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Ashley Zarah Rises From “Ashes In The Sea” With Powerful Persian-Influenced Single

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Dark-pop singer-songwriter Ashley Zarah released an electronically driven music video for her new single “Ashes In The Sea” on March 19th. The new video follows the release of Zarah’s LP Better Mess, which was released last year. “Ashes In The Sea” is a Persian-influenced song about rebirth and resurrection. “It’s about cremating an old self, even a perfect self, and watching new life emerge from the ashes,” Zarah said.

The song exudes spiritual and tribal senses. With the weight of the drums and twang of the sitars, listeners feel as though they’re being purified by ancient ritual. “I always make this joke that my ancestors were fire worshipers from Mesopotamia doing sword dances around their horses,” says Zarah. “I’m not far off though, the Persian Empire was a Zoroastrian one. Zoroastrian ideology is the backbone of Iranian culture and I wanted to pay homage to what they’ve taught me.” The erratic production changes are placed throughout the track to remind listeners of the storm and chaos that come with real transformation.

The single is released exclusively via a moving video that captures the vast desert and contrasting colours of the unique kaleidoscopes that make each person special in their own way. “Change and rebirth ain’t a pretty thing,” says Zarah. “It’s exhausting and time-consuming.” Zarah hopes that through watching and listening to “Ashes In The Sea,” listeners will feel comforted to be themselves and experience the journey of personal transformation, in whatever way they need.

Ashley Zarah is an Iranian singer/songwriter and dark-pop performer hailing from Los Angeles. Merging millennial pain and pop culture, she is convincing pop listeners to feel something honest again, the way she felt during the emo wave in the early 2000s. As a young kid who struggled to identify with those around her, Zarah decided to invent a space of her own; one that welcomed colour into life’s darkest truths; hence, the home of dark-pop.

Despite coming from a background of non-musicians, there was no shortage of music in the house. Zarah was raised on artists ranging from Pink Floyd, Madonna, and Natalie Cole, to Iranian stars such as Sima Bina, Dariush, and Haydeh. Scouting on her own, she would discover even more eclectic inspirations like Christina Aguilera, Linkin Park, The All-American Rejects, Justin Nozuka, and LIGHTS; all who inspired her to pick up instruments and gear to perform the songs we hear today.

While on scholarship at the highly prestigious art institution, Berklee College of Music, she revealed herself to be both a prolific writer and expressive vocalist; though mostly sought after for her relatability and insightful songwriting. She has since been featured on NPR’s Buried Treasures, BuzzMusic LA, GirlTalkHQ, Authority Magazine, EDM Nations, and twice debuted on the world-renowned music editorial, The Hype Magazine.

An advocate for mental health, suicide prevention, and gender equality, she is on a mission to teach and heal her generation to speak their truths and enjoy their lives rather than simply surviving them; proving to audiences that no pain is worth the disposal of a life.

Cover Art for ‘Better Mess’ by Ashley Zarah

Dawn Jones is the curator of the V13 imPRESSED Column. Previously known as imPRESSED Indie Music Blog, Jones and her team joined forces with V13 in 2020 to collaborate on an exclusive column on V13's site (imPRESSED) to bring a niche focus to the rapidly evolving indie music genre. Dawn is also the founder of Pressed PR - a boutique PR agency that focuses on PR for independent creatives. Pressed PR’s team works on a variety of campaigns partnering with independent filmmakers, independent artists, and independent labels. Pressed PR’s music clientele has landed in the pages of Billboard, Atwood Magazine, EARMILK, HYPE Magazine, and many others.

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Slightest Clue Release Their Rocking, Five-Track EP ‘Carousel’

Vancouver indie rockers Slightest Clue recently released their ‘Carousel’ EP, inspired by the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship.

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Slightest Clue
Slightest Clue

Vancouver’s Slightest Clue is like the secret after-school project of four kids who would have passed each other without a glance in the hallway at school, but once they’re plugged in and ready to play their distinct blend of post-punk, alternative rock, and dark pop, all bets are off.

Produced by Matt Di Pomponio, their new EP, Carousel, is inspired by the beginning, middle, and end of a formative romantic relationship, spanning the trajectory from love to this loss of connection. The closing track, “Carousel,” marks the ultimate bittersweet reflection with unique harmonic layers to portray those contrasting emotions, shifting between grand and quiet tones.

Commenting on the album, the band states:

“The main theme is love, loss of relationship, and connection. The arc of the story is our foreshadowing of the end in our first song ‘These Days’ speaking on the day to day fights and how neither person can seem to get back to a happy place in the relationship. ‘Why Can’t I Call You?’ is the initial spark of infatuation and obsession with someone before you know them. ‘When You Wake Up’ talks of the blissed out honeymoon stage where everything is working and nothing could go wrong. ‘Suit Uptight!’ represents the mounting frustrations and resentments building tension from unmet needs. And finally our closing track ‘Carousel’ is the end and the bittersweet reflection of a cherished relationship that can no longer return.”

Each member, Malcolm McLaren, Hannah Kruse, Sean Ries, and Nick Sciarretta, brings distinct influences and experiences: a stage actor whose playlists go from Talking Heads to Sonic Youth to Björk, a hook-obsessed recovering choir girl, an electrical engineer whose personal idol is John Bonham, and a guitarist who played for (and left) 10 other bands before deciding this was the one for him.

Slightest Clue ‘Carousel’ [EP] album artwork

Slightest Clue ‘Carousel’ [EP] album artwork

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Craft Recordings Thrilled to Announce Titles for Record Store Day 2024

Craft Recordings announces their titles for Record Store Day 2024 available at participating independent music retailers on April 20th.

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Collective Soul ‘Dosage’ album packshot
Collective Soul ‘Dosage’ album packshot

Craft Recordings is thrilled to announce its titles for Record Store Day 2024. This year’s lineup—available at participating independent music retailers on April 20—includes eight exclusive releases that span a variety of genres—from chilling cult-classic soundtracks and long-sought-after alt-rock reissues to jazz, new age, and beyond.

Among the offerings is a 25th anniversary pressing of Collective Soul’s Platinum-selling fourth album, Dosage (featuring the mega-hit “Heavy”), At The Drive-In’s electrifying sophomore album, in/CASINO/OUT, and the first-ever vinyl pressing of Filter’s The Very Best Things collection. Also making its debut on wax is the chart-topping Inner World album from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama—a first-of-its-kind release from the Tibetan spiritual leader, which blends his spoken-word meditations with music from a renowned collective of artists, including Anoushka Shankar.

Other highlights include a sought-after mono edition of Everybody Digs Bill Evans on 180-gram vinyl, while film buffs will delight over the return of two cult-classic soundtracks, 1972’s Black Girl and 1977’s Orca. Finally, the acclaimed Jazz Dispensary Series returns with The Freedom Sound! The People Arise—an empowering setlist of deep cuts by Joe Henderson, Gary Bartz, and Azar Lawrence, among others.

Craft Recordings Record Store Day releases April 2024

Craft Recordings Record Store Day releases April 2024

A full list of participating Record Store Day retailers and more information can be found here.

#1 At The Drive-In – in/CASINO/OUT (1-LP, Purple & Green Smoke Vinyl)

#2 Bill Evans Trio – Everybody Digs Bill Evans (1-LP, Mono, 180-gram Vinyl)

#3 Collective Soul – Dosage (1-LP, Translucent Lemonade Vinyl)

#4 Dalai Lama – Inner World (1-LP, Gold Vinyl)

#5 Filter – The Very Best Things: 1995-2008 (2-LP, Mercury Swirl Vinyl)

#6 Various Artists – Jazz Dispensary: The Freedom Sound! The People Arise (1-LP, Freedom Blue Swirl Vinyl)

#7 Jazz Dispensary: The Freedom Sound! The People Arise

#8 Various Artists – Black Girl – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Reel Cut Series] (1-LP, 180-Gram Clear Black Swirl Vinyl)

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Cosmic Ninja Evolve Their Genre Bending Style on New EP ‘Filth’

Bristol rock ravers Cosmic Ninja evolve their genre-bending sound on their brand new EP ‘Filth,’ released earlier this month.

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Cosmic Ninja, photo by Pacific Curd Photography
Cosmic Ninja, photo by Pacific Curd Photography

Cosmic Ninja has been taking the UK by storm over the last few years with their eclectic sound and raucous live show. The band has just released their most accomplished and exciting work in their new EP, Filth.

Their energetic appeal, disregard for genre conventions, and punk ethos have made the band stand out in a deeply creative scene. Filth is packed full of tracks that feel distinctive and
packed full of unique character while embedded with Cosmic Ninja DNA.

Recorded with John Mitchell (Enter Shikari, Architects) at Outhouse Studios in Reading, the EP bursts with energy and intensity throughout, melding impassioned political lyrics with dizzying electronics and huge riffs. From the angst-filled raps to the soaring, memorable choruses, the diversity and guile shown on the new EP are staggering, and with their sights set on themes like the political status quo, injustice, equality, and mental health, their message feels clearer and more important than ever.

A track that exemplifies the feel of the EP is “Stone Cold,” a track as dynamic and unpredictable as anything you’ll hear this year. Euphoric synths compliment a sound that skitters from groovy to melodic to spiky before reaching its apex with a colossal metal breakdown. Everything about the track feels laser-focused and precise, embodying everything that Cosmic Ninja is.

Filth is blessed with an abundance of similar highlights and moments of awe-inspiring creativity throughout. The powerful, socially conscious messaging that adorns these tracks feels vital and relevant, and the conviction in the dual vocals makes for a release that feels as authentic and pure as it does all-encompassing.

Cosmic Ninja ‘Filth’ EP album artwork

Cosmic Ninja ‘Filth’ EP album artwork

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