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***aca=9 (Muisca numerical system)***
Singer-songwriter from Sacramento, CA.
Acoustic, melodic, and mellow, Peppermint Gold reaches its listeners through soft piano chords and a lilting acoustic guitar, while the vocals and lyrics push you further further into an introspective daydream.
‘How Can I Move On’
Growing up on a small island outside Stockholm, singer-songwriter Marlene Oak turned to music as her escape. After spending her teenage years busking on the streets of the Swedish capital’s Old Town, she first got discovered by someone who simply happened to pass by. After releasing a couple of songs, she has gone all in as a live artist, and built her following on the pub and festival stages around the country. Marlene Oak has enchanted audiences with her folk-rock melodies as the opening act for Miss Li, Whitney Rose, Susto, and she has been a part of the lineup at festivals such as Way Out West, STHLM Americana and Irisfestivalen.
“My favorite part about being a music creator is playing live. When you play live, there’s something magical happening. Music in itself is magic, and when you stand there and sing your self-written songs, an invisible bond between me and the audience sort of forms. There’s some sort of connection that’s like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. It’s truly amazing” says Marlene Oak.
With a soothing voice that expresses raw emotions, Marlene Oak manages to move her audiences like few other artists can. Influenced by her idols Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley, Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone and Janis Joplin – one can sense a timeless spirit in her songs.
Through the sleepy haze of Santa Barbara’s calm waters emerges one of California’s most exciting talents in today’s independent music scene, known to the world as Modern Crusoe. The budding artist behind the creative moniker, Chris Bindloss, is actually a relative newcomer to the professional music world as he only began to write and play music seriously a few years ago. Despite his career being so new, he’s been recently gaining traction for his latest project, Foreign Language, and finding himself landing in some of Spotify’s most coveted playlists, including Fresh Finds and Acoustic Spring, as well as receiving coverage from some major music blogs like Indie Folx and Open Ears Music.
The previous year was a big one for the artist, and both the emotional highs and lows were captured eloquently while recording in Portland with veteran producer Raymond Richards, known for his work with major indie bands like LCD Soundsystem and Local Natives. Throughout the record, Bindloss vividly recalls his personal experiences and varying existential thoughts on life at 25 through his carefully crafted lyrics that simultaneously challenge the listener while still soothing the soul. His ability to craft this intricate balance is what seems to have caught the attention of both critics and fans alike.
Santa Barbara’s independent music scene is relatively small, especially in comparison to its much bigger neighbor slightly south, but Bindloss finds the close knit nature of the scene to be particularly helpful for his personal approach to creating music and his laid back, yet emotional, musical style runs parallel to the mythical reputation of Santa Barbara’s beachside culture. While Foreign Language proves that his fanbase has already shifted beyond Santa Barbara’s intimate indie community, it’s the personal style honed by his music scene that’s proving to strike a chord with the rest of the world.
Raised throughout the midwest and living in Chicago, Ryan Burns plays music colored with the simple values of his surroundings. After spending his childhood singing and playing songs, it wasn’t until he was an adult that he realized his calling to make music. Now Ryan plays genre-bending Americana songs on his banjo and guitar, winning over audiences with his combination of thoughtful songwriting and cathartic vocals. While mainly drawing on American folk music, Ryan’s influences also dig into his background as an ethnomusicology major, pulling in sounds from Mande drumming, spacey rock, and Irish traditional music.
While playing a full schedule of dozens of shows in the past year, Ryan has been working on his debut EP, The Institute, releasing in May 2019. Each song on the album is inspired by a specific piece of art at The Art Institute of Chicago. Inspirations ranged from 13th century Chinese paintings to ancient marble sculptures. By bringing in ideas from great works of art, Ryan was able to broaden the stories and sounds used in the album, creating a varied musical texture while still using the same sonic palette throughout.
Ryan is also a member of the Chicago band Distant Brothers and has shared a stage with regional and national acts like The Last Bison, The Lighthouse and the Whaler, and Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra. He’s performed at regional festivals including Midsommarfest, Chillfest, and Groovewalk and he is currently writing material for his next project and touring at venues around the Midwest. When he’s not on the road he performs regularly throughout Chicago at venues like The Cubby Bear and Montrose Saloon, as well as residencies at several pubs and breweries.
Earthly Paradise is off of Ryan Burns’s debut EP, The Institute. Each song on the album is inspired by a piece of art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Earthly Paradise is based on a painting by Pierre Bonnard which depicts Adam and Eve before leaving the garden of Eden. This is the second draft of this song, the lyrics weren’t up to snuff beforehand and so Ryan dug into a coffee table book of art at hand and was immediately drawn to this painting. It painted a story of discord the morning before they were kicked out of Eden and after seeing that the words poured out of him.
‘I Think You Know’
Kalon Hart’s gentle acoustic songs connect to the spirit, but are rooted in the earth, and forged in the crucible of human experience. Using his creativity as a personal healing tool, he practices “emotional judo”, redirecting traumatic memories into parables of healing to shine a light for those walking a similar path.
The name Kalon (rhymes with Galen) comes from ancient Greek and means “ideal, perfect beauty”; Hart is the male deer and also its homophone, heart. Thus the name Kalon Hart could be said to represent: songs from the heart and for the heart, speaking to our intrinsic beauty and perfection, inspired by nature and infused with love.
Kalon Hart is the alter ego of Rob Teehan, known now as a Los Angeles-based composer for film and television, and previously as a tuba player in his hometown in Toronto, where he escaped classical indoctrination to play with Lemon Bucket Orkestra, the Boxcar Boys, the Heavyweights Brass Band, Saidah Baba Talibah, and pretty much any other band that was musically adventurous enough to try out a tuba playing the bass line. Since arriving in Los Angeles in 2014, he has been apprentice to TV composer Sean Callery, a position which has given him the opportunity to work on many “big” TV shows as well as to master the art of studio feng shui (it’s all about the cables).
Rob’s resume used to mean a great deal to him, but something shifted when he began this new chapter. “When I write as Kalon Hart, ” he says, “I’m connected to an energy that is much greater than my life story, and through that I’m able to channel deep and powerful songs about healing, about love, about connection to nature, and about spiritual awakening. This feels like the purest expression of my musical gifts, because it has the most potential to make a positive impact in the world.”
Kalon Hart’s debut album, “Love Is Surrender”, coming in summer 2019, is a wide-ranging, seven-song meditation on the nature of love and emotions, in a style he likes to call “gentle Indie Americana”, with shades of influence from Bon Iver, Gregory Alan Isakov, Trevor Hall, and S Carey.
‘Not My Body’
Vancouver alt-folk artist Sam Lynch is a wanderer and a restless mind, who sings her heart onto her sleeve by way of reflective, honest lyrics, and a nuanced, emotionally transparent live performance. She stands armed with a guitar and a voice that carries echoes from decades passed, yet still commands space in the current tapestry, garnering her comparisons to the likes of Feist, Phoebe Bridgers and Margaret Glaspy. The future is full of promise for this heartfelt, stubbornly curious artist, as she willingly sinks deeper into her symbiotic relationship with music and actively works to carve out her space in the Canadian musical landscape and beyond.
Merival knows something about drawing inspiration from tension. Gathering from the romantic and familial, she deepens the roots of her creative process when it comes to honing her craft. After a remarkable period where she gained recognition with the critically acclaimed “Lovers” – she took some time for himself, to find her own path, her own community. It’s something that she searches for to this day, though some might say that she’s found it within the cozy folk clubs and dive bars of Toronto. It’s also the inspiration behind her new album – a self-produced opus of self-discovery and the key arresting moments of life.
‘Six Two Four’
Steve’s honest, unpretentious songwriting reaches a peak on this easy, feel-good groove that embodies unforgettable summer nights with all the people you care about. His collaborative “solo” record – Fluff – produced by friend Ben Lumsdaine (Major Murphy, Kevin Krauter). The album is out on Darling Recordings / Secretly Distribution.
Lincoln Mackinnon has talent. Whether song-writing, singing, playing guitar, shooting video, belting it out on stage or collaborating on a piece of art this guy just wants to create. Originally recording and playing around the traps of Melbourne with Lincoln Mackinnon & the Wrecking train, he bailed out of the big city to work in the remote community of Tennant Creek in the local arts centre. Moving on to Perth in Western Australia, he channelled the spirit of the desert into his song-writing to create a new album. Prepare to hear a whole lot more in pubs, clubs and festivals.
“I’m Bled” is the painful truth that is all too easy to push aside. MacKinnon and Perth vocalist Billie Rogers sing about a relationship that has broken down – what once began as love has since become numb, silence is a regular occurrence and both parties are stuck “forever in a war never won.”
“It’s about avoidance. Avoiding conflict, the stress of finding someone new or the reality of facing life alone. But there is hope, it just requires a conversation.” – Lincoln MacKinnon
Luke De-Sciscio is a Singer Songwriter from the UK.
Photo credit: Cristina Venedict
Compiled by: Christos Doukakis