The Music Mag: Unsigned UK Music News, Reviews & Promotion
The Music Mag is proud to showcase a very special talent; a lovely lady by the name of Dana McKeon has begun to take the UK (and European) beatboxing scene by storm. However, one of the things that sets Dana apart from many other beatboxers is her beautiful singing voice and guitar skills.
Her highly anticipated debut EP ‘Street Art’ is due for release this month.
Labelled as Malta’s international beatbox pinoeer, Dana McKeon was ranked 5th at the 2012 Beatbox World Championships and more recently became female Vice-Champion at the 2012 and 2013 UK Beatbox Championships.
Her music can be described as is a unique genre-fusion, showcasing her stunning beatboxing techniques, a melodic voice, mixed with multi-instrumentalisation. Dana’s musical ventures have taken around the world, with performances ranging from intimate, high-profile acoustic gigs to large-scale concerts and festivals. Some of her performances include performing at the 2012 Paralympics and at the Duke of Edinburgh Award Forum – in front of Prince Edward and the president of Malta.
Following launch events in London and Malta, Dana has just released her EP ‘Street Art’, along a the single by the same name:
The song features a blend of Dana’s trademark beatboxing, singing, complemented by an original music video highlighting alternative forms of art such as Reverse Graffiti and UV Graffiti/Body Art.
The music video for ‘Street Art’ is based around reverse graffiti, which is an innovation art form spreading across the globe. It involves the removal of dust/grime from a dirty surface to create an image, in the video the image created is a beautiful garden by cleaning a wall in a main road. The English artist, Paul Curtis aka Moose, used a power washer and hand-made stencils to carry out Malta’s first large-scale Reverse Graffiti project. Not only was this a visually pleasing project, the work sent out a strong message about pollution and legal alternatives to vandalism.
The Maltese beatboxing sensation is now gearing up for a summer full of gigs and festivals, plus a couple more big collaborations/releases in the coming months. Find out more on her Facebook & Twitter pages.
Walter Lee Younger (Extraordinaire) was born in Nashville, TN, earning his stripes out of Chattanooga, TNA – which is where he’s currently based. Having spent most of his summers in Atlanta music became his heartbeat and he participated in plays, talent shows and even appearing on television on Lou Rawls’ UNCF hosted telathon.
Extraordinaire is a producer, songwriter, hustler, one half of the group Black Folk Inc and founding member of Circa 94 Beats. He has an ‘anything goes’ approach to his music, which is often shown in his raw sound stating if “it sounds good, feels good, it’s music”.
His success as part of Black Folk Inc launched his career in production to the next level. He began producing music for artists signed to labels including Atlantic, Sony and SRC, as well as having an opportunity to work with Lil Wayne, but a tragedy ripped the opportunity away from him.
Younger turned his attention to the hip hop collective Circa 94 Beats with an aim to rebuild and come back stronger – releasing several projects, including records released on the Serious Knock Entertainment label.
“I Love doing music for the sake of art’s sake and creating new sounds…that is my Walter Lee artistic side… but the Extraordinaire side of me will always be competitive and go HARD when it comes to making music!”
Marla Mase has released her new EP ‘Half-Life’. At once confrontational and completely vulnerable, the EP’s name was taken from a quote by Junot Diaz; ‘the half-life of love is forever’.
When questioned about ‘Half-Life’ Marla said “I wanted to go back to the personal. They say you can find the universal in the personal.”
Marla Mase is a New York based singer, songwriter and producer, known for her provocative, raw performance style and intelligent lyrics. Her music ranges from rock n’ roll to experimental spoken word, funk and punk rock. She is backed by the Tomás Doncker Band. When touring in China, Marla was invited by Friends of the UN to perform for UN GLOBAL PEACE DAY in Linzhou City, where she was given an honorary “Messenger of Peace” award for her visionary work as a songwriter and performing artist. The Huffington Post featured her in 2013, saying “her feisty message of peace and perhaps wake up the beast in all of us.”
Marla released “SPEAK Deluxe” on Feb 28, 2013, a 16 track CD containing human rights and feminist perspectives. AnnaRexia is spearheading the StayImperfect Project or Love Your Butt Campaign, which Marla created to empower women to love themselves and their bodies. Proceeds from AnnaRexia go towards theprojectheal.org, a non-profit founded by two teenage eating disorder survivors, that raises funds for girls whose families cannot afford to send them to treatment.
Deanna Ross and Kevin Smith make up a beautiful folk duo by the name of The Jinxes. The real life couple are set to release their second E.P ‘We Create’ just two weeks before their wedding.
The Monterey Bay act are fans of trying to encourage others to allow their creativity flow as well. Ross, herself a longtime dance teacher and choreographer says “I meet plenty of people who think they’re not creative, but it’s never true! Their creativity just hasn’t been realized or cultivated yet.”
Kevin Smith adds, “Mastery in the arts might take 10,000 hours, but getting started just takes courage.”
Listen to ‘We Create’:
The E.P contains 5 unreleased tracks: ‘My Butterfly’, ‘The Situation’, ‘Can You Hear It Ring?’, ‘We Create’ and ‘Which Way Do We Go Now?’ and will definitely satisfy fans and new listeners alike.
The E.P is beautiful from the get go, it includes inspiring and moving lyrics about creativity, love and aspiration: ‘We Create’ is a soothing and refreshing take on the folk scene today.
Everything about CoCo and the Butterfields should make you get up, tap your foot and sing along with well crafted, deep, yet insanely fun lyrics. Sung beautifully by the pitch perfect violinist Dulcima Showan and silvery sweet tones of Tomas Twyman, the band is completed by “Handsome” Rob Wicks on banjo, Jamie Smith on beatbox and Micah Hyson on the double bass.
Guitar, violin, double bass, banjo and beatboxing mixed together in one kick ass band by the name of Coco and The Butterfields
When something clicks, it clicks. No matter how strange it might seem to have violin, banjo, guitar, double bass and beat boxing simultaneously in a song, it works and it’s unique. The sound is so unique the band have set claim to a new style by the title of fip fok – which is essentially a well crafted combination of folk, hip hop and R&B.
Their most popular song to date goes by the title of ‘Warriors’, which comes alongside a creatively constructed video. It is the vocals, beatboxing, bass, violin and general crazily unique sound that unless you are made of steel, should get that toe-a-tapping:
“For we are warriors and warriors are not afraid to die!”
Coco and the Butterfields formed back in 2011. The Canterbury based musicians have spent many days performing cover songs on the streets of Kent, as well as throwing in a few original tracks that have developed in to something special.
Having won Live & Unsigned in 2012, the fearsome fivesome went on from strength to strength, having headlined some cracking festivals along the way – including a leading unsigned festival in Rome and lots of local festivals including Lounge on the Farm in the UK.
Make sure to follow CoCo and the Butterfields (Facebook & Twitter). The amount they’ve accomplished in the short time they’ve been together shows their potential and when they hit the big time the whole nation won’t know what’s hit them.
Gumshen began back in the mid 2000s out of a garage in North Seatle under the name Menthol James. Since then they recorded an E.P in 2007, changed their name and gone from strength to strength and have recently released ‘Progtronica‘.
Guitarist Jan Ciganik escaped from Communist Czechoslovakia in the 80′s, found success in the 90′s Seattle grunge scene playing with the acclaimed band Ventilator produced by John Cale. Eventually he met up with drummer Dennis McCoy and others to form Menthol James. After a few line-up changes they were joined on bass by actor/musician Ron Hippe (broadway theatrical credits, Northern Exposure, Caspar Babypants with Chris Ballew).
Listen to “Not everyone of us” below:
Sharing similar styles to the likes of Franz Ferdinand and Phoenix, along with influences of the legendary Pink Floyd, Gumshen offer a polished sound. The title of their new album ‘Progtronica’ actually sums up the sounds pretty well: imagine a progressive electronic rock and you have Progtronica!
A 2Tone ska sound might seem like a strange choice in the summer of 1995 when Umbrella Bed first assembled. After all the 2Tone ska sound was shortlived around 15 years prior and the ‘third wave’ genre of ska creates a much edgier ska sound.
Thirdwave ska is seen as a ska wih a more punk/grunge influence and has moved the sound away from the original 2Tone pop roots. But the short led lifespan of the genre has left a lot of room to explore – enter Umbrella Bed.
Five full length releases, hundreds of shows and two European tours later, the band who formed almost 20 years ago have sold out shows in France, supported the likes of The Skatalities, The Specials, English Beat and many others.
Umbrella Bed established a solid reputation both nationally and internationally and released their first full length album in 1996 called ‘King Size’. They followed it up with ‘Monkey’s and Rivets’, ‘Last Band Standing’, ‘On Small Skank’ and ‘Go’ – the last of which coming in 2008.
Kadia’s original style is a take on acoustic and contemporary folk. The band was created by Chris Bailey, and along with Lee Cuff and David Hoyland, Kadia have been going strong since January 2013. The Bournemouth based folk trio also like to involve other musicians in their music such as Hannah Claridge, Amy Tedwin-Roberts, Glen Shepherd and Steve Beck.
The vision for the band is to create original folk inspired acoustic-guitar-based music with a contemporary twist, to share around the country at gigs and festivals, with a view to support local bands and nationally recognised acts.
The E.P opener ‘Beacon Fires’ is available to listen to above. It features a nice mix of Irish folk and modern acoustic, not to mention very catchy and well-thought out lyrics.
The band came together from different musical backgrounds and have meshed their ideas to form a really strong folk sound. The differences in background seems to spur Kadia on, especially in their songwriting – making sure that the individual eclecticism shines through.
Chris has drawn his influence from the sounds of the acoustic guitarists signed to the CandyRat label and has a latin/jazz background. Lee is a classically trained musician, also self-taught, who specialises in a number of stringed instruments, including cello and lute and favours the baroque era. David, is the percussion genius, is the most recent addition to the group and lends his experience on a variety of percussion instruments; Drums, cajon, tabla, bongo, djembe and other percussion.
Amelia Scalies is a charting Indie Singer Songwriter from Pennsylvania, USA. Her lyrics focus mainly on humanistic and universal themes and her passionate writing and performances have moved audiences much older than her. At only 14 years of age she has just released her debut album ‘I Should’ve Known’, which features 11 original tracks and a cover of My Chemical Romance’s ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’.
The album ranges from a country and contemporary vibe to an alternative rock and pop-punk feel. Sounding like a cross between a young Sheryl Crow, Amelia Lily and Avril Lavigne, the 14 year old has definitely found her voice. Amelia Scalies has already performed live in New York, Philadelpdia, Washington, Wilmighton and Baltimore.
Many of the tracks on the album showcase the songwriting ability that Amelia can offer. The track ‘Don’t Let Them Win’ deals with the issue of bullying and aims to be an anthem for children impacted by it. The song helps to encourage children to speak up, whilst instilling an uplifting message.
If you’re looking for a new and up-coming female artist with a bit of bite then look no further than Amelia Scales. What’s next for this young shining artist? We’re not sure, but we can’t wait to find out.
Country songwriter Heidi Howe has toured nationally, placed first in the WAMZ battle of the bands, played huge concert halls and pitched songs in Nashville, but now she’s about to release her new album ‘Be Good’, which is due in February 2014.
The list of names that Howe has opened for reads like a who’s who of alternative country music. She’s opened for the likes of Todd Snider, Jason Ringenberg, Paul Thorn, Stacey Earle, The Be Good Tanyas, Rosie Flores, Jerry Douglas, Billy Joe Shaver, Holly Williams, Kim Richey, Tim Krekel, The Wood Brothers, and Tommy Womack, to name a few.
The lead single from ‘Be Good’ is called ‘Kind of Crazy’. It’s a slow, melodic country number which can be listened to below:
Heidi Howe’s alternative country sound began by singing songs with her dad and perhaps a little surprisingly by taking part in her mum’s church choir. Having burst on to the music scene back in 1998 with her live performance of Bob Dylan’s ‘Buckets of Rain’, she immediately began gaining attention for having such a big voice wrapped up in an awfully small package.
Follow Heidi on her website, Twitter and Facebook pages.
After releasing her debut album ‘Nature of My Wrongs’ in 1999 Howe has toured nationally and released music up until 2007. Returning after a 6 year hiatus Howe will not disappoint fans of country with her powerful and melodic sound.