Although she’s only 27, singer, songwriter, banjo-player, and guitarist Molly Tuttle has been a professional musician for over a dozen years and has accomplished more than most musicians twice her age. The Bay Area-raised Tuttle began playing guitar at the age of 8 and by the age of 11, she was playing onstage with her multi-instrumentalist father Jack Tuttle. She then recorded a 2007 duet album with him at the age of 13. She joined The Tuttles with AJ Lee. She was joined by two other siblings in the band: Sullivan (guitar) and Michael (mandolin). They released INTRODUCING THE TUTTLES in 2011, followed two years later by ENDLESS OCEANS. In between the Tuttles albums, she was awarded merit scholarships to the Berklee College of Music for music and composition,  received the Foundation for Bluegrass Music’s first Hazel Dickens Memorial Scholarship, won the Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at the Merlefest Music Festival, and was named Best Female Vocalist and Best Guitar Player by the Northern California Bluegrass Society.

While attending the Berklee College of Music, she joined the all-female Bluegrass outfit The Goodbye Girls, who released a 2014 EP and a full-length album two years later. During this period, she also released an EP with fiddler John Mailander and became a member of supergroup The First Ladies of Bluegrass. After relocating to Nashville, Tuttle released her first solo EP, RISE, in 2017. That same year, she signed to Compass Records, finally releasing her debut solo full-length album – WHEN YOU’RE READY – in 2019. During this long and prolific journey, Tuttle has continued to grow as an artist and as a human being. In March 2020, just as the world began to slow to a halt thanks to the pandemic, she also faced the sudden devastation of a tornado that ripped through East Nashville. Stuck amid a world that had suddenly been turned on its head, Tuttle turned to the music that had inspired her long and fruitful journey. Working remotely with producer Tony Berg, she recorded all her parts alone and forwarded them to Berg. The resulting album is her 2020 release …but i’d rather be with you.

but i’d rather be with you is a personal album that seeks to not only revisit that music that inspired her as a musician, it is also a record that reconnects her – and the listener – to a time that was more hopeful. It is also a release that embraces more than just bluegrass – there are also touches of Country, Pop, Folk, and other genres. Her spirited rendition of The Rolling Stones’ “She’s a Rainbow” is the perfect encapsulation of the album, touching on the life-affirming joys of music. However, it also mirrors the realities of rebuilding something new out of something old. The rest of the album Tuttle-izes songs by artists as diverse as Cat Stevens, Rancid, The National, FKA twigs, Karen Dalton, and The National. Musically, the album is pure Molly Tuttle even as it passes through different musical universes. Regardless of the original genre, all musical roads on but i’d rather be with you lead back to Molly Tuttle.


but i’d rather be with you

Available NOW!

NEIL INNES/How Sweet To Be An Idiot (review)

Neil Innes was best-known for his work with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The Rutles, and his association with Monty Python. However, it almost seems unfair that a gentleman so musically gifted is remembered for his humor more than his fantastic and wildly eclectic back catalog of great songs. From his ‘60s recordings with the Bonzos to his final album released just prior to his death in December, 2019, Neil Innes was an exceptional songwriter, taking his influences, blending them together and creating many instant classics. He may not have been prolific, but he sure made each release matter.

HOW SWEET TO BE AN IDIOT was his official solo debut album after five albums with the Bonzos (1966-1972), one with The World (1970) and two with Grimms (1973). While his overall history of bing involved with humorous projects and the title and album cover of HOW SWEET TO BE AN IDIOT may lead you to believe that this is a comedy album, that isn’t entirely true. The album is funny, fun, eccentric, and eclectic but it shouldn’t be filed under ‘comedy’ in your local shops. This is a Pop album, through and through.

If you loved Innes’ work with the Rutles, there are certainly plenty of musical nods to The Beatles here, although they are far more subtle than anything by the Rutland lads. “Dream (On)” could be a Ron Nasty solo release, followed by “L’Amour Perdu”, which could be a Rutles-era Dirk McQuickly vaudeville-influenced nuggets. Then again, “Momma B” could easily have been a Rutles rocker…

There’s more to HOW SWEET TO BE AN IDIOT than Rutles references. “Song For Yvonne” is the perfect vehicle for his eclectic creativity and his gift or melody. “Immortal Invisible” has a wonderful Gospel groove. “Topless-A-Go-Go” could have been recorded in the middle of a New Orleans bender. “Feel No Shame” is a good-time rocker with a shot of Rhythm & Blues – and boy does that instrumental riff sound familiar! The album’s closers are the most serious cuts on the album – “This Love of Ours” and “Singing A Song Is Easy”. The former is a heartfelt, moody mid-tempo ballad with a slight reggae stomp, while the latter is a melodic, uplifting sing-along with a hint of Gospel and a touch of melancholia. If all you’ve heard is his more humorous material, you’ll be surprised at how emotional Innes can be on these last two tracks.

And about the title track, “How Sweet To Be An Idiot”… this reviewer used to own a vinyl copy of the album that featured the ‘piano and vocal’ version of the song, so hearing the ORIGINAL album version with full band and string quartet was a surprise and a real treat. The two different arrangements may be radically different, but the feel – the ‘vibe’, if you will – is still very similar.


This expanded reissue features 10 bonus tracks including the ‘piano and vocal’ version of “How Sweet To Be An idiot”, and some great non-album material including the miraculous “Recycled Vinyl Blues” (you have to hear it to believe it!) and so much more.

HOW SWEET TO BE AN IDIOT is proof that Neil Innes should be considered, first and foremost, a musician and songwriter before you even add in humorist, comedian, or whatever silly names you want to throw at him. Don’t think of him as a former Rutle, Bonzo, or Python – just think of him as Neil Innes. You’ll rest easier at night, trust me.

Rest in peace, Mr. Innes.

Keep on truckin’,

Stephen SPAZ Schnee


It has been nearly 25 years since Conor Oberst began his musical journey under the name Bright Eyes. He was originally a member of Omaha, Nebraska Indie Rock band Commander Venus, who split in 1997. Then, operating under the name Bright Eyes, he compiled A COLLECTION OF SONGS WRITTEN AND RECORDED 1995-1997, which was released at the beginning of 1998. At the end of the same year, the second Bright Eyes album, LETTING OFF THE HAPPINESS, hit the shops and raised the eyebrows of critics and music fans alike. By the time of 2000’s FEVERS AND MIRRORS, Conor and Bright Eyes – which now included Mike Mogis as part of the core line-up – were Indie and Alternative Rock darlings. The band reached their commercial zenith in 2005 with the album I’M WIDE AWAKE, IT’S MORNING, an album that featured recent band addition Nate Walcott. However, after the release of 2011’ THE PEOPLE’S KEY, Oberst called a time-out on the band and each member went their separate ways. Bright Eyes had taken hiatuses before but this one ended up lasting nearly a decade.

While Oberst’s main project was Bright Eyes, he also participated in many other projects including Desaparecidos, Monsters of Folk, and Better Oblivion Community Center along with his own solo releases. While fans embraced his other musical endeavors, their hopes of a new Bright Eyes album dimmed as time went on. However, unbeknownst to many, the idea of Bright Eyes’ return was hatched nearly three years ago. Oberst attended a Christmas party thrown by Walcott in 2017. He mentioned the idea to his bandmate and they both reached out to Mogis, who immediately agreed. A lot had changed since they released their previous album in 2011, but the trio accepted all the challenges that time had thrown at them and dived into a new Bright Eyes project. And then, as they prepared for the release of their latest opus, a worldwide pandemic hit….

DOWN IN THE WEEDS, WHERE THE WORLD ONCE WAS is the highly-anticipated Bright Eyes album, their first in nearly a decade. Their most collaborative release yet, DOWN IN THE WEEDS… is an album that finds Oberst at the wheel with Mogis and Walcott riding shotgun and occasionally steering the project into new and interesting directions. And while the album was in motion before the pandemic, this is a release that accurately reflects the mood of our times. Once you rip off the shrinkwrap and immerse yourself in DOWN IN THE WEEDS…, you’ll find anxiety, creativity, emotion, hope, and, flowing threw it all, the joy of making music together. Tracks like “Dance And Sing”, “Just Once In The World”, “Tilt-A-Whirl”, and “One And Done” represent just some of the moods on display on DOWN IN THE WEEDS…, an album that heralds the miraculous return of one of America’s most beloved Indie bands.




LET ME ROLL IT: An exclusive Q&A with Tanya Donelly

Dave Rayburn: As you began to shape your list of song options for this new covers album, what prerequisites did you have in mind?
Tanya Donelly: The overarching theme of it is, loosely, songs that just run through my head all the time for whatever reason. So, it’s kind of a part tribute, part exorcism exercise. (laughs) That was the main theme of it. The one exception to that would be The Pretenders song “Kid”, which my friend Laura… Bill Janovitz’s wife… sort of suggested that one when I asked her.

Dave: So, if we were to look at your record collection, the albums that these songs come from are likely more dog-eared than the rest. 
Tanya: Yes! (laughs) Absolutely. Yip. 

Dave: Not everyone may be familiar with The Parkington Sisters. How would you best describe them, and how did they become the core group behind this new record? 
Tanya: They’re brilliant. I would say, edgy folk. Very New England, but they just have their own twist on everything, and you can tell when you’re listening to them as soon as the song starts. I met Nora Parkington first, which is the only one who is not playing on the album (laughs)… I met her first at Hot Stove Cool Music which is a benefit I do every year here (in Boston). And, she was playing with several bands that night. I sort of fell in love with her playing, and then we became friends. Then I started listening to her family band and was just immediately in love. And when Joe Spadaro asked me to do a covers album, my knee-jerk reaction was to say no. It’s not that I didn’t want to do it, I just felt like… should I?… and, can I? And, all of the songs I love have already been done perfectly. But then the idea to have it sort of pulled together under one cohesive sound that I loved led me to the Parkingtons. I play guitar on just one song on this album because I just really wanted it to be their vision and their sound, and when I got in touch with them initially, I was like… I want it to sound like you… and it does. 

Dave: Yeah, I was gonna say, with the arrangements, they kind of transform the songs into different vehicles, swapping out well-known guitar riffs in songs like “Let Me Roll It” (Wings) and “Kid” with fresh, exciting string flourishes. So, that’s kind of what you had in mind in giving it all a different stamp? 
Tanya: Mm-hmm. Yes! 

Dave: Well, you’ve got a long history of releasing your own interpretations of classic material ranging from Henry Mancini to Neil Young to The Smiths and beyond. Creatively, what do you consider to be the most challenging aspect of recording songs that you already consider to be perfect in their original incarnations? 
Tanya: Just making sure that I’m not lazy about it. That’s been a real challenge with doing the Sunday Series too, is just having a week to do them. I just want to make sure that it does the song justice. And also, to understand that, as I’m saying, many of these songs have already been done perfectly, and I genuinely mean that. So, not to make myself too crazy about it, but… imagining that the songwriter is just sitting on jury the whole time you’re recording… (laughs) 

Dave: It’s a fine line to decide to do a faithful cover or to take the dare and try and reinvent a little bit. But, putting that in mind that maybe Chrissie Hynde is watching you the whole time you’re doing this… that might help you decide what to do. (laughs) 
Tanya: That’s right. Yeah. (laughs), especially with that one, I was always thinking… what would Chrissie think? 

Dave: And on that subject, songs like “Kid” as well as “Different Drum” by The Stone Poneys are monumental in stature if for nothing else other than the vocalists that brought them into the world. That’s a large spotlight to fill, but you manage to channel their subtle honesty with no problem. What other empowering female voices of your younger years would you say helped form your own voice and give you the confidence to be in your own spotlight? 
Tanya: Well, every single one of the Go-Go’s. Every last one of them. From a very early age on it was Joni Mitchell. Janis Ian when I was really little. I was completely obsessed with her. And, there’s really no undermining how excited the Go-Go’s made me feel to play guitar. And then, the women I’ve played with. Not to sound corny, but I’ve played with some power-packed women and some game-changing women. So, absolutely I would say the women I’ve shared the stage with for thirty plus years. 

Dave: It’s been noted that Leonard Cohen is one of your songwriting heroes. On this new record, you present “Dance Me To The End Of Love” from his 1984 album, VARIOUS POSITIONS. When were you first impacted by his work? 
Tanya: Well, my dad has always loved him along with Tom Waits, and so I was raised with it. As soon as I hear his voice, I just want to hear every word. I don’t want to miss a word. In a crowd of many, he’s probably my favorite lyricist of all time. He’s just one of those artists that has always been in the foreground for me my entire life, from childhood on. I don’t forget about him. There’s never been a period in my life where I’ve said… hey, I haven’t listened to that in a while. He’s a constant for me. And, in particular, VARIOUS POSITIONS is my favorite. I love ‘em all, but that one is one that I just come back to so regularly. 

Dave: Mary Margaret O’Hara may be the most obscure artist you draw from on this collection, yet “You Will Be Loved Again” may be the most potent performance on this record, with a lush mix of harmony vocals highlighting its delivery. The song also closes the album, which carries the same hallmark of O’Hara’s 1988 debut, MISS AMERICA, as well as Cowboy Junkies’ 1990 album, THE CAUTION HORSES. It’s powerful and coincidentally has the timeless feel of a Cohen-esque standard. What led you to select this song to wrap up the record? 
Tanya: Well, as you’re saying… it’s a closer, and that’s it. It has to be the last thing. When Throwing Muses were on tour in England, Ivo Watts-Russell gave that (MISS AMERICA) to us to listen to in the van and we were just floored. I mean… silent throughout the whole listening of it. And to this day, I think for all of us, it’s probably up there on our favorites. First of all… all props to her band because the instrumentation on that album is so cool. It’s just so interesting and spidery and I just love it. And, with her very odd but perfect rhythm weaving in and out of everything, and that clear, gorgeous, vast-ranged voice of hers… it’s just beauty. 

Dave: Your multi-faceted career with Throwing Muses, The Breeders, Belly, as well as your busy solo work and guest collaborations have covered much ground over the years, but you’re far from done. In the post-pandemic world, following this release on American Laundromat Records, which creative outlet of yours might we see emerge next? 
Tanya: I’m working on an album with Dylan In The Movies right now. And then Gail Greenwood, from Belly, and I have been writing some songs together. That’s been ongoing. We’ve got a few under our belts already. In quarantine we’ve been writing them and then sending them to Paul Kolderie. And he’s been sort of tweaking things. And then Belly… we were curating a festival in Providence that was supposed to happen in August with a bunch of bands. It was supposed to be us and Buffalo Tom and Madder Rose and Kate Hanley… a bunch of people. And now, that is going to be pushed back to 2021. So that will be probably the next big live project… and hopefully we can do it then.

Special thanks to Tanya Donelly, Joe Spadaro, Mike Donohue and Jocelynn Pryor.


For nearly 35 years, Tanya Donelly has been an important player in the Alternative Rock world. From her time with groundbreaking quartet Throwing Muses (which she co-founded in 1983 and left in 1991) to her stint with The Breeders (1989-1992) and her work with Belly (1991-96), Donelly’s musical journey has been unpredictable but most certainly influential and inspiring. While the first decade of her career was in the Alternative Rock spotlight, her solo career has purposely been low-key but has still been met with acclaim from fans and critics. Beginning in 1996, she has released a handful of solo albums and a string of limited EPs, each of them exploring different facets of Donelly’s talents. But just because she continued to move forward didn’t mean that she turned her back on her past – she has reunited a few times with her Throwing Muses mates, and even reassembled Belly in 2016 for a new album, issued in 2018. While not as prolific as she was in the ‘90s, Donelly’s work is still just as vital.

And this is when the Parkington Sisters enter the picture. Ariel, Sarah, and Rose Parkington were raised playing music on Cape Cod. Each of the sisters is a songwriter, a singer, and accomplished musician.  They’ve released their own albums while also sharing concert stages with artists like Bruce Springsteen, Mavis Staples, Dispatch, and Dropkick Murphys. With each release and tour, their audience has continued to grow. With their commercial profile rising even higher, their union with Donelly comes at the best time possible. With the world in turmoil thanks to the pandemic, our hearts and minds are in search of something to believe in. Leave it to Tanya and the Parkington Sisters to deliver everything we needed… and more!

TANYA DONELLY AND THE PARKINGTON SISTERS is an album that showcases the talents of these four talented musicians (plus friends Jon Evans and Matthias Bossi providing the rhythm section). While this is a collection of cover versions, the ladies steer the songs into new territories. These haunting, emotional arrangements are feature lovely and warm vocals framed by cello, violin, viola, piano, and guitar. The unique interpretations on this album bring new life to The Kinks’ “Days”, Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Let Me Roll It”, The Pretenders’ “Kid”, Michael Nesmith-via-The Stone Poneys’ “Different Drum”, Split Enz’s “The Devil You Know” (penned by Neil Finn), The Go-Go’s “Automatic”, and others. The album is quite beautiful, providing the proper amount of shadow and light in a world that is desperate for something that will lift them from despair. While this album may not bring immediate jingle-jangle joy to your life, it will most certainly bring hope. And love. And warmth. So, embrace TANYA DONELLY AND THE PARKINGTON SISTERS with all of your might and never let go.




Like all musical genres, Jazz has many subgenres. And those subgenres have subgenres. From Bebop to Fusion, Swing to Bossa Nova, there’s a subgenre of Jazz for every mood and every phase of your life. One subgenre that has become very popular since the late ‘70s and early ‘80s is Smooth Jazz. Often considered ‘mellow’, Smooth Jazz is generally downtempo, filled with mood, atmosphere, and emotion. Artists who are most associated with the Smooth Jazz genre include Boney James, Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson, Rick Braun, and many others. One of the most prominent and respected guitarists in Smooth Jazz is Norman Brown

Born in 1970 in Shreveport, Louisiana, Brown began playing his brother’s acoustic guitar at the age of eight. Initially inspired by Rock and Soul artists, he switched his interests to Jazz after hearing legendary guitarist Wes Montgomery. Discovered by Jazz drummer Norman Conners, Brown signed with Motown Records and released his debut album, JUST BETWEEN US, in 1992. His 1994 album AFTER THE STORM won the Jazz Album of the Year Award at the Soul Train Music Awards. In the midst of his solo career, Brown was the co-founder of BWB a Smooth Jazz side project/super trio in 2002 with Kirk Whalum (saxophone) and Rick Braun (trumpet). By 2007, Brown had a #1 Smooth Jazz radio hit with “Let’s Take A Ride” (from the album STAY WITH ME). Brown has continued to release critically and commercially successful albums including SENDING MY LOVE (2010), the Grammy-nominated 24/7 (with Gerald Albright/2012), LET IT GO (2017), and HIGHEST ACT OF LOVE (2019).

Norman Brown returns in 2020 with the Shanachie Records release HEART TO HEART. Featuring musical assistance from Peter White and Jeff Lorber, HEART TO HEART is an album that showcases the many facets of Brown’s talents. A tasteful player, Brown only plays notes that need to be played. And he makes each note count. Even without words, his playing is emotional. In many ways, his playing says more than any review or interview can ever say. To be completely predictable (and proud of it), this is music from the heart. From the George Benson (and Wes Montgomery?) tribute “Heading Wes” to the funky, upbeat “Unconditional”, HEART TO HEART is a musical gift from Norman Brown to you. And it is one gift that you – we – should all be grateful for.





Formed in Chicago in 2014, Ohmme – originally known as Homme – was founded by Sima Cunningham (vocals/guitar/keyboards) and Macie Stewart (vocals, guitar, violin, bass, keyboards). The duo met in high school and played in separate musical projects: Stewart was a member of Kids These Days, Marrow, and Marker while Cunningham played in various bands and curated music festivals. In 2014, they joined forces as Ohmme. The duo was excited about the prospects of combining their vocal harmony blend with an experimental musical approach. While both were trained on classical piano, they wanted to explore a different aural universe filled with guitars and the exciting ‘noises’ that they could make with them.

With drummer Matt Carroll – who previously played with Stewart in Marrow – on board, Ohmme released their self-titled debut EP in 2016. The duo’s harmonies were heavenly, but the experimental direction of their music took them into uncharted territories. A blend of Pop smarts and Art Rock, the EP was a critical success and immediately attracted an audience of music lovers looking for something different, unique, and exciting. In 2018, they released their debut full-length album PARTS. Again, the critics loved Ohmme’s blend of noise and beauty and the album was praised, raising their commercial profile even higher. They toured extensively, sharing stages with bands like Wilco, Iron & Wine, Twin Peaks, and others.

Now, Ohmme returns with their second full-length, FANTASIZE YOUR GHOST. The album was recorded in six days but there is a lifetime of passion, pain, and searching in these songs. Like a maniacal blend of soul-touching harmonies and Sonic Youth-inspired experimentation, this is Ohmme’s finest release to date. However, the FANTASIZE YOUR GHOST is not an album that avoids the magic of Pop melodies. In fact, it embraces them. There are plenty of hooks to be found here, although they are not weighed down by formulaic songwriting. This is a collection born from creativity and a desire to take music in unpredictable directions. Songs like “Ghost”, “Selling Candy”, “Spell It Out”, “Some Kind Of Calm”, and “Flood Your Gut” are very different from each other and very different from what is going on in the world of Top 40. However, FANTASIZE YOUR GHOST is just as delectable and exciting as anything else you’ll listen to this year.  




AMPED Distribution continues to surge as it bolsters its label roster with key signings!


July 28, 2020 — While the world was shutting down in response to the pandemic, the team at AMPED Distribution dug in, rolled up their sleeves, and improvised with their labels to seize all available opportunities to maintain product and revenue flow, while bringing a much-needed escape to music fans around the globe.

As a result of its bullish approach, AMPED is celebrating its most successful 12 month run to date. AMPED’s high-water mark can be attributed, in part, to the addition of a multitude of new distribution deals with some of the hottest independent record labels, including Better Noise Music, Earache Records, Nuclear Blast, [PIAS], Polyvinyl, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and Tommy Boy Music.

AMPED’s growth is the direct result of having the largest sales force of any indie distributor in the U.S., coupled with the ability to ship product just about anywhere on the planet. Those attributes, leveraged with a network of global partnerships provided uninterrupted product flow across AMPED’s label base even during the height of the international shutdown.

Head of AMPED Dean Tabaac sees nothing but upside for AMPED. “AMPED just finished another record-breaking fiscal year (7/1/19 to 6/30/20) and we are defying and defining what physical sales can do on and offline. We were just about even with prior fiscal on CDs while the industry was down 30% and the industry was up 10.5% for vinyl while AMPED was up over 30%!

“In the new year, we think a critical campaign needs to focus on moving the new release street date back to Tuesday. The Friday street date has proven to be detrimental to maximizing sales across physical and digital platforms. Streaming remains strong and we feel it is actually helping physical sales since there are no longer cultural borders preventing anyone from listening and learning about any genre or artist they want.”

“We maximized our online presence as well as traditional accounts leading up to and during the COVID shutdowns. As a consequence of solid new release set ups at retail, and the ability to pivot to online and consumer direct fulfilled accounts, AMPED was able to continue to capture sales without skipping a beat. Without service interruptions, we continued to supply and meet the demand for great music through our online channels, traditional ecommerce and even brick and mortar that had curbside pickup service. If the appetite from consumer was there – we were able to fulfill the order,” adds VP of Sales Pip Smith.

While President of AWAL and Kobalt Music Group Ron Cerrito proclaims, “Our relationship with AMPED has always allowed us to be nimble, flexible and efficient with our artist’s physical business.  During this time of unprecedented uncertainty, these strengths have proven even more valuable.”

“The last couple years have been tough for everyone in the music industry,” declares Roy Culver, Head of North American Sales and Distribution at Nuclear Blast Records and Sharpetone Records. “Last year it was the distribution debacle at Direct Shot and this year the virus. Nuclear Blast is grateful to be working with a partner like AMPED who has been communicative, straight forward and on top of retail during this crazy time.”

Even with closed brick-and-mortar storefronts during the shutdown, AMPED’s artists led the way in supporting the growth of Broadtime, an aggregator and back end webmaster of more than 100 indie ecommerce websites. By providing solutions for online selling to more than 100 indie record store accounts, product was fulfilled by Alliance Entertainment (AEC) which preserved product flow and sales at independent record stores across the country. For retailers with closed physical storefronts, AEC was able to fulfill orders taken through the retailer’s online stores.

“To me, this was one of the biggest success stories in the physical business part of the industry, that emerged during the pandemic”, said Jocelynn Pryor VP of Marketing at AMPED. ”Not only were they [Broadtime] able to assist stores they already worked with, they were able to onboard new retailers and integrate their back end ecommerce sites within 72 hours, and in the first weeks of COVID shutdowns, that was a saving grace for some stores. Since then, they’ve been able to advance the work of the coalition marketing programs like CIMS and AIMS as well as assist with hosting virtual concert events and more.”

When Merge Records artist Waxahatche’s latest album, SAINT CLOUD, came out March 27, it debuted at #1 on Billboard’s “New Artist Chart” and was singer Katie Crutchfield’s strongest first week debut ever. Meanwhile, Testament’s TITANS OF CREATION, released April 3 on Nuclear Blast Records, debuted in the top ten on Billboard’s “Top 200 Albums chart. Also having impressive chart debuts at #5 on Billboard’s “Current Rock Albums,” “Independent Albums,” and “Current Albums” charts was the latest album by Danzig, DANZIG SINGS ELVIS, which was released April 17 on Cleopatra Records.

Other new titles from Adam Lambert, AWOLNATION, M. Ward, and Nightwish released over the last four months, all achieved significant chart positions and commercial success, proving that great music was still very much in demand by the fans. While the pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges, AMPED is proud of the performance of its retail partners, and its ability to adapt and preserve product distribution without interruption.


AMPED is one of the fastest growing top tier independent distributors committed to developing and growing independent artists and labels worldwide. Being part of Alliance Entertainment, AMPED gives the indie community access to a global distribution system with a seasoned and skilled staff that provides a suite of services and data second to none. AMPED’s customer base is the largest in the industry directly servicing brick and click retailers large and small along with (DTC) direct consumers. AMPED’s growing roster of labels include labels such as AWAL/Kobalt Music Recordings including Glassnote, Alligator Records, Believe Digital, Better Noise Music (formerly known as Eleven Seven),  Backlot Records, Big Loud, Bloodshot Records, Broadway Records/Yellowsound, Cleopatra, Compass Records, Culture Factory, Earache Records, Empire, Epitaph Records & ANTI-, Gonzo, Hopeless Records, Inner Knot, Manifesto, Merge Records, Nuclear Blast & Sharpetone, ORG Music, [PIAS] including Harmonia Mundi, Polyvinyl, Prospect Park, Rat Pak, Renaissance Records, Ruf Records, Secretly Distribution, Shanachie, Smithsonian Folkways, Soulfood, Tommy Boy, Tuff Gong, Virtual, and more.


Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter and musician Ted Russell Kamp’s 2020 album DOWN IN THE DEN is not his first rodeo – far from it. The album is Kamp’s 12th solo album in a career that spans 25+ years of hard work and great music. Born in New York, his musical career started once he relocated to Seattle, Washington. As leader of the trio Ponticello, he released four albums before stepping out on his own with his first solo album, DEDICATIONS, in 1996. Five years later, he moved to L.A. and started a new band called Union Pacific. While focusing on his own career, he also began to work with other artists and as a session musician. And then he met Shooter

Shooter Jennings is a Country Music outlaw. The son of ‘Outlaw Country’ pioneer Waylon Jennings, Shooter has carried on with his father’s musical legacy, taking it in new and exciting directions. When Shooter began putting together his backing band, the .357s, he brought in Ted Russell Kamp to play bass. Already a seasoned musician, Kamp was a perfect fit for Shooter’s band. Kamp’s first album with Shooter was 2005’s PUT THE ‘O’ BACK IN COUNTRY. That same year, Kamp released his next solo album, NORTHSOUTH. Since then, he’s recorded and toured with Shooter while also maintaining a prolific solo career as well. Which brings us to DOWN IN THE DEN

The follow-up to 2019’s WALKIN’ SHOES, DOWN IN THE DEN is an audio journey through American music. Some might want to classify the album as anything from Outlaw Country to Americana, but it stands on its own without being categorized in any one genre. The album is mix of Folk, Country, Bluegrass, Blues, and Rock, washed down with a shot of New Orleans sweat. From whisky-soaked ballads to blues-infused rockers, DOWN IN THE DEN is an unpretentious, free-wheelin’ collection of solid songs with both heart and soul. The album features guest appearances from Shooter Jennings (“Home Sweet Hollywood”), Kirsten Proffit (“Take My Song With You”), Gordy Quist (“Hold On”), Sarah Gayle Meech (“Word For Word”) and Shane Alexander (“Only Son”) but this is most definitely Kamp’s baby. DOWN IN THE DEN is what a modern Country Music album should sound like. In some ways, standing outside the walls of Top 40 Country Radio makes Ted Russell Kamp an outlaw himself. And he should be damned proud!





Like any other musical genre, Heavy Metal can be broken down into many sub-genres. Many, many sub-genres. On one end, you’ve got commercially-accepted Heavy Metal, which is normally what you’ll find hanging out on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. Nothing wrong with that – often-times, bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest serve as ‘gateway’ artists, introducing listeners to a new musical universe to explore. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got the darker, heavier, and more violent sub-genres like Extreme Metal, Metalcore, and Deathcore. Technically, Deathcore is a combination of Death Metal and Metalcore, which, itself, is a mixture of Extreme Metal and Hardcore Punk. See what I mean about all the sub-genres? In any case, Metalcore and Deathcore are brutal and uncompromising sub-genres of music, which brings us to the band Emmure

Emmure was formed in 2003 in New Fairfield, Connecticut but eventually relocated to Queens, New York. Fronted by vocalist Frankie Palmeri – the only constant member of the band – Emmure’s music combines elements of Death Core, Nu Metal, Alternative Metal, and Metalcore. Their debut release was the independent 2006 EP THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO NEEDLEWORK. They then signed to Victory Records and released six albums including GOODBYE TO THE GALLOWS (2007), SPEAKER OF THE DEAD (2011), and ETERNAL ENEMIES (2014). Moving over to Sharptone Records, Emmure released LOOK AT YOURSELF in 2017. After a three-year wait, the band release their eighth studio album, HINDSIGHT. If you thought that Emmure would grow more mellow with age, then this album will prove that you were wrong. Very, very wrong.

HINDSIGHT is 2020. OK, maybe not literally but most certainly figuratively. The album reflects the mood of the nation – and even the world – today. Dark. Violent. Brutal. Scary. Uncompromising. Heavy. Confusing. Shocking. Both musically and lyrically, the album embraces the darkest parts of the human condition and sonically vomits it up into 13 separate slices of reality. HINDSIGHT features the key tracks “Pigs Ear” and “Gypsy Disco”, but the remaining 11 tracks are just as frighteningly brutal and honest.  Filled with the band’s trademark breakdowns, growls, screams, and straightforward lyrics, HINDSIGHT is the audio equivalent of the fear that we experience every day during this pandemic. The album is so in-your-face that you may even have to wear a face mask to protect yourself from the cold, hard truths contained within. HINDSIGHT is our reality. Deal with it.