“I Wasn’t In My Right Mind” by Scott Taylor

Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Virginia, Scott Taylor plays the true blues; stirred up in Motown hot sauce, simmered in funk and seasoned with southern soul.

The singer-songwriter has spent a life entrenched in music. After years spent with his youth choir, Taylor began his professional career backing headlining artists who toured the Northwest. He bounced around several notable blues labels as he honed his solo style.

Most recently Taylor has found a home at Fetal Records out of Annapolis where he is putting the finishing touches on his first album for the label, Blues Kitchen. The album is a collection of songs Taylor describes as “unfiltered and strait from the gut.” The bluesman has been laboriously tracking his new material, collaborating with blues guitar virtuoso Tony Fazio with Charlie Sayles playing harmonica on several tracks, while still finding time to play piano at Church on Sundays.

“I Wasn’t In My Right Mind” by Scott Taylor

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

“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.

“Emily” by Nick Urb

Nick Urb

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

“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.

“Away From Here” by Ideomotor

Ideomotor

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

“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.

“Mirrors” by Mos Isley

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

“Moonlight” by Jack the Radio

North Carolina indie-roots-rock outfit Jack the Radio meld their native blues and pop influences with electronic flourishes, spaghetti western vibes and hard edged rock n’ roll.

Their newest release, Badlands, was recorded over a three year period starting in 2012 and is now being released in a limited vinyl pressing. The bands work ethic and aesthetic is indicative of the now blossoming Raleigh scene which is exploding with new and colorful culinary and micro-brewery startups. In fact you can grab a pint of Jack the Radio Badland Black Rye IPA at the local Mystery Brewing.

Jack the Radio is A.C. Hill (acoustic guitar, lead vocals), George Hage (lead guitar, lead vocals), Danny Johnson (lap Steel, baritone guitar, keys, vocals), Chris Sayles (bass, vocals), and Brent Francese (drums).

Jack the Radio premiered their video for “Moonlight” on BLURT who tweeted “it might be one of the best NC songs of 2015.”

“Moonlight” by Jack the Radio

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

“Spin” by Matt Lande

Matt Lande grew up in a small Florida town. He found his first ticket out slinging a guitar for the band StorySide: B. Lande co-wrote the title track to the band’s first album, Everything and More, which was a hit on the Christian charts.

Searching for a more expansive direction for his music, Lande followed his dream to Los Angeles where he signed an indie deal and released his Stories From Yesterday LP in 2010, under the band name Heaven Is Where. Quickly realizing this was the wrong name for a non-Christian rock band, Lande began performing his material under his own name; releasing the Welcome Home Child LP in 2012 and the acoustic EP DarkStar, later that year.

At the end of 2014 two of Lande’s close friends passed away from cancer within a couple months of each other. Overwhelmed by the avalanche of emotional trauma, Lande turned to his music as an outlet for his turmoil. The cathartic songs that followed would become his newest album Glow; a collection of emotive alt-pop.

Lande premiered his single “Spin” on PopWrapped who noted the “track is emotive and melodic, perfect for fans of chart-friendly music”. The track can also be shared via Soundcloud.

“Spin” by Matt Lande

Matt Lande Glow Album Cover

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

“Lilac” by Alnilam

LA-based dream-pop outfit Alnilam offers a pristine blend of compelling ambience and ethereal songwriting. Putting the themes of love, loss, transformation, mortality and memory to tape comes naturally to Alnilam’s core duo who have traveled the world several times over. Singer-songwriter Elena Pinto is of wild Costa Rican ancestry and multi-instrumentalist Serhat Arslan is from a coastal city in northern Turkey.

Pinto moved to Santa Monica in 2011 and felt powerfully drawn to songwriting. She soon pulled Arslan into her orbit who just arrived in LA himself two weeks earlier.

Pinto’s vocals conjure up emotive female singers such as Marianne Faithfull and Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries while the music veers between the post-rock richness of Explosions in the Sky and the magical ambient sense of Yann Tiersen and Beach House all the while evoking Europa folkloric traditions.

The track “Lilac” is from the band’s forthcoming LP, Indigo Sky, which was released on November 13. The official video can be viewed on YouTube.

Alnilam also premiered the track “When It Comes To You” on PureVolume.

“Lilac” by Alnilam

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

“Pink Dress” by Cashavelly Morrison

In the mood for some soul-stirring songwriting from West Virginia? Gothic americana songstress Cashavelly Morrison shows raw emotion as she traverses through haunting memories of her childhood in the south in her forthcoming LP, The Kingdom Belongs to a Child.

Morrison grew up in a coal-mining town in West Virginia. She began her life in performance at the age of 3 as a ballet dancer, which continued for the next two decades until she broke her spine. Yet it was not until moving to North Carolina that she was introduced to the rich musical traditions of West Virginia and the surrounding region. Her unguarded approach flows in the same southern vein as the work of Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, and Neko Case with significance placed on the lyrics supported by a crafted musical fabric.

Morrison’s relationship with making music is intuitive with no formal training besides what she learned through internalizing the classical music to which she once danced. Her fondness for journal-writing began at age 13 and led to her English and Creative Writing majors. She met her husband while he was earning his bachelor’s degree in classical guitar performance and the two bonded over their love of authentic folk songs.

“Pink Dress” by Cashavelly Morrison

Cashavelly Morrison album cover

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

“World Keeps Turnin” by Jordan Okrend

NYC-based singer-songwriter Jordan Okrend premiered the new music video for his soulful single “Go My Way” on PureVolume. The music video was made gorilla-style, shooting in the chaotic streets and subway systems of NYC.

“Go My Way” is from Okrend’s new release, World Keeps Turnin’. The album can be streamed in full via SoundCloud.

Okrend blends the old school with the contemporary. From his love of artists such as John Lennon, Marvin Gaye and Bob Marley, Okrend struck upon his own soulful sound; vintage pop imbued with an infectious jazzy, bluesy-rock edge and socially conscious lyrics.

Okrend released his first two EP’s, Unpredictable and Rising Up, between 2010 and 2012 while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston and supported both releases by performing throughout the East Coast in North Carolina, New York and Boston. Okrend, like his trusty Martin acoustic, which has accompanied him since he began his musical journey, has now seen thousands of performances and has gained a lot of attitude along the way.

“World Keeps Turnin” by Jordan Okrend

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

“Bittersweet Descent” by Ted West

Like his hero Jim Morison, singer-songwriter, Ted West, carries around a book of poetry he started as a teenager. Many of the songs on his latest album, True West, were drawn from those poems. The collection has been compared to Nick Cave and Chris Isaaks. The full album is available for streaming via Soundcloud.

West’s covers of Marianne Faithfull and Leonard Cohen showcase a keen ability to crawl inside and breathe new life into the already iconic songs. He premiered his lead-off single “Bittersweet Decent” on Popdose who noted “West’s sound walks the line between urban decay and psychedelia, often melding the two together to create a sound that’s modern Los Angeles.”

“Bittersweet Descent” by Ted West

Ted West

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