INsiders Guide: Brooke Candy, Neela, The Lighthouse and the Whaler, Darla Jade, Star2, Kem, Carlton Stone, STEPHANIE HATZINIKOLIS…

Photo credit: Nedda Afsari @mutedfawn

Iconic singer-songwriter-rapper-artist Brooke Candy embarks on her next musical era with her first new single in more than three years. “Flip Phone” is available now at all DSPs and streaming services. The uncompromising electro-powered new track is joined by an official self-directed music video, produced by PAPER Magazine – the NYC-based magazine’s first ever foray into music video production – with South Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster. “Flip Phone” is streaming now at YouTube following its exclusive premiere earlier today via PAPER.

I wanted this to be the first song I came back with because I had the most fun making it, and I’m just having fun right now,” Brooke Candy shares exclusively with PAPER. “The video was a challenge to make because I wanted it to come out so perfect. And it did. We rented a rain room in LA and just went all out with the help of PAPER and Gentle Monster. Some parts were inspired by Pamela Anderson in Barbed Wire.”



An undisputed icon of the underground music, fashion, and queer art scenes, Brooke Candy is a sex-positive pop idol whose wide-ranging creative output revels in defiant glamour, embodying both speculative futures and über-romantic nostalgia. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Candy first gained notoriety from her work on Grimes’ 2012 music video “Genesis,” followed quickly by high-profile collaborations with such fellow iconoclasts as Charli XCX, Sia, Diplo, Lizzo, Pussy Riot, Sophie, Mykki Blanco, and countless more.  

Neela is a multi-talented R&B singer-songwriter.  A lover of the arts, the songstress has found creative outlets in the local theatre and music scenes of Vancouver and Toronto.

In 2019, she released her debut EP, Lovers in Danger, with Beatchild (Drake, Justin Nozuka). In 2021, she released her second EP,  Prelude, produced by Grammy-winning producer, Chin Injeti. Currently she is anticipating the release of her third EP, accompanied with a visual film called Exposed produced by Grammy nominated producer, Akeel Henry and Kofo(Giveon, Loony, Shawn Mendez). She has secured grants for the large scope of this project (CA Council), a distribution deal with AWAL and working towards booking a national tour with her recent management.

Indie Rock band, The Lighthouse and The Whaler release their new single “Wide Open”. The track follows a live album released in April 2022, and their deluxe album, Talk, released in the Fall of 2021. The LP received accolades from outlets such as Flaunt, Earmilk, Wonderland, and Spin Magazine and placements on top streaming playlists. 

The band says, “On our last album TALK we focused a lot on setting aside differences and finding common ground with one another and Wide Open continued that theme for us. The song is about being conscious of the changing world around us and how through the maturation of time we grow to see things differently.”

Darla Jade returns with her illuminating new single ‘On My Tongue’

Listen HERE

Born from the frustrations of injustice, On My Tongue comes as a feisty bop full of resilience. Explaining more, Darla Jade shares: “I wrote On My Tongue last year with Gold Spectacles. We wrote it about the bitterness felt when bad things happen to good people. It’s about wanting to wallow in that angry state of mind, even when you know thinking positively would be a better option!”

Born and bred in Stoke On Trent, Darla Jade has been making waves and winning hearts since she launched. With her homespun sound nestled somewhere between pop and electronica she’s already built a stellar reputation thanks to a diverse and captivating string of releases. From euphoric sky reaching bangers like ‘Broken Armour’ which came out earlier this year,  to more emotive moments like ‘Problems’ this exciting new artist has got you covered.

On My Tongue is the fourth single to be released this year and follows the reflective and catchyCan’t Run Forever’ which saw support from New Music Friday, New Pop UK and many more. With her sophomore EP in the pipeline and a headline show in her hometown of Stoke just announced (9/12/22 @ The Underground) there’s lots to look forward to this year from Darla Jade!

With a wealth of tastemaker support already under her belt including The Line of Best Fit, Billboard, Notion, METAL Online, Radio 1, BBC Introducing naming Darla Jade as one of their ‘Big In 2022’ she continues to be an exciting artist to watch. In addition to the above, she’s delivered impressive live performances at sold out headline shows in both London and Stoke-on-Trent, a knockout festival performance at 110 Above and performed to a sold out Camden Assembly in support of RØRY at the end of last month, this artist is certainly one to keep all eyes on!

Star2 is an Asian-American singer, songwriter and rapper who seamlessly blends pop, R&B and hip-hop for an enthralling immersion of sound. Raised in inauspicious circumstances, Star2 takes influence from overcoming his life struggles, creating music that is bold, high-spirited and soulful. 

Star2 is a true survivor. Born into a refugee camp in Thailand, his family walked over 500 miles through the jungle to escape Burmese soldiers when they attacked and burned down their village. As Karen’s (Kuh-ren), a minority group that the Myanmar government has tried to destroy, Star2 (and his family) has faced immense adversity and racial opposition for generations. With no father or mother by his side, his grandmother was chosen in a lottery to be able to migrate to the United States and at the age of six years old, took him to San Diego where he began his new life. Unfortunately it wasn’t an easy one, as a young kid living in the inner city, his family struggled financially and he lived with an uncle who was addicted to drugs.  Adapting to living in a new world filled with cars, electricity and paved roads, he was overwhelmed and overstimulated. Star2 found solace, however, turning to music as a teen, learning to rap, sing, write and perform. With a diverse set of influences including Justin Bieber, Tyga, Chris Brown, and more, he developed his own musical style complete with winning hooks, rich harmonies, and distinctly progressive R&B soundscapes.  

Since 2020, the prolific songwriter has released a series of genre-bending singles with superstar producer Chico Bennett (Prince, Madonna, Lady Gaga, the Killers, Britney Spears) that have entranced audiences worldwide. His collaborations with acclaimed rappers Luh Kel, MarMar Oso, YSN Flow, $tupid Young, and Lil Poppa have gained him further recognition as an artist on the rise. His spirited soul and authentic delivery truly resonates with his generation, providing solace and an outlet for the challenges faced by many today. Named one of the “Top 15 of America’s Top Asian Rap Artists” by Kulture Vulturez, Star2 has millions of streams and views to date, as well as upcoming projects with Soulja Boy, $tupid Young, Mozzy, and HoodTrophy Bino.

three-time GRAMMY® nominated, multiplatinum R&B superstar KEM releases the music video for “Right On Time” featuring hip-hop heavyweight, Rick Ross. Veteran producer Derek ‘DOA’ Allen and legendary, GRAMMY® Award-winning songwriter/producer Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds (co-writer) produced the slick, head-nodding beat. The sensuous black and white visual follows a young couple’s interplay enjoying an evening out on the corner of ‘Kemistry’ Avenue & ‘Boss’ Lane as KEM and Ross’ voices heighten the romantic atmosphere. Watch the music video HERE.

Speaking on the collaboration, Rick Ross shares, “When KEM called on the Biggest, it was only right we linked up to connect on the song. The vibe of the record gave Rozay a classic feeling.”

Recently, KEM released his magnetic and introspective EP, entitled Full Circle, via Motown Records. The aptly titled five-song project gives listeners the perfect accompaniment to reflect on the full-circle nature of their life, love, and relationships through his honeyed lyrics that telegraph his inner emotions with piercing intensity. Listen to the EP HERE.

There’s a fantasy about show business that we’ve been fed since performers started offering up their hearts on stage for public consumption. The glamour, the jet-setting, and the parties all get played up over the reality of the whole thing: a career that seeps into your real life and can dismantle your relationships, the exhaustion of the road, and more than a few hangovers. On his third solo album, the self-produced Papercut—armed with a couple lifetimes of songwriting and touring in his rear view mirror—Carleton Stone gets honest about the toll of devotion to craft while illustrating his mastery of it. Through sax-blasted Americana, power-pop laced with ‘80s synth, and dreamy, sophisticated pop melodies, the Nova Scotia songwriter blurs genres to explore a tumultuous few years and some of the scariest questions someone can ask: what the hell have I done? What if I’d gone down some other path?

“And what are some of the things that you lose when you decide to live your life like this?” Stone says. “There are parts of it where you experience the highest highs, things that feel so rare, you know—performing songs you wrote in front of sold-out audiences all the time or shit like that. I don’t take any of it for granted. But there are sacrifices, too: your relationships with your family and your friends and significant others can suffer, and you’re always on the road. There’s collateral damage, and I was thinking a lot about that, and about things that might’ve been.”

Indie singer-songwriter Stephanie Hatzinikolis is thrilled to release her new single “Weed and Whisky” that is out now.
Stephanie says, “The dark and moody groove full of attitude “Weed and Whisky,” not only represents the struggles of alcohol abuse and the choice to choose the stark reality of sobriety, it also marks the one year goal of sobriety for artist and singer- songwriter, Stephanie Hatzinikolis. Contemplating the need to make big changes , the track is a coming – of – age story in a sense, telling  the struggles of isolation and depression while also acknowledging the common trend of self – medication in modern life. Though the mood may feel serious, the underlying message is still one of hope as she invites the listener to take stock, accept responsibility, and to turn towards the possibility of building a better life.”
Stephanie Hatzinikolis is an artist and songwriter with a focus on creating personal, yet catchy and mesmerizing indie pop rock. Hatzinikolis’ sound is heavily influenced by artists such as Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, and Broken Bells, to name a few. Being a survivor of a traumatic upbringing, Stephanie has found it very easy to get swept up in alcohol abuse as a distraction.

global Ghanian superstar Kelvyn Boy releases the official remix to his hit single “Down Flat” [via Blakk Arm Group] featuring Nigerian singer/songwriter Tekno and British-Jamaican artist Stefflon Don. Listen Here

“Down Flat” now stands as one of the most discussed records released from a Ghanaian artist and acts as Kelvyn Boy’s most decorated record to date. Since its release earlier this year, the single has cemented an international impact within Continental Africa, Europe, and the U.K. regions as it rises with attention in the North American states. Today’s remix release poises the single to reach the attention of many more given the powerful collective Kelvyn Boy has called on. 

The main message of African music is about unification, which is why people of all walks can connect to the sound. When you listen to Afrobeats in particular, you hear the inspiration of Hip Hop, R&B, Reggae, Dancehall, and more genres. Tekno and Steflfon Don lead with this energy, so it was natural to ask them both to get on the remix. If one more person feels more connected to the track after listening to the remix, the job here is fulfilled,” Kelvyn Boy shares. 

Los Angeles based pop singer and songwriter Mimoza is known for her explosive anthems and utterly infectious songwriting. Her most recent hit is the single “Kings & Queens” by Ava Max, which impressively went platinum in twelve different countries and reached No. 1 on the U.S. Airplay Charts. This success isn’t just a coincidence. In fact, Mimoza has proven herself over and over again ever since the age of 17. After years of writing hits for other artists and receiving gold and platinum plaques, Mimoza is ready to focus further on her solo music with her upcoming single “Madly” set for release September 9th. “Madly” follows Mimoza’s commercially successful “Young Queen” released in 2021, which was written as a love letter to her home country, and her Albanian roots. Paying tribute to her mother and all moms who raise their daughters to see themselves as ‘young queens’, the powerful pop anthem impresses with soulful vocal tones and big bold instrumentation. Her new single “Madly” encompasses an intense array of deep emotions such as pain, heart, and strength all in one record. The romantic pastel-dipped pop anthem explores self-love, knowing your worth, and never settling for second best. The song begins with an emotionally charged piano driven verse, and soon culminates into a climatic soaring chorus full of fervor for an intoxicating listen. Aiming for the next pop crown, Mimoza is relentlessly forging her own path and not looking back. This queen is here to stay. 

Quivers, of Melbourne, Australia, have been an underground cathartic jangle pop band for long enough now to last year prick up the ears of Pitchfork, NPR and R.E.M., but it’s with a new 7” before their first US tour that they finally release the bats out of a cave and the secrets out of the bottle. Both songs see Bella Quinlan take lead vocals for the first time since the band’s full re-imagining of R.E.M.’s Out of Time (endorsed by the band themselves with fire emojis). Side A is a new original, ‘If Only’, and side B is a cover of Lucinda Williams’ mercurial ‘I Just Wanted To See You So Bad’.

All the best 45s slow down time and ask you to dance, so “If Only” is both darker and more danceable than 2nd album Golden Doubt could ever be (Ba Da Bing, 2021). While the bass and drums burn, and arpeggiated guitars scatter, Bella sings about longing for someone at the wrong time. If only I could make you love me, before you move overseas, what a fucked up thing to want, love should just be. The song is all if onlys, pushes and pulls, a song messed up by other songs about love. Bella says “it felt good to make a 7” which is a pop song but a really confused one, where every line goes back and forth between different feelings – more like love is in reality.” Don’t let it get into your lungs, she sings as the song lets too much into its lungs and just coughs up more guitars and tape loops. When recording “If Only” the band tried to imagine “being on a festival before Joan Jett, The Motels, and The Breeders and everything goes quiet and Quivers just has to deliver something.”

The recording of “If Only” is in a more minimal direction for Quivers, recorded in sessions for an upcoming 3rd album in Melbourne/Naarm again with producer Matt Redlich (The Paper Kites, Ball Park Music). Drummer Holly says, “once we found a pocket together on this song we wanted it to be a short song that feels long and big, where the more space you leave the bigger it gets.  It felt really right to sing alongside Bella, to hear her sing let romance rot all while sounding so into someone.”

The Lucinda Williams cover on side B quickens the pace and speeds time back up. Live, it kicks ass. The song was chosen for a cover according to Bella because “we all love lucinda Williams – there’s something very special about her honest lyrics and that pared-back, relaxed drawl. She’s really one of a kind! In my old Subaru Forester ‘World Without Tears’ was the only CD I had in it for the longest time, and we used to play it on our road trips to gigs. When the car died on a freeway and had to get junked for good, the CD went along with it. We chose “I Just Wanted To See You So Bad” to cover because we think it’s a hidden gem from her, and it felt so good to have a bit of a shouted call and response.”

It is a song that is certain about love. It is the rush of feelings as you drive that car in the middle of the night because you just want to see someone so bad. These two songs together show that Quivers want to drive in the middle of the night too, and after the “earnest earworms” (NPR) and “effortlessly tuneful jangle pop” (Pitchfork) of second album Golden Doubt what’s up ahead for the band might really surprise you. Grief and loss are hopefully in the rear mirror, and all kinds of other monsters real and imagined are up ahead. Bats everywhere. Tape loops in the sky. 

Do not adjust your sets… PET NEEDS have released their showstopping second album: ‘Primetime Entertainment’.


Featuring exhilarating recent singles “Fear For The Whole Damn World” and “Get On The Roof”,  ‘Primetime Entertainment’ was produced by friend and fan Frank Turner.

Proudly dubbed by the band as “our ‘London Calling’”, the new album has already been attracting warm reviews with NARC Magazine praising it as a record of “joyous experimentation” (⅘).   

Written and recorded in just 11 months after signing with Xtra Mile Recordings for their acclaimed debut, ‘Fractured Party Music’, the band’s latest album is a discernibly more personal effort than its party-primed predecessor. Dealing with feelings of fear, fatigue, adrenaline, failing and determination, ‘Primetime Entertainment’ proved to be a record of profound psychological and musical discovery for PET NEEDS that has produced a transfixing listening experience. 

Cumbrian trio – VACANT WEEKEND – return with a refreshing new anthem: “Cool New Friends”, out now, via Cosmic Glue.


Landing just in time for the last days of summer, “Cool New Friends” blends balmy melodies and funk-laden guitar licks with twinkling percussion that is as iridescent as the early September dew. 

Tackling the inevitable muddle of love, lust and friendship that characterises coming-of-age during those final few sun-drenched days, the new cut blends relatable lyricism with danceable rhythms that traverse ‘70s funk and ‘00s indie-rock influences.

Refusing to compromise on the impeccable and idiosyncratic sound carved out on debut single “All Over”, the trio explain:

“”Cool New Friends” is a thoughtful second release that deeper explores the sound from “All Over”. The track consists of tight grooves, thick layers of funky guitar, melodic bass parts and a bright, emotive vocal. The song deals with themes of romantic confusion and addresses a character who almost perfectly contradicts the song’s title.” 

London-via-Paris trio A VOID have unveiled “Sick As A Dog”, the final single to be taken from their awaited new album ‘Dissociation’ (out now).


Clangorous and climactic, ‘Dissociation’ highlight “Sick As A Dog” sees A VOID continue to source inspiration from musical greats like HoleSilverchair and Babes in Toyland, but with a fresh futuristic spin. With swirling riffs that are as infectious as they are overcast, the track’s message is more optimistic than its stormy sound might suggest. Vocalist Camille Alexander explains:

“”Sick As A Dog is a cathartic track about the pain of separation and fear of abandonment. Rather than being a dark song, it touches on the idea of channelling pain through several emotional states, with the recurring theme of mental health in our lyrics.”

Having spent the past few years developing a passionate fan base and racking up millions of streams, today sees the release of ‘…Onward’, the new album from LA based artist, Shoffy. A body of work showcasing Shoffy’s dreamy combination of honeyed vocals and fluttering beats, the project serves as further evidence of Shoffy being one of the most well rounded independent artists around. Speaking on the track, he states:

“this album came together in the last several months. I wrote and produced it, and the music is a collection of my favorite genres, sounds, melodies, and lyrical themes. I recorded it in my home studio in LA, and have one collab with my friend Sidizen King. The cover is a photo I took in Yosemite, one of my favorite places. I go about once a year and walk or bike on that path. I made this album for all my fans out there who like my music, and made it for myself because I love to create, and put new songs out in the world. It’s a pretty cathartic and cool journey. The whole project is a collection of what I love both sonically and visually. I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with David Dutton on some of the visuals, he directed Nightmares In NYC and did all the incredible paintings along with his brother. I also can’t wait to go on tour again, see everyone in person, and play these songs live.” 

emerging pop rockers NITRO NITRA release their feel-good single, “Walk Into The Sun,” a punchy rock track aimed to motivate listeners to envision the sunnier side of life when matters seem dark.

Hailing from the home-state of some rock music greats, including “Bad to the Bone” singer George Thorogood, the Delaware-based NITRO NITRA, formed in 2019, have already received positive reviews in national outlets and local outlets including WNBC and The Dover Post, respectively. Band leader and head vocalist, Nitro Nitra, alongside longtime creative partner and guitarist Jimmy Church, formed the self-proclaimed superhero rock band with the goal of uplifting listeners while breaking down racial barriers in the rock genre.

“A great mashup of 60s style and modern sounds!”
“Finally, Halloween gets a great love song!”

Artists Lizzie LeBontemps and Ashton Barkho release 

“Halloween, When You’ll Return To Me,” a Halloween love song that tells the story of two lovers who, for mysterious reasons, can only reunite on Halloween. 

It’s a romantic holiday tune in the tradition of “I’ll Have A Blue Christmas Without You,” “Last Christmas,” or “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” but far, far spookier.

This classic, 60’s-inspired tune is already racking up hundreds of TikTok likes — here’s the TikTok lyric video





Luke Warm and the Cold Ones are a rock band based out of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. As such, their music is reflective of the Northern experience of living in a small Canadian town. The band consists of Luke Warm (lead vocals/bass), Hillary McDowell (Piano/Vocals) Kyle Oikonen (Rythm Guitar/vocals), Carlo DeAgazio (Lead Guitar), and Angus Haapa (Drums).

The variety of influences the 5 members bring to the band create a sound that is familiar and new at the same time. Everything from punk to folk, metal, classic rock, and hip hop seamlessly blend into a refreshingly new sound.  Much of their music focuses on the more painful side of the human condition, but in a fun way that gets people moving and having a good time in a therapeutic way. Just before the pandemic, they took the stage with Metric, July Talk, Coleman Hell, Wolf Saga, Nick Ferrio, Ansley Simpson at the Wake the Giant Music Festival in Thunder Bay. 


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