My friend and fellow central Texas performer Alison Papion has been on a wonderful upward trajectory that has been a joy to see from an objective viewpoint. After years building her name, stage presence and abilities with stints in the Grid Squid Entertainment collective and the live band StereoFiend, Papion took a break to pursue modeling opportunities and handle personal aspects of her life. 2021, however, finds her returning to the world of music with Dazed N Confused, the titular lead single from an upcoming solo project she plans to release. After hearing her sing over mostly hip-hop beats and funk-inspired live jams, it’s refreshing to hear her fall into a more traditionally modern R&B sound, and if the lead single is any indication of what’s to come from the full project, then I will definitely be waiting with excitement. Check out the single on iTunes, Apple Music or Spotify, and keep track of her for news on the release of the full project.
Recently, StereoFiend lead MC SymmaTree took a break from his daily meme onslaught to drop some sad news : the San Antonio-based band has officially ended their long run with the release of their final single, Hennessey. With so much talent in the group, it’s a shame that things have come to an end, but Hennessey is definitely a high note to go out on… Joy is not only singing with the kind of soul that comes with personal experience, but her lyrical imagery is a rich as the grooves that the band is laying down. Definitely cop this track if you have a buck to support, share it around, and help keep the name of StereoFiend alive past the band’s selected end date.
Even as the world makes small steps towards opening itself in some sort of normal sense after the waves of COVID-19 we face, musicians are exploring old and new alternatives to keep their fanbases satisfied. The San Antonio-based live outfit Stereofiend recently decided to go the route of an old industry standby by dropping a live album, but with most venues closed during the period of time they decided to do so, they opted for the next best thing : live from the studio. The result, in this case, is an intimate view of Stereofiend in the moment and in the pocket with one another, minus the distractions that come with a live audience, resulting in what feels like a jam session put together especially for the listener. The songs we all know and love are there, we get a small view into the inter-band banter that those familiar with Stereofiend are used to, and until we’re allowed to enjoy one another’s company again, this will be the closest we get to a live show for a while. Definitely check it out, support if you can, and share it around for all to enjoy.
The work ethic of Grid Squid Entertainment is extremely admirable, as the group has continued over the years to grow as a team, as solo artists, and even in small collective pockets between themselves or with the involvement of those outside the core. The latter designation is where StereoFiend lands, which features Grid Squid members SymmaTree and Joy, with the live backing of bassist Mike Deosdade, guitarist Tristan Bulgrin, drummer Mike Lenoir and keyboardist Joshua D. McGoldrick. The group has been making noise in the central Texas area for the past half a decade or so, and after the 2016 release of Urge & Grit and the subsequent years of live shows, the growth in all aspects resonates perfectly with Concerns & Doubts. SymmaTree‘s signature flow and voice sit deeply in the pocket, Joy‘s confidence as a vocalist continues to grow, and the musicians are given room to express their talent. Take a dive into this project and get to know the group better, donate if you can, and share this one around with your friends.
Over the last 6 months or so (it seems), there have been a handful of bands promoting live performances at the Fire Station Studios in San Marcos, all of which I’ve unfortunately missed due to my own gigs. Recently, Stereofiend took part in one of these performances, and Untapped SMTX documented the event for their YouTube channel. The band is on point for this one, with every member getting plenty of opportunity to shine. Check it out, leave a like or comment, and share it around so others can enjoy as well!
There’s problems, and then there’s good problems. A problem is when you have every intention of creating music, but you lack the motivation or the opportunities to do so. A good problem is when your motivation and opportunities are so abundant, that sometimes your musical output goes overlooked by even those who stay checking for it. The latter would be the case in regards to the homeboy SymmaTree. Dude stays busy both representing for Grid Squid Entertainment and StereoFiend, so when I came across a post about a project he was in called DEFY’d, I was surprised that I completely missed the boat on it. nothing for your birthday is the solid first effort from a band, an amalgamation of members from Call Me King and Dancing with Gepetto, as well as the previously mentioned SymmaTree and additional vocalist M.E. Farrell. It would be easy to classify this project as rock/rap [see the very self-aware (my ears matter) interlude], but that would be doing this collaboration a disservice, as there is something definitely brewing here. I’ve heard the song Fingertips previously, but it does a nice job of rounding out this debut offering. I am looking forward to hearing more from DEFY’d, believe that.
Coming soon… a new short film from Chief and TheDoomsdayDevice. Starring Troy Baham Jr. (SymmaTree of Grid Squid and Stereofiend) and Sara Nadeau, Repossession is the examination of a soul reaper in a technological world, forced to play the role of repo man to complete his work. Please like the trailer, subscribe to the YouTube channel, and keep an eye out for the full release this week.
It’s always nice to hear styles collide. StereoFiend is part rock band, part funk outfit, part hip hop act, part soul. The live show has always been money, and after lots of studio time, Urge & Grit allows you to get your StereoFiend fix wherever you see fit to. Can’t lie, I’m pretty hype about getting a shoutout in the liner notes as well. Looking forward to a full length in the (hopefully near) future.