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MUSIC

Filtering by Category: Indie

Both Sides of the Ceiling - First Listen Album Review

Kiara Ramirez

By Kiara Ramirez

Duncan Fellows  - “Both Sides of the Ceiling” - cover art by  Anna McCaleb

Duncan Fellows - “Both Sides of the Ceiling” - cover art by Anna McCaleb

Indie rock band Duncan Fellows’s debut album “Both Sides of the Ceiling” has a total playtime of 38 minutes. In these 38 minutes you get to temporarily experience a peaceful rainy day vibe. This 10-track album delivers indie music coupled with unique lyricism. Based out of Texas, Duncan Fellows released their album in 2017.

“Fresh Squeezed” is a track that you can play as the first song to start your day. Its easygoing cheerful melody makes it hard to feel downhearted, and instead fills your mind with possibilities. “I shuffle across the carpet in my loafers. Brought some water to a boil, at low heat. I made some eggs and burnt 'em all. My OJ was fresh squeezed, baby.”

Duncan Fellows - Fresh Squeezed (Official Video)

The music video for “Coffins” made me feel nostalgic, even though I had never heard this song before. I enjoyed watching it and thought that both the video and song enriched each other in it's presentation.

Duncan Fellows - Coffins (Official Video)

In short, “Both Sides of the Ceiling” is an album which could be listened to entirely under an hour, while enjoying every minute of it.

High School Was Awhile Ago - A Nostalgic Playlist by KBR

Kassandra Ramirez

By KBR

Photo of Me, Marquez, and Gabby in High School

Photo of Me, Marquez, and Gabby in High School

High School was awhile ago now. I graduated college less than six months ago, and the time that has passed is starting to sink in. Times have changed and it is time for me to bloom as an individual and artist.

Because of a horrible experience with my apartment complex in Flagstaff that made me sick for months, I had to move back down to the valley abruptly. However, I feel as if all of this may be happening for a reason. In ways, it feels like my dream is manifesting itself by forcing me to move down to a more populated area.

Being back here has me reminiscing of my adolescence, before I left to Flagstaff. When thinking back, I constantly hear the music I listened to in high school. Because of the nostalgic vibes I have been feeling, I created a playlist and wanted to share because it takes me to a beautiful time in my life before I had to face the responsibilities of adulthood. This playlist is full of some of my favorite indie, alternative, and pop-rock tracks, and I hope you all enjoy; I know I do.

Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” Album Cover

Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” Album Cover

Walk the Moon’s Self Titled Album Cover

Walk the Moon’s Self Titled Album Cover

Toward the end of my high school career, I was inspired by artist Lorde for the first time, and constantly listening to Hozier’s album in my last semester of high school. At one point, I remember listening to Walk the Moon’s track “Anna Sun” and running through the sprinklers with my friends thinking it was the last time I was going to be a kid. While it makes me a little sad knowing so much time has passed, I am forever grateful that the music I bumped at that age will always bring be back to this carefree moment in time.

Psilosapiens Performing at the 3rd Annual 4/20 Bash in Flagstaff, AZ

Kassandra Ramirez

By KBR

After this interview, I am convinced that the number of rising artists with the intention of love and peace is growing in Arizona. Art allows the self to express and when there are people expressing the emotions of what it means to be human and being grateful for the experience, it is obvious art can be a beautiful way to negate the negativity. When first listening to Psilosapiens, my first impression showed me an eclectic group would evoke love in their music, and would like to shed light on good music. If you feel like it could be your vibe, I would suggest checking out a show and following them on all platforms as soon as possible.

When scrolling past one of their recent posts on Instagram, I took a listen to their newest single at the time, “We Are,” and after just a moment of listening to the track, I was impressed. After listening to “We Are” just once, the melody of the track got stuck in my head, and I quickly became a fan of the trio.

The Psilosapiens’ sound is a beautiful blend of a variety of genres. “The Psilosapiens fuse hip hop, rap, loopers, synthesizers, didgeridoos, flutes, guitars, violins” and their positive and poetic lyrics to create a one-of-a-kind vibrating sound. Luckily, I was successful at landing an interview with Stefan, Cooper, and Summer, where I learned more about the band’s story of origin and inspiration. If you’re in Northern Arizona and itching for an unheard sound, watch and listen to The Psilosapiens perform this Saturday on April 20th at Cornish Pasty’s 3rd Annual 4/20 Bash. You will not be disappointed!

Psilosapiens - Photo by  KBR

Psilosapiens - Photo by KBR

Interview has been edited for clarity

How did The Psilosapiens come together?

We met spent 6 months traveling back to Flagstaff, AZ from the Eclipse festival in Oregon. We spent most of our time living out of Stefan’s van. “It went surprisingly well. The van’s name is Whitney the White Whale. We all slept in separate places and just traveled in my van. All of our stuff was in my van; it was pretty crazy (Stefan)." “Stuff got lost in crevices we didn't even know existed and they were lost forever (Summer).”

After the Eclipse festival, we traveled to hot springs and waterfalls. “During this, we even ended up having to escape a forest fire that was less than a mile away. There was 200 people there, ages 2-80. We go off to set up a slack-line over the water and we suddenly hear Cooper say “holy fuck” and there’s smoke in the air that looks less than a mile away. During this panicking moment, a helicopter then drops a crossed out “EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY”replaced by a new message saying “DANGEROUS, STAY PUT (Stefan).”

“We Are” by Psilosapiens

While you were escaping the forest fire, did you think you might die?

“Oh yeah, in one moment, I saw a wall of flames about two football fields away from me and the animal in me told me ‘yep, I am going to die (Summer)’”.

Everyone in the whole group of people ended up okay which is crazy. We ended up hiking nearly 13 miles throughout the night, which was so cool. We got to see a beautiful waterfall late at night. It was glowing. We were probably one of the only few people who got to see that.

It’s pretty cool because before this all happened, Cooper was playing a new song, “Here We Go” as we were hiking in one day, and we were all just jamming out. I feel like it helped everyone stay calm during the panic.

Psilosapiens - Photo by  KBR

Psilosapiens - Photo by KBR

What is your favorite artistic medium?

Cooper: Before The Psilosapiens, I was a painter. I also knew the didgeridoo and started playing guitar. I started to create music as a form of healing. I picked up a loop pedal, then got a bigger pedal. I also play violin, Native American flute, and beatbox.

Summer: Initially, my weapon of choice was dance. I have been dancing for over 15 years. I started painting in college. Now I sing, and even rap. My artistic medium definitely moved from movement to auditory art. Singing is definitely my favorite right now.

Stefan: Writing has always been a huge passion of mine. I also enjoy rapping, music, and dancing.

Why the name “The Psilosapiens?”

Psilosapiens stands for “psilocybin homosapiens.”

Are The Psilosapiens working on an album?

We have enough songs for an album but we don’t have enough recorded songs for an album. We have two singles out right now, “We Are” and “Peace, Love, & Unit,” and are currently working on songs. Our newest song “Hare Krishna” will be released soon on all platforms.

Psilosapiens (Stefan Dragic, Cooper Montgomery, and Summer Barbone) - Photo by  KBR

Psilosapiens (Stefan Dragic, Cooper Montgomery, and Summer Barbone) - Photo by KBR

What can fans expect from you in 2019?

Our fans expect videos, a website, more shows, and more music.

You can also expect more fundraisers. We’ve raised $2500 so far in Flagstaff for non-profit organizations. The first one was for DACA and the second was for Taala Hooghan.

Any words for people listening to your music?

Our intention is to inspire peace, love, and unity through diversity.

Psilosapiens Performing This Saturday at 8pm at Cornish Pasty in Flagstaff, AZ

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Vlad Holiday Plays SXSW

Kassandra Ramirez

by KBR

My favorite quality about music is the beautiful variety of sounds and styles that musicians create. While it often seems as if we only hear of a few musicians on the radio and in the media, there are many artists all over who are creating art and building a connection to their audience and fans. Recently, I have felt a connection to music made by alternative pop artist Vlad Holiday.

After discovering Vlad Holiday on Contagion’s music blog last year in a feature written by Riley Tiernan, I quickly became a fan of his distinct voice and nostalgic sound. I heard Holiday’s single “Like in the Movies” and felt an immediate connection to the feelings of late nights, chill vibes, and love stories. It immediately felt as if I had heard the song long ago, countless times.

Vlad Holiday’s style is effortless and smooth; it is a joyful experience I happily fall into every time I take a listen. If you’re not convinced yet, listen to more of Vlad Holiday’s singles, like “Artificial Paradise” and “Bad Influence.” I promise the quality won’t disappoint.

Vlad Holiday - Photo by Chaunté Vaughn

Vlad Holiday - Photo by Chaunté Vaughn

This interview has been edited for clarity

At what age did you start creating music? What made you want to start pursuing music as a serious career?

I was around 13/14 when I started messing around with writing songs. I didn’t start writing lyrics until much later, but those early days in my bedroom on a program called Fruity Loops was when I realized that I could do it myself too, rather than just be playing other people’s songs. I knew pretty early that this is what I’d be doing with my life.

What is your dream musical collaboration or project?

They’re all dead. However, it would be cool to collaborate or grab drinks with anyone that’s like minded and as passionate about music as I am. 


Do you produce all of your own music? How did you learn how to produce?

I do. Production came out of necessity for me. I didn’t have money to pay people to record my music, so I had to figure out how to do it myself- it was as simple as that. It escalated into something much more, where I needed to be able to express myself sonically as well... paint the full picture. I also produce and write music for friends sometimes. From local NYC bands like Public Access TV, Lissy Trullie, and Donald Cumming, to Australia’s Slum Sociable, to Bastian Baker whose latest album charted No. 2 on the charts in Switzerland as he was playing our songs in arenas every night. Producing music has become a great passion, maybe an obsession.

Watch the Official Music Video for “Artificial Paradise”

Who are your biggest music inspirations?

It’s hard to pinpoint because I love so many types of music for different reasons. Lately I’ve been digging into a lot of Roy Orbison’s early stuff, Lou Reed, Dylan, Cash, Serge Gainsbourg... that kind of darker anti-hero persona.

My current music is inspired by a lot of female fronted groups like Beach House, Mazzy Star, early Lykke Li. People have compared me to Lana del Rey. So many others that have gotten me to where I am today-I feel like everything that’s touched my ears has influenced me and my taste, whether it was jaw dropping or absolute garbage.

How would you describe your solo sound compared to the sound of Born Cages? How has it evolved since going solo?

I would say it’s just a different vibe, more understated. With my old band Born Cages I was all about writing big songs with big production, positive messages tinged with bits of realness and melancholy. My new stuff is just trying to create a different mood. Born Cages was like a big daytime party and my solo stuff is the more intimate late-night afterparty.

Vlad Holiday - Photo by Chaunté Vaughn

Vlad Holiday - Photo by Chaunté Vaughn

Can you give us insight into your song-writing/song-producing process? How long does a single typically take to create from conception to the finished product?

It’s always changing. I don’t love having a process to the point where it fees mechanical. I need the freedom to experiment every step of the way.

How does releasing song single by single influence your process compared to releasing a whole album?

The single by single process has been super convenient for me. The more time I spend doing this, the more I realize that I need to put myself first and release music on my own terms. If I’m not happy or satisfied with my art, why even do it at all. I want it to be in the moment. This has been the most relaxed I’ve felt - if I get super inspired I can pretty much release a song right away and not worry too much about anything else. I feel like that is how music should be made.

Listen to Vlad Holiday’s newest single, “Bad Influence”

What are some of your goals in your music career? What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

My only goal is to keep doing what I do without compromising the integrity just to be able to put food on the table or sleep indoors. Everything else is noise. Fans can expect that I’ll keep doing this until I physically can’t anymore.


How do you feel being on stage versus performing to yourself?

Being on stage is everything. Without the human interaction, the job starts to feel like it’s not real. Like you’re just an insane person mixing words and sounds for no explicable reason. Doing it with people there is the explanation.




Don’t miss Vlad Holiday’s live performances this upcoming week in Austin, TX. On Wednesday, Vlad Holiday will be playing at the SXSW conference and festival. Additional featured artists at SXSW include Japanese Breakfast, Vaarwell, Billie Eilish and Khalid. Purchase your tickets for SXSW now!

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