Radio Phoenix Podcast: Zero Degrees North

zero degrees north 03Those young rapscallions Zero Degrees North dropped by the Radio Phoenix studios to play some rad bands and talk up their latest album, The Life of Randy Randleson. They also talk about what’s in the works and we find out the ancient secrets of Danelo Records. The complete playlist can be found below.

Check out The YabYum Hour live every Wednesday at 7:00 PM only on radiophoenix.org.

Playlist

Zero Degrees North “Nuns”

Hot Flash Heat Wave “Gutter Girl”

Born Ruffians “Barnacle Goose”

Wolvves “I Hate You”

Phantom Party “Holy Roller”

The Marionettes “Brain Dead”

Zero Degrees North “Randy”

Modern Baseball “Apartment”

Playboy Manbaby “Lizard People”

The Frights “You or Me”

The Strokes “Reptilia”

The Exbats “I’m A Witch”

Thumpasaurus “Mental Karate”

ZDN “Teevee Time”

Recorded live on January 17, 2018

An Insider’s Introduction: Jake Sullivan of Baby Tooth

baby tooth 01by Mark Anderson

My favorite thing coming out of Tucson in the past couple of years, musically speaking, isn’t a band at all. It’s a tape label.

Baby Tooth has now released 30 albums since 2016 and there are no plans to stop. Two of their releases won 2016 Awards [from us] and quite a few of their songs made it on our Favorites of 2017 playlists. Many of my favorite Tucson artists, as well as a whole bunch of new folks I’ve been introduced to, have all released something on cassette through Baby Tooth.

But I still had absolutely no idea who was behind the Baby Tooth magic so I thought I ought to remedy that by reaching out and trying to find out more. Jake Sullivan, the label’s co-founder, graciously replied to my query and I’m delighted to share our interview below. Read on to find out the history of Baby Tooth, as well thoughts on the Tucson music scene, and what’s upcoming for the label!

YabYum: Who am I speaking with and who is behind Baby Tooth? How long have you guys been around?

Jake Sullivan: Mark Addington and I started Baby Tooth in 2016 with the Ohioan Empty / Every Mt cassette being our first release. Now we are about to release our 31st album on cassette!

What made you decide to start a label?

The idea for the label was kind of born from necessity. Another friend (Kellen Fortier) and I opened a record store called Wooden Tooth Records. Wooden Tooth put out a 7” for a great local band called Katterwaul. After that, we got TONS of local bands coming in with their newest recordings asking if we could put it out for them.

While the high cost of pressing vinyl made it somewhat impossible for us to put out more than a record or two a year, we still wanted to find a way to help release all this great music bands were sending our way. So, Mark and I decided to give cassette releases a try. People seemed to be really excited about it, so we kept going!

How do you find bands that you want to release? Do you approach bands or do they approach you? Maybe a little of both?

A lot of the bands we’ve released were a result of us being previously exposed to their music, usually by seeing them play somewhere in town. However, a fair share of our releases, and some of our favorite ones, have been the result of an email submission from a band or artist we hadn’t heard before, which is always really exciting.

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Jeff Sullivan and Mark Addington

You’ve also signed bands from outside of AZ right? Have you personally known any of them or did you just hear their stuff and say, “I wanna release that”?

We have! For the most part our label is AZ based bands because we are so consistently exposed to great artists from here that we want to help give some exposure to them. Plus, it’s a much easier process when we can meet over coffee to discuss a release. In some instances though, we’ve gotten to make connections with artists from other areas and release some really cool albums! Wherever it’s from, we just want to release good music.

With that said, do you accept submissions? If you do, how would bands pursue that?

We do! We can be reached via email at babytoothtucson@gmail.com. Not every submission can lead to a release, but we give everything a listen, so who knows!

How many bands are actually on the Baby Tooth roster? 

Including the upcoming releases we have planned, we will have included about 34 bands on our cassettes!

What is your take on the Tucson/AZ music scene? Both the good and the bad.

I love the Tucson music scene, and think we are pretty lucky – not only are there an endless amount of great musicians and bands, but there are so many cool new venues popping up all over town. Pretty much every night there is a good show going on, usually more than one.

If I were pressed to name a down side of the Tucson music scene, it’s that more people outside of AZ don’t pay attention to some of these artists! That’s starting to change though. The Burger Records folks, for example, are helping with that!

What’s upcoming for Baby Tooth? More cool new releases I hope. I know this might be impossible because of song rights but I almost wish you could release a tape compilation of all the rad bands that you’ve released so far! Just a thought, don’t mind me…

Haha, we have been kicking around the idea of a compilation tape for a while now actually!! Someday it will happen, I promise.

Some of the upcoming titles that we are excited about are a beautiful new solo album from longtime Tucson musician Braford Trojan, another great new album from the Wanda Junes, and a super fun new album from Eeeks, who are from Paraguay but recorded their album in Oracle, AZ. They are all great albums that we are super excited for!

~

Check out all their releases and purchase tapes through Baby Tooth’s Bandcamp page.

5 Radio-Ready Jams to Add to Your Playlist

Magdalena Bay

“Waking Up”

The synth-centered sounds of Magdalena Bay will have you feeling like your floating in a neon dream on a cool, coastal night with their new single, “Waking Up”. The pop duo of Mica Tenenbaum (Singer/Songwriter) and Matthew Lewin (Songwriter/Producer) create retro-styled electro-pop with a completely modern aesthetic. You’ll want to put on your sunglasses, even after the sun has set, and chill out to the sounds of Magdalena Bay.

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W.A.S.H.

“Take It Slow”

The duck-masked duo known as W.A.S.H. just dropped a fresh new single just in time for Valentine’s Day (even if we might be a week late). “Take It Slow”, which features the vocal talents of Cody Ballentine, sets the mood for a romantic connection on the dance floor. Whether at the club or angling for the “private show”, this new banger from W.A.S.H. can help get you there.

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Always Never

“Millions”

Always Never’s debut EP (which was released last September) caught the attention of such notables as Fader and garnered more than a million streams online and now the Toronto-based artist is back with this super slick single. Always Never crafts super smooth, ultra-hip R&B singles ready to take over airwaves. The laid-back atmosphere on “Millions” and catchy lyrics will have you hitting the repeat button on this one.

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Sam Woolf and the Como Brothers

“On it”

Boston singer-songwriter Sam Woolf teamed up with two musical brothers from New York, Andrew and Matt Como, for this catchy new single. “On it” has all the bounce you need from a drive-to-work jam and Woolf’s polished vocals are American Idol worthy (true story).  “On it” is just one track to emerge from this  trifecta of singer-songwriters. Sam Woolf and the Como Brothers plan to release an EP together so keep watch for Backbeat in the Morning. You can check out the music video for “On It” here.

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Manila Killa

“Everyday Everyday”

The producer known as Manila Killa teamed up with vocalist Nevve for his new single, “Everyday Everyday”, which came out on Moving Castle earlier this month. Manila Killa has been busy making a name for himself on the L.A. club scene and you can hear why in the sharp production on “Everyday Everyday”. And the mere fact that Manila Killa isn’t immediately upstaged by the stellar vocal stylings of Nevve is definitely saying something about the board skills here.

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noob

Space 55 Presents Phoenix Premiere of Luna Gale

luna gale 01by Rebecca Rudnyk

Luna Gale, playing at the intimate Space 55 through March 4, is gritty, powerful and profoundly topical.

Set amongst the cultural awakening of the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement, and unable to ignore the ideological political perspectives that certainly divide (and are arguably beginning to culturally define) us, this show has something important to say. And now is an opportune time to do so.

An unusual Batmobile greets patrons upon their first step within the doors. It brings a smile, and an intrigue that sustains through the experience of the production. This is an unconventional venue with a powerful story to tell. And thanks to the artistic vision of the Space 55 team, and the undeniable talent of the cast, this show successfully reminds even the most spoiled of high brow audiences that good theatre is about telling important stories and leaving an impact on those who cathartically experience them.

The performance area is stark, primarily occupied by chairs, with a backdrop of white panels and hanging foliage. There is a certain beauty in the shadows cast by hanging leaves and human figures. So clean and simple. So natural. Almost comfortable. Almost.

Lori Kaminsky’s lighting choices are muted, with only two moments of significance offering a true variation in luminescence. In a black-box theatre with the audience so close they are spying on intimate moments more than observing through a fourth wall: each choice is amplified.

Ultimately, this production proves that Rebecca Gilman’s eloquent script requires very little more than brilliant performances to make a tremendous impact.

The audience’s journey is anchored by Caroline, a woman living a life dedicated to saving children, or at least trying her best though struggling to so do. Hers is a life full of pain and regret, existential fulfillment and accomplishment. Never quelling her battle to find inner peace. She is the everyman. She is us. And Lindsey Gemme as Caroline is absolutely radiant at being so. At all times she carries her heavy and overflowing bag of cases. She is encumbered, though she has chosen to be. And the burden she bears weighs on the audience, a true testament to the success of the choices made by Duane Daniels, RC Contreras, and the entire cast.

The underpinning themes and characters are arguably as powerful as the anchor. Parental love, control and selfishness. Religion, faith, fanaticism, and skepticism. Marriage and divorce. The struggle for sobriety, accompanied by justification and an understanding for the act of self-medicating. Sacrifice. Shame. All of these concepts play an integral role in telling the story. A story that needs to be told. Perhaps now more than ever before.

The show is performed on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 PM, and on Sundays at 2 PM, through March 4. Tickets are $15, and there is not a bad seat in the (albeit quite tiny) house. There is free parking available just outside the doors, and the unique warehouse-like space is definitely worth a walk around before the show starts.

If you have an inclination to support local theatre while experiencing it first-hand, Luna Gale is a solid option.

~

For mature audiences. Visit Space 55’s website for tickets.

YabYum Seven: Jessica Speer

jessica speer 01
All photos courtesy of Jessica Speer
Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Jessica Speer of J.Speer Fine Art. My past projects included L.B.Paintings and Halcyon Fine Art. I am a Visionary Artist and Spiritual Abstractionist.

As a Visionary Artist I explore all opportunities within the unlimited universe to create art that is profound and innovative. In this effort to create I take spiritual concepts and explain them through abstraction. My goal is not only to reach the curious mind but also communicate through the windows of the soul to the spirit.

My artwork is heavily influenced from my study of God, language, symbolism, numerology, sacred geometry and the esoteric world. Each piece I create is an unfolding of the extensive research I do on Metaphysics, Astrophysics and Esoteric Mathematics.

How did you get your start?

I started working as a self taught artist in 2005. My creativity for the majority of my working career has been in the field of science. This later took a turn into expressing that creativity through visual arts. Combining my two passions art and science.

jessica speer 03
ShinKatsu 新生活 | 4″ x 4″ (9 pieces)
What inspires you?

As a seeker of truth, my inspiration as an artist comes from my study of the creator, creation as a whole, multi-universes, dreams, and the spirit realm. I am constantly being inspired by life in all it’s beauty and sorrow.

What do you like about AZ?

I am a native to Arizona by three generations and take pride in that rarity. The gorgeous landscape is an open wonder to all those who live here and visit. It is truly a place to fall in love with, as the sites are breathtaking and unique.

jessica speer 02
Origins of Metatron | 30″ x 40″
Where can we see you(r) work?

I do many art exhibitions around the valley and state. As of recently I have become an international artist and will be exhibiting in France in the summer followed by my solo exhibition in Peru at The Museum of Contemporary Art in November. I will also be conducting a lecture and speech at the University of Cusco in Peru regarding my work as an artist. I have plans to show my work in Italy and Japan in 2019.

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I have many things I want to accomplish before I move on in this life. The main thing is to fulfill my purpose as an artist. This includes translating truth through art. I plan to travel the world exhibiting in various countries which will only further my esoteric studies and research of the universe. I will complete my invention of the first electromagnetic painting which is only in its first stages. These are just a few things I plan to accomplish before my time is up.

What is your mantra?

My manta is simple….. “Knowledge is power to all those who seek it.”

~

For more Jessica Speer, visit her website.

jessica speer 04
Shino Hajimari 死の始まり | 48″ x 48″

7 Eclectic POP Music Videos

Oddnesse
“Are You Down”

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Aaron Taos
“Amazing”

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Goody Grace
“Two Shots”

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Piano Club
“Think for Yourself”

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WOLVES
“Animal”

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Praa
“Do It All Again”

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Hana Brooks
“Used To Be”

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80/20 Records Celebrates 10 Years of Music [Interview with Mike Zimmerlich]

by Carly Schorman

The music industry has set the standard for giving artists a raw deal, but a decade has passed since Mike Zimmerlich set out to change all that with 80/20 Records. In the ten years since the local label has launched, Zimmerlich has worked with some of the Valley’s finest including Captain Squeegee, Dry River Yacht Club, Future Loves Past, Zero Zero, and other notables in the annals of Phoenix Music History.

This weekend, 80/20 Records will be celebrating their decennial anniversary with members of their roster both past and present. Captain Squeegee, Bear Ghost, Ben Anderson, 42 Eternal, and others will take over Last Exit Live on Saturday (more info here). To mark the occasion, Mike Zimmerlich took some time out of his schedule to answer our barrage of questions about running a record label and what’s next for 80/20 Records…

YabYum: So, when did you start 80/20 Records and what led you to that decision?

Mike Zimmerlich: I started 80/20 Records in March 2008. I’ve known I wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was 18 years old in high school after selling ‘yearbook DVDs’ to my fellow classmates.

When I was in college I had two notebooks, one for the classes I was taking and the other for any business ideas that popped into my head. I’ve always had a passion for technology and being a musician myself, playing trumpet, piano, and guitar, I wanted to find something that would pair my interests.

My first venture was a website where independent musicians could upload their music to internet radio stations that we hosted. After two years on the website, we launched a beta version and let our friends try it out. However, at that time, Pandora and last.FM became hugely popular so my partner and I decided to go in a different direction. That’s when out of the blue my partner suggested starting a record label.

At the time I was watching closely on the articles being written about the RIAA suing people for illegally downloading music and how some record labels were mistreating their artists. I told my partner that I didn’t just want to start any label, I wanted to create a record label that would be a role model for the music industry where our priorities were to treat our artists, their fans, and music consumers with fairness and respect. That’s when I suggested what if we gave back 80% to our artists, hence the name 80/20 Records.

I love the concept behind the label’s creation. Can you tell us a little more about how it works? What can artists expect by way of support for that 20%?

80/20 Records is an independent record label and management company. On the label side we handle music and music video releases. Until you drop an album as a musician you don’t realize how much work is involved. We help with making sure everything is uploaded correctly to digital stores and streaming services, ordering CDs, vinyl, etc. and shipping them, scheduling the release in conjunction with marketing and press, getting the music ready for placement opportunities in film and television, and many other things.

On the management side we handle the artist’s career overall, things like finding them opportunities like performances and partnering with companies, help on tour planning, overall branding and marketing, and finding other people such as PR agencies, booking agents, and so on to make the ultimate team for the artist.

Also, forgive my ignorance, but how is the 80/20 breakdown different from other labels out there?

Usually, independent record labels will do a 50/50 split.

I see that Captain Squeegee is currently on your label. They’re quite the heavy-hitters and always seem to go big on albums and music videos (of course). What prompted the partnership between Captain Squeegee and 80/20?

Funny story! Captain Squeegee has been on my radar for a long time. In fact, I found out about them when checking out bands on MySpace. However I never ended up seeing them perform live. Four years later one of my colleagues, Jason Shoff, suggested we meet up with them.

So we got together in their rehearsal space and when we got there the space had NSFW material all over the walls, which I found out later was an inside joke with other bands in the space. All of them were extremely nice and enthusiastic but still wasn’t 100% sure if they were a right fit.

So, finally, I got a chance to see them perform at Crescent Ballroom with the ASU Jazz Band. Immediately I fell in love with this band and knew whatever it took I would help them get into the studio to record their next album. That album was To The Bardos!.

Captain Squeegee has been an absolute pleasure to work with, every single member of the band has always shown their appreciation and commitment. This is one of the most crucial keys to success and I’m very grateful to have them as part of the 80/20 family.

Looks like 80/20 has a pretty stellar back catalogue as well, including the bands Future Loves Past and Dry River Yacht Club. What do you look for in artists you are considering signing?

When looking for an artist there are always two major things I look for. First, the music has to be something that I feel is something that I can work with. If I don’t believe in the music being a right fit it’s difficult to do my job for the artist. It’s also something that I need to like.

Second, there has to be chemistry between myself and the artist. Trust is so important because the artist is literally entrusting their music and their careers with the work that I do. That’s why I usually like to meet up with the artist a couple of times or have worked with them before either on a show or some other collaboration before making a decision.

Now that we’re coming up on the 10 year anniversary of the label, can you share with us any highlights from your musical journey that really stand out for you?

My fondest memories are some of the smallest ones. One time one of my artists, 42 Eternal, whom are doing a special reunion for the show, were hanging out at the lead singer’s house.

The band had a new song and wanted to play for me. I was sitting in the center of the room and they performed acoustically this incredible ballad that almost had me to tears. It was such a beautiful song and I had the honor of being there while they were performing it for one of the first times. They never ended up performing that song live.

Another moment I was hanging out with Danny from Captain Squeegee and he turned to me and said “I have something for you”. Then, he puts down a toy bus and says, “I just want to let you know how serious we are about touring.” From that moment I knew we were a match!

What do you suggest bands do when looking for a label? Any specific pointers for folx looking to land on your roster?

My best suggestion when looking for a label is to put yourself in a position where the label comes to you. I would be lying if I said we don’t look at social media numbers, streams, previous sales from albums, attendance at shows, etc.

A record label is best useful for an artist who already has something they are bringing to the table and the label can help them get to the next level. In the meantime, learn as much as you possibly can, write just as often, and build up your numbers across the board. There are people out there that are more than happy to mentor upcoming artists, including fellow artists. Not to mention workshops, webinars, etc.

Specifically for us, look at our current roster and see if your music is a good fit. Be brutally honest with yourself if the production is at least on par with the material on our label. If you feel it is, we are always more than happy to listen. Bottom line, most of the artists I’ve signed, I’ve approached them. I’ve seen them at shows either performing with my other artists, was recommended to check them out by a colleague, or they keep on appearing in press. If other people are talking about you, that’s the best way for me to know there’s something there.

What’s in your next ten-year-plan for 80/20 Records? What can folks look forward to?

Our ten-year plan is to expand our team so we can do even more for artists in the future. One of the exciting aspects of running your own business is you really don’t know what lies ahead ten years down the line. It may look very different then! However, our core is always to adapt to the needs of the artists and how people are experiencing music. In the immediate future, we have a lot of incredible things we are announcing and launching in 2018. In fact a couple of them we will be sharing at the 10th Anniversary Show!

Make plans to attend the 80/20 Records’ 10th Anniversary celebration at Last Exit Live this coming Saturday February 24 with Captain Squeegee, Bear Ghost, Ben Anderson, 42 Eternal, and MORE!

5 Soulful Singles to Inspire You on a Drab Day

Heart Society

“Rocket”

Teneia Sanders-Eichelberger and Benjamin Eichelberger, the married duo behind Heart Society, called the Valley home not too long ago and they have the Phoenix New Times awards to prove it. In 2015, they cashed out and bought a trailer to take their musical message to the road. Fast forward a few years and Heart Society emerged from Mississippi with their rock-fueled soul-sound. “Rocket” comes to us from the duo’s forthcoming release, Wake the Queens, which is due out later this week!

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Lando Chill + The Lasso

“Golden”

Lando Chill (who won our award for Best HipHop Album in 2017) is back without another innovative approach to the genre. For māyā. maia. mayu, which came on February 2, Lando Chill teamed up with another Tucson artist, The Lasso. A mellow musicality sets the atmospheric vibe for the lyrical ruminations. “Golden” is only the first track on māyā. maia. mayu so start here but don’t stop. Meander through the six songs on this EP when you have time to leisurely lay back and indulge the listening experience.

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Jareth

“Kaleidoscope”

The London-based vocalist Jareth has shared “Kaleidoscope”, the first single from her debut solo EP. Jareth’s voice has a ponderous heft to it as she guides the listeners through a dreamy, if overcast, aural landscape. What else should one expect when an artist plumbs “the depths of one’s subconsciousness” for creativity and clarity. Moonchild, Jareth’s new EP, is due out later this year through Moonshot Records so follow the artist to stay up-to-date on the new EP.

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DAVESTATEOFMIND

“Pull Up”

Houston’s David Byers makes music under the moniker DAVESTATEOFMIND. The singer-songwriter-rapper brings all this talents together on his new single, “Pull Up”. Combining HipHop and Soul, DAVESTATEOFMIND offers a chill take on modern romance. This is a new artist on the R&B scene but some wave-making potential is definitely there.

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Sophie Faith x Midnight Phunk

“Say So”

We have another team up project. This one comes from London songbird, Sophie Faith, and Midnight Phunk. “Say So” keeps the instrumental end interesting without cluttering the soundscape which gives Faith plenty of breathing room for her spacious vocals. And, as the lyrics takes a reflective look at a relationship now lost, the emotive energy feels authentic in its delivery on this Jazz-Soul fusion.

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7 Mellow + Eclectic Music Videos

Kat Wright
“Come Dance”

This single comes to us from Kat Wright’s debut LP, By My Side. The Vermont songbird has a sultry sound that calls to mind London Soul, but “Come Dance” is a joyous declaration. And the music video really captures the exuberance of the song.

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John Isaac Watters
“Train for the Desert”

This track comes to us from John Isaac Watters’ three-song EP, Past Hope Now, which accompanies “a desert triptych film made in collaboration with Anthony Nikolchev and Gema Galiana.” The LA-based songwriter once called Tucson home and you can hear that Western amble in “Train for the Desert”.

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reSouza
“Your Melody” 

To create her unique indie sound, Brazilian-Norwegian singer-songwriter reSouza draws from two different musical traditions: folk and bossa nova. “Your Melody” definitely leans more to the former as reSouza creates very visceral moments with the emotive energy of her voice. She draws you into the song while the video draws you into the idle winter of Norway.

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Sandy Scribbles
“Kaytranada”

I feel like I should have some sort of drug in my system when I watch Sandy Scribbles’ new music video. Maybe it’s because of the strangely compelling animated narrative of the video itself or maybe its the chill soundscape that carries the listener through “Kaytranada”. All I’m saying, drugs or not, this video is pretty dope.

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The Singer and The Songwriter
“Wild Heart”

The music video for “Wild Heart” features some spectacular choreography from Daly City’s urban dance team, The Company, to help convey the powerful message of this this orchestral indie-folk number. The duo from California known simply as The Singer and The Songwriter first shared “Wild Heart” on the band’s EP, DIRECTIONS, which came out in October.

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Natalia Marrokin
“Go Down & Go Down”

Natalia Marrokin is one to watch out for. She won a scholarship to Berklee College of Music and, upon graduating, set to work on her first album. “Go Down & Go Down” is one of the tracks from that release and it showcases Marrokin’s retro blend of jazz and soul in her voice and in the songs that she writes.

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 Wulf
“All Things Under the Sun”  

Wulf made a name for himself in his native Netherlands  after appearing on the summer smash single, “Summer On You”, back in 2016. Now the artist is ready for that solo smash with “All Things Under the Sun”. The music videos sweeping cinematography is well-matched to the uplifting charge of the single.

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