Sometimes the smallest action can alter an entire existence. That certainly has been the case in the creative life of singer/songwriter WILL VAN DYKE. An established musician in the theatrical world of New York City, VAN DYKE was looking for collaborators when an email from lyricist and playwright Jeff Talbott appeared in his inbox. Like Elton John finding Bernie Taupin at the right moment, these two paths crossing would launch a strong and lasting songwriting partnership that culminates in the release of VAN DYKE’s debut solo EP, THE MAYOR.

Billed as a collection of songs that combine personal stories with folklore-like fables, THE MAYOR accentuates the creative chemistry that VAN DYKE and Talbott have been building for the past eight years. From the first line of “You’ll Never Hear the Sound,” the story of a chance encounter that helps a man take control of his own destiny, you can feel the power of VAN DYKE as an artist finally lending his voice to his music.

In talking about the song VAN DYKE explains, “I really wanted to start the EP off with a musical journey as much as an emotional one. So, this song starts very acoustic, but gradually builds in the power-pop flare that this whole collection really embodies.” The songwriting duo knew the song was the perfect way to start the record off. “A sung story about a person finding the strength of their own voice is the ideal introduction for a singer/songwriter doing the exact same thing,” continues Talbott.

Talbott’s email was not the first such missive to change VAN DYKE’s creative career. Born in Atlanta, GA and moving to Boston around high school (with a very brief stop in Rochester, NY between), VAN DYKE was 18 when he moved to New York to attend NYU. He grew up studying classical piano, but loved theater as well as rock and roll, and was confused and unfocused upon his arrival in the city. “Being gay, and dealing with all the things that come with that, it was not until I got to New York that I realized how the things I loved could intersect,” says VAN DYKE. Then he wrote an email of his own that would change his whole life and help define the path he would take.

He reached out to established composer Andrew Lippa, who, through an internship, shepherded VAN DYKE into the theater industry and gave him the push he needed to start writing. At 22, he hit the road with the first National Tour of Wicked playing the piano. After a brief stint on a National Tour of Grease starring Taylor Hicks, he landed his first Broadway gig, The Addams Family. Jumping from The Addams Family to Rent led him to  Kinky Boots, where he was part of the music team with Cyndi Lauper. The relationships built on Kinky Boots led to the musical version of Pretty Woman and working with Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. Currently, VAN DYKE is the music supervisor of Little Shop of Horrors, for which he also served as orchestrator and arranger. He was nominated for a  Grammy® Award in 2020 for his work on the Little Shop of Horrors cast recording…

Quite an adventure that continues to unfold!

STREAM/PURCHASE

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HUDSON VALLEY ROOTS ROCKERS LARA HOPE & THE ARK-TONES RETURN TO TEAR IT UP WITH THEIR ROLLICKING THIRD ALBUM,
 HERE TO TELL THE TALE, DUE JUNE 25 VIA SOWER RECORDS (CD/DIGITAL) AND CRAZY LOVE RECORDS (VINYL)

After rocking the road with the Brian Setzer Orchestra, the Blasters,
the Reverend Horton Heat, and Tiger Army, 
this Catskills quartet has reemerged with their strongest, most rip-roaring release to date.


KINGSTON, N.Y. — Ask anyone who’s caught them live and you’ll hear the same thing: It’s simply impossible to see Lara Hope & the Ark-Tones perform and not have a great time. A smile on the lips, a swivel in the hips, and an earful of snappy tunes are the inevitable takeaways from any Ark-Tones appearance. The band’s singular blend of rock ‘n’ roll, country, blues, surf, Western swing, rockabilly, folk, pop, and jazzy rhythm & blues gets feet a-moving and hands a-clapping no matter the audience. By the end of the night, if they weren’t already, those lucky concertgoers are rabid fans.

From behind her trademark red cat-eye frames, Lara, winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Female Rockabilly Artist, fills any hall that she and the Ark-Tones play. Her neon-bright, bigger-than-life persona is matched only by the outsized power of her towering voice, an instrument that moves effortlessly between big-stage belting and sexy, sultry crooning. Alongside Lara, the ace Ark-Tones know innately how to complement the leader and singer-songwriter’s dynamic vocal presence, both before an audience and in the studio: Double bassist Matt “The Knife” Goldpaugh, lead guitarist Eddie Rion, and drummer Jeremy Boniello keep the train rocketing down the rails, making moody detours whenever the songs call for them. Want an illustration of an act that knows its craft? Here to Tell the Tale, the band’s red-hot third album, is diamond-hard proof. In spades.

“Lara Hope & the Ark-Tones’ records and live performances capture, and release, the spirit of the original rockabilly and country bands that I have listened to and enjoyed for most of my life,” says Tony Garnier, Bob Dylan’s long-time bassist and a devout devotee of the group. “And my two boys, who are 10 and 13 and are [otherwise] glued to Top 40 radio, are also huge fans.”

Garnier is by no means alone in his praise for the quartet’s sound. “A beguiling chanteuse, Lara swirls with facility from sonorous swinging to purred intimations to powerhouse, knock-down-drag-out rock ’n’ roll,” says No Depression, while PopDose calls their music “a damned fine gathering of real, American rock ’n’ roll — the way it was meant to be played — with fun and passion.”

One listen to the all-originals Here to Tell the Tale shows just how true that is. After blasting out of the box with “Let’s Go,” a high-octane shot of the band’s steadfast sound, the 11-song disc spins further out with new gems like the lush, haunting “It’s a Crime.” The rousing “Some Advice” is a playful poke at the generation gap complete with hilarious voicemails from Lara’s mom, and the simmering sax of Hayden Cummings of the Kings of Nuthin’. (Another album guest is keyboardist Matt Jordan, sideman to Stray Cat Lee Rocker and Reverend Horton Heat.) The raucous title track, an anthem of steadfast determination, came to Lara after a 2019 tour fall that shattered her leg but didn’t stop her — three metal rods, twenty-three screws, and a few weeks later, she and the Ark-Tones were back out again, doing regional shows.

If there’s a theme to Here to Tell the Tale, it’s one of not holding back or being afraid of following your personal path. “It’s about getting out and living your life, creating new memories, for good or for bad, and having experiences that you just couldn’t have had otherwise,” explains Lara. “Having your own tale to tell.”

https://www.larahopeandtheark-tones.com

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WHERE RETRO MEETS NOUVEAU – CALIFORNIA BAY AREA BAND THE JENNY THING RETURNS WITH AMERICAN CANYON, A HAUNTING EIGHT SONG ALBUM THAT PLAYS LIKE A SWEEPING FILM SOUNDTRACK – STREET DATE JUNE 18

The original quartet showcases a modern approach to the New Wave sounds that made them San Francisco Bay Area favorites in the 90s.

BERKELEY, California — The Jenny Thing came together on the Berkeley campus of the University of California in 1991 when singer/guitarist Matt Easton met guitarist Shyam Rao. Matt and drummer Mike Phillipshad grown up together, and both had been friends with bass player Ehren Becker since junior high. “It took most of freshman year in college before I noticed Shyam had a guitar under his dorm room bed,” Easton recalled. “Turned out he was good, and he knew how to put a demo together. I was a serious pianist and could sing but had little songwriting experience. We were very compatible co-writers and started playing our first handful of songs around dorms and student houses in Berkeley, on acoustic guitars. Once we pulled in Mikeand Ehren, we quickly made our way to playing clubs and making an album at Live Oak Studio in Berkeley.”

That first album, Me, was recorded shortly after the band played their first live shows. Its semi-acoustic sound is emotionally raw, with a style balanced between pop and youthful experimentation. It became the best-selling independent album of the year at Berkeley’s Rasputin Records. 

The band’s follow up, Closer and Closer to Less, was more polished, drawing on the sounds of The Cure, The Smiths and New Order. The arrangements had been honed by live gigs and captured the band’s onstage energy. According to Easton, “We had national distribution for Closer and Closer, and got quite a bit of college radio play. We toured in a van, up and down California, playing colleges, small clubs and The Roxy and Troubadour in LA. We even made it through one round of Star Search.” 

The last album before the group disbanded was 1999’s Nowhere Near You. It showed them transcending their influences to deliver waves of atmospheric guitars, fragmented rhythms and honest emotion. 

“We had become a mature band from a production perspective. Knowing it was going to be our last album, we put a lot of heart and soul into it,” Easton notes. “We were only 27, but we began to move on. Shyam moved away for grad school. All of us eventually got jobs and started families, but we stayed in touch.”

Five years ago, everyone in the band was living in Northern California again. Easton and Rao began writing new songs, recording them in Easton’s home studio in Berkeley. “At first, we were just getting in the room and finishing each other’s demos. Sometimes I’d send Shyam a completed song and he’d hack it up and make a completely different production from it, or he’d come over and we’d pass a guitar back and forth. Then we’d call Mike and Ehren in to track parts, sometimes pre-arranged, sometimes more jammy. It was very non-linear. On three or four songs, we all played live together. Most of the time we worked together in pairs, rotating through the sessions in a random fashion.”

The first track they completed, “Lightfield,” is a love song that balances feelings of resignation and yearning. Dark synthesizer chords, Rao’s chiming guitar fills and Easton’s chilling vocal, intensify the song’s emotional impact. The band put it up on social media and got encouraging comments. 

“American Canyon,” a song that combines an anti-war stance, while celebrating the psychology of war, eventually became the new album’s title. It’s a synth-heavy track with a dark, popping bass line and ghostly vocals. It describes the desire to cling to love, even in the midst of destruction and chaos. “From that song forward, an intensity in the sound and themes began to build. We realized an album was coming together. We started rewriting completed material, reworking vocal parts and lyrics and pushing everything as far as we could. Through this process, the songs told us they wanted to be an album. Even though we’re still separated by some distance, it became our reunion project.” 

The music The Jenny Thing created for American Canyon has a cinematic sweep. Synthesizers, sampled and real drums, and vocal processing were added, and unexpected tempo shifts were made as the songs were rewritten, deconstructed and revamped. And a storyline gradually emerged, enhancing the direction the project was taking. 

“The songs are not expository, but there is a thread,” Easton said. “Each track describes the characters’ emotional reactions at pivotal points in a story where they struggle with faith and doubt, urgency and resignation, love, hate and mortality.” 

“I think this moment—this record and our rejuvenation—isn’t so much a turning point; it’s like a rededication point. We want to keep making urgent and emotional stuff and riding the creative wave. Working in my home studio we found that, if we pour ourselves into the writing and the actual moments of performance, we can make almost anything sonically we care to make.”

https://thejennything.com

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Paper Boats EP – street date 6/11/21

Nashville-based singer-songwriter James DiGirolamo has extensive experience as a session musician and touring sideman. As a keyboard player, he’s worked with Mindy Smith, Holly Williams, Peter Bradley Adams, Alice Peacock, and many others. DiGirolamo’s latest solo work draws on a wide array of influences including Paul Simon, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Elliott Smith, Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, Harry Nilsson, Thomas Dolby, XTC, Ben Folds, Ron Sexsmith, and to no small degree many friends and peers from his time in Nashville, such as Sarah Siskind. In his words, “These are not always overt, or even apparent, but they’re in there- that’s part of the beauty of the DNA of songwriting.”

The title Paper Boats is a playful combination of the names of the first and last tracks. As DiGirolamo puts it, “in my mind, each of the songs is a tiny boat I constructed, which I now hope to launch across a glassy pond, or -more like it- a turbulent sea.”

The opening track, “Same Boat,” comes from a Stevie Wonder/ Paul McCartney-esque place. From the song – “I can’t pretend that I have all the answers/ by magic turn these fighters into dancers.” JD explains, “Sometimes a phrase just sticks in mind, or goes perfectly with what you’re playing on the piano, and so you see where it leads. In this case, words tumbled out to form a catchy tune about people coming together to face big challenges. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive statement on the subject, it’s just one sweeping aspect of the conversation. We have to imagine that world before we can make it real. The musical style is a bit of a stew, too, just like all of us diverse humans who need one another.”

The hypnotic track “On Paper” finds the song’s protagonist reflecting on divorce with some startling imagery: “Black is the color of ink a squid jets out when he takes a fright/ silly me, I never stop to think, I might just have to gear up for a fight.”  In his songwriting, DiGirolamo clearly seeks to avoid predictable lyrics and chords, but skillfully walks the high wire with creative choices. The results are fresh and complex, resonant rather than  opaque.

The rest of the EP is made up of love songs, though decidedly not the run of the mill. “The Girl Who has Everything” explores a few fanciful notions about what you might offer such a person, besides one’s undying love and devotion, that is. The song was co-written with Daniel Tashian, “seemingly a lifetime ago,” notes DiGirolamo. We were in no small way emulating Burt Bacharach at the time, and I have not shied away from this in my horn arrangement. It is marvelous that Daniel has gone on to actually record an album with Burt!  I’m very happy to finally give this song wings, after a few pre-Wright Brothers-style attempts.” 

DiGirolamo confides, “I didn’t originally set out to become a songwriter or performer. I was sure I would write film scores. I was in love with work by Bernard Hermann and Ennio Morricone. But, I was a dreamy kid, I didn’t have any idea what was actually involved. My odyssey as a creative person has been full of rude awakenings and jarring disappointments, as well as some truly unforgettable peaks. I’ve come through with that inner dreamy kid intact and active, ultimately. It’s a quality which helps me to see the world from a unique angle, which keeps my writing fresh. I never get bored. That’s one of the biggest things that makes me grateful and glad to be alive.”

Jamesdigirolamo.com

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Hailing from Corpus Christi, Texas, J-Minu$ is a true hustler in every sense of the word. With an early attachment to music at a young age, J began recording and writing music at the age of 16. J-Minu$ brings a unique sound to the industry with a cinematic approach at contempoary bedroom pop & hyper pop with musical influence from the punk wave of the ’80s along with modern superstars such as Juice World, All American Rejects, Michael Jackson, Post Malone, & Big Sean. Priding himself in his hard work and dedication towards his craft, J has been recording music out of his family’s food truck while juggling a full-time job and various side hustles since 2016. Early in his career J-Minu$ has released over 70 tracks independently with a song going viral to earn him a verification badge on Instagram before completely rebranding himself and starting fresh in 2021. Since hitting the scene with his unique sound J-Minu$ has released two singles that have garnered him attention of blogs such as Buzz Music, Tha Produce Section, Roadie Music. J-Minu$ has managed to build himself an online community with various underground music outlets and streamers supporting his music such as iListenLive & The Creative Hills. J-Minu$ is not anticipated to slow down in 2021 with a project on the way with eOne’s Audio Network (music library) and a debut album release this summer there is much more anticipated from this South Texas artist.

NEW SINGLE “OPTIMISTIC” OUT ON JUNE 9TH: PRE SAVE HERE! https://jm.cubemusic.ca/optimistic

“Optimistic” is the 3rd single from J-Minu$ releasing June 9th anticipated to be followed up with a debut EP releasing later this summer. This track tells a story of the internal struggle J-Minu$ has faced in his music career. Although J has been finding success with his new sound, he uses this song to speak how he’s been feeling stuck in the same spot despite these recent accomplishments. In this song, J delivers a catchy memorable chorus spreading an optimistic approach to his craft to tie together this story of his struggle while bridging together verses that outline the mental and emotional barriers he has been facing. This song speaks to the mental health struggles that musicians face every day while taking an optimistic approach to the mentality and vision they need to keep persevering through these obstacles. J hopes this song speaks to listeners to keep positive throughout their journey; although they may not be seeing changes right away from their successes it is important to keep moving forward and manifesting their goals.

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This Friday, 5/21 Domo Music Group releases another compilation of pleasant sounds and arrangements. Morning Cafe is a vast collection of artists Like Dave Eggar, Dino Malito, Luna and many more. This follows behind earlier releases Music For Sleep and Relax (both of which I recommend).

Please follow the link below for more information and where to purchase. Domo Music Group has been consistently putting out some wonderful releases, be sure to investigate further.

https://www.domomusicgroup.com/blog/2021/04/20/morning-cafe/

So excited to hear that Tommy Walter has decided to make another AP record. When I got the email about his Kickstarter campaign I reached out to him right away to talk about helping promote the endeavor and he sent me all the info. HOWEVER in just 6 hours after he went live with the campaign it was funded! Incredible news as having a new Abandoned Pools album would…will be amazing and very welcomed. SO, let’s keep spreading the word as more resources to make a record for anyone, of course, is never a bad thing.

Audiokicks – Independent 4-piece rock band from Aberdeen, Scotland

Life long project of frontman Iain Jamieson, Audiokicks have survived in various forms through highs and lows with countless gigs and well received releases. A stalwart of their local Aberdeen scene the 4-piece are prolific with writing and touring, making use of every small opportunity in 2020, recording with esteemed producer Mark Morrow. 

New Single “Grow”:
On March 6th Audiokicks release new single ‘Grow’, an anthemic track with pop stylings, pulsing drums & bass, catchy guitar hooks and an engaging melody.  Originally written for the bands frontman’s two children, the song carries themes of personal growth which are relevant to the way many people will be feeling as the world remains an uncertain place.

Audiokicks are working with Mark Morrow to release a string of singles over 2021 including “Grow” that will be released on all Major online platforms including Bandcamp. 

Press- 

“What an absolute f****** BELTER of a track!” – Iain Sinclair at Supersound Radio. 

Audiokicks are a 4-piece indie / alt rock band who blend anthemic riffs, soaring vocals and a juicy driving bass-line into a powerful sound that always entertains. These guys have nailed the live sound; whether it’s a more soulful ballad or an energetic blast, they pulverise the expectations you might have of a “local band”. These guys have made focussed distortion their friend, contrasted it with crisp lyrics and injected an overdose of energy into their music – the world is better for it. – Mike Rushby MNPR Magazine

Follow Audiokicks and Pre-Order Grow- 
https://linktr.ee/audiokicks

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~Love in the time of Quarantine~
New Song “Crazy In Love” by Poeina & Tate Simms
The last year for Artist Poeina has been complicated far more than the world falling apart, yet she still managed to find love during the time of quarantine.  Poeina has been recovering from injuries inflicted by her former music producer who violently attacked her leaving her permanently injured.  After being forced to leave Los Angeles to recuperate in the mountains during covid lockdowns, and against all odds, she found love.  Returning triumphant to the city full of joy sparked an incredible collaboration with guitarist Tate Simms for this newly released hit single “Crazy in Love”.   
Tate Simms has played with Grammy Award Winner Christina Aguilera, Latoya Jackson, Joe Cocker, The Supremes’ Mary Wilson and Bobby Brown to name a few.  Tate & Poeina have been taking turns backing each other up on live shows for over three years and have finally begun collaborating on their songwriting as well.  Both artists, desperate to share their love of music, came together for two magical sessions to write and record “Crazy In Love”.   

This natural and magnetic collaboration has led to an uplifting, light-hearted fun track about falling in love against all odds.  The homemade indie music video for the track was created in a similar manner.  Joy and freedom of expression were the main objective for these artists who needed to just let loose and have fun with music again.  In the music video you will see Tate Simms & Poeina joy riding in LA along HWY 1, dancing on the beaches and watching seagulls fly.  
In a time where artists are forced to reconsider how to pursue their craft without live shows, truly these artists have found the freedom to celebrate life and love in the time of quarantine.  Now streaming on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, & Pandora or check out Youtube for the Official “Crazy In Love” music video. 

*BUY—>

https://music.apple.com/us/album/crazy-in-love-feat-poeina-single/1545061819

http://www.poeina.com/

http://www.poeina.com/

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Black Glitter Music Promotion​ in association with ​Church Dundee​ and ​The Captain’s Cabin will be kicking off 2021 with ‘Only In Streams’ a series of exclusive livestream concerts, featuring six up-and-coming artists from Scotland’s alternative music scene.

‘Only in Streams’ will present a different livestream every Friday at 8pm from the 12th February – 19th March, and will feature exclusive performances from Justboy, Esther Marie, Man Upstairs, Poür Me, Jordan. (How I Learned To Doubt The World) and Blind Unicorn.

The first Only in Streams performance will come from ​Justboy​, the solo project of Alkanes frontman Dale Sutherland. While Alkanes fans are more used to Sutherland’s abrasive vocal delivery and manic stage presence, Justboy’s music is rooted in delicate acoustic arrangements and vulnerable lyricism, as an opportunity to reflect on the more tender moments of life. Debut single ‘Better Off’, released 29th January, showcases Sutherland’s songwriting skills in a newly refined and grandiose form that fans of Bon Iver, Hozier and City and Colour will find especially moving.

As part of ‘Only in Streams’, we will also be encouraging viewers to donate to the Music Venue Trust’s #SaveOurVenues campaign which aims to support Grassroots Music Venues in the UK facing imminent closure as a result of lockdown restrictions to live music. More information on the campaign can be found here: https://saveourvenues.co.uk/#/

Black Glitter Music Promotion ​is a new music promotion company founded by Andrew Davidson, formerly of Dundee concert promoters Pink Emo Promotions. In addition to Only In Streams, we have also produced several episodes of The Black Glitter Music Hour on Mixcloud, which plays music from different up-and-coming artists from all over the world.

Black Glitter Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Blackglitterpromotion – Twitter: @blackglitter20
Instagram: @blackglittermusicpromotion
Mixcloud: https://www.mixcloud.com/BlackGlitterMusicPromo/