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Fastracks

New Indie Music Discovery: “Fastracks” 20

SOUND KHARMA® | September 6, 2021

Discover & preview 5 of the best new indie tracks in less than 5 minutes f. Maygen & The Birdwatcher, Catbells, It’s Karma It’s Cool, Ivory Blue & Gal Musette.

You can submit a track for consideration (below).

ARTIST INFO & VIDEOS

Watch full videos and get more info about this episode’s featured artists below:

Maygen Lacey is an accomplished, Midwest CMA nominated singer/songwriter with millions of streams on Spotify from listeners around the world. Noah Neumann is a wicked talented guitar virtuoso with a taste for Delta Blues. The combination of the two is Maygen & The Birdwatcher, an indie-folk duo turned genre-bending Americana-Newgrass and Soul experience you need to hear!

In many respects, Maygen and Noah couldn’t be more different. From upbringing and musical taste to the Minneapolis vs Saint Paul debate, there are few things these two agree on. The short list includes: sarcasm, the great outdoors, quality beer, and having a good ‘ol time. Maygen & Noah’s 2018 debut album, “The People We Don’t Choose,” drew on their distinctly different musical influences including Brandi Carlile, Florence + The Machine, and Balmorhea to create a collection of songs that explored family, addiction, loss and navigating the people in their lives. With heartbreak and hope intertwined throughout, it was very well received. Its single, “Comeback” currently spins on local radio, including The Current’s Radio Heartland.

Through the pandemic the two acquired some serious string cred by adding to their line-up: Ethan & Jesse Moravec (formerly of Sawtooth Brothers) on upright bass, mandolin, fiddle and vocal harmonies, as well as Nik Pellinen (of Sawed Off String Band) on banjo and lead guitar. The addition of these three has brought the band a wealth of talent, enhancing their rootsy, americana sound. Maygen & The Birdwatcher just finished recording at the well known Flowers Studio in Minneapolis (The Jayhawks, Mason Jennings, Soul Asylum, Jeremy Messersmith, Lizzo).

Dreamy melancholic shoegaze meets alt-pop singer/songwriter Catbells engages her listeners with soft hypnotic vocals, lush soundscapes, and moody melodies that capture her deep, heartfelt emotions in the most intimate of ways. Gifted with a voice like an angel, Catbells gently immerses her listeners into a world of sweet nostalgia and velvety sentiments.

The singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was introduced to the piano at age five, and by the 7th grade she was playing the guitar and writing songs about her middle school heartbreaks. After performing in several bands throughout her early music career, Catbells recently decided to focus on her own solo project.

Catbells is a somewhat enigmatic, shy wallflower type, with her name itself being an alter-ego. Named after the popular hiking spot recited in the famous children’s book The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter, Catbells’ cinematic music is influenced by the vast natural wild. Raised in New England, Catbells often revisits the times of her childhood in her music, where she reflects on fond memories of the seasons changing, swimming in the eastern lakes, canoeing down the river, and working on the family farm.

Her deeply personal and introspective single “Fade – Rainy Day Demo” is an intimate and open-hearted reflection of lost love. “The song really wrote itself and the music needed to match the feeling of how the words felt. There are few people who are lucky enough to escape the feeling of a completely broken heart, and feeling like the person you loved so much just moved on like it was nothing, leaving you left there with a hole where your heart once was” confides Catbells. This emotionally raw and poignant narrative and accompanying music video features innovative illustrations of a sad cat saying farewell in a starry evening background. While on the single “Wilderness” Catbells’ soft-powered honeyed vocals float above stripped down melodies and dreamy lush acoustic soundscapes. The track was mixed by acclaimed producer Ali Chant (Aldous Harding, Perfume Genius, Soccer Mommy).
Catbells’ upcoming single “It’s Not Hard” explores deep-seated emotions and feelings of escapism in one’s life. Catbells confides, ” It’s a song about that feeling of wanting to run away from all your problems and to be totally free from the past. Not looking back and not feeling the regret of the past. But ultimately it’s about also realizing it’s not possible to really run away…when doing what you want to do is quite hard or even impossible, but feeling like you want to do it is not hard at all.”

With influences ranging from 60’s folk like Nico and Donovan to 90’s shoegaze artists including Mazzy Star, Catbells has combined the best of these genres into a potent fusion of lofi “sad girl” indie rock beloved by many.

It’s Karma It’s Cool are a four-piece indie rock/pop band from Lincoln, UK and have delivered urgent new single ‘Coffee Cup Circles’ ahead of their sophomore album set to cause fireworks as it releases this November 5th, with its thought-provoking title ‘Homesick For Our Future Destinations’ which is filled with some serious future anthems.

These guys flit between melodic power punk pop and indie rock rarely seen this side of the Atlantic as they create their own mesmerizing brand of music which seems to melt a heavenly pot of genre defining acts like Weezer, Green Day, REM, Pearl Jam, They Might Be Giants and even hints of The Allman Brothers into a cauldron of something plainly unique which results in the band It’s Karma It’s Cool.

It could of course, be one big hot mess, but these guys are seasoned pros delivering something incredibly triumphant, leaving the listener keen to stamp them with the time-honoured reward of ‘new favourite band’ at a time when lyrical music heroes are needed more than ever before.

Following on from their successful debut EP, ‘Hipsters and Aeroplanes’ and debut album, ‘Woke Up In Hollywood’, new single ‘Coffee Cup Circles’ comes crashing in to offer a richly rewarding taste of what to expect from the new album: big melodies, big harmonies and some other surprises.

Vocalist James Styring explains, “Coffee Cup Circles is a sonic rumination about past lives and the physical echoes that remain.”

It’s an earworm that’s for sure, delivering thoughtful, reflective lyricism with ceaseless energy and relentless optimism.

It’s Karma It’s Cool are: James Styring – Vocals, Martyn Bewick – Guitars, Additional Instrumentation, Mikey Barraclough – Bass Guitar, Additional Guitars, Danny Krash – Drums, Percussion.

IVORY BLUE lived a nomadic existence until settling in Kansas City MO and becoming part of the local musical community. After winning a nationwide talent contest in 2017 Ivory Blue started having success with some national and international radio play which continues today.

As a multi-instrumentalist, Ivory began refining their performance style, using digital looping pedals to stack harmonies and guitar parts live on stage, giving their solo shows the feel of a full band. In 2011, Ivory settled in Kansas City, MO and quickly began attracting an intense regional following for their strong vocals and incisive, deeply personal lyrics.

By 2013, IVORY BLUE was playing regularly in and around Kansas City and the first EP ‘Ready Get Set’ was released. in 2015. While the EP helped spread the word and got much attention from regional radio and TV stations, a big break would come in 2017.

Ivory entered NeXt2Rock, a nationwide talent search with over 1800 artists/bands who applied to find fresh and promising rock artists.

The top 5 national bands battled it off for the win in Los Angeles CA at the legendary Viper Room, with judges Scott Borchetta (BMLG), John Varvatos (fashion designer), Steve Jones (Sex Pistols Guitarist and Host of “Jonesy’s Jukebox”), Desmond Child (Musician, producer), Chris Lord-Alge (producer), Ivory Blue won over the judges and became the grand prize winner! Ivory

Ivory won the contest and a one-year record deal with BMLG who re-released the song Ready Get Set from the 2015 EP. Ivory’s 2018 re-release of ‘Ready Get Set’ undauntedly received National and International airplay within weeks.

In February 2020 and after studying the craft of recording and self-producing, this amazing singer-songwriter with soaring vocals, passionate love for everyone struggling through life, released ‘Elite Dreamland’. There are no words to describe the incredible artistry behind this song. a single that hits your heart about understanding how it feels to be misunderstood in a world of people that seem to know what they are doing.

IVORY BLUE produces all the tracks with the exception of Drums and Bass. Ivory is currently working with Lester Estelle (Drummer for Kelly Clarkson), Craig Kew (Bass) KC, Kurt Festge (Mastering | Citizen Kane & Vilent Femmes) NC. and Nick Poortman (LA based Los Angeles based Producer, Engineer, Mixer, and Songwriter) Nick has worked alongside producers including Justin Gray, Gil Norton, Big Tank, and Greg Haver on sessions throughout the USA, UK, Europe, and New Zealand.

On August 18th 2021 Ivory Blue signed a publishing deal with Sound Ballistics Music & Publishing out of Atlanta GA.

Ivory Blue released their music video for “FAMILY TABLES’ on August 21st, 2021 and will release the single on Sept 7th. They are currently finishing the first full length CD/Album Compound Love to be released in 2021 as well as the Red Light EP for 2022.

Who knows what is next for IVORY BLUE, but so far every step has been accounted for to reach that vision that continues to push them to success.

Gal Musette is the nom de plum of Grace Freeman, a musical prodigy who began writing piano based lyrical compositions and performing at open mics in her home city of San Clemente, CA at the age of 10.

Her graceful approach to melody-driven indie-folk and French chansons has captured audiences all over Southern California. At age 14, inspired by The Magnetic Fields’ triple album 69 Love Songs, Gal recorded her own collection titled 70 Love Songs, which caught the attention of the band, and won her an opening slot on a few of their Midwestern U.S. tour dates.

In more recent years, Gal has opened for several renowned artists such as Macy Gray, Suzanne Vega, Todd Snyder, and Donavon Frankenreiter. While her artist name is taken from bal-musette, the accordion-based, waltz-style French instrumental music, Gal’s primary inspiration is drawn from songwriters including Joni Mitchell, Regina Spektor, Bjork, Cocteau Twins, Burt Bacharach, Irving Berlin and The Cure.

In October 2021, Gal will be releasing her debut album, Backwards Lullaby, featuring a vocal duet with one of her biggest musical inspirations, Rufus Wainwright. The upcoming album explores the pangs of hopeless romances and unrequited love, what it’s like to move beyond idealized love into the acceptance of what is real and constant, as well as the cyclical nature of life and love in relationships.

Written by SOUND KHARMA®




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