Formed in 2010 in Alexandria, VA on the outskirts of Washington D.C., FeelFree’s smooth sound incorporates hard hitting horn lines, tasteful guitar work, and memorable melodies. They independently released their third album “Define the Free” in July of 2018 after premiering their single “Lonely Life” with critically acclaimed Rootfire Cooperative. The album would go on to win Best Reggae Album of 2018 at Washington D.C.’s 31st annual Wammie Awards.
The roots of FeelFree were first laid in 2004 when Andrew Pfeiffer (vocals/guitar/trombone), Evan Hulehan (guitars/vocals/production), and Bryan Frank (drums) began playing music together while enrolled in George Washington Middle School in Alexandria, VA. After adding Garrett Clausen on bass/vocals/saxophone and Colin Cantfil on trumpet in 2010, FeelFree was officially formed. The band immediately began releasing songs on the internet over the course of 2010-2013 resulting in two albums worth of material: In The Hills (2012) and The Ebb Tide EP (2013). Kevin Raitz joined the band on drums in 2017, and word about FeelFree’s explosive live show began spreading throughout the mid-Atlantic region creating an underground buzz landing them on stages like D.C.’s 9:30 Club and Baltimore’s Soundstage among others.
For seven years, TreeHouse! (Myrtle Beach, SC) has spent the majority of their days blazing sprawls of highway and their nights playing an unapologetic enthusiastic blend of psychedelic reggae jam rock they are known for in venues across the nation.
TreeHouse! songs resonate in your soul with lyrics of rising above adversity, the power of gratitude, and the importance of unity. For every setback, there’s a step up waiting for you if you keep your focus. For every day, there’s a blessing to count and for every event, we must recognize we are a part of it all. It’s this kind of message that makes the most recent studio album, Lifted, their strongest release to date.
In 2010, singer/guitarist Jeremy Anderson and drummer Trey Moody formed the foundation of American Reggae Jam Rock band TreeHouse! With a vision and a dream, they jumped into a van to travel the country and share their good vibes. Along the way they picked up fellow band members, Joe Harley on Keyboards/Theramin/Vocals and Chris Hat on the bass.
Throughout the years, the band has collaborated with other up and coming artists in the genre including Sun-Dried Vibes, Oogee Wawa, Roots of a Rebellion and others, all the while discovering a like minded community across the East coast and beyond.
After teaming up with musical inspirations like Steel Pulse, 311, The Wailers, Dirty Heads, Pepper, Stick Figure, Fortunate Youth and SOJA along their journey and in the spirit of the bands who laid the road before them, these road warriors continue to spread their roots coast to coast.
The TreeHouse! single, “Blessings” was picked by Stephen Marley and Ky-Mani Marley as one of the top 10 songs out of hundreds of contestants in the Marley’s Music Uprising, because they felt this song exemplified the spirit of Bob Marley.
“The live show itself heals me every night. I write these songs, to some extent, for my own sake. If I am to sing this song every night, I try to make it beneficial for my own being and implant within it a message that I may need to hear, myself, for reassurance in my journey. Whenever we are feeling overwhelmed with our path, someone comes like a messenger from the universe and feels the need to express how much we’ve affected their life for the better, just by doing what we do. That’s what always keeps us going.”
TreeHouse! recently released two singles, “Prayer for the Day” and “Natural High (ft. Dan Kelly)” to much acclaim and is currently in the studio working on a new album to be released in 2019.
Never Ending Fall have spent thousands of hours honing their musical craft, which is really about telling the story of a young band that is way bigger altogether than any individual member. Having grown up together has made them tight-knit in a way that only comes with putting time in as a band, while also bonding like family. They naturally know how to make the most of spending time together because they’ve been closest of friends for nearly a decade.
It may seem in a brief glance that Never Ending Fall are a group of fresh upstarts, the newest in a long line of funky indie rockers that meld many styles of music into the familiar Chesapeake sound. These six aren’t the next, they’ve been there all along, learning, studying and making music together since they were twelve years old. These kids are all grown up, and now it’s time to Start Living.
Their musical evolution has been remarkable, a six piece dynamo radiating their unique collective energy creatively through their music. Undefined by convention, they make music that winds from grooving and layered indie-pop-rock tracks to funky, ska/punk and reggae infused jams, all of it utterly sing-able and dance-able. Fans of world and jam music will also find a lot to love in Never Ending Fall.
With nothing rushed, they grew up sharing an intense passion for music, learning together and approaching their craft with an earnestness not often seen in kids who start bands. In their opportunities to play with other popular bands from the area who have been making things happen since Never Ending Fall formed, the members watched closely and learned the ropes, which is to say, how to be successful artists, love what they do and share that passion with the fans. They transcend the typical bandmate-bonds because together they are family, which is evident to anyone who sees them live and gets to know them.
Never Ending Fall won the 2015 Gorilla Music Baltimore Battle of the Bands, and they have played to major crowds at the Fillmore Silver Spring, Ram’s Head Live, Main Street Music Fest, Ryleigh’s Oyster Fest and Baltimore Soundstage.
Medicated Sunfish is a young band out of Wilmington, NC that has the talent, creativity, and soul to rise to the top of the NC jamband scene.
Their first release is a self-titled 5 song EP that has a sense of maturity and polish rarely seen in bands this early in their career.
The EP features two distinct personalities of the band, both growing directly from their musical influences–the syncopated ska rhythms of Sublime and the pure energy and passion of Rage Against The Machine. While these influences are out front and obvious, their ability to play with both precision and deep-pocketed groove keeps their sound genuine and honest. When some bands are constantly reaching for the sound of their influences, Medicated Sunfish nails it from the start and uses it as a starting point for their creativity.
The first half of the album, which follows a soft, ethereal minute of instrumental opening (nice touch!) are based around a distinct and solid ska rhythm laid down by drummer Alex Lee and bassist Jimmy Fallon (Yes, his real name. Current bassist is now Derek Lane). In fact, there’s hardly any point in the album that Lee’s drumming doesn’t stand out as being exceptional. Lee comes from a heavy metal background, and guitarist Josh Boyd credits him with much of their groove and powerful sound, “He’s always yelling at people to stay in the pocket and don’t step on each other’s toes,” laughs Josh. “He’s taught us that less is more and to emphasize the space between the notes.”
Another wise decision by the band was to work with veteran music producer Karen Kane who was recognized as “North Carolina’s Producer of the Year” in 2013. “Medicated Sunfish is a young band without any studio experience BUT because of the level of talent, the studio production went very, very well,” says Karen. “The creativity within the band was very high and I thoroughly enjoyed guiding them in the right direction throughout many months of working together.”
My prediction of Medicated Sunfish’s expedient rise through the southeastern jamband scene is not because of their ability to meet the qualifications of what typical jambands are, but instead to ignore them. The vocals are the most obvious example of this. All too often singing is an afterthought to overstated instrumental prowess, but Medicated Sunfish has a dedicated vocalist in Isaac Clowers that brings a refreshing and much-needed balance to what we’re used to within the scene. Clowers’ sense of melody and phrasing alternate between floating above the music at times and providing memorable hooks that you’ll catch yourself humming for hours after listening.
The second half the EP hits you with a Tarantino-esque surprise ending, as the band morphs into another huge influence with their Rage Against The Machine-inspired passion and drive. Again, in the context of the southeastern scene that they are currently traveling through, this is a welcome and refreshing surprise. “Maker,” the 4th track (not including the instrumental opener) is the one that sticks with you long after you’ve listened to it. Guitarist Josh Boyd takes us back a few decades when distortion and tight riffs were the backbone of many great metal songs as he works his way through this journey.
The final track, “Minor Ave,” brings in Jared Sales as a guest vocalist. His crisp hip-hop style phrasing works perfectly as the song builds to frenetic crescendo with Sales singing the refrain, “I try to give you the truth but y’all ain’t ready for it!”
If Medicated Sunfish is the next phase of the southeastern jamband scene, then I’ll just say, “We’re ready for it.”