About the sampler: This is our 10th South Carolina music compilation in the nearly 11 years we’ve been a website. People often ask how these “samplers” come together, and I often say it’s a miracle that they do.
The first few compilations featured a few unreleased songs, and mostly songs that were already out. We gathered songs for a couple of reasons. First of course was to showcase South Carolina talent, and the other main reason was to create a sort of time capsule of SC music.
Over time, and mostly with the help of Charleston musician and producer Wolfgang Zimmerman, the samplers started to become almost all exclusive tracks. This is something that we both love and find difficult to ask of bands yearly. We’re always amazed when artists step up and offer a b-side, a demo, and singles from their upcoming album. Fresh material that makes the sampler a highly anticipated release. It’s an honor for us to be a signal boost for these artists and the music they create.
This year’s compilation features 30 songs! That’s nearly double the 2011 sampler, and five more songs than we swore we would ever include. But, here we are, with 30 songs, nearly all of them exclusive at the time of release and featuring 18 artists who have never been on a sampler before. Only six artists from last year’s sampler made it on this year.
If you start out with the 20TEN sampler and move forward, you’ll not only hear 193 songs from South Carolina artists, but you’ll hear these musicians develop. From Sequoyah Prep School to Sequoyah to Susto. From Wylie to Brave Baby to Wolfgang Zimmerman and Keon Masters. That’s something that will continue this year with a lot of young musicians and projects who will surely grow into other projects in coming years.
So how do these come together again? A couple of emails, a good bit of word of mouth, and a lot of people in the music scene committed to helping this happen every year.
This year’s cover art is by the amazing Sludge Pony. You might recognize her style from some local show posters, or one of her many other projects you can find on her website.
Again this year, the sampler was mastered by Kenny McWilliams at Archer Avenue Studio. He truly is a treasure of our music scene.
Here it is. Check out each artist, read a little about their song, tell a friend, go see them live and let’s celebrate the small portion of our local music scene presented here. It’s a marathon of a listen, and we imagine it in three parts. So let it play on, and be sure to check out all the bands you haven’t heard of.
About the song: The song is about a memorial service for a friend who passed away. I’m sort of talking to him in my head or saying some things that I hope he can hear, but I don’t think he can.
Recorded at Andy Woodward’s house in West Columbia and taken to Seaboard Recording where we ran the track through a tape machine.
Patrick Jeffords: Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Andy Woodward: Drums, Engineering
Desirée Richardson: Vocals
Mastered by Chris Wenner at Seaboard Recording Studio
About the song: Arkansas is about going on tour with your best friends and going to places you’ve never been before and enjoying it the whole time. It was written several years ago after the first time I went to Arkansas.
Quinn Cicala – vox & guitar
Jackson May – guitar
Greg Dudley – bass
James Uzzel – drums
Recorded & produced by Matt Tuton and Mastered by Matthew Garber
Matilda Dae (feat. Billie Fountain)
About the song: When moving on from a past relationship, that feeling of wanting to come back is a confusing ebb and flow of bitterness and fond memories. Jealousy cuts deep while nostalgia brings the warm sweetness-of-what-was back to the surface. Seeing one another move on is that emotional burning sting of fresh cuts healing in saltwater.
The song came about one day while I was singing a simple melody at the piano at Billie’s studio. It had this flowy timeless feel that he really liked so we started writing and it became the chorus for Saltwater Burns. The song will be featured on the album that we are currently co-writing together, which will be released this year.
Performed by Matilda Dae and Billie Fountain
Produced by Billie Fountain.
About the song: The song is kind of a break up song directed at organized religion. Basically the lyrics take the listener on a journey through my process of doubt up until virtually giving up on organized religion altogether.
Ross Swinson home recording. Drums recorded at Freeway Music
About the song: This will be Stagbriar’s first release in almost 4 years. Written over 5 years ago, this song finally receives its debut. Don’t grow old just to claw your way out of your own circumstances.
Alex McCollum: vocals, guitar
Emily McCollum: vocals, guitar
Jared Pyritz: guitar
Cam Powell: Bass
Steve Sancho: Drums
Matt Wentz (courtesy of Zack Mexico): guitar
Recorded and mixed by Alex McCollum at Alex’s house in Columbia, SC
Matt Wentz guitar recorded by Matt Wentz in Durham, NC
Mastered by Dave Harris at Studio B in Charlotte, NC
She Returns From War
About the song: The song echos a little bit of all the phases I have gone through up to this point, but I feel like the more I’m learning the easier it is to portray in this kind of cinematic cosmic country way. It’s a song that stood on its own away from the last record, but I’m glad you have it.
Wolfgang Zimmerman, Corey Campbell, Hunter Park
About the song: Me (Luke Waldrop) and Axel started a project, Grover Walcott, about a year ago in Clemson; the main premise of Grover Walcott was to just have as much fun as possible playing goofy punk songs. We wanted to move onto something a little more serious with a sound that we’ve always wanted to pursue. The song is about Axel learning and picking up English as a second language as a young child being raised by Nicaraguan immigrants. He had to do most of his learning from watching American cartoons at home seeing his parents didn’t speak English. This song is about his affinity to those cartoons he watched as a child that helped him overcome his anxiety regarding reading and speaking English.
Axel Ruiz: G/V | Luke Waldrop: D/B/V | Preston Dunnavant recorded, mixed, and mastered “Teach me English, Agumon!!” at the Brooks Center in Clemson, SC
About the song: The song is about bettering myself and those around me. It’s a manifestation of the life I want to live, of the life I’m living.
Recorded with Matt Tuton at Right or Wrong Studios before he moved to The Lab.
About the song: This is an old song! We tracked this bad boy live and it’s been up on the shelf for many years now. The lead hook of this track isn’t mine. I totally jacked it from Wolfgang, but morphed the chords differently. I’d given a chorus to Wolfy at that time for his own song, so it was a beautiful give and take haha. Clay added some badass fuzz and wah guitars that communicated well with the drums. The lyrics are very existential . The character is seeking to evolve and transform their life; to be a vessel for something greater than himself. I was turning a new page psychologically and spiritually, more than ever, and felt compelled to speak through allegory and give a nice picture and vision for what emotions I felt at the time. How does one stay true to the soul journey without selling out?
Lead guitar – Clay Houle
Drums – Wolfgang Zimmerman
Piano & Vocal – Johnny Delaware
Bass – Jordan Hicks
Recorded at The Space, Charleston
About the song: This is a song I’ve had now for a couple of years. It marked the exact in between point of progress FALINE has undergone to catapult us into our newer sound (3 piece) which will be featured on our upcoming full length album due out hopefully by the end of this year. The song is more lyrical and focused on a steady heartbeat, whereas this newer album has a lot more upbeat/rock and roll energy attached to it. It’s always been important to me and I knew I’d end up using it in some way, so I took this SceneSC sampler as the perfect opportunity to release it as a sort of preview of what’s to come, without giving away too much of a hint as to what we sound like now that we’ve begun to come into our own sound as a three piece cohesive unit.
Recorded by Kevin Hanley at his home studio featuring production by Jenna Ave-Lallemant and played by both Jenna Ave-Lallemant and KEVIN Hanley on guitar tracking
About the song: Bizness is about the feeling of being used/led on in a relationship but you’re content with it. I wrote the music awhile ago and just now got around to recording it. I hit up Ryan and we finished it in a couple days. The hard part was the vox/lyrics, but they came out so well. Wolfgang is the fucking man.
Written by Paul Nederostek
Recorded at Rialto Row with Wolfgang Zimmerman
Paul-keys, guitar, vocals
Ben moody – bass
About the song: The song came out of a desire to write a classic 90’s RnB ballad, heavily influenced by artists like Mint Condition and SWV. This world of the 90’s is something our band has been really exploring in our song writing and “Cant Wait” allowed us to throw in a handful of fun ballad stereotypes (radio broadcasts, sax solos, choirs, big horn hits, and above all one final key change).
The entire track was recorded collectively in our home studio set up, but mastered by For The Record Mastering.
Written by Shirlie and Satchy
Produced by Satchy
Mixed by Shirlie and David Moody
Mastered by David Moody
Recorded at Icon Collective in LA + Marguerite in CHS.
About the song: Brandon was going through a tough time in his life last year, between getting fired from his first suit-and-tie office job and drug addiction. The song is about feeling like two different people, on drugs vs. sober, and the frustrations of losing control of your own actions. Grand achievements often don’t have grand outcomes.
John and Brandon were messing around on guitar and drums, respectively, when the initial guitar riff was first written. We worked on the song over the next few months, with Ali adding an intense drum part, Tim making a bass part to complement it, and Lillian developing some beautiful harmonies.
We didn’t make the track 6 minutes on purpose, but our attempts to trim it down resulted in a worse song, so we kept it at its full length. Pretty sure we moved between three different practice rooms while writing this song.
Ali Kaveh: Drums
Brandon Byron: Vocals, Guitar
John Eaves: Guitar
Lillian Peel: Vocals, Synth
Timothy McFall: Vocals, Bass, Trombone
John Nipe: Piano
Written and performed by Gardeners
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by John Nipe @noisebyjohn
Recorded at Odic Records in Fort Mill, SC
About the song: Came together very last minute (finished the lyrics 2 days before for the Wrigley Field sesh). Part of a concept to be revealed later. About the ol’ double edged sword of apathy, baybee.
Gonna keep it real cryptic here and just say “there is a horizon.”
Preformed by the Secret Guest All Stars: Ned Brash, Andrei Mihailovic, Scott Dence, and Michael Milam. Recorded live at The Royal American June 14th, 2018 by King Coast Matt Zutell.
About the song: Song was recorded during a Ever-Expanding Band session with Khari Lucas at Rialto Row. The song was written after listening to one too many True Crime podcasts.
John Bias – Vocals, Left Guitar, Slide Guitar, Piano
Sam Jaeger – Bass
Alex Kohel – Drums
Joe Senate – Right Guitar
Produced by Khari Lucas, John Bias
Mixed & Mastered by John Bias
About the song: The song was written about a time when I was with a pal and everything seemed to fall into places perfectly. Giving me euphoric feelings, I remembered this occasion and wrote this tune.
Ian Russell- vocals, guitar, drums
Michael Ewens- bass, keys, noise
About the song: “Shiny” was written in the fall/winter of 2018. Although it is packaged as a summery care-free pop song, it depicts a dark time in my life. My significant other was in a ballet company across the country for the year and I was living at my dad’s house getting my life together. At this point I was beginning to put the first songs together off of my upcoming LP. It depicts the negative effects of alcohol combined with the emotional stress of a long distance relationship.
This was one of the first songs I wrote after deciding to make my own music while continuing my role in Dead Swells. One of my biggest inspirations was Paul Nederostek, who reinforced the fact that at everyone is accountable for their own success.
“Shiny” was written, performed, and produced by Luke Reeves. Additional mixing and mastering of the song was done by Matt Zutell of Coast Records in Charleston, SC.
About the song: I started writing this song roughly two years ago. The chorus came first. It took me a few tries to land on a verse. This vibe is a deviation from what people have come to expect. The verses are pretty sassy and almost spoken rather than sung.
I had most of the song finished but brought Mick in to help me tie up the loose ends. My wife was gone for the weekend and his wife gave him a hall pass so he came over, we drank some brewskis, and ended up staying up all night long to get it ready for the sampler. It was a wonderful memory — just had a ball with it.
I’m a happily married man, so although this song is a break-up song it’s really a positive message. It’s me reflecting on my past relationships and wishing I had not wasted a moment worrying about my future when I was with different girls. Being married now to my soulmate I wish I could go back and instead of shedding tears I could say to those ex-lovers, “If you want to leave, just leave, I have some special coming down the pipeline.”
All instruments, vocals, recording, mixing, production by Taylor McCleskey except bass by Mick Matricciano.
Recorded in my (Taylor McCleskey) bedroom studio.
About the song: The song is one of our oldest working tracks and has shaped over the years to its final form here. The words are about being in relationship that is doomed to fail but you keep trying anyway.
Blake Ratliffe guitar and vocals
Dan Truncellito guitar
Matt Zutell drums, production, mixing
Aaron Utterback bass
About the song: Started recording it around December 2017 and finished it up in January, 2019. It’s taken many shapes and forms. It’s about insecurities and never feeling good enough.
Jonah Terry- Vocals, Guitar, Double Bass, Synth, Percussion, Bells
Wesley Heaton- Producer, Mixing Engineer, Trumpet
Brady Sklar- Mastering Engineer
Ian Burrell- Vocals and Saxophone
Tayler Bucich- Vocals and Synth
Dan Fetterolf- Violin, Vocals, Synth
Timothy McFall- Trombone and Vocals
Lillian Peel- Vocals
Recorded at Pablo in Clemson, South Carolina along with additional recording in Campobello, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina. Saxophone was recorded by Ian Burrell in Boston, Massachusetts.
Late Night TV
About the song: The idea of a discount cemetery encompasses two central themes from Justin Moffitt’s writings, the fear of death and the consequences of growing up in poverty. It was one of the first LNT tracks that was written communally. Justin brought the intro and general idea to practice and the band helped piece it together over the course of a few practices. Belvin would add his synth parts when he joined the band later on.
The song was recorded and mixed by Corey Campbell in his apartment in Charleston. It was mastered by Zach Bodtorf.
The band member composition is:
Justin Moffitt – Vox & Rhythm Guitar
Tyler Wolfe – Drums
Holden Curran – Bass
Bow Smith – Lead Guitar
Belvin Olasov – Synth
About the song: We’ve been playing the song live for quite a while. We were playing this song when our last album was released. So as we started the recording process for our second album, this felt like the most natural place to begin. The song itself is about not having to be defined by a singular role. As we age and change our priorities in life, we sometimes pigeon hole ourselves or get pigeonholed by others through quick, surface labels. The song’s mostly about being okay with change–with being off-kilter and uncertain of who you are or how others might define or interpret you. It’s also a little about being okay with the labels that don’t feel monumental–that feel ordinary. Ordinary life is very hard. Sometimes ordinary life is an extraordinary act.
Kate Pyritz: vocals, omnichord
Jared Pyritz: guitar
Patrick Funk: guitar
Albert Knuckley: bass and vocals
Thomas Hammond: saxophone
Steve Sancho: drums and percussion
Evan Simmons: keys and percussion
Recorded at Jam Room Studio
Produced by Zac Thomas and Evan Simmons
About the song: I (Jackson) wrote this song with the intention of it being on our album, “Where Blew a Flower, May a Flower No More” but for some reason I chose against adding it, or recording it. After playing it live a few times, people seemed to really connect with it and told me their feelings about certain lyrics after shows and what it meant to them, which warmed my heart to the point where I felt like I should record the song at least for them. This songs meaning has a wide range of topics, but mainly focuses on the feeling of having an endless pit in your stomach, or as I’ve heard it to be called the “God- sized Hole” that we try to fill up with drugs, alcohol, food, sex, memories, relationships, etc. that can really only be filled through positive, healthy living and some vague form of spirituality.
Recorded by Jackson Wise & Wesley Heaton
Jackson Wise – Guitar/Vox/Saw/Bass
Wesley Heaton – Trumpet
Daniel Fetterolf – Violin
Timothy McFall – trombone
Brandon Gallagher – drums
About the song: The song by Grand Republic was an unreleased track from the 2017 Tourist Trophy album, which sat unfinished until submitted for this compilation. We have a batch of songs in progress as well as others to record, they all may end up on a full length before the end of the year.
John Furr: vocals, guitar, synth, vibraphone
Troy Tague: drums, backing vocals
Craig Keeney: bass guitar
Jay Barry: keys
Jonathan Bradley: fog machine
Recorded by John Furr @ Pow Pow Sound
About the song: The first single from The Restoration’s upcoming concept album, West, “I’ve Got So Much T Give” is an organ-driven ballad about reconciling the love or your art with personal regret. It features guest vocals by Alexa Woodward.
West is the story of Ruby and Joe, parents forever altered by a fateful trip across America with their young sons. The characters are based on the real-life grandparents of The Restoration songwriter Daniel Machado. The album will be released in summer 2019.
Adam Corbett: Bass
Lauren Garner: Violin
Sharon Gnanashekar: Hammond Organ
Daniel Machado: Vocals, Guitar
Sean Thomson: Electric Slide Guitar
Alexa Woodward: Harmonies
Steve Sancho: Percussion
Band recorded September 2017, Jam Room Studio, Columbia, SC, engineered by Zac Thomas
Alexa Woodward recorded August 2018, in her residence, engineered by Daniel Machado
Produced by Stephen Russ and Daniel Machado
Mixed by Collin Derrick
Mastered by Keith Compton
About the song: This song is supposed to be a fever dream that recaps “The Sun and the Shade”, relating the fleeting feelings of life and death to a balloon floating off into the sky. As I contemplate personal thoughts, I’m echoed by my alter ego and the argument of existence. I wanted to uncover what it meant for ME to be alive. A ballad to the singing song of my heart, is what “Red Balloon” is. Also, might be nice to mention I record everything in my bedroom.
About the song: Killing Time is the newest in a batch of songs we are currently working on for our next full length recording which we plan to finish by the summer and release in the fall. Lyrically the song is a mix of conversation and personal reflection between a man and his wife about the high cost/ramifications of a music lifestyle relationally. The song came as most of mine do, out of the dark.
Zach Seibert – Vocals, Electric Guitar, Harmonica/Todd T. Hicks – Banjo/John Furr – Organ/Jim Taylor – Bass Guitar/Stan Gardner – Percussion
Recorded John Furr @ Pow Pow Sound, Columbia SC
About the song: “Hunger” was the first Watson Village song we put together. I had a riff and we structured it. Then I wrote the lyrics. It’s about humanity’s greed and hunger for power. This song is designed to be turned up LOUD.
E. Tyler Watson , Tyler A. Phillips, Justin P. Keown.
Recorded at Seaboard recording studio. Engineered by Chris Wenner
About the song: Well, it’s straight up a song about my best friend Adam Cullum, whom we lost last year. I was driving down to Charleston not long after his passing, and just thinking about him, passing by Columbia and just thinking about how visiting there just ain’t the same, cus Adam was Columbia to me. So I worked out this whole song in my head during the drive, and, not that anyone would be the wiser to these tidbits, but there are about 5 inside “references” within this song that only Adam would get.