Offbeat Odyssey – ‘Bottle of Blue’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this morning’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Offbeat Odyssey, a fascinating outfit that incorporates a bevy of genre stylings into their own wholly unique sound. Hailing from the city of Brighton in the UK, the five-piece band has released their latest studio endeavor, a single entitled ‘Bottle of Blue.’ Joe Henwood, the producer and saxophonist for Nubiyan Twist, aided the band with the effort. Let’s delve into the single and see if it’s worth including in one’s indie music library.

The single begins with a rather haunting minute of atmospheric meanderings, alluding to Offbeat Odyssey moving, at least stylistically, toward a Radiohead-esque sound. Ghostly vocal echoes slowly rise out of the introduction in a simply stunning way, that is, before the song evolves into a foot-tapping, reggae-infused jam. The reggae influence isn’t just highly unexpected, it’s highly fruitful. Offbeat Odyssey has taken reggae stylings and incorporated them, elegantly, into ‘Bottle of Blue,’ which also pulls together pop and rock into its mix.

Lead vocalist Ollie Barber has a unique intensity to his performance; it’s dire and passionate, yet simultaneously relaxed. ‘Bottle of Blue’ reminds me quite a bit of various parts of the 1970s. In the early part of the decade, acts that weren’t traditionally reggae were incorporating pieces of its style into their sound – Eric Clapton, for example. In the later part of the decade, entirely new genres like ska grew out of similar explorations. Offbeat Odyssey isn’t necessarily ‘reggae,’ at least not through and through, but its spirit breathes through every note of their music.

As ‘Bottle of Blue’ grows to its finale, it reaches a particularly compelling section at 3:40 which maneuvers the sound into a masterful solo section. Offbeat Odyssey clearly has chemistry amongst its band members – not a note is missed on ‘Bottle of Blue’ and there’s a cohesiveness to the sound that’s often lacking in independent outfits. They’ve had some rather successful lives shows as of late, too, which isn’t the least bit surprising. This is the kind of music that could get a crowd moving.

Offbeat Odyssey accomplish two vital things with their reggae influence: fans of reggae will find something to love, and people who don’t like reggae may find it accessible enough to learn more about the genre. ‘Bottle of Blue’ is beautifully recorded, produced, and performed, making it a effort very worth taking a listen to.

Press Release – Tangerine Sky – May 26, 2017



Tangerine Sky To Unveil Sophomore Single, ‘You’re On Your Way’

This Monday, May 29, the indie roots outfit Tangerine Sky will release their highly anticipated second studio single, ‘You’re On Your Way.’ Available upon release on all major digital music platforms for streaming and download, the track is an early insight into the band’s forthcoming full-length album. The track comes on the heels of the band’s March debut, ‘Now That I’ve Found You.’

Tangerine Sky is an elegant mix of musical stylings evocative of the 1970s. With deep ties to the roots and folk genres, the band has become a staple of the Brisbane local music scene in recent years since their formation in 2013. Their new single was penned by Sharon Haigh, the group’s guitarist, and Marcia Erdeljac, the lead vocalist. Recorded at The Shed in Brisbane, Tangerine Sky’s latest effort maintains the remarkably high production value of its predecessor.

Sometimes described as ‘folk pop,’ Tangerine Sky meld together infectious hooks, roots instrumentation, and unforgettable memories to create their wholly unique sound. ‘You’re On Your Way’ is reminiscent of acts akin to Fleetwood Mac, charging its soundscape with equal amounts of emotional poignancy and musical prowess: a wonderfully classic sound that’s beautifully contemporary as well.

Fans can connect with Tangerine Sky on their official Facebook page. ‘Like’ the page to keep up to date with upcoming releases, new events, and more!

Morrow’s Memory – ‘Take Control’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

While the independent music scene is ever-so-inundated with rock outfits, well-produced acts are still a rarity. Morrow’s Memory, a five piece group from Detroit, breaks that mold with their latest studio endeavor, an EP entitled ‘Take Control.’ The collection is an intriguing jaunt through hard, alternative, and metal rock musings that’s surprisingly cohesive, offering several twists and turns along the way for the listener.

‘Take Control’ is a succinct EP, one in which every song has its place in the sequence. This in itself is quite refreshing, because indie rock groups have a tendency to add lots of ‘filler’ to their records. There’s none of that here – all these songs are finely tuned and raring to go. ‘Bloodlust,’ the bombastic introduction to the EP, is a sharply orchestrated, passionately performed effort in which lead vocalist Tony Fitchett exhibits himself as an especially powerful frontman.

The lyrics of ‘Bloodlust’ are dark to say the least, with gems like “I will crush you by your first move” and “you will learn the meaning of what it is to be hopeless.” The nature of the track, however, alludes to it being almost conceptual in nature, as if Morrow’s Memory is taking on the persona of a bloodthirsty monster or vampire. Conversely, the haunting ‘Ones and Zeros’ is more sympathetic in nature, reaching out a metaphorical hand to a flailing person who is losing their will to live and burning bridges left and right.

Instrumentally, these early tracks also showcase chemistry amongst Morrow’s Memory. They began performing live seven years ago and the years show. Not a beat is missed on this EP. This is perhaps most obvious on ‘For You,’ a song that’s arguably the collection’s best effort. The vulnerable anthem of independence houses a searing guitar solo, thunderous percussion, and painful, relatable lyrics about a relationship falling to pieces.

In the great tradition of rock records, ‘Take Control’ provides the somewhat obligatory acoustic love ballad near the end of its run, a song called ‘Sapphire.’ In the shadow of the anger and loathing that is ‘For You,’ ‘Sapphire’ is a melancholy journey through a very different emotional spectrum. The lyrics sing of a hell one is born into, the fires of which can only recede when that person is with the one they love. Given how angry its predecessors are, ‘Sapphire’ is a much needed reprieve from that intensity.

The finale, ‘Find My Own Way,’ is somewhat of a perplexing number. ‘Take Control’ is a turbulent EP, and the resolution that the final song offers is rather open to interpretation. “Leaning on the edge of ever-after is all that I can do,” the song explains. It’s not entirely clear if the relationship that caused the songwriter such strife has been remedied in any way, and if it hasn’t, if it’s been abandoned. It may not matter, though, and listeners can each glean something different.

No, ‘Take Control’ isn’t a particularly cheerful album, but that’s surely not its intent. It’s an analysis of a dark time in one’s life, I’d wager, and how that person “took control” of their life moving forward into a better place. The performances are fantastic and the record is superbly produced, making Morrow’s Memory’s new EP one of the better rock releases of 2017 in the indie scene thus far.




Press Release – 3Dimensional – May 25, 2017



Rising Pop Duo 3Dimensional Signs New Booking Deal

The dynamic up and coming independent pop duo, 3Dimensional, has signed a new booking deal with Notebook Entertainment, ensuring them further reach as their fan base continues to rapidly expand. Notebook, known for booking acts the likes of Tito Jackson and Kool & The Gang, will help 3Dimensional connect with more fans than ever before.

The duo, which consists of brothers Coleton and Logen Pickett, has garnered nearly two million views online since the debut of their viral sensation, ‘Netflicks & Chill.’ The infectious pop single infuses influence from some of the Picketts’ eclectic inspirations: Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, the Backstreet Boys, and more. That sound, often described as a hybrid of pop, R&B, and hip hop prowess, is matched equally with the brothers’ talent as songwriters, musicians, and dancers.

3Dimensional is positioned to be an explosive act for a new generation of pop music fans. Between their impressive online reach and their growing ability to soon connect with fans at live performances worldwide, the two brothers are poised to bring an exciting new string of hits into the independent community. This incredible potential was recently discovered by Amazon bestselling author Willie Stewart, who now manages the duo through his company, 2MCH4YA Global Entertainment.

Fans can connect with 3Dimensional on their official website and social media. Watch the official music video for ‘Netflicks & Chill’ above, and be on the lookout for tour dates as Notebook Entertainment and 3Dimensional move forward booking new shows!

3Dimensional – Their New Singles

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this morning’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on 3Dimensional, an indie pop duo consisting of two brothers, Coleton and Logen Pickett. A relatively new outfit, the two young performers cite influences the likes of Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, and the Backstreet Boys. With a handful of singles under their belt, 3Dimensional have picked up serious steam on social media, too. Is their music worth delving into if you’re a pop fanatic? Let’s find out…

‘Netflicks & Chill’ is the track that 3Dimensional has garnered significant attention for online, and frankly, it’s unsurprising that it’s their most appealing track. It’s radio bubblegum through and through, doused in reverberated dance beats and culturally relevant, modern colloquialisms. If you aren’t a teenager, though, ‘Netflicks & Chill’ will take “cheese” to a whole new level, as the two brothers sing about seducing their date as Netflix plays in the backdrop. But, hey, the song actually has a mention of consent, and that’s really awesome.

While ‘Tables Turn’ will also be appealing to angst-driven teenagers, it’s far more elegant and mature than ‘Netflicks & Chill.’ It’s a familiar story: boy falls hopelessly in love with a girl only to be torn inside out by her indiscretions. “What does he have that I don’t?” 3Dimensional questions as a lovely bed of synthesized string sections and pianos rise and fall in beautiful harmony. It’s chock-full of naivete, sure, but ‘Tables Turn’ is an actual display of thoughtful lyricism and composition, making it the best track of the bunch.

Living up to their name, 3Dimensions adds another further dimension to their sound in ‘I Want It All.’ It turns out that one of the two brothers is, surprisingly, a serviceable rapper. This is hindered by the self-indulgent nature of the lyricism, unfortunately, but again, 3Dimensional is young guys being young. They’re singing about their desire for stacks of cash and legions of fans. It’s not exactly literary stuff, but it’s easy to recognize that it’ll be good radio, sing-along music for young pop fans.

The last full-length single 3Dimensional has available right now is ‘Far Away,’ an anthemic tune that’s essentially the score to a spring break vacation. The hip hop section of the track is by far the duo’s best, eclipsing ‘I Want It All.’ Again, 3Dimensional won’t be winning any awards for originality: these songs use the same formula every Top 40 hit does nowadays. It’s clear the duo is striving for that sound, however, and they’ve captured it well.

Is this good music in the grand scope of the art form? No, not particularly. Is it the best music on earth if you’re an excited teenager on summer vacation blasting it out of your half-broken car stereo? Most certainly. That’s the audience for this music, and that’s perfectly okay.

Press Release – Preytorians – May 25, 2017



Preytorians To Release Dynamic Debut Studio Endeavor This June

Next Friday, June 2, Preytorians will unleash their debut single into the independent music community. Entitled ‘Fear,’ the superbly-produced first effort from the powerhouse hip hop outfit will introduce listeners to themes that the group wants to explore in further depth on their first EP, ‘Warmusic,’ which is due out in July.

War is undoubtedly one of the most emotional and intense elements of society. It strikes fear into the hearts of the bravest, and it’s a side-effect of our own humanity. Preytorians, however, strive to harness the emotions often associated with wartime to offer words of wisdom and encouragement to their fans. “We’re aiming to use the emotion of war to inspire people to keep fighting for what they believe in,” the band explains.

We want to be the inspirational push that reinforces their [the band’s listeners] will. This project is meant to be a boost to their energy and determination. ‘Fear’ is the first step.

— Preytorians

Fear is inseparable from war, but it’s an emotion that one learn to utilize to their benefit. More often than not, people are fearful of the obstacles in their way. Preytorians propose that one should make their challenges afraid of them, not the other way around. ‘Fear’ offers an early glimpse into what ‘Warmusic’ will sound like, as the EP will continue Preytorians’ exploration of aggressive and complex wartime emotions.

Consisting of Kielen King, Demond Clark, and Sean Wynn, Preytorians manifested as a result of collaboration via social media. King and Wynn have worked together previously, hailing from Portland, whereas Clark lives in Chicago. The unique combination of all three talents has resulted in Preytorians sounding quite unlike any other group in the indie hip hop scene. Their diverse, eclectic sound is wholly authentic and unique. 

‘Fear’ is due out June 2 on all major digital music platforms for streaming and download. Furthermore, ‘Warmusic’ is slated for a release this July and fans who sign up for the band’s mailing list will receive early access to new material.

Mailing List: (This page will go live upon release.)

Mimic of a Mind – ‘Music Destroyed My Life’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this afternoon’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Mimic of a Mind, the artistic moniker of Jonathon Baumann, a Minnesota based musician that has a slew of releases to his name. From rap to rock to metal, the performer has more than two dozen full albums under his belt. His latest endeavor is ‘Music Destroyed My Life,’ a rather fascinating look into the life of a “struggling artist.” Let’s delve into it a bit…

At seven tracks in length, ‘Music Destroyed My Life’ centralizes itself around a hip hop style that digs primarily into the negative, frustrating aspects of being an aspiring artist. I often have artists come across my desk with a particularly starry-eyed mentality of their career. That’s wonderful, of course, but often unrealistic, almost to the point of comedy. Mimic of a Mind has opted for a much more brutal, realistic analysis of his artform.

The single for the record, ‘More Determined Than Ever,’ is also its introduction. It’s the most uplifting of the seven tracks, arguing that despite the hypocrisy and obstacles surrounding him, Mimic of a Mind will still find a way to persevere for his artform. It’s a vital statement at the beginning of a collection called ‘Music Destroyed My Life’ because later, in tracks like ‘Don’t Believe’ and ‘Spit Me Out,’ Mimic of a Mind explores the frustrations of his craft. There is an angry, frustrated sound throughout much of the EP.

‘More Determined Than Ever,’ however, is a mission statement: the masthead on top of a larger proclamation of self relevance despite hardship. At the end of the day, it’s a facetious record at times. Music doesn’t seemed to have actually destroyed Baumann’s life; it’s likely his lifeblood. But every passionate artist knows the strife that comes with being that passionate about one’s craft, and that’s what this record touches on in a rather intriguing, unique capacity.

There’s a large production quality difference between ‘More Determined Than Ever’ and the six tracks that follow it, but this is largely due to Baumann having that track mastered by a professional. The vocals are crisper and the beats are more pronounced; the overall sonic profile of the tune is much stronger and more refined. In contrast, the self-produced work is somewhat muddy sounding, but the ideas and themes make the songs still worth exploring.

Mimic of a Mind’s music doesn’t conform to traditional themes that independent musicians seem to have a penchant for. If refined even more strongly like its single track, the entire effort could be an even more fascinating journey than it already is. For any artist that’s come at odds with their own art and the people around them because of it, ‘Music Destroyed My Life’ will be a relatable, perhaps even cathartic listen.

Pauline Frechette – ‘Always Lovers’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this afternoon’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Pauline Frechette, a well respected pianist and composer who has released a number of compelling, emotional singles in the last year. Since we first explored her music here on the Spotlight in July of 2016, the performer previously known as Raven Kane amongst rock fans has continued to blossom into new sonic territory with each release.

Her most recent release, ‘Always Lovers,’ features “David,” but doesn’t make a clear distinction of what his contribution is or who he is. I suspect, however, that Frechette’s release includes a collaborative effort with her husband, David Campbell, the famed composer and father of Beck. Campbell has worked extensively on Frechette’s music in the past, too, and the arrangements Frechette’s husband has aided her with have been simply remarkable.

‘Always Lovers’ is a sublime listening experience, matching Frechette’s wistful wanderings on the piano with her haunting lead vocals and soft, but lovely orchestrated strings. There’s a unique delicateness to Frechette’s singing; she captures the listener’s attention and leads them on a magical journey. I once referred to Frechette’s music as Disney-esque, and ‘Always Lovers’ is a ballad with that same starry-eyed nature.

“Hold me in your arms tonight, til’ the early dawn,” she sings. “Older than the universe, this love of ours goes on.” The lyrics of ‘Always Lovers’ are touching in a very personal way, making the song an effort that sounds like it’s straight out of the Great American Songbook. Frechette’s intimate performance makes that material so poignant. If you listen closely, you can even hear her softly breathing into the microphone.

The masterful performance and composition are aided by an equally strong production. The recording sounds relatively untouched; I doubt there was much post-production fiddling. It’s true and honest: authentic. There are so few artists of Frechette’s caliber in the independent music scene today recording this type of music, and thus, ‘Always Lovers’ is as much of a joy to listen to as the songwriter’s previous releases. Frechette just keeps getting more captivating with each new release.

The Governators – ‘Punchdrunk & Fisticuffs’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

Hailing from Dublin, The Governators are an independent rock outfit who have recently released their debut EP, a six track collection entitled ‘Punchdrunk & Fisticuffs.’ Recorded as a DIY production, the effort was recorded and produced in a home studio, something that The Governators are rather humble about. In reality, however, the short album is remarkably well engineered for a home endeavor. Let’s dig into the six songs…

The Governators have a wonderful aura of indie rock and pop influence in their music. ‘Glory in the Fall,’ the album’s introduction, crafts its sound utilizing bubbly, but sparse synthesizers, reverberated guitars, and soft, crooning pop vocals. It’s a sound that’s perhaps reminiscent of the Jayhawks or the Proclaimers, though there’s a bit of Cure inspiration in there, too. Aside from a soft vocal mix, ‘Glory in the Fall’ sounds superb.

The small vocal faux pas of ‘Glory in the Fall’ is remedied on ‘Sweeter End,’ a song that’s arguably the EP’s best selection. The song’s infectious guitar riff, upbeat percussion, and fantastic lead vocals make it entirely unforgettable. This is a track that will surely drive one insane, for one will be humming it down the street for weeks to come. ‘Sweeter End’ is well-produced, foot-tapping rock and roll with a wonderful helping of pop influence dabbled throughout.

The Governators continue strong on ‘Baby Baby Please,’ a song that takes the duo’s vocal harmonies to a whole new level. There’s hints of an Everly Brothers influence at play here, and it’s just splendid. The song is quick: wham, bam, thank you, ma’am. There’s something admirable about snappy, punchy tracks like ‘Baby Baby Please.’ There just aren’t enough of them anymore.

‘Entwined (Hand in Hand)’ is a much more complex endeavor than its predecessor, but it’s fascinating territory for The Governators. It’s a more intimate ballad, one that’s suited well by bouts of acoustic instrumentation and analog scratches. (Though I question if those are purely aesthetic, added in post instead of naturally via analog recording.) ‘You Are My Baby’ then follows – a spiritual successor to ‘Baby Baby Please,’ I’d argue. It’s a brilliant tune, and ‘Entwined’ is a perfect segway in between the two.

‘Yolo Mofo’ then ends the album with a joyfully ridiculous finale full of bombastic “la la” choruses. As a singular entity, it might lack some direction, but as a bookend to a collection of quirky, but lovely songs, it’s right at home. Through and through, ‘Punchdrunk & Fisticuffs’ is well worth a listen.

Amilia K Spicer – ‘Wow and Flutter’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this afternoon’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Amilia K Spicer, an independent singer songwriter that’s best classified into the ever-growing “Americana” genre. Her new record, ‘Wow and Flutter,’ has recently been released boasting a bevy of impressive collaborations with session musicians that have worked with the likes of Bob Dylan, the Foo Fighters, Bonnie Raitt, and more.

At twelve tracks long, ‘Wow and Flutter’ is a bold statement for an independent artist. While Spicer runs into issues with this on the tail end, the collection is largely very intriguing. Her sound elegantly mixes country and folk with hints of bluegrass and outlaw music. She’s somewhat reminiscent of, perhaps, Holly Williams or Justin Townes Earle. The opening of her new album is also its lead single, ‘Fill Me Up.’

‘Fill Me Up’ is splendid on several levels. The instrumentation is hauntingly beautiful. The vocal harmonies, especially toward the end, evoke Beatles-esque influence on top of thick Americana vibes. Her voice is as delicate as it powerful, exercising perfect command over a soundscape full of various stringed instrumentation. From guitars to violins, ‘Fill Me Up’ is true to name: it fills the space up with a waterfall of personality.

‘Harlan’ also draws back some sonic lineage to Lucinda Williams, I’d argue, with vocals that often evolve into soft, indecipherable croons. Spicer’s lyrics and atmospheres are equally vivid, and section at 4:00 is one of the most remarkable moments on ‘Wow and Flutter.’ There’s an ethereal, ghostly quality to ‘Harlan.’ Similarly, there’s an emotional weight to ‘This Town,’ a surprisingly non-cliche exploration of a small home town setting.

Continuing in the vein of her record label whose slogan is “don’t fence me in,” Spicer pens an ode to the open road and freedom on ‘Shotgun.’ The soft acoustic instrumentation serves Spicer very well on that track, and it’s a tune best listened to on a quality sound system to hear the intricacy of the sound samples in the backdrop. ‘Lightning,’ the following song, then digs its heels into a love ballad with rather beautiful imagery. Again, Spicer navigates territory that can often enter the realm of cliche very well.

The melancholy, vulnerable ‘Train Wreck’ is an excellent halfway point to the record. Spicer thrives particularly well with more soft-spoken material, something that’s complemented wonderfully by her expressive vocals. The album’s most suave song, however, must surely be ‘Shake It Off.’ The swagger in Spicer’s performance is palpable, and this is accented breathtakingly by the organ performance on the song.

There’s a gorgeous aura of reassurance to ‘Windchill,’ a song that’s almost lullaby-like in nature. The song could be as much of a lullaby to a child as it could a serenade to a romantic interest. When ‘Wow and Flutter’ has come and gone for the listener, ‘Windchill’ be one of the experiences that sticks around most poignantly. (Though ‘Down To The Bone’ is captivating, too, because it scores Spicer with a piano instead of stringed instrumentation, which is especially intriguing.)

‘Wild Horses’ isn’t a Rolling Stones cover, though one can’t help but imagine what Spicer would do with such a task. Instead, it’s an Americana jaunt through sly steel guitar and sparse lyricism that explores introspective navel-gazing via a horse metaphor. ‘Wild Horses’ is a track that probably could have been left on the cutting room floor; it’s just too similar to its predecessors and makes ‘Wow and Flutter’ meander too much toward its finale.

‘What I’m Saying,’ fortunately, has some more pep in its step. It’s exactly what the album needs near the end, since long sequences the likes of ‘Windchill, ‘Down To The Bone,’ and ‘Wild Horses’ can get a bit drab. ‘What I’m Saying’ offers some much needed intensity to the album. It can get your foot tapping, and not much of ‘Wow and Flutter’ offers that.

The pensive ‘Shine’ probably could have been left in the studio, too, since ‘What I’m Saying’ would have been a perfect finale. ‘Wow and Flutter’ is a very good record. In fact, it’s comparably superior to the vast majority of Americana records in the indie scene. The production and performances are incredible. Often, though, the songs blur together. Spicer gently sings as tender instrumentation backs her. For a twelve song album, there just isn’t enough variation in the sonic palette to warrant such a lengthy release.

Even though it could have been tighter as a six or eight track release, ‘Wow and Flutter’ is very much worth a listen if you have a penchant for Americana music. Again, it’s a whole lot better than its counterparts and Spicer should be proud of her album. It’s excellent despite its forgivable flaws.