Fresh Pick

Phone Home – Brooklyn NY

a phone home 1

Phone Home is comprised of brothers John Vallarelli (Drums), Michael Vallarelli (Synth and Piano) and Jeff Santoro (Guitar). Together they create progressive, sometimes dark and at other times poppy, driving instrumental music. Although the Vallarelli brothers were in separate bands growing up, it took them about twenty years to land in roughly the same place musically and personally to form Phone Home. They self released their third EP entitled WAYS in December of 2013 and plan on releasing a full length later this year.

1. Name: Michael Vallarelli

Age: 30

Where are you writing this. At my apartment Brooklyn Heights

 a ph

2. Home is where your story begins, please tell us a little about yours.

 I live in a cozy one-bedroom with my fiancee. It’s perfect because all we do is listen to records, read, watch Netflix, eat good food and drink wine etc etc etc. A lot of serious hanging out and relaxing. It’s a sanctuary of coziness really. 


3. How did Phone Home come to be?

 a phone home 2At the time, I was really into that LCD Soundsystem record This Is Happening, a lot of Brian Eno and Talking Heads. I called my brother and just told him I was gonna buy a synthesizer. The plan was that he and I could create weird soundscapes that would hopefully evoke the mid-twenties fuelled anxiety I was feeling. 


4. Describe your musical style.

 I like to call it instrumental pop in the sense that we try to create distinct and memorable melodies. I really don’t like the “post-rock” label as much but we get dubbed that a lot. We try to create a balance of songs that have a light and dark juxtaposition. It’s also atmospheric and spacey so some people have called it “space-rock”. It’s tough because the minute you tell someone there isn’t vocals, everything gets thrown out the window. 


5. What inspires your compositions?

 My brother and I write music that is truly inspired by our bond and our love of music and what it does to people. There is a little bit of a rejection of mortality in there somewhere as well. Life is incredibly strange and exciting and we try to create music that reflects that, without words. 

 a phone song

6. Do you have a favorite thus far and is there a story behind it?

 My favorite song thus far is probably this new song we are currently working on which doesn’t have a title. It literally sounds like space r&b. Not sure if that is a genre but it is now. 


7. What is the glue that holds you together as musicians?

 A need to keep creating and brotherhood. 

a bros 

8. When you are not making music what are you doing?

I currently have a 9-5 job at a dental lab in Manhattan where I help doctors with their problems. I also spend a lot of time with my fiancee exploring life. 


9. In Phone Home which brother is the realist and which is the dreamer?

 We are both dreamers because our mom always told us to never be otherwise. 

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Hayley Reardon- Boston, MA

I have a mentor that has told me for years, wherever I go, to “find the story.” Whether it be in a conversation with a janitor cleaning up after a gig or in some wild, soul-searching adventure, he has always challenged me to walk into every situation with an eye for what is real and important, and then take my findings with me.- Hayley Reardon on a piece of advice that will always stay with her.

H A Y L E Y   R E A R D O N 

Thoughtful - Genuine - Sincere

“Wayfindings” is remarkable in its mature approach, coming from an artist barely old enough to drive herself to gigs. An emotional and creative leap forward from her 2012 debut “Where The Artists Go,” such highlights as “Numb and Blue”, a wryly sincere kiss-off to an ex with lines like “It’s the way you drive and all the Bob Dylan you pretend to like,” and an excellent cover of the Henry Thomas folk standard “Fishin’ Blues” have far more in common with Patty Griffin or Lucinda Williams than many of today’s young pop singer/songwriters, boasting a lyrical and melodic weight far beyond Reardon’s years.

L A T E S T   A L B U M   ’W A Y F I N D I N G S’   A V A I L A B L E   H E R E 

Where are you writing this right now?

In front of the fireplace in my living room…very cozy I must say. 

Home is where your story begins, can you tell us a bit about yours.

I live (and have lived my whole life thus far) in a suburb 20 miles out of Boston. I can see the ocean from my window and am surrounded by some pretty special people. 

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The Apache Relay- Nashville, TN

The Apache Relay shows a band eager to push past their boundaries, and commitment to always evolving their sound.

T H E   A P A C H E   R E L A  Y

Apache Relay

Michael Ford Jr. was a music business major when he met The Apache Relay in a Belmont University dorm. They were already deep into “a very Americana, very rootsy” sound, and before long the band was backing up Ford around campus, and soon everywhere else. Ford Jr. dropped out of college, and the group, which at the time included Mike Harris (guitar, vocals), Brett Moore (keys, guitar, mandolin), Kellen Wenrich (fiddle, keys) gigged relentlessly behind their 2009 debut 1988 and 2011’s breakthrough American Nomad. Midway through their touring in support of American Nomad Ford, Jr’s brother joined the band rounding out the group’s line up and sound. While touring in support of the album The Apache Relay found themselves opening for Mumford & Sons and hitting such festivals as Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Firefly Music Festival, Voodoo Music Experience, among others.

‘The Apache Relay’ available HERE

1. Because we want to hear it from you: Tell your fans about how the 90’s Movie, “Heavy Weights” coincides with your Band name: The Apache Relay.

Mike Harris was out to dinner one night many years ago with our friend Gabe of Kopecky Family Band and Mike expressed to him he was looking for a band name. Without missing a beat, Gabe said “Apache Relay, no one’s using the MySpace” Its funny though- even though it was unintentional, the story of Heavyweights is really that of a band of ruffian underdogs running the gauntlet together. Seems all too fitting. 

2. What is the glue that holds, “The Apache Relay” together?

As simple as it sounds, its our ability to play music together. We all have a pretty broad array of influences, with everyone bringing something different to the table so it keeps things from getting too homogenized. We’ve got Kellen, who I like to describe as the “one man orchestra,” as he feels equally at home writing and recording string parts as he does behind a Hammond B3. There’s Mike Harris, who has a keen sense of song structure and is one of the only people in the world who can make an ES-335 sound like a spot on pedal steel guitar. Of course there’s Michael Ford, Jr., who is a brilliant songwriter and powerful singer, with his skills only foiled by his brother Ben, who has penned some of my favorite moments in our band’s history (the haunting melodies in “Terrible Feeling,” the lead guitar part in “Good as Gold.”) Its pretty easy to stay inspired around a group like that!

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Side Saddle – Astoria, NY

a side

“Like there isn’t anything to keep me from you…eternally barged in on my routine reverie and I have wasted a legion of seemingly good opportunities but waste I will no more you’ll find my steady hand reaching for you”

1.  Name: Ian Patrick McGuinness

     Age: 28

     Where are you writing this?  In my living room.


2.  Home is where your story begins, please tell us a little about yours. 

 Right now home is Astoria, NY and I love it. I live in a 3-bedroom apartment with two of my old band-mates. It’s close to the rehearsal space, the studio and the bakery. What more could you need? I grew up in the suburbs of New York (About an hour upstate from the City). My father was and still is an equine teacher and caretaker of 20 horses and my mother is a nurse. I have an older sister and of course there is Kizzy, a golden retriever. Growing up, band practice was always in the basement of my house so it was consistently loud and full of kids. When we weren’t practicing, we were outside. We had a nice backyard and patio so we could play out there and grill in the summer. It was a pretty ideal situation.

  a sude xmas

3.  How did Side Saddle come to be? 

I started writing some songs that were a little too folky for the band that I was in and I was looking for a bit of a change. I decided to start a side project.


4.  When did you know that music was going to be such a big part of your life? 

I’m not sure when that moment happened. It always seemed to be the one thing I could do for a long period of time and not get bored or distracted by something else. But if I had to pick a moment it was probably when my neighbor/family friend Vivian gave me her late husbands Tascam 4 track. I sat down and wrote my first complete song and you know what… it wasn’t that bad.


5. You must be filled with excitement with the release of your debut EP titled The Postcard. 

I am suuuuuuuper excited! It has been a long time coming. I started recording some of these songs last May so it will feel like a huge weight off my shoulders for sure.

side saddle artwork


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