Tragedy can often times completely transform peoples’ lives. Those situations can truly make or break a human. Andy Michaels, of Perth, Australia was determined to not let tragedy define his life. After a jarring car accident that left him temporarily paralyzed at 18, Andy picked up a guitar and focused on channeling his pain into music. Now, many years later, Andy has made an entire career of music. He has written, recorded and released more than 120 songs, most of which have received universal critical acclaim and obtained a huge response from listeners around the globe.
COVID-19 slowed touring plans for Michaels, but nothing will stop him from getting quality music to his fans. June 2021 saw the release of the moving single “She Reminds Me Of Beautiful.” Featuring the sultry vocals of Sharon Court, this single stands out among the rest.
Everything about this track is enchanting and emotional. Sharon and Andy’s vocals mesh together beautifully, dancing together alongside the intriguing and intricate instrumentals. The emotions grow and change throughout the track and the instrumentals lead the way the entire time. The talent Andy possesses shines through brightest with his instrumental layout. He’s seamlessly able to pair instruments together to help make sure his message translates perfectly.
“She Reminds Me Of Beautiful” encapsulates the beauty of family and having children and parents around the world are going to be able to relate to this track. And they’ll be pleased all the while with Michaels’ smooth, contemporary style. Andy Michaels is no stranger to hard work, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more!
Sometimes the most genuine music comes from the most unexpected moments. Los Angeles based rapper/electronic artist Wingman knows this to be all too true. An emergency situation while filming a music video resulted in a complete change of plans and newfound inspiration.
The LA artist was out with his cameraman, Matt Trainor, to film a music video. The duo was out on Wingman’s helicopter over the mountains of California when a downdraft forced an emergency landing in the mountains. This ‘crash landing’ left them stranded without cell phone service and they had to hike for hours to call a rescue team. Inspiration struck and what started out as a vision for one song, turned into another song quickly.
“Crash Land” tells the story of what happened that day. And the result is an addictive song with amazing energy and a raw story behind it. Footage was collected before and after the emergency landing and their rescue and it further tells the story of an event that could have turned tragic. Wingman is left relieved and with hope for another day and that message transpires through the song.
Watch the video for “Crash Land” by Wingman below
Wingman didn’t allow the daunting situation to destroy him. Instead, he tackled it with optimism and creativity. Without that mentality, we wouldn’t be able to bop to “Crash Land” today. With the talent and creativity shown here, it’s clear Wingman is going to make a name for himself. If you like “Crash Land” then make sure to check out his latest album, Weird New Feelings. Singles like “F Up My Life”, “Beijing”, and the title track will be sure to please.
Isaac Fosl-van Wyke is a songwriter and puppeteer out of Louisville, Kentucky. Each song is a chance for Isaac to weave you stories through America’s tortured past, but leave you with a sense of hope for better a tomorrow. Utilizing folk, indie, and psychedelic sounds and channeling inspirations like Bob Dylan, Isaac has the unique sound to match his storytelling abilities. His latest single, “Every Body Knows” is a moving number inspired by the events of last year’s civil unrest started by the cruel death of George Floyd.
“I wrote this song after George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police, while folks in Louisville were hitting the streets in big numbers to demand justice for the murder of Breonna Taylor. I heard a man I really admired talking about his experience being Black, having just watched the video of the infamous Karen threatening to call the cops on a Black birdwatcher in Central Park. My friend was like, “She knew what she was doing. Every Body knows what she was doing.” His words inspired me to write a song about American bodies being separated from the beginning into these disgustingly different privileges and punishments, by a racist society. I wanted to suggest that every one of our bodies knows, on some level, that this is wrong.” – Isaac Fosl-van Wyke
Listen to “Every Body Knows” below
With such deep meaning behind the song, there’s bound to be intense emotions behind it as well. That emotions translates through the delicate instrumentals and the gentle quiver in Isaac’s vocals. There’s a gentle strength behind that quiver. A strength in knowing that we can use our voices to condemn those appalling behaviors we’ve seen over the course of human history. Even though there’s such despair in recognizing those behaviors are all around, there’s hope in all of us changing things once and for all and Isaac conveys that well.
“Every Body Knows” is a great show of Isaac’s songwriting ability. And it won’t be long until we get to see more of what Isaac has up his sleeve. With more singles coming in June and July and an album titled UNDERNEATH dropping in August we will have tons to consume. He will also be playing shows locally in Louisville. So be sure to keep up with Isaac Fosl-van Wyke!
We had the chance to get a little deeper with Isaac here:
How would you describe the Isaac Fosl-Van Wyke sound?
Rusty, dense, and glowing from the inside. The sound borrows a lot from folk traditions — troubadors, storytellers — but there’s cell phones littered in among the constellations, and almost every song has a little mutation like a change in key or time signature. The songs are dark, dense, and full of ugly histories. I found them in the realm of grief, but they end up carrying you towards hope or redemption — something to feed the future. My voice and writing are at the center, and in this first chapter of recording I’ve also tried to decorate that with layers of harmony and counterpoint from friends I’ve made along the way. I think that tension between a solo voice and harmonic support — the individual versus collective — is evident in both the sound and subject matter.
Which artists have provided you with the inspiration for what you do?
Bob Dylan has a huge and obvious influence on my overall style — how the poetry and storytelling come across. But Dylan’s apathy about the songwriter’s role in culture and politics was always a kind of anti-model to me. In that realm I’ve always felt inspired by the anger and love of Nina Simone, and the deep lineage of Black music aimed joyfully at the heart of the empire. Another big influence was falling in love with Fela Kuti in high school, and learning all the politically entangled stories behind his long explosive compositions. David Bowie, David Byrne, Paul Simon, and Merrill Garbus (Tune-Yards) all taught me good and bad things about being a white person navigating a love for all kinds of musics and cultures. Being from Kentucky, I’ve always felt proud to be on the same soil as Will Oldham. His songs have challenged me to try and inhabit my own breed of weird specificity and navigate the world through songwriting. Since moving back to Louisville, Joan Shelley has been a great friend and sort of big sister to me, sharing a lot of wisdom about her writing process and encouraging and challenging me.
What was your songwriting process like during the pandemic fueled lockdown?
Right before the pandemic began, Joan Shelley called together a group of songwriters to start sharing songs every week and trading little writing assignments. We met once in person, then the lockdown began. But even over the internet, this was a fulfillment of a longtime wish for me, and it’s no exaggeration to say that a weekly creative accountability with new friends really saved my life during the pandemic. The group came to be called the Pineapple Playground, and several of the songs on my forthcoming album came from there, including “Every Body Knows.” In late June 2020, we gathered in this big beautiful church with our masks on — some of us never having met in person before — and everyone played songs and asked each other to learn parts and play along. I’m releasing a live video of “Every Body Knows” from that session, and John Pedigo is going to finish an edit of the whole thing with songs from all six artists
If nothing else, the COVID-19 pandemic that took over the last year has bred more creativity than ever before. Artists are finding new inspirations, gaining new ways to connect, and have more time for writing. The combination makes for a slew of new music coming at us faster than ever before. One project that came to light amidst the chaos was Random Parts. Songwriter Jonathan Brannon was inspired to create and thus started this fully realized, remotely recorded rock project. “Take Me Back” is the debut single of the group.
“Take Me Back” offers clean rock vocals, catchy hooks, and crunchy guitar. Reminiscent of Nickelback and Daughtry, radio rock fans are going to be enamored by what Random Parts is offering.
Watch the lyric video for “Take Me Back” below
“Take Me Back” is rooted in nostalgia. It’s all about the yearning for the simpler times of our youth where problems weren’t as complex as they can be in your adult life. The single looks back at our teenage years with rose-colored glasses that make you want to go back in time, even if just for a moment. There’s an element of emotion within that nostalgic feeling that pours through in the vocals.
Overall, “Take Me Back” is an impressive entrance into music for Random Parts. There is so much potential within this track, showing there is no bounds to where they can go with their career. Don’t miss out on the next chapter.
Dick Aven has mastered the art of defying the rules and traditions in music. The eclectic musician from Franklin, TN is known for carving his own path. He uses his vast knowledge of music and the multiple instruments he plays to create something wholly unique to him. Not bound by genres or styles, Dick continues to impress fans with what he is able to produce. His latest album, It All Started In The Garden is no exception to that.
There’s a ton of charm and charisma within the ten tracks that make up It All Started In The Garden. Each song holds it’s own space and sound within the album, yet as a whole the album is fluid and cohesive. Reminiscent of a summer’s evening, It All Started In The Garden wraps you into it’s warm embrace and tickles you with a cool breeze. It is fresh and unique and sure to please the general listener.
“This Is How I Am” opens the album and sets the tone for what to expect. Delicate and croony, it showcases Dick’s ability to let the emotions behind the song shine through in his sound. The next track, “No Clue” is a favorite of mine. It’s got some easy-listening, indie-rock, country elements that create something really special. Fans of Elliott Smith will really gravitate towards this track especially.
Watch the video for “No Clue” below
As you continue through the album you’ll find that no two tracks are alike. Tracks like “Island Of My Own” are full of soul and jazz elements, while “It All Started In The Garden” has some Latin twang to it. The album as a whole takes you through a wide range of genres and stories to keep you engaged and interested as every second plays through.
As you listen through It All Started In The Garden it’s apparent that Dick Aven is nothing short of talented. His ability to tell a story through song is uncanny. Lover’s of indie, folk, and rock alike will find solace within Dick’s music. Be sure to stay tuned to his journey.
It’s pretty rare to see a mother, son duo in music. Sure, we’ve seen families play together before, but a strictly mother, son duo is unique and intriguing. There is something undeniably special about music made by those who share the same DNA. Seattle based electronic act, Sugar Addikt has that magic. Compromised of Vanessa and Bowman Littrell, Sugar Addikt has a synergy that can only be born from common DNA.
This year has seen the release of their first collaborative piece of work, their EP titled Phoenix. This EP consists of five original songs that seek to tell an overarching story. Starting at the lowest of lows with only hope and prayer in pocket, “Shackles” opens the EP. Upbeat and powerful, it shows the resilience within the human body. Sugar Addikt expresses, “If we hold ourselves accountable, the ‘Shackles’ are of our own making…” and reminds us that “you could be here all the time,” if you allow yourself the freedom to let go of what holds you back.
The positive messages continue throughout the EP, proving that Sugar Addikt wrote this with their intentions crystal clear in mind. Utilizing their music to spread a message while maintaining a fun and upbeat sound allows fans to connect with their music deeply. “Change It” features intense instrumentals and fast beats that help create the sense of urgency that you need to take hold of your life now and make changes for the better.
Listen to Phoenix by Sugar Addikt
As you continue through the EP, the sense of power doesn’t fade, in fact it amplifies. “New Dawn” hosts a sense of rebellion and individuality. You can feel the fervent fire throughout this track. Persevering through the mundane and petty to allow yourself the freedom to fights norms and be true to yourself. There isn’t a soul in the world that can’t benefit from this message.
Phoenix really takes you on a journey of acceptance, perseverance, tenacity, and hope. “The Phoenix must die before taking flight. As expectations change, shackles are broken, the funeral pyre must be built, then you light it, and proceed.”
Sunday Morning is the most fresh thing to come out of Vancouver. The project came to life in a hotel room on Vancouver’s Downtown East-Side and they’ve been innovating ever since. A kaleidoscope of genre’s and collaborations, Sunday Morning isn’t bogged down with labels. Instead they focus on creating music authentic to them. “Anna Says” is their latest release, further proving their talents know no bounds.
The collaborative effort within “Anna Says” helps further make this single stand out among the rest. It was produced and recorded by Felix Fung at Little Red Sounds Studio and mixed by Grammy and Juno award winning producer Chris Birkett (Sinead O’Connor, Buffy Sainte Marie). And as if that powerhouse duo wasn’t enough, they also had guitar virtuoso Dave Dykhuizen, “Double D” add his soulful flair to the track.
But collaboration isn’t the only thing that makes Sunday Morning special. Part of their magic is their ability to connect and engage to listener’s emotions. They state that they’re “dedicated to exploring the wide spectrum of emotions and seeks to bridge the duality of the human experience.” That dedication to connecting with fans leaves their music pure, raw, and allowing listeners to connect on a visceral level.
“Anna Says” take listeners through the meld of emotions between hope and desperation. “She says I lost everything I had. But I still have love to give.” The line between hope and desperation is thin, and this track delicately plays with that line beautifully.
Sunday Morning has the makings of something very special. “Anna Says” certainly won’t be the last of them, so keep your eyes peeled for more!
Rising alt-pop star, Mandi Crimmins recently released their new single, “Anyone But Me” with a corresponding music video. Battling with self-acceptance, Mandi gets vulnerable in this addictive track, creating an anthem for anyone battling their own inner demon. Using her insecurities to fuel her fire, Mandi has harnessed an edge and power into her alt-pop sound, carving out her own space in music.
Mandi Crimmins releases a riveting single and music video titled “Anyone But Me”
Empowering and raw, “Anyone But Me” has everything it takes to skyrocket Mandi Crimmins in the spotlight she deserves. Her strength and fury show through her belting out the chorus, “I’d become someone else. I’d change me if I could, if I could be anyone but me.” You can feel that deep battle with loving your authentic self and not comparing yourself to others. That struggle is perfectly depicted in the music video that accompanies the single. Mandi switches out of her alt-attire and vibrant red hair to a blonde wig and a dress and cardigan, but is visually so unhappy not being authentically Mandi.
It leaves the listener/watcher knowing that the best option is always going to be staying true to ourselves. Whether you’re a normie and proud or someone who leads an alternative lifestyle. Mandi says, “I hope listeners take away that we all struggle with loving who we are, but embracing our authentic self unlocks pure inner happiness.”
Mandi really highlights all of her strengths in “Anyone But Me.” I would be amazed if this isn’t a track that helps launch her career to the next level. It’s full of powerful vocals, catchy lyrics, and a meaningful message which will surely connect deeply to fans. You’re going to want to stay tuned to Mandi and what she does next.