Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Midlife Priceless: Hootie & The Blowfish lead guitarist Mark Bryan gears up for new solo album feat. Zac Brown Band songwriter, Wyatt Durrette.

Video for Foo Fighters-evoking single “Wanna Feel Something” is energy-filled power trio performance including Tim Nielsen of Drivin N Cryin on bass.

Mark Bryan as photographed by Kirk Robert

“Out of the ether,” Mark Bryan says of “Wanna Feel Something,” the first single from his upcoming new solo album Midlife Priceless (Stone Point Records, April 2nd, 2021), “I wrote the first line of the song, ‘Tonight we ride again, just like we did back when we were best friends and it would never end.’ I wasn’t doing it intentionally but I liked the way it sang. When I read it back I thought, ‘Holy shit!’ We were getting ready to go back on tour – maybe that’s what I was writing about.”
Read the full interview with Mark Bryan now at American Songwriter and stream the “Wanna Feel Something” single and video at the link below!
Mark Bryan
Midlife Priceless
April 2, 2021
(Stone Point Records)

Track Listing:
01. Gotta Get Outta Town (2:49)
02. A Little More Rock n Roll (3:33)
03. Wanna Feel Something (3:16) (STREAM | VIDEO)
04. Let Your Soul Light Shine (3:26)
05. Takin’ A Ride (feat. Wyatt Durrette) (2:46)
06. Madelynn Claire (2:51)
07. I Like Your Everything (2:43)
08. Explain That To A Heart (3:23)
09. Like Make Believe (3:14)
10. Growing Wild (3:10)
11. Open Up Lucille (2:25)
12. Wishing (Acoustic) (2:46) (STREAM)
Mark Bryan | About
Midlife Priceless is the title of Hootie & The Blowfish guitarist Mark Bryan’s fourth solo album.
It’s also how he rolls.
Three years since the release of Bryan’s previous record, a lot has happened: His 20 million-selling, two-time Grammy®-winning band got back together for a sold-out arena tour that meant as much to Bryan as it did to the fans that came out by the tens of thousands.
“Wanna Feel Something” is the new album’s first single for a reason.
Tonight we ride again
Just like we did back when
We were best friends, and it would never end
It’s right there.
Mark Bryan is about feeling something and making you feel something. The energy in the buildings around the country that rocked again with the songs that made Hootie one of the biggest-selling acts in music history, is all here on Midlife Priceless.
When Bryan gets to the guitar solo on “Wanna Feel Something,” it’s a done deal.
The album’s title draws a deep parallel, metaphorically, with a lyric from another of the record’s standout tunes, “Takin’ A Ride,” a duet with Wyatt Durrette, writer of the #1 single “Beautiful Crazy” by Luke Combs and author of many of the Zac Brown Band’s hits.
“Die young as late as you can”
It’s a beautiful statement. It’s a mission statement.
“That line speaks to the point I am in my life and why I’m still making music,” Bryan says.
Even before Hootie got back together to be met with love-filled venues as if it were the 1990’s again, Bryan was living this way. Through good and bad – especially bad – he was connecting with his youth, wonder, curiosity, and joy.
As defined, “priceless” is something so precious that its value cannot be determined.
A record album has to provide value though, right?
One of the reasons that Bryan chose to lead up to the release of Midlife Priceless with a long string of singles is because so many moods and styles are represented. He thought to give ‘em a chance to shine on their own, in a different way than they do as a collection.
This might not be an auspicious plan for some artists, but Bryan’s track record dictates that he knows his way around a single, and this approach is another example of how Bryan is living midlife priceless.
Midlife Priceless, the fourth solo album by Hootie & The Blowfish guitarist Mark Bryan arrives on April 2, 2021.
Mark Bryan | Links
Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion | Contact

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Mike Viola goes from bloody vampire in Mandy Moore’s pool for “Drug Rug,” to teaching his daughter to roller skate for “Ordinary Girl” lyric video.

“That Thing You Do!” vocalist’s upcoming “Godmuffin” captures career songwriter, producer (Moore, Jenny Lewis, Fall Out Boy) at height of his abilities.

Mike Viola as photographed by Silvia Grav
Mike Viola | “Drug Rug”

“Legend has it that vampires can’t expose themselves to sunlight, but Mike Viola begs to differ,” explains Rolling Stone in its coverage of Viola’s horror short for his latest single. “He’s a pool-lazing vampire in the new video for ‘Drug Rug,’ a track off his upcoming LP Godmuffin. Directed by Caitlin Gerard, the video opens with Viola lying on a float in Mandy Moore’s pool.
Viola channels his preternatural gift for directness and warmth into a celebration of youth,” BuzzBands.LA says it its premiere post of the song. Viola explains that the tune is “a look back at my icy days in NYC. This is an ode to my beloved classic rock, as well.”
Mike Viola | “Ordinary Girl”

“It’s a girl power song,” Mike Viola tells American Songwriter in its premiere coverage of his latest single “Ordinary Girl.” “We all have superpowers. For me, the scariest thing out there in the world is blending in, disappearing into the status quo. This is like a John Hughes version of that concept.”
The lyric video for the song finds Viola in a real moment with his “monster thumb,” following his young daughter around the sidewalks of Los Angeles as he teaches her to roller skate. Stereo Embers says, “While Springsteen’s songbook is filled with tracks told from the perspective of a guy who wants to get out of town, ‘Ordinary Girl’ might very well be the first song written from the point of view of a parent wishing the same for his children.”
Mike Viola
Dec. 11th, 2020
(Good Morning Monkey / Grand Phony)

Track Listing:
01. USA Up All Night
02. Creeper (STREAM)
04. We May Never Be This Young Again
05. All You Can Eat
06. The Littles
07. Superkid 2, Trying To Do The Thing I Was Born To Do
08. Honorable Mention With Jam Show
09. People Pleaser, You’re The Man Of The House Now
10. Ordinary Girl (STREAM | LYRIC VIDEO)
11. That Seems Impossible Now
Mike Viola | About

Mike Viola is a Grammy®-nominated producer, musician, songwriter and singer best known for his work with Panic! At The DiscoMandy MooreJenny LewisOndaraMatt Nathanson and Fall Out Boy. His original music has been featured on soundtracks for movies such as “That Thing You Do!, ”Get Him To The Greek,” and “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.”
Viola’s latest album Godmuffin arrives Dec. 11th via Good Morning Monkey / Grand Phony preceded by the single “Drug Rug,” out now.
Music lives in Mike Viola. Shit, it’s his last name, right?
Godmuffin (Good Morning Monkey / Grand Phony, Dec. 11th) even opens with strings and man, do they tug.
“Don’t be afraid, no don’t be afraid / We still have time, we still have time / There’s so much I wanna do”
“I wrote ‘Creeper’ the morning I got the news my close friend died,” Viola says. “He was my age. Now he can’t make music. I still can. I can still spend my time looking for the secret cause, the next new song, even when it feels too late, ‘cause I still have time.”
Viola’s friend is the artistically immortal, Adam Schlesinger, to whom Viola will forever be publicly tied as the voice of his friend’s perfect, Oscar®-nominated pop song “That Thing You Do!”
At any other time, this association would be a fun fact. A bullet point in a career full of them. But right now it’s painful to listen to with Viola’s real-life tragedy in mind. Somehow, he makes it sound beautiful.
Godmuffin follows-up Viola’s 2018 album The American Egypt, and is his first return in over a decade to the more conventional rock and pop sound that he first broke through with as front man of Candy Butchers during that band’s string of major label records in the late-90s to mid-2000s.
Godmuffin was written and recorded alone in Viola’s home studio. He describes it as “11 songs about transformation” and Viola isn’t afraid to let you see.
“It’s youthful in the chances it takes,” he says. “It doesn’t give a fuck.”
In the face of fine-tuning everything into oblivion, Godmuffin is the least experimental-sounding experimental record you’ll hear this year. Viola records on half-inch tape and mixes on a vintage Auditronics console without the advantage of digital editing.
“The recording is linear, 'cause I can’t punch and fix things very easily, especially when I’m playing drums.  On the computer, you can repair all of your mistakes ‘til you sound perfect. Or even worse, tune or beat detective the life out of it. I prefer rock music that’s beautifully flawed.”
“It’s human,” he says.
“Only the dead get to heaven / Here on earth we just get lost”
Human it is.
Viola sings the chorus of the album’s first single “Drug Rug,” and it’s as if you’re listening to recently re-discovered dedications from a high school yearbook.
It’s not nostalgia, it’s time traveling written from the point of view of the graduated Viola, “who’s spent a lifetime doing windmills on Big Star guitars, slick with Todd Rundgren syrup hand-drawn from the tree.”
Elsewhere on Godmuffin, Viola sings about being a teenager (“USA Up All Night”), about being the father of teenagers (“The Littles,” “Ordinary Girl”), and even offers up a sequel (“Superkid 2, Trying To Do The Thing I Was Born To Do”) to a previously released song (“Superkid”) about being a teenager.
Youthful. Not giving a fuck.
Is there a time in our lives when we feel more invincible? Godmuffin is the sound of fearlessness.
Mike Viola | Links
Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion | Contact

Latest volume of “Road Angel Project” series, helmed by Inara George of The Bird and The Bee, out now. Proceeds benefit Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.

Inaugurated with George’s “Sex In Cars” duet with Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, “Road Angel Project: Volume 4” features unreleased cuts from Dan Bern, more.

 “Road Angel Project: Volume 4” | Cover art by Alice Lin based on a photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons of artist Terry’s Allen’s installation “Road Angel.”

The fourth volume of The Bird and The Bee vocalist Inara George’s charity initiative with Sweet Relief’s COVID-19 Relief Fund features three tracks including premieres from Another Bummer at Treble Zine, Mr. Banjo at Elmore Magazine, and Dan Bern at Relix. Listen to all three at the link below and stream all of the “Road Angel Project” releases to date here.
Various Artists
“Road Angel Project: Volume 4”
Out Now
(Release Me Records)
Streaming Link:
Track Listing:
01. “Outside” – Another Bummer
02. “Give It Some Time” – Mr. Banjo
03. “Birthday” – Dan Bern
Inara George (feat. Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters) | “Sex In Cars”
The Bird and The Bee vocalist Inara George has teamed with Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters for a new single “Sex In Cars: Road Angel Project,” a duet version of the track “Sex In Cars” from George’s latest release “The Youth of Angst”. The song is available now on all streaming platforms and can also be heard via Rolling Stone here.
“I wrote ‘Sex In Cars’ after the artist Terry Allen asked if I’d be a part of an art installation entitled “Road Angel” that he was creating for The Contemporary Austin,” George explains.
“Sex In Cars: Road Angel Project” is the first in a series of “Road Angel Project” releases, which will see all proceeds donated via a partnership with Sweet Relief Musicians Fund. The COVID-19 Relief Fund at Sweet Relief provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians and music industry workers who have lost income due to the global pandemic.
“Having been such a massive fan of Inara for years, it’s always such an incredible honor to work with her, whether on Foo Fighters music or for The Bird and The Bee,” says Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters about his contribution to the first “Road Angel Project” release. “Her voice is timeless, so pure and real. So I jumped at the chance to duet with her on this song. It was a dream come true! And for a great cause: Musicians coming together to support each other in difficult times, working to keep the music alive.”

“I always knew I wanted this version of ‘Sex In Cars’ with Dave to benefit some amazing non-profit,” George says.
About | Road Angel Project
Click to listen to a playlist of all four volumes of the “Road Angel Project” here
Following up her “Sex In Cars” duet with Foo Fighters frontman, Dave Grohl, The Bird and The Bee vocalist, Inara George has now released “Road Angel Project: Volume 4,” the fourth in her “Road Angel Project” series which sees all proceeds donated via a partnership with Sweet Relief Musicians Fund. The COVID-19 Relief Fund at Sweet Relief provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians and music industry workers who have lost income due to the global pandemic. Hear it now on all DSPs worldwide.
“I reached out to some of my musician friends to see if anyone had a track that they’d like to donate to the cause,” George says. “As the pandemic hit and it became very clear that live music would not resume for many, many months, I immediately thought of Sweet Relief, not only because they help so many musicians, but also because they help everyone in the music industry. All of those people who work at venues booking shows, stage managing, bartending, lighting, mixing sound, and on and on... Sweet Relief is set up to help all of these workers during this crisis and also any other crisis that might come.”
The name “Road Angel Project” is a Terry Allen-authorized nod back to the visual artist’s piece that inspired George’s song “Sex In Cars,” the first “Road Angel Project” release (see below), and the cover image for the series by Alice Lin is based on a Brian Fitzsimmons photograph of Allen’s actual installation.
Sweet Relief’s Aric Steinberg says, “Sweet Relief is so grateful to be a part of the ‘Road Angel Project.’ It’s been incredible to see the music community come together during this pandemic, and this is another example of good people doing good things. The funds raised will allow us to help even more music industry professionals in desperate need and we are truly thankful for Inara’s support.”
For more information about the Sweet Relief COVID-19 Relief Fund, visit:
Road Angel Project | Links
Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion | Contact

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Hilarie Sidney, co-founder of legendary Elephant 6 Recording Co. releases first album in thirteen years with her band The High Water Marks.

“Ecstasy Rhymes” offers joyous power pop-rock to lift up 2020, led by former drummer, writer, vocalist of collective’s star, The Apples in stereo.

The High Water Marks (L-R): Logan Miller, Hilarie Sidney, Per Ole Bratset, Øystein Megård. Photo credit: Self-Portraits, Illustration by Per Ole Bratset.
The High Water Marks | In The Press
“Clock-stopping, pulse-raising mega-pop.” — UNCUT
“Complex and considered arrangements... Sugar-coated melodies to spare.” — Pitchfork
“Beautifully warm, catchy, high-energy... garage pop for the masses.” — PASTE
“Winning post-punk pop that’s heavy on the fuzz.” — Under The Radar
“Get a fix of the exquisitely crafted brand of lo-fi rock.” — PopMatters
“Top-notch indie pop-rock tracks abound.” — The Big Takeover
The High Water Marks | “The Trouble With Friends”

LISTEN! >> Bad Copy premieres the final single from the first album in 13 years by The High Water Marks, the power-pop foursome fronted by Elephant 6 Recording Co. and The Apples in stereo co-founder, Hilarie Sidney. Hear it now here and then trip on over to The Big Takeover where “top-notch indie pop-rock tracks abound” in the legendary publication’s stream of the entire Ecstasy Rhymes album, which is accompanied by an awesome Q&A where Hilarie is hilariously interviewed by her band mates.
The High Water Marks
Ecstasy Rhymes
Out Now
(Minty Fresh)
Streaming Link:

Track Listing:
01. Ode To Lieutenant Glahn
02. Annual Rings
03. Can You (STREAM | VIDEO)
04. Ecstasy Rhymes
05. Award Show (STREAM)
06. Some Like It Lukewarm
07. The Trouble With Friends (STREAM)
08. I’ll Be Formal (With You Because of It)
09. Pepin le Bref
10. Accidentally On Purpose
11. Satellite
12. Pretending To Be Loud
The High Water Marks | “Can You”

About | “Can You”
“Instantly recalls the heyday of Elephant 6, with an earworm melody nestled in fuzzy indie rock production.” — Brooklyn Vegan
‘Can You’ is a song about pushing back the darkness to find the light. I wrote it during the dark months. I should add that we were recording in Logan’s studio, which also served as a guest room for my son, Anders. One night we were up late doing vocals, and Anders kept saying the lyrics to ‘Can You’ back to me in a very serious voice and then cracking up. He’s a snarky teenager. I won’t forget that.” – Hilarie Sidney, The High Water Marks
Listen via Brooklyn Vegan or at the links above!
The High Water Marks | About
“I am so lucky to have been a musician throughout my life,” says Hilarie Sidney of The High Water Marks, the band she fronts out of her adopted home town of Grøa, Norway. The foursome has just released Ecstasy Rhymes, its first album in 13 years, via Minty Fresh.
You probably know Sidney best for what she got up to during her time living in Denver, Colorado.
Sidney is the co-founder of one of the most influential musical collectives of the past, oh, forever amount of years.
Elephant 6 is a storied, and now legendary, musical collective and Sidney was as at its nucleus as a founding member of The Apples in stereo.
It was a “boys club,” Sidney confesses.
Sidney was the only woman among her band and the other two acts – Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control – that were the most visible members of Elephant 6, and as the umbrella opened to international recognition and acclaim, and to seemingly dozens of other bands that wanted to be a part, Sidney’s enthusiasm drifted.
Her passion for songwriting never wavered, however.
“Having been in the Apples and on the road since 1993, I started to have many more songs than could ever be released on an Apples record. I was piling up songs, and being surrounded by a group of men for so many years, one can lose oneself,” she confides.
Sidney eventually found new love, and a new musical partnership, when she formed The High Water Marks, releasing a debut album (Songs About The Ocean) in 2003. The record was written and demoed through the mail with her now-husband and bandmate, Per Ole Bratset, whom she initially met at an Apples gig in Norway in 2002. A follow-up album (Polar) arrived in 2007.
By that time, Sidney and Bratset were an item.
Per and I had our son in 2005,” Sidney says of becoming a mother for the second time. “I realized I wanted a break from touring. That whole life had begun to wear me out.”
The fallout from Sidney’s divorce, and life as a mom with two boys, led her to officially leave the Apples in 2006 and to put the music business on the back burner soon after.
“Still writing songs, always writing songs...”
With that, Sidney attempted to clean out the closet in 2011, leading to some recording sessions that eventually had to be scrapped, and leaving her to feel “kind of hopeless,” she remembers.
But drummers are tough!
Sidney picked herself up and headed in another direction by beginning to finish up a Bachelor’s degree, which led to her being awarded a prestigious study abroad scholarship at the University of Oslo.
“Moving was everything I had hoped it would be,” she explains. “In Norway, we have a work-life balance, health care, a living wage, five weeks of vacation, and freedom for our youngest son to roam without constant supervision.”
Perhaps most importantly, she started playing music again.
Thirteen years after releasing her last album as The High Water Marks, the band has completed a new album that reflects the maturity, perseverance, songwriting, and performing talent that made Sidney’s contributions to Elephant 6 and the Apples so integral.
If she was marginalized at the time, those notions are blown out by Ecstasy Rhymes, 38 minutes of perfect power pop, one song after another that will take any fan of the songs that Sidney contributed to Apples recordings – her voice is instantly recognizable – right back to the most potent days of that band’s career.
As he did on previous releases, Bratset also contributes lead vocals on several songs, all of which were co-written with Sidney. In addition to Sidney on Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, and Drums, and Bratset on Vocals and Guitars, the band includes Logan Miller on Bass, Guitar, and Drums, along with Øystein Megård on Drums. Keyboards, and Backing Vocals.
“I feel like for the first time ever, we have a dream team,” Sidney says. “I have my partner in crime by my side, like always, but we managed to also find these two other fantastic people who we can work with so well. We finally have the best band we’ve ever had and a great record.”
Seems Sidney’s luck as a musician hasn’t run out yet.
Ecstasy Rhymes, the first album in 13 years by The High Water Marks, is out now on Minty Fresh.
The High Water Marks | Links
Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion | Contact

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Sibling duo Charlie Belle, at just 22 and 20-years-old, has been a band for more than 12 years; Two new perfect pop singles out now.

Jendayi and Gyasi continue to defy preconceptions, telling a musical story as Black artists who don’t make music that society expects.

Charlie Belle (L-R): Gyasi Bonds, Jendayi Bonds. Photo by Kees2Life.

“Makes melodic indie-pop feel like a viable option for the first time in eons.” — The Guardian (UK)
“Now more than ever there’s a spotlight on Black artists, and what Black artists have to bring to the table in all genres of music,” Jendayi says. “We’ve been a band for 12 years and Black our whole lives. There’s a sort of reckoning right now for what Black artists can bring to the table.”
Gyasi is blunt: “People always assume I’m a rapper, I tell them I make music or that I’m an artist and the first question I receive is, ‘Are you a rapper?’ We are put in a box by our skin that people have deemed ‘Black music,’ but all music is Black music.”


“I wrote the entire song around my love for the E major chord the song starts off with and always returns to,” Jendayi Bonds tells American Songwriter about writing the latest Charlie Belle single, “What About Me?” She continues, “But if I’m being honest, I was taught music by ear and that’s how I write my music: sound first. So it’s a chord that I experimented with because I’ve been playing guitar for so long, but I don’t know its technical name. Honestly, if anyone wants to tell me what it is, that would help our band practices out I’m sure!” Listen to “What About Me” by Charlie Belle at American Songwriter or at the link above!
Jendayi and Gyasi Bonds of Charlie Belle are available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.
Charlie Belle | In The Press

“Easygoing yet innovative vibes.” — NYLON

“Definitely a band you want to know.” — AfroPunk
“Wanna feel good? Press play.” — Vice
“The most infectious kind of power-pop.” — Wired
“Outstanding... Brit-flavored indie-pop confection.” — NPR
“Everybody is getting to know Charlie Belle.” — MTV
Charlie Belle | “Looking For Magic”

Check out “Looking For Magic,” the new video from Charlie Belle over at Glide Magazine, which says it “captures the close chemistry between brother and sister, and the fun that they can have together making music. There is a smoothness... that is conveyed both in the laid back groove and in Jendayi’s effortlessly cool vocals that linger in your mind long after listening.”
Charlie Belle | About
When national attention came to the sibling duo Charlie Belle in 2014, Jendayi and Gyasi Bonds were literally just kids.
Sixteen and fourteen-years-old at the time, they were both already veterans of the Austin music scene when their debut EP “Get To Know” blew up. Press came from NPR, Nylon, MTV, Vice, Wired and others, and Jendayi and Gyasi appeared together on the cover of their local paper, the Austin Chronicle.
“It was weird and exciting and interesting and fun and flattering to say the least, that randomly by chance, our debut EP really hit it out of the park, right?,” Jendayi says of that crazy time. “Man was it cool!”
She continues, “Nothing in my life until that moment showed me that perhaps I could truly pursue this. Maybe I had a perspective that other people might want to hear. Maybe I could make an impact on people with my music in the same way that bands like Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, and Local Natives made an impact on me.”
“I’ve been the drummer in Charlie Belle for 12 years,” Gyasi says, now a 20-year-old college student.
Jendayi has graduated college, she’s 22 now, and while the pair took time away from schooling us with pop tunes too damn accomplished for teenagers, it was the right thing to do. They were always plotting a return, and now they are educated, wiser, and ready to present new music to a world that is much different from the one they played for just six years ago. The new tunes are clearly by two independent, self-actualized artists, who know exactly what they’re doing.
“He went off and became his own human,” Jendayi says of her brother, “I went off and did that too, and I jumped into my songwriting. We were supposed to move and grow like this, so we could tell our story with intention.”
Part of that story is of being Black artists who don’t necessarily make the kind of music that society thinks they would be, or should be, making.
Look, Jendayi and Gyasi just want people to know that they are creative, multifaceted artists, who happen to be a brother and sister who grew up gigging around town in Austin. But they also want people to know that as Black artists, their lives and experiences are just as rich and nuanced as everyone else’s.
“I want more of our stories to be told,” Jendayi says.
It’s important to the band that their sociopolitical stance and their personal cultural awareness co-exist in harmony alongside their pop sensibilities. Those blown away by the catchiness and thoughtfulness of Charlie Belle’s debut can look forward to new songs by young adults who have now been doing this for half their lives.
What was already great is even better: Fun, upbeat, buoyant, while also keenly aware of the moment in a way that only Jendayi and Gyasi can speak to.
Two new singles, “Looking For Magic” and “What About Me?,” by sister-brother duo, Charlie Belle, are out now.
Charlie Belle | Links
Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion | Contact