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Press Releases For May: Here Are The Artists

press releases for May
Holland Belle – Photo credit: Elizabeth Ibarra

TAFOYA, Holland Belle, Calling Cadence, Dopapod, MuMu, Xander and the Peace Pirates, Gabriella Marinaro are the artists among these press releases for May.

TAFOYA – “Shadows”: A big, classic rock sound with a touch of prog rock in the guitars accompanied by visceral vocals. It’s high in energy, upbeat and reminiscent of the glory days of rock & roll. This is a single from Chicago based Rock ‘n Roll TAFOYA’s debut EP “Freedom,” out June 17. Already a big name in Chicago and having performed all over the Midwest, the EP marks the group’s first official release since forming in 2021. “Shadows” is a lively yet reflective tune that gives a nod to the classic rock sound that Mike Tafoya has been delivering for decades. This song is about memories and relationships – experiences shared with friends and loved ones; but it is also a reflection on one’s relationship with themself. TAFOYA are serving a deep, powerful message behind a carefully crafted, powerful Rock ‘n Roll sound. TAFOYA is an explosive new power trio fronted by legendary Chicago guitarist Mike Tafoya (formerly of TheBoyzz, TheB’zz, Raw Dogs, Tafoya’s Lost Boyzz). Mike is a true Rock ‘n Roll veteran and is considered one of the Midwest’s most accomplished musicians, guitarists, songwriters, and performers. In the mid 70’s Mike joined with some neighborhood buddies in St. Charles, Illinois based band “The Boyzz From Illinois,“ which landed a deal on Epic Records. Now, in 2022 Mike is back with two new bandmates in the mix – Craig Cederholm (Percussion-Vox) and Leslidiana F. Biocic (Bass-Vox), to form TAFOYA. The product of this epic collaboration is a combustible Rock ‘n’ Roll experience that will have you dancing and singing throughout every song… as Mike says, this is music for “big ears.”

Holland Belle – “What’s Best For You”: A lovely acoustic folksy song with Holland Belle’s sublime vocals channeling the best names of the genre. The song wakes up with alluring guitars that provide an almost spaghetti western vibe. This is the latest song off upstate New York-based artist Holland Belle’s debut solo album, “Bird Song.” With wailing guitars, bold analog synths and Belle’s generous vocal performance exploring an acceptance of struggle, she urges herself to seek neutrality instead of control, embracing the ebbs and flows of the human experience without judgment. “‘What’s Best For You’ asks the question: What if you loved another person for who they were instead of who you dreamed they would become?”, Belle asks. “And if you figured it out, could you turn the mirror and do the same for yourself?” Recorded at Basement Floods Records analog recording studio in Catskill, NY and produced by Dante Bardo, the recently released “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. For Holland Belle, the voice has always been an evolving instrument. From childhood she trained to become an opera singer, adhering loyally to the firm boundaries of the classical arts. However as adulthood arrived, so with it came the many colored sounds of the wide world. She found herself experimenting with the voice, bending it into new shapes, like a silver filament that could dance and emote in endless configurations. Belle became a chameleon of sorts, able to shift to various vocal selves, molding them based on whatever the music asked for. It was exciting, and also confusing, for it left her wondering: which of these voices is actually me? 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.

Calling Cadence – “Throw My Body”: With soulful vocals reminiscent of the ‘70s and an old school vibe bringing back memories of folk, pop, rock, soul, Americana and beyond, the band evokes a collection of Laurel Canyon and country artists. Fronted by Rae Cole and Oscar Bugarin, the Los Angeles-based band has a sound anchored in this era, with hints of everything and they have just released their self-titled debut album, described as a tour-de-force that showcases the band’s extensive chops across wide-eyed classic Southern soul, Americana, old school rock & roll, pop, country and bluegrass, swampy blues and more. Calling Cadence’s 15 songs encapsulate the band’s wide range of influences while steering these sounds and genres into a distinctly modern direction. “It’s a smorgasbord of folk, rock, soul, punk, jazz and country with easy-to-digest attitude and gotcha hooks,” explains The Audio Beat in a glowing review, “that, coupled with the extremely high level of musicianship, makes the end product easily absorbed.” Produced by David Swartz and Matt Linesch, the album was recorded, mixed and mastered straight to analog tape, an approach that magnifies and multiplies the warmth of their voices and the vitality of their songwriting, while paying homage to the groups and songwriters Cole and Bugarin were raised on. “These songs were all individually written as lessons in love – love for another person, love for one’s self, and love lost,” says Cole. “The songs are a collection of experiences and ideas that all us writing partners have had in our lives.” “There’s something exhilarating about laying down “the take” that you’re going to set in stone,” says Bugarin on analog recording. “When recording digitally, so many things can get clipped, shifted and tuned to line up perfectly on the grid. [Recording to tape] felt like I was taking a trip in a time machine, but a familiar dream. I just wanted to make music like my heroes did, pure raw music straight from the source, no-frills, no tricks. Music made by people, no computers.” The 15 songs shine a light on Calling Cadence’s strength as a live act, blending Oscar and Rae’s entwined voices with vintage keyboards, guitar heroics and plenty of percussive and low-end stomp. The accompanying musicians on this album include: Josh Adams on drums (Jon Batiste, Norah Jones, Devendra Banhart, Beck), Mitchell Yoshida on keyboards (Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros), and Elijah Thomson on bass (Father John Misty, Nathaniel Rateliff). With their debut full-length out now, the band has their sights on bringing these songs to the stage, connecting with fans and listeners, and setting the stage to grow as a group, and as songwriters. “We’re still evolving and going through our journey, individually and together, collaborating and growing alongside each other,” says Bugarin. “We’ve both learned from this process, facing things that we’ve never encountered. Now I can’t wait to work on the next batch.”

Dopapod – “Fannie”: With sharp guitar loops that turn into hypnotizing, bluesy guitar arrangements, atmospheric keys, electronica, syncopated rhythms and clear vocals, the band builds up an original and catchy psych-pop composition with touches of jazz guitar. This is the fourth single from prog-rock journeymen Dopapod’s upcoming seventh album, due out May 27. The song’s narrator finds himself musing on the various gifts and delicacies he wants to treat his titular love Fannie with. The character dreams of taking her on a fancy date and to the movies after. “Take her to the movies is there anything that’s good? / She’s into Kurosawa and karate, want to treat my Fannie.” Glowing keys and a steady drumbeat underscore the song’s uncanniness, a dream within a dream. After a series of interpretive vignettes at the restaurant, the narrator takes Fannie back to his apartment before the dream vanishes. Fannie is reading a note that is slipped under her door from the narrator. A closing sequence swells and churns the band’s sonics through dreamlike splendor. “The lyrics have a cool ring to them. They lend themselves to being interpreted in a lot of different ways by the listener,” says Dopapod’s Rob Campa. “We leaned on the groove, and it all worked together.” The animated video for “Fannie” is the latest chapter in the band’s “Building A Time Machine” series, an episodic offering that plays with themes of space, time travel, and symmetry, concepts that are ever-present in Dopapod’s output. The new release comes on the heels of recent single releases “Think,” “Grow,” and “Black Holes,” which build out Dopapod’s ever-expansive sonic range with interpretive and lyrical themes, and set in motion a compendium animated short film project created with partners Tandem Media that is being released episodically. In addition to new music, the band will be releasing an immersive tabletop board game Building a Time Machine that takes players through the history and lore of the group. Designed by the band’s longtime team member and former lighting designer Luke Stratton. Built into the gatefold vinyl packaging of their upcoming album, the game takes players through the past and present of the Dopapod universe as they collect pieces of their iconic palindrome logo to win. To accompany the game the band is offering multiple merch bundles that include game accessories such as Meeple Pawns, Dice, Game Piece Baggies, and Dopapod themed pads and pencils for keeping score. As always, there’s more to Dopapod’s vision with the union of the physical and digital elements. “It does feel like we made all these albums and made a time machine,” says Compa, “And now we’re at the new frontier, wherever we’re going.”

MuMu – “The Bitch in Me”: A punchy pop song with comedic lyrics, about clashing personalities and what happens when you give in to your inner bitch. “The Bitch in Me” was inspired by a real person (who shall remain unnamed) who’s world revolves around money and aristocracy. The only thing they’re passionate about is securing the best table at the new Michelin five-star restaurant. MuMu confides, “I feel like a bitch saying all this even now after I’ve written a song about it. I was raised in a family of six women. Women are my muse. I write and sing for them. I live and love with them. I wanted desperately to love this new neighbor-woman, but she brought out the bitch in me.” She continued, “What I learned in the process of writing this song was that it’s ok for me to not like everyone. I don’t need to be puking hearts and farting rainbows all day every day wherever I go. I can get angry, I can be resentful, I can write a bitchy song about my bitchy neighbor and hope to goddess she never hears it.” This is the latest release from NYC singer-songwriter MuMu. Embracing one’s body, women’s rights, and other themes related to sexuality and gender run throughout MuMu’s music, mostly due to her activist godmother who spent her life advocating for children’s rights. MuMu discloses, “She gave me this power I wasn’t getting anywhere else… (She) taught me the importance of using my voice for change.” And use it she does! From abortion rights to hookups, from sparkling highs to soul-wrenching lows, MuMu finds inspiration in all facets of life. Still, she doesn’t just want to challenge people with her music, she wants to inspire, uplift, move. “Women are sometimes confusing, and they’re complicated,” she says. “My music is a window into that experience. But it’s also fun… it’s pop. And if the message is too much for someone at that time, hopefully, they can just dance.”

Xander and the Peace Pirates – “‘Leave the Light On”: Another track evoking classic pop of the ’80s, with a synth dancefloor, Keith Xander’s smooth lead vocals, remarkable guitar wizardry, and tight production. Think Lionel Ritchie with Joe Satriani or Joe Bonamassa’s guitar work. This is a song from Xander and the Peace Pirates’ eagerly anticipated 10-track album “Order Out Of Chaos,” that was already released digitally, and will be released physically on June 3 via BFD/The Orchard in North America. If you listen to the album, you’ll think you’ve discovered a classic album from some hitherto other Seventies timeline, fronted by a virtuoso vocalist and master guitarist, and a tight-knit band bound to create music that sounds familiar but fresh, original, yet classic. Guitar World spoke in detail with Keith about his talent and technique and felt “having been born without a right arm below the elbow, Xander’s words ring with an overwhelming sense of hope and inspiration – a testament to the resilience of the human spirit when it comes to following our hearts and realizing our dreams…if people come to his shows and walk away feeling inspired, that’s precisely what it’s all about…” You’ll hear so many echoes of classic tracks. And the magic just keeps on coming throughout the album’s entire track list.

Gabriella Marinaro – “Crawling Back To You”: A soaring voice over a hazy soundscape of discreet keys, fresh beats and a wall of bold vocal harmonies. Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Gabriella Marinaro has shared her debut EP “INNER SPACE” – produced by Stefan Skarbek (former Amy Winehouse producer) and mixed and mastered by Grammy nominated engineers David Kim and James Krausse. “Crawling Back To You” is the single from this emerging young pop artist. Describing the song, she says it is about “falling for someone who treats you badly and loving them unconditionally, chasing that feeling of when it’s good – even if it’s only a fragment of your relationship, and admitting you will crawl on back to that person who will always do you wrong. When I moved back to Los Angeles my first relationship was with an egotistical musician. He treated me horribly and I knew it.  Although I loved him in some way, I endured the pain because it helped me write.” The EP reflects the many shades of the artist’s struggle returning to Los Angeles after living in Rome, her battle with mental health and how that was reflected in her relationships. “While I tried to collaborate and make sense of my music, it was creatively disheartening when the priority for the producers was trying to make a ‘hit’.  I am a bit all over the place and this EP is a way to make sense of myself and to close a memorable chapter of my life that I think a lot of people can relate to. Your mind and thoughts are your own and you are living in your ‘INNER SPACE.’”

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