Mid-Week Mixdown: momoyo, Mean Sea, Roby Fayer, Wesley Adams Cook, Nervous City Nervous Self, 1st Base Runner, The Infamists, Rhyme Assassin, Cosmic Kitten, Nathaniel Riley

Welcome to the Mid-Week Mixdown, where we bring you a hand-picked selection of songs to help you power through the rest of the week. This playlist features an eclectic blend of tunes that will have you tapping your feet, nodding your head, and embracing the diverse musical landscape we’re fortunate to explore. From indie folk to hip-hop, and from blues-rock to post-grunge, we’ve got you covered. So, grab your headphones, crank up the volume, and get ready to discover your new favorite tracks in this week’s Mid-Week Mixdown. Let the music take you on an unforgettable sonic journey that will leave you refreshed and ready to conquer the days ahead.

momoyo – “Veins”

“Veins,” the latest single from Belgian band momoyo, is a delicate exploration of the importance of humility and patience in a world obsessed with ambition. The band, comprised of members from Jan Verstraeten, Noémie Wolfs, and Uncle Wellington, creates a captivating sonic experience, with nocturnal beats, lo-fi synths, and entrancing strings that serve as the perfect backdrop for a voice that demands your attention. The song’s message, a critique of arrogance and megalomania, is a timely reminder to focus on the manageable aspects of life before everything collapses.

The production by Jonas Bruyneel at North Garden Studio, mixing by Bert Vliegen, and mastering by Laurens Grossen at Motormusic Studio all contribute to the song’s dreamy yet profound aura. The accompanying music video, created by Frederik Van Melle, further enhances the introspective nature of “Veins,” adding a visual dimension to the song’s delicate beauty. In a world where ambition often takes center stage, momoyo’s “Veins” offers a refreshing and thought-provoking alternative, urging listeners to embrace a more grounded and patient approach to life.

Mean Sea – “Please Swim Back”

Baltimore-based MEAN SEA’s latest single “Please Swim Back” is a testament to the band’s skillful fusion of alternative rock and surf rock influences. Drawing comparisons to the likes of Shannon and the Clams, Saves the Day, Beach Goons, and The Police, the band—composed of Michael Strackbein, Jeremy Hayes, and Shane Walsh—delivers a nostalgic yet fresh sound that showcases their commitment to songwriting, heart, and energy. The track, taken from their newly released EP “Trust Us We Know,” navigates feelings of isolation and longing through its surfy instrumentation and poignant lyrics.

“Please Swim Back” immerses the listener in a narrative of emotional vulnerability, as the protagonist questions their own significance in the face of drifting away from others. The lyrics, such as “What if I went missing? / Who would pay the cost? / I’ll swim past the breaking waves until I’m lost,” and “Did you hear the sound of my call? / Would you put my picture on walls? / Do you still remember my face at all?” effectively convey a sense of uncertainty and a desperate search for reassurance. The chorus, with its plea to “Please swim back / You’ve been drifting too far / Trust us we know,” further emphasizes the song’s central theme of connection and the fear of losing it.

As a band with roots in the early 2000s pop-punk scene, MEAN SEA manages to evolve and adapt their sound without losing the essence of what makes them unique. Frontman Michael Strackbein, formerly of Drive-Thru Records signees “The Track Record,” brings his experience and talent to the forefront, resulting in a single that is both captivating and memorable. With “Please Swim Back,” MEAN SEA solidifies their status as a band to watch in the alternative rock landscape, demonstrating their ability to create music that resonates on an emotional level while remaining sonically engaging.

Roby Fayer – “Blocking the Sun”

Roby Fayer’s latest single, “Blocking the Sun,” is a poignant exploration of past emotional turmoil, reflecting the artist’s journey through heartache and personal growth. With its melancholic yet powerful vocals and Fayer’s signature electronic sound, the song is an ode to the style that first garnered the music producer and songwriter his initial success. As a deeply personal piece, “Blocking the Sun” resonates with listeners, offering a raw and honest glimpse into Fayer’s inner struggles.

The lyrics of “Blocking the Sun” convey a sense of longing and an inability to fully escape the past, as Fayer recounts his attempts to move on from a former love. Lines like “I go places / And keep seeing your face / You still / God knows where / Left me without a trace” and “She’s not you and that’s perfect / So why do you still come around / And keep blocking the sun” encapsulate the emotional weight carried by Fayer’s haunting vocals. The track navigates the complexities of overcoming heartbreak, touching on themes such as new beginnings, lingering memories, and the desire to find closure.

As a music producer and songwriter with a storied career, including the hit song “Ready to Fight” featured in the “Assassin’s Creed Unity” launch trailer, Roby Fayer demonstrates his ability to create emotive and captivating music. “Blocking the Sun” is a testament to Fayer’s talent and commitment to crafting deeply personal, aggressive love songs inspired by his life experiences. This latest offering solidifies his place as an artist capable of connecting with listeners through both his evocative lyrics and immersive electronic soundscapes.

Wesley Adams Cook – “Bluff”

Wesley Adams Cook’s latest single, “Bluff,” presents a compelling narrative of excess, ambition, and the relentless pursuit of success, highlighting the darker side of human nature. As a multi-talented artist with a diverse range of interests and skills, Cook’s songwriting prowess shines through in “Bluff,” crafting a rich and engaging story that explores the complexities of personal desires and the pursuit of material wealth.

Lyrically, “Bluff” delves into a world of luxury and high-stakes competition, painting a vivid picture of excess with lines such as “Hotel, short stay / Maison Souquet / Three piece, briefcase / Fine wine, valet” and “Audi, Aspen / I’ve got millions to spend / So many millions to spend.” The song also touches on the darker aspects of ambition, with references to backroom deals, shifting loyalties, and the cutthroat nature of success: “Deals closed, deals made / Backroom handshakes / Loyalties erased / When your loss is my gain.” The powerful refrain, “But it keeps thrilling me / While it keeps killing me / Chasing adrenaline and security / Nothing ever is enough, if I never call my bluff,” encapsulates the central theme of the song, capturing the addictive nature of ambition and the ever-present question of whether it’s all worth the cost.

Cook’s ability to weave intricate stories through his lyrics is complemented by his exceptional musicianship, which is showcased in the memorable guitar work and compelling composition of “Bluff.” This latest offering from Wesley Adams Cook demonstrates his unique talent as a musician, guitarist, and lyricist, cementing his place as an artist to watch in the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary music.

Nervous City Nervous Self – “Yesteryears (and the gloom)”

Nervous City Nervous Self returns with their first single since 2019’s “Anthem,” titled “Yesteryears (and the gloom).” Delving into introspection and the passage of time, the song captures the essence of a past experience with loss and confusion following a break-up. Born from singer-songwriter David Josephson’s time in Berlin, the track paints a vivid image of a bewildered, clownlike character adrift in a foreign land. The lyrics, “Climb your mountain, put on your crown. Oh you say it’s all, but – hey! – it looks like none,” reflect the character’s struggle to find purpose and meaning in the midst of heartbreak.

Nervous City Nervous Self, the English language debut of Swedish singer-songwriter David Josephson, showcases his unique blend of introspective lyricism and captivating melodies. Josephson’s time in Berlin provided him with a sense of kinship and inspiration, which ultimately led to the creation of Nervous City Nervous Self. Drawing from the influence of German expressionism, the project explores themes of existentialism, longing, and the human condition, as portrayed through the lens of a wandering singer navigating the complexities of life.

“Yesteryears (and the gloom)” is a testament to Nervous City Nervous Self’s commitment to their artistic path and the search for an elusive sense of purpose. Recorded at home with vocals, guitar, and a generous helping of reverb, the song is an intimate and vulnerable exploration of personal growth and transformation. As the lyrics linger, listeners are drawn into a world of introspection, where the passage of time and the weight of past experiences shape the present. In the end, “Yesteryears (and the gloom)” serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring beauty of art as a means of self-expression and healing.

1st Base Runner – “Dark Drive Through The Canyon”

1st Base Runner, the immersive project from Texas singer-songwriter and producer Tim Husmann, takes listeners on a haunting journey with the release of “Dark Drive Through The Canyon.” Directed by former Radiohead creative director Dilly Gent, the music video captures Husmann’s stoic and unmoving presence as he navigates the alien city landscape of Long Beach, California, while the pulsating electronic soundscape propels him forward. The video offers a dreamscape-like visual experience, with an all-pervasive sense of peace and acceptance amidst the frenetic, almost extraterrestrial surroundings.

The visionary artist behind 1st Base Runner, Tim Husmann, draws inspiration from shoegaze, alternative, and dream pop, crafting powerful songs that carry the weight of raw emotion and hard-won wisdom. Born in Amarillo, Texas, and now residing outside the cultural capital of Austin, Husmann channels the vast Texas plains’ winds and the airy waves of cascading sonics in his music. “Dark Drive Through The Canyon” showcases the culmination of his hiatus, during which he sought to create a fresh new sound that fused his love for vintage synthesizers, atmospheric musical acts, and surrealist cinema.

With the release of “Dark Drive Through The Canyon,” 1st Base Runner is set to leave an indelible mark on the music scene. The upcoming Ellis EP, a collaboration with longtime friend Bryan Ellis, promises to maintain the same hazy glow while introducing brighter chords and percussion. As the creative floodgates open, fans can look forward to more music and videos from 1st Base Runner, including the third full-length release that will expand upon the sound of Seven Years of Silence and Ellis while adding a dose of post-punk edge.

The Infamists – “Death By Misadventure”

The Infamists, a hard-hitting trio hailing from Dallas, Texas, deliver a potent dose of swampy blues-rock with their single “Death by Misadventure,” a standout track from their upcoming full-length album “Live Evil.” Featuring gritty guitar riffs, a driving beat, slide guitar, and the dynamic blend of dual male and female lead vocalists, the song showcases the band’s unique take on modern blues-rock. With its inclusion on Spotify’s official editorial playlist for the best “Modern Blues Rock,” “Death by Misadventure” is set to make waves in the music scene.

Formed in 2012, The Infamists are no strangers to the rock ‘n’ roll world. Comprised of Riley Rogers on guitar and vocals, Spencer Wharton on bass and vocals, and Ryan Weiss on drums, percussion, sampling, and backing vocals, the band has forged a reputation for whiskey-fueled performances and a sound that evokes the spirit of blues legend Robert Johnson. As dragon riders of rock ‘n’ roll, The Infamists are ready to unleash their fiery tunes upon the world.

With the release of their new album “Live Evil” back on April 7th, 2023, The Infamists invite listeners to dive into their world of raw, unapologetic rock ‘n’ roll. Written and performed entirely by the band, the album promises to be a thrilling ride for fans of modern blues-rock and a testament to the unrelenting passion and talent of this Texas-based trio. Keep an eye out for The Infamists as they continue to make their mark in the music scene with their distinct sound and electrifying performances.

Rhyme Assassin – “”Rhyme Apostles” ft. Jadakiss, Crooked I, Keith Murray, Canibus, Chino XL, A-F-R-O, Craig G., Reks, Ruste Juxx & more

Rhyme Assassin, the UK-based, Zimbabwe-born emcee, has outdone himself with his latest release, “Rhyme Apostles,” a colossal 12-minute track that brings together an all-star lineup of hip-hop legends. Inspired by the story of Jesus and his twelve apostles, Rhyme Assassin sought to assemble a group of the most legendary lyricists in the game to serve as apostles of rhyme. Produced by the UK’s Deep Voice and mixed/mastered by fellow Zimbabwean P2Doah, the track boasts an impressive roster of talent, including Jadakiss, Crooked I, Canibus, Reks, Craig G., Keith Murray, Ruste Juxx, Antlive, Chino XL, A-F-R-O, Prodigal Sunn, and K-Solo.

Craig G., a prominent figure in the legendary Juice Crew and known for his contributions to the film 8 Mile, has dubbed the track a “global situation.” Fans will be thrilled to know that a music video for “Rhyme Apostles” is in the works, further solidifying the track’s impact on the hip-hop scene. Rhyme Assassin himself has expressed his gratitude to the artists who have helped bring his vision to life, stating, “I am truly humbled with the result.”

Rhyme Assassin’s journey as an emcee began in 2000, where he quickly made a name for himself as a battle rapper and artist in his native Africa. After relocating to the UK, he took a hiatus from music before reconnecting with producer Deep Voice in 2012. Since then, he has founded his own label, Uncle Rhymez Records, amassing a discography of solo work and supporting Bulawayo-based artist T9yce.

“Rhyme Apostles” serves as a testament to Rhyme Assassin’s dedication to his craft and his unwavering commitment to assembling a powerhouse lineup of hip-hop talent. With its unforgettable verses and unbeatable lineup, this track is destined to become a staple in the hip-hop world.

Cosmic Kitten – “Songbird”

Cosmic Kitten, the three-piece post-grunge, punk, and alternative-rock band from Long Beach, has released their music video for “Songbird,” a deeply emotional track that explores the struggle to communicate emotions in a conversational way. According to the band, “Songbird” is about how some individuals use art as a medium to express their feelings when they cannot do so directly. The lyrics touch upon feelings of voicelessness and the inability to be heard in the world around them.

Formed in 2016, Cosmic Kitten is a nostalgic nod to the 90’s grunge era. With Karen Marie on guitar and vocals, the band delivers deep, thoughtful melodies and meaningful lyrics. Marie’s vocal style transitions from timid and shy to gritty and explosive, backed by her bright, fuzzy guitar. Zach Huckabee passionately and aggressively plays the drums, adding groove and drive, while Jay Vesper brings precision and agility to the bass.

Having released three full-length albums, including “You Gotta Understand” recorded by engineer Ulysses Noriega (known for his work on “Smash” by The Offspring), Cosmic Kitten has self-booked tours across the U.S. and made a splash in the LA and OC music scenes. They have opened for legends like Mike Watt and the Avengers at well-known venues. Their upcoming fourth full-length album, “Laugh of a Lifetime,” recorded by Pedro Mancillas, Steve Moriarty (The Gits), and mastered by Jack Endino (known for his work on “Bleach” by Nirvana), is set to be released in May 2023.

The “Songbird” music video captures the essence of Cosmic Kitten’s powerful storytelling and emotional journey, giving fans a visual representation of the band’s unique sound and message.

Nathaniel Riley – “Another New Year”

As the world welcomes a new folk sensation, Nathaniel Riley from Fort Collins, Colorado, is set to release his debut album, Bird Songs. The album’s first single, “Another New Year,” has recently been unveiled, showcasing Riley’s heartfelt musical prowess and genuine approach to songwriting.

“Another New Year” is a must-listen for those yearning for honest lyrics and relaxing roots tunes. The single captures the essence of Riley’s songcraft, underlining his dedication to creating music from the soul. Produced by Darren Garvey, the track brings together renowned folk musicians, including Bridget Law and Charlie Rose of Elephant Revival, Steve Varney from Gregory Alan Isakov’s band, and Emma Rose, who add depth and intricacy to Riley’s evocative writing.

With the global pandemic affecting the lives of many, Riley and Garvey began collaborating on Bird Songs, driven by their mutual love for music and its ability to heal. Starting with pre-production in the summer of 2020, the duo quickly gathered a group of talented musicians to record the album, aimed at inspiring hope and resilience amidst adversity.

The album’s title track, “Bird Songs,” is expected to charm listeners with its simplicity and emotional appeal. Riley’s enchanting vocals and tender lyrics will take center stage, supported by the album’s 14 tracks, each exuding a similar sense of warmth and sincerity.

As the debut single “Another New Year” makes its way to the public, Nathaniel Riley looks forward to the release of Bird Songs with excitement and humility. With several upcoming local shows at prominent venues, he eagerly anticipates the album’s impact and the potential opportunities that may follow. Until then, Riley remains grounded, finding solace in fly fishing, hiking, and crafting even more songs in the picturesque landscapes of Colorado.

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