Thursday, February 29, 2024

Martina Doerner Wins The First Annual Indie Hero Award by a Landslide


Indie Hero Award Presented to Martina Doerner
Indie Hero Award Presented to Martina Doerner

In a heartfelt celebration of dedication and passion, the independent music community has honored Martina Doerner with the prestigious Indie Hero Award. This accolade comes as a recognition of Martina's relentless efforts and unwavering support for the indie music scene, highlighting her as a true champion for emerging talent. Out of the 25 nominations, and 466 votes, Martina garnered 43% of the votes!

Unwavering Support from Fans

Throughout the month, Martina's fans have shown their appreciation and support in droves, casting their votes and praising her continuous contributions to the indie music landscape. Their enthusiasm not only underscores the impact of Martina's work but also reflects the collective spirit of the indie music community that thrives on mutual support and recognition.

A Journey of Passion and Dedication

Martina's journey into the indie music scene began in 2018 when she started using Twitter as a platform to share and promote new music from emerging bands. What started as a modest effort to share music from a few bands quickly blossomed into a substantial endeavor, with Martina curating twenty playlists every weekend based on artist submissions. This growth testifies to her dedication and the trust she has built within the community.

Despite the challenges of balancing a demanding job in a dementia ward, Martina has found solace and fulfillment in her musical pursuits. Her story is a testament to the power of passion and the balance one can achieve between professional responsibilities and personal interests.

Advocacy for Fair Play and Inclusion

Martina is a vocal advocate for fair play in the music industry. She highlights the importance of digital platforms in discovering new music but warns against the practices of exploitative promoters. Her approach to playlist curation is inclusive and compassionate, prioritizing the passion and creativity of artists over profit. Martina encourages artists to stay persistent and actively engage with their peers, fostering a community built on support and collaboration.

Recognition and Future Aspirations

The Indie Hero Award serves as a significant affirmation of Martina's contributions to the indie music scene. This recognition is not just a personal achievement but a milestone for the community, celebrating the spirit of collective effort and mutual support.

Looking ahead, Martina is inspired to broaden her impact on the indie music scene. With plans to resume her writing and podcast projects, she is driven by the support of her music community. Her future endeavors promise to further enrich the indie music landscape, offering new platforms for artists to share their work and stories.

A Hero Among Us

Martina Doerner's story is a beacon of inspiration, highlighting the importance of passion, dedication, and community in the indie music scene. The Indie Hero Award is a fitting tribute to her efforts, and the support from her fans is a clear indication of the significant role she plays in the lives of emerging artists. Martina's journey and achievements are a reminder of the impact one individual can have in fostering a vibrant and supportive music community.

Read our full article and interview with Martina Doerner

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Michael Botte Band Contributes Single "Radiate" to Global Music Compilation for Anti-Trafficking Effort


Philadelphia, PA – In an inspiring fusion of music and philanthropy, the Michael Botte Band has joined forces with Voices Against Trafficking ( by donating their latest single, "Radiate," to the global music compilation "Broken Treasures." This initiative aims to raise awareness and funds to combat human trafficking and sexual slavery, a cause that Michael Botte, a corporate executive turned singer/songwriter, passionately supports.

Produced by Bob Beals of Sound Foundation Studios, "Radiate" stands out as a beacon of hope and resilience. Its inclusion in the "Broken Treasures" compilation is not just a testament to the band's musical prowess but also to their commitment to leveraging their art for a cause that affects millions worldwide. Voices Against Trafficking, the benefiting non-profit organization, is dedicated to eradicating human bondage through education, advocacy, and support for survivors.

Michael Botte, now a Sony/Orchard and Big Records recording artist, hails from a small steel town along the Ohio River outside of Pittsburgh, PA, and currently resides near Philadelphia. His journey from early band formations in Oakland, CA, to the establishment of the Michael Botte Band in Philadelphia during the tumultuous times of the Covid-19 quarantine reflects his resilience and determination to make a positive impact through music.

Botte's music, a blend of alt-country and rock, has garnered attention on the indie music scene for its catchy hooks and toe-tapping beats. With accolades such as charting on Cashbox Magazine's Pop/Rock Top 100 and securing the top spot on the World Indie Music Chart, the Michael Botte Band's contribution to "Broken Treasures" is anticipated to not only enhance their musical footprint but also significantly support the fight against human trafficking.

The global music compilation "Broken Treasures" was released on January 2024 with all proceeds directed towards the initiatives of Voices Against Trafficking. The Michael Botte Band encourages listeners to support the cause by enjoying the compilation, thereby joining the global fight against human trafficking and sexual slavery. In the words of Michael Botte, "Together, we can make a difference and help put an end to this modern-day form of slavery."

For those interested in previewing "Radiate" before its compilation release, visit for a taste of the sound that's making waves and driving change.

About Michael Botte: A recording artist with a heart for storytelling through music, Michael Botte's journey from a small town to the indie music scene spotlight is marked by his unique sound and heartfelt commitment to making a difference. With new tracks "in the pipeline" for 2024 releasing 3.1.24  and beyond, both Botte and his producer, Bob Beals, promise to continue captivating audiences while contributing to meaningful causes.

For more information on the Michael Botte Band and their efforts to support Voices Against Trafficking, please connect via one of:







Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Martina Doerner: The Unsung Hero of Indie Music's Renaissance


Martina Doerner

In the evolving tapestry of the music industry, where the clamor of mainstream success often overshadows the quiet brilliance of independent artistry, Martina Doerner emerges as an unsung hero. Her story is not just a testament to her love for music but also an inspiring narrative of dedication, support, and passion that transcends the conventional pathways of musical success.

Martina Doerner, a name that may not headline billboards but resonates deeply within the hearts of indie musicians and music lovers alike, began her journey in the 70s and 80s. In the vibrant and ever-evolving landscape of indie music, few names have risen with as much affection and respect as Martina Doerner's. Her journey into the heart of the indie music scene began in 2018, a path that unfolded not on the stages of concert halls or the studios of recording labels, but within the digital realms of Twitter. What started as a simple gesture of sharing music from a handful of bands she admired quickly blossomed into a sprawling network of thousands of artists, each benefiting from her tireless advocacy and genuine passion for their work.

Martina's initial foray into the music world was as humble as it was heartfelt. A few shared tracks became a rallying cry for indie artists seeking an audience, and as the number of bands grew, so did Martina's involvement in the music community. Her "work," a term she uses modestly, transcended mere sharing. She ventured into curating playlists, a task that involved not just selecting songs but weaving together narratives that spoke to the heart of the indie music experience. Her playlists became lifelines for artists and fans alike, connecting them in a tapestry of sound that spanned genres and geographies.

But Martina's contributions didn't stop at playlists. She expanded her repertoire to include writing reviews and conducting interviews, diving deeper into the stories behind the music. Her voice found new outlets in podcasts and radio stations, where she offered short reviews and band introductions, further amplifying the reach of artists who might otherwise go unnoticed.

Despite the accolades and the growing recognition of her contributions, Martina's journey has not been without its challenges. Health issues have forced her to narrow her focus, prioritizing the creation and sharing of playlists over other projects. Yet, even in the face of adversity, her dedication to the indie music community remains unwavering. Martina describes working with and for musicians as a source of strength and energy, an essential counterbalance to the stresses of her job outside the music world.

Martina Doerner's story is a testament to the impact one individual can have on the indie music landscape. Through her dedication, countless artists have found a voice, and fans have discovered new music that might have otherwise remained in the shadows. As she looks forward to continuing her journey, Martina's legacy is already evident in the thriving community she has helped build—a community that eagerly awaits her next move.

Beyond her personal achievements, Martina's impact on the indie music scene is profound. She is celebrated for her tireless efforts to curate and promote new music, serving as the antithesis of the corporate music industry. Martina's dedication to sharing good music with the world is evident in her curated playlists on Spotify and SoundCloud, where she features a diverse array of music that often goes unnoticed. Her approach is refreshingly altruistic; she seeks no compensation, only the joy of sharing music and connecting artists.

Martina's work ethic is exemplary. Balancing a full-time job with her passion project, she manages to carve out time to listen, curate, and share music from indie artists. Her playlists are not just collections of songs but narratives of discovery and appreciation. Every Sunday, she invites submissions, yet her dedication often sees her adding songs even without formal submissions, highlighting her proactive and generous nature.

Her influence extends beyond mere playlist curation. Martina engages with artists, offering feedback, support, and even personal interactions that enrich the community. For many indie musicians, her playlists have been a gateway to new audiences, collaborations, and opportunities. Martina's introductions and background segments on some songs add a personal touch that elevates the listening experience, showcasing her talent as a fantastic DJ with a soothing presence.

The gratitude expressed by the indie music community towards Martina is overwhelming. Artists describe her as a guardian angel, a champion of independent music, and a beacon of hope in a challenging industry. Her work not only brings music to the ears of listeners worldwide but also fosters a sense of community and mutual support among indie artists.

Official Indie Hero Award Logo

Amidst her countless contributions, Martina's dedication and influence have been recognized on a larger scale, as she has been nominated for the prestigious First Annual Indie Hero Award, a community initiative. This nomination not only validates her unwavering support for indie artists but also positions her as a leading figure in the indie music scene. Given her significant impact and the widespread admiration she has garnered, Martina is not just a nominee but a strong contender likely to win this accolade. This recognition further cements her status as a pivotal force in nurturing and promoting independent music.

Looking to the future, Martina remains hopeful about returning to writing and further developing her podcast. Her vision extends beyond the immediate horizon, driven by a deep-seated belief in the power of music to connect and inspire. For Martina, the indie music scene is not just a collection of artists and songs but a vibrant community that she has helped nurture and grow.

Martina Doerner's story is a compelling narrative of resilience, generosity, and an unyielding love for music. She embodies the spirit of indie music—a realm where passion, not profit, drives creativity. As she continues to share her love for music and support indie artists, Martina's legacy is one of inspiration, reminding us that it's never too late to pursue your passion and make a meaningful impact on the world. In the cacophony of today's music industry, Martina Doerner's dedication to indie music shines as a melodious testament to the power of genuine, heartfelt support.

Interview Summary

Martina Doerner's journey into the indie music scene began with a simple exploration on Twitter in 2018, leading her to discover and share music from a few bands. This initial step quickly evolved into curating playlists, initially starting with one per week and expanding to twenty every weekend, fueled by the growing submissions from artists. Martina's dedication to providing a platform for independent musicians is driven by her passion for music and her desire to support emerging talents without seeking personal gain. She operates with an open-minded approach to playlist curation, welcoming all genres except for content that contradicts her values.

Navigating the challenges of balancing a demanding full-time job in a dementia ward with her musical endeavors, Martina finds music to be a perfect counterbalance to her day-to-day life. She sees the evolution of music distribution through digital platforms as a double-edged sword, acknowledging their essential role in discovering new music while cautioning against the exploitation of artists by some promoters.

Martina's efforts in the indie music scene are motivated by altruism and a deep-seated belief in the importance of sharing music. She advises artists to persist in their dreams, leverage well-known platforms for visibility, and engage actively with the community for mutual growth. Her recent nomination for the Indie Hero Award is a testament to her impactful work, bringing her joy and reinforcing her commitment to the indie music community.

Looking ahead, Martina aspires to resume writing about music and continue developing her podcast, hoping for the support and patience of her music community. Her story and advice offer inspiration to both artists navigating the indie scene and individuals seeking to make a difference through their passions.

Interview with Martina

What inspired you to start curating playlists and promoting new music, particularly from indie artists, on platforms like Spotify and SoundCloud?

I started to dive into the music scene when I joined Twitter in 2018. After I discovered a few great bands I started to create the playlist and I started with only one per week. Then I asked for music for the playlists and more and more artists submitted their songs. Now I'm on up to twenty every weekend , a lot of work and I love it! It's the greatest gift for me to see that people love what I do and it's so important to give independent musicians a platform.

With your extensive experience in the music industry, how do you perceive the evolution of music distribution, especially with the rise of digital platforms?

I believe that social media can be a blessing and a curse at the same time.  Especially in view of the fact that there are so many dubious alleged "promoters" who are not really interested in music or the musicians but are only interested in making money.  On the other hand...where would we be without digital platforms?  It's the best way to discover new music and artists.  I just wish that they would be treated and paid fairly!

How do you balance your full-time job with your passion for music and managing to curate playlists and interact with the indie music community?

My job is indeed very stressful and sometimes I run out of time. I work in a dementia ward, a dream job with certain challenges and music plays a big role here too.  For me it is a perfect balance to everyday life when I can "sink" into music.

What criteria do you use to select songs for your playlists, and how do you discover new artists and tracks to feature?

There are actually no criteria for my playlists, I ask for songs, the musicians submit them and there is actually nothing that I would exclude.  Except maybe lyrics that I can't reconcile with my attitude.  On my playlists, metal and rock meet as well as classical  music and punk.  Every genre is welcome!

Your efforts have been described as altruistic, focusing on the joy of sharing music rather than personal gain. Can you elaborate on what motivates this approach?

Well, it's just that I would never ask for money for something that I'm passionate about.  I said that I'm really upset about people trying to rip off musicians.  Artists should be paid to be heard and not have to pay to be heard.

Given the significant impact you've had on the indie music scene, what advice would you give to artists trying to navigate the challenges of gaining recognition and building an audience?

It's difficult to give good advice, but I can definitely advise every musician not to give up and stick to their dreams.  The well-known platforms in particular are a good way to make yourself known and make contacts.  Draw attention to yourself, share your music and, above all, share other people's music, good interaction with others is important and brings new perspectives and new contacts.

The Indie Hero Award nomination is a significant recognition of your contributions. How do you feel about this nomination, and what does it mean to you and your mission in the indie music community?

Oh, I'm so happy about the nomination, especially because I didn't expect it.  I like to stay in the background and have trouble dealing with praise, but this nomination shows me that there are people who appreciate what I do and that I want to continue doing it for a long time.  I feel honoured and thank everyone who voted for me.  It's an incredibly great feeling!!

Looking forward, how do you see your role evolving in the indie music scene, and are there any new projects or goals you are particularly excited about?

I hope that I will soon be fit enough to write more about music again and I would like to continue working on my podcast.  There is so much that I would like to do, but for that I need time and peace and so I hope for the patience of my wonderful music community!

Thank you so very much for this interview and the interest in what I do!!

Martina's Latest Music Review with W Ed Harris

Martina's Latest Interview with Andy Susemihl

Martina Socials

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Harmony and Heart: The Soulful Americana Journey of The Vintage Yell


In the heart of North Texas, amidst the vast landscapes and the unmistakable vibe of a region steeped in musical heritage, emerges The Vintage Yell. This duo, composed of Chris Raspante and Jesse Spradlin, brings to the stage a sound that is profoundly described as soulful Americana, yet their music transcends this label, diving into depths that resonate with the core of American roots music. Their story is one of serendipitous partnership, musical chemistry, and a shared vision that has seen them rise through the ranks of the Texas music scene.

Chris and Jesse's journey began in the confines of a recording studio, where Jesse was laying down tracks for her solo material. It was there that their paths crossed, and the connection was instantaneous. The synergy between Chris's seasoned musicianship and Jesse's raw, emotive songwriting sparked a collaboration that soon evolved into something much larger than they had anticipated. Recognizing the magic of their combined talents, they made the decision to unite their artistic endeavors, thus birthing The Vintage Yell.

Their sound, while anchored in the rich traditions of Americana, is infused with a soulfulness that sets them apart. It's a blend that pays homage to the genre's roots while infusing it with a modern sensibility that appeals to a broad audience. This unique sound caught the attention of Mesquite Street Records, leading to their recent signing, a milestone that marks the beginning of a promising new chapter in their career.

The Vintage Yell has had the privilege of sharing stages with some of Texas's most celebrated bands, including Kin Faux and Whiskey Myers. These experiences have not only provided them with invaluable exposure but have also allowed them to hone their live performances, captivating audiences with their compelling vocals, storytelling, and musicianship.

Jesse Spradlin, with her Virginia origins and Texas upbringing, brings to the duo a rich musical lineage. Coming from a family where music runs deep—her father is a blues Hall of Famer—Jesse's artistry is imbued with authenticity and passion. Her voice, a blend of strength and vulnerability, carries the stories of her songs with an emotive force that is truly captivating.

Chris Raspante's journey in music is equally impressive. A native Texan, Chris ventured to Nashville, where he spent nearly two decades playing and recording with a plethora of artists. His resume boasts performances on the Tonight Show, the Grand Ol’ Opry, and numerous other prestigious venues. His return to Texas and partnership with Jesse in The Vintage Yell feels like a homecoming, one where his experiences and skills find a perfect outlet.

Together, Chris and Jesse form a duo that is much more than the sum of its parts. Their harmonies are seamless, their songwriting profound, and their performances are imbued with a warmth and authenticity that is the hallmark of great Americana music. The Vintage Yell is not just a band; it's a celebration of roots, a journey through the heart of American music, and a testament to the power of collaboration. As they continue to write, record, and perform, their story is one that resonates with anyone who believes in the timeless appeal of music to connect, heal, and inspire.

The Vintage Yell, formed by Chris Raspante and Jesse Spradlin, is a North Texas duo whose music transcends the boundaries of soulful Americana, enriched by their unique backgrounds and experiences. Jesse's early musical influences stem from her father, a Blues Hall of Famer, whose guitar practices laid the foundation for her artistic development. She was encouraged to be original while learning from the best. Chris's two-decade experience in Nashville profoundly shaped his musical style and work ethic, bringing a diverse influence of country, bluegrass, and Americana to the band.

Their decision to form The Vintage Yell was driven by a mutual desire for creative collaboration, recognized through their harmonious work on Jesse's solo material. Their sound incorporates elements of blues, rock, and singer-songwriter genres, offering a distinct take on traditional Americana. Their songwriting process involves both individual and collaborative efforts, creating a unified sound that reflects their combined musical strengths.

Signing with Mesquite Street Records has significantly impacted their career, providing opportunities for growth and exposure. Live performances, particularly opening for bands like Kin Faux and Whiskey Myers, have been key milestones. Their upcoming releases, including two EPs, are highly anticipated by fans, promising a mix of vinyl, CD, and digital formats.

Chris and Jesse also offer advice to aspiring musicians, emphasizing the importance of love for music, hard work, continuous writing, and building community within the music scene. "Wrong Direction," their new single, signifies a musical introduction inviting fans on their journey. Despite early challenges, their dedication and work ethic have been crucial to their success, marking memorable experiences and laying the groundwork for a promising future in the Americana music scene.

The Vintage Yell Socials

Interview with The Vintage Yell

Musical Beginnings: Jesse, how did growing up in a household with a father in the Blues Hall of Fame shape your early musical experiences and artistic development?

a. When I was little, my four siblings and I would often fall asleep to the sound of my dad practicing licks on his strat, hooked to a little practice amp – but it sounded huge to us. As I got interested in guitar later on, he encouraged me to glean from the best of the best, but more importantly to always find a way to be original.

Nashville Influence: Chris, can you describe specific ways in which your two-decade Nashville experience has influenced your musical style and your role in The VintageYell?

a. It influenced me in all kinds of ways. From upping my game as a musician, to strengthening my work ethic. Musically, I had not been around as much country/bluegrass/americana music, until I moved there. It’s definitely helped me as a musician and my role in The Vintage Yell.

Band Formation: What were the key factors or moments that led you both to transition from working on Jesse's solo material to forming The Vintage Yell?

a. Chris: I was definitely ready for a change from what I have been doing recently. I wanted to get back into being more creative, writing songs, and working with someone else who felt the same as I did. After working with Jesse on her solo material in the studio, I knew that she was that person.

b. Jesse: For me, growing up in a musical family, I recognized what it was like to have musical chemistry with someone and that was definitely there with Chris. We worked so well together in the studio, both creatively and personality-wise, that I was more than excited for us to join forces and become The Vintage Yell.

Sound Definition: Your music is described as 'soulful Americana but much deeper.' Can you explain the deeper elements that make your sound distinctive?

a. We do consider ourselves an Americana band, but our music has elements of blues, rock and even singer-songwriter aspects that color outside the lines of traditional Americana.

Songwriting Collaboration: How do you blend your unique styles during the songwriting process to create a unified sound for The Vintage Yell?

a. We write both individually and together. When writing separately, we’ll pitch each other songs that would fit the band. When we co-write, our different strengths and approaches complement each other, leaving us with something really cool in the end.

Mesquite Street Records Experience: How has signing with Mesquite Street Records changed your career trajectory and what new opportunities has it brought for the band?

a. We were very flattered and fortunate that Mesquite Street approached us after a show wanting to work with us. It’s been a blessing to have a label that strongly believes in our music and wants to help us achieve our goals.

Live Performance Highlights: Reflecting on your live performances, especially opening for bands like Kin Faux and Whiskey Myers, what are some standout moments?

a. Chris: We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great shows, but the show that ended up landing us a record deal still stands out to me. It was a great night, one of our first headlining shows and the crowd was really with us from start to finish.

Inspiration Behind "Wrong Direction": Can you delve into the inspiration and the creative journey behind your new single "Wrong Direction"?

a. I wrote the song a long time ago, about being on a certain path, but realizing that it’s not a healthy one to be on. The creative journey became how to take an older song that originally was just mine, and turn it into a band song. I give credit to Jesse for pushing to resurrect it, and turn it into our song.

Future Outlook: With an upcoming debut album preceded by singles and an EP, what can your fans look forward to in the next year from The Vintage Yell?

a. Actually, we will be releasing two EPs this year! Fans can look forward to getting those two EPs on vinyl & CD this fall as well as streaming them digitally!

Advice for Aspiring Musicians: What guidance would you offer to new musicians aiming to make an impact in the Americana music scene?

a. Chris: My advice would be to musicians in general, which is to do it because you absolutely love it and then, be prepared to work harder and longer than you ever  have at anything else.

b. Jesse: I would say two things: 

1. Write all the time, even when you don’t feel like it.

2. Try to find community in the scene. Make friends, network, feed off each other creatively, ask for feedback, go to other peoples’ shows and support. Half of this business is who you know.

Story Behind "Wrong Direction": What personal or artistic significance does "Wrong Direction" hold for The Vintage Yell?

a. For us, “Wrong Direction” is more of a musical introduction that will hopefully inspire our fans to take this journey with us.

Songwriting Insights: Could you walk us through a typical session of crafting a new song? Where do you usually start and how does it evolve?

a. Every song and session is different. Like many artists, we just sit down with two acoustic guitars, start talking and see where it takes us.

Overcoming Early Challenges: As a newly formed band, what were some significant challenges you faced and how did you address them?

a. I think it’s what every new band probably goes through, just trying to introduce yourself to the world and find your audience. This year we hope to find that audience by releasing our upcoming EPs, playing great shows and possibly hitting the road for a tour.

Work Ethic in Music: From your experience, how crucial is work ethic in the music industry, and how has it contributed to your success?

a. Work ethic is everything. Having good songs and a good band is only the beginning. To be successful, you have to be prepared to work every single day, and a lot of that work is off-stage.

Memorable Band Moments: So far, what has been the most unforgettable experience for you as members of The Vintage Yell?

a. We have a few! Some of our favorites are the little moments, like stories told in the car on the way to a show or when we crack a joke to each other in between songs. But as for big moments, signing our record deal, making our first music video, and seeing our very first single appear on Spotify are definitely top contenders

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Phantom Dawn Emerges with Debut Single "Memento" - A Nostalgic Journey Through Sound


Releases February 16th, 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of music, where genres blend and new voices emerge, Phantom Dawn marks a captivating entrance with the release of "Memento" on February 16th, 2024. This debut single from the Vancouver-based, Irish artist Phantom Dawn, the solo project of the multi-talented Matthew Smyth, is a testament to the power of musical nostalgia and the enduring appeal of indie rock.

Matthew Smyth, known for his roles as a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, has embarked on a solo journey that distills his diverse musical skills and influences into a single, coherent vision. "Memento" is more than just a song; it is an auditory exploration of memory, emotion, and the small moments that shape our lives. Drawing from the rich well of 1980’s British Alternative/Indie rock, Dream-Pop, and Shoegaze, Phantom Dawn delivers a sound that is both lush and shimmering, upbeat yet tinged with melancholy.

The choice of influences is particularly noteworthy. The 1980s British alternative and indie scene was known for its innovative use of guitar effects, synthesizers, and introspective lyrics, creating soundscapes that were as immersive as they were emotive. Dream-Pop and Shoegaze, with their ethereal textures and emphasis on atmosphere over traditional rock instrumentation, offer a perfect complement to this foundation. Phantom Dawn weaves these elements together to create a sound that is uniquely its own, yet deeply familiar to fans of these genres.

"Memento" is described as a song about "little moments and carrying them with you in your faded memory," a theme that resonates deeply in today’s fast-paced world. In a society where moments are fleeting and often forgotten, the song invites listeners to pause and reflect on the memories that have shaped them. The sound of "Memento" mirrors this sentiment, with its rich layers of sound creating a space for introspection and reminiscence.

What sets Phantom Dawn apart is not just the musical influences it draws upon, but how these influences are synthesized into something that feels both nostalgic and fresh. The song has been described as sounding like it would not be out of place in the closing scene of an early 2000s coming-of-age indie film, a testament to its emotional resonance and timelessness. This cinematic quality is not accidental but a deliberate choice that reflects the song’s themes of memory and nostalgia.

As Phantom Dawn's debut single, "Memento" sets a high bar for future releases. It introduces Matthew Smyth as an artist capable of crafting soundscapes that are as complex as they are accessible, inviting listeners on a journey through the landscapes of memory and emotion. With "Memento," Phantom Dawn is not just releasing a song but making a statement about the power of music to evoke the past, inspire the present, and influence the future.

In conclusion, "Memento" by Phantom Dawn is a promising start for Matthew Smyth’s solo project, offering a rich blend of influences to create a sound that is both evocative and uplifting. It is a reminder of the moments that linger in our memories, brought to life through a melody that carries the weight of nostalgia. As Phantom Dawn continues to evolve and release new music, it will undoubtedly continue to explore the depths of human emotion through its unique sonic landscape.

"Memento" Lyric Review

The lyrics of "Memento" beautifully encapsulate the essence of nostalgia, intertwined with the fleeting nature of moments that leave a lasting impact on our hearts and minds. The song's thematic core revolves around the preservation of memories, albeit faded, and the emotional journey one undertakes in holding onto these snippets of the past. The blending of various musical genres—80's UK indie/pop, dream-pop/shoegaze, and emo—provides a rich auditory canvas that complements the introspective and melancholic yet blissful nature of the lyrics.

The recurring imagery of the "rose red horizon as the sun decays" evokes a vivid picture of ephemeral beauty and the inevitable passage of time. This imagery, coupled with the transformation of the sky from blood orange to fading colors, symbolizes the transient nature of moments and the human endeavor to capture and cherish them despite their fleeting existence.

The emotional depth of the song is further enriched by the juxtaposition of collective experiences and personal introspection. Lyrics like "A dream divided, I held this moment" and "It rained all night from what I remember" highlight the personal significance of shared moments and the subjective nature of memory. The song navigates the complexity of human emotions—joy, sorrow, longing, and acceptance—through the lens of memory and time.

"Memento" also explores the theme of loss and the struggle to move forward. The lines "In its absence, recall a moment / I left your sorrows behind" suggest a poignant departure from the past, acknowledging the pain but also the necessity of letting go for personal growth. The duality of memory as both a source of comfort and a reminder of loss is a compelling aspect of the song's narrative.

Musically, the combination of upbeat melodies with introspective lyrics creates a unique contrast that mirrors the song's exploration of bittersweet memories. The incorporation of dream-pop/shoegaze elements adds a layer of ethereal quality to the music, enhancing the overall theme of reminiscence and introspection.

In conclusion, "Memento" is a deeply reflective and emotionally resonant song that captures the universal human experience of holding onto memories. Its lyrical depth, combined with a rich musical landscape, makes it a poignant ode to the moments that shape our lives, reminding us of the beauty and pain inherent in the act of remembering.


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Fictional Story based on the lyrics

Colors of a Fading Horizon

Created by Indie Mastered

Copyright 2024 Matthew Smyth

In the quiet town of Eldridge, nestled between the whispering forests and the serene coast, lived a painter named Julian. His life was a tapestry of moments, each brushstroke on canvas a testament to memories lived and loved. Julian's art was his memento, a collection of all the little moments that he carried with him, painted in the colors of his faded memory.

One evening, as the sun dipped below the horizon, painting the sky in shades of blood orange and rose red, Julian met Amelia. She was a musician, her soul as deep and introspective as the lyrics she wrote. Together, they found solace in the silence of Eldridge, a silence that spoke volumes of their shared melancholy and bliss.

Their connection was immediate, a dream divided from reality, yet tangibly present. Julian introduced Amelia to his world of colors, showing her how the sun's decay could mesmerize before it began to fade. Amelia, in turn, shared her music with Julian, her melodies an echo of the 80's UK indie scene, blended with the ethereal touch of dream-pop and the raw emotion of emo lyrics.

As the seasons changed, so did their relationship. They surrendered to their love, if only for a moment, ascending to where they felt they belonged. Yet, as with all things, their time was fleeting. Eldridge was drenched in rain that seemed to last all night, from what Julian could remember, marking the end of an era. Their love was framed and pinned to the wall of Julian's memory, a vivid painting that refused to fade.

Despite the end of their romance, Julian couldn't help but remember everything. The blood orange skies that burned into his retinas became the muse for his paintings. He tried to believe in the permanence of their love, though deep down, he knew he would never return to those moments again.

Years passed, and Julian left Eldridge, carrying with him the sorrows and joys of his time with Amelia. The silver waves of the ocean called to him, a reminder of the inevitable change that life brings. His heart might have moved on, but the body of his work remained, a testament to the moments they shared.

In the end, Julian's paintings became his legacy, each piece a memento of his journey through love, loss, and the beauty of memory. The colors mesmerized those who viewed them, then began to fade, much like the memories they represented. Yet, in their fading, they captured the essence of what it means to hold onto the little moments, carrying them forever in a faded memory.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

The Dual Narratives of "Father": A Deep Dive into Familial Bonds and Personal Growth


The song "Father" releases on February 16th

Walter: I believe this is the first time I've encountered a song composed with such a dual perspective nature. 

In the emotionally charged track "Father," listeners are introduced to a powerful and moving exploration of the complex relationships between two artists and their fathers. The song weaves together two distinct narratives that, while divergent in their experiences, converge on the theme of personal growth and understanding within the dynamics of family relationships. Through the heartfelt stories of Kerry and Arminia, "Father" delves into the depths of pain, forgiveness, and ultimately, reconciliation.

Kerry's Journey: Navigating the Aftermath of Abandonment

Kerry's contribution to the track is a raw and poignant account of her father's departure from the family. Her story is one of abandonment, pain, and the arduous journey towards self-realization and healing. The divorce of her parents marked the beginning of a tumultuous period in her life, characterized by a profound sense of loss and confusion. Kerry grapples with the realization that her father's absence is not merely physical but emotional; he is disinterested and detached from her life.

The emotional toll of her father's indifference is exacerbated by Kerry's internal struggle. She spends years tormented by self-doubt, searching for flaws within herself that might explain her father's neglect. This introspective journey is a testament to the devastating impact of parental abandonment on a child's self-esteem and sense of worth. However, Kerry's narrative does not end in despair. Through a process of introspection and self-compassion, she arrives at a crucial epiphany: the absence of her father's love and care is not a reflection of her inadequacy but rather his shortcomings.

Efforts to re-establish contact with her father prove futile, yet this rejection propels Kerry towards a profound transformation. She emerges from this experience with a newfound understanding and acceptance of her circumstances. The narrative reaches a redemptive conclusion as Kerry expresses gratitude for her father's departure. This twist of fate allowed her to welcome a loving and supportive stepfather into her life, someone who offered the paternal affection and guidance she yearned for. Kerry's story is a testament to resilience and the capacity to find silver linings in the face of adversity.

Arminia's Reflections: Understanding and Forgiveness

Contrasting Kerry's experience, Arminia shares a narrative rooted in conflict and eventual understanding. Unlike Kerry, Arminia does not mourn the loss of a father but instead grapples with the challenges of an existing, albeit tumultuous, relationship with her dad. Their interactions are characterized by constant arguments and conflicts, a dynamic that strains their bond and clouds Arminia's perception of her father.

It is through persistent confrontation that Arminia begins to peel back the layers of her father's persona, recognizing the complexities and struggles that define him. This revelation marks a turning point in her relationship with her father, as Arminia starts to appreciate the depth of his experiences and the burdens he bears. Her narrative underscores the importance of empathy and understanding in navigating familial relationships, especially those marred by conflict.

Arminia's story culminates in a call for peace and reconciliation. She proposes a truce, not through grand gestures or profound declarations, but through the simple act of going to sleep with the intention of starting anew. This act symbolizes the possibility of forgiveness and the hope for a brighter, more harmonious future. It is a reminder that sometimes, the path to healing and understanding begins with small steps towards letting go of past grievances.

Conclusion: The Resonance of "Father"

The track "Father" is a profound exploration of the complexities of father-child relationships, highlighting the diverse ways in which individuals navigate the challenges and revelations that come with these bonds. Through Kerry's journey of self-discovery and healing and Arminia's path towards understanding and reconciliation, the song presents a nuanced perspective on the themes of abandonment, conflict, and forgiveness. It is a reminder of the power of resilience, the importance of empathy, and the transformative potential of love in all its forms. "Father" resonates as a beacon of hope for anyone struggling to make sense of their familial relationships, encouraging listeners to seek understanding and find peace within themselves.

Father Lyric Review

Father's lyrics offer a profound and deeply emotional exploration of the complexities within familial relationships, particularly between children and their fathers. Each verse, through the perspectives of Kerry and Arminia, conveys a nuanced narrative that resonates with the pain, confusion, reconciliation, and hope that define these bonds.

Kerry's verses articulate a journey of longing, hurt, and eventual acceptance. The opening lines immediately set a tone of detachment and neglect, highlighting the superficiality of communication after a decade of silence. This portrayal of indifference segues into a poignant reflection on the desire for genuine connection, juxtaposed with the reality of emotional abandonment. Kerry's narrative oscillates between a yearning for paternal affection and the harsh acceptance of its absence. The mention of gifts and money serves as a metaphor for the superficial attempts at reconciliation, emphasizing the deep-seated need for emotional rather than material connection. The closing lines of Kerry's verse, expressing a willingness to forgive despite years of betrayal, underscore a powerful message of resilience and the capacity for forgiveness.

Arminia's verses, in contrast, provide a narrative of understanding and empathy. The acknowledgment of a challenging year and the plea for forgiveness introduce a theme of reconciliation. Arminia's reflection on her father's childhood and the recognition of his efforts to provide and protect despite his own vulnerabilities, offer a heartfelt tribute to parental love and sacrifice. The imagery of a father working tirelessly under the watchful eye of a higher power, ensuring the comfort and dreams of their child, is both evocative and moving. Arminia's message is one of gratitude and understanding, recognizing the complexities of her father's experience and the depth of his love.

The concluding verses from both Kerry and Arminia bring their narratives to a poignant closure. Kerry's expression of gratitude for her father's departure, though seemingly paradoxical, reveals a journey towards acceptance and personal growth. Arminia's simple request to "just go and sleep" symbolizes a desire for peace and a fresh start, echoing the universal need for forgiveness and the healing power of rest.

Overall, the lyrics are beautifully crafted, weaving together themes of pain, abandonment, understanding, and reconciliation. They speak to the universal experience of navigating familial relationships, the longing for connection, and the journey towards forgiveness and understanding. The juxtaposition of Kerry and Arminia's experiences offers a rich, multifaceted exploration of the father-child dynamic, making these lyrics not only deeply personal but also universally relatable.

Pre-Save Father Please

Fictional Story based on the lyrics

When Silence Speaks Louder: A Tale of Two Daughters

Created by Indie Mastered

Copyright 2024 Kerry & Arminia

In the heart of a bustling city lived two women, Kerry and Arminia, whose lives were intertwined by a shared experience—complex relationships with their fathers. Despite the difference in their circumstances, both women found themselves at a crossroads, each carrying the weight of unresolved emotions and unspoken words. This is their story, a narrative woven from the fabric of pain, hope, and the journey towards understanding.

Kerry's Struggle: The Echoes of Absence

Kerry's relationship with her father had been strained since her childhood, marked by his abrupt departure from the family. For years, the only remnants of him were the sporadic gifts and money sent her way, a feeble attempt to bridge the chasm that his absence had created. The few words she ever received from him, "Hi, what's new?" echoed in her mind, a painful reminder of what she longed for but never truly had. Her heart ached for a connection, for him to hold her, to show some semblance of care. Yet, with each passing year, the hope of reconciliation dimmed, leaving her to grapple with the cold reality of his indifference.

Arminia's Journey: Seeking Understanding in Conflict

Arminia's story painted a different picture. Her home was filled with the presence of her father, but not the warmth she craved. Arguments and misunderstandings clouded their days, leaving little room for the affection and support she sought. It wasn't until she faced the prospect of leaving home that she began to see her father in a new light. Through the lens of his struggles and the sacrifices he made, she realized the depth of his love, obscured by his own battles and the silence that often filled their home. This revelation brought a newfound empathy, transforming her resentment into gratitude and understanding.

Convergence: The Power of Forgiveness

As Kerry and Arminia navigated their respective paths, their stories began to converge, united by a common theme—the desire for closure and the power of forgiveness. Kerry, despite her longing for her father's love, found solace in the strength she had gained from his absence. It was in this space of solitude that she learned to appreciate the presence of a loving stepfather and the beauty of chosen family. Her journey taught her that forgiveness was not just about reconciling with the past but about freeing herself from its hold.

Arminia, on the other hand, found peace in the simplicity of understanding. The realization that her father, too, had his demons and that their conflicts were but a reflection of his unspoken fears, allowed her to extend the olive branch of forgiveness. The act of going to sleep, as she suggested, became a metaphor for letting go of the day's troubles and awakening to a new day with open hearts and minds.

Epilogue: When Silence Speaks Louder

Kerry and Arminia's stories culminate in a poignant reminder of the complexities of familial relationships. Through their eyes, we see that sometimes, it's the unspoken words that carry the most weight, and the journey towards understanding and forgiveness is fraught with its own challenges. Yet, it is in the embrace of these struggles that we find our strength and the capacity to love in ways we never thought possible.

In the end, "When Silence Speaks Louder" is more than just a tale of two daughters and their fathers; it's a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, the transformative power of empathy, and the enduring hope for reconciliation that dwells within us all.

Dorsten: A Musical Odyssey from Phoenix to Abbey Road

In the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, amidst the sprawling desert landscape, a unique musical duo has been quietly crafting a revolution in the music industry. Dorsten, a brother-sister band, has embarked on a journey to redefine the music scene by advocating for artist autonomy at every stage of the creative process. Their story is one of resilience, creativity, and an unwavering commitment to their art.

The Genesis of Dorsten

Dorsten's inception is a testament to the power of familial bonds and shared dreams. In 2020, as the world came to a standstill due to the pandemic, Alex returned from college, finding himself at a crossroads. The siblings, each with their own musical endeavors halted by the global crisis, found solace and inspiration in each other's company. This period of introspection and mutual support led to the creation of their first song, "Sea Salt," a track that symbolized the beginning of their shared musical voyage.

"Sea Salt" was born out of minimal equipment—an SM57 microphone and a laptop barely equipped for college essays. Yet, the limitations did not deter the duo. Instead, they fueled their creativity, leading to a track that captured the attention of listeners and marked Dorsten as a band to watch.

The Unique Blend of Talents

Sophie and Alex bring a distinctive set of skills to Dorsten, making their music and artistic output truly unique. Sophie's contributions go beyond her captivating vocals and piano skills. She is the artistic vision behind the band, creating all album art, filming and editing music videos, and managing social media posts. Alex complements this with his multi-instrumentalist talents, handling guitars, bass, percussion, and banjo, as well as the technical aspects of recording, mixing, and mastering in his bedroom studio.

This synergy allows Dorsten to maintain complete control over their music production, a rarity in the industry. Their dedication to self-production not only showcases their talents but also underscores their commitment to preserving the integrity of their art.

The Journey to 'To The River'

Dorsten's musical journey has been marked by continuous growth and exploration. Their discography expanded as they honed their songwriting and self-production skills, leading to the creation of their 'To The River' EP. This collection of songs represents the culmination of years of dedication and is a testament to their evolution as artists.

The turning point in their career came in March 2022, when Abbey Road Studios extended an invitation to record live songs with a string quartet. The experience in Studio 2 was transformative, immersing them in a history of musical excellence and inspiring a new level of creativity. The resulting "London Sessions" is a collection of live songs that encapsulate the essence of Dorsten's musicality.

A Call to Action

Despite their accomplishments, Dorsten acknowledges the challenges ahead. The costs associated with pressing vinyl, creating new merchandise, touring, and marketing require support beyond their current means. They reach out to their fans and the broader community for support, emphasizing the importance of solidarity in their artistic journey.

Dorsten's journey through the music landscape is marked not only by their artistic integrity and dedication to crafting an authentic experience for their audience but also by their recognition of the importance of community support. The brother-sister duo has always taken pride in their ability to manage every aspect of their music production process. This holistic approach, they believe, crafts a more genuine connection with their listeners. However, the road ahead in 2024 is filled with ambitious ventures that require more than just talent and hard work; they require the support of their fans and the broader music-loving community.

The past year has been one of relentless dedication for Dorsten. Sophie has invested countless hours in vocal lessons and songwriting classes at Alice Cooper's Solid Rock, an organization dedicated to empowering teens through free music, arts, and vocational programs. Alex, on the other hand, has expanded his technical prowess by taking on mixing and mastering projects, including the sophisticated Atmos mixing for other artists. Their combined efforts and personal financial contributions have amounted to nearly $13,000 towards their project. Yet, despite their hard work and self-investment, the financial demands of their upcoming ventures exceed their current resources.

In 2024, Dorsten is poised to embark on an exciting tour, securing a spot as an opener for a major act. This opportunity, while offering invaluable exposure, comes with its own set of financial challenges, primarily the need to fund travel expenses without the support of tour compensation. Moreover, the duo is at a crucial juncture where the upfront costs for new merchandise and vinyl pressing are significant. These endeavors, essential for engaging their fanbase and expanding their reach, necessitate additional financial backing.

The release of new songs also brings forth the challenge of covering extensive marketing expenses. Press, radio play, publications, and other marketing efforts are crucial for the visibility and success of their music but come at a considerable cost. These financial hurdles are a testament to the realities of pursuing a career in music—a career that, while fulfilling, requires substantial investment and community support to flourish.

Dorsten's call to action is a heartfelt invitation to their listeners and supporters to join them on their journey. By contributing to their campaign, fans can become an integral part of Dorsten's story, helping to ensure that the duo can continue to offer their unique, authentic musical experiences. The support of their community is not just a means to financial ends but a powerful affirmation of the value of their music and their vision for an artist-driven industry.

As Dorsten navigates the promising yet challenging year ahead, their story is a reminder of the power of collective support in the arts. Their success is not merely a reflection of their talent and dedication but also of the strength of the community that stands with them. In joining forces with Dorsten, supporters have the opportunity to make a tangible impact in the music world, fostering the growth of independent artists who strive to maintain their creative freedom and authenticity in an ever-evolving industry.

Will you help Dorsten? Share too please!


Dorsten's story is more than just a musical endeavor; it is a narrative of resilience, innovation, and the pursuit of artistic freedom. From the deserts of Phoenix to the historic Abbey Road Studios, Sophie and Alex have embarked on a journey that transcends geographical boundaries and musical genres. Their commitment to self-production and artist autonomy is not only a testament to their talent but also a call to action for the music industry at large. As they continue to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, Dorsten remains a beacon of inspiration, proving that with passion and perseverance, anything is possible.

The Significance of Receving Kickstarter's "Project We Love" Badge

The "Projects We Love" badge is a notable initiative by Kickstarter, a popular crowdfunding platform that allows creators to find backers for their unique projects. This initiative is designed to highlight standout projects on the platform, offering them increased visibility and recognition among the vast array of campaigns. Here's a comprehensive look at the "Projects We Love" initiative, detailing its purpose, selection criteria, and benefits for creators.


The primary goal of the "Projects We Love" initiative is to showcase projects that exemplify creativity, innovation, and the core values of Kickstarter. These projects are handpicked by Kickstarter's staff based on their uniqueness, presentation, and potential to inspire and engage the community. By featuring these projects, Kickstarter not only aims to celebrate the hard work and dedication of creators but also to help them attract more support and funding from the platform's wide user base.

Selection Criteria

The selection process for the "Projects We Love" badge is not explicitly detailed by Kickstarter, as it involves a subjective evaluation by the platform's staff. However, several factors are considered in identifying these projects:

Innovation and Originality: Projects that offer new solutions, creative ideas, or an innovative approach to existing problems are often recognized.

Presentation: A well-organized campaign page with clear, engaging content, including detailed descriptions, compelling images, and videos, stands a better chance of being highlighted.

Community Engagement: Projects that demonstrate a strong connection with their audience, including active updates and responsiveness to backer queries, are viewed favorably.

Commitment to Sustainability: Projects that consider their environmental impact and propose sustainable practices can also be highlighted as part of Kickstarter's commitment to positive social and environmental practices.

Benefits for Creators

Receiving the "Projects We Love" badge comes with several advantages for creators:

Increased Visibility: These projects are given prominence on the Kickstarter platform, appearing in special sections like the "Projects We Love" page, and sometimes featured in Kickstarter's newsletters and social media channels. This increased visibility can lead to more traffic and, subsequently, more backers.

Credibility and Trust: The badge acts as a seal of approval from Kickstarter, signaling to potential backers that the project has been vetted and recognized for its quality and potential.

Motivation and Morale Boost: For creators, earning this recognition can serve as a significant morale boost, affirming the value of their hard work and creativity. It can also motivate them to engage more actively with their community and continue developing their project with greater enthusiasm.


Kickstarter's "Projects We Love" initiative plays a vital role in fostering innovation and creativity within the crowdfunding community. By highlighting projects that exemplify the best of what Kickstarter has to offer, the platform not only aids creators in achieving their funding goals but also enriches the experience for backers looking for unique and inspiring projects to support. For creators aspiring to earn this badge, focusing on innovation, presentation, community engagement, and sustainability can increase their chances of being recognized and celebrated through this initiative.