The Flock: Folk and/or Singer-Songwriter – Edward Jenkins, The Tuesday Crew, Stereo Naked, Kelan Galligan, Party of the Sun, Ryan Dunlap, Woody Pitney, History of Time

 

*Check out these artists and every other artist we’ve featured on the blog this month on our Spotify playlist for this month.*

This is a new edition of The Flock. People who love Folk and Singer-Songwriter are going to find so much good content in this post. What is The Flock, you ask? The Flock is an idea that we had to help fans of a specific genre find multiple bands they love in one post. It helps us provide value to you, the reader, by putting more of what you want in one place. It also helps the artists. Fans of their music come to the page and become fans of other similar artists, growing their fan base more efficiently. It also helps artists connect with other artists who have a similar feel, so they can help each other out, work together, play shows, etc. Our goal here is to help promote artists that we believe in and want to see succeed. The Flock is a great way to help with that, and we’ve seen some really cool things happen because of it. Let’s get into this edition of The Flock.

 

Edward Jenkins – Misanthropic

I wanted to start off this edition of The Flock with something really special. Edward Jenkins, or the man behind the mask, Eddy Lachapelle, easily joins a list that hasn’t been seen in a while on the blog. Edward Jenkins joins my list of Criminally Underrated Artists. This guy may take the cake though. Everything about his surroundings don’t make sense for how much an artist like this is needed on the scene. He sent us a Facebook link, and it was to his personal Facebook page vs. a fan page. That’s literally the first time that’s ever happened, and Edward is easily in the top 10% of my favorite artists we’ve had on the blog.  He is completely self-made, he doesn’t take himself too seriously, and fuck, he’s talented.

I’ll get back to this specific song in a minute, but I want to break off for a second. This guy is having so much fun making music, and it’s such a needed and refreshing thing to see in the music industry right now. Most people are focused on how to create a product and an image that will catapult them to the tops of charts; Edward is making rap tracks about washing dishes, and is making videos with his dog as his co-star. I’ve never met this guy, and he’s already the kind of guy I want to grab a beer with. His musical talent makes him the kind of guy I want to follow along and see just how far he can ride the wave. He’s definitely got the talent.

Let’s get back to Misanthropic. First off, let’s define misanthropic. I feel like it helps us get to part of the reasoning why this guy is creating the kind of music he wants to with no regards to how people will perceive him; he doesn’t like you. I mean, he definitely doesn’t dislike everyone, but misanthropic means disliking society and the people in it. According to Jenkins, this song is, “A song based on Freud’s concept of the ID, ego, super ego. But mostly its a song of wanting to be alone on the beach far away from the world.” You see, he doesn’t dislike you; he just doesn’t want to spend any time with you. That’s definitely a sentiment I can relate to most days.

I don’t have enough time to get into id, ego, and superego on this post, but I’m currently reaching out to Edward to see if we can setup a Facebook Live discussion where we can dive into that a little deeper.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, ocean, sky, outdoor and water

 

The Tuesday Crew – Summer Lovin’

I’m so stoked about this Flock post. It’s so damn strong, and it’s the perfect picture of what we are about here. We have come across some of the most remarkable artists, and the bands we have come to love the most have come out of the most organic environments. Nothing gets more organic than the inception of The Tuesday Crew.

“On a Tuesday in May, Jordy Searcy & Stephen Day got together in Andy’s basement and made a song called “Summer Lovin” for fun. 

The bros said, “Hey, this here song is pretty nifty“. So they decided to make a band…”

When your debut song is a song like Summer Lovin, it’s pretty obvious how you can accrue over 100,000 plays on Spotify already. I was really impressed with the vocals in the first verse, but it’s the chorus that really hooked me. The harmonies that they play with are really interesting, and it was the first hint that there was another singer in the group who was equally as talented as the guy in the first verse. Jordy sets you up, and Stephen knocks you down. Then, they just jump on top of you and start pummeling you with the realization that you can’t get a band together with one stellar singer, much less two. Have you ever listened to a band that is so good right out of the gate that it kind of pisses you off? The Tuesday Crew is that band.

Stereo Naked – Broken & Blue

These are the roots of bluegrass and folk. No drums, no amps, no expectations. It’s friends sitting around and making tunes that just work. It’s fun to listen to, and you can hear the technical prowess of the instrumentalists who have honed their craft until they’re comfortable with this setup. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of really talented musicians in any genre you come across, but musicians who aren’t talented don’t really try their hand at traditional folk and bluegrass because there’s absolutely no hiding any deficiencies you might have.

One area that can suffer in this style of music is the vocals because it is a genre that focuses on the instrumentals and the story behind the music before it typically focuses on the tonal acuity of the vocalist. Stereo Naked doesn’t have this problem. With Julia Zech and Pierce Black, you have two vocalists who compliment each other so well, but they can each hold their own, as you heard in the verses.

Broken & Blue is a song that gets into how relationships can seem like a picture of perfection on the outside while there is so much pain underneath the surface. Whether it’s biting words, physical abuse, or something else entirely, somewhere along the way the relationship suffered.

Kelan Galligan – Brightens Me and Snowball

We love this guy so much, we couldn’t pick just one song to share with you all. Kelan Galligan is exactly what we look for on this website. He’s a self-made artist, he is insanely talented, and he’s making music that differs in scale, weight, and tone while keeping it all extremely accessible. These songs are a perfect example of that. Brightens Me is a quiet and mellow ride while Snowball does exactly that; it builds throughout, growing in size and power like a snowball rolling down a hill.

Brightens Me is one of those songs that is fairly ambiguous, leaving a lot to the listener to decide. My best guess though is that this is a song about forbidden love. I’m not sure in what context, but that idea is kind of where my mind lands when I listen to this song and read through the lyrics.

The way you laugh, the way you smile, it brightens me.
This love. The way you dance, the way you move, it frightens me.
This love enlightens me.
We must not let the neighbours know it.

It reminds me of the case in the movie, Marshall, where the white woman is having an affair with the black man who works for her. Everything is done in secret and under cover of darkness. Everything is new and exciting, but it is also terrifying. The idea behind getting caught scares and exhilarates. The neighbors can’t find out, but each time, the limits are pushed just a little further.

Kelan is continuously pushing the limit of his sound a little further, and developing something unique to him. You’ll hear a distinct difference between Brightens Me, and the next song, Snowball.

Lyrically, this is another interesting song. I mean, it starts out with I could be x, and you could be y, where the x and y are symbiotic, working together for the common good. Then you start to see chinks in the armor. Pieces move from symbiotic to parasitic opposites that pose a direct conflict with each other. Then, back to another piece line where the team works well together.

You could be a scythe and I could be a butcher’s hook.
You could write letters and I could write a children’s book.
You could build a castle with a tower and moat,I could look for treasure on a sunken boat,
And we could read rhymes in rooms full of children.
You could be tried and I could be a good idea.
You could be honest and I could be insincere.
You could be a locomotive running on time,
I could be a blockage on a railway line,
We could be the remedy in rooms full of symptoms.

What do I make from this? It’s a story of most relationships where sometimes you feel like you’re the catalyst pushing life forward, and sometimes you feel like the anchor that’s holding everyone back. The key to the song is in the next line:

And in time, all my little white lies will collide and snowball.

The pieces of turmoil seem to be caused by Kelan, or the protagonist of the story, telling small lies that are compounding into a much bigger mess. There are a lot more nuanced pieces to pull from this song, but if I did that, I would be here all day. Maybe at some point we can have Kelan on a live show to figure out why he chose the pieces he did. Why a scythe and butchers block? Why the pigeon? I mean, it may all be completely arbitrary and strictly for the benefit of the sound of the song, but I’m not so sure.

Also, sing the white lines song with the words from Fix You by Coldplay. It’s so similar that it’s almost a subtle shout-out, but again, I’m not so sure.

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

 

Party of the Sun – Acapulco

We have so many good bass line grooves on The Flock today, and Acapulco from Party of the Sun is no different. The bass line is almost as clean and disarming as Ethan McBrien’s new school crooner vocals. Almost. Ethan McBrien leads a full band that understands the power of a commanding voice like McBrien’s. He doesn’t try to steal the show with runs or ad lib, he just has this strong and pure tonality that can flip to a raw rasp with little to no effort.

If you don’t know me well, you know that my brain is definitely wired to embrace the English and history side of things over the math and sciences. English and history are so malleable while math and science are very rigid. With poetry, if I can present why I feel the way I feel when reading a piece, and can back it up with excerpts, you can’t tell me that it isn’t about that (unless you’re the author). Even the author can look at what I’m presenting and say, “I see how you feel this way.” With math, if I tell you 2+2=8 because I feel a certain type of way, I’m still wrong. Let’s take a look at the lyrics, and then get into what I pulled from them.

I’m headed back to Acapulco 
Somewhere in my head 
I’ve only been there once 
haven’t tried to go back since 

What’s that music that I hear 
Walking down the road? 
And who’s the one that rings the bell 
And calls me home? 

That song, that song 
Ringing down the wire 
That song, that song 
Echoes in the night 

I’m headed back it feels at last 
The record must be changed 
I’ve Been living with tomorrow 
Painted cross my face 

What’s that music that I hear 
Ripping down the hall? 
Who the one that rings the bell 
And leads me on? 

That song, that song 
Ringing down the wire 
That song, that song 
Echoes in the night 

I can’t speak for much 
In a world growing cold 
But I see you everywhere I go 
In that cool black water 
Running through the night 
In that day break sun 
And the heartbeat of our time 

That song, that song 
Ringing down the wire 
That song, that song 
Echoes in the night 

That song, that song 
Ringing down the wire 
That song, that song 
Echoes in the night

Okay, are you ready for this? I think that Acapulco is a song about a couple where one has passed into the afterlife, and one isn’t far behind. Stay with me. I know this may be a stretch from the actual meaning, Ethan, but I really like the story this tells. When doing these lyric dissections, I usually go through them and lay it out

First off, Acapulco. I had heard of it before, but I didn’t know anything about it. I knew it was a beach side tourist destination. I didn’t know much else. After doing a little bit of research, I found out the reason the protagonist had only been once. It’s a pretty expensive place to go. Now that we have a base, let me build the narrative. A couple pinches pennies, works extra jobs, etc. to save up for a trip to Acapulco. It is an absolutely perfect trip, and every trip for the rest of their lives is compared to that trip. They know they can never afford to go back, so they make a deal with each other that they’ll meet on Acapulco’s beaches when they pass into the afterlife. That’s how they’ll find each other. After many years of battling cancer (there’s no reason I believe that this is how she goes, it just builds a story), the wife succumbs to her sickness at a fairly young age. The man goes on living his life, every single day he’s missing her more and more, and everyday he’s getting closer and closer to Acapulco. He’s gotten to a point in his life where his own health is declining, and he’s started seeing her more and more in the world around him, calling him home. She has almost gotten to the point where she’s doing a duet with the reaper. He’s ready to go back to Acapulco.

Listen to the song with that narrative in mind. I don’t know what the song is actually about, but this is what I hear. Either way, Party of the Sun is a band you want to keep an eye on. They sneak up on you, and then you’re trapped.

Image may contain: 1 person, indoor

 

Ryan Dunlap – Lost

One thing that I’ve found on this edition of The Flock maybe more than any other version that I’ve personally written is that the artists today all seem to be insanely versatile. Ryan Dunlap is another guy who surprised me when I listened to this track. We shared his song, Haunted House, on the blog not long ago, and it was this haunting track that showed a James Vincent McMorrow side of Ryan, and then I hear Lost. I was absolutely floored. All of the elements that come together on this track are so interesting. He starts out in a very typical singer-songwriter fashion with just his voice and his guitar, but at the :49 mark, you realize it’s going to be something completely different when the horns (a Ryan Dunlap staple) kick in. Soon, you have what’s almost a reggae vibe instrumentally with ad lib horns on top, and a raspy indie folk vocalist. What do you even do with that? You celebrate it. That’s all there is to do. I can’t understand his brain and how it worked to put this sound together, but I’m definitely glad it did.

Lyrically, it’s a story we’ve heard a few times before, but not necessarily in this frame. It’s a story about someone saving Ryan from a hopeless existence. I was lost until you found me is something that has been echoed through music since the dawn of vocal music, but it’s the stuff around the chorus I’m interested in. It’s just a story of his life. He’s talking about everything from making amends with old enemies (maybe a past relationship), to being able to discern more about a person from the lies they’re willing to tell you vs. the actual knowledge that they have. I really like the way this song doesn’t solely focus on the thing that saved him. It’s a song that could just as easily be about a deity than a partner. I mean, it could even be about a twin that he never knew existed. Who knows? I mean… Ryan does, but you’d have to ask him to be for sure. Songs usually use their verses to tie in what the chorus is talking about, and I’m sure it does tie into the specific storyline of Ryan’s life, but for the listener, it leaves so much room for them to relate his story to theirs.

 

Woody Pitney – A Little Too Late

When I first listened to Woody Pitney, I got so excited. His voice at the beginning of the song is very reminiscent of The National, one of my favorite bands. Then, he busts out and starts hitting these runs on the verge of his falsetto, but his voice never loses any of its power. He switches from Matt Berninger to James Keogh (Vance Joy) with absolutely no issues. Most people wish they could sing like either of those guys; Woody can sing like both.

He has made a song here that is ready for the radio with a poppy chorus, but make no mistake, this guy’s not just another top 40 copycat. The guy’s got a range that people (me) would kill for, and is making compositions that leave you guessing what’s going to come next. Get on the hype train now so you can tell all of your friends you knew about him before they did.

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, crowd and outdoor

 

History of Time – I Cry Wolf

Is it flamenco music? Is it acoustic singer-songwriter? I have no clue, but I love it. No stranger to the blog, History of Time hits again with a track that has that same unique timbre to it, but a totally different feel. I made it a point when I reviewed his song, Mona Lisa, to talk about how versatile this guy is, and this is just more proof of that fact.

The lyrics are another smooth experience as Roy Varley talks about how a lot of life experiences aren’t necessarily what you think/say they’ll be. You have it built up in your head to go down a certain path, and unexpected circumstances, bad choices, etc. force you down a different path, making it seem like you’re crying wolf about your own future. It’s a hard thing to try to work through. There are so many times in my life where I said I was going to do something, and through no fault of my own, things didn’t go that way. There are plenty of times where it was my fault, but those are stories for another day. Either way, it’s a hard thing to reconcile that after hard work and diligence, some life plans don’t pan out. Once again, another ambiguous song lyrically, and the meaning that I pulled from it may not be the actual meaning behind the lyrics. As we always say though, that’s one of the most beautiful things about music. It can speak to people in so many different ways. All I know is History of Time is making music that can speak to a multitude of people.


As always, follow these folks, give them your money, and let them know that you love their tunes. Click on the links in the artist titles to check them out.

Check out the Spotify playlist for the month, featuring every artist we’ve written about thus far. If you’re reading this as soon as it comes out, it may be a day or two before these guys get added. Follow it now, and you’ll see them added soon.

We have a podcast. Check it out here.

-Seth

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