Change grants clarity. As our circumstances shift, we recognize and realize what truly matters and appreciate it a little bit more. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong translates the joy of such realizations into the buoyant psychedelic funk odyssey of their sixth independent full-length album, the aptly titled Perspective. The Maryland quartet—Greg Ormont [vocals, guitar], Jeremy Schon [guitar, vocals], Ben [bass, vocals], and Alex “Gator” Petropulos [drums, vocals]—delivers a musically thrilling and emotionally endearing body of work propelled by sonic fireworks and chantable hooks. After piling up millions of streams and selling out countless shows, the musicians project their vision widescreen across the most expansive vista yet.
Ghostland Observatory’s entire approach to music – sonically, aesthetically, conceptually – is essentially a melding of the two distinctly different personalities of its two members, Thomas Ross Turner and Aaron Behrens. Whereas Turner, the producer/drummer/keyboardist of the duo, finds solace in the minimal, bleak cable-patch squawks of Karlheinz Stockhausen and the analog-disco-thump of Giorgio Moroder, Behrens’ interests lie more along the lines of psychedelia, rock and various country and blues artists. The result is a shimmering, pulsing pop music that is at once kinetically alive with Behrens’ striking vocals and driving guitar work but also anchored firmly by Turner’s percussive beats and Moog-generated melodies and hooks. Common descriptions include “electro-dance rock,” “synth-funk” and “Freddie Mercury-helms-Daft Punk.” Deciding to produce a style of music that as yet existed only in their collective consciousnesses; Behrens and Turner formed Ghostland Observatory in Austin in 2003 and haen’t looked back since. They now sell out prominent venues across the country, have played at Lollapalooza, Bonaroo, Coachella and the Austin City Limits music festival, which they headlined, and continue to play at various music festivals and venues around the globe to an ever increasing fan base, thanks to their now-famous live shows. The duo has released four albums to date, all on Turner’s label, Trashy Moped Recordings: Delete.Delete. I Eat Meat., Paparrazi Lightning, Robotique Majestique and their latest offering, Codename: Rondo, which was recorded in Turner’s Austin studio. The ten-track Codename: Rondo is equal parts psyechedelia, minimal electronic, rock, funk and soul. It was recorded with what Turner calls a more “linear approach” in mind. Rather than layering sound upon sound to fill out a track, the band sought to use fewer sounds while striving to make each of them count. Highlights on the new album include the first track, “Glitter,” with its loping, fuzzed-out bassline, tremolo-tweaked vocals and Spaghetti Western guitar break. “That’s Right” is a Cars-meet-ZZ Top ripper with the former’s signature synth breaks skipping across the latter’s overdriven, chugging guitar riffs. Another standout, “Miracles,” finds Behrens haltingly phrasing his lyrics in perfect syncopation with Turner’s raw keyboard melody before exploding into an irresistible, hand-clapping chorus that is soon chased by running swells of disco strings. “Codename: Rondo,” the album’s title track, is a perfect example of the band’s efforts toward minimal maximization: a surreal narrative recalling a series of nebulous incidents in Newark, New Jersey spoken over nothing more than a steady kick and some faint electronic warbling while, during the breakdown, deep space satellite transmissions blip intermittently over a loop of what seems to be a robot with hiccups and poor phone reception attempting to leave a voicemail. With Codename: Rondo, Ghostland Observatory has taken a step in a new direction, both creatively and technically, while still maintaining the essential elements of their unmistakable sound: “sweaty, raw-boned, and direct from the future; committed to electronics, stuck on big beats, yet unmistakably powered by rock ‘n’ roll.”
The Rome & Duddy project was born in 2008 when Rome and Dirty Heads released “Lay Me Down”, which would go on to be the first song in history from an independent label to reach #1 on Billboard's rock songs chart. The song remained on Billboard's alternative chart for 11 weeks and earned a gold record RIAA certification. Now billed as Rome & Duddy the duo commenced their musical journey by releasing their version of the Loggins and Messina song, “Lahaina” featuring Jimmy Messina. Rome and Duddy will be the duo that brings feel good music at the best time when the world needs it the most. So grab your Lahaina Cocktail and sit back and enjoy the ride. Listen to the duo’s brand new singles, “Coast of Mexico”, “I’ll Be Right Here”, “Cannabis Tree” now! Rome & Duddy’s Debut EP, Cactus Cool, will be out on March 3rd and is available to pre-save now!
On his new album In Plain Sight, Neal Francis offers up a body of work both strangely enchanted and painfully self-aware, unfolding in songs sparked from Greek myths and frenzied dreams and late-night drives in the depths of summer delirium. True to its charmed complexity, the singer/songwriter/pianist’s second full-length came to life over the course of a tumultuous year spent living in a possibly haunted church in Chicago. The result: a portrait of profound upheaval and weary resilience, presented in a kaleidoscopic sound that’s endlessly absorbing. The follow-up to Francis’s 2019 debut Changes—a New Orleans-R&B-leaning effort that landed on best-of-the-year lists from the likes of KCRW, KEXP, and The Current, and saw him hailed as “the reincarnation of Allen Toussaint” by BBC Radio 6—In Plain Sight was written and recorded almost entirely at the church, a now-defunct congregation called St. Peter’s UCC. Despite not identifying as religious, Francis took a music-ministry job at the church in 2017 at the suggestion of a friend. After breaking up with his longtime girlfriend while on tour in fall 2019, he returned to his hometown and found himself with no place to stay, then headed to St. Peter’s and asked to move into the parsonage. “I thought I’d only stay a few months but it turned into over a year, and I knew I had to do something to take advantage of this miraculous gift of a situation,” he says.
Music brings us to our feet literally, figuratively, and spiritually. It inspires us to rise up to our day’s trials and tribulations, and on a larger scale, the world’s challenges. Through an unspoken sonic communion between three distinct musical identities, SunSquabi—Kevin Donohue [guitar, keys, production], Josh Fairman [bass, synth], and Chris Anderson [drums]—rouse us from inactivity and into action when we need the extra push through their signature live electronica sound. After racking up tens of millions of streams and delivering rapturous performances at legendary venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre, they incite personal revolution louder than ever on their third full-length album, Arise, releasing on October 26, 2022. “Since we’ve all been put down very hard for the past two years, the entire world has felt this pressure, sadness, and struggle,” observes Kevin. “So we tried to relay a message of arising from the ashes and becoming something new. This album shows how we’re able to do so during a really tough time.” SunSquabi has ignited the energy of listeners everywhere since 2015. They’ve unveiled a string of fan favorite releases such as Odyssey , Deluxe EP , and Instinct . In addition to praise from 303 Magazine, JamBase, Live For Live Music, and many more, WestWord proclaimed, “The record has electrifying moments,” and ThisSongIsSick raved, “SunSquabi never fails to bring the funk. Throughout the project they showcase their instrumentation highlighting shredding guitar riffs, funky basslines and crisp percussion with just the right touch of electronic production elements.” Along the way, they’ve sold out venues coast-to-coast, capturing one of three Red Rocks gigs so far on SunSquabi (Live at Red Rocks). The guys have collaborated with String Cheese Incident, Late Night Radio, Lettuce, and GRiZ, to name a few. During 2019, the musicians began kicking around initial ideas for Arise during marathon jam sessions. As the Pandemic shut down touring, SunSquabi continued to write and record. “A couple of songs came together as jams in the basement or on livestreams,” recalls Kevin. “We’d rework these improv-based ideas in the studio. It was an extended process. We definitely took advantage of the time.” Josh adds, “We’re very proud of the band staying true to the music and to each other. We came together during the Pandemic and made sacrifices together. We’ve bonded as a band. We don’t try to jump on any trends. We’re true to ourselves and make music we feel in our hearts.” You’ll feel songs such as the first single “Elephant Song” [feat. Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic] released on July 29, 2022. Born as an improvised jam during one of the band’s early Pandemic livestreams, the guys orbit an otherworldly groove, cycling between warbling spacey guitar, hypnotic electronics, and a soaring saxophone solo courtesy of Dominic. “With this song in particular, elephants represent luck, good strength, and loyalty,” Kevin elaborates. “‘Elephant Song’ represented us sticking together and sharing the ability to write songs still even though everything was shut down. It’s about realizing what you have and using your strength and the family around you, which is what Elephants do. It felt like it needed a lead voice, so it was natural to include Dom. Big Gigantic was a big influence for us to start SunSquabi. We’re integrating the electronic side of things into the hip-hop, funk, and rock.” Then, there’s “Scorpion.” A danceable melody stings between a shimmering beat, neon keys, and fretboard-burning guitar, gestating during a run of live gigs feeding off the energy of the crowd, mountains, and desert. “Scorpions are symbols of danger and death,” Josh states. “A scorpion is usually a warning. However, a scorpion may also show up in your life as a blessing. It’s similar to how we were able to take this dark period of time and turn it into a blessing and a symbol of power.” “When everything is hard and unknown, you appreciate what you do have and what is important like your family, friends, and health,” Josh continues. “There’s no light without darkness. It’s about seeing the positives even though you acknowledge how weird everything is.” In the end, SunSquabi uplift once again with Arise. “If there’s an intention, it’s to lift people’s spirits,” Kevin leaves off. “There’s always a way to rise up.” “We’ve been going to Hawaii a bunch, and we went to see the lava,” Josh adds. “With lava, you witness epic destruction of what was there before. At the same time, you’re witnessing the creation of the youngest land in existence. It’s a cycle of making something out of the destruction and moving on with appreciation. Arise is an example of what can come out of a rough situation. You can move forward.”
Kitchen Dwellers twist bluegrass, folk, and rock through a kaleidoscope of homegrown stories, rich mythology, American west wanderlust, and psychedelic hues. The Montana quartet—Shawn Swain [Mandolin], Torrin Daniels [banjo], Joe Funk [upright bass], and Max Davies [acoustic guitar]—have captivated audiences at hallowed venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre and performed alongside everyone from Railroad Earth and Twiddle to The Infamous String Dusters in addition to playing festivals such as Northwest String Summit, WinterWonderGrass, and more. They’ve released two critically acclaimed albums—Ghost In The Bottle  and Muir Maid —and a live record, Live from the Wilma . In the middle of the Global Pandemic, they broke up 2020 with an EP of Pink Floyd covers entitled Reheated, Vol. 2. It was heralded by a two-night livestream concert, Live From The Cabin, beamed out to audiences from the Bridger Mountains. Additionally, they appeared at the Live From Out There virtual festival and even took over a drive-in movie theater for an in-person gig in between regular writing sessions together throughout the year. After amassing 5 million-plus streams, selling out shows, and receiving acclaim from Huffington Post, Relix, American Songwriter, and more, the group brings audiences back to Big Sky Country on their third full-length album, Wise River, working with Cory Wong of Vulfpeck as producer.
Doom Flamingo is a six-headed synthwave beast with a Jekyll and Hyde element to the songwriting. Top Gun guitar riffs and Miami Beach poolside lounge-vibes, are all at once contrasted with eerie darksynth soundscapes reminiscent of old John Carpenter films. Doom Flamingo came together organically through friendships and past collaborations in their hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. The sextet features dynamic vocalist, Kanika Moore, alongside a powerhouse of musicians including bassist Ryan Stasik, of the prolific rock band Umphrey’s McGee.
With a diverse catalog of hundreds of songs, the musical juggernaut Neighbor has become one of the most exciting and unpredictable live bands on the music scene today. Grown in large part by the passion and devotion of the fans called Neighbors, their symbiotic relationship inspires and touches every performance. The creation of childhood neighbors Richard James (vocals, keys) and Lyle Brewer (guitar), Neighbor combines ambitious composition, soulful balladry, and a fearless approach to their lengthy improvisations. The quartet is rounded out by Dan Kelly (bass) and Dean Johnston (drums) who fuel the groove and lay a solid foundation for Neighbor’s “down home” sound. Come see what’s good in the neighborhood.
Kick ass alternative southern rock road warriors THE VEGABONDS are always coming to a place near you! They’re bringing high energy, hook heavy rock along with them. Hailing from Nashville, TN with a portfolio of albums that include crowd favorite songs like Georgia Fire, Shaky Hands, Partying with Strangers, and Heartache and a Memory. The fellas guarantee a good time every time! THE VEGABONDS are Daniel Allen (Lead vocals/songwriter), Richard Forehand (Lead guitars/vocals), Paul Bruen (bass), Beau Cooper (keyboards/vocals/songwriter) and Bryan Harris (drums).
After releasing debut album What Was in April of 2022, The Stews have been a non-stop touring machine, playing packed-out shows across the country. Forming at Auburn University, the band ultimately decided to leave school to meet the massive demand for their live shows. With sellout crowds from Nashville to New York, Charleston to Dallas, and several in between, it is clear that The Stews have graduated from their former “college band” label. A Stews concert is a perfect blend of upbeat, singalong indie tunes and downright headbanging hard rock.
Maggie Rose is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter who has dreamed up her own unbridled collision of rock n’roll, soul, folk, funk, and R&B. Have a Seat, her third full-length studio album produced by Ben Tanner of The Alabama Shakes, was recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, and named by both Rolling Stone and American Songwriter as one of the best albums of 2021. Since her breakout, Rose has been attracting a die-hard fanbase that has helped her earn a place on coveted tours with a diverse collection of artists including Kelly Clarkson, Heart, Joan Jett, Marcus King, The Mavericks, Fitz & The Tantrums, Kingfish, and The Revivalists. She has also performed at iconic festivals such as Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Americana Music Festival, Country Thunder, Newport Folk Fest, Peach Fest and has performed at the Grand Ole Opry over 100 times. Rose also hosts her own podcast, Salute The Songbird which is now in its 4th season. In each episode, Rose engages in candid conversations with her female musical heroes covering an array of topics with musical icons like Heart’s Nancy Wilson, Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale, Martina McBride, Yola, Ashley McBryde and more. Fans can expect Rose’s new full length album, produced by Ben Tanner of the Alabama Shakes, to drop in 2023.
It is said, to truly understand and grasp the “high, lonesome sound” that is bluegrass music, one must “get close to the source” and always embrace the lessons put forth when in the presence of the ancient tones — either onstage or off. In this modern era of bluegrass, though the long-held rules of the genre remain steadfast and respected, the approach and sounds radiating from rising string acts is intricate, innovative and inspiring. And at the heart of this new movement of purpose and passion is Asheville, North Carolina- based quintet Fireside Collective. “For a while, we’ve been building our chops in front of bluegrass audiences, and that will always remain at our core,” says mandolinist Jesse Iaquinto. “But, we’re also making a soft pivot back into the jam scene, which is where we cut our teeth when we first started out — adding that jam component into our approach adds to a more solid live performance, and just brings the band to a whole new level.” In a serendipitous chain of events, the seed of Fireside Collective came to planted at a keg party at East Carolina University. Pouring himself a beverage, Iaquinto entered into a conversation with another college student next to him, Tommy Maher, who Iaquinto had only met in passing at local open mic nights. “I was reaching my personal threshold of what I was able to do with school. I kept thinking, ‘This isn’t my life. What am I doing here?’” Maher says. “Jesse said he was going to move to Asheville to ‘get closer to the music’ and maybe start a band one day. I told him I’d go with him, that I’d drop out for a semester and see what happens — of course, I never went back.” That leap of faith lead Iaquinto, Maher and upright bassist Carson White to head to the mountains of Western North Carolina. Though Maher had been a guitarist up until that point, he soon locked himself in his bedroom and woodshedded the dobro for several months until he felt confident enough to join forces with his friends. And, in 2014, Fireside Collective came to fruition. “We wanted to travel around and see the world, with the music being our vehicle to do so — it’s always been about having adventures with your friends and always being thirsty to learn more about our instruments and our sound,” Maher says. With Asheville an epicenter of bluegrass, folk, Americana and blues music for Southern Appalachia, the trio was “close to the source” of the ancient tones — soaking in any and all influences they could from legends in the scene to front porch pickers of immense talent and lore. “We were trying to really find the lines of bluegrass, and when we found those lines, we wanted to tastefully and artistically expand beyond them,” Iaquinto says. “Our sound is built upon a deep respect for those who came before us. But, we want to take our music in a new direction, in our own interpretation of bluegrass, one where the live experience feels like a rock show, but we’re up there jamming out on acoustic instruments.” Riding around the Southeast and beyond, Fireside Collective grinded it out during those early years, playing hundreds of shows a year on any stage that would have the group, ultimately winning over one listener at a time. In the beginning, it was just about getting out there and “doing the thing,” with each show an opportunity to peel back another layer of their intent. “Being in a band is hard work, because you can vibe with people musically, but in a group, you need to vibe emotionally, especially when you’re on the roads for weeks at a time,” Maher says. “Our band has stuck it out and had each other’s back since the beginning. We’ve kept going and are constantly learning about each other, whether musically or personally.” “It can be challenging to create a band with the right people. Luckily, Tommy and Carson have proved to be lifelong bandmates, and have been that way since we started,” Iaquinto adds. “And then, when we found [guitarist] Joe [Cicero] and [banjoist] Alex [Genova], we felt that same camaraderie and vision.” The fruits of their hard-earned labor resulted in a signing by Mountain Home Music Company, a subsidiary of the Crossroads Label Group, where the ensemble stands proudly alongside a roster that includes the likes of groundbreaking modern string acts Balsam Range, Sideline, The Grascals, Unspoken Tradition, and Tray Wellington. “The music is constantly evolving and growing,” Iaquinto says. “And, for me, I need to remind myself that the journey is the destination, to never take any of this for granted and have gratitude for being an artist and a performer.” And, as Fireside Collective readies itself to unleash its latest album onto the scene, the group remains eager and enthusiastic to venture further down the rabbit hole of the “high, lonesome sound” and its place in the 21st century — never forgetting to keep their eyes and ear open to the unlimited musical possibilities of the talent and creativity spilling out of their fingertips. Alongside collaborations with members of the Steep Canyon Rangers, Infamous Stringdusters, as well as Jerry Douglas and Tim O’Brien, the band recently completed a successful spring tour opening for Yonder Mountain String Band. “What fires us up is the live show, where it’s this symbiotic relationship between the band and the audience — that bond is paramount to what we do artistically, and want to do moving forward sonically,” Maher says. “It’s about the ‘collective,” where we’re all gathered around, the music keeping us warm,” Iaquinto adds. “It’s that special, intimate experience of the human connection and being part of a shared experience — celebrating life, art and ‘the moment’ at the center of the magic that is the live performance.”
YAM YAM formed in late 2015, coming together from playing in an assortment of local bands in central PA. The band is inspired by 1970s soul music, New Orleans roots of jazz music, and modern/vintage funk and jam music. YAM YAM features raw instruments and captures a high-energetic sound. YAM YAM is Mike Dempsey on keys, Jason Mescia on saxophone, Xander Moppin on bass, Tom Fuller on guitar, and Tyler Fuller on drums.
The band released its debut, self-titled album in late 2018 and upon its release, it charted on Billboard Jazz Albums section at No. 17. The band has opened for Lotus, Dopapod, and Keller Williams among others and has been featured in NepaScene, LiveForLiveMusic, TheBurg, and Burg in Focus.
Sci-fi fusion trio Consider the Source defy easy categorization. If intergalactic energy beings, upon their initiation into an order of whirling dervishes, built a pan-dimensional booty-shaking engine powered by psychedelic math…it would sound like a cut-rate CTS cover band. With their blend of progressive rock and improvisatory jazz, soaked in Indian and Middle Eastern styles, CTS blends disparate elements into an utterly original whole. A relentless touring schedule has earned them a fervent following around the world, with fans ranging from tie dye covered hippies to metalheads decked out in black. Fresh off the heels of a tour of seated performances which highlighted their acoustic instruments and first ever "hybrid" album, the band is getting back to the face-melting electric shows they have become known for. Their previous Maxx Power Tour featured material from throughout the band's history, bringing back songs from the very beginning, each album, and a couple of the electric tracks from their latest effort "Hybrid Vol.1: Such As A Mule". Additionally, the band is preparing for the release of their next album in 2023 which they have shared will include "some of the heaviest music we have written yet"; and plan to begin weaving into their live shows on this tour. CTS have performed in a half-dozen countries across three continents. They have shared the stage with a wide variety of artists, including: Victor Wooten, King Crimson Projekt, Wyclef Jean, Ozric Tentacles, Soulive, The Disco Biscuits, Papadosio, Turkuaz, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Wayne Krantz, TAUK and many others. They have performed at festivals and events including: Electric Forest, Peach Fest, Gathering of the Vibes, Resonance, Summercamp, Shakori Hills, ProgDay, and Progtober.
Using hard rock, jazz fusion, melodic pop, indie delight, and improv jams, KHALIKO blends frequencies and styles in what can only be defined as the KHALIKO sound. Hailing from Atlanta, GA, the band was founded during the pandemic, initially jamming at an outdoor park. The band’s impromptu jams quickly became nights of music celebration, dancing and togetherness for more than just the surrounding neighbors. After the park jams outgrew the neighborhood stages, KHALIKO sold out Smith’s Olde Bar. It was one of the band’s first shows at a proper venue, after the Covid lull. It’s been nonstop ever since. After releasing their debut album Movement in September 2022, KHALIKO has stayed on the move. The band embarked on their first nationwide tour in the summer/fall of 2022, playing major markets such NYC, Denver, San Francisco and Portland, among others; the band most recently supported Rome & Duddy at Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta. KHALIKO features Sam Epstein on vocals/guitar, Ethan Parks on drums, Elijah Haller on Bass, and Aidan Babuka Black on vocals/keys.
Hotel Fiction is an Athens, Georgia-based band comprised of Jade Long and Jessica Thompson. Both women have been playing music for over ten years and began writing, performing, and playing together in January 2019. In August of that year, Hotel Fiction released their debut single “Astronaut Kids” which received a warm welcome from the indie scene, and went on to amass over 2 million global streams. Hotel Fiction’s sound has often been described as genre-fluid, with indie, pop and rock influences. With Jade’s dynamic vocals and piano, and Jessica’s complementary lead guitar and harmonies, the two create a sound that invites listeners to settle in and stay a while. For Hotel Fiction, the no vacancy sign is never illuminated, everyone is accommodated here. During quarantine, the two finished recording their debut album Soft Focus which was released in the fall of 2021. The project was met with praise from Atwood Magazine, Early Rising, A1234, and We Are the Guard, and was placed on Spotify editorial lists Fresh Finds and Fresh Finds Rock, where it spent eight weeks straight. Most recently, Hotel Fiction has supported Beach Fossils, Adam Melchor, flipturn and The Brooke and The Bluff. The band released their new EP Enjoy Your Stay on October 28, 2022.
Tall Tall Trees is the musical id of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mike Savino, a pioneer in the realm of experimental, DIY banjo music. Accompanied by his trusty Banjotron 6500, a highly customized, electrified banjo and effects pedal setup, Savino has wowed audiences since the 2009 debut of his self-titled album with his eclectic and innovative blend of psychedelic folk, rock and world music. His work seems to actively evade comfortable definition, upon first listen one will recognize the tenderness of Cat Stevens, the melancholy introspection of Elliott Smith, the anthemic psychedelia of Pink Floyd, and a deep abiding respect for Earl Scruggs. Savino often performs solo, showcasing his fleet-footed loop pedal mastery, as well as alongside long-time collaborator and fellow innovator, Kishi Bashi. Tall Tall Trees latest release, A Wave of Golden Things was released in 2020 on Joyful Noise Recordings.
HAPPY LANDING is an American folk rock band formed in Oxford, Mississippi in 2020 by Matty Hendley (lead vocals, guitar), Keegan Christensen (vocals, keys), Jacob Christensen (drums), Andrew Gardner (fiddle, vocals), and WIlson Moyer (bass/guitar, vocals). The group pioneers a new wave of indie folk music, captivating audiences around the country with their energetic live shows and fresh sound, blended from the roots of southern rock, punk and folk. Following a successful year of touring with notable bands like The Head and The Heart and The 502’s, the band hits the road again in 2023 with the release of their third studio EP.