Tom Levin’s “Father to a Son” Video

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Swedish Singer-songwriter Tom Levin has shared his gorgeous video titled “Father to a Son,” just in time for Father’s Day weekend. This piece is lovely in every aspect from the colorful production value, to the deeply emotional song itself.

Tom Levin proves to be a breath of fresh air, and a thinking man’s songwriter with a distinct and powerful voice to match his songs. His often foot-stomping-folk-rock tendencies are instantly enticing. Tom‘s sound is built on his love of American roots music while gaining new inspiration elsewhere in everything from Swedish indie-pop to hip-hop. The albums include an array of instrumentation: guitar, mandolin, banjo, pedal steel, organ, saxophone, trumpet, hand claps, foot stomping and some programming creating an earthy genre defying ambiance that’s difficult to put a specific finger on.

Tom Levin “Father to a Son”

Steve Benjamins Releases Haunting New EP

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Toronto-based Steve Benjamins unearths the stunning, indie pop filled EP, Sightlines, and it hasn’t taken long for me to get hooked. He’s been critically acclaimed by tastemaker indie sites alike, all praising his knack for songwriting and writing killer hooks that will constantly entice you. Sightlines is Steve Benjamins’ sophomore EP, the follow up to the noteworthy, Somewhere Somehow.

Notably a progression from his last record, his upbeat tone harkens the like of indie heavyweights, The Killers, but creating a deeper sound throughout like Sufjan. The first single from the EP is “We Used to Live,” a song that clocks in at a little over 3 minutes, yet adds a great dose of indie pop inspired traction. Benjamins’ vocals are powerful and energetic, without feeling forced or over the top.

Standout tracks on the EP also include the haunting and stunning title track, “Sightlines,” which adds a bit of Bon Iver flavor to the record; and “Later On,” a piece that is gorgeously orchestrated with piano and faded strings.

I think it is going to be the Summer of Steve Benjamins.

Listen: Steve Benjamins’ “We Used to Live”
https://soundcloud.com/stevebenjamins/we-used-to-live

STASH Gets Electrifying with New Single “Strip Me Bare”

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STASH is just as fun as their name implies. The duo who hails from California, bring their own version of party-rock anthems to the dance floor, just in time for Summer. Consisting of  DJ/rapper/songwriter Steph Prost and classically trained pop singer, Amanda Maze, they bring a carefree and fun-loving feel to the party with everyone else providing the jams.

Think LMFAO without the offensiveness and with class. Prost, who has been a name in the L.A. scene for quite some time, built her reputation by DJing at high-profile events and parties, even making her way to SXSW and Sundance. STASH’s spirit may be carefree and lighthearted, but their message is strong.

When Prost teamed up with Maze, that is when everything started to take center stage. Their high energy electro-pop is ear candy for the masses, without a doubt. Recently the group has released their latest single, “Strip Me Bare,” which is already charting on the Billboard Breakouts for Dance Club Songs (#5).

If you need a new song to be your summer jam, give a listen to “Strip Me Bare.” It’s a tasty treat!

Watch: “Strip Me Bare”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=34&v=8__QpP8WoKw

Craig Greenberg Debuts “The Grand Loss & Legacy;” New Single is out Now!

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Brooklyn based CRAIG GREENBERG’s new album, “The Grand Loss & Legacy” is out now. The buzz-worthy singer-songwriter has been hailed as the modern day “Troubadour piano man,” which is showcased on his newest release.The Grand Loss & Legacy, features Greenberg on an array of instruments from piano, keyboards (organ, Fender Rhodes, farfisa, synthesizers), to acoustic and electric guitars, percussion and vocals. The songs the record touches upon includes many themes ranging from freedom, love, obsession, self-doubt, the creative process, the hardships of being in the music industry, parent/child relationships, the hollowness of pop stardom, religious beliefs and more. Dancing the line of roots to soul, and rock to indie, Craig Greenberg is reminiscent of piano songwriter greats such as Ben Folds, Billy Joel, and Leon Russell, with an updated twist. Greenberg manages to create a sound that is both familiar and unique, to create a record that is very alluring to the ears.
The Grand Loss & Legacy features his latest single, “That Girl is Wrong for You,” which has been garnering the praise of fans and critics alike. Among the standout tracks on the record is “I Hope You Understand,” which touches upon Greenberg’s relationship with his dad (wondering if he’d ever get this crazy musician’s life he’s chosen). Another piece that hits close to home is “All the Pretty Things,” which is about the process of mining personal experience, and his psyche in the service of writing songs; how it can be a dark place to try to navigate.

Greenberg recently shared some insight into the inspiration behind the record:

“I lost my mom last year, while I was finishing up the record, and while it’s been a very difficult time, I was fortunate a short while after she passed, in reflecting on her life and looking for the positive, to realize the parts of who she was that are in me (some that may have been more latent than others) and that I now feel obliged to embrace and carry forward with me in my life, hence the “legacy.” I liked having the word “Grand” in there as well for several reasons. First my mom was larger than life in some ways, and I thought the classic use (from the 1920’s) of the word applied to how she lived. Also, I live off of Grand Street in Brooklyn, and made the record very close by.

I wanted this record to be more raw and closer to how my band sounds live, and I also wanted it to have a larger dynamic range than my last record.  I think we captured that live energy, with just a bit of polish added to it.  I was far more of a perfectionist on my last record, and this one just sounds more natural and flows better.  It’s definitely a solid grouping of songs that I think will hold up over time.  To me, it really sounds likes an album, with the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.”

The album was recorded at Galuminum Foil Studios in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with producer/engineer Chris Cubeta. The basic tracks started as a 3 piece – piano (or guitar), bass and drums, with additional overdubbed guitar, vocals, percussion, cello, and keyboards, added in after.  With the help of Chris Kelly on bass, Kirin McElwain on cello, Zach Jones and Scott Tofte on drums, alongside Greenberg, Cubeta, and Patrick Brennan on guitars, The Grand Loss & Legacy was brought to life.

Craig Greenberg “That Girl is Wrong for You”
https://soundcloud.com/craiggreenberg/02-that-girl-is-wrong-for-you

Nick Shaheen Stuns with Gorgeous Single, “Flashbulbs”

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R.I.Y.L.: Ryan Adams, Josh Ritter, Jason Isbell, David Gray Paul Simon

Chicago-based Nick Shaheen is breaking new ground with his latest single, “Flashbulbs,” from his stunning album, Sauvignon, out now. His second full-length release to date, Shaheen brings to the forefront a stunning mixture of modern Americana sound and incredibly strong songwriting. This breathtaking piece is just one of the highlights you will find on Sauvignon.

“I was in the kitchen cooking dinner. I remember I was chopping up potatoes when this violent vision completely overtook me. Everything was so vivid. I had a full-on panic attack right there,” shares Shaheen. Two weeks later the vision still haunted him. “I couldn’t hold a knife for weeks; ‘What the hell was that? How could you even think that? You’re going crazy.’ I read all about it online, like I’m a psychiatrist trying to diagnose myself and find the cure all at once. I found these message boards for intrusive thoughts where people were dealing with stuff like this for years. It made me more nervous, but at the same time gave me hope. After I had some time to reflect, I started to write down the scene as it came to me and a song started to take shape. The idea was to lay it all out and triumph over it.”

A hypnotic yet chaotic rhythm section and the battle of menacing electric guitar versus victorious Dobro are joined by Shaheen’s captivating vocals, which provide a powerful listening experience from start to finish. “Flashbulbs” is just a slight taste of the musical journey that Sauvignon takes listeners on.

Listen: Nick Shaheen “Flashbulbs”
https://soundcloud.com/nickshaheenmusic/flashbulbs

Little Shells Releases “5 Deep Under”; “Ill Remain” Streaming Now!

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Little Shells is an up-and-coming act that hails from Brooklyn. A lovely take on orchestral indie pop, Little Shells, the moniker of Conchita Campos , draws you in with her latest single, “Ill Remain,” from her new album, 5 Deep Under, out now.

A perfect introduction to the songstress, 5 Deep Under proves that she is not just another run-of-the-mill singer-songwriter.  Her knack for writing songs that are both heartfelt and enticing is quite a talent all on its own. Her third release under the Little Shells name, she calls upon the help of local New York musicians to carry out her vision. Clocking in with 9 songs, each piece on the album is heaven sent and filled with surprises. The first song on the record is “Another Night,” which in vocals reminds me a bit of Jenny Lewis (at her best), and the instrumentation of Sufjan Stevens. Immediately this record has won me over. Every track is somehow more gorgeous than the next. Campo’s voice is lively and sad at the same time, which in my opinion is the perfect combination.

Another standout song to me on the record is “Lola’s Song,” which is so beautiful in every way possible. It also reminds me a little bit of Cat Power. Her piano playing is stunning and intricate, and works hand in hand with her echoing and prominent voice. “When They’re Gone,” another glowing piece on the album, is beyond charming. The sadness is Campo’s  vocals, which I assume is intentional, really works for her. I literally have chills down my spine as I listen to these songs; laced with strings, horns and subtle elements that mean a lot. If Little Shells doesn’t become a household name by the end of 2015, I would be extremely surprised. From start to finish 5 Deep Under is utterly, and truly the definition of perfection.

“Ill Remain” via Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/littleshells/ill-remain