The Great Escape – Kruel Summer Trades Stress for Bliss on ‘Another Night’ Single

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Kruel Summer searches for happiness on “Another Night.” Artwork courtesy of Kruel Summer

Kruel Summer hatches an instant, emotional escape plan on “Another Night.”

The San Jose, California indie rock-reggae quartet of Clev Stiles (lead vocals, electric guitar), Ben Dimmit (lead guitar, backing vocals), Shane Billings (drums) and Chris Reed (bass, keys, backing vocals) fervently abandons prolonged stress for instant bliss on their latest all-weather single.

“I was dealing with a major life impact when I was working on ‘Another Night.’ I felt stressed, anxious and uneasy not knowing what came next,” Stiles said. “I wanted the song to have the reverse effect … a sort of mood booster or escape to forget about [what] I was dealing with.”

Rolling waves of electric guitar, bass, keys and drums refresh Stiles as he sings, “We talk about / Running around all day / Swore to your father / Now I’m standing in the light / You know I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“[It’s] an attempt to overturn any negative feelings of worry and stress to bring energy and happiness … an uplifting, feel-good summer song,” Stiles said.

“It’s sort of hard to not instantly get in a good mood after listening to it. The actual story is about me spending time with my girl in the city on the beach just escaping the stress and letting that love and company soak away the anxiety.”

Kruel Summer also escapes worries on the forthright breakup anthem, “Just Too Broken,” which dropped in May.

Soothing electric guitar and tranquil bass release the emotional floodgates as Stiles sings, “And if I didn’t know better I would love you / Be stitched up together like you want to / But that’s a little surreal to deal / I’m better off living off what I feel.”

“I feel like everyone in one time or another has felt ‘Just Too Broken.’ You’re just tired, exhausted and drained in trying to keep a relationship, connection or anything going … that feeling like you’re putting more effort into it than a significant other,” Stiles said.

“But it doesn’t necessarily need to be about a person or a relationship. It could be about anything you’re struggling with – a job, a habit or a personal roadblock. It’s that sense of giving up and trying to keep something going when it’s simply not working.”

Continue reading “The Great Escape – Kruel Summer Trades Stress for Bliss on ‘Another Night’ Single”

My Brave Face – Ken Newman Uncovers Societal Fears on ‘What Am I Afraid Of?’ Album

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Ken Newman’s “What Am I Afraid Of?” album features purposeful lyrics, vigorous instrumentation and massive rock soundscapes. Photo – Jayms Ramirez

Ken Newman boldly tackles society’s deepest and darkest fears on What Am I Afraid Of?

The San Francisco indie-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist deftly uncovers and deciphers a multitude of emotional traumas, violent conflicts, racial injustices and political tensions on his insightful debut album.

“It was gonna be called ‘Dreaming of Guns’ based on that one song. At some point, somebody else recommended another title, and I tried that for a little while, but that didn’t quite resonate,” Newman said.

“And then Scott (Mickelson) and I were talking about it, and I said, ‘What if I just called it What Am I Afraid Of? ’ Then, the two of us went, ‘Oh my God, of course, that’s what everything’s about.’”

For Newman, “everything” serves as an umbrella of personal and societal challenges ranging from everyday anxieties to teen suicide to homelessness to gun violence. The album’s 11 gripping tracks provide a poignant wake-up call for the nation to strongly unite, take action and instill change.

“The thing about this album is essentially the same paradigm that’s kind of dictated my entire life,” he said. “I don’t exactly know what’s happening until I look in the rear-view mirror and go, ‘That happened.’”

Continue reading My Brave Face – Ken Newman Uncovers Societal Fears on ‘What Am I Afraid Of?’ Album

Ripple Effect – Eric Ripper Finds Growth and Love on New ‘Wavelength’ Album

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Eric Ripper features exploratory lyrics, radiant acoustic guitars and ambient soundscapes on his new album. Artwork – Dean Ripper

Filled with emotion and adventure, Eric Ripper rides the wave of new possibilities.

The Ferndale, Michigan acoustic pop-rock singer-songwriter boldly journeys through the peaks and valleys of growth, love and aspiration on his latest revelatory album, Wavelength.

“I traveled out to Utah to start this project, worked on it while I was out there and continued it after coming back. I’ve seen many beautiful things and spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts,” Ripper said.

“Those thoughts come together when you finally sit down with a guitar in hand. I’ve learned that I need time to write and need to explore myself if I am to continue writing and producing music.”

With self-discovery top of mind, Ripper soars alongside Wavelength’s exploratory lyrics, radiant acoustic guitars and ambient soundscapes. The album’s nine contemplative tracks instantly invite listeners to accompany Ripper on his introspective, cathartic odyssey.

“Traveling is a big part of my inspiration as well as having good and bad life experiences. All elements toward this album have been therapeutic: writing, producing, recording and releasing – all of it,” he said.

“I feel as if I’m sharing a big side of me with others on this release, and I just hope people can hear the work and dedication put into it. Everyone is growing as a person … they all have their own direction. I’m riding this wavelength, and I hope others can hear their purpose and find themselves.”

Continue reading “Ripple Effect – Eric Ripper Finds Growth and Love on New ‘Wavelength’ Album”

Sonic Youth – Allye Gaietto Reconciles Past Expectations on New ‘Hoping for More’ Album

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Allye Gaietto revisits her past self on “Hoping for More.” Photo – Rolando Ybarra

Allye Gaietto candidly shares an internal monologue with her younger self.

The Detroit indie folk-pop singer-songwriter and pianist reconciles past expectations, relationships and interactions on her perceptive new album, Hoping for More, which drops Aug. 26.

“It’s so much discovering of who you are, what your beliefs are and where you stand on all sorts of different things. I think, for a lot of us, our identity is about who’s around us and how we interact with people and how they see us,” said Gaietto about previous life experiences in her early 20s.

“I think for this record there are a lot of things … like I had my first serious relationship and then got dumped for the first time, and that’s one of the songs on the album. That was huge for me.”

With Hoping for More, Gaietto provides a huge release of deeply buried emotions that still feel tender and raw. Whether encountering relief, heartache or courage, she beautifully documents those experiences through contemplative lyrics, haunting melodies and lush instrumentation.

“It’s this funny contrast of me trying to reconcile like, ‘What do you think about me? What do I think about you? How do we feel about each other?’ with friendships, romantic relationships and parent relationships,” said Gaietto, who also released the single, “I Guess I Don’t,” earlier this year.

“After the album was finished, the new stuff I’ve been writing … sometimes I have to put myself back in that early 20s, new relationship mindset because it’s a goldmine for feelings and content.”

Continue reading “Sonic Youth – Allye Gaietto Reconciles Past Expectations on New ‘Hoping for More’ Album”

Solo Journey – Olivia Van Goor and William Bennett Advocate for Self-Love on ‘My Lonely Heart’ Single

Olivia Van Goor and William Bennett immediately welcome lonely souls.

The metro Detroit jazz vocalist and jazz pianist relish the importance of self-love on their latest cathartic single, “My Lonely Heart.”

“I think we all have experienced poor timing with relationships or life in general. I definitely drew inspiration from the feeling of being in between healing and having to say no to take care of myself,” said Van Goor, who co-wrote the track with Bennett.

“Will had given me the working title, ‘My Lonely Heart,’ and I knew I could either take it literally and write about being sad or try to put an alternate meaning. The second option was more enticing, and because I like a challenge, I came up with a positive spin on being lonely.”

Throughout “My Lonely Heart,” Van Goor strongly upholds the positive side of being single while Bennett responds with wistful piano.

She sings, “But for now it’s spared from needing repairs, my lonely heart/Do not try to sway, my mind has been made up/How can I give love from my own empty cup?/Love feels like a trick, I can’t take the risk/I’ll keep my lonely heart.”

“I hope it helps people not feel alone in the struggle of wanting to jump into something exciting, but knowing that it’s best to wait until you’re ready,” Van Goor said.

Van Goor and Bennett sought inspiration for the track after learning the 1937 Billie Holiday-Teddy Wilson classic, “Foolin’ Myself,” during the pandemic lockdown. With creativity flowing, they penned “My Lonely Heart” and took it to producer-engineer Josef Deas at Ann Arbor’s Big Sky Recording.

“Will showed me a tune he wrote inspired by that style, and it became ‘My Lonely Heart,’” she said. “Josef totally got what we were going for and even added some effects that gave it a full, warm vintage feel.”

To accompany “My Lonely Heart’s” release, Van Goor and Bennett shared a new live performance video filmed at Big Sky Recording. Director Becca Messner captured the duo bringing an intimate club-style feel to the track.

“Becca had made a video I was in for the Miss Paula Quintet last winter for the tune, ‘Baby’s First Christmas,’” Van Goor said. “I loved how that turned out, and she got the idea perfect.”

In fact, Van Goor and Bennett will share another perfect performance of “My Lonely Heart” and other material at two upcoming live shows in Ann Arbor: Aug. 25 downtown and Aug. 26 at the Blue LLama for Bennett’s birthday.

“August 25 will be very fun playing outside downtown Ann Arbor, which was organized my Matthew Altruda. I think the audiences in Ann Arbor appreciate a variety of music, and that helps our efforts,” Van Goor said.

“(August 26) will be very special because Will is going to be bandleading. I’m looking forward to it, and I don’t get to be a ‘sidewoman’ very much. We will be joined by University of Michigan grad Reuben Stump on bass and Ann Arbor guitarist Jake Reichbart.”

Show details:

Olivia Van Goor & William Bennett: Downtown Ann Arbor

Thursday, Aug. 25 | 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Free performance

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William Bennett Birthday Show

Friday, Aug. 26 | 7 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

Blue LLama Jazz Club, 314 S. Main St. in Ann Arbor

Tickets: $15-$75

Travel Light – Linden Thoburn Emits Hopeful Tales on New ‘When the Sun Comes Shining Through’ Album

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Linden Thoburn creates a spring-like feel on “When the Sun Comes Shining Through.” Photo courtesy of Linden Thoburn

Linden Thoburn beautifully shines a light on the road less traveled.

The Brighton, Michigan country-folk singer-songwriter and guitarist shares hopeful tales of navigating life’s seasonal changes on her adventurous new album, When the Sun Comes Shining Through.

“There’s a lot of movement, and there’s a lot of leaving one state and going into another state. I write from listening to life and listening to myself, and that’s just what was there,” Thoburn said.

“It’s somebody who’s able to look back and be here, yet still be able to bring some perspective, hopefulness and realism, too. The journey continues, and if you’re really going to live this life and be here, you have to be awake to the journey.”

On When the Sun Comes Shining Through, Thoburn deeply embraces a pictorial journey filled with lonesome AM radio, cherry red vans, summer berries, Mississippi tributaries, bright wings and Avalon forests. Each radiant track leaves a lasting imprint on the heart and soul of bygone eras and unread chapters.

“A lot of 2022 has been getting this album ready to launch … and I keep thinking COVID is over, and the sun comes shining through, and then COVID keeps coming back,” she said with a laugh. “This album is like leaving COVID, and it’s like going from winter and heading into spring.”

Continue reading Travel Light – Linden Thoburn Emits Hopeful Tales on New ‘When the Sun Comes Shining Through’ Album

Second Stage – Fundamental Sound Co. Returns with Fun Fest ‘22 Aug. 6 in Ypsilanti

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Taylor Greenshields believes things are better the second time around.

The Ypsilanti audio engineer, producer and drummer is expanding this year’s Fun Fest ‘22 to include more activities and vendors along with some new artists. The second annual daylong music festival will take place Saturday, Aug. 6 at Frog Island Park.

“I think the first year of the festival is always the hardest. We got the first year out of the way, so this year we can work out any kinks and now people kind of know what to expect,” said Greenshields, who owns and operates the Ypsilanti-based recording studio, Fundamental Sound Co.

The festival will feature an all-star roster of local artists, including new guests The Macpodz, Stormy Chromer, Ki5 and Estar Cohen along with returning performers Dani Darling, Ma Baker and Al Bettis and a secret set featuring some familiar faces.

“This year’s artist selections were based on artists I worked with regularly in the live sound realm or in the studio. I didn’t want to have a complete repeat from last year’s lineup, but I still wanted to have a few of my favorite artists/friends to be involved,” Greenshields said.

“I am honored to have Dani, Al and the Baker boys back in the lineup this year. Honestly, these are bands I just selfishly love, and I am lucky enough to work with them again this year. I think as their second time playing Fun Fest they will know what to expect and bring the vibes!”

In addition to live music, Fun Fest ’22 will include more than 15 local vendors, ranging from Brennan The Bronze to Normal Coffee Co. to Top Dog, offering art, food and drinks. Beats, Brews and Points of View podcast hosts Emmanuel “E-Man” Bates and Neil Richter also will serve as festival emcees.

“This year, it has grown by having some extra activities, like we’re going to have a bounce house for the kids, have food vendors and other activities available in the soccer field. It’s basically just me putting all this stuff together,” Greenshields said.

Greenshields started Fun Fest last year after wanting to showcase local artists he engineers and records through Fundamental Sound Co. studio and stage projects. He’s currently working with Ma Baker on their first studio album, Na Bonsai on their debut EP and Dani Darling on her new single.

“I have been planning big things for Fundamental Sound Co.’s future. Some are bigger than others, and some are more realistic than others. I am just out here planting seeds and watering these ideas until they eventually start to grow really solid roots,” said Greenshields, who opened his studio in 2018.

“Maybe you’ll start to see them pop out of the ground sooner than later. This festival was one of those ideas years and years ago, and now it’s finally becoming a reality, which is crazy to me.”

Outside of other artists’ projects, Greenshields continues to run live sound for local shows with D.Cipher, a Detroit music mastermind collective, every Wednesday at Dequindre Cut and every Thursday at Detroit City Distillery. He’s also interested in recording his own album soon.

“This year, I have been lucky to be booked and busy all summer long. I have been honored to work with D.Cipher … they are amazing and book some of the dopest artists in the area,” he said.

“As far as personal projects, I have been kicking around the idea of recording a solo record. I love working on other people’s music, but sometimes I can get too far away from who I am as an artist. I think it’s time to make some of my own stuff again.”

Show details:

Fun Fest ‘22

Saturday, Aug. 6 | 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Frog Island Park, 699 Rice St. in Ypsilanti

Tickets: $20 (suggested donation)

Chronological Order – The Blueflowers Process Pivotal Life Moments on ‘Time Didn’t Matter’ EP

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The Blueflowers examine past relationships, present circumstances and future possibilities on “Time Didn’t Matter.” Photo – Lisa Folcarelli Jansen

The Blueflowers thoughtfully follow their own timeline.

The Detroit indie-rock sextet of Kate Hinote (vocals, lyrics), Erin Williams (backing vocals, keys, lyrics), Tony Hamera (guitar, synths), David Johnson (guitar), Bryan Talaski (bass) and Jim Faulkner (drums) chronicles pivotal moments of growth, heartbreak and change on their latest cathartic EP, Time Didn’t Matter.

“I certainly hope that people can relate to it and have that feeling,” Hinote said. “Any time you’re making music, you hope that people can react to it in some way, and I am considering that when I’m writing, but I also gotta get stuff out.”

As an emotional outlet, Time Didn’t Matter carefully opens the floodgates of past relationships, present circumstances and future possibilities. Six passionate tracks flow alongside introspective lyrics, fiery goth-rock instrumentation and ethereal shoegaze sensibilities.

“That’s just what kind of comes out … I’ve always written that way and still try to write in a way that can be interpreted,” Hinote said. “It’s a little vague, so that it can be left open to interpretation, and there are certainly some specific relationships that are addressed on this EP.”

Continue reading “Chronological Order – The Blueflowers Process Pivotal Life Moments on ‘Time Didn’t Matter’ EP”

Supper’s Ready – Grooblen Hosts Creepy Dinner Party in New ‘Neuroplasticity’ Video

Grooblen eerily throws impromptu, nightmarish dinner parties.

The San Francisco cabaret psych-punk trio of Ellie Stokes (vocals, guitar, piano, synth), Jack Stancik (bass) and William Stokes (drums) celebrates creepy plastic cuisine, nervous guests and ghoulish mannequin hosts in their new immersive 360 video for “Neuroplasticity.”

“It’s all kind of weird CGI people, and you turn around and someone has a plate of eyeballs,” said Ellie Stokes about the interactive video. “The detail in it is amazing, and one guy sitting down has motor legs, and he keeps moving. You’re forced to look at people and figure out what’s going on in their heads.”

One step inside the “Neuroplasticity” characters’ collective headspace reveals the innovative mindset of Honeymoon Supply Co. Grooblen collaborated with the Los Angeles-based visual artist to direct and create the stunning video.

“I told her to include some stuff, but for the most part, it was just her and how she perceived the song,” said Ellie Stokes. “She was like, ‘Well, what about a dinner party?’ and I was like, ‘Oh my God, that would be so cool, and what if you included some creepy dish that could be misinterpreted?’”

Throughout the David Lynch-esque video, a pair of guests anxiously determines whether to sample eyeball appetizers, bloody cocktails and emerald gelatin molds. Their spooky hosts quietly observe as floors move below and flames erupt overhead.

“She was looking for creative projects, and it took her about a week to put it together,” said Ellie Stokes. “I love that kind of stuff, and I’m excited to put it out there.”

The video also perfectly reflects the spooky, haunting imagery depicted in Grooblen’s “Neuroplasticity” single, which spotlights the human brain and body’s resilience to heal and adapt from past traumas.

“‘Neuroplasticity’ is about how everything can change in a second and how our brains and bodies are so interlinked,” said Ellie Stokes, who was diagnosed with a rare optic nerve condition in 2020, but has since recovered.

“I wrote it from the perspective of the nerve in my brain telling me what was going on. It’s digging deep into this new part of myself that I hadn’t really thought about before.”

Continue reading “Supper’s Ready – Grooblen Hosts Creepy Dinner Party in New ‘Neuroplasticity’ Video”

Change Agent – Fernando Silverio Solis Chronicles Personal Growth on ‘When the Good Starts to Fade’ EP

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Fernando Silverio Solis processes past relationships on “When the Good Starts to Fade.”

Fernando Silverio Solis instinctively understands the rate of change.

The Flint indie-folk singer-songwriter and guitarist aptly evolves and shifts with changing relationships on his latest introspective EP, When the Good Starts to Fade.

“With this group of songs, there are definitely some huge life changes taking place. You’re arriving at a different point whether it’s literally or figuratively and are unsure where to go from there,” Solis said.

“There’s a big theme around friendships … you have to acknowledge that sometimes you outgrow people or maybe they outgrow you.”

Those keen observations thoughtfully address past connections and anticipate future ones across three astute tracks. For Solis, When the Good Starts to Fade acknowledges the nuances and notions that slowly arise as one chapter ends and another begins.

“A lot of times I compartmentalize these ideas, thoughts and processes into a time when I can finally let it out,” he said. “After the songs are written, it’s almost therapy in a way … you don’t always know that you feel or think a certain way about something until you are given that space to say it freely.”

Continue reading “Change Agent – Fernando Silverio Solis Chronicles Personal Growth on ‘When the Good Starts to Fade’ EP”