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Greg Holden & Katie Costello - 19 October 2011

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Greg Holden:

Greg Holden is a Scottish-born, English-raised songwriter currently living in New York City. In the past two years, he has self-released two records and is in the process of making a third. He has toured the living rooms and clubs of his UK supporters, moved to a different continent and toured the majority of the United States of America, including a month on the the road opening for indie starlet Ingrid Michaelson during her sold out ‘Everybody’ Tour.

Greg’s honest and progressively more opinionated approach to his lyrics, along with his folky yet melodic and pop style, has won him an army of online followers that continue to grow and follow Greg’s ventures. His ‘Living Room Series’ and ‘Not My Living Room Series’ on YouTube has been viewed more than 1,000,000 times across the world and both his self-released records were featured in the iTunes ‘Best Singer/Songwriters’ & ‘What We’re Listening To’ categories.

Greg’s relatable lyrics, simple guitar riffs and occasional percussion and piano, can make the toughest of hearts melt. His songs are a platform to discuss heartache, chasing your dreams, confusion, love and music. For those who prefer to listen to the music, and not to analyse every single syllable that’s sung, the musical arrangements on his new album “I Don’t Believe You” will undoubtedly be second-to-none, rivalling some of his indie-folk competitors on the scene at the moment, such as Mumford & Sons and Frank Turner. The album, which was produced in America, was funded by over $30,000 kindly donated by Greg’s fans across the world after Greg, quite literally, sold the clothes off his back to fly to New York in 2009 and worked avidly to make a name for himself. He bombarded YouTube with his “Not My Living Room” series of carefully crafted songs and used other social networking sites to build a strong following. His persistence paid off and he was rewarded with the ultimate gift of a fan-funded album. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that so many people contributed to the creation of the album that makes it so special, or the fact that this young guy from the UK has put his heart and soul into pursuing his dream; whatever it is, the album (and Greg’s music in general) is the perfect companion, whether you’re heartbroken, happy, reflective, romantic, soppy or sad. If you’re not mad on lyrics, the music is a great accompaniment to a lazy Sunday afternoon, easy-listening whilst working or studying or a great distraction from the hustle and bustle of the commute to work.

One of Greg’s best songs, “Bar on A”, perfectly describes his travels and summarises his story, with eclectic and touching lyrics, a powerful chorus and great musicality throughout. This, aswell as citing Bob Dylan as one of his greatest inspirations, shows that Greg plays on simplicity and understated style with heart-warming lyrics, coupled with complementary acoustic guitar riffs (all written and performed by himself) and other instrumenal accompaniement.

Essentially, Greg is another gigging-musician with a guitar, trying desperately to break into the hardest industry on the planet, but his passion and determination have led him towards the path of success.

Katie Costello

"Not to overstate things, but Katie Costello may be one of my favorite new artists. Her piano-driven indie pop songs are earnestly sung in a voice sweet and clear, with a charming lisp, a touch of sandiness and quirky phrasing, but underpinned by a delightfully droll view of life. Whereas Nellie McKay comes from a Hatter-mad, Joker-grin Doris Day world, and Taylor Swift inhabits a rarified 90210 sort of world, Katie seems to live pretty solidly in our world. From a songwriting perspective, she falls more in league with Suzanne Vega or Liz Phair; her approach to the classic themes of heartache, mortality, depression, and love belies the fact that she’s not yet of voting age."

“Los Angeles native Katie Costello stands as a beacon of musical brilliance amidst a faltering and generally mediocre Pop music environment. It would be simple to compare her to someone that is well-known in hopes of trying to gear one’s attention that might be acclimated toward a specific type of genre, or group, but that would be a massive disservice to Katie’s quirky sensibilities and insanely talented songwriting abilities.”

As musicians and music-listeners alike venture into a creative climate in which technological elements often define an artist’s sonic and visual identity, Katie Costello emerges as a unique and timeless example of an authentic artisan shinning amidst the frequently clouded backdrop of modernity. Almost as if her spirit has been frozen in another day and age, her perspective is one that far exceeds her surprisingly young age. She writes about the human condition – Our ever present desire to find peace, identity, home, and understanding.

Katie Costello’s most recent release “Lamplight” (2011), produced by Los Angeles-based music guru Tony Berg (Jesca Hoop, Aimee Mann, Michael Penn), reflects her distinctively conversational, yet poetic lyrical approach. Deeply personal, her songs are impressionistic and beckon to the lonely, disconnected nature of our times. Although initial listeners might find a carefree and happy-go-lucky element in her music, she writes songs that are meant to be revisited and experienced over and over again. Katie’s music seems to reward those who are searching and wanting something more than what is presented at the surface. Beyond their initially unique and eloquent phrasing, Katie’s lyrics comment upon the dark human issues we all undoubtably face. The first song on the record, “Cassette Tape,” humorously speaks of the frustrations regarding meeting both friends and lovers. With a lush and dirty-beautiful electric guitar backdrop, “Ashes Ashes” is empowering and moving in its commentary of self-actualization and mortality. “After Dark” paints a gray and painful landscape of a broken, seemingly infallible family relationship.

Each song seems to understand itself and does not fight to express its most profound or subtle concepts, regardless of how far below the surface they vibrate with intensity. There are strong elements of humor, loss, and subtle sarcasm that offer a different experience for each listener. Katie comments on the nature of full-length records by saying, “I think of every album as a very particular period of time and thematic contemplation in my life. I write what has happened to me and what I have felt, simply because I want to understand it. Songwriting is something that I happen to do and is not something that I regard with a great deal of personal responsibility. I thank the Universe for our human ability to create.” “Lamplight” reflects this desire to understand our existence, yet simultaneously expresses an understanding that the answers to our deepest questions can only be discussed, and not discovered.

Katie’s past release, “The City In Me” EP (2010), is a spirited, clever, and haunting collection of songs that chronicle Costello’s relationship with the concept of home, and with various cities (particularly New York and Los Angeles). Produced by one of Katie’s closest friends, current band member, and musical prodigy, David Lamoureux, the EP reflects the relaxed and creatively daring approach Katie and her collaborators bring to her sonic identity.

Released at the age of 17, Katie’s debut full-length record, “Kaleidoscope Machine” (2008), is a vibrant and refreshing collection of identity-searching compositions. Already at a young age, Katie’s perspective and creative mission can be heard in her music. Nic Harcourt of KCRW noticed her determined and innate creative nature by saying, “It’s good to know what one wants to be when one grows up. At 17, Hermosa Beach resident Katie Costello is making her path clear.”

Katie’s music is on KCRW (89.9 Santa Monica) “Morning Becomes Eclectic” and was chosen as their “KCRW Top Tune of the Day” free iTunes download. Her songs have been featured on the CW shows, “90210,” “One Tree Hill,” and ABC’s “Private Practice.” All of Katie’s work, “Kaleidoscope Machine,” “The City In Me” EP, and “Lamplight” are on iTunes and have been featured in various capacities. Her song “Isn’t It Lovely” was the grand-prize winner of Sennheiser’s “My Song Contest,” which also landed her a performance at the 2010 and 2011 NAMM conferences. Paste Magazine has featured her song “Inside Out” in their “New Music Sampler,” as well as Katie’s latest album “Lamplight” in their “Best Of What’s Next” piece. Katie’s music has been featured in both Teen Vogue and Marie Claire. “Lamplight” is now available!