Alternative HI Feature #1

Mountain Apple Company will be releasing a compilation of alternative music from some of the best alternative bands in Hawaii!  Alternative HI will be out on March 20th!  Pre-order NOW!

We will be featuring artists from the album here each week leading up to its release.

First off is Sabrina Velazquez. Sabrina is a 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated singer/songwriter. After releasing her debut EP, The Anomaly, in 2009, the Portland-based musician recruited producer John Askew (The Dodos, Richmond Fontaine) to assist in the making of her full-length album, The Hawk & The Hunter, released in 2010.

Coming from an unconventional childhood, her father, a mariachi singer and her mother a hula dancer, she stamps her personal experiences and musical innovations into her songs. The result is a singular, intimate sound that continues to attract audiences and listeners across the country.

A band whose name was inspired by the great words of Walt Whitman has a lot to live up to. Fortunately, Sing the Body do just that. Honolulu Pulse writes, “Their sound is a blend of rock, folk and alternative music that has fused into a unique sound of their own. Both are not just talented musicians, but really great singers as well. Their songs are addictive to listen to and their energy is infectious.”

Sing the Body approaches music with a “less is more” attitude a la The White Stripes and The Black Keys. Comprised of only two musicians, Zack Shimizu and Elijah Oguma, having merely a duo on stage in no way limits the size or impact of Sing the Body’s music. Instead, it gives Shimizu and Oguma a huge open canvas on which to paint and that they do, using their deep talents to create a barrage of rich, multi-hued colors via lead vocals, harmonies, a snare drum, tom drum, mini Korg synthesizer and a kick-tambourine (a tambourine set-up & played by Oguma like a kick-drum). Tie it all together with quality, catchy songwriting, and you have a group with a very bright future.

Formed in January of 2008, Disaster Kit came together as the result of five UH Manoa students (four of them music majors) who had a little free time and way too many instruments at their disposal. After months of writing and practicing, Disaster Kit performed their first live gig in the fall of 2008 and have been continuing to play for their growing fan base ever since.

Combining an eclectic mix of influences ranging from Bright Eyes to Bach, with the diverse musical experiences of its five members, every Disaster Kit show is a unique and memorable listening experience.

Read more about the group here!

Next we have Matty and the Intire Project. Bringing to life an original fusion of folk, soul, and funk, Matty Mcintire’s musical rhythms and poetic lyrics balance a sense of place with the unknown adventures of searching for the roots of one’s soul.

Matty is accompanied by Kilin Reece (Electric Guitar/Steele, Back-Up Vocals), Tyler Mongan (Banjo), Ethan Jones (Bass), and Drew Hemi (Drums, Back-Up Vocals).

You might find them at a festival, in a kawa bar, or on the streets of Waikiki. Find out more at or

Erika Elona first taught herself how to play America’s “I Need You” at age 10 from a book of chords her dad had laying around. Since then she has drawn inspiration from artists such as Joni Mitchell, Patty Griffin, and Gavin DeGraw.

Erika started doing gigs in coffee shops and dive bars around Oahu when she was still in high school, and through a lot of hard work and serendipity through the years somehow found herself invited to contribute a track to Alternative HI. She likes to describe her voice as “Jewel, Neko Case, and Feist thrown into a blender,” and her songs range from quiet acoustic love songs to soulful, piano- driven ballads.

Since teaming up with Bran Apeles Management she has started performing with a band, released a single, is excited to begin work on a full-length album, and is looking forward to everything that the future has in store.

Alternative HI will be arriving in stores March 20, 2012!