September 2016
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“Emily” by Nick Urb

Singer-songwriter, Nick Urb, released Until the End of Days via Independent Ear Records on February 26, 2016. For this batch of songs, Urb tinkered with odd tuning while exploring both the happiness and hardships of his young adult life. He recorded Until the End of Days in Hamilton, Ontario at Catherine North Studios.

Urb was born and raised just outside Detroit in Clawson, Michigan. He occupied his time playing in bands around Michigan for over 8 years, finally going solo and finding his way up the East Coast and as far South as Austin, Texas. He played churches, house shows and small theaters throughout his early twenties, an experience he refers to as “reflective and therapeutic.”

Released in 2012, his first album, We Are Able, received over 7 Million streams on Spotify and earned him a session on Daytrotter. It was a watershed moment for the songwriter and fit well with the timely emergence of mellow folk pop troubadours’ such as City and Colour, Noah Gundersen and Ed Sheeren.

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“Emily” by Nick Urb

Nick Urb

Image and mp3 courtesy of Jennifer Thorington & Samuel Markus of Working Brilliantly

“Bring Me Down Dixie” by Kate Brown

Whether the audience is rapt and attentive or well oiled and rowdy, singer-songwriter Kate Brown charms them with self-deprecating monologues, sheer intensity and her audacious authenticity.

A small town girl from Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, she grew up with supportive parents that she characterizes as “Old hippies in an upstanding Midwest Catholic way — really accepting and free.” Her mother played in a folk duo. Brown discovered her calling after she uncovered her mother’s dusty 12-string guitar and a six-string that belonged to her great-grandmother. Eventually dropping out of college, she performed in coffeehouses, peddled homemade CD’s and slept in truck stops as she traversed the country.

It was at a 10-week intensive course at The School at Steppenwolf in Chicago that she met fellow actor and drummer Tony Sancho, the musical partner who forms a fundamental bond in her endeavors. Their onstage connection is intuitive, Brown observes.

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“Bring Me Down Dixie” by Kate Brown

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Image and mp3 courtesy of Amanda Blide of LaFamos Marketing & Publicity Department

“Sweet Melody” by Alicia Rae

Hailing from Washington DC, Alicia Rae quickly found her knack for songwriting the moment she picked up her first guitar. Then came the crisp vocals and catchy, relatable lyrics. The singer-songwriter’s music consists of captivating pop songs with playful melodies and honest lyrics.

Rae worked with Chris Rafetto on her 2015 EP Sweet Melody. Drawing inspiration from her own experiences in love and heartbreak, Rae conveys heartfelt emotion through musical storytelling in each of her songs. She has played at festivals across the mid-Atlantic region and performed at famed Washington, DC music venues like Jammin’ Java and U Street Music Hall. She has shared the stage with award winning artists such as Mikaela Davis, Lewis Watson, Kawehi and Steve Moakler.

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“Sweet Melody” by Alicia Rae

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Image and mp3 courtesy of Dana Pieper of LaFamos Marketing & Publicity Department

“Hexagon Head” by This Heel

Small Bear Records ended 2015 with the third release from This Heel, logically titled This Heel III. This Heel is the solo work of Martin Månsson Sjöstrand, prolific frontman of Sweden’s Dog, Paper, Submarine (who themselves released a new EP in 2015, with another due in early this year).

This Heel deals in catchy and melodic lo-fi indie-rock. Where EP II was largely acoustic, III sees more electric textures whilst retaining the laid-back feel of the previous record. For those new to This Heel, reference points include the likes of Guided By Voices and Neutral Milk Hotel.

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“Hexagon Head” by This Heel

This Heel III Album Cover

Image and mp3 courtesy of Phil Reynolds of Small Bear Records

“Lama” by Ummagma

The recently released EP from Ummagma, Frequency, has been included in 30+ “Best of 2015” charts. Ummagma’s sound is reminiscent of 4AD early output with hues of Cocteau Twins, David Sylvian, Mike Oldfield, Vangelis and Stereolab.

Ummagma is a duo comprised of Shauna McLarnon and Alexander Kretov, hailing from Whitehorse, Canada and Kremenets, Ukraine respectively. Having first met in the centre of Moscow, they moved to Ukraine during the Orange Revolution but now call Peterborough, Canada home.

Frequency is the keenly anticipated follow up to their two debut LPs Ummagma and Antigravity released simultaneously in 2012. The album takes the listener through a cosmic yet introspective dreampop and ambient journey, tinged with shoegaze and synthpop flair. The album features five original tracks, as well as three remixes of “Lama” by several legendary artists, including Cocteau Twins, kingpin, Robin Guthrie and Malcolm Holmes. You may watch the official music video for “Lama” via YouTube.

Frequency is out now via Moon Sounds Records. You may also stream Ummagma tracks and full albums via bandcamp and soundcloud.

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“Lama” by Ummagma

Ummagma Frequency

Image and mp3 courtesy of Shauna McLarnon of Shameless Promotion PR

“In Our Parent’s Eyes” by Nish Goyal

Nish Goyal is an indie-folk singer-songwriter from Chester. He graduated in Law and worked briefly as a legal advisor before moving to Frankfurt to take up a stockbroking job. However, music has always been a huge part of his life. His first instrument was the piano though these days he is drawn more to the guitar and bass. Early 2011 saw him walk away from his day job and immerse himself in his music. He released a studio album called A Little Validation and a project called The Hedonist EP.

Nish recorded and released an eight track EP called The Rage EP in January 2015. He has recently signed a one album deal with a small indie label in Portsmouth called Coffee Jingle Records and a new album is scheduled for release early this year. He will be releasing the first single titled “In Our Parent’s Eyes” on March 11. Have a listen to some other tracks via soundcloud.

Nish is a regular on Liverpool’s lively music scene, gigging regularly at places like The Jacaranda, The Cavern and Bier as well as open mic nights in Manchester and London.

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“In Our Parent’s Eyes” by Nish Goyal

Nish Goyal In Our Parent's Eyes

Image and mp3 courtesy of Andrea Lynch of Blue Soap Music PR & Plugging

"Away From Here" by Ideomotor

Erkka Wennonen and Kimmo Myllyviita originally hail from Helsinki, Finland and have been close friends since their early teens. Mixing classic acoustic instruments with contemporary production techniques, the duo began to synthesize their interests, bridging brit-pop and 80’s synth-pop with 90’s era heavy metal and post punk.

The resulting sound was something they felt was tragic and triumphant, muscular yet dreamy. They decided on the moniker Ideomotor which describes a psychological phenomenon whereby a thought or mental image brings about a seemingly automatic muscular reaction.

Their new single “Away From Here” recently premiered on PureVolume who noted their “blend of post-punk meets synth pop recalls some of the greats in the genre.”

Have a listen to “Away From Here” via Soundcloud, or the player below.

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“Away From Here” by Ideomotor

Ideomotor

Image and mp3 courtesy of Jennifer Thorington & Samuel Markus of Working Brilliantly

"Dirty Love" by Dirty Revival

Portland, Oregon’s Dirty Revival, a five-piece soul-hip-hop group, are celebrating the release of their debut, self-titled full-length. Featuring the resounding, and resonating, front woman Sarah Clarke, Evan “evv’n’flo” Simko (M.C., guitar), Terry Drysdale (drums), Karl Ludwigsen (keyboards), and Jon Shaw (bass), the quintet delivers a record described by one concertgoer as “Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, and Rose Royce all blended up as one.”

Dirty Revival is a melting pot of influences and personalities, with all five members getting their voice, literally and metaphorically, contained within the sounds of the album. While navigating different musical waters, the album also vacillates between fiercely political uprisings to down and gritty party jams that are meant to make you smile and dance.

The record is as natural as the band’s beginnings, with no long discussions or debates, just things gelling and making sense. Have a listen to the single “Dirty Love” via SoundCloud or the player below.

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“Dirty Love” by Dirty Revival

Dirty Revival Press Photo 2

Image and mp3 courtesy of Alex Steininger of In Music We Trust PR

“Poppy Piss” by Idiot Grins

In 2012, Idiot Grins made Quarry. East Bay Express inexplicably referred to the band as, “zydeco-rockish” and said the album was “charming but torpid.”

The Idiot Grins’ newest album is entitled Big Man, and it represents a bit of a departure from their first album. “I’ve always loved R&B and soul, especially the music of the great Stax Records from Memphis – artists like Sam and Dave, Booker T and the MG’s, and of course Otis Redding,” Randy explains (guitarist). Of course, you can’t recreate the Memphis sound of the ’60’s without horns. The band was fortunate to enlist the services of Johnny Bamont, sax player for the 80’s super-group Huey Lewis and the News, and Mic Gillette, trumpet player for the legendary East Bay R&B band Tower of Power. Their horns add just the right touch of authenticity to the band’s original compositions.

Randy and the band have also spent a lifetime admiring the work of the legendary Gram Parsons, considered the father of country rock. Big Man also explores this genre, employing the incomparable pedal steel playing of Bay Area legend Joe Goldmark on several tracks.

You may stream the album via SoundCloud and follow the band on Facebook.

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“Poppy Piss” by Idiot Grins

Idiot Grins Big Man Cover

Image and mp3 courtesy of Matt Bacon, Artist Liaison at Independent Music Promotions

“Mirrors” by Mos Isley

In late-2015, Sweden-based indie pop outfit Mos Isley made their American debut on Whatship? who noted their music video’s “emotionally-liberating, intimate road trip visuals are the perfect compliment to the bands jangly brand of indie pop.”

The band’s music has an alternative and profound arena-pop feel with heartfelt lyrics and catchy melodies. They were voted for Sweden’s Best Unsigned Band in 2015 with their debut single “Mirrors.” You may purchase the single via bandcamp.

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“Mirrors” by Mos Isley

Mos Isley Mirrors

Image and .mp3 courtesy of Jennifer Thorington & Samuel Markus of Working Brilliantly