Category Archives: Philadelphia

Dot The One – Above Ground Level – First Single [New Release]

Dot The One, the most under-rated and over-talented Philly rapper probably of all time, has just released the first single off his newest project, AGL (Above Ground Level), a mixtape due to be out on 11/11/11. Dot has been working on this project for over a year now.  The single is called “Salute Me” – Just take a listen:

Dot, otherwise known as Brandon Cromwell, has been hustling crazy hard over this last year. In addition to working on AGL, he’s also been doing live shows, shooting music videos, and he even pulled a stunt called 30 Day Reign where he released a new free song every day for 30 days on his Facebook page. This dude is a beast!

AGL Promo Vid:

That video reminds me of an older song from Dot The One called “Say Hi” – This track is beyond classic:

Whether he’s writing or just freestyling, Dot The One has earned his name. His style is completely unique, and his complex and carefully crafted flow spills out so smoothly he makes it look too easy. This kid has a jewel.

Recent interview w/ Dot on inspiration:

Check out this Dot The ONE Playlist on Beat-Play. Just listen to the first track and you will be hooked. His producers are disgusting, his collaborators are nasty, and Dots not afraid to just spit straight for 5 minutes right through the hooks.

This kid brings a breath of fresh air to any hip hop fan who has been hurting lately. Finally, somebody you can get down with. That playlist tells the whole story, at least until AGL comes out in November. Judging from Salute Me, I have the feeling that this mixtape is going to take Dot’s greatness to a whole nother level. This is going to be the best mixtape of the year. <period. You heard it here first.


Check him out
!

Written by: Dante Carmelo Cullari

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Alex Brubaker – Deconstructing The Temporal Lobe [NEW MUSIC]

What would rock music be without the guitar?  What would most music today be without the guitar?  It’s difficult to imagine, and nearly impossible to really think about.  We wouldn’t have Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and other legends that have directly influenced much of today’s music.  Fortunately, we can all relax because the guitar exists.  However, for Alex Brubaker, the guitar is not just a guitar.  It’s a rhythm section and an entire musical ensemble that can be looped, distorted, delayed, scratched, hit, tapped, and transformed into new musical opportunities.  With influences ranging from Dream Theater to Trace Bundy, you might expect that his style would reflect progressive experimentation with this age-old instrument.  You would be close to correct, but listen for yourself to one of his songs called “Ice Mountain.”

After starting on prog rock and metal in high school, Brubaker transformed his style by applying the same ideas and techniques to the acoustic guitar, but that’s not all.  He has incorporated looping, tapping, alternate tuning, and using two guitars.  His creativity is refreshing and his ideas are unique.  Brubaker released his debut album called Deconstructing the Temporal Lobe in September 2009 after only two years of experimenting with percussive fingerstyle guitar.  You’ve got to give it another listen if you are the least bit interested in the guitar or if you just like music!  In this next song, Alex incorporates both acoustic and electric guitar to create a pretty dope riff.  It’s called “Phoenix.” Check it out.

Slightly different than your typical I IV V, huh?  In today’s music industry, we get sucked into songs with the same progressions, forms, rhythms, and bass lines.  It’s like walking through an art gallery with paintings, sculptures, and art forms that are just modern copies of what’s been done before.  They’re good, but they are just communicating what’s been said in earlier paintings without any creative change.  It’s not only rare to try to be an innovative artist, but it’s also difficult.  Similar to the rise of street art in recent years, the rise of new independent music has seemed to explode through channels like youtube and social media.  It’s easier now than ever to go searching for new artists and music because of technology.

Alex Brubaker likes to challenge music.  What new sounds can I make using this instrument, and what obscure pattern of rhythms can I fit here?  These are common questions for Alex.  His debut album Deconstructing the Temporal Lobe features sounds and feelings created by using the guitar in a variety of ways.  With electric and acoustic, distorted and clean, Alex displays a mixture of experimentation on the guitar that makes for great listening anytime.  Songs like “Phoenix” display powerful riffs with creative loops and textures, while songs like “Debris of a Brainstorm” take you from one melodic idea to another.  When you listen to Alex Brubaker’s songs, they allow your mind to relax and just listen, because each guitar medley paints an incredible picture.  Check out more of his music and purchase Deconstructing the Temporal Lobe at alexbrubakerguitar.com.

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC.

Bombay Bicycle Club – “Shuffle” [NEW MUSIC] [EVENT]

Bombay Bicycle Club

 

Bombay Bicycle Club is an indie-rock band from London.  Comprised of Jack Steadman (lead vocals, guitar), Jamie MacColl (guitar), Ed Nash (bass) and Suren de Saram (drums), the band just released their third studio album, A Different Kind of Fix.  The first single released, Shuffle, provides a microcosm of the album’s feel. Building a gentle, hooky pop song over a looping, dance-inducing piano sample, it’s, like all the best late summer sounds, seventy-five percent exuberant and twenty-five percent melancholy.  This album is different than the previous two; it incorporates more electronics and has less folk influences.  Watch the video for Shuffle to see for yourself, or see them live in Brooklyn (Music Hall of Williamsburg – Sept. 7) or Philadelphia (Theater of the Living Arts – Sept. 9) – for more tour dates check out their schedule!

 

 

By: Elizabeth Stene | Beat-Play Ambassador South Africa | @LizMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

 

 

The War On Drugs “Slave Ambient” [NEW MUSIC]

Tuesday’s are funny days.  In most cases I hate Tuesday far worse than I hate Monday’s.  I don’t really have a point to make here just a casual dumb statement from the mind of me.  Tuesday’s suck, but one good thing came out of yesterday’s specific Tuesday, The War on Drugs.  Dum dum dummmm.  Now I’m not here to give you a lecture about the pot you hide in your sock drawer or under your mattress, I’m giving you the good tuneage to listen to while you may or may not use said drugs.  An indie rock outfit who embraces mellow sounds and intense euphoria, The War On Drugs might just be the next big thing.

Best Night – The War On Drugs

The War On Drugs most recent release is called “Slave Ambient.”  It has all kinds of goods.  It has the elements of a great 60’s/ 70’s classic rock record mixed with awesome effects and synth touches we have come to love from modern indie rock.  Bright guitars and cool laid back vocals are the keys to this record.  Easy going back beats with keen bass work all come together for me on this record.  Upon first listen I was immediatly hooked.  This is music I like to listen to.  This is the kind of stuff when you play it in your office on re-peat people ask you “who are these guys.”  And then you say nothing and just point to the album cover on your spotify.

I Was There – The War On Drugs

The War On Drugs is from Philedelphia PA.  Current members include Adam Granduciel who seems to be a jack of all trades on vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards and samplers.  He is joined by Dave Hartley on bass and other guitars and Mike Zanghi on drums, percussion and sampler.  Past members included Kurt Vile who had some fame on his own with his solo project and was recently chosen by Animal Collective to perform at this years All Tomorrow’s Parties.  But he’s not in the band any more so enough about him.  Stripped down to three members this record doesn’t sound like it at all.  With all the samples and loops coming from all different directions its easy to get lost in the harmonic and euphoric over load.

It’s Your Destiny – The War On Drugs

I read a bunch of reviews (pitchforks rave review is here) and people dig this band just as much as I do.  I think it brings new appreciation to a tired classic rock folk scene elevating it to a new level while keeping the continuity from past to present.  It’s almost as if they are re-inventing the wheel in the best way possible.  These are new sounds for a new generation who happen to love the music of the old generation.

Come to The City – The War On Drugs

The theme of Americana runs steadily throughout this record.  This music is well traveled.  There is experience behind the words.  Ramblin’ and drifting as is quoted from that last track “Come to The City” seems to be what it’s all about.  This music will put your ass in a euphoric trance from first track to last simple as that and I don’t think I’m alone in saying it’s pretty rare for bands to do that these days.  I listen to this record (for the 4th time now) and each time I hear something new in the songs and bob my head along even more so than the first or second time.

Baby Missiles – The War On Drugs

I’m excited to see where this band goes from here.  They have a pretty extensive tour in the works hitting Europe and multiple spots in the US.  Having already appeared on big time indie music blogs (this one included) I wouldn’t be surprised is these guys blew up more than actual Baby Missiles (hilarious/ terrible to think about, but your thinking about it already so you might as well chuckle).

Their tour page is HERE if you can read it.  I had to squint so hopefully they fix that shit soon because I have a feeling people are going to want to see them live.  They are playing The Satellite Lounge in LA on October 22nd and at 10 bones a ticket it’s 100% completely and utterly worth it to go and go twice.  I bought a pair of tickets already so basically if you have a poor excuse for a credit card like me you don’t have an excuse not to.

Black Water Falls – The War On Drugs

That was the last track.  I would give these guys some serious attention.  I know I say a lot of bubbly good things about a lot (all) of the bands I write about and I mean it all, I really do.  Once in a while a band comes around that has the potential to do a little more damage than your average small rock club indie band.  Mark my words.  Let them get some shows under their belts and soon they will be playing big venues in a city near you.  They have a sound that people have liked for decades.  They have taken that sound and turned it on its ass… so you should listen to them.  It’s as simple as that.  Oh yea and buy their record here.

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

“Always Anyway,” the new album from Three Legged Fox releases with hit single “Let You Down”

Five years ago, Three Legged Fox unleashed its musical vibes upon the masses. Since then, they have hit the national scene, sharing the stage with some of this country’s most prominent reggae acts, such as SOJA, Rebellution, and many others. On August 16th, this conglomerate, formed in the suburbs of Philadelphia, released their third full-length studio album, entitled Always, Anyway.

Three Legged Fox is comprised of four members: Kyle Wareham provides the vocals and fret play, Kory Kochersperger the beats, with Tommy Mosca and Mark Carson rounding out the guitar section, lead and bass respectively. Of the album, they’ve noted, “We knew from the word ‘go’ that we wanted to go really big on this one.  We wanted big sounds, accessible songs, and an overall modern approach.  We felt as though we had already done the raw, stripped down thing twice; and we had done the whole reggae horns, arrangement type of thing with the last album.  It was within us to understand that we’re not a traditional American reggae band; we’re an alternative rock, reggae band.  Ultimately, realizing what we are, and what we aren’t made it much easier and a lot of fun making this new album.”

This approach is evident in Always, Anyway. The music seems so organic. Even though they claim to be a hybrid-genre outfit, it never seems as though they are overreaching to fit into a certain genre, but rather celebrating the juxtaposition of the two. To the listener, the experience of having varying styles from track-to-track definitely creates anticipation while moving through the album. From the guitar-driven “Half Filled Boxes” to “Grace (Here With You),” a sweeping ballad of sorts, Always, Anyway is very well-rounded album that will continue to gain exposure as Three Legged Fox tours to promote the album. You can find tour dates as well as more information about the album at their official website. As aforementioned, “Let You Down” is the first release single from the out. Check out the video below.

by: kyle c. stilley | marketing strategist | @stillz | music without labels & beat-play, llc

Talain Rayne – “Attic Lights” Album and Music Video Release for “Dear Brother, your Sister” [NEW MUSIC/VIDEO]

Everything in the music industry starts with a song.  In the case of Talain Rayne, it also starts with a motivation, passion, and enthusiasm that is unmatched by many of today’s upcoming artists.  With an excellent debut album and growing fan base on the east coast, it’s no question that Talain’s passion for music has caused him to give it everything he’s got and empower others to keep him going.  His album “Attic Lights” is filled with songs that drive, rejuvenate, and take you away to a listening bliss.  It all came together when Talain joined forces with engineer Jonathan Castelli and guitarist Jonny Kapps in the fall of 2010 to co-produce the album.  The passion is in the music folks, and Talain has poured everything he has into his music and more.  Hear for yourself and check out the title track “Attic Lights” from his debut album:

Still reading?  Good, I thought you might.  The realization that music was his ultimate passion and goal came when Talain spent a semester at the Contemporary Music Center (CMC) at Martha’s Vineyard, now located in Nashville.  With only a few years experimenting with playing piano and singing, Talain took off writing songs and performing, growing his recently discovered talent.  “His dynamic personality is reflected in the melodramatic, electronic-infused, pop-rock that is bound together by his characteristic voice.”   His songs were drawn from his family and closest relationships.  The love, struggle, and honesty of Talain’s life story is captured in each and every one of his songs.  I encourage you to give them a listen because I can guarantee that there is something for everyone to appreciate here.  From the first to the last song on the album, Talain lays it all out in the tracks.  Honestly, there is not a song that I wouldn’t recommend listening to.  Songs like “Dear Sister, Your Brother,” and “Family Wall” have received radio attention in the Philadelphia area, while electronic-influenced songs like “Owls” and “Lemonbright*” bring the listener to a different place in music entirely.  Check out this video of “Family Wall” which was featured on MTV’s The Seven:

I was a fan of his music before he stepped foot in the studio.  It was after meeting with him and playing some music together when I realized that he is also an amazing photographer and videographer, has a passion for youth, and has great taste in fine wine and cheese.  After all, he is French.  He is also a big fan of Phoenix, the French band that lit up the charts with the song 1901 from the album Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  His biggest inspiration comes from the bands Sleeping at Last, Coldplay, Sigur Ros, The Rocket Summer, and Shiny Toy Guns.  Check out this song Lemonbright* from his debut album:

With only a $125 budget and some help from his friends at CMC, Talain Rayne just released a new music video today for “Dear Sister, your Brother.”  Check it out!

Last time I saw him live, it was at the Lazerdome in central, PA.  The crowd got rocked by Talain’s energy, his band’s solid groove, and the dialed in tone from the keys and guitars.  This summer, Talain Rayne is playing main stage this year at Purple Door Music Festival in central Pennsylvania.   You can check out his new tour dates at www.talainrayne.com, which has links to his latest media.  Be sure to keep an eye out for his tour coming this fall!

By: Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Striking Matches (Common Thread) at CMA Fest 2011 in Nashville, TN [MUSIC]

I’ve never really been too interested in popular country music, so I was very hesitant about exploring CMA Fest on Broadway in Nashville last month.  However, the Best Buy stage outside the Hard Rock Café was the start to a good time in the country music realm.  This is because I got to hear Striking Matches (pka Common Thread) take the stage with for an acoustic set in the heat of a summer afternoon, and was thoroughly entertained.  Striking Matches is a country duo from Nashville, TN that combines their talent on guitar with outstanding harmonies and great songs that everyone can enjoy.  Their sound  and performance at CMA Fest 2011 was awesome!  The acoustic guitars sounded so fresh, the punch of the Cajon sounded like a studio kick, and the harmonies were nothing but dialed in.  It was somewhere around 95 degrees and the music coming from the stage took my mind off the heat.  The group on stage consisted of duet vocals with acoustic guitars, a bass player, and a cajon player.  They were tight, and they could play.  Check out this song by Striking Matches called “Not the One.”

Striking Matches is made up singers/songwriters/guitarists Sarah Zimmerman and Justin Davis.  From Philadelphia, PA, Sarah has played guitar since she was ten and found herself playing alongside legends such as John Wetton, Mike Keneally, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, The Players, and Jon Anderson by the time she finished high school.  From N. Georgia, Justin Davis has had a guitar in his hands for as long as he can remember.  These two talented musicians met years ago when they were both students at Belmont University.  While taking a guitar class together, they found out that their styles blended especially well.  Not only that, but when they each pulled out their electric guitars, the duo discovered that they had the same exact Telecaster guitars with matching colors and all!  It’s no doubt that Striking Matches was an exciting match from the start.  Both of them had been playing guitar for most of their lives, and they each thrived on blues music. Check out this song called “Take Me For A Fool:”

They decided to join forces, collaborate, and begin creating music together as a duo in Nashville.  They soon received management from music executive John Grady at Crush Management’s Nashville office, publishing deals with Universal Music, and a growing fan base.  With combined skills in guitar, vocals, and songwriting, the two create a vibe that is unmatched in country music.  With “lyrics that speak to all,” Common Thread is definitely a band that plenty can relate to.  Their show at CMA Fest 2011 was excellent and I can’t wait to see this duo again, especially since they plan to incorporate their Fender Telies into the act.  Striking Matches has great potential in music and has already started off with some great shows, co-writes, and new album plans in 2011.  Don’t miss their next show August 10 at the Listening Room in Nashville, TN!

By: Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Strand of Oaks Live at The Basement in Nashville, TN [SHOW]

One thing that sets Nashville apart from most cities is that you can take a chance of just showing up at one of the city’s staple venues on almost any night and be completely taken away by the talent on stage.  I had one of those nights last week when I decided to check out The Basement in Nashville to scratch my Saturday night concert itch.  Allow me to describe what it was like to hear Timothy Showalter’s Strand of Oaks perform songs from his album Pope Killdragon.  From my hometown of Philadelphia, PA, Strand of Oaks performs by creating a masterful tone with his guitar and voice.  The combination of pedals and reverb create a beautiful sound that allows you to really enter in to each and every song.  With apocalyptic imagery and the creation of new worlds that seem somewhat familiar, the songs elaborate more than most with quality in writing. Check out this awesome song called “Bonfire:”

Strand of Oaks’ performance was pretty epic for a guy and his guitar.  He enters in to each song, fully emulating the emotion that it deserves.  Following each dramatic song, Timothy emits a lighthearted smile, which is rare in many singer-songwriter performances today.  To the audience member, it seemed to show that this artist was privileged to be able to share his music with me, and I was certainly privileged to hear it.  There was a fun side to this apocalyptic poet, like between songs when he said, “If only I could write a song about flip-flops.”  I, for one, am thankful that his creativity encompasses more than just songs about popular American footwear.

There seems to be more to Strand of Oaks than meets the eye and ear.  Even with what seems like a rough past, Timothy remains persistant and seemingly more inspired than ever.  He is definitely one of the most gracious and humble artists I’ve had the pleasure to talk to yet.  I would love to take a step inside his mind to view some of what inspires his creative genius.  Margan Galen King describes his most recent album, “Pope Killdragon pulls you in magnetically, forcing your attention to its every word in desperation to comprehend both your own surroundings and the threat looming in the distance.”  I encourage everyone to take a listen to this astonishing album because there is certainly nothing else like it out there.

Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Long Walks On The Beach [NEW MUSIC]

I received an e-mail a couple weeks ago which read, “This is my brother’s band.  He knows what the people want… blog about it.”  How could I not dig deeper?  I was so enthralled by this epic demand that I rushed ever so swiftly to the nearest computer and immediately Googled the shit out of them.  I almost fainted….  Ok it didn’t happen that way but, if these guys know what the people want then obviously I had to oblige and check this band out because after all don’t we all what to know what people want?  Yes we do.  Here’s a band that made me real glad I check my e-mail.  Long Walks On The Beach.

TRUE LOVE or bust – Long Walks On The Beach

I literally know nothing about the DC area local music scene, but I do know good music when I hear it.  Long Walks on the Beach has the mellow-ness of a beach bar down in Venice, CA with the punch of a big city such as DC.  An odd mix that works amazingly.  Also, if a band or in this case a musician by the name of Fritz Kramer describes his music as “bedroom pop,” on his facebook page a closer listen based on this description gained Long Walks a new fan in me.  The song writing is great and the tunes are right up my alley.  I read a quick little bio and like most people Fritz has a day job,

associate producer of a world class investigative journalism series wins Emmys by day then retreats to his carriage house bedroom near Howard University to make perfectly crafted pop songs by night.”   

Sounds good to me.  Fritz’s day job hasn’t stopped him from creating and releasing a handful tunes on Long Walks website.  It also hasn’t stopped 14 year old girls from making video picture retrospectives of Fall and Winter 2010 set to his tunes either.

metaPhysical – Long Walks On The Beach

A lot of people say, “don’t quit your day job.”  They usually say this to me when I sing off key like an asshole when I hammered, but I think Long Walks on The Beach really has something here.  So I say “f-it” quit your day job!  Why not?20,000+ people agree with me on the ole’ facebook.  It’s a tough road and obviously it doesn’t work out for everyone, but in this case the sound is right and ripe for more and more people to hear.  This last song is my favorite of the three tunes up for FREE on their site right now.  It has nothing to do with 14 year old girls or picture retrospectives on youtube.

I Didn’t Want to Make Out (I wanted to kiss) – Long Walks On The Beach

Long Walks On The Beach are playing local shows in DC right now and Saturday night (June 11th) they are playing the All Things Go Summer Showcase at the Gibson Guitar room with Penguin Prison.  Obviously check them out if you’re in the area or actually do yourself a favor and drive long distances to see this band.  An inside source has revealed that he may or may not be releasing an EP later this summer so get pumped.  I know I am.

The three tunes I posted above are available for FREE HERE.  Also Fritz and the rest of the band are collaborating with artist Jesse Treece on a digital download of pretty awesome ringtones and artwork where 100% of the proceeds go to Japan relief.  So let’s help Japan get some relief by going HERE and buying the digital download package and ringtones for a few bucks.

We all know people love “long walks on the beach” so joke all you want on your e-harmony profile, but I think as a band “Long Walks” has something special and Fritz has only scratched the surface of what has the potential to be some pretty cool music.  Keep an eye on this guy.  He might quit his day job and take over the world and I have a feeling that’s what people want.

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Cotton Jones “Tall Hours In The Glowstream” [ALBUM REVIEW]

After a week off from writing this blog I wanted to come back with a bang.  I wanted to come back with something new, fresh, fast and awesome.  I definitely got the fresh, new and awesome parts down, but the fast I guess is debatable and ok fine maybe not totally new, sue me.  Cotton Jones has been on my radar for years now and as we all know bands find there ways out of our thoughts no matter how good they were/ are.  I was reintroduced to them on a brief trip to Boston last week.  The musical heavens parted and I was reunited with a cool band with a mellow sound to reintroduce myself to on a laid back trip.  Doesn’t get any better.  This is Cotton Jones.

Sail of The Silver Morning – Cotton Jones

Cotton Jones is the brainchild of lead singer Michael Nau.  I was introduced to him as the lead singer of the band Page France in Boston and soon after he started Cotton Jones.  Since 2005 Cotton Jones, a solo moniker for Nau, has released either an EP or a full length offering.  Their most recent full legnth release is called “Tall Hours In The Glowstream”.  Released in 2010 “Glowstream” features the soothing harmonies and great atmosphere I have come to appreciate from Cotton Jones.  This folk record has all the elements I like to hear when I want to sit down, listen and relax.

A Place At The End Of The Street – Cotton Jones

I love the drums on this record.  Nice and loose with limited low end.  I’m addicted to the rattle of the loose snares.  They compliment the twang of the spacey guitars and the twangy drawl of Michael Nau’s voice.  The effects on this record in my opinion are very appropriate.  I sometimes hate when the vocals are flooded with reverb and delay is added to give spacey texture or they sound like your in a closet or oversized bathroom, but in this case it adds to the music instead of take away, which for my taste is really rare.

Most of this music tends to be mellow, which is awesome. However this is one great track on “Glowstream” which I do believe it a Cotton Jones jam.  The song is called “Goethe Nayburs.”  It’s completely instrumental and it features the horns that are kept quiet on the rest of the record.  It’s a great little driving song and after listening to this record a number of times now I think it’s starting to grow on my as my favorite because I didn’t expect it.

Goethe Nayburs – Cotton Jones

I don’t think I need to sell you on Cotton Jones any more.  They have an amazingly mellow sound and they are my personal choice for easy listening on a hot California day.  There’s just one problem…  They are on tour and they aren’t coming to California!  There tour page is here and they have a bunch of dates coming up so obviously I must insist you see them live.

Cotton Jones recently released a short 4 song EP in February of 2011 .  The EP is called “Sit Beside Your Vegetables” and I can’t find it on their site, but I was able to buy it on iTunes.  He’s my favorite song from it.

Egg On A Sea – Cotton Jones

Of course I wouldn’t leave you hangin’ without the last tune from “Tall Hours In The Glowstream” as well.

No Things I Need (Like Some Time Ago) – Cotton Jones

Buy all their music HERE.  Seriously do it.

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC