Sonic Saturdays: Blac Kami, TheFleok, Mox, Hollow Bodies, Mike Leon, Izzi Stone, Thrillhouse, Melanie McLaren, Luke Richard Powers, and Rye Milligan

Welcome to “Sonic Saturdays” on B-Side Guys, your weekly voyage through the sonic landscape of new and exciting music. As we push off the dock of the weekday hustle, let this curated selection of tunes be your guide into the tranquil waters of the weekend. Whether you’re seeking solace in the quiet corners of singer-songwriter’s musings, riding the rhythmic waves of foot-tapping indie rock, or exploring the vast expanse of vibrant experimental sounds, Sonic Saturdays is your compass. We journey far and wide to bring you fresh melodies and deep cuts from the world’s most intriguing artists. So unplug, unwind, and immerse yourself in the curated cacophony that is Sonic Saturdays. Here’s to the undiscovered anthem of your weekend. Let’s dive in.

Blac Kami – “Young OGs”

In the realm of hip-hop where the old and new schools sometimes feel disjointed, Blac Kami’s “Young OGs” is a seamless fusion of both, creating a bridge between generations. “Young OGs” embraces the echoes of the ’90s, dressed in the fresh attire of today’s sound – what Kami aptly terms “Modern Golden Age.” The track is a smooth, laid-back boom bap number, replete with a catchy hook that would make any 90s hip-hop aficionado feel at home while still appealing to the sonic expectations of contemporary rap fans.

Lyrically, Blac Kami threads a vivid tapestry, capturing the nuances of struggle and triumph that define his life and the larger community. There’s an unfiltered honesty in his rhymes, as he maneuvers through the fields of discrimination and criticism. Yet, this journey is backed by a fortified will to thrive, his verses resonating with palpable confidence and a relentless assertion of identity. Every word is a testament to his strength, self-worth, and relentless pursuit of his dreams. In the mold of his influences – Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Biggie, Pusha T, MF DOOM, and others – Blac Kami uses “Young OGs” to ensure his narrative is not only heard but felt.

TheFleok – “vodka on the table”

TheFleok’s “vodka on the table” serves as a candid, introspective exploration of emotional turmoil and alienation amplified by the dizzying whirl of social gatherings. It is a standout track from the ‘Wrong Page’ EP, radiating a sincere blend of rock energy and indie subtlety that captures the essence of Leo Jergovic’s (TheFleok) songwriting prowess. The track resonates with the feeling of disconnect and frustration at parties and events, meticulously weaving the narrative through a tapestry of cathartic rock elements and softer indie nuances. It’s as though TheFleok allows us to sit on his shoulder, providing a front-row seat to his internal struggles.

Lyrically, “vodka on the table” is a poignantly honest account of a struggling soul wrestling with the effects of alcohol, anxiety, and other detrimental influences. Lines like, “With my vodka on the table / And everyone around me drinking shots / Was I able / To stumble home forgetting that we fought,” reflect the depth of his emotional distress, almost a plea for escape from a tormenting reality. As he repeats “Still trembling as I pour another drink,” the tension in the narrative escalates, embodying the vicious cycle of seeking solace in the very source of the problem. Overall, the song is a powerful commentary on the challenges of modern life, adeptly portrayed through the raw, intimate lens of TheFleok’s personal experience.

Mox – “Melanie”

With “Melanie”, Mox breathes a dose of poignant yet comforting introspection into the synthpop genre, pairing his lo-fi soundscapes with narratives that address mental health and relationships. The song stands as an emblem of emotional empathy and support, rendered in a melancholic but ultimately comforting tone. Mox skillfully molds the synthpop backdrop with lo-fi textures, crafting an ambient atmosphere that envelops the listener and amplifies the emotional weight of the narrative.

The lyrics paint a picture of Melanie, a character enveloped in a cloud of emotional struggle and loneliness. Mox, however, positions himself as a constant beacon in her life, using lyrical metaphors such as being a ‘disease’ in her head – a persistent presence, always there. The song becomes a solemn affirmation of companionship and empathy, spotlighting mental health issues within the context of relationships with sensitivity and depth. Through “Melanie”, Mox not only showcases his musical proficiency but also emphasizes his commitment to addressing relevant themes with an empathetic, human touch.

Hollow Bodies – “One of Us”

In “One of Us”, Seattle-based Hollow Bodies meticulously unravel the theme of ‘home’, cleverly jangling and crafting their distinct brand of indie rock into a contemplative ode. Their self-described “shoegaze-country” style shines here, combining rich, wry lyrics with twisting guitar hooks that contribute to the intricate mosaic of their sound. The song taps along a rhythmic narrative, punctuating each line with a sense of introspective questioning and the resonance of daily life, all carefully wrapped in a shroud of sun-soaked guitar riffs and textural nuances.

The song’s lyrics – with their pithy commentary on the diversity of human existence – act as an anthem for togetherness and understanding. They reflect the intricate facets of humanity, where each verse rings out as a tribute to differences and acceptance. Lines like “One of us writes, one of us waits”, and the recurring refrain, “That’s the sum of us to make you feel like home”, craft a profound sense of communal unity, a thoughtful meditation on the complexity of identity, and a celebration of diversity. The song’s instrumentation mirrors this narrative thread, with two guitars uniquely playing distinct roles in the mix and creating an array of looping feedback, bellowing low notes, and raucous leads. The overall sonic experience is a perfect foil to the humorous storytelling that Hollow Bodies has built their reputation on. With “One of Us”, Hollow Bodies has proven yet again their ability to elate, debate, and mourn American life with their unique, genre-bending indie rock.

Mike Leon – “Bright Side”

“Bright Side”, the Folk-Rock offering from Mike Leon, leaps right out of the gate with an infectious stomp-and-clap rhythm that holds an unyielding grip throughout. Combining the traditional elements of folk with the raw energy of rock, Leon crafts a narrative filled with career uncertainties and relationship hurdles. Yet, there’s an underlying thread of optimism that lights the way. This subtle optimism amidst adversity, the silver lining to every cloud, is a concept deeply embedded within the song and reflects Leon’s resilience, casting a warm, hopeful glow over the track.

The lyrics, both poignant and introspective, are an exploration of life’s trials, tribulations, and the relentless pursuit of happiness. Lines like, “There’s gotta be a bright side to the story/gotta be some pages left unturned/I’m chasing down a little bit of money I can burn,” encapsulate the hope that lingers amidst the struggles, underscoring the song’s central theme. While the narrative may dive deep into hard times, the melody carries a persistently upbeat feel, an effective juxtaposition that further accentuates Leon’s ‘glass-half-full’ approach. The EP ‘Ticket Home’, which houses “Bright Side”, aptly encapsulates Mike Leon’s versatile range as he steps into the limelight from behind the drums, proving his prowess as not just a superb percussionist, but also an evocative songwriter. Through “Bright Side”, Leon adds a distinctive, foot-stomping Indie/Folk voice to the Canadian music scene.

Izzi Stone – “Hypnotic Man”

In Izzi Stone’s “Hypnotic Man,” there’s a dreamy, alluring potency that weaves itself into the fabric of the track from the first beat to the last. This release sees Stone creating a delicate balance between indie-pop, electronic, and dream-pop genres, each element blending seamlessly into the next to create an enchanting soundscape. The song manages to capture and reflect the artist’s self-proclaimed ‘edgy, strong and bold’ style, with her innovative approach to music on full display. Stone’s ethereal vocals create a layered melody, adding a layer of depth to the already complex musical narrative.

The lyrics of “Hypnotic Man” are laden with melancholic imagery and carry a heavy undercurrent of an intoxicating fascination. Stone’s lyrical prowess is clearly evident in the way she describes the magnetic pull of a hypnotic man. The imagery she paints with her words complements the ethereal quality of the song, while also adding a darker edge to it. The lyrics don’t shy away from the subject of addiction, creating a powerful parallel between the hypnotic man and the insidious nature of dependency. Through this song, Stone achieves her aim of inspiring strength and direction while remaining open, honest, and different. “Hypnotic Man” is an excellent showcase of Izzi Stone’s multifaceted talent and her ability to captivate audiences with her thought-provoking music.

Thrillhouse – “Electric Fire”

The third single off their debut album, Thrillhouse’s “Electric Fire” is a poignant exploration of loss, memories, and the complex process of coming to terms with grief. Framed within the faded grandeur of the forgotten seaside town of Bognor Regis, the song channels the profound sentiments that come with losing someone who had deeply impacted and shaped the course of your life. The imagery of this seaside town, much like the memories of lost loved ones, seems to flicker and fade, yet lingers in a way that’s almost tangible. This introspective track begins with a contemplative tone, gently guiding listeners on a nostalgic journey before building up to a powerful and emotional crescendo.

The lyrics, brimming with raw emotion, deal with the heaviness of loss, the bitter-sweetness of cherished memories, and the struggle of learning how to move forward. The weighty theme is counterbalanced by the track’s melodic progression which not only amplifies the emotional resonance of the song but also encapsulates the band’s ability to craft compelling narratives through their music. “Electric Fire” is a testament to Thrillhouse’s potential to weave intricate stories laden with complex human emotions into their songs. As the band prepares for the release of their debut album, “Something About This Place”, it’s clear that “Electric Fire” is a deeply moving piece that sets the tone for the depth and complexity the upcoming album promises.

Melanie McLaren – “Tourist”

Melanie MacLaren’s title track “Tourist” serves as a graceful finale to her EP, impeccably tying together the themes of loss, family, impermanence, and the disconcerting sense of life’s spectatorship that pervade the collection. This song is an eloquent exploration of Americana, blending current indie folk sounds with timeless lyrics and instrumentation. Reminiscent of an acoustic Phoebe Bridgers imbued with Dylan’s poetic lyricism, MacLaren’s “Tourist” is both a nod to the past and a reach towards the future. The song’s production, with its cozy finger-picking style and fiddle riffs in striking contrast to the distant synths and distorted bouzoukis, mirrors the often daunting journey from the familiar to the unknown. The warped ending, reminiscent of a home video, creates a haunting sense of nostalgia and melancholy.

Gaining significant recognition with her debut EP “Kill My Time,” MacLaren swiftly caught the attention of Tone Tree Distribution in Nashville, landing on coveted playlists on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Her collaborative folk EP “Tadpole Emporium” with songwriter Lorkin O’Reilly, as well as their subsequent UK and Ireland tour, showcased her adeptness for musical partnership. Her current solo project, the EP “Tourist,” builds on her established sound — one that transcends convention and intertwines threads of past and present. With imagistic lyrics and evocative melodies, MacLaren masterfully creates a world that is as much visual as it is musical. The delicate tapestry of intricate fingerstyle guitar and haunting synthesizers sews together the disparate elements of traditional and contemporary folk music into a seamless auditory experience. Anticipation runs high for “Tourist,” set to release through Tone Tree in April 2023, promising to further explore and expand MacLaren’s unique sonic universe.

Luke Richard Powers – “Red/Blue”

In Luke Richard Powers’ single “Red/Blue,” one can feel the ghostly presence of past influences James Taylor and John Denver as he infuses an honest folk tradition with a modern indie-rock edge. The song is a meditation on the fleeting nature of life and a reminder to step out of our self-imposed absurdity, striking a balance between introspection and universal appeal. The track starts with a slow acoustic intro, gradually escalating with a tempo shift meant to mirror the energy of a live show. This stylistic choice lends the track an intimate yet dynamic quality, as though Powers is sharing a life-altering revelation with a crowd of close friends. With lyrics conveying a conversation with Jesus, moments of near-death, and pleas for introspection, “Red/Blue” morphs into a raw, emotional confessional.

Powers, a Virginia-based singer-songwriter, has been steeping in the music industry since the age of 16 and established himself with his debut EP, “I Wishing World” in 2021. His latest work showcases a return to his folk, Americana, bluegrass, and country roots. This re-emergence of his foundational influences in the song “Red/Blue” reflects a deep reverence for these genres, while also maintaining his indie-rock flair. Powers’ lyrical prowess, as seen in lines like “We’ve been stressing about blessings/ And praying that our worries don’t come true,” underscores the heartfelt simplicity and introspection that informs his craft. The repeating refrains of “Oh my darling / Oh my dear” call out in a loving plea, creating a chorus that could fill any room or festival ground. With “Red/Blue,” Powers offers a vibrant, relatable anthem about the follies of life, the courage to acknowledge them, and the liberating act of simply letting go.

Rye Milligan – “Run Honey”

Rye Milligan’s single “Run Honey” serves as an honest, musically charged reflection on the tiresome routine of everyday life and the pressures that come with growing up. With a backdrop of richly layered instrumentals, Milligan artfully expresses a sense of common ennui, his lyrics striking a chord with anyone who has ever felt the weight of monotony. The songwriting process, sparked during a seemingly ordinary moment awaiting his peers at a rehearsal studio, truly speaks to the song’s theme: finding inspiration in the mundane. “Run Honey” serves as an existential lullaby for a generation grappling with the existential question of ‘is this it?’, finding both comfort and catharsis in its relatability.

Hailing from Cardigan Bay, Wales, Rye Milligan, known previously for his role as the guitarist and co-songwriter for the acclaimed band Luna Bay, takes the spotlight in his latest project. Teaming up with his best friend and drummer, Ceri Bain, Milligan is carving out a new sonic space that blends his live performance skills with his talent for songwriting. The result is an inviting mix of lively, soul-warming tunes, encapsulated in their debut four-track EP, “i.” Released just yesterday, on May 19, 2023, “i” represents a turning point for Milligan – a departure from the collaborative works of Luna Bay and a solidification of his own artistic identity. His latest single, “Run Honey,” perfectly exemplifies this evolution, underlining Milligan’s ability to craft songs that are at once personal, universally relatable, and brimming with a distinct musical flavor that marks him as a unique voice in the modern music scene.

Leave a Reply