A calling card of The Mad Sugars‘ chief songsmith Adam Lawrence is intention. His diligence and attention to detail comes through in every facet of the band’s platform — including the concepts behind their infectious garage rock dance pop hits.
Today, we welcome Adam back to the show for the first time since early in our OG run in 2013. We discuss the band’s evolution, and the personal and professional growth comes with it.
This episode of The Quinn Spinn was recorded and produced at Helping Our Music Evolve, Nashville, TN.
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!
From Nairobi to Nashville (and plenty of places in between), alt-rockers Lone Tree have a knack for delivering relatable concepts on top of an eclectic sound; one which runs an international gamut of musical perspectives.
Their latest single, “Holding On,” hits the mark yet again. On top of these infectious grooves, funk-influenced guitar shredding, and a potent melody resides a message of two young lovers yearning to make things work — despite the relational challenges they’ve yet to overcome.
“‘Holding On’ is about two broken hearts attempting to repair the love they once had. That love is still very much there, but it’s been damaged by both people in different ways,” said guitarist Patrick Sanders. “Although they’re hurt, their love is eternal, and they will always keep holding on to what they have.”
The band’s palpable chemistry is on full display on this track. It’s no surprise, then, that “Holding On” came to fruition in the studio very quickly.
“‘Holding On’ one of those few songs whose melody, rhythm, and message came together very naturally,” Sanders said. “Largely autobiographical, most of the song was written on the same day. In fact, within the same hour.”
If you’ve ever fought for love, you’ll relate. Check out “Holding On” below!
“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.
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!
We all have those people in our lives who drift in and out. We don’t know when, and we don’t know where, but we know our paths will cross again.
However, that doesn’t make missing them any easier.
Quickdraw Kid visits that topic on “Bittersweet Tennessee,” their final single before the release of their debut, full-length album this Friday, December 1. The song was written after their bandmate Cesar Alva-Cano — with whom they formed Quickdraw Kid as students at Middle Tennessee State University — moved to California. While the single’s wistful undercurrent represents the process of letting go, sweet memories bring about a sense of optimism as the song progresses, as these old friends look forward to reuniting down the road.
“(Bittersweet Tennessee) is the story of missing someone who can’t stay in one place, but always knowing you’ll find your way back to one another again,” the band said.
Sonically, the tune hearkens to 90s and turn-of-the-millennium alt-rock, with guitar tones reminiscent of early Weezer (that outro has “Sweater Song” vibes all over it) and a poignant, Jimmy Eat World-esque melody.
If that sounds like your jam, why not check out “Bittersweet Tennessee” below?
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!