Playlist: Sam Hale Shares Artists He Loves

Sam Hale
Photo credit: Jenna Doolittle

Sam Hale is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter who had been hard at work on some new music. He’ll be releasing Somewhere Between Love & War on October 12th. Sam kindly put together a playlist of some of the artists he loves and wrote a little about each selection. Check it out!

David Ramirez – “Watching from a Distance”
David Ramirez is electrifying. I heard this album and it inspired me to reach out to his producer, Sam Kassirer. That is how Somewhere Between Love & War was born.

Wye Oak – “Before”
Wye Oak is an interesting discovery I made last year. They are two multi-instrumentalists that create a rich and colorful blend of sounds accompanied by thoughtful and honest lyrics. You’ll have to check them out!

Cigarettes After Sex – “K.”
Cigarettes After Sex put out a pretty awesome album, especially the song “K”. Their music has a dreamy undertone with seductive vocals that don’t sway too much from the pocket, leaving you in a state of infinite trance.

Kevin Morby – “Harlem River”
Kevin Morby’s repetitive guitar lick in “Harlem River” influenced me a bit when creating “Supernatural”. The song starts off giving you a Gotye feel, but once the song picks up it becomes super spacey and psychedelic. I appreciate a long song when it’s done correctly. They achieved it in this one.

Chromatics – “Into The Black”
I love the Chromatics recreation of Neil Young’s “My My, Hey, Hey”. It’s almost as if her voice was made for this song. This song opened me up to hear their whole catalogue.

The War on Drugs – “Pain”
It took me a while to actually start listening to The War on Drugs. I had heard of them and friends told me to check them out. It’s no mystery they are an amazing band, but they have definitely influenced me. The song “Pain” is one of my favorites.

Nick Hakim – “Green Twins”
Nick Hakim put out a super soulful album called Green Twins. The title track “Green Twins” is one of my favorites. The song has a subtle distorted effect that makes it feel like an old vinyl. His performance is amazing and I love the production on this number.

The Cinematic Orchestra – “To Build A Home”
I heard the song “To Build A Home” a while back on the independent station KCRW in Los Angeles while driving home from a friend’s house. I instantly fell in love. It’s such a beautifully played song that gives you chills right when the singer hits the falsetto vocals in the chorus.

Slowdive – “Start Roving”
The band Slowdive has been around for a while, but they recently put out an album called Slowdive after 21 years of not releasing any music. All the songs on the album are amazing, but the one that stood out to me is called “Star Roving”. It has this industrial, 80’s pop quality to it that I just love.

Interview: Homebound Talk New EP and Tour


Charlie Boughton, Homebound’s vocalist, took some time to answer questions about the band’s new EP, More to Me Than Misery and their headlining tour. Check it out!

More to Me Than Misery released in August, so what has the reception of the EP been like?

It’s been really positive in these last few weeks. People have taken to the songs really well and hearing stories about how they have connected with them means so much.

What was the inspiration behind the EP?

More to Me Than Misery draws on the many pitfalls when searching for happiness in love and life. Last year was possibly the best and worst of my life for the very same reasons and you begin to fear the very things that once made you who you are. Although the name of the record draws from quite a poignant lyric, I wanted the title of the record to be seen as a positive outcome to the hardships I experienced.

You also just wrapped up a headlining tour. How did that go?

It was a humbling week for us. To have so many come out in numbers to see us was very special. We were apprehensive and nervous about doing a headline tour but we were shocked at just how many people care about this band.

You’ve been a band for over four years now, how would you say that things have changed since 2014?

We’ve definitely improved at our craft. We didn’t really know what we were doing back then and we’ve slowly but surely learnt more about ourselves as individuals, musicians and as a band. We’ve made plenty of mistakes a long the way which has both helped and hindered us in our journey. Musically, we’re still evolving and finding what fits us best.

When did you first start working with Rude Records? How has the label helped the band grow?

We first started talking to these guys back in the summer of 2016 when they had expressed an interest in our then unreleased EP, ‘The Mould You Build Yourself Around’. They’ve been enthusiastic every step of the way and have always matched our ambition. It’s important to work with like-minded people who understand what you want to achieve and they’ve done everything they can to do that. It’s allowed us to fully focus on being a band and write music.

Now that the EP is out and the tour wrapped up, what are your plans for the remainder of the year? Any plans to come to the U.S. for some shows?

Touring the U.S. is the end goal but it’s very difficult for bands to get to a point where they can make that trip a reality. There’s a lot that goes into it so hopefully that something that can happen sooner rather than later. For now, we want to build on MTMTM, and continue to spread the good word about it.

Thank you for your time! Where can the readers keep up with the band?

Keep up to date with us on all socials @homebounduk and on Spotify. 🖤

SoCal Spotlight: Orange County’s Takers Leavers

Takers Leavers

Takers Leavers are the latest SoCal band we want to spotlight. Continue reading to learn more about what the band likes about the SoCal scene, where they’re from, and more.

Hometown: Orange County, CA

Formed: 2016

Band members::
David Baqi – vocals, guitar
Karem Idrees – bass, vocals
Robby Friend – guitar
John Gee – drums

When did you first know you wanted to be in a band?

DB: When I found out becoming a professional ice cream eater isn’t as sustainable as it should be.

KI: About the same time I discovered Angus Young and AC/DC.

How did the current lineup come to be?

Patience with the process. We lost some and gained some. That helped us find the right equation.

With all the little pockets of music scenes in SoCal, how do you go about checking out the local scene and finding new bands to listen to or even perform with?

Most of the bands we’ve come to love have come from being booked with them. Also, attending local shows helps us discover bands while supporting our friends.

What’s your favorite thing about the SoCal scene? What’s one thing you wish you could change about it?

The many venues, bands, and music fans. We got to sharpen our teeth in a scene that pumps out consistency and creativity. A lot of successful creatives, mentors, and producers thrive here. A bit more diversity in the style of bands/shows and a blending of the different music cultures would be cool to see.

There’s no doubt that this is a crowded place. So do you ever find it difficult to build up even just a solid local following? How does the band go about doing that?

Watching our following blossom recently has been an extremely humbling experience. We do our best to create a platform for others to speak, and people do a much better job at spreading our music than we do sometimes.

How do you handle the band’s social media presence? Where can the readers follow you?

We run it ourselves. The intimacy of being able to do it and really connect with our people makes the most sense. Hit us up on IG, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Even Vero.

Do you have a favorite SoCal spot to play? What makes it your favorite?

The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa. They love us. We love them. They make us sound great. We love their food, drinks, and staff.

What is the band working on right now?

Preparing for a West Coast tour in support of our EP Break & Bloom, available on every streaming platform September 7th.

Interview: Sleeping Seasons Talk New Record

Sleeping Seasons

C.J. Starnes of Sleeping Seasons took some time to talk about the new album from the band. Never Would I Choose To Never Love At All released on August 31st via Innerstrength Records. Read the interview below!

Never Would I Choose To Never Love At All is out now. How did you feel on release day knowing that fans could hear the full record?

Excited and relieved. We poured everything into getting this record out. From pre-production in July last year, making the record from August-December, music video in January, pitching to labels, etc. It was a long process so we were absolutely excited when everything was set and now that it is out, we just hope it means as much to the listener as it does to us.

What was the fans’ reaction like to the album?

Everyone that has reached out has been so positive about the record. It is incredibly encouraging to us.

How did you get hooked up with Innerstrength Records?

We signed on with our manager Erick with Word Is Bond Inc. in early June of last year. He had been talking to labels about our last record and when we completed this one he went out and talked to labels more and Innerstrength was the right one for this release. They were really excited about it, and they wanted to see it succeed. Which really made us feel like they cared about how this did. They offered us a deal we felt confident with and we all decided we’d move forward together.

When you were in the early stages of the album, what was the writing process like?

It feels like a lifetime ago so oddly enough I don’t remember a whole lot about it actually. I usually have ideas written when I bring them to the band and they help me filter and organize the songs and put their parts on it. We have a very singer/songwriter type of sound that has just been expanded into what it is by the members in the band all putting their influences in. When I had all ten songs ready we actually camped out a weekend at our guitarists house and finished writing the record together.

How about the recording process once you were ready for that? Who did you work with on the album?

We have worked with Cody Landers on our last two releases. He is hands down the only person I trust when I have something I want to record. He knows what I’m thinking, and has the vision to take it there. He also doubles as a producer as well so his input is invaluable to us because he knows what will sound good in the final mix. It was effortless working with him.

What was your favorite thing about working on the album?

I loved getting to see the songs I’d had in my head for so long and heard in the rehearsal room taking shape and forming their characters in the soundscape of the studio. It is a surreal experience because that is where you have the most control over how something sounds and we were so excited watching these songs come to life and tell a story.

What does the band hope to accomplish through the music?

We hope the music is what people need it to be for them. We are all Christian’s in the band and hope that we can be a light for Christ. I think it’s evident in the lyrics throughout the record my need to lean on Christ at all times, good and bad. When people hear these songs, I hope they connect with the heartbreak, the victories, and the honesty of the story. I hope they see that there is a great purpose to life. There is a reason why the statement “everything happens for a reason” is true.

What’s next now that the album is out? Do you have plans to tour?

We have more music in the works to record. We are planning tours to support this album. There is a lot coming up!

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Where can the readers keep up with the band?

We have a website, and all major social media outlets. Just look up “Sleeping Seasons” anywhere and you’ll find us.

Playlist: Rome Hero Foxes Share Influential Songs

Rome Hero Foxes
Photo credit: Natasha Bermudez

Rome Hero Foxes put together a list of songs that have influenced them over the years. Check out the playlist and what they have to say about each song.

Adrian’s picks:

The Pillows – “I Think I Can”

This song speaks “play the music you want to play; just have fun” to me. We took that ideology to the max when writing 18 Summers. The kind of carelessness and enjoyment on this song for sure rubbed off on me when writing and recording this record.

Circa Survive – “Lustration”

I absolutely love the drumming pattern in this song. Circa Survive is my favorite band of all time, so of course I had to include a song from them. When this song was released it was on repeat for months. Some parts feel like they shouldn’t make sense but they do. I love listening to music like that.

The Strokes – “Machu Picchu”

When we started writing this record, asked Cj what kind of music should I be listening to and he pointed me to Angles by The Strokes. I’m so glad he showed me this album. I think it’s one of the most perfect indie pop songs and I really wanted to apply that kind of vibe on this album.

CJ’s picks:

Radiohead – “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”

I stand by this as my top favorite song of all time. It was the first time a song made me feel completely other-wordly and out of my own mind with its wave like structure and hypnotizing melodies and landscapes. Every time I listen to this there’s something new I pick up on, there’s just so many layers to get lost in.

The Beach Boys – “Surfer Girl”

This song is very special to me because it’s something I grew up listening to from my childhood all the way into my teens. It became a literal part of my mind, rubbing off on me enough to become a prominent influence for my song writing later on. All in all, this song is just an undeniable classic.

Funeral Party – “Where Did It Go Wrong”

I found out about this band one year at Warped Tour. I went to go get a snow cone while  waiting for another band I knew to watch, and they were playing this song right behind me which instantly caught my attention. This song became an anthem for me through high school and ultimately served as a break-through for my song-writing. There’s many different influences and things that make RHF what it is, but this song introduced me to a style that is now embedded within me.

Chuck “Spyder” Hogan’s picks:

Mew – “Beach”

The synths in this song and the way they play off of the melodies ang guitar lines really inspired me and kinda showed me a way to write synth lines that i hadn’t tried before. This song (especially the bridge) was the main inspiration behind most of my synth work on the album.

The 1975 – “She’s American”

The chorus of this song gave me some great ideas for twinkly keyboard parts that you can hear in the end of Good For You and in the chorus of San Junipero. I’ve been listening to the 1975 since their first album and this album heavily inspired me to be more creative and try new sounds with keyboards, especially since 18 Summers was the first music i’ve helped write as a keyboard player.

Two Door Cinema Club – “Do You Want It All?”

Two Door Cinema Club has been one of my favorite bands since their first record ‘Tourist History’ and when CJ showed me the demo for Seattle Queen I remembered the chorus of this song having nice swelling synth pads that filled the sonic space that the guitars weren’t using. I went back and listened to this song before writing the synth pad section at the end of Seattle Queen and it came out exactly as I imagined it.

Emilio’s picks:

Queens of the Stone Age – “I Appear Missing”

What a huge inspiration to me, this one is. It’s composed so intricately and delivered so smoothly, managing to stay interesting throughout its entire six minute duration. The bass lines are simple when they need to be, which makes the moments where they strike that much more powerful. I really appreciate the way this song feels like a standalone story through the music alone; it’s electrifying, and makes me want to pick up a bass every time I listen to it.

Sufjan Stevens – “Fourth of July”

This song and I have a very particular relationship. Anybody who’s listened to it is already familiar with how melancholy it is. Sufjan Stevens paints such a vivid picture of lament and futility while surrounding me with a deeply beautiful sonic landscape. There’s never been another song that makes me feel the way Fourth of July does. It’s so depressing, but ultimately inspiring and breathes new life into me every time I listen to it. I hope that I, too, can invoke a similar feeling to audiences through music one day.

Sturgill Simpson – “Welcome to Earth (Pollywog)”

I found this song during a strange country kick I was having around the time it was released. Before listening to it, I never would have expected to call it one of my favorite songs. The second half of the song has bass line so groovy that it makes me want to get up and dance every time. It’s simple, but so beautiful and effective. This song helped me realize that good music isn’t necessarily about how technically-able you are as a musician. In a lot of ways (to me), it’s about discipline, and not overdoing it.   

Michael’s picks:

The 1975 – “Sex”

This song is the epitome of why I love indie pop music. It’s such a simple, fun song even though the lyrics are scandalous and dark. Instrumentally it has a vibe that I would love to incorporate into our own music. It also has phenomenal production and one of the best snare’s I’ve ever heard.

John Frusciante – “Song To Sing When I’m Lonely”

This song is incredibly nostalgic to me. It was hard to choose because this is one of my favorite records ever, full of so many great tracks but this one in particular has all the elements that I love in a song. The song writing is so simple, but I love the structure that he uses, along with some of my favorite vocal harmonies I’ve ever heard. The vibe is kind of melancholy but upbeat at the same time. He has such a unique style that I haven’t found in other artists and I’d highly recommend diving into his discography.

Foo Fighters – “Everlong”

This song is a no brainer for me and I feel like everyone else in the band would agree, even if it didn’t make their list. It’s so inspiring from a songwriting perspective and will be a classic forever. Combining such a simple structure, a great rhythm and riff with in my opinion one of the best choruses of all time just shows that you don’t need to make your music complex for it to be good. Sometimes simple is better and that shows here.

Playlist: Modern Racket’s Top 10 California Bands

Modern Racket

Modern Racket picked their top 10 bands from California for our latest playlist feature. Check out their selections and why they made them.

Weezer- “Buddy Holly”

Weezer is a huge influence to us and this band has been around for a long time and are still putting out great music! This misfits band of dorky rocker types reflects ourselves in ways that relate to so much, which is pretty cool. We choose, “Buddy Holly,” because it’s one of our favorites by them.

FIDLAR- “No Waves”

FIDLAR is a new band that we’ve had all kind of discovered together at the same time and instantly vibed with. Thier song writing and power hitting originals really brought together a sound that we’ve been searching for. So glad to see a band like this playing all over the place. They deserve it. We chose, “No Waves,” because this was the first song we’ve all heard together.

The Frights- “You Are Going To Hate This”

More or less from SD county but still pretty close to L.A. The Frights are another band that is quite new in the scene and captured our attention really quickly. We look up to these once local bands that have spread and are now getting recognized all over. Their sound is a modernized 50s rock and we like it! “You Are Going To Hate This,” is the song we chose because when we wanna agree to The Frights this is the song we play! It is also the name of their album.

Chicano Batman- “Black Lipstick”

Chicano Batman came out of nowhere and we were like, “Woah, ok. This is different!” They have such a unique sound mixed in with latino culture, which we like because 3/4 of us in the band are Hispanic. There’s so much influence when listening to them. Makes us want to definitely get a keyboardist. If you haven’t heard of Chicano Batman you’re doing it wrong! Go listen to, “Black Lipstick,” now. Like right now!

together PANGEA- “Badillac”

These newer bands coming out of left field just keep blowing our minds because it is sheer raw talent within the likes we haven’t seen for many years! And every time we discover a new local band blowing up it makes our pee pees tickle! together PANGEA brings a traditional mix of modern and classic rock to the stage and proves that Rock N Roll is far from dead! Great band! “Badillac,” is an instant favorite!

Sublime- “40oz. To Freedom”

Straight out of Long Beach, CA. Sublime will have to get an honorable mention, I mean, that’s pretty much LA still. Who doesn’t love Sublime? We don’t even have to explain this bands roots and how WE connect with them. Everyone knows why. They are just badass plain and simple and if you disagree, then you are WRONG! Just like FIDLAR says, “Lock yourself in your room with 40oz. on repeat! “40oz. To Freedom.”

Metallica- “Fight Fire With Fire”

Originated in Los Angeles but then truly branded themselves in San Francisco. Metallica is hands down the greatest metal band ever. EVER. Everyone knows Metallica but do you truly listen to Metallica? We do. Religiously. Keeps reminding us on why we do what we love. To rock faces! For those who have never listened to old Metallica just blast, “Fight Fire With Fire,” and it’ll change your life.

MEGADETH- “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due”

Ok. We can’t mention Metallica without bringing up MEGADETH! For those who don’t know Dave Mustaine (singer and guitar player of MEGADETH) used to be the original lead guitarist of Metallica. Let’s show him some love because we truly cannot compare these two bands. Both great and impressive with their writings of war, government, power, and of course.. death. “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due.” Best song by them!

Rage Against The Machine- “Sleep Now In The Fire”

Rage! For obvious reasons right? The only band next to MEGADETH to capture the essence of the corruption of government and greedy politics. Rage kills! Not to mention all the great hits they have! “Sleep Now In The Fire,” or bust!

The Doors- “LA Women”

The Doors are the OG’s of LA based bands and they have paved the way for all of us. There would not be half the bands we listen to if it wasn’t for The Doors. They deserve the shout out and the respect. “LA Women,” always a great song to remember them by. It has everything.