’ – Pre-Order ‘Still Come The Night’ Here

Playground’ is “a celebration of finding the person that makes me stupidly happy,” explains Alison. “We knew we wanted to a make a baby with each other pretty much from the get go.  We felt like teenagers, responsible ones”.

Written by Alisonwith London based multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer Chris Hyson – half of adventurous collective Snowpoet – ‘Playground’ is a collaborative effort with the rest of the musicians who went on to form Alison’s backing band playing on the upcoming album- Welsh twin brothers Alex and Lloyd Haines on guitar and drums along with  engineer Alex Killpatrick

Diving deeper into the creative and songwriting process, Alison reveals; “we wanted to make something that we could dance to so we were trying out grooves and testing them out to see what would make us move. We added the guitar counter melodies through a Leslie Cab at Livingstone Studios in London a few months later which brought another layer of colour and texture that the song was calling for. In that same session we added percussion which we all played in the room together, some of us stopping and starting at different times in the song, following the arrangement”.

‘Playground’ follows the release of the deeply personal single ‘Peaches’and the poetic cut ‘Meteor Shower’  – released alongside the compelling video, premiered by Hunger , and directed by Alison’s close collaborator and Creative Director Federico Nessi, who is also responsible for the upcoming album’s art direction. 

Alison Sudol new single ‘Playground’ is out now via Kartel Music Group – Stream ‘Playground’ Here

American rock band Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts are back with their new single/video, “Ballad of A Misspent Youth,” the first single from their forthcoming album of the same name. The release marks their first with the new label MRG, founded by industry veterans Marti Frederiksen and John Greenberg and distributed worldwide by Virgin Music/Universal.

“Ballad of A Misspent Youth,” is an old-school rock ’n roll anthem for a new generation. Tuk elaborates on the inspiration behind the first single: “It’s a by-product of my upbringing in the South when I was cutting my teeth in the underground Atlanta punk scene before touring for a decade in the clubs and dives.”

The track marks Tuk’s return to the studio with producer Dan Dixon, and the music video was produced and directed by Hannah Gray Hall in Nashville.

ari’s furious feminist energy is palpable, flaunting her genre-spanning style as she ricochets between themes of empowerment and bravado, giving listeners a first glance at ari entering her Villain Era as she pays homage to the death of a male centric narrative. 

Showcasing a different dimension of the pop singer, this Chapter acts as the start of her newest era. Featuring three brand new tracks as well as familiar favorites  “Romeo Dies”, “Sucker”, Shut Up”and “Look Pretty”We start off with the self-assertive pop anthem “Two Sides” followed by “Pull your Tooth” and “Jaded”, giving the euphoric darker sound and get-under-your-skin lyrics to end the chapter on an edgier note, offering listeners a more haunting glimpse into Chapter 2

It’s Not That Deep: Chapter 1 follows ari hicks’s 2020 Kiss Me, Kill Me EP, which introduced the world to her halloween hit “Kiss Me, Kill Me” Since then, the dark pop siren has firmly proved herself as a top artist to watch this year. Reigning as a Live Nation’s “Ones to Watch 2022” with nearly 200k TikTok followers and earning acclaim from the likes of Wonderland, Vogue, ALT Press and many more. Consider this an honest and bold storybook about unapologetically stepping into your power, It’s Not That Deep is an all encompassing soundtrack of entering your Villain Era. Each Chapter a collage of stories and experiences that were derived to hone in on the concept of reclaiming your power. 

On the release, ari confides, “Chapter 1: My forthcoming album “It’s Not That Deep” is an all encompassing soundtrack of entering your Villain Era. Each Chapter a collage of stories and experiences that were derived to hone in on the concept of reclaiming your power. Chapter 1 really embodies a lighter energy, its a little petty, a little savage but its FUN. It’s tapping into your feminine energy and taking these cookie cutter stories and giving them a bit of a plot twist, because why shouldn’t girls have their fun? Sonically and visually I aligned and designed each of these tracks with main character energy (hence why they all have an actual character). These tracks are for the brats, the girls that feel silenced, the ones that are entering their villain era selflessly or selfishly – I want this Chapter to be the voice for that.”

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame® inductees, Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees and GRAMMY® Award-winning, music legends, Ronald Isley and The Isley Brothers unveil a new collaboration with Beyoncé. These iconic artists come together to recreate the Isley Brother’s classic love ballad, “Make Me Say It Again, Girl” out today via RI Top Ten. The song made its world premiere on radio and is available on all streaming platforms HERE.

Composed by Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, O’Kelly Isley, Ronald Isley, Rudolph Isley and Chris Jasper, “Make Me Say It Again, Girl” was originally featured on The Isley Brothers’ platinum-selling, The Heat Is On album (1975), which reached #1 on both Billboard’s Black Albums chart and Billboard’s Pop Albums chart and spent 40 weeks on that chart.

“Make Me Say It Again, Girl” is the latest new music from The Isley Brothers since 2021’s feel-good anthem, “Friends and Family,” featuring Snoop Dogg“Make Me Say It Again, Girl” will be featured on The Isley Brothers’ highly anticipated, forthcoming album that is releasing September 2022.

Fast ascending alt/pop artist – LE JUNK – is back with his first new music of 2022: ‘Midnight Lover’ (out 12th August, via Naked Superstar Recordings).


A syrupy melange of wiry guitar licks and elasticated basslines, shot-through with a pneumatic electroclash crunch, “Midnight Lover” is as hot and heady as the heatwaves of ‘22.

With lyrics as sticky and seductive as leather-on-skin at the height of summer, it finds Le Junk toying with society’s unspoken taboos and flirting with those dark, hedonistic impulses that lurk deep beneath the surface.

As Le Junk explains of the track:

“Set within one’s guilty conscience, “Midnight Lover” is a tragic self-conflict tale of lust vs love, as wrong-doings form a moral battle of selfishness and delusion.”

Riding on a bed of fuzzy grooves and frenzied synths lines that refuse to relent, Le Junk commands from the front with a march of rhythmic spoken-word slogans, as salacious as they are sarcastic.

“A perfectionist, who would have guessed? What if I said I’m addicted to the rest?” he quips, tongue just-about in-cheek as he taps into the conflicted thoughts of an inner-psyche embroiled in a sordid war with itself. 

Taking cues from the heavy bass and beat driven styles of artists like Peaches, LCD Soundsystem, and Death From Above 1979, the Le Junk sound is a taut blend of sharp alternative-pop and slick electroclash, strewn with stories of sleazy misdemeanours and darkly sardonic humour.

Having previously fronted acts Eighteen Nightmares at the Lux and Big & The Fat, he parted ways with those projects with ideas of creating new material under a solo moniker. Initially writing demos on a bass and drum machine, he soon began shaping and styling a canon of material of his own identity from the comfort of his bedroom studio. Choosing to surface amidst the mayhem of 2020 as Le Junk, his debut solo single “Rich Romance” pointed to a refreshing new artist that spelled-out that there’s always space to have some fun. 

Introducing From Our Point Of View, a series cementing the voices, experiences, stories and journeys of some significant Black Queer Male Identifying artists, activists and community members. In collaboration with BGMN (Black Gay Men’s Network of Ontario) and noteworthy choreographer and artistic director, Hollywood Jade (Resident Choreographer Canada’s Drag Race), the show comes to life in a profound blend of emotional, interesting and at times humorous anecdotes. 

Bringing his visionary excellence to life, Executive Producer and Director Robert Ball continues to thrive in his attempt to showcase true authenticity and creative eminence. Showcased and now streaming across “STRATFEST@HOME” (Stratford Festival’s streaming platform), From Our Point of View blesses viewers with discussions of life, sex, health, art, aspirations and pretty much everything in between! Spilling with insightful glimpses into the lives of a wide line-up of guests, Ball shares, “I continue to step into the authenticity of myself as a human being.”
In a host of episodes, host Hollywood Jade takes us into a correlation of conversation, with recent guests Thom Allison, a renowned name in the theatre space, and Marcus Nance, a multi-disciplinary who straddles the worlds of theatre, film and opera. Bringing to life the true artistry and passion they enthral, Jade and company take to the familiar comfort of the “FOPOV” studio. Nance shares, “I fought for who I was all my life. People think that if I’m black, gay, and over 50 theres nothing out there for me.” However, From Our Point Of View consolidates that with the sharing of professional paths, inspirational anecdotes and truly admirable tales, this series is simply and profoundly ‘Our’ conversations – stories we’ve never told, sharing our journey and a narrative “From Our Point Of View”…

Check out the first episodes on Stratford Festival’s streaming site HERE!

The ‘A-Pop’ prince Bahjat unveils his second single of the year in “Aladdin” – released independently via The Orchard from his forthcoming EP entitled A-POP. 

Feeling bouncier and chirpier in production when compared to the darker, grittier trap-pop of May’s lead single “I’M HERE” – which has since racked up 680K+ views for the music video – “Aladdin” offers another intoxicating example of Bahjat’s signature blend of Western and Arabic influences, while his lyrical storytelling feels as sharp and insightful as ever. 

Bahjat made the following statement about “Aladdin”: “As an Arab, I always look for symbols that have had a global impact but are still of Arabic origins, to draw parallels and inspiration from. When I thought a bit more about Aladdin’s story, and the way it’s virtually the only Arab story to go mainstream, I found it to be interesting how it’s still a story of a big trouble-maker. Is that the first impression kids make about us Arabs? As I pondered over this, I decided to take that narrative and focus on the ambitious aspect of Aladdin’s story and compared my own experiences to his story; it’s wanting something that everyone says is unattainable and yet, that’s exactly what makes you work ten times harder to achieve it.”

JUNO Award winning indie-rock band MONOWHALES return with feel-good banger “RICH$$$” – the 4th single to be released from their upcoming album “Tunnel Vision” set for the release on the 9th of September. “Tunnel Vision” is now available for pre-release sale.

Distributed by Warner Canada and internationally through LAB Records, vocalist Sally Shaar, guitarist Zach Zanardo and drummer Jordan Circosta bring the heat with their signature super-pop, hooky chorus combined with the track’s fierce guitar, bass and raging synths. After a year of pouring their hearts out in some intense and at times dark songs, the band are shifting gears and sharing their fun summer banger about how much they love their friends.

Speaking on the track, Sally says: “Between all the darkness and introspectiveness of all the last few songs you’ve heard on this upcoming album so far, RICH$$$ is a breath of fresh air on a sunny day in the park with your friends. This one goes out to all your ride or die’s. What feels richer than a solid connection with a loved one. Nothin’.”

Originally written while travelling through Ireland, “Owl and the Crow” arrives as another dreamy glimpse into Kramies’ forthcoming self-titled LP.


Initially just an acoustic outtake, the new single was finally recorded in one take on a late Californian night in JerryBecker’s Oakland Studio.

As time went on “Owl and the Crow” only grew, with layers and images captured by Kramies’ on his travels. With glimmering acoustic guitar licks flirting with eerie instrumentals and compelling vocals, the new track follows “Hotel in LA” as a second taster of Kramies’ self-titled LP, arriving on 9 September 2022.

Of the new single, Kramies explains:

“I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to say this before, because I can’t really understand completely how I process things without relying heavily on the emotions I use to create everything, but “Owl and the Crow” is one of the songs on the LP that means the most to me.” 

Provocative LGBTQ+ electro-pop duo COMANAVAGO (pronounced “come and have a go”) team up with breakout Canadian sensation Rêve on “Meat” – the duo’s latest release out via Ultra Music. 

Consisting of Ben Dunkerley (they/them) and Gabriel Swarbrick (he/him), “Meat” fuses pulsing beats with fast-paced rave synths and unforgettable vocal samples which add a new layer of brilliance to the upbeat dance-pop number. With the risqué lyrics to “Meat” initially starting out as an ode to pornstars and sexualization of the human form, COMANAVAGO and Rêve bring the banger to life with diva vocal moments for a sweaty, late-night club feel.

In a statement about the single, the band say: “Ben and Gabe had written the track back in 2021 after Ben had jokingly titled a beat “Meat”. Gabe knew exactly what to say over it. Then following an introduction with the lovely Rêve, she lent her gorgeous vocals to the track and the anthem now exists as you have it today!”

Glenn Astro and Hulk Hodn are connected through a long-lasting musical friendship. With their Detroit-inspired house releases, they gained wider recognition by critics and listeners alike. Nevertheless, they’ve never been one-dimensional artists. Berlin-based Glenn Astro‘s diversified approach to production as showcased on labels such as NinjaTune and Tartelet bridges the gaps between ambient, hip-hop, techno and bass.

The duo have unveiled yet another double release. “That Day” is the viby opener of Glenn Astro and Hulk Hodn’s upcoming “Ghosts” LP on Kommerz Records, due for release on August 26th. Recorded on a playful and organic yet lo-fi and synth heavy instrumental with slight Balearic vibes, the song features Kamohelo, who used to live and work in Stockholm, where he became the voice of the ‘techno boy band we deserve’ (The FADER), Off The Meds. Kamo’s lyrics in Johannesburg Sotho Slang carry a stoic punk attitude that blends blissfully with their instrumentalism. 

“Ghostin'” is a smooth hip-hop instrumental that features a lush and nostalgic guitar melody, as well as simple but detailed drum programming and interesting sound FX. The lo-fi beat is a collaboration between Glenn Astro and Hulk Hodn, one of the German beat scene’s most influential producers who continues to consolidate his sonic personality as a German underground hip-hop legend, part of the original “Hi-Hat Club”, a producer vinyl series on Melting Pot in 2009, and congenial partner of legendary underground rapper Retrogott. Known for bridging gaps between genres, they create a truly unique kaleidoscope of sound. The duo’s idiosyncratic identity makes them true trailblazers of their time. 

Gathering a cult-like following through with records on Sichtexot and ENTBS and shows with rapper Retrogott, the duo develops their exploration of new aesthetics even further through synthesized soundscapes and numerous collaborations with young talent from all over the world.

The next taste of Boyfriend’s upcoming highly-anticipated debut album is a modern hyper-pop makeover of No Doubt’s iconic “Just A Girl.” Feeding into the ethos of her artistry, this song has been a jab at gender norms since it was first released in the mid-nineties. With Boyfriend’s rock meets hyper-pop stylings, the song is given a new air of playful defiance. “Just A Girl” is available today on all DSPs and streaming platforms.

“Ever since I started doing music I’ve been told to release cover songs, (usually by some industry person convinced that’s what would make me a star, cue eye roll) but as a songwriter, I always wanted to put my words out into the world, not someone else’s,” says Boyfriend on covering No Doubt. She continues, “But ‘Just A Girl’ already perfectly says what I want to say, as it does pirouettes on the razor’s edge of satire where I, as a songwriter, love to balance and dance.”

Fresh out of university, Toronto-based singer/songwriter and producer Lyle Kam channels sonic inspiration from artists like Lauv, Jeremy Zucker, and Charlie Puth. After the success of his debut EP Folly – featuring the Tik Tok viral single “Unlove” – Lyle is returning in 2022 with a fresh batch of music featuring his trademark introspection about love, loss, and belonging.

A true Renaissance man, Lyle has spent the past four years bridging the gap between creativity and engineering – writing, producing, and mixing his music, while also studying engineering at the University of Waterloo. 

Now as he turns his attention full time to creativity, he hopes to shine a light on Asian-Canadian artists and inspire others with his message that nothing is out of reach with enough passion and hard work. He also hopes to never actually have to use his engineering degree.

Leading up to the release of her debut album Turpentine on September 23rd, Edmonton-based Métis artist Kaeley Jade premieres brand new single, ‘Beneath The Lies’, out now on all digital streaming platforms. Listen here

Produced by the JUNO-nominated team at Velveteen Music, Kaeley’s latest single blends shimmer and grit to explore the ways in which we conceal the truth. Reminiscent of artists like Maggie Rogers and Taylor Swift, ‘Beneath the Lies’ will leave listeners eager to soak up the last rays of the summer sun.

“‘Beneath the Lies’ was borne of an incredibly, horrifically, painfully awkward encounter I had had with an ex-partner of mine,” says Kaeley. “Afterwards, I began to think a lot about the masks that people wear, the walls that are built, and the little white lies that get told to avoid any sort of vulnerability or confrontation.”

The 4th single to be released from her debut album, ‘Beneath The Lies’ follows previous tracks ‘Poltergeist’ (June 2022), ‘Ego’ (February 2022) and Painless’ (April 2021). All four singles highlight the spirit of Turpentine, through which Kaeley explores the power of relationships with her polished brand of indie pop.

A Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Award nominee, Kaeley has performed on stages across Canada, including the Taste of Edmonton, Tkaronto Music Festival, and Edmonton’s Indigenous Peoples’ Festival. Her music has been added to major playlists across streaming giants, received radio play across North America, and placed in several film and television productions. A multidisciplinary artist, Kaeley recently joined forces with playwright Trevor Schmidt at Northern Light Theatre to write the critically acclaimed musical Two-Headed / Half-Hearted, which saw its worldwide premiere in April 2022.

All Nue really wanted was a fresh start, so you won’t be reading about all the cool shit that happened before now in this bio. No label talk. No business. No numbers. You’ll have to dig that up on your own. Homework.

The Toronto rapper and singer is a true creative, pushing boundaries, fitting square pegs in round holes. His music is vibey, edgy, with pop, electro and rock elements, and big on melody. You could say he has an underground sensibility with global accessibility. He’s smashing up parameters, but writing some of the catchiest songs you will hear this year.

“It’s exciting to be putting out music because I went in a whole direction I’d never gone in before,” Nue says. “It was a process that I started during Covid, where I thought I had to have different sounding music. My producer Modmaxx sent me some real guitar loops and I made a song that didn’t have drums on it, more of a punk vibe. It was out of my pocket from what I usually do and spurred the whole project.”

That song, the electro-chaotic rock-rap plea “Wallflower,” will be Nue’s second single, in the fall, followed by the full album, Playground, in early 2022.

Coming off the successful release of their “stunning” (Americana UK) debut full-length album, Moonshine, which earned them Midwest Country Music Awards for both Album of the Year and Americana Artist of the Year, Maygen & The Birdwatcher are hitting the ground running. Described as “an exciting goulash of Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton, Florence + The Machine and Joe Cocker” (MostlyMinnesota), the band showcases original songs, fantastic harmonies, and tight musicianship that keep you anticipating what they’ll deliver next. In wanting to ensure the full spectrum of their sound is available to listeners, the band will be releasing a 6 song EP this summer called Bootleggin’ At The Flower Shoppe. The 6-piece went right back to Flowers Studio with Kris Johnson (same as Moonshine) and recorded their more energetic and good-timin’ songs that were written around the same time as Moonshine, but hadn’t gotten the chance to be properly recorded and shared with their fans. They like to think of Bootleggin’ as Moonshine’s companion, released less than a year from each other, with many different things to offer listeners that have grown to look forward to their diverse approach to songwriting. Maygen & The Birdwatcher adventurously blur the sounds of country, bluegrass, folk and blues, which has placed them on festival stages with Old Crow Medicine Show and Grace Potter, all the way over to supporting Travis Tritt. Keep your eyes and ears on this band- the fact they’ve only been playing together for two years, makes it all so exciting to see where they’ll go next.

Tour Dates

8/12/22 MN Bluegrass August Festival Richmond, MN
8/14/22 Lakewood Cemetery Mosaic Chapel – Minneapolis, MN 
8/19/22 Meet Me Under the Bridge Festival – Wabasha, MN 
8/27/2022 Trempealeau Hotel – Trempealeau, WI
9/2/22 Milk & Honey Ciders – Saint Joseph, MN
9/3/22 MN State Fair – Saint Paul, MN
9/4/22 Shaggy’s Summer Stop – Ashland, WI
9/9/22 Hazeltine Golf Course – Chaska, MN
9/22/22 Boats & Bluegrass Festival – Winona, MN 
9/23/22 BOOTLEGGIN’ TOUR KICKOFF EP Release Show @ Hook & Ladder Theater, Minneapolis, MN 


BOOTLEGGIN’ TOUR – Gibson Music Hall – Appleton, WI10/21/22 

BOOTLEGGIN’ TOUR – Reggie’s – Chicago, IL10/22/22 


BOOTLEGGIN’ TOUR High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI

critically acclaimed pop singer/songwriter/producer Jake Miller releases his latest feel-good single “Keep Her” via EMPIRE along with a self-directed music video. The visual finds Jake and his girlfriend portraying senior citizens and breaking out of a hospital so they can enjoy a day filled with shenanigans. 

“This was the first time in years that I wrote, directed, and edited an entire music video from start to finish. It was a lot of work, but it turned out 10 times better than I expected. This is the perfect summer song and video to make you smile,” says Jake Miller. 

Next week, Jake kicks off his 11-city 8 Tattoos Tour in New York City on August 17th. Additional tour stops include Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. Tickets can be purchased via 

“Keep Her” follows the release of Jake’s “8 Tattoos” single/video. Fans can look forward to an EP slated to arrive in fall 2022.

K-Pop group, CRAVITY, have released their first English digital single, “Boogie Woogie,” today. Representing the new generation of K-Pop meets Pop, this summer hit is a pre-release off their upcoming 4th Mini Album [NEW WAVE], being released in September. CRAVITY is set to mesmerize their global listeners with the release of “Boogie Woogie” ahead of their KCON Los Angeles performance on August 20th, and 6-city KCON 2022 US TOUR to follow. Rapper Allen states; “”Boogie Woogie” is a song that is very bright and full of positive energy so we had lots of fun preparing for its release. We’re super excited to be able to show it off to the whole world, and can’t wait to see our fans and listeners “boogie” along to it.” With Jungmo adding “it’s our first full English-language song and I’m so excited about it! Having an English track has always been on my bucket list, so I am beyond happy now. We, as a team, will keep trying our best to make our dreams come true.”


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