Full-disclosure, I first met Siergio as a freshmen in high school. Fairly quickly, he established himself as a personality due to his singing, and what I recall as a vehement defense of superstar singer Monica’s vocal prowess.
It’s been a joy to hear him pursue his art these last few years. He seems poised to release another excellent set of tunes, if his latest single, a classic R&B slow burner, “Complicated,” is any indication of what else will show up on forthcoming LP, “Before it’s too Late” (available for pre-order here).
Listening through the song, you can hear his appreciation of Monica shine, albeit, through the prism of a variety of other influences. This allows Siergio to do something that strikes me as fairly unique within the world of modern R&B: call to what’s inspired him, but not so loudly, that his influences overwhelm the specifics of his persistent truth as a vocalist.
In a musical landscape in which it can be increasingly hard to tell singers apart, Siergio has found something that is uniquely his own within his voice.
This has come about as a result of pursuing craft with steadfast dedication.
Outside of gorgeous production that manages to create a sense of cavernous depth, the song is marked by Siergio’s control of his voice. His singing reminds of a guitar player who understands that he’s in the business of handling business, but doesn’t feel like he has to let everyone know all the time. Throughout the song’s run, Siergio pulls off a variety of vocal flexes that on their surface, might appear to be light, but speak to careful consideration, and/or restraint on his part. Where he could easily, pop an octave or hit a run, he instead chooses to make his voice swell or fall accordingly.
It’s an incredibly admirable set of choices and keeps a certain amount on tension in play. When release finally arrives, it shows up in the form of a contemplative, three-guitar over/under interplay that sounds like the R&B equivalent of what you mind find on an 80s King Crimson record.
It’s an inspired choice that adds a nice additional flavor to the song, allowing it to fade out with a blissful release that feels earned.
If you haven’t already done so, head back up to the top of the page, and hit play on the YouTube link.
A couple of weeks ago, artists Brett Millerand Brainheart joined forces again for “As Long As You Love Me“, the most recent banger on a long list of collaborations between the pair. A few months ago in July, Brett Miller joined me on Indie Pong’s Instagram Live for a special interview regarding a previous project (see interview here) and today I am excited to share an interview with Brett Miller and Brainheart (Roi).
How did you two come into existence with each other and decide to start working together?
BrettMiller: We met over Instagram. Roi messaged over summer of 2020 and shared some of his latest unreleased music, and asked if I could write and record over them. I loved his style and sound and we agreed to start working together. In fact, the first track he shared that I wanted to write on would eventually be “Surface”, which we released in February 2021. After our first project, we made plans to create more music and set a goal to release an EP containing all of our work. That EP is set to release in early 2022.
Brett, we learned a lot about you and your musical variety and your Floridian roots earlier this year when you did a live interview with me. Brainheart, can you tell us more about yourself and your background?
Brainheart : I am an independent music producer, songwriter, and DJ from Israel. Over the years, I struggled severely in the school system and felt that I was wasting my time. My first introduction to music was through playing piano at the age of 15. Music started out as a way to distract myself from struggles at school, but it quickly became much more than that. Today, unbound by genres I want to make a lasting impact and be an inspiration for many generations to come.
How does your partnership work together, especially considering the physical distance? Do you have creative brainstorms virtually, or do you send work back and forth to each other?
BrettMiller: That’s a great question. There’s a bit of a challenge to it, but over time, we’ve gotten very fluid with how we make music. having never met each other in person. We both play different roles for each song we make. Brainheart produces, composes, and engineers the tracks, and I handle writing the lyrics and vocal melodies, and recording my vocals, harmonies, etc, with some involvement on piano for certain songs. It’s a partnership that focuses on each of our strengths as music makers. So, to answer your question, it’s the latter. We send things back and forth to each other, while also having facetimes to go over ideas and notes…which we’re doing right now as we answer these questions. This collaboration is totally made possible by Facebook messenger, WeTransfer, and Distrokid. (Not sponsored)
What was the inspiration for the latest song “As Long As You Love Me”?
Brainheart: I heard the song “Hollywood’s Bleeding” by Post Malone and the production blew my mind. I was inspired to make a dark pop/hip hop song. Honestly I produced a full demo in 2 days and sent it to Brett. He loved it and started to write a story over the production.
BrettMiller: Yeah it was awesome! I knew I wanted to write something big over Roi’s haunting production. The production brought a whole new energy out of me, and it dared me to write something revealing to my personality. Some of it may have been dramatized, but I was inspired to stir up an emotion and thought process I’ve felt before in past relationships and even current ones. In an effort to leave enough to the imagination, suffice it to say, I’m always inspired to write about the dynamic between lovers, since it’s always so electric. In my experience, the highs can be euphoric, and the lows can be heartbreaking. I guess this song is just my way of mitigating risk to maximize reward.
What can you tell me about the music video? Where did you shoot it, what was the experience like, etc.? Is this something the both of you work on together?
BrettMiller: So, unfortunately, it’s a whole different obstacle when we want to make visual content together. We did a great job with our song “Wasted Years” with combining footage; me in the US, and Roi in Israel, but some visual ideas like these don’t always work with the song concept. “As Long As You Love Me” was one of those songs. I handled the scripting and directing of the music video with a small team and cast in Nashville, Tennessee. It was a very memorable experience, with just a healthy hint of stress to get things together on time. Gotta love working under pressure. Shoutout to the Nashville crew: Chaz, Chelsea, Greg, and Fiona (the star of the video).
The two of you have released quite a few songs together – have you or would you consider performing live together? How would that look?
Brainheart: Hell yeah, that would be great. I think it’s really important for collaborators to perform together. The connection between me and Brett can create something really special live. The electronic production + Brett’s voice could work really well at festivals.
Bret Miller: Absolutely! We’re obviously anticipating meeting each other one day soon. Roi really wants to come to the US, and I want to start performing worldwide. All this new music in 2021 is setting us up for some big shows in the future! Picture festival stages at Ultra Music Fest or Coachella, Brainheart behind the mix deck, and I’ll grab the mic to pump up the crowds to throw their hands up and sing these choruses with me! It’s gonna be epic!
Do you feel like it’s necessary to work in collaborations these days, or is your relationship more organic?
Brainheart: Honestly, in the beginning I thought we would create just 1 song together, but after we finished the first one and loved it, we decided to keep making music together and create a full EP. Our relationship has grown very organically. We work really well together, and we are very good friends. Our friendship definitely goes past music.
BrettMiller: There’s no right or wrong answer with making music. Some people do really well by themselves. I’ve experienced both: writing and releasing music independently, and with other creators. I do prefer the latter, since we can divide and conquer. I usually get better quality music out faster than if I did it alone. I’ve enjoyed working with Roi. He’s very driven and his talent level is growing fast. It’s been a very fruitful partnership and friendship. I definitely recommend artists team up with other creators, since you can make music better and faster, and forge strong relationships along the way.
How do you feel about the societal importance of social media tied to musicians’ careers?
Brainheart: It’s really tough. I believe that every artist wants to concentrate on making music. It takes a lot of time to build a fanbase and I believe that every artist should be very active on social media. Honestly, I hate being bothered with it, but it’s a great tool to make more fans and spread my music.
Who are your top 3 most played artists?
Brainheart: 1. Coldplay 2. Illenium 3. Ed Sheeran
Brett: A bit harder for me to list….for now: 1. Kevin Garrett 2. Incubus 3. Leon Bridges
What’s next on the Brett Miller/Brainheart agenda?
BrettMiller: Definitely our EP in early 2022. We are packaging together all our latest releases, with one more new track to release. This EP is the grand finale, and we have a lot of awesome content to surround it leading up. After that, we’ve got our sights set on performing the moment we get the chance to, given the state of the world. Either way, we’re staying patient, staying humble, staying grateful, and can’t wait to share more music and experiences with IndiePong and the world!
I’ve been MIA for a bit, I almost feel like I’ve been speed dating around with music this summer, partially due to absolutely SMASHING IT in the Song of Summer Series: Bangers Only playlist competition we’ve been running. The Drake v Kanye album sitch got me back into the album groove and I finally decided to settle down and commit to a listening session with PawPaw Rod.
He kicked off A PawPaw Rod EP last year with single “HIT EM WHERE IT HURTS” and has since released bangers “Glass House” and “Thin Lines”. Today’s EP release brough “Lemonhaze”. Honestly, if you haven’t listened to HEWIH or Glass House WTF are you doing with your days?!
LET’S GET INTO ITTTTT
I’m all about tunes you can groove to on a rooftop sans clothes, and I feel like PawPaw Rod is the best way to close out the summer. Grab a joint, flower, drink, or any vice of choice and start letting those seaweed arms flow.
Hailing from Oklahoma, PawPaw Rod has a pretty solid following, but he is definitely one of those artists who you either know and love or have no clue who he is. After today’s EP release, I imagine his numbers will soon see a spike as Spotify placed him on the cover of Pollen – no big thang!
We’re just starting to get a taste of what he has to offer, and I can’t wait to what else dear ol’ PawPaw will bring to the table.
Not only are these demos awesome, but this 18 minute visual album is a BLAST. We see Roksana dance suggestively while dressed as a bee on “Only Plants”, invent a new kind of currency, run for her life, party her ass off, and enjoy(?) an interesting afternoon on roller skates. By the end we are cathartically led to the conclusion of this short film’s essence- the end of the world.
An absolute rocketship of a debut from Los Angeles based Roksana, for whom the future seems bright.
From what I understand, there were limitations to the music in this visual album. The reason these were released as demos and not full songs was because they COULDN’T be, so the fact that Roksana pivoted and made this visual album with the help of “The Commune” in order to launch her career is impressively resilient and thoughtful.
My favorite track off of the album is the first one:
but they all hit.
I mean, just look at some of these screenshots from the same 18 minute visual album:
NoMBe, my favorite weirdo, has finally released his baby CHROMOTOPIA into the world after 3 arduous years.
It’s been a wild ride waiting for this release as NoMBe has been through hell and back while still making sure to find a way for these tunes to hit our ears. He says it best in his own words below.
NoMBe is thoughtful and authentic with his lyricism and creates a genuine bond and maintains communication with his fans. Through this album, he expresses that “love is a spectrum” and explores different kinds of relationships, complex emotions, the craziness of life, and what it means to be “happysad”.
Of his 5 singles leading up to release, “Weirdo” is by far my favorite track (but then again they are all my favorite by far). For whatever reason, I listened to “Weirdo” in my right ear this morning as I helped my new neighbor Nate lug some sacks of oranges up the street. “Weirdo” is so topical and ahead of its time as it references vaccines, say whaaaa –
“you’re the only vaccine, to cure the mundane”
Today’s drop brought us 9 new tracks, including the Chromotopia ABC’s which are great for my fellow synesthesia friends. It’s hard to describe how cool it is to see the atmosphere of different colors he creates with each song.
“Boys Don’t Cry” came on NoMBe’s 30th birthday last week, and if you can’t tell, he’s really living it up in Hawaii these days. NoMBe grooves through Hawaii with his slinky smooth dance moves, and we all know I can’t resist some solid seaweed arms. Another great track for your rooftop jam playlists.
The last track I’ll touch on before I leave you to enjoy CHROMOTOPIA is “Water Into Wine” which greeted my morning alongside a brand new video. It’s a beautiful, sensual song by itself, but the video adds an extra visual layer including NoMBe hovering above the ocean like our modern-day musical savior. There’s a moment for my friends with hand fetishes, as well.
Honestly every song on this album is a stand out in some way, so you’ll just need to listen to it in full to decide which one makes your ears and heart and soul happiest. And don’t forget, love is a spectrum.
Are we still in the point of the pandemic where I’m allowed to pretend like I don’t know what day it is and use that as an excuse for why I haven’t written about a new artist in two months? Yeah? Cool. Let’s celebrate 420, Earth Day and new music (or new to your ears perhaps).
Let’s talk about Psychic Twin, the dreamy, wonderful synth-pop brainchild of songwriter, producer and cool ass human Erin Fein (read more with her interview with VoyageLA). Her latest single is from 2019, so let’s hope that means she is working on a dope new project for us! In the meantime, “Water Meets Land” –
This track has rooftop vibes all over it – again folks, if you have a rooftop, USE IT. Shed those layers, grab a vice or two and get movin’ to Psychic Twin. 2016’s Strange Diary features some of my favorite PT tracks, including “Strangers”, “Stop In Time” and “Hopeless”.
Honestly, I should have told y’all about this album on Tuesday, but I hope your ears found your way to this music anyways. And just like Earth Day, isn’t 420 every day anyways?
I feel so lucky to call this musician my neighbor as she is also the badass human behind the Echo Park Trash Club, one of the coolest clubs in LA that meets Sundays to help clean up our neighborhood. And do I smell a whiff of a future community garden in our neighborhood? Tune in to Indie Pong’s Instagram for a live interview with Psychic Twin tomorrow, Saturday 4/24 at 11am PST!
This morning brought us the latest single from Navvi Upside “Gas Me Up”, a straight banger and just taste of his upcoming EP FAINT expected later this year.
Hailing from a big family in Chicago, Navvi understands the importance of hard work and a support system – concepts evident in his lyrics.
“Gas me up, sometimes I need that shit”
Don’t we all need that shit? In today’s press release, Navvi says “If you treat me right, I’ll treat you even better. Just pour good into people and understand nobody’s perfect.”
“You keep it classy and savage as shit”
Plus, I’m quite partial anything that combines classy and savage in the same breath. Granted, that line does follow “Got some racks on them b!*@hes” so we’ve got a little bit of that lady in the streets freak in the sheets kinda vibe here.
Out in the world on your own without a partner? Check out these hot, new singles – available for listen in your local area! Unattached and looking for love, listen to see which one of these hot singles is your perfect Valentine’s match. Remember, the below dating profiles are for the music, not the artist.
“Nonsense”, an anthem of the times by Bay Area jam/psych-rock favorites Con Brio. Lyrics “Catfished by the government” says it all. If you’ve had the chance to see Con Brio live, you’ll understand what it’s like to be transformed by a live performance.
DATING PROFILE: You’re likely to meet this single at a protest or your weekly neighborhood trash cleanup with a follow up first date jamming out to their favorite live band. They’re searching for a deeper connection with someone so they can take on The Man with together.
Mysterious outfit Blood Cultures keeps the relationship between the listener and the music as pure as possible by remaining anonymous. This track brought Blood Cultures to my attention, and the video kept me there.
DATING PROFILE: This single is dark and mysterious and has no problem with your true crime fetish. Don’t be surprised if this single bites.
This song makes me want to be in love. I know, starting out with a terrible review but I promise it’s a beautiful listen.
DATING PROFILE: Honestly, I’d watch out for this single. Cuffing season is yearlong with this one, and they are looking to fall in love tonight. This single is a hopeless romantic looking for that special someone to light a candle for. Are you looking for that someone to take the leap with?
Keep marks on this artist, “True To You” is Lucy Park’s third official release and has already landed some good looks, including Spotify’s New Music Playlist this last Friday.
DATING PROFILE: This single is showing up with their phone on Do Not Disturb and ready to give you their full attention. Dedicated, passionate, ready – but that sure is a lot on a first date, no? Why do I get the feeling this single is stuck in a f&#! boy wheel, stuck in that pattern of giving their heart away too fast?
Tastes like a fresh glass of Sunday orange juice, this song is a beautiful love child of Avant Garden acts Emotional Oranges and Chiiild.
DATING PROFILE: This single is taking you out dancing, going for a hike, or anything that will leave you both sweaty by the end. Expect to lean in to your active side while with this single as you’ll most likely never sit still.
Atlanta based artist who surrounds himself with talent, hard work and genuine energy dropped this smooth, buttery single last month and has left me wanting more from Tom The Mail Man.
DATING PROFILE: This single has “club romance” written all over them. Good to get your grind on after you finish your drink – you’re gonna need both hands for this one. Give it all you got with that first dance, they’ll be a ghost in the wind when the grind dies down.
This track has taken playlists by storm since its recent February 5th release, so it’s no surprise it’s sittin’ pretty on this list. As put in his article Listening Party – “Gang Signs” Freddie Gibbs feat. Schoolboy Q, Indie Ponger Daw sums up the track with “Freddie gangster croons, while Schoolboy emphatically punches each line at the start of his verse like a brick over your head just to throw it in double time right as you start to get settled”.
DATING PROFILE: This single is in for a casual night, no strings attached – sliding straight into your DM’s with confidence and that blue check mark. They’ve got it going, and you both know it. Jump in the car and go for a ride.
Throwback to the first time I ever heard of this artist in a work meeting and I wrote down “Chrome Bin”. Khruangbin is actually Thai for “aeroplane” which perfectly encapsulates their Thai funk, spacious, other worldly style.
DATING PROFILE: This single is taking you to a jazz club for cocktails and a light dinner, followed by a long walk on the beach…..with the possibility of mushrooms.
A fun, angsty track from California dreamer Harrison Tinsley who describes his music as “tales of a hopeless romantic”.
DATING PROFILE: This single’s ideal date is a Friday night bonfire on the California coast, burning last semester’s notebooks. Staring up at the stars and waiting to steal that midnight kiss, this hot single has no intentions of having you home by curfew.
This time last year I’d be dancing naked on my rooftop to this jam. Folks, if you have a rooftop, use it!
DATING PROFILE: This single is down to meet you at the park for a picnic followed by a drug induced euphoric dance party. You’re in for a few weeks of heaven and visual stimulation with this single, who will inevitably become nothing more than your drug dealer as the high fades away.
In her Indie Pong interview last year, she referenced unicorn dildo tasers. While I’m still waiting in hope that this will happen someday, this hot pink disco Pisces warrior is focusing on providing microgrants for queer and BIPOC artists by dedicating all Bandcamp proceeds from this track.
DATING PROFILE: This dreamy, sexy single plans to take your breath away in a secret garden, feeding you strawberries and cream while they draw you like one of their French girls.
This song has been playing on repeat in my head since January 7th.
DATING PROFILE: Looking for a long term boo, but not opposed to getting down and dirty on the first date. This single is sensual, energetic, knows how to treat their partner right and will want to take you home to meet Mom.
Inspired by both her Spanish roots and her time as a card dealer in London, this edgy tune reflects on power and money and how they are intertwined with existence.
DATING PROFILE: This single says they’re going for something casual, but just isn’t ready to admit they’re looking for something more serious. They’ve been burned before and have a hard time deciphering when it’s safe to tear down their walls.
While this single is hot hot hot, unfortunately these two artists are both off the market. Would it help if I said it’s with each other? These two married lovebirds are expanding their wealth of knowledge by bringing their talents to Amsterdam for the next year. While both are successful in their individual musical careers, the two complement each other’s musical styles in this sweet single. Learn more about Taali in her recent interview with Indie Pong.
DATING PROFILE: While emotionally unavailable and yet currently unattached, this single is still hooked on their ex and trying to make it work. They know a love worth fighting for when they see it, and aren’t afraid to give it all they got. Steer clear of this one, they have eyes for another.
Or if you’re like me and prefer Spotify playlists, here you go Hot Singles.
I mean….holy shit. Last week’s Subconsciouslyfrom South African DJ/producer Black Coffee is jam packed with talented vocalists, producers and writers like Pharrell Williams, Celeste and Diplo. This really is one of those albums that speaks for itself. Grab your coffee and buckle in for an hour long sonic journey, keep all arms and legs loose and feel free to exit the vehicle to groove.
Taali starts the new year with “When Did The World Start Ending? (Live at Levon Helm Studios“, the first single off her upcoming album of the same name due in March.
This song prompts reflection and inspires a positive outlook in terms of restructuring our lives in a COVID induced world.
“If the world is ending, I’ll build a new one with you”
If you’re looking to be uplifted, doused with beautiful vocals, or to feel inspired by the future – Taali is your gal. She is a multi-talented artist who also runs Rainbow Blonde Records alongside Brian Bender and José James. Plus, she always seems to be baking enough yummy goodness to feed an army in an outfit that will rock your world.
No big deal or anything, Taali was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Arrangement, Instruments + Vocals for “Slow Burn” alongside Nic Hard and Becca Stevens.
Want to know the CRAZIEST part about all of this? Taali actually agreed to an interview with Indie Pong. That’s right, tune in to our IG Live tomorrow at 10am PST, 7pm CET to catch this goddess in all her glory. Bring your questions!