West Coast Beats: New Single From LA’s Acclaimed Activist Musical Collective – Trapdoor Social

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Trapdoor Social is a Los Angeles based independent rock band with a mission.

With it’s origins in a college environmental studies program, the band has a record of fundraising and activism to promote sustainability. Starting in 2015 Trapdoor Social branched off from the usual mix of club/radio/college shows and began producing outdoor, solar-powered concerts and events around the US, including Sunstock Solar Festival, which is takes place in Los Angeles annually. Their other projects combining music with activism have benefitted Homeboy Industries, Mesa Ridge High School, and Kids Cancer Connection.

The band’s music is energetic and passionate, with lyrics that play with love, philosophy, and social critique. Several of the band’s songs— “Away”, “Fine on My Own,” “Sunshine,” and “Wining as Truth” – have received significant airplay around the country, a national TV ad placement and success on Spotify’s ‘Discover Weekly’.

Since Sunstock ’17, the band has been working on an LP that will be their fourth release.

Their new single “Hold Me Down” blends surf rock and captivating indie pop featuring anthemic melodies and jangly guitars. Trapdoor Social is set to release a full album following around the new year, and a national tour in the spring of 2019.

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New Music From Americana Artist Greg Hawks

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It’s been more than three decades since Greg Hawks picked up his first instrument, kicking off a career that has found the critically-acclaimed songwriter, front man, and multi-instrumentalist leaving his mark on everything from alt-country to bluegrass music.

He casts a wide net with 2018’s I Think It’s Time, an album inspired by the twang of classic country, the hooks of 1970s pop/rock, the rhythmic soul of old-school Stax records, and Hawks’ own roots in the American South. With influences that veer from Big Star to Buck Owens, I Think It’s Time shines new light on an enduring, eclectic musician who was making Americana music long before the genre had a name.  “The album is a culmination of all my influences, thrown into a big pot as separate ingredients and turned into something cohesive and new,” says Hawks, who recorded I Think It’s Time at his home studio in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

He produced the album himself, playing most of the instruments — from finger-style acoustic guitar to keyboards — along the way. He then turned to Chris Stamey (the dB’s, Whiskeytown, Alex Chilton), who had previously mixed Hawks’ debut album for YepRoc Records, Fool’s Paradise, back in 2001. Stamey reprised that role for I Think It’s Time, resulting in a DIY album whose songs mix Hawks’ sharp, melody-driven songwriting with plenty of social commentary.

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Nashville Beats: Country Musician Clare Dunn Releases Soulful Dylan Cover

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Clare Dunn, known for her transfixing live shows, unparalleled guitar artistry, and clean, powerful vocals has released her version of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.” This track’s audio and video were recorded in one pass and Clare’s vocal remains raw and unedited.

“I’ve always loved this song because of its poetic cadence and honesty. I recently rediscovered it playing guitar on my couch late one night, and remembered being a little girl driving a tractor the first time I heard Garth Brooks’ version of it, so in a lot of ways, Garth introduced me to Bob Dylan. I love Dylan’s writing style so when I was offered the opportunity to record a song of my choice for Spotify, this was my immediate pick,” says Clare.

An artist on the ascent, Clare is a “masterful guitar player who can do it all” (CMT) with “big, soaring vocals and serious guitar prowess,” (Rolling Stone).

Clare caught the attention of rock legend Bob Seger who, after hearing her sound check only once, invited her to be his opener for his Ride Out Tour.

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Nashville Beats: Country Rocker Ben Danaher

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Drawing on the influence of legendary troubadours like Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, and Townes Van Zandt, Ben Danaher first made a name for himself as a songwriter in Texas before relocating to Nashville. Along the way, he shared bills with Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jack Ingram, Angaleena Presley, Rhett Miller, Travis Meadows, and Amanda Shires, in addition to co-writing songs for Ryan Beaver, Bonnie Bishop, Rob Baird, and Justin Halpin among others. For his own songs, Danaher collaborated with some of Nashville fastest-rising stars, including Maren Morris, on material that blended classic country tradition with modern rock and roll sensibilities. 

Recorded live and raw with his touring band, ‘Still Feel Lucky’ showcases Danaher’s hard-won wisdom and cinematic storytelling, capturing slices of life with a candid honesty that cut straight to the heart of things. Danaher lost his brother to murder and his father to cancer in short succession, and while many of the songs draw from that well of pain and loss, the music is anything but self-pitying. These are songs of revelation and redemption, reflecting a maturity and an acceptance that can only come with time and perspective. Writing the album was a therapeutic process for Danaher, an opportunity to make sense of the inexplicable, but it was also a chance to respond to the universe with love and gratitude despite all he’s been through. 

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You can go through hell and get completely hardened up, but there’s always going to be this human part of you that can still feel lucky and grateful for all the good that’s in your life,” he concludes. “No matter how difficult things get, in the end, there’s always hope.”

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AngloFiles: Jonathan Jeremiah

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Imagine a young London born singer songwriter working night-shifts for seven years to get the money together to hire legendary brass players, soulful string orchestras, and Questlove, one of music’s most influential figures to drum on five of the tracks, and record them in a little studio in Dollis Hill.

Born to an Anglo-Indian father and a Tipperary born Irish-Catholic mother, Jonathan inherited his name from his mother’s brother, a priest, and a boy in love with the idea of the American dream, who died in a car crash in Jefferson City, USA at the age of 23.

In his early twenties Jonathan crossed the Atlantic, just like his late uncle, to pursue American music. He traveled from New York to Los Angeles by bus, writing songs between petrol stations and burger stops. Realising that America didn’t hold the answers, the 22 year-old left his uncle’s ghost behind him, returned home, and began making his debut album. Seven years later, and featuring collaborations with the likes of The Roots’ bandleader Questlove, James Brown’s legendary band The JBs and Bernard Butler, the album is finished. After a life of loving music that expresses its emotions purely and truthfully, and after long years of working and dreaming, Jonathan Jeremiah is ready to become his own man.

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His latest album Good Day is available now via Pias.

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West Coast Beats: Meet MAWD

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MAWD is the moniker of Madeleine Mathews, a California singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist ( piano, guitar, ukulele, bass, accordion & banjo) , whose influences include, The Head and the Heart, The Staves, First Aid Kit, Nancy Sinatra, Lord Huron, and the Alabama Shakes. MAWD’s sound gravitates towards an eclectic mix of genres including indie rock, folk, folk rock, retro rock, and blues rock. The soulful, textured timbre of Madeleine’s vocals is diverse and ranges anywhere from a breathy sultry folk/blues vibe to a powerful Janis Joplin-esque/Karen-O belt.

Born and bread in Northern California, Madeleine made her mark in her hometown of Placerville playing original songs at a weekly local open mic. She found an even larger audience in Chico, CA, where she attended CSU, Chico’s music program. She quickly became a part of the blossoming local Nor Cal scene fronting and writing for various bands and winning local singer/songwriter competitions, resulting in TV and radio appearances and press. Madeleine’s stunning live performances and the unique vulnerability, power and shear beauty of her voice caught the attention of Roger Gisborne of Los Angeles based indie label Sound x 3 Records, who immediately signed her and sent her to Scandinavia to tour. As a result, she was invited to perform for several international festivals, including the Irish, YouBloom Festival.

Gisborne produced and released MAWD’s first EP during Madeleine’s last semester of school and brought in Brian Lucey (Arctic Monkeys, Black Keys, Beck, Cage The Elephant, etc.) to master the record, which received critical acclaim from noteworthy tastemakers leading MAWD to SXSW and a southwest tour with a new line-up of top British, Irish and American musicians, known as the “MAWD Squad”.

Known for her impressive and highly energetic performances in top notch venues, festivals and artist discovery programs such as Sofar Sounds, MAWD has made huge strides developing a dedicated fan base .

Madeleine is presently working with Gisborne and Cave producer/songwriter Josiah Mezzaschi (Deap Vally, Kate Bush, Jesus & the Mary Chain) on MAWD’s second EP set for release in 2019.

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AngloFiles: From Scotland “Trad-Rockers” Skerryvore

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Twice winners of Scotland’s Traditional Music “Live Act of the Year” Award , Skerryvore have been on a meteoric journey that has taken them from the remote Isle of Tiree onto International tours that have included  performances in Central Park in New York, The Ryder Cup in Louisville, the Shanghai Expo in China and just last weekend at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Skerryvore create a unique fusion of folk, trad, rock and pop that represents all the different personalities and upbringing of the 8 band members who hail from different regions of Scotland.

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