All the Feels: Ahdri’s latest track will make fans “Stick Around”

New York singer-songwriter Adriana Lucia Cancelliere, aka “Ahdri,” recently released her 2020 single “Stick Around” three years after her first album. 

Three years back, Ahdri debuted her self-titled album through RI record label Hobo Castle. The ambiance of the record is very folk rock and even includes her own take on Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” Ahdri said she wants to continue experimenting with her music; lately she has been leaning toward a more R&B and pop rooted sound. 

Ahdri has gone back and forth from li’l Rhody to The Big Apple, gaining listeners in both states. Although she currently resides in New York City, she took time during quarantine to work on her music in Rhode Island.

“Being in New York expanded my interest in new music,” said Ahdri. “I was also influenced by artists I had never heard of, like Turkish-singer Selda Bagcan.” 

Other artists who have influenced Ahdri are Etta James, H.E.R., Billie Eilish and Amy Winehouse. She said she hadn’t really given those artists a chance before and is now obsessed with them. 

Ahdri grew up with musical parents. Her mother was into opera and her father was into punk music. Ahdri landed somewhere perfectly in the middle of both genres. Ahdri emphasizes that she isn’t fully embedded in one genre, which makes us wonder what she’ll put out next.

“I don’t really plan what genre I am doing,” said Ahdri. “I just get a melody in my head, write it and whatever genre it is it is.” 

Ahdri said the meaning in her songs are a mix of true feelings and alligator tears. She said the delivery is intended to be sarcastic and incredibly theatrical. 

“I’m not really into love songs,” she said. “I’m in between reality and my own fantasy world. The message is to just express yourself without caring and reach your higher self without fear.” 

Ahdri mentions one of her newer songs relates to carrying your own destiny. She said it’s not about fate all the time and more about your own free will. As of right now, she is in the works of producing another single in the studio and writing more songs.

Her new single, “Stick Around,” gives you all the feels. It’s her interpretation and mix of different influences. It’s a complete turn from her first album, and definitely a teaser for upcoming music. Her flow stays at a slow tempo, but includes more piano and less folky guitar this time. I would best describe it as a mix of Christina Perri and Adele. The theatrics in her voice complement the melancholy of the song. 

She encourages listeners and followers to stay up-to-date with her social media. Follow her instagram @ahdrimusic and find her music on all streaming platforms. Check out the new single here:

Emo Pop Band Hello, Atlantic Sets Cynical Thoughts to Bright Melodies with “Aroma”: This musical duo is challenging listeners to change their tune about existential frustrations

The breathy and clear techno chords opening this track definitely surprised me, given that the premise of this song is lyrically a bit depressing without the musical context. But the paradoxical mix of the bright with the dark, and joy with despair, brings a unique flair to this duo’s newest release. 

Fronted by vocalist and guitarist Ian Dillon and supported by bassist Eric Sparfven, Hello, Atlantic is one of Rhode Island’s most inventive bands to hit the local sound waves. With a discography sounding similar to that of acts like Panic! At The Disco, My Chemical Romance, and Grayscale in energy and tone, “Aroma” is a step away from those vibes with a much greater emphasis on techno beats and vocal effects over the guitars and the more typical pop punk sonic tropes previously emphasized. 

Toeing the line between alternative rock and third-wave disco, “Aroma” boasts an emphasis on Motown-inspired rhythms, beats and styles. Sonically, it’s very rich and upbeat, building a tense contrast with the overall message of the song, which, according to the band, is “a cynical take on life and existence. Nothing matters in the grand scheme of things. We’re all gonna explode in outer space, so do what you’d like.” 

That message comes through very clearly in the chorus, during which Ian sings: “It’s anarchy, and blasphemy, cleanse it with gasoline.” Functioning as a commentary about the world as a whole and the state of uncertainty that is so prevalent these days, I find this song to be a powerfully accurate portrayal of the human condition. I especially enjoyed the poeticism of taking something destructive (gasoline) and transforming it into a sort of anointing oil in the lyrical narrative. Additionally, I found the opening verse to be especially relatable: “Do you wanna be happy / ‘cause you don’t know who you wanna be / and you don’t remember anything.” Everyone feels like they don’t belong at least one time or another, and if you’re anything like me still trying to find your place in the world, these lyrics are super relatable.

From the musical side of things, I definitely appreciated the ambient build of the drone-like shadowy riffs floating in and out of the background. It’s an immersive experience that makes the listener feel instantly heard and understood. The vocal melody is also extremely catchy with easy-to-replicate phrasing that will stick in anyone’s head for days on end. There are also many layers hiding in between the dynamic mix of the song, some of which are very subtle but no less important – very much like the layered styles of techno-pop music as heard in the full Waterparks discography, or the most recent Paramore album. Coincidentally, all these acts have taken a similar contextual stance on bringing about that provocative mix of happy-sounding musicality with the darker lyrics and ideas. It is that tension that makes listeners feel heard, understood and validated. It’s an interesting vibe for sure, but given the way it still undeniably fits with the band’s back catalogue of songs (which definitely still has these elements present albeit in smaller doses), I have no doubt that the forthcoming releases after this single will be just as captivating. 

Hello, Atlantic is probing the deepest insecurities and discomforts of their fans through their music, bringing everyone together in their shared struggles – a truly beautiful thing. You can listen to “Aroma” on September 11, and to stay up-to-date on new music and connect with Ian and Eric, follow their social media profiles @helloatlanticri and their YouTube channel HERE:

Enter the Flange Factory: Math the Band releases a multi-concept project

Troubled times call for audacious measures. Math the Band is back, this time with a whirlwind of multimedia the likes of which has never been attempted. Their latest project, Flange Factory Five, is an immersive experience that includes a novel, record, game boy cartridge, energy drink and boutique guitar pedal. 

MTB, sometimes billed as “Math The Band The Band,” is the project of frontman Kevin Steinhauser and a rotating cast of characters, which currently features guitarist Max Holbrook, bassist Adam Waz and drummer Matt Zappa. The band has been operational for 20 years, and based in Providence for 12.

A characteristically joyous effort, the Flange Factory Five features the band’s signature combination of glitchy, 8-bit keyboards over distorted guitars. A project like this requires the boundless energy they put forward in their ecstatic live shows, and it totally comes through on the recording.

The uptempo “Dual of the Deer” features guitars and synth lines in roaring triumphiant harmony. “DKWIC” has a great Brian May-style guitar solo, and “Coach Says” is a hard-edged tune at the circle pit end of the spectrum. Stenhouser, who started the project in high school, puts every ounce of himself into the vocals.

Along with great playing throughout, this album brings us the best of grit and nerddom, like a skater punk version of the music from Crash Bandicoot. But the video game sounds can belie the smart composition and clever lyrics. “Wet Cement” is ultra-catchy montage fodder about starting a new chapter: “The fear is exciting and I can’t wait to be born.”

An additional treat is a suite of “Flange Factory Five” instrumental interludes that could be the jingle for the cartoon television show of the same name.

I spoke with Kevin about the origins of this unique project.

Jake Bissaro (Motif): How did the multi-format concept come about? What made you want to release your own energy drink?

Kevin Steinhauser: I don’t really recall a moment of inspiration. Each piece was something I had kicking around in my head for a while. It’s basically the culmination of years of saying ‘wouldn’t it be funny if…’ and then we just decided to go all in and do it for real. 

JB: What is the book about?

KS: It’s a choose-your-own adventure fantasy novel that plays off the ones marketed toward young adults, but very tongue-in-cheek with a lot of crass, dark humor. It revolves around a kid who meets a wizard and ends up needing to save the wizarding world. It ended up being a big universe of stuff; the novel mentions the pedal and energy drink heavily, and the Game Boy game is based on the novel.

JB: I have never heard of an album released on a piece of gear. How did that come about?

KS: The Flange Factory Five is a collaboration with our friend Frank, who makes small runs of handmade pedals under the moniker Frayed Knot. The pedal is a matrix of five flangers and five ring modulators, and also has the album stored on it, with a playback mode that lets you mess with the sounds. We’re trying to make as many as 55, but they are large and expensive, at $250. To keep things more accessible, we’re making the “Flange Factory Zero” a slimmed-down version that’s more of a collectible.

JB: Is there a particular fascination with the flange effect? Does gear play a big part in your inspiration? 

KS: Not really. Personally, synths are really what I’m into. To be honest, we chose flange simply because “flange factory five” sounded funny. But I found a connection after the fact: The story goes that the effect was made for the Beatles as a way to mimic stereo. Apparently Paul, in an interview, was asked what the effect is called, and just said, ‘Oh it’s the flangelator,’ making up a nonsense funny word. 

JB: How has the band been handling pandemic life?

KS: To be honest, we’ve probably never been more productive. This whole project has been like 90% of the way there for about a year, so it was the opportunity we needed. We all have our own home studios and have been passing files back and forth, and recorded basically the whole album that way. 

JB: What’s next for the band?

KS: We’re hoping in December to throw a big performance in the black box theater at AS220, playing the album front to back and adding in some theatrics.

Math the Band (the Band)’s Flange Factory Five Universe is available for purchase at To coincide with Bandcamp Fridays, MTE will release a limited-run FFF product every first Friday for the rest of the year. The current schedule for releases is as follows:

September 4 — Energy Drink; October 2 — FFF record release; November 6 — Guitar pedal; December 4 — Game Boy game

The Brother Kite — Make it Real

I think it’s appropriate at this point to refer to The Brother Kite as a Rhode Island rock institution on which we can still depend for polished, top-shelf indie rock. With five full-lengths now under their belt, Make it Real is the band’s first release since 2013’s Model Rocket.

Fronted by Patrick Boutwell and Jon Downs, TBK’s specialty is a vintage jangle mixed with a deeply emotional frequency, like Teenage Fanclub mixed with Something Corporate. “Don’t Ask Why” blends the elements pretty well, where a moody verse gives way to a vigorous, full-throated chorus. The smart instrumentation and production “Afraid To Even Try” uses the sleigh bells to add to the chime, with bang-on harmonies throughout. 

The songs are well-formed and sure of themselves, though the shimmery guitar is a little too much at times; in “Rotten,” the pedals seem to be the star of the show. Songs like “Hopeless Ghost” and “Dream to Me” tend to linger on your mind long after you’ve listened to them.

Make it Real is another compelling chapter in TBK story, and is worth your attention.

Check out Make it Real at the band’s Bandcamp page.

Live Music Rundown

Live! Outdoors! In the next few weeks!


Friday, Sep 4: The Copacetics

Sunday, Sep 6: The John Allmark Super Jazz Octet


Saturday, Sep 12: Absolute Eddie and Three Points of Madness

Saturday, Sep 20: New Idol

Dire Straits: The economy suffers when music events are cancelled

Okee dokee folks… I have been languishing in Facebook detention for more than a week now, and I still have three weeks to go before I am free to speak my mind on social media once again. Then I’ll probably last 24 hours before I am shut off once more. Facebook has put me in a time out about a half dozen times already this year because they claim that I have used the platform for hate speech. Facebook’s definition of hate speech seems to be subjective; using the word “idiot” is hate speech, but trying to rally right-wing nuts with guns to shoot protesters is protected. For the record, I used the word “idiot” when referring to how Americans are handling the pandemic. I did not rally people to take up arms against protesters. 

I joined Facebook over 10 years ago mainly to promote gigs, but I’ve also used it to connect and reconnect with people. I’ve discovered many wing nuts and crazy Trumpers on my friends list, and as I find them, I block them. They are easy to spot. They are the ones who have insane conspiracy-driven memes posted all over their page. 

My grandfather used to talk for hours on a HAM radio to people near and far, most of whom he’d never met in person. Social media is the new HAM radio, but with much greater global participation. It definitely has its perks, but lately it is showing that it’s detrimental to society. Many of my FB friends are closing up their pages and quitting. There is far too much hate. I hate what is going on in this country and need to vent, so I guess I contribute to it as well. I’ve thought about closing my accounts many times, but I moderate at least eight connected pages for music that are essential to promotion.

Right now, those pages are worthless because there really aren’t any gigs. Sure, a FEW people are playing, but in reality the music scene is dead. Venues are closing permanently. Social media seems to be the only place to safely perform. Currently some venues are offering occasional outdoor entertainment while they can, but that will dramatically change in the coming weeks as the temperature drops. Musicians will be heading back indoors to perform in front of their sterile computer screens. I am not sure if the general public truly understands how dire the situation for the music scene has become and how many jobs are reliant upon the music industry.

One local example is the Rhythm and Roots festival that was to take place this Labor Day weekend at Ninigret Park in Charlestown. Think of how many people this one festival cancellation has affected: The hotels in the surrounding area are usually sold out far in advance. The gas stations and local stores that are patronized by festival attendees. The countless food and craft booths that circle the festival grounds. The various rental companies that provide the staging, tents, tables, chairs, decorations, generators, trailers, backline (amplifiers and instruments) and golf carts. The sound company that provides the sound for four stages and the crew that sets up and runs it all. The merchandise manufacturers that make festival t-shirts, CDs and hats. The Ninigret campground. The police, fire and rescue crews that are on hand to provide medical and security. Photographers, videographers and press with nothing to shoot or write about. Then there is the obvious: the performers and festival staff. Performers, many of whom travel from afar, have no gig to go to. That means no bus rentals for transport, no car rentals, no hotels, no airfare; their stage, tech, management, and promo crews are all out of work, no merch sales for the band, no jamming, no networking, no collaboration and no chance to be seen by a new audience and garner new fans. Then there is the big one. No gathering of music fans to enjoy the sounds, meet new people, dance, jam, party and just have fun! I am sure I could go on. Now think about all this and multiply it by just about every festival and concert that has been canceled and you can see why the music industry is in dire straits. Now can you understand why I am so pessimistic and depressed about music? Wear your damn masks and social distance or this will never end! Read on…

In light of the cancellation of this year’s Rhythm and Roots festival, producer Chuck Wentworth has vowed to “Keep the R&B Vibe Alive Online” by presenting recorded sets from Rhythm & Roots festivals past. The event schedule follows the hours of the would-be live festival: 5 – 11pm on September 4, and 1 – 11pm on the 5th and 6th. “Back in May we had to refund everyone’s tickets, which put the festival in financial straits,” says Wentworth, whose Lagniappe Productions has put together the Labor Day weekend festival for the last 23 years. “In order for us  to produce the festival in 2021 in a manner that everyone’s been accustomed to, we’re soliciting donations to help us achieve that.” To experience Rhythm & Roots virtually this Labor Day weekend, go to, or If you have never had the fortune of attending in the past this is a good chance to check it out and make plans for (hopefully) next year!

Finally, AS220 Empire Revue’s Stuart Wilson is challenging incumbent Joseph McNamara for his House District 19 seat in the Democratic primary on September 8.  If you can, please vote for Stuart, he is one of us! That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. #DumpTrump2020!!!

Catch it While You Can!: Music is live and outside … for now

Throwing Muses — Sun Racket (Fire Records)

It’s amazing to think that Newport’s Throwing Muses have been together 40 years now. To celebrate, Throwing Muses will release a new album, Sun Racket, on September 4. Sun Racket is packed with singer/guitarist Kristin Hersh’s abstract poetry that floats and flails in the seas of psychedelic guitars echoing into the sunset. David Narcizo’s drumming is the glue that holds the ship together while Bernard Georges’ driving bass lines push it forward. The album kicks off with the haunting “Dark Blue,” which really is one of only two songs with anything resembling a “chorus.” On “Maria Laguna,” I can’t tell if Hersh is singing about someone who has drowned, but I do love the lyric “dotted with sharks, spilling prom dates’ videotapes.”  “Upstairs Dan” is another stormy hypnotic shot where you can’t tell if the character is dying or if they are bracing for a hurricane (Hersh’s house got destroyed when Katrina hit New Orleans). “Kay Catherine” has a waltz feel that starts off with a line about a terrible secret that the abstract lyrics leaves buried in the sand. Sun Racket works as a blast of mysterious noise lying on a bed of uneasy harmony, like a diary that washed up ashore, half destroyed.   

Jesse Malin — ‘Todd Youth”/ “Sally Can’t Dance” (Wicked Cool Records)

On his new single, Jesse Malin pays tribute to his late friend Todd Youth, with a tune by the same name. Malin wrote the song by imagining his friend’s perspective on his last night before losing his battle with addiction.  Some lines in the song like “sold my records and my last guitar, on a night so dark I couldn’t see the stars” capture the desperation that Youth was likely experiencing. HR from Bad Brains, who also had a side project with Youth, opens the song and appears throughout, singing lyrics that Malin borrowed from a couple of Bad Brains songs, such as “Leaving This Babylon” and “Sailing On.” It works as a fitting tribute because Malin, Youth and HR all came out of the early ’80s hardcore scene, even if this track is more at Tom Petty or Mink Deville level of rock. The B-side is a faithful cover of Lou Reed’s “Sally Can’t Dance.”  

Live Music Returns!

Live music has started to return, albeit very slowly, at venues that have the means to do outdoor shows. I recommend seeing it while you can because nobody seems particularly optimistic about the prospect for live music once winter hits. Both Dusk and Askew are hosting live music every weekend outdoors. Dusk is having bands play in the parking lot behind the venue, and Askew has been closing down Chestnut St every weekend. Both venues adhere to social distancing recommendations with table seatings.  Reservations can be made by contacting either club in advance; check out their respective websites/social media pages for more information. Here are some of the upcoming shows to mark on the calendar.

The Copacetics 

The reigning kings of local ska return to get the dance party started on Chestnut Street. Social distancing regulations must be a nightmare for ska bands with horn sections.  

The Copacetics play outside Askew on Sep 4.

Steve Smith and The Nakeds

It would be like the summer of 2020 didn’t happen without a Steve Smith and The Nakeds concert. This is the 47th year of the band and surely one of the oddest. Steve Smith and The Nakeds bring it with a heavy dose of bar rock rock mixed with R&B. I also love going down to the Charlestown Rathskeller, which has their stage out back with chairs and picnic tables.    

Steve Smith and The Nakeds are at the Charlestown Rathskeller on Sep 12.   

Absolute Eddie and Three Points of Madness

Not even a pandemic can kill heavy metal. Absolute Eddie is an Iron Maiden band, so right away I know this show is going to be a hoot. Three Points of Madness mixes metal, heavy alternative and a smidge of prog-rock in their thunder batter.

Absolute Eddie and Three Points of Madness will rock Dusk on Sep 12.  

University of Rhode Island Virtual Guitar Festival 2020

University of Rhode Island Virtual Guitar Festival 2020 will take place from September 25 thru 27. Featured artists include Adam Levin, Raphaël Feuillâtre, Bokyung Byun, Derek Gripper, Yacouba Sissoko, Redmond O’Toole, Zaira Meneses, Scott Borg, Matthew Rohde, Eliot Fisk, Corey Harris, William Knuth and Patricia Price, among others. Check it out at


Ponyboy make their debut doing two sets (one of original material and a set of covers) outside at Askew. Ponyboy have a three-song single due to come out digitally later on this month. I’ve heard some of their stuff and it’s all over the map where one tune will sound like the Stooges, the next one will harken back to the Faces and third one will be something completely different. The band includes Dave Laros and Vic Foley from Blackletter, Bob Giusti on drums, and Eric Hanson on bass. I’m looking forward to this one!

Ponyboy will play outside at Askew on Sep 26.

Bonus Shows:

New Idols will rock Dusk on Sep 20, and Sweet Babylon and others will play Dusk on Sep 27.

Email music news to

In the Woodshed: Jazz musician Gino Rosati lives what he loves

If you hear guitar at a jazz gig around Providence, there is a good chance it’s coming from the amp of local musician Gino Rosati. Rosati has a voice that fits a variety of styles, and he’s highly sought after by ensembles all over the state. One ensemble that he helped found and is a major creative voice of is Evening Sky, a Providence-based quartet with unique instrumentation and a roots-infused jazz sound, whose approach and sonic landscape is bolstered by Rosati’s stellar guitar playing.

On September 12, Evening Sky will be playing at The Pump House in Wakefield for a special outdoor show — masks and social distancing are required — complete with a food truck and outdoor bar. They open the night at 6:30pm and will be followed by the Bobby Keyes Trio.

I recently emailed Rosati to ask him a few questions about his musical journey and to gain a little insight into what makes him such a versatile musician.

Ben Shaw (Motif): What drew you to music? 

Gino Rosati: I started listening to music at an early age. The radio was always on or we would listen to records. We listened to all styles, from classical to jazz and rock.

BS: When did you start playing? 

GR: I actually started to play guitar by accident. My brother got a bass for Christmas and my mother nagged me into taking guitar lessons. I was around 14 years old at this time.

BS: How did you first get into jazz? 

GR: I started listening to jazz before rock. Kai Winding, Louie Bellson, Dave Brubeck, and Joe Pass were the first records, and then I started searching for other musicians.

BS: When did you decide to pursue music as a career, and how did you start? 

GR: As soon as I started playing guitar, I was hooked and never thought of anything else to do. I started getting into local bands and learning tunes.

BS: Has a career in music lived up to your expectations? 

GR: In some ways yes and in some ways no. I traveled a lot, which was always fun, but music is not the most secure profession.

BS: Where do you usually play around town? 

GR: I play with several groups around RI. I usually play at the Dorrance with Katie and the Italians (Katie Kleyla). I also play with a group called Evening Sky; we play at the Parlor usually. I also play with MSDQ in Newport. I also play with Tish Adams in various locations.

BS: Is there one thing you think aspiring musicians should think about or do when they consider a career in music? 

GR: Be well-rounded and be able to read and write charts and play multiple styles of music. That skill alone has saved me a thousand times.

BS: What concepts (melodic, harmonic, etc) are you currently working on? 

GR: I am always practicing and writing music. I am working on wider intervals, which can be difficult on the guitar. I also work on new chord voicings and comping. I practice with a metronome all the time.

BS: Beyond music, what other activities do you enjoy?

GR: Besides the guitar, I also like to play the guitar, then maybe to relax I will pick up a guitar.

Head to for more information on the band, and be sure to go see them at The Pump House on September 12. Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep supporting local jazz!

Ben Shaw is a local composer, performer, and writer. Find him at

All That Jazz

Motif’s jazz writer, Ben Shaw — interviewer of musicians, reviewer of albums and guy in the know — also is a jazz performer, and he dropped an album of his own last month that definitely deserves a listen.

The 5-track album was entirely written by Shaw and was influenced a range of jazz styles, from traditional to contemporary. When we asked Shaw about the album and its development, he had this to say:

“I feel constantly compelled to do all of these different types of music — classical, singer/songwriter, hip-hop — and the most difficult time I have with that is trying to find my voice within those styles. In jazz, I’ve always had a voice in my head along with an approach I’ve been going for and I really wanted to put out something that captured the sound I wanted; I want it all to come under a unified voice. I’ve always lacked confidence in my abilities as a jazz musician and for a long time felt that I was hopelessly inadequate as both a player and composer so anything I was doing wasn’t worthy of putting down on record. But as I was turning 30, I started slowly unburdening myself of some of that self-doubt and began to focus more on the joy of the craft and the making of music, rather than the assumptions I had put up as roadblocks. So I hope when people listen to the album that they’ll understand that though I’m still searching and trying to find things, in this moment in time, what you hear is the best representation of what I’m trying to do.”

The self-titled album features local musicians Nick Sanfilippo (piano), Tom Casale (bass), and Max Goldman (drums). It was recorded at Big Nice Studio in Lincoln and engineered by Bradford Krieger. Ben Shaw is available on all digital platforms.

One of the Greats: Bob Mainelli is pitch perfect

One of Rhode Island’s finest local entertainers is Bob Mainelli.
He has performed for more parties, organizational events, civil and otherwise, private celebrations, small clubs, large clubs, restaurants, casinos, political happenings, weddings, funerals, bar-mitzvahs and probably hangings than most professional singers.

Bob taught music at Johnston High School for many years. His daughter, Jennifer has emulated his love for music, as well. Not only is he proud of her, but the two continue to perform together at many important happenings in the state. They are a terrific team.

Bob has been known for his high-quality professional voice. When he sings The Great American Song Book, his deliveries become perfect-pitch and romantic.

Although he has had personal physical problems for many years, he has forged ahead and kept his wonderful reputation at a high standard.  
Bob plays the keyboard often to supplement himself. Either with it or not, you still get his wonderful renditions of the best in jazz, and other art forms in music.

And yes, you might find him in Florida (during the winter) performing in restaurants and clubs.

We often see him working in the local casinos, or with his favorite buddy, super-pianist Mike Renzi. Rhode Island has been very lucky to have had many prior years from the voice of Bob Mainelli. He has built a large following of adult music fans who will go most anywhere Bob is scheduled to perform.

Keep your eyes opened to catch the Mainelli family performing, somewhere in the area.

Mountainess Releases Dreamlike New Song About Embracing Your Inner Strength: Emily Goldstein won’t apologize for her poetic track “Attention” – and that’s the best thing about it

With the opening notes pulling a distinct power move by featuring just stripped-down vocals, I was thinking this would be a capella upon my first listen – but I was immediately transported somewhere new once the bright piano chords blended with the warmth of Emily Goldsteins’s half-sung, half-spoken raw vocals. Later, she is joined by John Faraone on drums and Anthony Savino on guitar. Reminiscent of Broadway and Sara Bareilles, Mountainess is a force of theatrical whimsy and undeniable confidence set into a high-velocity locomotive sound wave.

Recorded at Big Nice Studio, and with a video designed by fellow Rhode Island native Hope Anderson, this song is a breath of fresh air during a time when everyone is undeniably feeling stifled, frustrated and fed up with the state of the world. 

The opening is a lovely mix of bright Disney-inspired goodness, and I absolutely love how this song ebbs and flows, with dramatic buildups and dynamic musical developments. First it’s just raw vocals, and then a piano and a haunting horn section join her. It feels like a heroine stomping across a stage going to battle (or perhaps, waging a war within her own mind). Tribal drums mix with bright harmonies in the chorus, and then a guitar arpeggio rhythmically joins the mix. Her vocal layering is ethereal, and is an undeniably complementary companion to the overall piece. 

“But shade is not the killer of dreams / there is life between the vision and me / spots of sun caught beneath my lashes / still I’d be lying if I didn’t concede / how good it feels when you’re here with me” is just a brief example of the articulate and imaginative lyrics present in this song. Most songs have at least some semblance of poetry in them, but I’d wager this one is jam-packed with much more than most. These words encourage listeners to be real and honest with themselves without hesitation, even embracing the things about them that may seem too loud for society to handle. Whether that is in a relationship, or maybe just within oneself, these lyrics carry an important lesson within their delicate melodies and creative musicality. 

My favorite lyrics might be “and for every guy who thought I’d die / without his bland suggestion / to be less or more or something for his dubious affection” is such a mic-drop moment. Attacking mansplainers everywhere, it’s equal parts cheeky and pithy, with a great musical build behind it to drive home the point. 

On her official website (, Emily describes herself as “a confessional poet, a peeling bell [sic], a rain cloud, a haunted house — no matter what you hear, Mountainess holds her ground and rarely says sorry.” Those words ring so true in this cinematic journey through finding yourself and not letting anyone or anything hold you back. I can feel her pain and her reality bleeding through these words and every chord in this power-ballad. Like bright sun after a downpour, “Attention” is a song that breaks through difficulties and setbacks with ease. I would heartily recommend this song and the calming aesthetics of the video. I did wonder a bit about the artistic choice to include the cheeky little topless fairies poking in and out of the greenery, but they do certainly add to the overall ethereal whimsy of the song even if their thematic significance wasn’t immediately clear to me. The video is an overall colorful and lovely calm green-scape of berries and clovers deep in a forest – a very satisfying and apropos setting for such a lovely song to take the stage. 

Listen to and watch the lyric video for “Attention” here:; for information about the artist, go to

Wolfsheets: Wax On releases new single

Lowell experimental alt-rock band Wax On has led local fans through plenty of different emotions throughout the years. With every album release, they find a way to surprise fans with their sound. On August 4, they released single “Wolfsheets,” and we got a whole new level of Wax On we didn’t know we needed. The single is to be followed by the full record called Sprezzatura, which will be released on September 8. The inspiration for the record’s name is credited to bassist Nick Capezutto, who spent the night in a Wikipedia word search wormhole. He eventually came to the word Sprezzatura, meaning studied carelessness.

The band is made up of five members who are spread all over New England. Luke Pelletier and Dan Cady are on guitar and vocals, Nick Capezzuto is on bass and Mike Colucci is on drums. Jordan Collard, on trumpet, is included on this record, but is no longer part of the band due to personal reasons and distance.                 

The band started playing together in high school, and has been together for approximately 10 years. Prior to the upcoming Sprezzatura record, the band produced two other albums: Revolution is a Conscious Mind and Homework. Revolution is their first album and was recorded in a friend’s basement. In their album Homework, the band includes a more quality mixed and mastered collection of those songs, including “Operation Midnight Climax,” “Eyes Set To Kill (The Agency)” and “Lonely Stranger.” 

Sprezzatura is being released through Dollhouse Lightning, a record label from western Massachusetts, recognized for putting out local Providence band Bochek’s record and other R.I. groups, as well as TIFFY, amiright?, The Baja Blasters, and many others. Mix, master, and additional instrumentation is by Marco Reeves.  

“It feels authentic. It feels like we’re finally being recognized and brought into the real stream of things,” said Pelletier of the new album. 

Cappezutto said it feels like it was the next step and goal to properly write music and release through an official record label as opposed to producing, recording and marketing their music by themselves. He said that “Wolfsheets” kind of sounds like their older song, “Ursula.” Colucci said the writing process for Sprezzatura was very challenging, but as it came together, the writing became easier. 

“One of the coolest things that I really enjoyed about Homework was that there’s like a suite of different vibes. There’s reggae parts, post-hardcore parts, but there’s also ambient parts,” said Pelletier. “It’s a lot of stuff that’s kind of a spread over a broad spectrum. So with Sprezzatura, we tried to make it more cohesive, yet keep the variety there.” 

Wax On has used their time away from live shows to progress their sound further. Thus, Sprezzatura was born. Before the coronavirus madness, they played shows around Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Wax On embodies the sounds of multiple genres, including experimental math rock, heavy rock and some ska-punk elements — the latter genre is a topic of discussion among the members of the band. 

“All of our taste in music is very, very eclectic,” said Collard. “Our backgrounds and eclectic tastes make us unique, as far as bringing different material and ideas to the table.”

“Wolfsheets” has a similar sound to their previous records, but on a whole other degree of Wax On mania. The new single reminds me of Mars Volta’s “L’Via L’Viaquez” with the switch up in tempos and changes in vocals. The first minute of the song starts with white noise followed by a repeated guitar strum. Then from one second to the other, they burst into song. “Wolfsheets” fades from distorted guitars and wry, megaphone effect vocals to acoustic guitar and melodic singing throughout the song. The song builds up to the ultimate ending with a mix of trumpet, distorted screams, heavy guitar, and just head banging goodness. It is constantly changing beat and rhythm, and it is a great teaser for what awaits the upcoming album.  

Guitarist and vocalist Dan Cady said the whole album feels like a clock, but its hands go in opposite directions, yet it still syncs with the orderly time. Fan of Wax On and grizzlies. guitarist, Josh Zenil, mentions Wax On has always been great at perfectly blending chaos and sweetness. 

“I think that’s their strongest point in this song and why I’m a fan of so many of their songs. It’s like the perfect formula — reel in the listeners with melody and delicate vocals, then hit them with distorted guitar. That’s when everyone can go in banging their heads,” said Zenil. 

“Wolfsheets” can be heard on all streaming services You can preorder their album Sprezzatura, which comes out next month, on CD and cassette.