Run Maggie Run has released its new monochrome video for the song “Endlessly” that showcases the group’s emotion and passion in their performance. Check out the video below:
Formed in late 2015, Run Maggie Run began as the solo project of our singer/rhythm guitarist Gavin Rees, who recorded his first solo EP by himself in his basement. From that recording, the band used it as a foundation to build their own sound from. The group has since had a lineup change and added new sounds to embark on their journey moving forward.
“We wrote [“Endlessly”] during the first few months following the lineup change, and the success of writing it definitely helped push us through that awkward, transitional phase,” the band said in a statement. “Arguably, it’s what gave us the confidence to keep moving forward.”
R&B and Soul artist Agency has recently released his album “Resist,” a political-infused album about the struggle for equality fighting the power. Check out the song “Backwards” from the album here:
“Resist” starts off with a powerful speech followed by sirens. The opening track “What’s Going On (Right Now?)” is a bouncy track but with a powerful message that questions the world we live in. The clap beats give the song an upbeat feel but there is clearly more substance between the surface. “Till & Marrow” is a slower, introspective, and soulful song with R&B influences and sultry voices. You’ll find yourself nodding your head to the beat as well as the message.
The piano and guitar enter the fray in “Rumours” to add a breath of fresh air. Backing vocals and a hip beat mixed with civil rights movement-based lyrics clearly define the album’s message of making a political statement. “Backwards” also uses piano prominently as a groovy instrument with “I won’t go down without a fight” as a line that echoes the album’s namesake in “Resist.”
“Black Boys on Mopeds” (a cover from Sinead O’Connor) opens with acoustic guitar and shows off the album’s variety in styles that make for a rich listening experience. Sonically, there are many elements that make up the sum of this album’s parts; for example, sound clips of historical audio clips are played throughout the album in tasteful ways to add context to the theme of the album. Agency’s Drake-like voice also adds a layer of flavor to the sound, as it is strong yet vulnerable and yearns for a positive change in the face of hopelessness. “March on Babylon” even adds trumpets to the mix for a truly exotic feel and “Red to the Moon” has strings and mechanical background noise to truly round out the listening journey. The avant-garde approach on some of the songs is akin to the likes of FKA Twigs and suitable for anyone looking for a new, bold, and enriching collection of music.
Overall, “Resist” is an essential for any R&B fan but also anyone who enjoys a wide spectrum of music, as it covers a lot of ground in its scope and execution. The songwriting is top-notch and the message is always present, making for a cohesive piece of art that stays on track while utilizing an array of tools in the music making department.
Sydney Lauren has recently released a new EP titled “Left in Motion,” a five-track record that covers both happy and sad songs. Sydney spoke with ETV today about the making of her EP, the meaning behind her songs and her plans for touring. Check out the track “Haunt Me” here:
Sydney grew up in a town called Harrison outside a New York City, a place that no doubt left an impression on her.
“I was definitely influenced by New York, living so close to the city gave me opportunities that opened my eyes to different music, art and experiences,” Sydney said. “It has an energy to it that will always influence me, I love it!”
Sydney wrote all the songs on “Left in Motion” in about five months, with another five months to fully complete the recordings. Sydney’s lyrics and melody found a home with co-writer Tad Kubler from the band The Hold Steady, who wrote and produced the music. The result is a collection of pop tracks and introspective ballads that showcase Sydney’s distinct vocals and hard-hitting lyrics.
“I’m so happy to finally have the music out after sitting with it for so long, now people can hear what I was working so hard on!” Sydney said.
The making of the EP was both challenging and liberating, as creativity and concentration became the focus during the recording sessions.
“I like the creativity that is constantly happening during recording,” Sydney said. “You have all the tools to test out new ideas which is always really fun. I found the hardest part to be the final vocals. It can be hard to fully emote when you’re singing in a silent room by yourself. We weren’t going to stop until they were the best they could be!”
One listen of the EP will evoke a multitude of emotions for any listener. “Haunt Me” is a song about leaving the past behind and not letting it linger on to haunt the present. The universal appeal is enough to hook new listeners, but it’s the deep meaning that goes beyond the surface that will keep them coming back for more. Sydney spills her heart out on this track and although she can write a happy song, she said the sad ones come out much stronger.
“I always like to make sure there is a big message or lesson learned in a song,” Sydney said. “It should make a point!”
A song on the EP that is more on the political side is “Save Us,” inspired by the 2016 Orlando shooting. See the video here:
The lyrics are in reaction to the terror that many felt after the incident occurred and how love and compassion will always outweigh hate. Her lyric “One shot to the masses / Builds stronger passion” demonstrates the real-life response of how people came together to comfort those in pain. The depth in Sydney’s lyrical approach is her greatest talent and we look forward to what’s in store for her next release. In the foreseeable future, Sydney plans on touring to share her songs to a greater audience around the world.
“I am hoping touring will occur in the next 12 months!” Sydney said. “I love performing and want to share these songs with people every day!”
Melbourne singer-songwriter AJ Steel is an upcoming talent from down under who is turning heads with his catchy tunes and pop rock style. Today, AJ spoke with ETV about his early influences, the making behind his latest single, and his writing style. Check out his single “Love You When It’s Bad” here:
Some of AJ’s influences growing up were Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and classical music, even going so far as falling asleep while listening to the 1812 Overture back in the day after a morning in the waves. So, it’s no surprise that he would enjoy the likes of “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys. He’s also a fan of The Beatles, U2, and Bob Dylan, all artists who are known for their memorable and deep lyrics. Although he is a skilled performer today, he stated that he didn’t start getting into music as early as most musicians do.
“I was probably a bit of a late starter when it comes to music,” AJ said. “I used to play the piano by ear when I was about 10 or 11, then I got side-tracked into surfing. I lived on the coast and it was a real beach town. Everyone seemed to surf there. So, I didn’t get serious about it until I was about 16.”
Since then, he has established himself as a prolific songwriter. His songs have been added to satellite radio with more than 3 million listeners, have been used in independent films out of Los Angeles, and have received national airplay on commercial radio in Australia along with numerous internet radio stations worldwide.
AJ’s music is a mix of the alternative rock sound mixed with the endearing qualities of a good pop song. “Love You When It’s Bad” is an introspective track tinged with hope hanging on each note of the piano ballad. The song soars high in the second half with a full band sound and lyrical inspiration about how much people are prepared to go through to chase after the one they love.
“The song probably took about four months to do,” AJ said. “I’d work on it then have to put it away and then come back to it. I just couldn’t nail down the story for that one. I kind of knew what I wanted to say but it took some time to reveal itself. Some of them come quickly and some of them just take time. There’s not much you can do about it, you just have to keep working on it if you believe the idea has integrity. The recording and production process took some time as well. I tried all sorts of instrumentation and arrangements until I found an arrangement that worked.”
Indeed, it worked, and the story does present itself naturally as the song develops. Like many songs, parts of the production were easy to work on while other parts were either challenging or difficult. One challenge was making a song that covered new ground while also retaining elements of what made his previous work stand out.
“I don’t like to go over what feels like old ground, but sometimes you have to if you want to bring a song to life,” AJ said. “Sometimes you just fight it, you shouldn’t, but sometimes you just do.”
His latest song is just one of many songs he has done before. As a solo artist, AJ has released an EP and four singles, and from his previous band, he has released an EP and an album. To create his songs, he mostly creates them in his studio but is open to collaborating more.
“Music is more fun when there’s other people in the process, but so far I’ve kind of locked myself away,” AJ said. “After going solo, I really wanted to find my sound, what I wanted to say as an artist and that took a lot of time to dig right down and find the real artist I wanted to be. So, I had to lock myself away to do that.”
Overall, AJ Steel is a name to lookout for. He is currently working on two brand new singles, with one of them due out this month and another in the writing stage. As time keeps ticking, AJ will keep writing, recording and releasing new songs that will touch the hearts of many. His next big hit is just around the corner, and we hope you’re there when it arrives.
Folk and indie singer-songwriter Gayle Skidmore recently released her 20th independent release, which also happens to be her first full length vinyl album. She described the album as “whimsical, melancholic music for the romantic intellectual.” After following trends and chasing after deals to be successful through the industry channels, she has moved on to find something that works out for her, and “The Golden West” is about finding her own voice and creating music straight from her soul. ETV spoke with Gayle about the making of her album, creating adult coloring books, and her plans for touring this year.
Classically trained on the piano from the age of 4, and having written more than 2,000 songs since age 8, Gayle was destined to achieve a prestigious musical career no matter how she went about it. Her toolset includes a majestic voice that is delicate enough to accurately portray her penned musings and strong enough to portray the feeling behind those words. She also plays a number of varying instruments, ranging from electric guitar, banjo, ukulele, flute, marimba, organ, mandolin, ocarina, accordion, trumpet, percussion, and many more you’ve probably never heard of. Gayle believes anyone can learn any instrument if they dedicate the time it takes to learning music theory, confirming that even with her exceptional musical ability, it takes time to be great in your craft.
Gayle writes original material about the highs and lows in life with musical inspirations coming from Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Damien Rice, and other artists who are are bold in their songwriting or elaborate on-stage antics. This has clearly left an impression on her and has opened the door for self-expression to the fullest. Gayle’s talents have attracted other top-tier musicians who enjoy touring or recording with her, as she has opened for the likes of Jason Mraz, Lisa Loeb, Steve Martin, Sean and Sara Watkins, Sam Phillips, Coeur d’Pirate, and many others and has recorded with such artists as The Softlightes, Bushwalla, Jason Mraz and Tyrone Wells.
Her impressive music career is an outlet to express the different stories that come from a tumultuous life, an experience that she finds personally fulfilling. It has led her to winning multiple awards, from Best Pop in the 2015 San Diego Music Awards, Best Pop Album for “Sleeping Bear” in 2014, and Best Singer-Songwriter in 2013. However, despite her successes, her new album was written as the roadmap of moving on from heartache and loss. Gayle’s first full length vinyl album “The Golden West” (her 20th independent release) was originally planned to be an E.P. but quickly turned into a full-length in 2015 following her extensive touring across the U.S. The personal journey that Gayle went through is beautify captured in the 10-track indie pop album that was recorded in legendary studio Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, Singing Serpent in San Diego, and at Ninkasi Studios—a recording studio built right inside a Eugene, Oregon brewery.
“Eugene has felt like a second, though much weirder, home for the past few years since I have been collaborating with Ninkasi Brewing, so recording at Ninkasi Studios felt super comfortable right from the start,” Gayle said. “It doesn’t get much better than having Ninkasi on tap right outside the studio door, as well as nitro Stumptown coffee for a nice pick-me-up during late night sessions. They have a killer setup there and it was so much fun to work with James Book on the album.”
All the songs on the album make up the story of how she overcame loss, from the opening track’s “Pale Ghosts” that deals with the struggle of letting go of people we’ve lost and feeling afraid to move on to “Beautiful Soul,” a song about falling in love and working up the courage to confess your feelings. As the album flows on, lyrical themes cover topics about leaving the past behind, feeling nostalgic of what was left behind, and the fear of moving forward but having the commitment to journey with a trusted companion.
“I penned the chorus to a song I’d been working on while the sun set on the old mining town of Sonora, California,” Gayle said. “I knew immediately that this would be my single and title track for my upcoming album. The chorus’ lyrics, ‘Let’s bury all we put to rest in the golden west,’ captured the spirit of the record. Since I was contemplating a move to Amsterdam at the time, it seemed only fitting that this album about letting go would be titled after the song that talked directly about leaving California.”
The first song on side B is considered a turning point in the ongoing narrative with the track “How to Let You Go,” which is about getting rid of nostalgic memorabilia that hinder us from taking hold of our future. Following that is “Honey Bee,” a pop song about the first pure happy day after long years of pain with “Moving On” serving as a celebration to completely let go of painful parts of the past. The final two songs, “The Hallows” and “Only Ever You” deal with making peace with the ghosts of the past and finding a different way to look at the painful years in the rear view mirror. Overall, the record was a dissection of a troubling time and the recording of it took its toll on her, though it eventually became a very cathartic experience that saved her perseverance.
“The week before my wedding I was still finishing vocals for the album, which was pretty insane,” Gayle said. “One year, four cities, and four producers later, we finally had an album. Finishing it has been one of the most challenging things I’ve done.”
The album was also released as a full-length vinyl, making the listening of the journey an intimate one.
“It’s been a dream come true for me to release a full-length vinyl album—especially one that comes in all different colours,” Gayle said. “I have always preferred listening to vinyl albums. I know that there is still a lot of debate about the quality of sound on an LP versus a CD and that it’s very subjective. For me, it’s the comfort that comes with the experience, the magic of nostalgia and the familiarity of the crackle that make it extra special. When I was little and dreaming of being a musician, I never imagined that I’d actually get to hear my own album on vinyl.”
Gayle was proud of everyone who worked on the project because she said they brought their best effort and caught the vision of what the final product could be. During the recording process, the sound of the album had changed from its original intention but at the same time, that was exactly what she was hoping for.
In addition to music, an important part of the Gayle listening experience is the appreciation of the artwork featured on all her albums that she does all herself, even going so far as releasing coloring books to go along with her music. “The Golden West” is her third album to feature an adult coloring book with each picture depicting a different song.
“My artwork has become increasingly important over the years and I’ve begun to focus on it a lot more, especially with The Golden West colouring book,” Gayle said. “I began creating adult colouring books with my albums in 2010 with my first full-length, ‘Make Believe,’ and at the time it was more about having something interactive than really making an artistic statement. Since then I have invested a lot more time in my artwork as I did more and more research about the benefits of colouring. For this last colouring book, my third, I actually won an artist grant, which felt like a huge affirmation for me. I have worked hard to create my own special aesthetic to complement my music, and I feel inspired to pursue that more and more.”
With the album complete, she sets out to go on tour and share to the world the songs she has finished. Gayle recently moved to Amsterdam from San Diego and is still building a steady lineup in her new homeland. She has been on tour with her San Diego band and still performs with them when she is in the States.
“Blalock and Erdis Maxhelaku, who’ve played on several albums and countless shows, are my cellist and violinist in the states, and I’ve got Daniel Crawford on lead guitar, Dave Carano on bass and Danny Campbell on drums,” Gayle said. “All of them have been with me for several years and I’ll be performing with them again in the fall when I tour the States again. I’m hoping to bring them to Amsterdam soon!”
Gayle is planning to tour in both the United States and Europe, making it quite the finale to a busy 2017.
“I am planning another tour in the States this fall, but before then I’ve got a bunch of European dates on the books!” Gayle said. “I’m pairing up with my pal Arlan Feiles, who’s heading to Europe from L.A. for a few shows, and then heading home to head up the west coast. I’m also releasing a new music video for ‘Pale Ghosts’ very soon.”
Gayle has moved on from an aching past that was tough to endure and we appreciate her making an album about her experiences and taking us along with her. Only time will tell what venture lies ahead for Gayle but one thing’s for certain: we want to take every step along with her no matter where she goes.