Anesthetized – A Good Sign Welcomes Romantic Indifference on New ‘Numb’ Single

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A Good Sign takes control of her emotions on “Numb.” Artwork – Jesselle

A Good Sign quickly anesthetizes strong emotions from a past relationship.

The Ann Arbor, Michigan electro-pop singer-songwriter welcomes instant romantic indifference on her latest atmospheric single, “Numb.”

“‘Numb’ is that feeling of when you’re in a relationship with someone who has manipulated your feelings a lot,” said Kierstin Jackson, aka A Good Sign.

“You have these heart-wrenching feelings over and over, and then you’re just at a point where you’re numb to it. You no longer have control over your emotions.”

Throughout “Numb,” A Good Sign regains that self-control as exuberant synth, wistful bass and intrepid electronic percussion provide a jolt of confidence.

She sings, “High off of your touch / Or shattered by your silence / I used to stay fucked up / On your spiritual violence / But now I’m breaking up with / The ropes that I got tied with.”

“It’s a freeing feeling in a way because that person doesn’t have control over you anymore,” Jackson said. “That was a relationship recently I experienced where there a lot of ups and downs. My heart was fully in it, and then it ate away at things until there was nothing there.”

To bring “Numb” to life, A Good Sign collaborated with engineer-producer Jezreel Santos at Ypsilanti’s Traxside Recording Studio.

“It’s EDM-y, but lighthearted … I love sad lyrics and a happy beat,” Jackson said. “[Jezreel] is so talented; I can make a sound at him, and he can do that on any instrument.”

Continue reading Anesthetized – A Good Sign Welcomes Romantic Indifference on New ‘Numb’ Single

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”

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

Sonic Epilogue – Cece June Searches for Closure and Certainty on ‘Over’ Single

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Cece June finds newfound strength and confidence on her latest single, “Over.” Photo – Adelaide Wilson

Cece June deeply searches for a sense of closure.

The Barcelona, Spain indie-pop singer-songwriter and guitarist thoughtfully addresses unanswered questions, lingering uncertainties and changing relationships on her latest contemplative single, “Over.”

“It just happened, and it wasn’t really autobiographical because I wasn’t dating anyone at that point,” said June, who’s currently an art history and political science senior at the University of Michigan.

“It’s interesting, with so many of my songs, they just kind of happen, and the ability to write ‘Over’ without having felt it personally … I genuinely don’t know where that came from.”                                                     

Throughout “Over,” a tranquil symphony of pensive electric guitar, hopeful cello, crashing cymbals and thunderous drums infuses June with newfound strength and confidence.

She sings, “I can’t help but to let you know/That this is more than intended/I never meant to let you go/I said I loved you and I meant it/It isn’t over just cause you say it is/I’d like to tell you where my ending begins.”

“With the guitar pattern, I knew that I wanted a message, and I wanted it to be really restated. The verses are structurally the same, but obviously lyrically different,” June said.

“The choruses are different, and as that desperation nears the end, that’s when the music starts building up, and the cello gets stronger, and the drums come in. The drums are almost cacophonic, and I wanted them to be loud … like something’s breaking, and it’s not in your control to mend it.”

To create “Over’s” emotive sound, June collaborated with a talented cast of U-M musicians and students, including producer Ethan Matt, guitarist Matt Stawinski, drummer Casey Cheatham, cellist Micah Huisman and mixer Samuel Uribe-Botero.

“Ethan pushed me to try new things. In the first session, he was giving me auto-tune vocoders that sounded like T-Pain, and I was like, ‘What is this? This is awesome!’ It was such an awesome experience to see it evolve with the mindset of someone who’s really different,” said June, who recorded the track at Ethan Matt’s home studio in mid-February. 

“It’s really just a close-knit community of people who are always willing to help. It’s so incredible because you can be like, ‘Oh, I need a trombone,’ and you have like 70 people available.” 

Continue reading “Sonic Epilogue – Cece June Searches for Closure and Certainty on ‘Over’ Single”

Be Now Media – Max Preissner Helps Artists, Creatives and Entrepreneurs Achieve Success

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Kyla McGrath, Max Preissner, Chris Simpson and Carter Smeader provide marketing, consulting and production services through Be Now Media. Photo – Kyla McGrath

Max Preissner understands the importance of being present and helping others.

The Ann Arbor hip-hop artist, entrepreneur and educator follows this personal mantra as founder and CEO of Be Now Media, a newly rebranded marketing agency, media production company and record label.

“This entire rebrand is based on my strongest core value, which is helping people with my knowledge and experiences. I used to think that was only possible through my own music,” said Preissner, aka Max Price.

“However, I recently realized that through Be Now Media I can increase my positive effect exponentially by helping people who help others.”

After struggling with anxiety and depression in his early 20s, Preissner read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment and learned how to be present.

“I learned that most of my suffering was coming from my thoughts. By focusing my attention on the present moment and my senses, I could calm or stop the thoughts and the suffering,” Preissner said. “I have tested this extensively, and it still holds true to this day.”

To focus on the present, Preissner started meditating and created a personal development plan that was inspired by different programs and teachings. Those efforts resulted in a renewed mindset, which helped him revisit his daily priorities and recalibrate his outlook on life.

“I’ve meditated every day for the past two years, and I decided to make self-management my No. 1 priority,” said Preissner, who holds a Master of Arts in music business from Berklee College of Music and teaches a “Self-Management for Artists” course at Washtenaw Community College.

“I have developed a routine and structure for myself that allows me to live in the most effective, efficient and authentic way possible.”

As a next step, Preissner decided to rebrand his MindState Marketing and Media company as Be Now Media. The rebrand better reflects the skills, values and passions he’s developed in life.

“This has provided me with an ultimate sense of purpose and fulfillment in life, and I want to share that experience with others,” Preissner said.

“It has led me to a place where I have turned my dreams into reality. The idea for the rebrand just came to me, and the name ‘Be Now’ represents everything that I’m about.”

Continue reading “Be Now Media – Max Preissner Helps Artists, Creatives and Entrepreneurs Achieve Success”

Loud and Clear – TJ Zindle Finds Inner Fire on Mighty ‘Now Let Go’ Album

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TJ Zindle produces an undeniable musical force on “Now Let Go.” Photo – Jeff Baker

Two years ago, TJ Zindle discovered an unexpected clarity.

With a quiet mind and a fresh creative spark, the Ann Arbor indie-rock artist and guitarist immersed himself in a pandemic-induced songwriting retreat.

“The first couple of months during the shutdown everything felt clear. All the noise was gone, and I was just writing a ton. A lot of it was about mental health stuff and trying to figure that out … because all of sudden, I had time to think,” said Zindle, who’s also a vocalist-guitarist with Erin Zindle & The Ragbirds.

“The hum of life was gone for a bit, and I wrote about 45-50 songs for this record. I also have another record coming out later this year with some friends from another band.”

Those sessions produced Now Let Go, Zindle’s first new album since 2017’s Hold On with All Your Might. Filled with nine insightful tracks, it features an emotive narrative chronicling personal and societal reflections on life, growth and change.

“I’m at the point where it’s not so difficult to be like, ‘Yeah, I’m a real fucking musician,’ which is something that I had never felt like all my life. We all fight that imposter syndrome … we’re all there, every single human,” he said.

“But to be like, ‘I made a pretty damn good record on my own,’ and I got a lot of stuff out … I honestly know I did my best, and it was just me. There was just a lot of power in that.”

Continue reading “Loud and Clear – TJ Zindle Finds Inner Fire on Mighty ‘Now Let Go’ Album”

At Home – Ann Arbor’s Pajamas Hosts Headlining Show Friday at The Blind Pig

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Pajamas opens for Karina Rykman at The Parliament Room at Otus Supply in Ferndale. Photo – Austin R. Grinnell

Filled with gratitude and anticipation, Pajamas wants to show their hometown some love.

The Ann Arbor rock-funk jam quartet of Graham Low (drums, vocals), Nick Orr (guitars, vocals), Dan Schuler (bass, vocals) and Owen Kellenberger (keys, vocals) eagerly awaits their first headlining show Friday at The Blind Pig in nearly two years.

“Since we do perform in Ann Arbor pretty regularly, this one is going to be a love letter to our friends and fans, something unique and special. We’ve put a lot of work into making this happen. It’s a chance to celebrate our town, our community and where we are now as a band,” Orr said.

“I think people have a lot to look forward to with this show. We’ve hired a professional lighting engineer to accompany the music with an incredible light show. The Blind Pig is an Ann Arbor institution, and we’ve all been attending and playing shows there for years.”

As part of their show, Pajamas will share The Blind Pig stage with Toledo’s Cactus Jack, a quintet of talented friends quickly gaining traction with live Michigan audiences.

“We met Cactus Jack by putting a show together with them at the Tip Top Deluxe in Grand Rapids. It was our first time playing together, but I think we fit together really well musically,” Orr said.

“They’re really talented players with very good original songs. We got along really well and are happy that they were available to play with us again for this upcoming show. This show will be their Blind Pig debut, so it’s extra cool for that reason.”

Another extra “cool” reason to celebrate Pajamas’ Blind Pig return – new material to preview and experience from their forthcoming second studio album as well as some improvised covers.

“I’m really proud of the music that we’ve written for it, and I think it showcases how far we’ve come and where we’re currently at as a band,” said Orr, who previously released Onesie with the band in 2018. “It feels like we are hitting our songwriting stride, and more importantly, finding our own sound and voice. I think with this second full-length album we just know who we are and what we are about musically.”

Continue reading “At Home – Ann Arbor’s Pajamas Hosts Headlining Show Friday at The Blind Pig”

Moments of Clarity – Premium Rat Unearths Deeply Buried Emotions on ‘Cope’ EP

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Premium Rat extracts her raw vulnerabilities from different places on “Cope.” Photo – Lee Hubbel

For Premium Rat, writing and recording a debut EP brings unexpected moments of clarity.

The Ypsilanti indie rock singer-songwriter finds truth and comfort while addressing deeply buried emotions on Cope, a poignant six-track introspection, dropping on Friday.

“Making and releasing Cope has honestly been one of the most therapeutic experiences of my life. It’s funny, one of the reasons I named it ‘Cope’ is because the EP itself helped me cope with certain things, so it’s kind of meta in a way,” said Mer Rey, aka Premium Rat.

“Songwriting is absolutely something I use for reflection and processing, and sometimes I’ll write a song and figure out what it’s about after it’s written. It’s like I can access my emotions with a certain clarity when I’m songwriting that I don’t have otherwise.”

Premium Rat extracts her raw Cope vulnerabilities from a myriad of places – drug store parking lots, internal acknowledgements, post-breakup analyses and crystalized memories. Each track is beautifully wrapped in confessional lyrics, melancholic soundscapes and cathartic instrumentation.

“It’s very honest, and we live in a society that does not prioritize emotional honesty. So it’s, of course, nerve-wracking and very vulnerable to release these songs, but I think that’s also why it feels important to me,” Rey said.

“I want my music to make people feel less alone and to give them permission to feel their feelings. If even one person feels comforted or validated by what I’ve written, then I’ve accomplished my goal.”

Continue reading Moments of Clarity – Premium Rat Unearths Deeply Buried Emotions on ‘Cope’ EP