INsiders Guide: Maddisun, Kia Rose, Molly Moore, DSMOKE AND DAVION FARRIS, MIREI, Dave Brandwein, Driveaway, Lesley Pike….

Rising Canadian singersongwriter Maddisun is celebrating the recent music video release of “Running”. “Running” is the featured track from the artist’s sophomore album, “Home Is Where The Music Is” – which arrived on all digital streaming platforms on August 26th.

Maddisun says, “This song is what might happen if Amy Winehouse worked with Johnny Cash. For the video, we wanted to create that classic feeling with some edge and lots of soul. The song itself is about running towards success and going after what you want, even when it can feel out of reach. ‘Running’ is also in line with the thematic heart of the album itself, which is about the challenging and rewarding moments in my journey and ultimately being at peace in my mind and body. When I lean into my music, take risks, and embrace my art, I’m truly at home.” Beyond the bold and exuberant “Running”, the ten-track album also includes the empowering anthem “Don’t Say No”, the aptly-titled heartwarmer “Home”, the mental health-minded “Fading”, the freedom-chasing “Big Wave”, the legacy-driven “Too Long”, the serendipitous and reflective “On the Outside”, the self-love infused “True Me”, the confident and strong “Right”, and the inspirational “Glory Day (Over and Over)”.
Each song was written entirely by the artist and produced by the Los Angeles-based PSY Sound team of Nick Noto and Chloe Chaidez. “Home Is Where The Music Is” stays true to Maddisun’s organic singer/songwriter roots but adds touches of Americana, indie pop, along with classic, vintage, and country rock to match her eclectic musical influences and artistic range. “Home Is Where The Music Is” marks the latest milestone for the Cranbook, British Columbia native in an inspiring odyssey that sent the budding artist to Europe for 3 years to immerse herself in music – primarily in Ireland – and led to her 2020 debut album, “Self Reflections”, which earned over 200,000 Spotify streams. The road to bring “Home” to life has also included three additional single releases, a social media shout-out from the iconic Nancy Wilson (Heart) for Maddisun’s cover of “Magic Man”, and a performance in Toronto at NXNE Fest 2022.

Maddisun says, “As an artist, you have to want discovery and recognition more than blood, and I
do. These songs are about being yourself and expressing that to the universe, taking chances, wearing your heart on your sleeve, and being fearless. That’s home. That’s where my music is.”

Following an incredible touring season in the summer of 2022, the DIY Gascon farmers The Inspector Cluzo, are thrilled to announce the release of their ninth studio album Horizon on January 27, 2023, via F.thebassplayer Records. To coincide with the record announcement, the band is also launching the first single and video for the title track, which is available here

Horizon comes after the critically acclaimed LP We The People Of The Soil (2018) and the live album Brothers In Ideals – We The People Of The Soil Unplugged (2020). Recorded in three weeks and produced by Grammy Award winner Vance Powell, Horizon is the deepest and truest album The Inspector Cluzo have written to date. 

Each song shares and takes inspiration from real-life events and experiences. For example, Wolfs At The Door, tells the story of the struggle the two farmers experienced when standing up against a duck factory located in front of their farm and the fight they had to put up when faced with a massive Bird flu pandemic. Saving The Geese describes the civil disobedience against the French State and the big local agro-industries corporations that wanted to kill the band’s healthy animals as “prevention”. Shenanigans re-evokes the great times the band spent in Nashville with their friend Bill Elder who run the Shenanigans bar and who put them up during all Nashville studio sessions. Rockophobia, on the other hand, is one of the surprises The Inspector Cluzo reserved for the fans, it is a fun rock number, in which the band wonders “what does rock mean today?” laughing at Iggy Pop, who later decided to feature on the track.

The first single and title track was originally written 15 years ago for the band’s debut album but was never finished until the pandemic hit. Horizon openheartedly brings to the front the band’s efforts in running their family-farm, whilst experimenting new agro-ecologic techniques apt to face climate change, saving rare species, free seeds etc.

Kia Rose began playing piano at the age of 4, guitar at the age of 7 and singing/writing songs at the age of 9 years old as a result of her innate passion for music from a young age. Now, she’s a 21 year old composer, producer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, completing a degree in jazz specialization. Her music has a contemporary R&B/Pop style combined with a solid jazz foundation.

Kia’s talent caught the attention of Paul Reed Smith (PRS) guitars, earning the title of PRS Pulse Artist. Her 2021 debut album Phases and additional released singles have received traction on Spotify with over 100,000 streams and recognition from media like Singersroom and iHeartRadio.

Kia performs at a number of Toronto’s staple venues including El Mocambo, Rebel, and Sneaky Dee’s as a solo artist, hired gun, and with her own band as lead vocalist, guitarist and lyricist. Kia also serves as a guest guitarist and bassist with a Toronto based fusion band and other international and local acts. 

Alternative artist Molly Moore has released “Hate Myself,” the latest single from her forthcoming album, Miserably Sublime, expected early 2023. The single, co-written with Nevin Sastry (Phem, PRETTYMUCH) and Josh Murty (Maggie Lindemann), is injected with anthemic energy as Molly speaks to the mental turmoil she faced while falling victim to depression and self-sabotage. Amplified by a blend of steady drum beats and searing guitar licks, the track features a sing-along chorus full of self-deprecating dry humor about coming to terms with how you see yourself and those around you. The accompanying music video was directed by Molly and Francesca Maldonado (Justin Bieber, Dixie D’Amelio, Ashley Graham) and leans into the track’s lyrical playfulness as Molly comes face-to-face with herself.


“I wrote the song during a very transitional period of my life. I’d been going to therapy and becoming aware that I tend to have a negative narrative happening with myself in my head,”  shares Molly“I was feeling pressure seeing all of my friends living more stable lives than me, getting married and having kids, while I’m in LA writing songs every day. I was also falling in love with someone that was emotionally unavailable, so I wrote this song with a bit of a sarcastic tone to try and process all of this. My goal with this song is to create a conversation that allows people to face their negative internal battles and challenge those perceived truths with another, kinder perspective that we can be nice to ourselves and still be radically honest.”

Delivering socially conscious street tales aimed at empowerment, Inglewood, California’s own D Smoke made his mainstream breakthrough in 2019 as the first winner of the reality rap competition Rhythm + Flow. However, by that time, the bilingual multi-instrumentalist (guitar, drums, piano) had already been busy on the scene for over a decade as both a songwriter and an underground figure influenced as much by West Coast predecessors Kurupt and Snoop Dogg as gospel singers Kirk Franklin and Yolanda Adams. Bridging genres as well as the Black and Latinx communities, D Smoke also spent years as a Spanish and music theory teacher at his own alma mater, Inglewood High School. Soon after winning Rhythm + Flow, he issued his official debut, the Grammy-nominated Black Habits, in 2020. The star-studded War & Wonders appeared in 2021.

Born Daniel Anthony Farris, the California emcee grew up in a family of musicians. In addition to an uncle who played bass for Prince, his mother, gospel singer Jackie Gouche-Farris, sang backup for Michael Jackson and Anita Baker, while his brothers Davion Farris and SiR branched into R&B. Family-focused, he formed a songwriting team with his brothers and cousin Tiffany Gouche in the early 2000s called WoodWorks. Together they penned tracks for artists such as Ginuwine and the Pussycat Dolls. On the side, Farris self-released efforts under the moniker Supa Good D Smoke and appeared on SiR’s 2015 album Seven Sundays. Outside of music, Farris pledged himself to his community, mentoring and counseling teenagers while also teaching Spanish and music theory at Inglewood High School, where he graduated before heading to UCLA.

From the classroom to the television screen, D Smoke tried out for Rhythm + Flow in 2019, securing a spot in the competition alongside fellow finalists Londynn B, Troyman, and Flawless Real Talk. With songs like “Last Supper” and “Let Migo,” he presented honest snapshots of the realities of life in Inglewood while rapping in both English and Spanish. This impressed the judges and audience enough for him to take home the top prize. Following his victory, D Smoke quickly issued his EP Inglewood High, which peaked in the Top Ten on the Billboard Rap Albums charts. Months later, he released his official full-length debut, 2020’s Black Habits. The record featured appearances by Snoop Dogg, Jill Scott, his mother, and his brothers. The set reached number 25 on Billboard’s Independent Albums chart and earned D Smoke Grammy nominations for Best Rap Album and Best New Artist. He released his Billboard-charting sophomore effort, War & Wonders, the following year, which included features from Ty Dolla $ign, Marsha Ambrosius, Dem Jointz, Tobe Nwigwe, BJ the Chicago Kid, Fireboy DML, Westside Boogie, and John Legend.

Japanese artist MIREI speaks out on her experiences in the music industry as a female solo artist on her new single, “IDOL,” out today via Cool Japan Music / The Orchard. The single acts as a sequel to her hit 2020 release, “Lonely In Tokyo,” which details her life and career in the big city and the consequences that come with it. On “IDOL,” MIREI continues to share her real-life experiences as she discusses the unrealistic expectations set on her and other female artists in the spotlight from sacrificing their health to meet impossible beauty standards to the pressure of keeping up a brand image and the anxiety of knowing there are others waiting to see them fail. Taking more of an electro-pop approach than her previous releases, MIREI’s velvety and strong vocals on “IDOL” amplify the song’s catchy chorus over an array of warbling synths and snappy beats.

To those that know Dave Brandwein as the frontman of Turkuaz, the indie-Americana/folk-rock music of Band For Sale might seem like a radical change. But to the multi-instrumentalist and producer, the upcoming album, Sleeping Sun, Waking Moon, represents a return to his musical roots.

“This album is who I’ve always been deep down,” Brandwein explains. “I grew up on The Beatles, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, and the other classic sounds of the 60’s and 70’s… The truth is that Turkuaz was the departure.”

The new single, “Lookin’ High, Lookin’ Low” encapsulates the overarching themes of the album, distilling them down to one song about searching, hoping, trying (and trying again), but still feeling like you come up short. “This is one of those songs that kind of just wrote itself, and I looked down at the paper to see what it had to say,” he muses. “It speaks to my own experience and feels pretty universal too.”

In the infamous words of LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, Florida indie-pop band Driveaway have metaphorically “sold their turntables and bought guitars” on today’s release of “Wishing Well.” Stepping out from their typical synth-driven indie pop earworms, today’s single dials up the angst and let’s the guitar and drums take center stage. Lyrically, the song documents too many days bleeding together from putting on a front for others and where that breaking point lies – Stream.

Driveaway’s first release since their May EP Feel Better Soon, the band decided to embrace the discomfort of giving up their instinctual tendency to create perfectly polished music. This approach to surrendering control paid off in spades as the band recently entranced the crowd at Playground Music Festival with their new unrestrained approach.

On the single, lead singer Trenton Ropp said, “Recently we’ve all been listening to heavier rock music, so that led to us trying out heavier tones with our guitar parts. We were surprised to find that the rawer, driven guitar tones spawned a lot of melodies and parts that we never would have made otherwise in the writing room (our living room)!”

He continues, “In songs before this, we were getting very detail-oriented with recordings, very carefully polishing all of our synth and guitar tones to a T. Although I do love that style of production, the discomfort that comes with incorporating raw tones and sounds based purely on gut reaction is extremely exciting for us right now.”

ILD (vol. 1), the first installment of the new album by acclaimed singer/songwriter, Lesley Pike, will be released on October 28th.

The evolution of singer-songwriter Lesley Pike’s musical journey takes centre stage on October 28th with the release of WILD. The recording artist’s fourth disc, which will be released in two volumes, is an accumulation of confidence and drive as well as an all-important focus: producing and creating music on her terms. The result of her ambitions? Fourteen stunning recordings which represent new heights in Pike’s song craft—ranging from the personal into the universal. Take, for instance, “Bar Américain.”  The song chronicles Pike’s powerful storytelling abilities by way of her lyrics, which share memories of a real-life romantic encounter she had in a bar in London, England. Lines such as, “We run with wild abandon / with whiskey on our breath and in our veins / we talk like we have got forever / but we kiss like we’ve got no time to waste” provide a stool-side point of view into Pike’s elations and emotional epiphanies. 

“I felt confident to produce myself because I could take more risks and open up in ways I never thought possible. In the past, I always thought people knew better than me, so I would give way… This time I’ve realized I don’t have to outsource—I can tap into who I am for the answers.”

French Horn Rebellion, made up of brothers Robert and David PM, exits hibernation, after spending the last three years developing toucan sounds, a dance label for emerging sounds in Brooklyn, based out of their YouTooCanWoo music studio. In that time, the label has received critical acclaim through a combination of grassroots collaborations (musclecars, Dee Diggs, AceMo), and big name releases (Purple Disco Machine, Yuksek, Eli Escobar). It’s been called “a label heavyweight,” by Traxsource’s Editorial, with multiple reviews in Resident Advisor, regular plays on BBC Radio 1 and 6, Spotify ‘New Music Fridays,’ and packed invite-only, loft-inspired parties at their studio space in Williamsburg.

Cimafunk has had a huge 2021 & 2022, coming o worldwide performances at Ipitina’s (New Orleans), Central Park Summer Stage (NYC), Blue Note (NYC), Barcelona Jazz Festival, Paris Jazz Festival, Jazz a Vienne, WOMAD (Spain) and Lollapalooza (Chile), and a debut album that received overwhelming praise. Rolling Stone ranked it #3 of the Best Spanish-Language and Bilingual Albums of 2021 and #23 of the 50 Best Albums of 2021. El Alimento was also among NPR’s Best Latin Music of 2021 and #1 of Le Monde’s Latin Music favorites.

Stalking Gia (100k+ followers across Tik Tok and Instagram), is an artist, singer, songwriter, model, influencer that materializes like a specter in the space between online fantasy and Manhattan’s real-life nocturnal glow. She first came to life in 2016, with her viral-hit ‘Second Nature,’ (+13 million streams). What followed was collaborations with blackbear (on his platinum-certified chart-topping 2017 album, Digital Druglord), a partnership with Epic Records, and a string of TikTok viral songs, including her latest “Saddest Happy Girl.”

Los Angeles native Aaryan Shah offers a dramatic new grunge-inspired track “Once Upon A Time In Fucking Hollywood,” accompanied by a mysterious music video. The song and video both touch on exploitation and the life of a modern artist in today’s age. After experiencing both the extreme high highs and low lows of the entertainment industry, he falls disillusioned to Hollywood’s charms.   

“This single is very different from what I’ve made in the past. With this one, I was inspired by artists like Nirvana and Lil Peep to touch on a darker subject matter. I had the biggest song on TikTok in the world. Everybody was trying to make their move. And somehow I was more isolated than I had ever been. The dichotomy between my dreams coming true and my world falling apart was the core feeling of the record. It became my love letter to the industry.” – Aaryan Shah

“Once Upon A Time In Fucking Hollywood” leads the way into his forthcoming album, set to release winter.

One of the most promising independent artists of the new generation is 22-year-old Aaryan Shah. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he has steadily ascended since he first dropped out of school to pursue music at age 15. 

As a teenager, Aaryan built an identity by removing his identity, erasing his presence from the internet and wearing a mask — allowing his fans to focus on the emotions rooted in his art. After his long-awaited face reveal in Summer 2021, Aaryan kicked off a new era, live from Paris Fashion Week. Growing up in a time where the internet is redefining musical boundaries, Aaryan has crafted his sound by blurring the lines between genres and borrowing from his idols to reinvent his soundscape – becoming something of an “anti-pop” hero. 

 Toronto-based actor Atticus Dean displays his musical side with his upcoming album of original instrumental music, entitled Plot Armor. The album, consisting of eight intimate piano pieces that ruminate on themes of love, loss, grief and serenity, is slated for release on November 11, 2022.

Originally, Atticus had aspirations to be a rock drummer, but his parents pushed him to take piano lessons at age 6. As a teen, he was given the chance to play drums and after getting his first drum kit, he started playing in a rock band in high school. After graduating, he felt himself pulled back to the keyboard and began composing his own music. By 2017, he decided to commit his compositions to recordings, and thus began his journey as a recording artist. After releasing two EPs, two albums and a single, Atticus’ music has evolved from the contemporary classical sphere into something a little more alternative. 

Composed and recorded entirely by Atticus, the tracks employ an upright piano, gritty digital soundscapes, and haunting strings to create a trance-like effect. In his own words, “I’m constantly looking for new ways to expand my repertoire and challenge the listener a little bit. I feel like contemporary classical music is pretty liberating in its freedom of expression, and I’ll be damned if I ain’t gonna take full advantage and keep pushing the envelope.”

Christened “one of hip-hop’s most refreshing voices” by Pitchfork, Smino is one of the game’s most dynamic musical disruptors. Raised in a family of musicians, the rapper, writer, and producer began playing drums in his native St. Louis at an early age. As an adult, he moved to Chicago and connected with Classick Studios to release his first two EPs, S!ck S!ck S!ck and blkjuptr. In 2017, Smino dropped his debut album blkswn–hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the ‘40 Best Rap Albums of the Year’–and followed that with the 2018 release of NØIR, which landed on year-end lists from ComplexThe AtlanticREVOLT, and more. Between those critically acclaimed projects, he has generated over half-a-billion streams and counting in addition to selling out US headline tours in 2017 and 2019. Furthermore, Smino is a thread in the contemporary artist community with standout feature verses with Doja Cat, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Chance the Rapper, among others. He has also appeared in campaigns for DKNY, Billionaire Boys Club, and Topicals Skincare, and closed out the COLORS x Burberry series with a performance of his single “Rice & Gravy.” In 2021, Smino inked a deal with Motown Records (in partnership with his independent label Zero Fatigue) and is unveiling his deepest vision yet with new single “90 Proof” [feat. J. Cole] – the first official single off his forthcoming album, Luv 4 Rent

On the recent “Bittersweet” album, the Belgian act Psy’Aviah revisited two of their biggest hit songs: “Tired” and “Ok”. Alfa Matrix now releases a new video clip and extended EP for the classic Psy’Aviah track, “OK”.

Originally released back in 2011, the new 2022 version features new vocal melodies sung by Huong Su with additional guitars and carrying violins by Irina Markevich turning the song into a more triphop / indie pop tune.

Yves Schelpe explains the meaning behind the track: “‘Ok’ questions the depth of that social question we use at almost every human encounter asking mechanically ‘how are you?’, expecting ‘Ok’ as automatic answer without really paying attention nor trying to find out what truth really lurks behind this or considering being empathic… ‘Everything is going Ok’ being nothing but a window-dressing expression, some kind of emotional mask.”

The essence of the tongue-in-cheek message of this song was translated into a slow-motion video clip, the result of Yves Schelpe’s collaboration with actress Gwendolin Harissa Van Jole and Gwenny Cooman of GNY Photography. 

Tommy Newport is known for his irresistible falsetto-steeped indie anthems, garnering a substantial buzz with his 2018 debut, Just To Be Ironic, while he was still a teenager. Following the paramount success of 2019’s Tommy Gun EP and 2021’s Ultra Mango EP and Liquid EP, Newport continues to develop his euphonious sound. 

Born Oliver Milmine in Manchester, England, Newport moved to the United States at a young age, eventually settling in Kansas. There, he picked up the guitar and taught himself how to produce music on his computer. Consolidating his style and sound into something rather extraordinary, Newport has created his own funky, psychedelic style of pop with his falsetto vocals riding atop bulging basslines, grooving guitar, melodious keyboards and electronic grooves. Inspired by a mix of early-2000s bands like MGMT, The Killers, and Phoenix, he’s received musical placements on shows like Search Party, Ballers, Expecting Amy, I Love This For You, Never Have I Ever, Walker, Grand Crew, an Apple iPad commercial and What/If.

Receiving critical acclaim from The FADER, Complex, Zane Lowe, Hypebeast, High Snobiety, Pigeons & Planes, PAPER, Lyrical Lemonade, COLORS & more, the rising indie star returns. “Jackpot” features Juno Award (Canada’s version of the Grammys) winning Toronto rap legend Jazz Cartier. This next single soars with Newport and Cartier’s versatility, combining into a tune that showcases a truly euphoric blend of genres and likeining musicality. Newport explains, “Jazz was there for my first show ever at the Fonda in LA and was introduced to me by 4th Pyramid from day 1 so it felt like creating something together has been in the books for a while. I’ve always loved the idea of merging indie/rock and rap ever since hearing Mark Ronson pairing Action Bronson and Dan Auerbach together in 2016. 4th brought the vibes to the studio with a drum pattern that got the guitar in my hands and thinking of progressions, while Jazz was writing his lyrics. It all came together quickly and felt great. The lyricism hints at a paralleled relationship with Los Angeles and the luck it takes to keep that relationship alive. Jackpot.”


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Written by Neill Frazer

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