Browsing Tag


Ryan Bowen and the Non-Player Characters got something, even if you’ve got nothing.

Ryan Bowen and the Non-Player Characters know how to forge a sound, taking elements of blues, punk-rock, and gritty classic sounds, there’s a lot happening here. Their newest track “You Got Nothing” is a two-fisted warning to the unwanted and annoying – it’s the kind of song we’d all sing to those individuals who deserve a punch in the face, but never receive one because of things like “social norms.”

Grungy distorted rhythm guitars start the song. I assume that Ryan Bowen is the lead singer (but the way band names are created, we never know), and his tone is fantastic – think David Bowe’s 70’s era style mixed with a mild folk/blues character, processed like singing through a megaphone and you sort of have the aural image of what it sounds like. The rhythm section is tight on the level of a sailor’s knot. I’d be remised if I didn’t mention the fantastic guitar solo; it’s melodic and sharp and breaks the character of the song somewhat in a way that ramps up the energy when the main themes return, making the track “You Got Nothing” the right kind of journey in a world full of cookie-cut pop-songs.

I was pleased to find out that these folks are somewhat local to me, they reside in Portland, Oregon, whereas I live in a small town about three hours south (I might have to make the trek north to check out a show). But upon reflection, I’m not that surprised. Portland is known for its artistic scene and this kind of refined yet against-the-grain sound is as native to Oregon as the Nike corporation and it’s good that Ryan Bowen and the NPCs are making us proud.

Check them out on IG and listen to the track on Spotify.

Underground Portland-based Hip hop artist Mannix takes his time on the top new release, ‘Samples With Some Bars’

With an old school feel that gets you to contemplate the past and look deeper than most, Mannix wonders what all the fuss is about with all the different seasons as he feels like the clock is going to tick the same anyway on, ‘Samples With Some Bars‘.

Mannix is a Portland, USA-based Hip hop artist and music producer who is back with a renewed vigour after a brief hiatus to get back to his roots.

After two years without releases, I have finally found myself in love with my music again.” ~ Mannix

Showing us his quality style that has been brewing nicely since his return to the music game, Mannix reminds the world that he is one of the more naturally gifted artists around who is rather sharp with his pen at hand. There is nothing rushed here and you feel like he is a real storyteller, who encourages us to slow down and really take in each moment that presents itself.

Samples With Some Bars‘ from Portland, USA-based Hip hop artist and music producer Mannix is a mellow track that shows us how grateful he is that life goes on, despite all the pitfalls that can certainly break you if you aren’t too careful. With smooth bars and a tremendous sample that sends you into a nostalgic place, this is an underground release up there with the best.

Mannix raps with a tranquil vibrancy that sends you into a better place, which reminds you that life carries on and rushing is actually ultimately pointless.

Listen to this timeless-sounding single on Soundcloud and check out more via his IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Annie Sea urges interspecies empathy and decisive action on the stunning nature-saver, ‘Save Me’ (feat. The Colin Trio)

As she connects deeply into the ocean while the sound in her mind grows stronger by the day, Annie Sea sends us something so genuine that is written from the perspective of a mother Orca that needs our help on, ‘Save Me(feat. The Colin Trio).

Annie Sea is a Portland, Oregon-based indie folk-rock singer-songwriter who has an inspiring eco-conscious life that keeps in beautiful alignment with her message to the world.

A random vintage store find, a vinyl record of Humpback whale songs, planted the lyrical seed, “Would you save me if you understood my song – would you save me?”. As she walked home, she wondered how we would change our actions if we could communicate with other creatures and truly understand what they might have to say.” ~ Annie Sea

Annie Sea sings from the heart and is a role model to us all. Each lyric is kind and with meaning, as she urges the world to think about the extraordinary creatures below who are taking strain from the selfishness of humanity.

Once a secretive songwriter, Annie began sharing her music after partial vision loss derailed her career as an environmental microbiologist.” ~ Annie Sea

Save Me(feat. The Colin Trio) from Portland, Oregon-based indie singer-songwriter Annie Sea is such a glorious single that might put shivers all over your body. This is a peaceful entry to help us open our eyes again, to what is going on right before our eyes. There is a supremely inspiring message for us to listen to, as we are taken underwater to see what is needed for these majestic creatures, to thrive as they deserve.

Sung with an elegant grace that should get your mind alive with ideas on how to help nature, this is a special single that should resonate in our deepest souls.

Hear this message for common sense to prevail on Spotify and follow her incredible story on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Scarlett Siren and The Howlin’ Tramps refuses to let anyone have that power on ‘Fuck You’

Taken off the 4-track EP called ‘The Devil’s in the Details‘, Scarlett Siren and The Howlin’ Tramps shows the small-minded folks out there that they need to venture far away as their words are not welcome here on ‘Fuck You‘.

Scarlett Siren and The Howlin’ Tramps is a Portland, Oregon-based vaudevillian-leaning five-piece music collective that is led by the dynamically enigmatic vocalist/burlesque performer, Scarlet Siren.

This genre-defying troupe of musicians loves to push boundaries with their cabaret-style performances. By blending a wide palette of sonic textures including psychedelic rock, blues, and jazz, The Howlin’ Tramps have concocted a style uniquely their own dubbed Psychedelic Swing.” ~ Scarlett Siren and The Howlin’ Tramps

Bringing us that foot-tapping groove that has you in a nostalgic mood as you wonder why you let that person bring you down for too long, Scarlett Siren and The Howlin’ Tramps show us their quality here with a brooding mood that isn’t taking that nonsense from others ever again.

Fuck You‘ from Portland, Oregon-based Scarlett Siren and The Howlin’ Tramps is a stunning single that shows you where the strength comes from if you are feeling so down from being with someone who didn’t support you at all. With a deeply rooted vibe that takes you into that time when you wish you had – or did – show the middle finger to a past shadow who is now far in the distance. With a defiant tone, this is an anthem for anyone who needs to grit their teeth and get into the right mindset again.

Life is all about being around those who are going to elevate you, not bring you down.

Listen in to this new single on Spotify and see more via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Clarke John worries about that impending change on the Chillhop mind-soother, ‘Snowing In Shasta’

With a nostalgically supreme beat that stirs your tired body awake and has you reminiscing about your own life, Clarke John shows us that emotionally hungry track that so many of us can relate to in this anxious world we live in with, ‘Snowing In Shasta‘.

Clarke Weigel aka Clarke John is a Portland, Oregon-based indie Chillhop artist and music producer who has made a Lo-fi single that will have you pressing repeat.

After discovering his love for music when he was 14, he now uses his passion for the art form to express himself in ways that words cannot.” ~ Clarke John

With a mellow atmosphere that has you in such a reflective mood as you dig deep into those childhood memories, Clarke John brings us a real gem that is wrapped with honest lyrics – and a head-nodding speaker-hugger – that will have you thinking back to what is actually important for you in life.

Snowing In Shasta‘ from Portland, Oregon-based indie Hip hop artist Clarke John, is one of the most soulful tracks you will hear all year. This is the story about worrying about change and being scared of that new picture that might end up being cracked and not the same as that previous home you treasure. With a pacifying beat that has you gazing outside and worrying about what is coming next, this is an honest single which is filled with a melodic ambience you will find easy to fall in love with.

For some life is about knowing that everything is staying the same, while for others, constant change is more normal than it should be.

Listen up to this new chill track on Spotify and see more of his style on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Pure Class: Portland fingerstyle guitarist John Evergon shows us into the ‘Reflection’ (Mulan cover)

Written and produced by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel for the soundtrack of Disney’s 1998 animated film Mulan, John Evergon reminds us of the song that become extra famous due to the incredible talents of Christina Aguilera with his own version of ‘Reflection(Mulan cover).

John Evergon is a Portland, Oregon-based indie fingerstyle guitarist who fuses in jazz, blues, and rock, through the lens of the wholehearted love he has for his hometown and its beautiful landscape.

John Evergon released an instrumental rendition of the Mulan Soundtrack “Reflection” in Dec 2021. This marvellous song wonderfully written by Matthew Wilder & David Zippel more than two decades ago captured John’s attention during the last Christmas holidays right after releasing his rendition of “Hallelujah”. ~ John Evergon

Showing us his premier talents that have you gently shutting your eyes to carefully consume all the tranquil melodies that you hear in your delighted soul, John Evergon leads us into a much happier place that is only filled with his guitar playing of the very highest standard imaginable.

Writing fingerstyle compositions in many tunings rooted in genres of progressive-rock and smooth jazz, has allowed John to grow and strive as an instrumental artist.” ~ John Evergon

Reflection(Mulan cover) from the Portland, Oregon fingerstyle guitarist John Evergon, is a quite brilliant showing from an artist who performs with such a classy mindset. He reminds us that by taking time to think and reflect on our lives, we can indeed move to a much better place than before. With a soulful mentality so clear to see, this is such a peaceful effort that will have you daydreaming about those better days ahead on the better path you have chosen.

See this new single on YouTube and see more via the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

No One Stays: Portland’s Mo Schulte knows that she can be ‘Hard To Love’

Spurred on by listening to a Taylor Swift track when she was just six years old, Mo Schulte shows us her splendid vocal ability on her latest single all about possibly being a bit too tough on herself for those lifelong mannerisms on ‘Hard To Love‘.

Mo Schulte is a very likeable and authentic solo indie-pop artist and bedroom music producer, who is based in Portland, Oregon.

Over the years, Mo has fallen completely in love with songwriting. She loves having the ability to beautifully express such ugly emotions when struggling with mental health and heartbreak. She also uses music to articulate her love and gratitude for the people in her life.” ~ Mo Schulte

Mo Schulte projects her vividly described story into our lives about warning any potential lovers that she might be a bit difficult at first – but once she is comfortable – things will surely change for the better as the trust factor will be there.

Hard To Love‘ from the Portland, Oregon-based indie-pop artist Mo Schulte, is an honest track about pointing out those flaws which you know are prevalent in your life. Sung with such a flourishing gusto and written with a cleverly introspective style, this is a singer who knows who she is and isn’t apologizing for anything.

Being yourself is the best way to live after all, as long as you aren’t hurting anybody else along the way.

Check out this top new track on Spotify and see more of their stories on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Something Special: Strange and the Familiars are compellingly brilliant on ‘This Is a Test’

Moving on from romantic themes they performed before, Strange and the Familiars are quite superlative on the jazzy/rock and soul filled new single ‘This Is a Test‘.

Strange and the Familiars is a 4-piece Portland, USA-based indie genre-defying band who are lead by the scintillating lead singer Stephanie Strange.

Taken off their latest 9-track album ‘Strange World‘, this is a mesmerizing effort from a band at the peak of the creative powers, with a truly ear-warming vocal experience that certainly perks your ears up like a curious kitty cat.

Combining crafted lyrics laced with dark humor, with rock and blues guitar and orchestral cello and drums, Strange leads captivated audiences from a neighborhood in NE Portland to the dreamscape and back home where humanity sits at a crossroads.” ~ Strange and the Familiars

This Is a Test‘ from the incredible Portland-based indie jazz/rock/soul outfit Strange and the Familiars, is one of those rare songs that gets your reflective mind into a whole new world of facination beyond comprehension at times. There is a real world class quality to swim into here as you go underwater, that takes your mind away from all worries. This is definately one of the more absorbing songs you will hear all year, as there is something extra special to investigate like Sherlock Holmes would.

Hear this new single on Spotify and see more via the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Karyn Ann delivers arcane soul in style in her folk single, ‘Wasting Time’

The Portland-based soulstress, Karyn Ann, released her debut album in 2015; after her sophomore album released in 2018, she started to garner critical acclaim and international airplay for her effortlessly powerful vocals and the emotional depth of her lyricism.

Her latest single, Wasting Time, gracefully captures the collective anxiety around watching the sands of time slip while failing to keep hold of anything that brings intrinsic meaning. After we’ve all endured 18 months of lockdown to some degree, Wasting Time is the perfect playlist staple for anyone seeking a little compassion.

The Americana singer-songwriter’s ability to weave a narrative through emotion, poetry and arrestingly minimal melodies is almost unparalleled. We’re fairly certain that this won’t be the last time that Karyn Ann leaves us mesmerised by her almost arcane sense of soul.

Wasting Time is available to stream on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Another Town Awaits: Excellent Portland soul-folk artist Hayley Lynn is born to run on her move-quick new single ‘Tail Lights’

As she looks for the new adventure on the horizon and moves speedily to the next town that awaits her, Hayley Lynn pushes away anyone who doesn’t understand her vision on her latest incredible single called ‘Tail Lights‘.

Hayley Lynn is a University of Victoria in British Columbia Performance graduate and moody soul-folk solo artist from Portland, Oregon. She blesses us with a 90s throwback track which shows her immense vocal ability, whilst also blending in her love for pop and rock music.

Hayley’s music has been placed on ABC, the 700 Club, and Big Ten Network, expanding Lynn’s reach outside of the Northwest to international audiences.” ~ Hayley Lynn

With a confident edge and an elegantly sassy energy that doesn’t take any nonsense, this is a go-get-it attitude that is taking her places. Her stunning honey-laced vocals seems to grab hold of you instantly and takes you under her sensational spell for just over three minutes – as she sings with an obvious class which shakes like ice in a glass – that engulfs the enthralled speakers and takes you places you never knew existed in your soul.

Hayley’s sound echoes the work of Feist with the bite and grit of Elle King and Sharon Van Etten.” ~ Hayley Lynn

Tail Lights‘ from the seductively brilliant Portland, Oregon-based indie soul-folk solo singer-songwriter Hayley Lynn, is that song all about wondering if you will ever find someone who is loyal enough and looking for that real love. The backseat moments have come and gone – as you look for more with a special heart who will go and travel with you – as you find your true calling.

Made with a really honest lyrical elegance and sung so beautifully, this is a track all about leaving behind the past and whoever isn’t open minded enough, to clearly see where you are headed in life.

Hear this lovely new single on her Spotify and find out more about those adventurous travels on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen