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Press Releases For March: Here Are The Artists

press releases for March
Sam Kogon – Credit: Jeff Mertz

Danielle Ponder, Carli Brill, Spiritual Warfare and the Greasy Shadows, Royal Canoe, ERRORR, Sam Kogon, Holland Belle are among these last press releases for March.

Danielle Ponder – “So Long”:  A soulful powerhouse effortlessly soaring above bluesy guitars, while the entire song has the feel of an anthem about the struggle of finding one’s voice, of resilience, and renewal. The song, released via Future Classic, was produced by Gianluca Buccellati, Mercury Prize winner, Grammy, and Ivor Novello nominee for his work on Arlo Parks’ Collapsed In Sunbeams. The debut album of this breakout singer-songwriter will be released this summer. In Danielle Ponder’s life, bravery manifested in the decision to leave her successful day job as a public defender to pursue singing and songwriting full time. Ponder had always been musical but chose to pursue a career in law after her brother received a 20-year sentence due to a “three strikes” law. But even as she became a tireless advocate for justice in her community—first as a public defender and later as a diversity, equity, and inclusion officer in that same office—the music was never far; she remembers a time when she did a small tour in Europe and was back in court the following Monday. There eventually came a time to choose one, and so she leaped. The sixth of seven children, Ponder was born and raised in Rochester, New York by her father—a musically-inclined pastor—and mother. She gravitated toward the piano on their front porch at a young age and eventually discovered alternative rock and hip-hop artists like Pearl Jam, Alanis Morissette, Lauryn Hill, and The Roots. It wasn’t until she heard blues artists like Big Mama Thornton and Koko Taylor, though, that she knew singing was her true passion. Even as she became a tireless advocate for justice in her community, she found ways to keep music alive in her heart; in 2019, she gave a TEDx talk on what music can teach us about social justice.

Carli Brill – “Kaleidoscope”: A retro-pop song with bright dreamy vocals, alluring bossa nova rhythms, and the warmth of 60s-era radio hits. This is singer-songwriter Carli Brill’s new song and her third single this year, as it was preceded by “Hey Little Girl” and “Concrete Jungle.” “The kaleidoscope represents how we as humans are continually changing, moving, morphing yet always possess that essential piece to who we are- even if it’s yet to be discovered,” says the SoCal native and current Nashville resident who is currently working on an album due later this year. Born and raised in Southern California, Brill grew up dabbling in guitar, piano, voice, and flute inspired by 50s and 60s acts (The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Mamas & The Papas, Simon & Garfunkel) whose work spanned a wide spectrum of styles. “I love songs that are unexpected, full of contrasting elements,” she says. “I like to be surprised.” Brill released a self-produced Christmas album via Bandcamp in 2016, piquing her interest in a music career; then in 2018, she won a nationwide contest, judged by British artist Jessie J, to record tracks at L.A.’s Capitol Records. In 2019 Brill released her debut self-titled pop EP under the name Sonora, written and recorded in Oceanside, CA. Later that year, she moved to Nashville to pursue her music career full-time.

Spiritual Warfare and the Greasy Shadows -“Take It Over”: An unclassifiable piece of work with grand ambition going into unexpected directions. The first track of the LP “Ad Hoc” opens with a guttural wail over a sinister choir backing that evokes a spaghetti western hero in peril. The album, infused with too many musical influences to count, is the second in a series written by noted Phoenix-area musician Joel Marquard, who created the Spiritual Warfare and the Greasy Shadows project as a way to explore the depths of his eclectic tastes in Golden Era Bollywood, Exotica, Oldies, Punk, and beyond. Drawing upon inspiration from the intricate drum patterns of India, as well as African and Latin hand percussion instruments, he imparted a strict ‘no drum kits, only hand drums’ rule for the project. “I stumbled upon the box for the Pro Tools software I had installed a couple of years before and when I opened it found a disc at the bottom called ‘Loops,'” said Marquard. “I put it in my computer and it contained hundreds of different recorded instruments which were cut in a way that they could easily be looped. Loops like, ‘Neo-Soul Bass’ or ‘R & B Drums O2.’ But, along with those were a bunch of drums from India as well as African and Latin hand drums. From those loops and beats I made, the project was born. I set up a rule. No drum kits. Only hand drums.” He has taken traditional pop constructs and saturated them in intricate syncopations and twisted melodies, leaving listeners with a feeling of having traveled downriver on an exotic jungle cruise. Marquard’s vocals interweave dark subject matter with moments of whimsy, capturing the dissonance often found in life, in ways that echo throughout the album.

Royal Canoe – “Worm ft. Dill the Giant”: Soft vocals and shining harmonies for an intricate electro-pop track and kaleidoscopic effects, featuring rapper Dill the Giant. Winnipeg-based indie-pop powerhouse collective Royal Canoe have shared a brand-new LP entitled Vault (2011-2021), which consists of 10 unreleased B-sides and lost tracks from the past decade. The animated stop-motion lyric video which accompanies the record’s focus track, “Worm (ft. Dill the Giant),” was created by Mimi Stop Motion and the band’s own Matt Schellenberg. Speaking on the brand new collection, the band wrote: “Vault (2011-2021) is a collection of 10 songs that were pulled from a long list of unreleased demos, B-sides, and oddities that have been accumulating on our various hard drives over the past decade. These songs are the underdogs, the overachievers, and the almost-fits that we just couldn’t quit. During this past winter, we dusted off old backups, scoured mp3-vaults, and even went back to the studio to finish up a few tracks that were uncompleted but long-time favorites of the band.  For us, each song on Vault feels like a brief journal entry that captures a simple, but a meaningful moment from the past decade of us making sounds together.”

ERRORR – “Sixxx”: A raging punk sound with a wall of fuzzy guitars punctuated by alarm-like noise and sinister vocals. It’s an aggressive track oscillating between post-punk and shoegaze with a punk-rock attitude, and this is the new single from Berlin-based band ERRORR, taken from their upcoming debut album, which will be released later this year via Anomic Records. “Sixxx” was first written at home during lockdown by band leader Leonard Kaage (who has worked with the likes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Holy Motors, The Underground Youth, and more). Kaage often had his kitchen radio on while cooking, and listening to the songs that were being played, he decided to take those pop song formulas and create something similar, but with “real” instruments and “real” feelings. The outcome was a fuzzed-up pop song with a message. Of the single, Kaage wrote: “Sometimes, I write a song and I can’t fully grasp what it is about until long after it is done. I wrote ‘Sixxx’ during the time when Donald Trump’s presidency finally ended, and the storming of the White House happened. The song isn’t necessarily about him or about this specific incident, but about the absurdness of the situation. From my perspective as a European citizen, I have witnessed Trump’s presidential career as a youtube  ‘best of capitalist system fails’ montage. I was expecting the former president to go from the white house directly to jail and still, he spoke about the situation as if he was the winner. I thought it was a funny twist to write it as if it was a song about something hot and sexual, but actually, it’s about watching a horrible political leader go down… which can be pretty hot.”

Sam Kogon – “Find Out”: A catchy pop tune with a lot of heart, a light country flavor, channeling a very familiar energy, and a Beatles-Beach Boys vibe. Sam Kogon wrote and made demo recordings of these four news songs (his self-titled EP is out on April 1) at home on his 4-track tape recorder. The songs were then arranged with his band feat. Grennan Milliken on drums, James Preston on Bass, Graeme Gengras on keys, and Kogon on vocals and guitar. The EP was recorded and produced by John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile) at Stewart Lerman’s Hobo Sound Studios in Weehawken, NJ. His partnership with Agnello came about in a somewhat roundabout way. After coming off three self-booked US/Canadian tours, Kogon was cast as a featured extra in Martin Scorsese’s crime epic “The Irishman” as a backing musician for Jerry Vale, played in the film by Steven van Zandt. He hit it off with music supervisor Stewart Lerman and, after sending some demos along, received a recommendation for working with Agnello. The sessions were assisted by Jeremy Delaney and James Frazee. The songs were mastered by Steve Fallone (Arcade Fire, Angel Olsen, Big Thief). He didn’t et unnoticed by Little Steven aka Steven Van Zandt (from the E Street Band) who has named Sam’s latest single, “Barbed Wire,” as one of The Coolest Songs in The World and has featured it on his Sirius XM show “Little Steven’s Underground Garage.” Sam Kogon describes his new approach as that of an “Upstate country rockabilly crooner,” a sound he had once put off while playing in Brooklyn’s psychedelic scene.

Holland Belle –“Arrow”: Emotive strings, and delicate guitar introduce Holland Belle’s crystalline voice which effortlessly soars and shines over a folksy melancholic melody. Belle had the following to share about “Arrow” and its place on the album: “At its heart, ‘Arrow’ is about taking a journey. The battles won and lost, the lovers encountered, and the solitude of the open road. Where our hero arrives at the end … is up to the listener.” Upstate New York-based folk artist Holland Belle spent time in both the opera and classical worlds, and you can tell by the refined quality of her vocals. She has announced the release of her debut solo album, “Bird Song,” on May 13. Recorded at Basement Floods Records analog recording studio in Catskill, NY, and produced by Dante Bardo, “Bird Song” is an album about building faith in something greater. Change, evolution, and joy take real courage, and while some will be content to stay underwater, “Bird Song” sees Belle swim towards the surface. On the album, she finds her most natural voice, weaving a folk-tinged thread through a lens of self-reflection and spirituality. It’s here that Belle transforms uncertainty into songs of optimism and strength. The catalyst for this collection of songs came from a morning in Berlin, Germany. Belle was living far from home, navigating a recent heartbreak and unsure of where her next steps would take her. On a branch outside her bedroom window, a goldfinch began to sing. Over the next few days, the bird returned to the window, prompting Belle to record this moment of beauty amid a sea of doubt and anxiety. She transformed the bird’s delicate melody into a larger song, which was later split in two to form the album’s title tracks, gently reminding us to rise out of bed and persevere, no matter how tricky the journey may seem.

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