Beta Play – Santa Barbara, California
The Sleeping Tongues – Brooklyn, New York
Elizabeth Geyer – New York, New York
Pearla – New York, New York
Sandmoon – Beirut, Lebanon
Beta Play – “The Way We Play”
Beta Play is the talented, relatively new indie pop trio from Santa Barbara who are probably most known in the coastal college town for their quirky and earnest dance grooves and anthemic love pop songs. The band was founded in 2014 by guitarist and vocalist Tom Cantillon, his brother, Mike Cantillon, on keys and Mike Dyer on bass.
Their new dance-driven single, “The Way We Play,” with its unmistakable 80’s integrated influences, is the follow-up to their 2015 crowd-funded self-titled debut EP mixed by Eric Palmquist (Thrice, MUTEMATH, Bad Suns). Beta Play have performed opening spots for touring bands like Toad The Wet Sprocket and Plain White T’s.
Another standout track,”Do You Love Me,” was produced by Matt Wallace, who has previously worked on albums from The Replacements, Maroon 5 and Faith No More. The band has also performed at LA’s famous Troubadour and are currently working on the next release. The trio is heavily influenced by The Talking Heads, The Killers, and Foster the People. The band enjoyed robust radio play and online plays for their single from last summer, “Heaven Is Under The Sun.”
Bonus track (Via Soundcloud: “Heaven Is Under The Sun” – Beta Play from 2015 single that helped
The Sleeping Tongues – “Lyra”
Starting with an initial catalog of songs written by bassist Craig Kepen during a period of homeless car living, Brooklyn indie rock band The Sleeping Tongues have been performing around the NYC area since their formation in late 2014. The band thrives on live performance and authentic songs that mix modern influences with classic rock feel and instrumentation. The band members are totally DIY – producing, recording and mixing all of their own material.
The Sleeping Tongues’ new single, “Lyra,” from their self titled debut, has 80’s rock/soul feel with its drum machine beats and Prince-like sexiness helped along by intricate keyboard work from Evan Ignatz; hard-hitting, perfectly timed drums and cymbals from Alex Chung; exotic guitar work from Chris Fatcat and Kepen’s soulful, R&B-influenced vocals.
Via Soundcloud: “Lyra” – The Sleeping Tongues from The Sleeping Tongues
The band has opened for artists like Yabadum, Aotearoa, Shapes On Tape, Lofi Lincoln, Shayfer James, No Sky God, and are heavily influenced by The Cure, The Clash, New Order, Bob Marley, and Queens of the Stone Age.
Second single (Soundcloud) : “One-Eyed World” – The Sleeping Tongues from The Sleeping Tongues
Elizabeth Geyer – “The Wall”
Australian songwriter, vocalist and jazz trumpet extradonaire Elizabeth Geyer, who has performed at top festivals like the Monterey Jazz and Newport Jazz festivals, waited seven years before writing and recording her newest album, The Bridge. She was ‘waiting’ for a moment of inspiration to come.
“That moment finally came late one night,” she said, referring to an evening in late 2014, “after a few seconds into my first listen of an album that had arrived from America, Paul Adams’ The Land Where I Come From …I was hooked straight away by its unique beauty and wondered about talking Paul into joining creative forces.”
Before long, she was on a plane to meet musician and producer, Paul Adams, whose music she loved so well. The result is a 13 song album of intoxicating, gorgeous and introspective music.
The lead single, and title track, “The Bridge,” exemplifies Geyer’s heartfelt, gorgeous vocals, her emotional expressions with each line delivered, and touching, thoughtful lyrics, not to mention her undeniable talents as a pianist, guitarist and flugelhorn player.
Geyer’s accomplishments are many. She was a featured singer for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards ceremony; the Legends of Jazz at Jazz in the Domain; and performed in backing bands for artists like James Morrison during the opening of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, and artists Marcia Hines, Harry Secombe, and Gene Pitney.
She travelled on the road as a trumpeter and jazz singer for years, and she was looking for a change. Then, sometime at the turn of this century, that change came out of the blue. “I suddenly realized I couldn’t do it anymore,” she said. “As grateful as I was, I had to find my own voice.”
That’s exactly what she did – setting out on her own to record and release her debut album of jazz standards in 2000 after a decade of working as a freelance trumpeter and jazz singer.
Now, years later, Geyer is set to release her fourth album, The Bridge, featuring the lead single, “The Wall.”
“My dream was always to make music that might touch others like it touched me,” she said recently. “The Bridge has been a long journey, a whole series of leaps of faith…my hope is that these songs capture that.”
Via Soundcloud: “The Bridge” – Elizabeth Geyer from The Bridge
Pearla – “Waking Up”
New York City artist Pearla, the moniker of singer/songwriter Nicole Rodriguez, dropped her debut single last week, “Waking Up,” the first of a number of songs she is working on for her debut EP to be released later this year.
The track, as with all of the songs she writes, is a reflection, perhaps even a therapeutic journey, of her own life struggles – something that many listeners can all relate to.
“This song is essentially about coming out of a dark place in life,” she said. “It’s about suddenly seeing all of this beauty that you had been blind to for so long – ‘waking up.’
The producer of the track, and the upcoming EP, Devon C. Johnson had originally sent an acoustic guitar track from an old folk album that he hadn’t time to finish to Rodriguez, who wrote the lyrics almost immediately.
“I wrote the lyrics in a stream of consciousness over the track in less than a half hour,” she says. ” We did not edit much because it captured the feeling so perfectly and came about so naturally.”
Rodriguez’s moniker was adopted from, and is an homage to, her late grandfather, singer Jeff Pearl, who headed the doo-wop group The Neons. Rodriguez’s interest in music began to accelerate after her grandfather’s death, and she soon picked up a guitar and started listening to Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Her other musical influences range from Fiona Apple to Alanis Morissette, and Conor Oberst to Laura Marling.
Via Soundcloud:– Pearla from forthcoming EP
“I would take the bus to NYC almost every day from when I was 16 to collaborate with different writers and producers. It has eventually led me to this project which is the culmination of all of that.”
Pearla has performed at The Count Basie Theater and The Stone Pony in New Jersey and The Bitter End in New York.
Sandmoon – “Time Has Yet To Come”
Beirut has flourished for hundreds of years as an essential international crossroads between East and West, with a wonderful tradition of diverse art, food, education, history, and most definitely, music.
One young girl was particularly influenced by her cultured surroundings growing up in the vibrant cosmopolitan capital city. Beirut born and raised, pianist and vocalist Sandra Arslanian fluid piano-playing and emotive vocal style are unforgettable.
Arslanian’s particular musical influences range from traditional, and modern, music of Lebanese and Middle Eastern musicians, as well as indie and rock artists, such as Cat Power, Radiohead, Bright Eyes, Bob Dylan, Portishead, Bob Dylan and Granddaddy. Her band, Sandmoon, include talented musicians like Maen Rajab (guitars); Ribal Kallab (cello); Khaled Omran (bass); Maya Aghniadis (drums) and Raffia Elmadjian (trumpet).
Sandmoon’s new melancholy track, “Time Has Yet To Come,” features ringing guitars and mysterious synths, 70’s funk-inspired percussions, and Arslanian’s hypnotic, sad, almost grieving, vocals to make it one of the best overseas DIY singles we’ve heard so far this year.
Via Soundcloud: “Time Has Yet to Come” – Sandmoon from #InTheEnd EP
After performing in the local city circuit and festivals around the region, Arslanian and Rajab set on a mini European tour – stopping in Stockholm, Brussels, and Paris – as an acoustic duo last summer. In an article about Arslanian, the publication Your Middle East, wrote “She knows how to tell a story well. Sandra puts them into words, music, and she visualizes them. As a concept artist, she narrates her stories and illustrates the feelings that they evoke at the same time.”
We echo those sentiments. Today, the band is exploring new avenues – from the orchestration of new songs to the recording of intricate soundtracks. The five-track EP, #InTheEnd, is a uniquely eclectic EP, featuring a blend of indie pop, rock, folk, country, and blues. The EP was entirely written on ukulele and vocals.