On August 3rd, free cake for every creature (PA) put out a new full length soft-pop album called the bluest star. What started as a solo project for song-writer Katie Bennett, free cake has expanded to include long-term band members, Francis Lyons and Heeyoon Won, as well as a rotating cast of musicians and friends.

the bluest star was recorded over the latter half of 2017 in the apartment that Katie and Francis share; maintaining free cakes’s lo-fi bedroom-pop roots while also showing growth through collaboration and experimentation.

Composed with a heart wide-open, each song offers insight into Katie’s lived experiences and her feelings about them. She whispers about the simple and mundane, “eating clementines on the subway / put the peels on my blue jeans” (be home soon) and shares her existential musings, “walked for hours aimlessly / washed in the nothing, happily / the world went on without me / and I let it, happily” (sunday afternoon).

Every track has something special to offer: the drum machine in shake it out, the pedal steel guitar that keeps coming back, the whisper of Katie’s voice in goodbye, unsilentlylisten closely to the bluest star; you won’t want to miss anything.

Favourite track: sideline skyline

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Photo by Francis Lyons



On June 22nd, Baby Brains (PA) released an offical music video for “Who’s He Going To Meet” from the catchy four-song EP, Eat Your Heart Out. Directed by Bob Sweeney, he captures the inspired 60’s era vibe that Amanda Steever envisioned.

“Who’s He Going To Meet” is a pop anthem for heartache, but the music video is an homage to the friendships with womxn that outlast any break-up. Amanda isn’t alone in her heartbreak, nor in wearing her heart-shaped glasses. This is a group of womxn that show up for each other. After Amanda dials her friends, they all drop what they are doing to show their support, indulge in greasy diner food, and treat themselves with a twist-cone. The video ends with each of her friends looking into the camera over their heart-shaped glasses; the lyrics may have been about a recent ex, but this song is about the friends that are there to pick you up.

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Amanda Steever of Baby Brains
Photo by Bob Sweeney



In 2015, I saw Kiley Lotz (the founding and only permanent member of Petal) perform in a high school hallway on a makeshift stage during an annual male-centered pop punk festival in mid-Michigan. The way she stood on stage looked like the way I stand when i’m uncomfortable; Lotz and myself were two of a dozen of womxn amongst hundreds of men. Unassumingly, she strummed her guitar and sang ‘I’m Sorry’; a song we’re lucky to see again on Magic Gone. Her voice is clear and pure; if we lived in a cartoon, tiny birds would float out of her mouth. I saw her later in 2016 when she opened for Pity Sex. Her confidence on stage had grown tenfold; an incredibly warm and friendly presence that made you feel like you knew her all along. Following this time, Lotz’ grappled with mental illness, guilt, shame, and her sexual and gender identity which she shared with Out Magazine earlier this month.

Magic Gone (06/15), released on Run For Cover Records, is Petal’s (PA) second full length album.

Side A, titled ‘Tightrope Walker’ consists of songs written prior to treatment. We’re able to bear witness to her self-reflection, self-doubt, and her tendency to put others’ expectations first. While ‘Better Than You’ is the song bopping on your summer playlist that reflects a fuzzy-guitar driven 90’s vibe, ‘I’m Sorry’, first featured on Petal’s 2013 EP Scout, finds its place in this arc of self-discovery. We see patterns of heteronormativity being examined: “A binary system/We pace around another/One is bound to shine/More bright”. We’re offered an invitation in ‘Comfort’ to a boiling point in her relationship with the lyrics, “And you could barely drive when I said/I don’t fucking care anymore/I don’t see the point of lying for/What I am only tearing apart”. The visual of sitting in the passenger seat next to your partner is relatable, but more importantly, this scene casts a mirror of ourselves and the destruction that occurs when we do not honor our own truth.

Side B, called ‘Miracle Clinger’, are songs she wrote while in treatment. We’re taken along for a journey that many of us have lived through in our own unique circumstances; a reminder that we’re not alone. Our departure begins with ‘Stardust‘, which captures the nostalgia of who we once loved as we move forward. “I became so skilled at the act of getting through every day that I trusted that ability”, Lotz speaks on her ability to be functional amongst her mental health hardships; a badge I have worn many times in my life only to discover the weight is heavier than I. She spent the last year intentionally building a practice to acknowledge, address, and treat her mental illness. Lotz is an artist that represents myself and many of my close loved ones in presence, in struggle, and in discovery. Magic Gone is proof that we can peel back our vulnerability to honor the depths within us and create community when we share our struggles.

Lotz’ offers the raw intimacy of her voice which feels as if she is a close friend singing to us on a summer porch. Kiley Lotz, a talented musician, has carried Petal through their second full length record. Petal is currently co-headlining with another Run For Cover Records favorite, Camp Cope. We’re rooting for Kiley as a friend, we’re showing up for Petal as fans, and we’re experiencing the aura of Lotz finding her way just like so many of us.


Kiley Lotz of Petal
Press photo from Shore Fire Media