LIVE PEAK – New! Hot Clips Vol. 2 and Upcoming Shows!

Why does it seem so long since we have all been able to get together and dance to a great live band? Probably because it has been. At least for us. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have only been to one large show in New York City (Bad Religion) and one smaller show nearby in Stanhope, outdoors (Twiddle). Mostly though we still watch from afar. Live streams, vlogged shows, live albums. I am not upset about it. Aside from being a little medically fragile, I have grown to quite enjoy ready access to cheap drinks and a clean bathroom with no line. However, I deeply miss that live energy. The palpable energy of a room full of people digging hard on the same grooves you are. Even better, a field full of people digging those grooves, dancing under the lights, the stars, feeling the sounds permeate their soul.

Since mandates have been lifted and large populations have been vaccinated, there is hope that some semblance of normalcy can resume in the world of music venues and shows. With COVID rolling on with less gusto but no sign of going away for good, we are cautiously emerging, vaccinated and sanitizing, from our caverns of sourdough bread making and working from home to gather again in the church of live music. And I’m here for it.  I crave that energy like a life force, and I long to feed that craving again on the regular.

I can’t wait to do it with one of my very favorite bands in recent years in just a few days…

This Friday, Brooklyn’s psychedelic indie funk quartet PEAK will be bringing us all out of the dark when they hit the Stanhope House in Stanhope, NJ with Uncle Stump. One of the most fun live bands I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know, PEAK brings fantastic songwriting and steady beat dance jams that will keep you moving until you think you might explode from the energy. Purely stated, they are a lively, fun live show put on by some of the most talented players in the scene and if you have not caught them yet, you need to be there. Don’t take my word for it – you are being given a preview!

In addition to live show news, I am delighted to bring you new music news! PEAK is back with the second installment of their Hot Clips series featuring selections from their summer and fall shows in 2021. Comprised of songs off their two previous studio albums, a few unreleased songs, and even a Mac Demarco cover, this selection of jams gives you a taste of what PEAK brings to the room when they show up and throw down. Songwriter and guitarist Jeremy Hilliard (Turbine), drummer Kito Bovenshulte (Particle), Josh T. Carter (Haley Jane and The Primates) on bass, and keyboardist Johnny Young (Mick Taylor Band) create this incredible collective of soaring jams, dance beats, and rock out moments captured in the Hot Clips series. PEAK is something spectacular to witness live with the kind of honest energy and songwriting that has been lacking in the jam scene in recent years. It’s one thing to be talented, but the songs are exceptionally written and the shows are the kind of fun that you just get lost in. It’s an experience. I feel like I throw PEAK at my readers a lot, but I have yet to have one come back to me anything other than floored by their experience with them. If you are new to PEAK, let Hot Clips, Vol. 2 be your introduction.

One of my very favorite PEAK tracks, especially live, kicks off the collection – Path Paved With Roses. It’s a track off the band’s last studio album, Choppy Water, that brings super fun danceable beats with singable lyrics. This version dissolves into a steady, trippy jam. There is also a gorgeous version of the track Starlight Child in this collection that brings a sick jam with ripping guitar and crazy heady bass over an insane blend of drums and keys before delicately dropping back into the chorus and finishing precise. Their cover of Mac Demarco’s Freaking Out The Neighborhood is a really fun version that highlights each ridiculously good player in this band. The solo’s flow from Johnny’s impossibly good key work into Jeremy’s guitar shred. The whole time, Kito is absolutely destroying the drums and Josh is absurdly ripping on bass. Then the jam kicks in – slow and spacy first and then picks up the pace. It climbs steadily, holds you for a minute, and freaking explodes in a righteous climax and it’s over. (The original version of this song has an amusing backstory that I encourage you to Google). This is one of my favorites to see PEAK do live. It freaking RIPS. 

Here is the track list for Hot Clips, Vol. 2:

Path Paved With Roses

Vanishing Skies

Run Me Down

In My Mind I’m Already Gone

Freaking Out the Neighborhood

Missionary Ridge

It’s Easy To Give Up (Don’t Give Up Too Easy)

Starlight Child

The band will be celebrating this release this Saturday the 16th when they hit the Gramercy Theater in support of Lespecial. If you can’t make Friday’s Stanhope House show, I heartily encourage you to get yourself to NYC and catch them there for Saturday. The show will be a rager for sure! In fact, the band is doing FEE FREE tickets for $22. Just Venmo them your details to @PEAKtheband, $22, and your tickets will be at WILL CALL at the Gramercy Theater. How about that goodness?

In the meantime, you can check out Hot Clips, Vol. 2 (live) everywhere that excellent music streams. 

Peep the link:

https://peak2.hearnow.com/hot-clips-vol-2-live

The band is out on tour this spring and adding shows all the time. Get out there and check them! If you plan to hit the Stanhope House, I’ll see you there!

You can also check out Peak on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWkM9fouVYWPivSR2jiiiZw

And Bandcamp

https://peaktheband.bandcamp.com/

PEAK Conquers with New Music and Upcoming Album Release Show

I first met Jeremy Hilliard and Johnny Young from PEAK four years ago in New York City. I was working for a music publisher in midtown at the time and writing here and there for this blog as well as The Jamwich – who asked me to cover an album release show. My job was boring as all get out (how many times can I type the name of that song into the computer in 8 hours…) but this was the reason I wanted to work in the city in the first place – to experience live music as much as possible, even if it was not necessarily job related. Our corner of New Jersey is lovely, but live music venues are not exactly dotting the map there. Naturally, I was delighted. Of course I would cover this show for this Psychedelic Indie Funk band called PEAK and their record Electric Bouquet.

I got the opportunity to meet Jeremy, Johnny, and his wife Michelle that night and formulate a wonderful fanship/friendship that has followed PEAK over the last few years. Since that night, the band has added bassist Josh Carter, formerly of Haley Jane and the Primates, and Kito Bovenschulte, formerly and sometimes presently of Particle. The combination of these two gents and the already catchy and addictive songwriting that existed in PEAK has been nothing short of explosive. The live shows over the last several years have become a haven of joy for my husband and I and we have traveled all over just to have our own private dance parties with the crowd at a PEAK show. That profile picture of mine on the APM page on FB? That’s me dancing like a crazy thing at a PEAK show. We have come to know and love the songs they wrote as they played them live and were honestly chomping at the bit for this new album to drop. And drop it did, like a big, fat piñata of awesome.

The record, Choppy Water, is a deliciously danceable journey through thoughtful inner monologues, set to jamming and often rocking music. It was recorded deep within the pandemic at Horizon Sound Studios in Brooklyn and engineered by Johnny and Michelle Young. The finished product was mixed by Jason “Jocko” Randall (Turkuaz/Jimkata/Dopapod) at Moresound Studios in Syracuse, NY. It’s such a different album than the last record and brings forth so much flavor from the depths of what could have been a depletion of creativity, Instead, this masterpiece is here to bring us back the hope that comes from a packed dance floor, enormous smiles, and incredible players.

The band quite smartly kicks the doors open with their song When The Night Comes Calling You. It has a deep groove that is more than a foot tapping sensation. It’s a climbing, hip shaking, why-would-you-possibly-stand-still kind of groove. Kito’s stellar drumming is all over this track, dragging it around the floor with every shaking body in the crown. Layered through those beats is Josh’s bass lines which are deep and heavy and just add to that hip shake. Johnny has an expertly light touch to his keys sound in this song but it carried through the entire tune in a dance with Jeremy’s guitar work that creates a vocal all its own. Add that to the actual vocal which is catchy as hell and helps to build with everyone through to the top of the chorus. It’s a masterpiece, this song.

The immediate next track, Path Paved with Roses, has been a favorite of mine through many, many live shows. I was so excited to hear it as a studio track and PEAK didn’t disappoint me in the least. A fun, foot-tapping vibe through from start to finish colored with Johnny’s throwback key sound and singable vocals by he and Jeremy create another really fun experience for your ears. This song makes you want to dance. I have literally hurt myself dancing to this song! The guitar solo three quarters through, playing over the stomping drums and steady bass takes the song to the end, and then I get sad that it’s over.

The title track, Choppy Water, has become my favorite driving song. It has a vibe somewhere between the bass groove and fills that just kill, steady, precise drumming, and those lovely vocals that kind takes the mind off somewhere else. It’s a mellower feel after the first two tracks, but it’s welcome, dreamy, and comforting especially carried by the keys and in its layout and overall feel. Your foot is still tapping though. PEAK puts together a really great song every time they sit down to do it and if you think you like it in the studio, just wait until you hear them live. The fourth track, It Ain’t Over til the Credits Roll, is a fantastic uptick in temo, spirit, and overall feel. Johnny takes lead vocals here, absolutely destroys on keys, and there is a killer guitar solo by Jeremy as well. Another great mention is the last track, Day the World Was Born. It has a great Americana feel and different kind of vibe from much of the rest of the album, but that versatility as players and writers is what separates the guys in PEAK from other musicians in this scene.

Every member of this band is a powerhouse of ability in their own right. They are sincerely four of the most talented players I have ever had the opportunity to see play live and that is not me blowing smoke at anyone. I genuinely think they are some of the most purely talented people out there now, in addition to being some of the hardest working. They are also a collection of wonderful human beings, truly appreciative of a crowd having a great time. I have seen PEAK everywhere from a tiny bar in Sparta, NJ to the hugeness of Brooklyn Bowl to freezing and pouring down rain in a field at Yasgurs Farm. No matter where it is, they are giving spectators a fantastic show full of energy, sincerity, insane ability, and a metric shit ton of fun.

Don’t take my word for it – come out Friday October 22 to the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn and see for yourself when the band has their official album release show for Choppy Water. They will be supported by friends in Waiting on Mongo from Asbury Park and Trailheads all the way from Pittsburgh. PEAK should hit the stage by 9pm. You can head over to bit.ly/peakkfbk to get your tickets ($15) and I cannot recommend highly enough that you do. It’s a fantastic live show that is not to be missed. I’ll be there, and surprise! It’s my birthday! Come out and hang out and shake what you were given with some great people and amazing music. In the meantime, PEAK’s album Choppy Water is streaming everywhere and you should be devouring it! You can also buy CD’s at the show and a limited amount of posters NYC-based Artist Conor Brewster, seen below.

Check out the FB invite for more info:

https://fb.me/e/2LTmglHmr

See you there!

For Immediate Release: SweetWater 420 Fest Returns in 2022 on April 28-May 1 Lineup Announced, Tier 1 Tickets On sale Oct 8th

SWEETWATER 420 FESTIVAL
RETURNS TO ATLANTA’S CENTENNIAL OLYMPIC PARK APRIL 29-MAY 1, 2022
LINEUP ANNOUNCED WITH NEWLY ADDED 420 PRE-PARTY CONCERT
‘Tier 1’ 3-Day General Admission & VIP Tickets on sale October 8 at 10 AM at SweetWater420Fest.com

SweetWater Brewery Company and Happy Ending Productions Present the return of SweetWater 420 Fest from April 29 through May 1 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Festival announces the full 2022 lineup, including headliners OysterheadTrey Anastasio Band (2 sets), and The String Cheese Incident (2 sets).

Additional artists include Umphrey’s McGee (2 sets), Snoop DoggJoe Russos Almost Dead (2 sets), GooseDirty HeadsSnarky PuppyJJ Grey & MofroLotusTurkuaz with Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew: Remain in LightSpaffordBig SomethingToo Many ZoozThe MovementDoom Flamingo + Queen is Doomed (2 sets), BadfishBoombox Feat. Backbeat BrassTown MountainThe Nth Power Feat. Jennifer HartswickTropidelicBrandon “Taz” NiederauerKarina RykmanKitchen DwellersNeighborDENMLittle StrangerKanika Moore & The PsycodelicsHedonistasButcher BrownSexbruise?Certainly SoJoslyn & The Sweet CompressionKrisBs Midnight RailroadBird Dog JubileeThe 4 KornersThe StewsPressing StringsThe Broadcast, and the Taylor Scott Band.

NEW in 2022, SweetWater 420 Fest is thrilled to announce the first kick-off pre-party concert on Thursday, April 28 at 12 PM in Centennial Olympic Park featuring two sets from headliner The String Cheese Incident supported by moe., Oteil & Friends, and Empire Strikes Brass.

Founded 18 years ago, SweetWater 420 Fest continues to deliver an eclectic musical lineup, singular in its ability to bring some of the most prominent jam band names in the industry alongside cutting-edge acts and some of the most revered artists on our playlists.

Returning experiences include three stages, heady concoctions from SweetWater Brewery featuring handcrafted signature drinks, cocktails and craft beers served throughout the festival and at the festival favorite ‘SweetWater Experience Tent.’

Additional features include a local craft & artist market, an expanded food court with a variety of food trucks, the Planet 420 environmental and non-profit village, our 5k Road Race with everyone’s favorite beer at the finish line, and the newly added Thursday pre-party concert in the park with general admission (GA) and VIP upgraded experience purchase options.

Furthermore, the Peachtree Road Race qualifier 420 Fest 5K returns April 30. 5K/Fest combo packages available. Participants can register at sweetwater420fest.com/420-fest-5k.

“We are more than excited to celebrate not only the return of live music but the return of SweetWater 420 Fest and our festival community to Centennial Olympic Park in 2022! Furthermore, to add to the excitement, and for the first time in our festival history, we are announcing our full festival lineup in October with tickets on-sale on the 8th!” says President of Happy Ending Productions, Jennifer Bensch. “Plus! We added an extra day of music on Thursday with a kick-off pre-party in the park!”

SweetWater 420 Festival tickets are on sale October 8 at 10am. Tier one three-day GA tickets start at $118, three-day Big Fish VIP at $350, the newly added three-day GA Kush at $198, and premium Riff VIP passes including a range of exclusive amenities.

Plus! Purchase your 420 Fest pre-party ticket for Thursday, April 28, for an additional fee when you purchase your three-day tickets.

Purchase your 2022 Tickets here.

2022 LINEUP


Oysterhead

Trey Anastasio Band (2 sets)

The String Cheese Incident (2 sets)

Umphrey’s McGee (2 sets)

Snoop Dogg

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (2 sets)

Goose, Dirty Heads

Snarky Puppy

JJ Grey & Mofro

Lotus

Turkuaz with Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew: Remain in Light

Spafford

Big Something

Too Many Zooz

The Movement

Doom Flamingo + Queen is Doomed (2 sets)

Badfish

Boombox Feat. Backbeat Brass

Town Mountain

The Nth Power Feat. Jennifer Hartswick

Tropidelic

Brandon “Taz” Niederauer

Karina Rykman

Kitchen Dwellers

Neighbor

DENM

Little Stranger

Kanika Moore & The Psycodelics

Hedonistas

Butcher Brown

Sexbruise?

Certainly So

Joslyn & The Sweet Compression

KrisB’s Midnight Railroad

Bird Dog Jubilee

The 4 Korners

The Stews

Pressing Strings

The Broadcast

Taylor Scott Band.

For more information, including lineups, event news, and the latest updates, please visit sweetwater420fest.com and facebook.com/420fest and follow on Instagram and Twitter at @420Fest.

The SweetWater 420 Festival is produced by Happy Ending Productions, offering promotion, production, event operations, and logistics management. Happy Ending Productions’ client list includes Festivals: Camp Bisco, Counterpoint, Bonnaroo, Hookahville, along with tour support services for Phish, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, and more.

About SweetWater 420 Festival

SweetWater 420 Fest returns to Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park, April 29-May 1, 2022 with three stages. Founded 18 years ago, SweetWater 420 Fest has delivered an eclectic musical lineup, singular in its ability to bring some of the most prominent jam band names in the industry alongside cutting-edge acts, varied genres, and some of the most revered artists of our time. Festival experiences include three stages, handcrafted signature drinks, cocktails and craft beers by SweetWater Brewery Co.’s served throughout the festival and at festival favorite ‘SweetWater Experience Tent,’ local craft & artist market, expanded food court and a food truck village, Planet 420 environmental and non-profit village, and a peachtree qualifying 5K Road Race. For information, including lineups, event news, and the latest updates, please visit sweetwater420fest.com and facebook.com/420fest and follow on Instagram and Twitter at @420Fest.

About SweetWater Brewing Co.

SweetWater Brewing Company is an Atlanta-based craft brewery living by the motto “Don’t Float the Mainstream!” In 2020, SweetWater was acquired by Aphria Inc., now Tilray (TSX: TLRY and Nasdaq: TLRY), a leading global cannabis company inspiring and empowering the worldwide community to live their very best life. SweetWater Brewing Co. celebrated 24 years of heady brews in 2021 and is the 11th largest craft brewery in the nation, according to the Brewers Association. The award-winning lineup of year-round beers includes 420 Extra Pale Ale, H.A.Z.Y. IPA, G13 IPA, High Light, 420 Imperial IPA, Golden Isles Hard Tea and SweetWater Oasis Premium Hard Seltzer. Additionally, seasonal releases offer palate pleasing variety, along with an experimental, one-time-only Dank Tank series, 420 Strain Series, innovative Non-Dairy Almond Milk Stout and progressive barrel aged styles in The Woodlands Project series.

SweetWater is passionate about protecting natural resources and habitats and is recognized for its contributions to environmental initiatives throughout its distribution footprint. Supporting the conservation of some of the nation’s most threatened rivers, streams and coastlines is a cause near and dear to the brewery, as clean water is also vital to the creation of their tasty brews.

Visit SweetWater Brewery – located at 195 Ottley Drive in the heart of Atlanta – for tours of the main brewery, and pints and bites in the newly renovated taproom and restaurant. For more information about SweetWater Brewing Company and brewery hours, please visit sweetwaterbrew.com. Follow SweetWater Brewing Company on Twitter/Instagram @sweetwaterbrew, and become a fan at facebook.com/sweetwaterbrew and facebook.com/SweetWater-in-Colorado

Link to Media Assets

Bill Kight
PR & Media Relations, SweetWater 420 Fest
970-708-3753|
sweetwater420fest.com

PEAK Show Dates!

I am cautiously optimistic, but I am seeing show posts popping up. Earlier today, I caught myself scream a little when I saw Galactic will be at the Blue Note Jazz Fest in New York City this summer. Could it be true? Can we dance together again soon? So much of our life blood is the energy of live music. Can this be real?

Then here comes my regular “Peakin’ Beacon” email and low and behold, PEAK dates!

PEAK. TOUR. DATES.

The last show we saw before the world shut down was PEAK. Their livestreams were some of our favorite glimmers of normal. I am incredibly excited to be able to share these upcoming show dates with you!

5.30 Yasgur’s May Meltdown, Bethel NY (PEAK headlining Friday night!)

6.17 Stella Blues, New Haven, CT

7.10 Electric Haze, Worcester, MA

7.16 Snug’s Bar, New Paltz, NY

7.23 B.R.Y.A.C. Bridgeport, CT

8.26 Tellus 360, Lancaster, PA

8.27 Altered State Distellery Erie, PA

9.10 ALBUM RELEASE SHOW Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY

ALBUM RELEASE SHOW? Yes you read that right. There is a new record in the hopper, and it’s going to knock socks right off. More on that later…

I’m sure I will see your lovely faces at a few of these! See you out there, friends!

Digging Hard on New ShwizZ – “Clock Tower”

This blog has been slowly finding its feet again after a year of lockdowns, cancelled festivals, closed venues, and postponed released. I am DELIGHTED beyond all comprehension to be bringing my followers and readers some exciting stuff and amazing new music. A Perfect Mess has always been set on bringing new music to your ears.

This pandemic has created a drought in new music and I think we are all feeling it’s emptiness in our souls. Just when I think I can’t take any more and might waste away completely, Nyack New York’s prog-fusion powerhouse ShwizZ is here to bathe us in hope and soaring guitar vibes with their new track, Clock Tower. It’s a killer tune and I can’t wait for everyone to get a listen so we can discuss!

Never one to shy away from the melding of meditative music and hard, heavy hitting rock, the guys in ShwizZ don’t disappoint with this new track. Guitarist Ryan Liatsis brings his gorgeously airy guitar work that goes from gentle and introspective to heavy, while still soaring, over the course of the song. It’s like being in a dream sequence as the song progresses through rooms of thought and emotion, changing ever so slightly and then completely before bringing you back. Drummer Andy Boxer is, as always, creating a perfectly melded series of beats that leads you through the highs and lows of the song with effortless precision and perfect emotion. The song also brings in the talents of bassist Scott Hogan who lays a deep, heavy and melodic groove, and William Burgaleta on amazing keys that are at times straight up otherworldly. All together, these gents are creating a deliciously epic trip that I seriously can’t stop listening to.

Not to stop at just an incredible song, ShwizZ has also graced us with a video that you can check out below: Give a watch and a listen and tell me what you think!

Po3tic Treachery (Paul Hollands) – Photo / Cover ArtDan Rappaport – Video Production / Photo EditingNatasha DiMarco – Production AssistantReleased by Color Red Records

Produced, Recorded & Mixed by ShwizZ at Call Hollow StudiosMastered at Csharp Studios

I am constantly being wowed by these guys. I am hoping hard for more music from Shwizz ASAP, as I know they have some live shows in the hopper! You can check them out at the following later this year:

August 14 – Yasgur Road Reunion

October 1 – Opple Topple Music Festival 

October 2 – Flyday Music Festival

https://flydaymusicfestival.com/

Two Exciting Preview Tracks from Shwizz! New Album “Big Things” Out 6/26

How are we all hanging in our quarantines and shut-downs? Is everyone ok? I know the solitude and confusion has been rough on a lot of us, and I am hoping everyone is holding up out there. The one thing that is getting me through these rough times has been the sprinklings of new music I have been getting to write about, pushed along by the fact that you all want to read about it and hear about more – so thank you! I know we are far apart these days, but we will get each other through this. Music is life, after all.

I have said it before and I will say it again – reviewing singles is becoming my new favorite thing. It’s like wine tasting. You get just a sip of something you had no idea you wanted, and now you cannot wait to bring home that whole bottle. It’s even more delicious when you know you will have to wait for more because the album is not out for another month or so. Absence makes the heart grow fonder? Something like that – ANYWAY – the guys in Shwizz have released an epic teaser to their upcoming album, Big Things, with two early released tracks. Shwizz is an incredible band comprised of two members – Ryan Liatsis on guitar, keys, and vocals, and Andy Boxer on drums and vocals. You might remember we did a review of their last record, Shwizz II not that long ago and talked a lot about what incredible players and writers these guys are. Well, guess what? They are back with more of that goodness for you with these two tracks! 

I have to admit, I have been devouring these songs amidst all the chaos of the pandemic and our lockdown. I think we can all use something to look forward to these strange days, and hearing these songs is going to be that thing for you. I already cannot wait for the full album to be released, and I think you will find that you agree. This is just a sampling, and the two songs are so diverse from one another that I cannot wait to see what the rest of the record has in store for us.

The first of the two songs is called Unnamed King. It’s a heavy as hell, hard hitting song that the band did with Consider The Source bassist, John Ferrara. Unsurprisingly, his bass lines in this song are epic. The whole song from start to finish is simply fantastic and proves what a force Shwizz is in their writing styles. The drums hit with perfect precision and incredible force. Boxer takes you through the rises and falls in the track with incredible creativity. The guitar Liatsis lays down is soaring and heavy while still being so smart and intricate. Ferrara’s bass work in the beginning is such a different intensity than at the end of the song. The writing is brilliant in that it’s this perfect mayhem of precision and power. I asked Shwizz drum master Andy Boxer where this song came from: 

“I wrote the song 4-5 years ago after seeing Consider the Source. I laid down the foundation and Ryan blasted it to another level.” That’s an understatement! Dive into this song and let it take you on a journey!

The second song took me by surprise. It’s called Your Call Is Very Important To Us and if you think it sounds familiar, you are probably right. “It’s inspired by hold music. Like, literally.” says Boxer when asked what prompted them to write the song. When you hear it, you will know right away. It’s an amazing song in that, for a moment, it sounds like every horrible hold experience you ever had. That typical tune. You know the one. Gentle and calming to assist your mood while you wait for someone to take your concerns. Then it breaks into these absolutely gorgeous guitar solos that really highlight what an incredible player Liatsis is. The tempo of the song picks up, then down, taking you up and around on a roller-coaster ride. There are these great drum hits and combinations that set the pace and changes. The whole track intensifies at the ¾ mark, taking you higher and higher with ferocity from the dance between drums and guitar. Then the song comes back down around to that familiar tune and gently ends. I was just floored by the whole thing. I mean, who else can take hold music and make it into a crazy good, intricate song? No one but Shwizz, and that’s why this band is amazing.

That’s why I cannot wait for this album next month. The upcoming album, Big Things, will be available June 26th and you can find out more by heading to the band’s website, https://www.shwizz.com

Check out these tracks on Spotify right now!

Mihali Makes Good on His Long Awaited Solo Record – Breathe and Let Go

I have had this blog almost a decade. In that time, it’s grown as I have grown. My taste in music has always been eclectic and varied, but what I was reviewing was pretty safely within modern folk and very ska and reggae focused for a long time. My husband had tried unsuccessfully to pull me into the jam scene for years and I guess I just wasn’t ready to let go of all my preconceived notions yet because I resisted. Then one day while driving his car, Twiddle came on. Something in the song I heard resonated within me, and it wasn’t surface. It was deep. It reached into me and found a place that was parched and hurting and doused it in understanding. It had been a long time since a song hit me that hard, and I got curious. I started to dissolve their whole catalog and career up to that point. It led me to other artists I devoured just as hard. It led me to shows and festivals. Twiddle was my gateway to this scene – a place I have found love, acceptance, friends, and so much to write about.

Beyond Twiddle, I have been a fan of Mihali on his own for a while. I have seen him cover Round Here from the Counting Crows, one of my very favorite songs, in such a manner than I found myself screaming along in tears. A few years ago while interviewing Aqueous in the hospitality tent at a festival I was covering for this blog, Mihali strolled in and had a seat with us. He was delightfully kind, which was appreciated when I fully expected him to act in line with his success. (something I have encountered all too often since starting this blog) It was a wonderful surprise that I take great pleasure in telling people who decide to talk trash.

I guess that’s part of the reason I have been so damn excited for this solo record from Mihali to drop. I have been craving more of that vibe that pulled me in so hard. The record, Breathe and Let Go, is everything I had hoped it would be. It has the uplifting soul and deep feel of someone who has so much to say, but words don’t say enough so he artfully crafted music to narrate that train of thought. While you find words sung by a voice so uniquely Mihali, you also find and entire album’s worth of musical explorations to carry you where you need to go.

The album kicks off with the title track and its bright acoustic entrance, flavored a short time in with some steady beat and words that I think I really needed lately. “Breathe and let go, relax and go slow, let your life unfold…” Mihali is narrating a string of thoughts that I think will resonate with a lot of people in these tumultuous times when we are not sure if our path is the one we should be on, and that maybe we think about that too much. Or at least that was my take. The song Stubborn Smile was one that was released a short time ago, giving us all a taste of what was headed our way. It quickly became a favorite of mine. It’s that light reggae feel with fun sing a long vocals that we can relate to hard these days. I have always loved the thoughtful and reflective way that Mihali constructs vocals. It’s one of the reasons I loved Twiddle so much. Mihali sings songs I can so deeply feel, not just hear.

The track Enemies is stellar on its own, but it’s even more delicious with the talents of Matisyahu laced throughout. It has this deep, get-low kind of groove that infects you with a feeling that shakes your hips good and slow. I am digging hard on Mihali’s vocals on this one. His voice is very uniquely his, but I like what he does with some of his higher edges on this. Carved Lines is another good one that plays with acoustic guitar and self reflection. I like that stripped down sound so much. As much as I like Mihali as part of a powerful and talented four piece band, I really dig his work in a singer/songwriter role as well. It suits him just as well. I also really love Over Land and Sea. It reminds me of so much of the 60’s folk flavor I have been covering myself with my entire life, care of my parents and their deep love of that scene. It’s a stripped down song about love, simple and soulfully delicious. This song and it’s feel is everything I love so much about music.

My favorite song on this record didn’t surprise me, because it’s the first solo song I knew of Mihali releasing a million years ago – Fading State. I have been loving this song for a while! The track features guest vocal from Nahko and Trevor Hall, creating a triple threat of vocal groove and vibe that kicks you good and hard in the soul. My background and deep love for all things ska, reggae, and rocksteady lit up the first time I heard this track. I love so much about the feel of this song. Its not like the other songs of deep personal reflection, and instead seems a call to action – and man, do we need that. “It’s time to wake up”. That’s an understatement, gentlemen. We should be playing this song loudly right now, sharing it with everyone we know, and inspiring that awakening. I see this as an anthem for the balance of this year while we navigate this storm together.

All in all, the album is thick and warm with feeling. It illustrates the broad stroke of Mihali’s pen, and I love that it really shows his soul wide open in its words and feel. You don’t need to dig Twiddle to appreciate what he has done here. This record was well worth the wait, and I look forward to playing it on repeat this weekend. There is so much to love. Much like life. You can find it streaming everywhere right now, and I encourage you to get on that immediately.

You can catch Mihali out on tour in support of this record with friends like Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, Luke Mitrani, and Rich Ortiz. He puts on a really great show, and I plan to head out for the Bowery Ballroom show on March 31st myself. I hope to see you out there!

https://www.facebook.com/MihaliMusic

The Peach Music Festival is Coming in HOT with their Initial Lineup – July 2-5, 2020

In case you are living under a rock today, we are here to let you know The Peach Music Festival has released their initial lineup and opened up early bird ticket sales. I hopped on over to take a look at the poster and let me just say…

Oh

My

God.

If there is any festival you need to be at this year, this will be it. Setting up from their home base at gorgeous Montage Mountain, PA, the festival will gather friends from July 2nd to July 5th with fireworks every night. Massive headliners like Umphrey’s McGee and moe. are blazing forth from the lineup poster – and OYSTERHEAD. Freaking Oysterhead is poised to be the festival surprise winner for 2020, mark my words. I have been a disciple of Les Claypool for 25 years so the opportunity to see him tear it up would be a dream. In addition to that fat bag of awesomeness, festival favorites like Twiddle, JRAD, and Aqueous can be found below on the lineup poster. The incredible Dopapod is there too. Keller, Goose, Magic Beans, Kitchen Dwellers, more and more… There was seriously way too much girlie “squeeeee” in my voice as I read these names off, one by one. We have been able to catch so many of these incredible bands over the years at separate festivals and shows, and the opportunity to catch them all in one weekend has me seriously excited in the pants.

Peach is one of those festivals that I have been wanting to go to for years but just have not been able to make it happen. This is poised to be the first year A Perfect Mess is there to give our readers the full on low down. I’m already on the website trying to secure tickets under the payment plan, and judging by how my log-in screen is just spinning around and around forever, so is everyone else.  You can head on over and get your early bird passes at http://PeachMusicFest.com

You can also keep up on all the goods on the official Facebook invite at https://www.facebook.com/events/2512333192191266/

Who are we going to see there this year? Peep the initial lineup, friends!

Keep an eye out for more Peach coverage and previews!

Feeling The Fire with Aqueous – Burn It Down

I remember my first discovery of Aqueous about four years ago. I was just starting to feel them on my radar as I was delving into the scene. I loved the dance and funk fueled rock jams they were throwing out there, and I loved that they were so fresh in their sound. I got to see them open for Twiddle in Stroudsburg, PA at the Sherman when I wasn’t totally familiar with their catalog yet and danced my ass off. The following summer was my first really getting into festivals and they were just EVERYWHERE. Every lineup that dropped that spring had them on it. They seemed to be on so many things at once that I was wondering how the heck they were pulling it off. Teleporting? Holograms? We were able to catch them several times that summer. I thought at that time that these guys must be the hardest working band in the jam scene. I know now that I was right, and that it has paid off.

As a band, these are some of the most polished and dedicated players doing it out there right now. They pour themselves intro their craft – heart, soul and body – so completely. You can hear it in every lick and beat they put out into the universe. As people, they are some of the nicest that I ever had the chance to have a mildly intoxicated, taco-gifting tent interview with at a festival. That kind where it’s too loud to hear much of anything said in response to your questions, so you spend as much time as you can just making sure the band knows they are making people happy with their music. Because they truly are. Their last full length record, Color Wheel, blew my mind more than a little bit and remains one of the best albums that came out of 2018, in my opinion. I was delighted to learn they were dropping an EP, and curious as to what it would give us. 

The record, Burn It Down, is a funky four track trip through rock, dance, and jam flavor and it’s dropping with a fresh style and just a touch of delicious throwback. Come and Go” is absolutely my favorite song on the record. It’s got a clean and steady drum beat with fantastic vocals and guitar fire, lit up over a hot bass line. This is a constant hip shake track with singable vocals and I am completely unable to sit still listening to it. It’s got an almost Duran Duran thing happening in the vocal. The band caught such a cool vibe when they wrote this song and it holds strong from start to finish. I really want to check this out live! The title track, “Burn It Down”, is a straight dance rock hop with those awesome vocal harmonies and hip shaking bass and drum groove. The guitar work is straight fire on this track and you won’t be able to help but sing along. This song is amazing and makes you MOVE!

“Little Something To Me” is a slick trip of a track that grabs you with those harmonies and holds you with that sexy groove. This song has something really cool with its stepping drum beat and dirty rock guitar flavor. The final track, On The Edge”, reminds me of pop rock in the late 90’s and listening to it just shot me back to my early 20’s. I love that about music. Some artists are so good at capturing a groove or a vibe and injecting it into the new music they are writing so that their listener is jolted to another time and space in their soul. Aqueous has gotten really good at this. I don’t think most bands can pack this much flavor and punch into a 14 minute, four song EP – but Aqueous did it. Burn It Down is straight fire.

You can catch Aqueous playing with Twiddle at The Capitol Theater on November 29th and 30th. These two bands put on an incredible show and we really hope to be there. Mostly, I am really wanting to hear these new songs live. Aqueous remains one of the best live bands I have ever had the pleasure of rocking out to, and I can’t say enough that you should be checking them out! Give your ears a taste of Burn It Down as soon as humanly possible. You need this in your life.

You can stay on top of all things Aqueous on their website, https://aqueousband.com

See you out there, friends!

New Song from Mihali – Stubborn Smile

My love for Twiddle is well known on this blog. It was them who built me the bridge that I guardedly walked across into the jam scene from my high walled little world in ska, rocksteady, and reggae – leading me to everything I discovered after that. (which this blog has been a log of along the way) They and their live shows helped me into a whole new world. Friends met, lessons learned, eyes opened. I admit that I get a bit offended by critics of the band because of how much they helped me find that part of myself. As a collective, the band is a masterful batch of songwriters. You don’t have to like them. In fact, you can downright loath them. But if you deny their abilities, I’m sorry – you simply aren’t listening because you don’t want to. And you’re missing it.

One quarter of that songwriting master team is Mihali


As a solo performer, he is much more than his role in Twiddle. I saw him perform as half of Gubbilidis (with fellow Twiddle alum Zdenek Gubb) a couple years back and was brought to tears when they did Counting Crow’s very 90’s tune, Round Here. (a personal favorite for a million reasons that I am sure no one wants to hear) I was super impressed with half of the band. I am floored by just Mihali on his own. He is able to capture something very deeply soulful and earthy in his style of composition that I have a hard time finding words for. I was super excited when his song Fading State hit last year and I was eagerly awaiting for an album to drop. Based on the online chatter, I am not alone. Unfortunately, it hasn’t yet. However, we have been blessed with another track to groove on. You don’t have to love Twiddle to be able to get down with what Mihali does as a solo artist. His flavor is uplifting and groove heavy, and this new track, Stubborn Smile, is no exception. This track is delicious.

Stubborn Smile has a mild reggae feel but a soul gripping clutch with it’s vibe. If the melody doesn’t grab you, the lyrics absolutely will. We live in some tumultuous times right now and I know I am not the only one walking life’s road with a lot of uncertainty. This song strums those chords deep – how we know what we have to offer, but maybe we don’t know where to lay it down. We know we are imperfect beings, but we know we have something for this world. We might not have found the way out of the rut we ride in this road yet. Mihlai has a great way of verbalizing things in the heart. He did it again with Stubborn Smile, and it’s just really lovely. There is a delicateness to strong words and thoughts in his delivery, both musically and verbally. I think that is where his magic lies as a performer and a songwriter. All in all, this is just a really great track and has bolstered my desire for a full length solo album. I really hope something hits soon!

I encourage you to head over to Spotify or your spot of choice and give Stubborn Smile a good, hard listen. I have it on repeat today and recommend it highly. 


Mihali will be out on the road soon for his fall tour. Get on out and check him out! You can find some more information on dates and tickets on his website, http://www.MihaliMusic.com

See you out there!