High Spirits – Magenta Moody Pairs Favorite Morning Substances on ‘Coffee and Reefer’

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Magenta Moody, right, and James Miller bring a rock feel to the alternate version of “Coffee and Reefer.” Photo – Dominic Smalls

For Magenta Moody, each day starts with a chill morning routine.

The Roseville EDM-dream pop artist combines java and Mary Jane to soothe the senses and calm the mind on her latest carefree, reggae-inspired single, “Coffee and Reefer.”

“I love to make a nice cup of hazelnut coffee, pack a raw cone and head to my balcony to start my day. I have a beautiful balcony, and the trees are so dense that you can’t see the surrounding neighbors or anything for that matter,” said Mercedes Jefferson, aka Magenta Moody.

“It’s just trees, sunlight and a couple of very vocal birdies. Coffee picks me up and warms my soul while smoking soothes my nerves and clears my mind, so the combination is magical.”

Moody quickly creates a magical three-minute “Coffee and Reefer” escape for listeners as stormy beats, jingling tambourine, placid synths, light hand claps and breezy bass seep into the body and mind.

She shares, “I know I’ve been really sketchy/Bad decisions seem so tempting/I’m just you, and you’re my best me/You’re my best me/I’d like to meet ya/Coffee and reefer/Hot like a fever/I’d like to meet ya.”

“The song is meant to be a light, feel-good song, and I want people to start their day on a bright and chill note. I wrote ‘Coffee and Reefer’ on the aforementioned balcony, of course. Besides my car, it’s my favorite place to write,” Jefferson said.

Moody also released an alternate version of “Coffee and Reefer,” which features guitarist James Miller playing thoughtful, deep-tone electric strums alongside her echoey vocals.

“I was looking for a guitarist to a do a show with me, and James responded to an inquiry I posted. We’ve been jamming ever since. As we practiced in my living room, I showed him my version of the song,” Jefferson said.

“His interpretation of the song that he played in response to hearing it was so beautiful. He asked if I had recorded yet and insisted on being part of it. I think he adds a groovy, yet alternative vibe, and his instrumentation fits perfectly with the lyrics.”

Moody recorded both versions of the track at Parallel Sounds Studio in Sterling Heights with engineer Tony Boguth. The original version features production by SYBLYNG and mixing by Mark Ringold Jr., aka Krypto Divine, while the alternate version is mixed and mastered by Boguth.

With both versions of “Coffee and Reefer” out, Moody wants to record a video with a “That ‘70s Show” concept and feel.

“It could be some friends and me sitting in a circle getting a smoke session in like they do in every episode. I’d love to work with Joe Hendo again or Tiffadelic Media to make the vision come to life. They both are great with creative direction and execution,” she said.

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On Course – Madelyn Grant Finds Motown-Inspired ‘Purpose’ on Debut EP

Madelyn Grant’s “Purpose” EP explores the challenges of reaching self-actualization during a personal transformation. Artwork – Sebi White and Quinn Faylor

Madelyn Grant elegantly charts a new creative course.

The Detroit neo-soul singer-songwriter opted for a classic Motown-inspired sound on her debut EP, Purpose, after forging an initial electronic, trip-hop pathway.

“I love the sound of Emancipator and FKJ, but after touring and performing with them, I realized I wanted to capture more of that Amy Winehouse-Sade vibe. At that moment with electronic music, I wanted to go more in an organic direction of being live with everyone in the studio, and I think these songs lend themselves to that,” Grant said.

“I’ve got this combination of songs, and they sound like Motown, Al Green, Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder. They don’t sound like sound like trip-hop, FKJ or Emancipator. The people who helped arrange these songs with me were U-M jazz school alumni, and they added some jazz influences in there.”

Grant beautifully jazzes up her nostalgic, soulful project across five introspective, fervent tracks. Out today via all streaming platforms, Purpose delves beneath the surface and explores the challenges of reaching self-actualization during a personal transformation.

“After listening back to these songs and realizing this intense process I went through creating this EP, I had this image of a butterfly that kept coming into my mind. When moths and butterflies go through this transformation and reach their final stage, they have to go through this intense cycle. It’s not always pretty, but in the end you’re left with something that’s worth waiting and being patient for,” she said.

Continue reading “On Course – Madelyn Grant Finds Motown-Inspired ‘Purpose’ on Debut EP”

False Note – Joss Jaffe Uncovers Empty Political ‘Promises’ with Mykal Rose

Joss Jaffe unearths political fallacies on “Promises,” with reggae legend Mykal Rose. Photo – Kim Jae Yoon

For Joss Jaffe, today’s global political climate runs rampant with false promises.

The Oakland, California world music singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist shares this widely held notion in his latest reggae-infused single, “Promises,” with Mykal Rose.

“Ultimately, I think politics is always divisive. Peter Tosh would call it ‘politricks.’ But yes, this period in time has been especially unprecedented. Although I do not call out Trump by name in this song and take the approach of an old-school reggae song, where we speak in metaphors and allegory stories, clearly it references the cascade of lies and falsehoods that seem to never end,” Jaffe said.

“However, yes, the song also speaks to the timeless, and sadly, seemingly ever relevant problems this poor type of leadership brings, and it’s not just limited to the U.S.”

Throughout “Promises,” Jaffe and Rose quickly unstitch the increasing fallacies Trump and other controversial political figures continually weave into society’s fraying fabric. Vibrant horns, thumping drums, bouncy bass, breezy synths, spirited organ and peppy electric guitar seamlessly undo each tumultuous thread.

Rose eagerly chants, “Promises are a comfort to a fool/All they wanna give is promises/We know the golden rule/Yet they wanna use you like a footstool.” In response, Jaffe soulfully sings, “Step on you to reach that goal/And cast you aside when you played your role/Promises that keep on saying/But then you look at them and see they’d never change.”

“My vision for this song is something that’s uplifting and triumphant over adversity. Something that rises above the current moment, however difficult it is, and gets back in touch with the universal consciousness,” Jaffe said.

With honest, reflective lyrics and a hypnotic reggae sway, Jaffe and Rose triumph with “Promises” as a fitting theme song for our turbulent political and social times. The track serves as the duo’s second dynamic collaboration since the divine, glistening “Elohim” with Shimshai in 2015 for Jaffe’s Dub Mantra Sangha album.

“Mykal Rose has always been one of my longtime heroes of reggae music. We have a mutual friend named Siah who is his guitar player and produces some of his songs. Mykal is a true legend; rocksteady in the studio and always pushing everyone to capture their best possible take. It was a true blessing,” Jaffe said.

Continue reading “False Note – Joss Jaffe Uncovers Empty Political ‘Promises’ with Mykal Rose”

Glimmer of Hope – Rags and Riches Shares Newfound Strength on ‘Tension of the Season’ Single

Rags and Riches’ Tanner Whitt and Peyton Whitt inspire listeners to overcome the “Tension of the Season.” Photo – Christian Campbell

Backed by resilience and gratitude, Rags and Riches beautifully infuses hope into the darkest of times.

The Lexington, Kentucky EDM pop-rock duo of brothers Tanner Whitt (vocals, guitar) and Peyton Whitt (drums) shares a newfound sense of personal strength on their powerful, uplifting latest single, “Tension of the Season,” now available on all streaming platforms. It’s the fifth track they’ve dropped this year in a series of refreshing, spirited singles designed to inspire and rejuvenate a growing fan base.

“‘Tension of the Season’ was actually inspired when our grandfather experienced a nearly fatal stroke. With COVID-19 striking, no one could be with him in the hospital during this period. There were so many unknowns in our life. That’s when we knew it was time to write,” Tanner Whitt said.

The glistening, illuminative track blends echoey, wailing synths, shiny piano, upbeat acoustic strums, soft and steady drums, bouncy bass and reflective electric guitars as Tanner Whitt hopefully sings, “Oh, what a time to be alive/A mad world, another sleepless night/Hold your breath/When the tide pulls you under/Never give up, never give up/No never.”

“The words, ‘Tomorrow’s a brand new day, any second is bound to change,’ was more relevant than ever. Originally, the doctor’s prognosis wasn’t the news we wanted to hear. But day by day, he beat the odds stacked against him. Family before everything and everyone else,” said Tanner Whitt.

“There is nothing more vital and important in your life than family. We have been continuously working and perfecting everything we’re doing as a band, but also as human beings. Our love for people and human interaction has grown tremendously.”

Tension of the Season” also features a fitting, socially-distanced video denoting the isolation, hopelessness and depravity people, businesses and communities face during the ongoing pandemic. Filmed in Elkhart, Indiana by director Christian Campbell, Rags and Riches strolls through empty high school football fields, vacant shopping malls and hidden parking lots while keeping a positive outlook.

“We started writing ‘Tension of the Season’ back in April when the stroke happened. We hope that everyone who hears this song will feel hopeful for the future, but also be inspired. Things can and will be rough at times, but tomorrow is the start of something brand new,” said Tanner Whitt, who worked with Peyton Whitt and Campbell to shoot the video.

“Christian is someone we’ve known for a few years now, and we knew he was the right person for this song. He actually took the full reigns and control of the concept and direction for this song. Right when he heard it, he knew where to go with it, and we loved the simplicity of it all.”

Continue reading “Glimmer of Hope – Rags and Riches Shares Newfound Strength on ‘Tension of the Season’ Single”

California Dreamin’ – Rags and Riches Injects Limitless Optimism into New ‘Summer Nights’ Single

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Rags and Riches instantly revives a dormant California dream.

The Lexington, Kentucky EDM pop-rock duo of brothers Tanner Whitt (vocals, guitar) and Peyton Whitt (drums) injects limitless optimism and youthful exuberance into their new peppy, glistening Los Angeles-centric single, “Summer Nights,” which drops today via all streaming platforms.

“We needed to find the ‘right’ song in our catalog to release. From the lyrics to the beat, ‘Summer Nights’ was written to be a carefree summer song and bring some excitement in difficult times. This song fits right into a ‘summer playlist’ just for the lyrics alone, but the music felt like it could be listened to wherever you are,” Tanner Whitt said.

Rags and Riches rhythmically revs their upbeat EDM engines as clicking percussion, thumping bass, reverby synths, vivid electric guitars and pulsating drums accelerate into a warm July night. Tanner Whitt enthusiastically sings, “We could take a ride in my car/Or we can take a walk on the boulevard/I’m up for whatever, if you’re up for whatever/So tell me, do you wanna go?/So tell me, are you ready?”

“The LA inspiration was from one of our previous tours when we visited LA and took ‘a walk down the boulevard.’ Peyton was very inspired, and between the movies he had seen about LA along with the actual experience, he wanted to create something special,” Tanner Whitt said.

“Peyton actually started writing ‘Summer Nights’ alone for fun. He showed it to me and a friend, and we loved it and said, ‘It needed to be a Rags and Riches song.’ The song was actually written in a matter of an hour or two, but we didn’t actually record it until about two months ago.”

Two months ago, Rags and Riches dropped another electrifying, Stranger Things-esque synthwave single, “Don’t Look Down,” which slithers through eerie, lingering synths and haunting, slow percussion to weave an impending sense of sonic doom around lost souls. Tanner Whitt cautions, “I’m the leader/I’m the fool/Finger on the trigger/Can’t trust me for a minute/It’s doubtful you’ll catch me/I’m hiding from my demons/I’ve got no choice.”

“‘Don’t Look Down’ was another song that had been written months and months ago, but sat in the catalog to find the right time to be released. The song came from the idea of being in a mentally dark place and struggling with living. Suicide and mental illness are such real things, and we take that very seriously. We wanted that song to speak directly to people in a bad place mentally – to stay alive and keep hope,” Tanner Whitt said.

Rags and Riches also released a hypnotic, chilling lyric video for “Don’t Look Down,” which features a gold, pointy snake that quietly circles unassuming prey and prepares to suffocate any remaining positivity. Viewers nervously sit on their edge of their seats as they await the snake’s final strike.

“The snake was inspired by Medusa, who you couldn’t ‘look at.’ We felt the imagery fit perfect with the dark lyrics and the overall concept of the song. We may go back at some point and do an actual music video for ‘Don’t Look Down,’ but at this point there are no plans to do so,” Tanner Whitt said.

The Whitt brothers have steadily released a growing roster of powerhouse EDM-inspired singles since 2019. It all started with their dynamic electro-rock debut, “Speed of Sound,” and an uplifting power-pop debut EP, Arrival.

Over the next year, they dropped the inspirational “Not a Stranger,” the hyperactive “Light It Up,” the turbo-charged “Edge of Time,” and the apocalyptic “Blood Runs Cold.” They’ve also filmed and shared compelling cinematic-like videos for each track except “Summer Nights,” which will have a companion video at a later date.

While warm, memorable “Summer Nights” will linger in our minds, the Whitt brothers will continue casting their electro-rock magic later into 2020. It’s a welcoming spell during a disruptive time of change, upheaval and uncertainty.

“We do have more singles planned throughout the remainder of this year along with an EP. As of now, the next single is set for late August, early September,” Tanner Whitt said.

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”

Dream Ticket – Tetra Music Project Hosts FutureDream 3 Dec. 21 at Detroit’s Tangent Gallery

Tetra Music Project will host FutureDream 3 and feature emerging EDM, hip-hop and rock artists on two stages.

Kim Tetra Wiesner will bring the sparkle and soundtrack of spring to Detroit three months early.

The Ypsilanti electronic, chillwave and world bass vocalist-guitarist, aka Tetra Music Project, will host an indoor visual art and live music garden party Dec. 21 at Tangent Gallery. It will be an exhilarating visual and auditory experience to awaken the mind, body and spirit during the winter solstice.

Known as FutureDream 3, the atmospheric festival will feature emerging EDM, hip-hop and rock artists on two stages, including Tetra Music Project, Pandora Love, Gyp$y, Y-Not, Dancemyth, Dos Lopez, Approachable Minorities, Mynah, Neural Patterns and Jena Irene Asciutto.

It also will showcase visionary floral sculptor Anthony Flowers Ward as well as a special performance from Botanical Burlesque and a magical imagination playspace by Astral Matter Experience. Additional FutureDream 3 support will come from Unique Groove Entertainment, Silky Grooves and 3D Planted.

“Instead of trying to set up a bunch of shows throughout the year, I really just focus on the one big, extravagant performance, and I like to have it be this really art-centered display of people who I personally find are very talented and dedicated to what they do,” Wiesner said.

“I like to give everybody a decent amount of time to perform and make it worth their while. I curate the event in a way that I can get behind, and I have people who have a good attitude and a good vibe about them.”

Outside of art and music, FutureDream 3 will donate festival proceeds to the St. Clair Butterfly Foundation, an Auburn Hills nonprofit that uses creative arts, mindfulness and mentorship programs to help youth overcome trauma.

“If I’m putting an event together, usually it has some sort of cause involved, and we may or may not make a whole lot of money to donate or contribute, but we focus on it, make a little bit and say, ‘Well hey, we did our best,’” Wiesner said.

Continue reading “Dream Ticket – Tetra Music Project Hosts FutureDream 3 Dec. 21 at Detroit’s Tangent Gallery”

Cosmic Odyssey – Torus Eyes Blends Space, Mythology for Introspective ‘Pythia’ Debut EP

Torus Eyes will celebrate the release of their debut EP, “Pythia,” tonight at UFO Factory.

For their debut EP, Torus Eyes enters a new sonic orbit toward another mythological dimension.

That dimension blends ethereal synthscapes, intergalactic drumbeats and Greek myths to form “Pythia,” an otherworldly, prophetical release from the Detroit-based electronic music duo of Rho Solomon and Gwendolyn Dot.

“Pythia was a Delphic oracle back in the day, and she was really respected and someone who we consider as a person of deep intuition and wisdom,” Dot said. “That’s something we both value in a person, but also in a woman, so we’re talking about the goddess within us all like this intuition and free spirit that we all have within us that guides us.”

Together, Dot and Solomon serve as wise, spiritual EDM leaders throughout their introspective four-track journey filled with intuition, chance and growth. On “Pythia,” they effortlessly move through a spectrum of new sonic boundaries ranging from darkwave to synth and goth pop to Italo disco.

Their musical journey encompasses heady, uplifting lyrical content aimed at evoking a soulful, calm intensity. At first listen, “Pythia,” which drops Friday, results in a space odyssey of the mind filled with endless possibilities and seeks creative inspiration from Enya, I Break Horses and Chairlift.

“I think in general we have a healing philosophy, it’s something that is in our personal lives. It’s like health and wellness, but it’s not so catchy like that. It’s a deep, spiritual aspect to both of our lives independent even of each other that we bring through to our creative work,” said Dot about the EP’s overall inspiration and creative direction.

“We don’t journal lyrics, we’re not diary lyricists. We’re both into concepts and big ideas and working with the collective unconscious and archetypes. I think mythology is something we’re both influenced by, and we both read a lot. Carl Jung is an inspiration for us.”

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Space Jam – Four EDM Artists Host ‘Welcome, Visitors’ Show Friday at Ann Arbor’s Club Above

The Welcome, Visitors show will showcase for emerging EDM artists at Ann Arbor’s Club Above.

Four EDM artists will launch an intergalactic music odyssey late Friday night.

Vest and Tyler, Allium, Cheska and Hizen will host “Welcome, Visitors,” a space-themed EDM show at Ann Arbor’s Club Above. The show will feature an out-of-this-world mix of live performances and DJ sets from all four artists.

“All four of us just wanted to get together and make something really magnificent as far as the electronic music scene, and we wanted to bring that more to light, especially with talent that’s been in and around the area,” said Tyler Denig, aka Vest and Tyler, who organized the show.

“The ‘Welcome, Visitors,’ show gives an opportunity to welcome those kinds of people to come out and enjoy electronic music, even in a place like Ann Arbor, where it might not be the first thing you think of in terms of the music scene.”

For the “Welcome, Visitors” show, each artist will assume a different interstellar identity during their set. Dubbed “Digital Satellite Base,” Denig will emerge as a digitized form from late 20th century Earth technology and materialize through a series of beeps and boops with a GameBoy Color in hand.

Meanwhile, Allium, aka Electric Junkyard Moon, will shapeshift into a cyber space priestess and galactic traveler who emits a cyberpunk sound to Earth. Their two companions, Cheska, aka Interstellar Bass Colony, and Hizen, aka Beach Party Planet, will bring raging bass and thumping house music via a beachy vibe to all alien life forms, including an intergalactic bunny.

“Even though we all come from different places, we’re all effectively trying to do the same thing, and we’re all trying to meet the same goal. When I was writing up some of those bios for the event page, I wanted to make sure that people’s individual styles and stories were represented,” Denig said. “Even if we were from just far off and distant planets, we’re all coming to the same place, which is to make music and enjoy it.”

The Stratton Setlist recently traveled to several dimensions to learn more about each artist and their interstellar identity.

Continue reading “Space Jam – Four EDM Artists Host ‘Welcome, Visitors’ Show Friday at Ann Arbor’s Club Above”