Last holiday season, our community gave so generously to us during our Underground Rising campaign.
This holiday season, we’re giving the love right back!
Beginning this Monday, December 11 and continuing through the holiday season, the UMC Giving Tree will bear gifts for all who seek to enjoy its splendors. We’re offering giveaways, discounts, and special offers to thank you for another tremendous year of support and growth!
We’ve always known Donny Apollo to share from a vulnerable place. The hip hop artist, producer, and Nashville native has courageously overcome addiction, homelessness, heartbreak, and more; and has never shied away from leaning on his experiences to help others navigate theirs.
With that being said, Donny’s latest single, “811 Freestyle,” sees him open up about his own mental health journey like never before. Through soulful, stream-of-consciousness verses, Donny recalls a traumatic experience involving a relapse — and the recovery process, which includes finding the strength to put out this track to speak on his struggles.
“This is the first single I feel I’ve been this vulnerable within my music. I’ve been through a lot, and harboring this one for a while,” he said in an Instagram post. “I hope you hear me. I hope you understand.”
This time, lead vocal duties are left entirely to The Sugar Cubes — the vocal quartet of Angela Wright, Allyson Rogers, Gracie Calvaneso, and Chelcie Jette. Meanwhile, lead songsmith Adam Lawrence lends support on guitar, drums, and the tune’s famously siiiick bass line.
“As joyous as the Christmas season can be, it can be just as exhausting. In modern life, the year feels like little more than 11 straight months of hustling with a faint promise of some time to relax when December rolls around… until you remember all the parties, family gatherings, and gift exchanges that are set to take place, and all that unfinished business you were trying to get to throughout the year might just have to wait a bit longer,” Lawrence said in an Instagram post. “Even with that hanging around in the back of your mind, the Christmas season still comes with plenty of magic, so you never know what might happen. That’s why I chose to cover ‘Christmas Wrapping’ as The Mad Sugars’ first Christmas release. It’s a song that best captures both the stress and the joy of Christmas in the modern world and it’s as relevant as ever.”
Rounding out the lineup are Sam Ferrara (saxophone), Emmanuel Echem (trumpet), and Curtis Erdek on keyboards and percussion.
Check it out as you head out to your holiday parties… or, as you decide to stay home, and skip the bells and whistles this year. It’s up to you!
“I used to be a zombie Strolling ‘round in a haze My skin a greying pallor An unrelenting thirst for brains, But now I’ve seen revival Like Lazarus come back to life Yet still I feel uneasy As I move forward into the light.”
Brandon Padier & Black Gold, “Still Learning”
Ever feel a sense of renewal so strong, that it’s like you’ve come back from the dead?
If so, you might dig “Still Learning,” the latest single from San Antonio-based Americana outfit Brandon Padier & Black Gold. Inspired by the Biblical figure Lazarus, Padier created a narrator “as a person once dead, now coming back to life.” Our protagonist illustrates the process of learning to live again — this time, as a new person with a new outlook.
Sounds like the perfect soundtrack for those getting an early jump on the “New Year, New Me” hype!
“Still Learning” is Padier’s first release alongside Black Gold, and is from the forthcoming album, Kintsugi (Release date: Dec. 15, 2023). It was recorded and mixed at Studio E (San Antonio, TX) by Brant Sankey, and mastered at Civilian Audio (San Antonio, TX) by Chris Cline.
Shawney Rainne is a bona fide artist-preneur! The singer, performer, and clothing designer is known for her relentless creative spirit, and her ability to embrace all sides of herself as she continues to develop her artistry.
Shawney’s EP, ‘Alter Ego,’ reflects that embrace, and the choice each of us has to create harmony between our different personas. We discuss this, artistry as a business, and much more!
This episode of The Quinn Spinn was recorded and produced at Helping Our Music Evolve, Nashville, TN.
We’re no strangers to featuring Soheill here at Underground Music Collective. Several of his cuts have made previous editions of our UMC20 playlist, and we even reviewed his 2020 single, “Can’t Stop Thinking,” riiiight over here.
Through the years, Soheill’s sound and affinity for sonic experimentation have evolved. This fall, he took a turn toward the darkness by unveiling his new darkwave project, Leather Baby.
The project’s debut single, “Weapons,” take us on a steadfast march through the perils of the world. A methodical, yet persistent drumbeat underscores ominous, heavy synths which seem to loom larger as time ticks away.
However, underneath many layers of darkness, “Weapons” offers a message of hope. Listen closely to the lyrics, and you will uncover the story of a love and commitment so strong, that it can weather any storm.
A perk of joining our UMC UnderDogs community is the opportunity to connect with independent musicians and creatives all over the world. One way we provide is through our Monday Night Mastermind calls. On the first and third Monday of every month, our Monday Night Mastermind provides you with an opportunity to share your goals, find solutions to your challenges, and develop your ideas in a setting with like-minded, creative entrepreneurs.
We’re starting these up in December. As our holiday gift to you, we want to give you the first month on us!
We invite you to join our Monday Night Mastermind on December 4 and December 18for the price of on the house. That’s right — you don’t need to pay, and you don’t need to join right away. Just come on in and experience the community first-hand!
Just tell us your name and where to send your invitation below, and you’re in. See you at the Mastermind!
By this point, we’ve had a chance to get to know Philly-based electronica producer JASCE quite well through her music. Her artful production style — employing rich EDM sounds influenced by her classical training on violin — creates enchanting, thoughtful tunes for the music lover in all of us.
Her latest single, “Another Way,” sets a brilliant tone for this time of year. Hushed vocals sweep in like the winter wind over shimmering, glitchy piano tones and bellowing bass drops, creating an atmosphere as vibrant as holiday lights illuminating the season’s first snowfall.
“The sound is intimate yet large, driving yet vulnerable,” JASCE notes. “It’s a hopeful and determined love song about wanting another way to love you. It’s a celebration of music and living.”
Celebrate life this holiday season with “Another Way.” Get a taste below!
Nobody among us lives a flawless existence. For that reason, Court Taylor wants us to put all of the gossip to bed.
On “You, The Devil, and Me,” the Georgia-born country singer uses her timeless voice to take a stand for everyday people trying to live their lives — even among the whispers of the peanut gallery.
“This song is speaking out against small town gossip. So many times, the rumor mill starts to turn, and people pass judgment on the situations of others around them,” Taylor said. “At the end of the day, everyone is just trying to survive, and provide themselves and their families with the best lives possible.”
The song borrows its title from the Southern phrase, “keep that between you, the Devil, and me.” According to Taylor, the phrase is commonly used “when you’re talking about someone or a situation that is usually none of your business.” From there, Taylor and her co-writers — Kipper Lee Linville, Michael Saleta, and Mike Meiners — built the song around relatable, hypothetical small-town scenarios.
“Everyone has that person they know who maybe had poor relationships, ended up with children, and had to give up their dreams to support them,” Taylor said. “Everyone knows someone who had a promising future, but then got caught up in drugs.”
Which side are you on, as the rumor mill turns? Reflect on that, as you check out “You, The Devil, and Me” below!
OK, we’re just a little excited. Can you blame us?
Nonetheless, there’s still an entire musical world outside of our hometown at our fingertips, and we want to be sure we remain tapped in to all that is happening elsewhere. Fortunately, we did just re-launch a music blog, and the indie musicians of Earth have responded by giving us plenty of choice cuts to sink our teeth into.
Here are just a few of those selections. It’s time to HEAR WHAT YOU SHOULD!
Artist: Jon Worthy Song: Things Are Looking Up Genre: Alt-Pop Why You Should Hear It: At first blush, it sounds like Worthy is flexing his pop muscles on “Things Are Looking Up.” Keep listening, however, and you’ll behold an artist painting from a multicolored palette. Cosmic keys and a steady-marching vocal cadence give this single the alternative edge you may expect from the likes of MGMT and Grouplove, while funk-infused guitars weave around a pulsing backbeat to give the listener a reason to dance.
As for the message? Worthy had this to say: “It’s a tough atmosphere to be an artist today, with constantly being able to compare yourself against other artists on social media. While it’s a good thing to measure yourself and what you’re doing compared to other people, it can be extremely overwhelming to see people potentially doing better than you, and doing things you wish you were doing. ,Things Are Looking Up, is about trying to cut off that negative energy and look on the bright side; dropping the bad emotions for positivity and reflecting on a difficult journey, but remaining hopeful for the future.
Artist: The MOTOR CONTROL Song: Get Down! Genre: Indie Rock Why You Should Hear It: Have you ever wanted someone you can’t have? The Motor Control’s Eric Deneen has, and here, he captures the hopeless optimism of a man aiming to please the apathetic object of his affection.
Sonically, “Get Down” delivers a strong hook; Deneen’s vocals pack a reverb-kissed punch on top of an infectious groove that captivates from the opening bell. All in all, it’s a fun modern rock offering!
Artist: Ren Richards Song: Myself With You Genre: Indie Rock/Alternative Why You Should Hear It: Built on a foundation of turn-of-the-Milliennium alternative sensibility, and made all the more enchanting with clever dashes of indie pop and Americana influence throughout, “Myself With You” appeals to listeners across a variety of tastes — and to anybody who finds themselves learning to love again.
Got something you think we should hear? What are you waiting for?! Shoot it our way, and you could be featured in an upcoming edition of Songs You Should Hear!