The Messiah of Blues and Gospel : Mark Handley

Handley’s Messiah is his latest album.

Mark Handley is a folk singer who sings about the times we live in. He sings about people in humorous situations. ” Are you nameless, are you blameless, are you shameless and brainless..would you sell your soul just to be famous”-so he sings in Celebrity Russian Roulette. He accompanies his songs with an acoustic guitar and harmonica. He also adds sound effects. There are tracks with a full band like in the bluesy Hallelujah Boulevard. He currently resides in Windsor, Berkshire(UK) and does gigs locally.

One of the tracks you have to listen to is the reggae inspired Peace and Joy. I found myself warming to his tunes right away. He has the gift of telling stories through his verses. His voice is supple and has a wide range.

To keep track of his music and gigs, like him and his band through facebook: The current line up include: Mark Handley. Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Harmonica… Kevin Mee. Drums, Backing Vocals… Matthew Bailey. Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals and  Tony Storey on Bass.

More interesting news can be found through his official site:

For press contact:

Former Spine by Smashy Claw

Smashy Claw

The band:

Austin Aeschliman (vocals, bass)
Nathan Long (vocals, guitar)
Dave Frey (drums)
Andrew Serr (drums)

Former Spline is an album with sunny disposition from quirky rock group Smashy Claw. In fact when I listen to the songs I am reminded of Weezer and The Beach Boys. If I am sick and spending the whole day at home on medication, then this is the album I’d listen to. It’s fun and rocking but not noisy enough to cause migraines. There are moments when there is a total salad of genres. For example Future Tense is a merging of retro sounds and sci-fi. There are more fantastic tracks like CHOMPCHOMPCHOMP.

I think members of Smashy Claw have achieved what they wanted here. They created an album that is easy to listen to and has a potential to attract listeners who are into catchy radio tunes. The vocal harmonies are tight and the arrangements are not boring. Prozac rock album? Yes.

I think one of the great catch in this album is that it is comprised of 16 tracks. That’s like two albums put together! They are also so good that they can perhaps be therapeutic.


Alex Pardini : Be Sure to Remember the Name

Alex Pardini

Alex Pardini:Photo courtesy of Alex Pardini Photography

I did an article about Alex Pardini a few months ago. I was surprised to see something in my mail today. He made two logos for this site. One is black, the other is white(the one you see now). But I like to keep both because who knows? I might like to use the black version next time. I think it is great being remembered especially in these times of personal hardships. I wish you good karma Alex and more heights of success on your music.

Alex Pardini is perhaps one  underrated singer/producer and songwriter in the field of electronic music today. He has the voice, the looks and the brains as electro’s representative to the pop world. His recordings are marked with sleek craftsmanship. As an artist, he is not afraid to experiment. He can glide from chill out, down tempo or into a more rough, funk inspired project. And yes he plays a cool  acoustic guitar too.

The track Fly Fly” comes in three versions. A Vocals Club Mix, an Instrumental and a shorter Radio Mix . The one on soundcloud is the original(lo-fi mix) that sounds also amazing depending on your mood. Whatever works for you. I am listening to all his tracks again as I start the day. However, they can be great tracks to welcome the end of the day. Always awesome and never a dull moment with Alex Pardini. Remember that name.

Longing for Orpheus, b3nny and Tugdual Pop Music

Somnia Cover

For those who like listening to Sleepthief, Conjure One, Delerium, Blue Stone etc.)

Like its mythological name Longing for Orphues is a grand vision by Texas based musician Derek Smootz. This is his alter ego-the other one is a traditional Irish musician. The transporting melodies and use of  studio genius to manipulate sounds are what makes the  album  Somnia an exciting release. The word itself means “dreams’ in Latin.

According to composer Derek Smootz: These are songs of dreams, of the night sky, of hopes and fears, of love lost and love found. These are songs about the beauty in a sometimes not-so-beautiful world. 

Fire opens the album with its fiery instrumental and vocal beauty. The voice of Rebecca Smootz is further enhanced by harmonization. When she hits the high notes, she reminds me of Scottish singer Liz Fraser. The piano lines breathe all throughout. There are stops or pauses which makes this song spacey and relaxing.

Airy synth lines introduce Shine. I love use of reverb and echo. These effects are used tastefully. Like images paintings in watercolor the sounds melt and merge creating a diaphanous layers of atmosphere and imagination. Lisa Alexander lends her beautiful voice to this song.

Theremin-like sounds embellish The Walk. It has a marching tempo. “ I will hold you close until the stars and planets all turn to dust..and at the end of time there will just be us”. tThe catchy chorus rolls over and over again. This is definitely art pop at its best. Once again Rebecca Smootz perform the vocals here.

The Sea has evokes that feeling of suspense. Michelle Haché has a voice with lyric soprano quality. The electronic keys pulse all over this track that calling to mind sea bubbles bursting at the surface of tides. This track has an underwater feel. Makes me think that being enchanted by mermaids probably feels this way.

Then transport us to alien realm. I envision a huge flying saucer landing with colorful lights creating an aurora borealis effect. Derek Smootz is a synth master. He knows the kind of sonic combination that draws a feeling of the moment. The voice of Heather McCrocklin is washed in delay and echo creating an otherworldly listening experience. This is something in electronic music that no acoustic music could ever reproduce. There is that droning sound around 3:00 of this track. I think I saw whales and space ships while listening to that amazing  drone sound.

A Room Full of Stars is the best example of Space Music. Meredith Ruduski is singing in the style reminiscent of Sally Oldfield. This track is best listened to using huge speakers inside a wide room. Everything about Somnia is visual and this one makes me think of floating. It reminds me of a contained cloud by a Dutch artist.

The voice of Rebecca Smootz is back in Sand. It is a song about longing. Spiritual longing that is. “Endlessly I seek horizons”. I find myself relating to this song more and more as I listen to it several times. Derek doesn’t use the same synth effect in each track. He always brings something different in every track.

The introduction to Ghost has that of an old vinyl record with scratches. This song is about letting go. Karlyn McCutchan has a voice filled with empathy and angelic warmth. Only those who have undergone loss will understand what it means to be a ‘ghost”. But songs about loss and letting go are powerful because they are about polarity and change. “ I am so tired of haunting these walls and we have nothing left to say”. These words echo something deep and personal to me. And then “Let me go, let me fade away like a shadow into night” becomes total release.

At the Ending as the explanation in the liner notes: A glance behind. I realized even before reading that brief explanation in italics above that Somnia is actually about our life cycle. These are things we go through until we become who we are. Derek Smootz sings in this track. The only male voice in the company of female voices. How brave of him to sing about looking back with complete understanding. Very few of us can look at our past without anger or pain. “ As the last sunset and twilight dance , we will be the last falling leaves.” Fragile scenes caught within a song.

Broken Down is about mending. Once again we are warmed by the beautiful vocals of Meredith Ruduski amidst the swirling synths, electronic beeps and beats. “ I am bound to the earth and I watch you fly”. We are broken down when someone leaves us and while we have stages of grieving this song does it beautifully. Songwriting is indeed a beautiful and artistic way of expressing emotions. It might not be a process that can heal us but something good comes out of that art-so that others can bask under the light of its beauty.

Ivory Towers closes this album. You only realize the power of thine own self once you have been through the rough times. This is a song of experience and redemption. Nothing  in life remains permanent. The only thing that’s permanent is your own self. The lovely vocals of Rebecca Smootz is like an expert hands of a healer. She reaches out into that part of our soul that is still pure and trusting despite the loss and pain we experienced falling out of love.

Somnia is an album that satisfies all aspects of emotions and moments that we go through in life. You can see that this is a perfect soundtrack for those moments: moments of discovery, ecstasy, loss and healing. Like a good karma, Derek Smootz showed me the beauty of life’s wisdom told in the form of an album. And that album is Somnia.

More info here:


b3nny a.k.a. Benny Bomstærk

Electronic artist b3nny

Known by the monicker b3nny in the Danish electro scene, Benny Bomstærk started learning the drums at the age of 7. He has involved himself in music for the past 20 years. It is only now that he is taking a course in the music conservatory and applying his self-taught technique along with Music Theory. His style isn’t what you would normally call ‘catchy’ or poppy but there is something within the atonal melodies and complicated beats that will drive your psyche to respond. Such primal reaction to his music is brought about by his own personality. He values subtlety and as a result, he is a type of musician who says a lot in between scales and beats.


Tugdual Pop Music

Tugdual Pop Music cover photo

Wow 20,280 likes in facebook. Those who follow the German music scene probably already knows this music project. Check more info by following this link:


Flashback:Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill – Official Music Video

Feeling a little nostalgic today so here is Kate Bush for you.

Heyward Howkins Debut LP The Hale & Hearty

There are albums you would like to take with you when you take a vacation. There are also albums you just want to play at the end of the day just to ‘chill’ . The Hale & Hearty by Heyward Howkins fits both situations and needs. The instrumental fireworks that are crafted in this album is what I already consider as  a super bonus.

I have this weakness for records with variety. Something I can listen to again and again and figure out where the mellotron starts or really get fascinated with the tenor trombone, the glock and a dozen of other instruments. This can be tricky, you know, getting these musicians together and making sure it doesn’t sound like traffic in a rush hour.

The Hale & Hearty has energy and quiet reflective moments. For instance, Thunderin’ Stop gives us that teaser of what’s to come. All the vocal harmonies and string arrangements make this album have that great hum along quality of the older decades. His voice is a terrific instrument possessing both the supple nuance and the powerful range of Morissey. The album is like a beautiful movie that unfolds with every track. It is like a walk on the sunny fields. There is richness of melody and words here. These beautiful elements that make this project stand the test of time. I am getting possessive of this album. I am sure you will feel the same when you get your hands on The Hale & Hearty.

Directed by Tyler Costill and Alex Curro.
Starring Gabriel Caste and Megan Becker

Official Music Video for Sugar Sand Stitched Lip by Heyward Howkins.
Featured on his upcoming album, “The Hale and the Hearty.”

Pre-order CD or Digital Album and get 3 instant downloads!

Look for more updates from BITBY.TV

Chet Delcampo (mellotron, keys, guitar, drums, bass)
Charlie Hall (bass, vox organ, vocal coach)
Severin Tucker (guitars)
Richard Stuverud (drums, percussion)
BC Camplight (piano)
Erica J. Penella (flute, vocals, vibes, glock, referee)
Ben Riesman (violin, viola)
Nitzan Haroz (tenor trombone)
Mike Brenner (lap steel)
Gretchen Lohse (Strings)
Shannon McArdle (vocals)
Birdie Busch (vocals)
Heyward (guitars, vocals, uke, banjo, harmonium, keys)

The Hale & Hearty
by Heyward Howkins