The Outsiders – Rags and Riches Celebrates Societal Underdogs on ‘Blood Runs Cold’ Single

In a quarantined world, Rags and Riches relishes being on the fringes of society.

The Lexington, Kentucky EDM pop-rock duo of brothers Tanner Whitt (vocals, guitar) and Peyton Whitt (drums) ventures underground and demands authenticity on their new seismic single, “Blood Runs Cold,” which dropped April 24.

“‘Blood Runs Cold’ really couldn’t have been a more perfect song to release right now. We felt not only did it relate to what we are all living in, but also the outcasts who have never fit in were very important to us. We wanted people to realize sometimes the people who never could fit in anywhere were born to stand out,” Tanner Whitt said.

Rags and Riches boldly stands apart as earth-shattering synths, blaring warning sirens, pounding percussion and piercing electric guitars erupt an underground homogeneous society. Tanner Whitt defiantly sings, “Is your head on straight/Cuz I feel like a stranger in a social abyss/Locked inside a box where my survival’s at risk/Survival’s at risk.”

The track also features a compelling video with clones wearing yellow hazmat suits and black gas masks while gathering in a deserted subway station with flashing lights. Together, they stand in single-file lines and closely monitor the station for a potential airborne virus (think COVID-19).

“We felt the hazmat suits made perfect sense with how we are living. Everyone being distant feels like living in hazmat suits. The video was more for relatability than a deeper meaning on this one,” Tanner Whitt said.

Blood Runs Cold” also serves as the second infectious single Rags and Riches has released this year. In February, the Whitt brothers dropped the turbo-charged, anti-mediocracy anthem, “Edge of Time,” which fuses floating synths, thumping electronic percussion, frantic drumstick taps, vibrant guitars and deep breaths.

With a fire in his soul, Tanner Whitt proudly sings, “Rise, when the chances come/Move, don’t be left behind/Now, is your time to shine.”

“The lyrics came to me back in June 2019. It was spur of the moment, and they all really quickly came to me. I was outside walking around writing these lyrics down, and the melody was pretty much there. I didn’t have the overall theme for what I wanted the song to be about. It just kind of put itself together in a way. The positive, encouraging thing came, and never settling for mediocracy was the focus point of the song,” said Tanner Whitt, whose mother also sings on the track.

Continue reading “The Outsiders – Rags and Riches Celebrates Societal Underdogs on ‘Blood Runs Cold’ Single”

The Basement Tapes – Angelo Coppola Releases Alt Rock-Fueled EP ‘The Quarantine Sessions, Vol. 1’

Angelo Coppola performs live with The Lows, a Detroit hard rock quintet.

For Angelo Coppola, Michigan’s coronavirus quarantine feels more like a creative sabbatical.

The Detroit alt rock singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist dropped a new banger six-track EP, The Quarantine Sessions, Vol. 1, last week to satisfy growing Motor City cravings for additional releases in world currently without “traditional” live music.

“I’m kind of like a songwriting machine, I just can’t stop, and I have way more songs written than I’m able to put out, or I’m able to play with The Lows. I have this back catalog of 30 to 40 finished songs. All six of these are from the past year or so, but they’ve all been developed over time,” said Coppola, who’s also the frontman for The Lows.

“I thought these were the best of the bunch and didn’t know if The Lows would ever play them, but I just wanted to get something out. I’ve had the time now being home with my dad because he helps produce and mix it, and I can finally get a lot of these songs recorded and out that I didn’t have time for before.”

Throughout The Quarantine Sessions, Coppola seeks tantalizing ‘90s alt rock inspiration from genre-heavy royalty, including Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots and Oasis. A seamless head-banging fusion of aggressive vocals, distorted electric guitars, charging bass and pounding drums immerse listeners in a grungy underworld.

“All six are a wide variety of genres within the rock genre, and I wanted to spread out the styles on the album. It was kind of random the ones we decided to start, and we have eight more that we started, and that I’m going to put out,” Coppola said.

“We’re going to do The Quarantine Sessions, Vol. 2 for sure in the next couple of weeks. It only took us a week to get all six of these done. It was basically like a song a day working down there, and we’re gonna grind out some more, too.”

Continue reading “The Basement Tapes – Angelo Coppola Releases Alt Rock-Fueled EP ‘The Quarantine Sessions, Vol. 1’”

New Stratton Setlist Singles – Quick Tiko’s ‘Virus,’ and We Three’s ‘I Wanna Love Somebody’

 

Timo Radwan and Niko Matsamakis of Quick Tiko. Photo courtesy of Niko Matsamakis

A surge of emerging artists has become “immune” to the coronavirus.

That “immunity” arrives in the form of new music inspired by or released early to cope with the ongoing pandemic. This week, Quick Tiko and We Three combat the coronavirus on different ends of the creativity spectrum. Here are two freshly-pressed singles repeating in our ears, minds and hearts.

Quick Tiko – ‘Virus’

Quick Tiko, a new punk-garage rock duo comprised of The Sneeks’ Niko Matsamakis (guitars, vocals) and Timo Radwan (drums, bass, guitar), recently dropped a new raw, propulsive banger called “Virus.” It’s akin to early Kings of Leon, think “Aha Shake Heartbreak” and “Because of the Times” with extra spunk and rough edges.

A feisty two-minute track, “Virus” erupts into whirring, echoey guitars, pounding drums and driving bass as Matsamakis rowdily sings, “And now I’m petrified/La la la, don’t go outside/Whoa ho, I will stay inside/I ain’t going out to say goodbye/And now I’m super-duper high/Feelin’ kinda paranoid/Thinkin’ if I go outside, maybe I’m a catch a virus.”

“Stay inside people! Save lives! I was singing about exactly what was on my mind. I’d rather stay inside than possibly die. Timo and I wrote that song in one day, roughly a week ago. We wanted the recording to capture the energy and anxiety we’re feeling as best as possible,” Matsamakis said.

Luckily, Quick Tiko effectively practices social distancing with Matsamakis residing in metro Detroit and Radwan hunkering down in Toronto. The duo met at Michigan State University and wrote and recorded a ton of tracks when they were roommates back in 2016.

“Now we both just have all the time we need to chill in our respective home studios and record. For ‘Virus,’ I recorded some guitars and vocals, sent it to Timo, who then laid down the drums, bass and another guitar part. We’ve already been working on a couple more songs with this method of recording – hopefully to be released soon,” Matsamakis said.

Quick Tiko also plans to release a video for “Virus,” which will include separate quarantine video footage of Matsamakis and Radwan that’s compiled by artist and friend Colin Knighton.

We Three – ‘I Wanna Love Somebody’

We Three’s Joshua Humlie, Bethany Blanchard and Manny Humlie. Photo courtesy of Palawan Productions

We Three eloquently embraces the dark side of loneliness on their lighthearted new single, “I Wanna Love Somebody,” which dropped Friday via Palawan Productions.

The McMinnville, Ore., pop-rock sibling trio of Manny Humlie (guitar, vocals), Bethany Blanchard (bass, vocals) and Joshua Humlie (keys, drums, vocals) tackles the negative, troublesome thoughts that wreak havoc on lonely, anxious minds.

I Wanna Love Somebody” allows We Three to proudly raise their sonic lightsabers in retaliation against incessant worries of lingering solitude and paralyzing self-doubt. It’s time to silence the “sith” of pessimism and welcome the “jedi” of optimism.

“This song is about the feeling in the pit of your stomach as you are going to bed where you feel like you are unworthy and never will be loved. The concept of ‘I think I’m gonna die alone’ is a feeling we have all had. It is a really dark thing, but we wanted to convey it in a lighthearted way that connects people when they are feeling like that,” said Manny Humlie, who originally appeared on “America’s Got Talent” with his siblings in 2018.

The track soars with vibrant electric guitars, quick finger snaps and bouncy synths that harmonize instantly with Manny Humlie’s quick, cheeky vocals, “I figured it out while I’m in the ground/There’s no kinda lining/Just laying around and counting the cracks/All in the ceiling/Just fooling around and breaking it down/To find a meaning.”

Continue reading “New Stratton Setlist Singles – Quick Tiko’s ‘Virus,’ and We Three’s ‘I Wanna Love Somebody’”

March ‘Stratton Playlist’ Spotlight – Sunny State Releases New ‘Human’ Single to Unify Quarantined Fans

Sunny State’s latest single, “Human,” reminds people about being compassionate and unified during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sunny State understands the concept of “Human” nature.

In their latest single, “Human,” the San Jose, Calif., reggae fusion sextet eloquently reminds people about being compassionate and unified during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The whole idea of the song is that we’re all human, and we all have our struggles. We’re all alone in this, but our solitude in it actually brings us together and unifies us because we’re all going through the same struggle right now,” said Chris Reed, Sunny State’s lead vocalist, ukulelist and guitarist.

Released Friday and featured as part of this month’s “The Stratton Playlist,” “Human” blends uplifting ukulele, brilliant electric guitar, deep bass, rhythmic bongo slaps and intermittent drum taps into a radiating, inspirational anthem for society’s growing battle against the coronavirus.

Along with Sunny State’s vibrant instrumentation, Reed beautifully sings, “I wanna be the best version of me/Rise with a smile, not need the caffeine/Embracing the moment, not letting it weigh me down/Remembering life’s a gift with a beautiful crown/We’re just human.”

While timely and relevant, “Human” wasn’t initially meant to be Sunny State’s third and latest single from their upcoming debut album. The band’s guitarist, Julian, encouraged Reed to release the single early as way to bring peace, comfort and solidarity to their fans.

“All this COVID-19 stuff had just happened. Everyone was going on lockdown, and I was just watching all these videos of people in Italy. The next day, I was talking to Julian, and he mentioned again how much he liked ‘Human,’” Reed said.

“I asked him, ‘Do you think it’s crazy to release ‘Human’ instead as a single? I feel like it’s a very honest and a self-reflective time.’ He said, ‘No, I think it’s a great idea. We’re all absolutely self-reflective, and we’re going to be doing this for a while.’”

The band also released a new live acoustic performance for “Human” today via Facebook and Instagram. It features Tyler (guitar), James (percussion), Freddie (bass), Roman (keys), Julian and Reed each performing in their individual quarantines. Each member is featured on screen via separate feeds that are brought and recorded together.

Over the next month, Sunny State will continue their “together apart” approach while recording their full-length debut album, which will drop later this year. Reed and his bandmates have been emailing files back and forth to polish and finalize the untitled album’s remaining tracks.

Since forming the band in 2019, Sunny State has released two other powerful singles, the romantic ode to lifelong love, “When You Know,” and the freedom and stewardship anthem, “Solutions.”

In addition to Sunny State, the March edition of “The Stratton Playlist” includes uplifting, groovy and memorable tracks from The Steve Taylor Three, The DayNites, Pajamas, Border Patrol, Ohly, Maggie Schneider, Meredith Shock and 24 more.