Hello music lovers, audiophiles, and fellow lyric decipherers! As the sun sets on yet another exciting day in the indie music world, it’s time to kick back, relax, and dive into the Weeknight Wrap Up here on B-Side Guys. This segment is your trusted beacon in the bustling ocean of underground and emerging music, illuminating the path to sonic gems that might otherwise have slipped under the radar. We’ve got an eclectic collection of beats, harmonies, and compelling lyrics lined up for you tonight, serving as the perfect sonic tapestry to conclude your week. So grab your headphones, find your cozy corner, and let’s embark on this musical journey together as we explore the freshest sounds and undiscovered talent that’s been making waves. Buckle up, folks – it’s time for the Weeknight Wrap Up!
Dakota 66 – “Bubble”
There’s a down-to-earth charm and soothing warmth in Dakota 66’s debut single “Bubble”. From the opening strums, the band serves a soothing brew of indie folk-rock, suffused with the warmth of lasting friendship. In the song, the band showcases their deep-rooted camaraderie as the lyrics paint a vivid picture of supportive friendship. Lines such as “Ever made a friend that you had for life / Someone to know who’s got your back” and “Wrap me up in a bubble with all my books / Warm me up with my music and all my luck / Cause I got you and you get me” echo this sentiment. There’s an unpretentiousness to these declarations that feels both refreshing and instantly relatable.
In terms of instrumental arrangements, Dakota 66 tastefully complements the rich narrative of their lyrics with a gentle cascade of folk-rock rhythms. The soft plucks of the guitar and the steady drumbeat work in harmony, creating a homely and comforting sonic environment that perfectly encapsulates the safety and contentment found in a trusted friend’s company. With “Bubble”, Dakota 66 offers a timeless anthem of friendship, one that radiates with the warmth of human connection and the celebration of mutual support. The track’s simplicity and heartfelt delivery make it a standout debut, showcasing a band with a clear and compelling voice. Dakota 66’s ability to blend heartening lyrics with tender instrumentation marks them as a band to watch as they continue their musical journey.
Small Million – “Burnout”
“Burnout” by Small Million emerges as a fiery anthem of resistance and self-realization. The song’s blend of raw indie rock energy with the sleek charm of synth-pop creates an enticing soundscape, serving as the perfect backdrop for the narrative of a woman discarding a man’s narrow perception of her. The sonic detailing in the track – the gritty guitar lines, pulsating drums, and swirling synth elements – intensifies the lyrical power of the song. Lines like “True, I lit the fuse / Is the countdown ruining the mood?” and “I bide my time behind the glass / Til the illusion shatters in the blast” convey a palpable sense of tension, like a fuse slowly burning towards inevitable destruction.
Malachi Graham’s dynamic vocal performance infuses “Burnout” with a rebellious spirit. Her voice wavers between vulnerability and defiant strength, capturing the frustration of being subjected to a flat, self-serving vision and the liberating joy of shattering that image. The chorus – “I don’t wanna burn out / I play rough / Sweet dreams, cruel love / My deathwish for your love” – hits like a cathartic release, embodying the “feminine urge to destroy his self-serving and flat vision of you and dance in the rubble”. Small Million’s “Burnout” is a testament to the band’s talent for combining catchy pop sensibilities with introspective, deeply emotive lyrics. It’s a sonic rebellion that invites listeners to dance and heal simultaneously – a testament to Small Million’s evolution and growth as a band.
Hoofy Baby, MFnMelo, Noah Sims – “Save Me”
“Save Me,” a collaborative effort by Hoofy Baby, MFnMelo, and Noah Sims, is a deeply introspective track that explores self-reflection, self-preservation, and the allure of self-destructive behaviors. Its raw vulnerability and emotional depth sit comfortably in the realm of alternative hip-hop, masterfully combining melancholic beats with profound lyrical storytelling. The artists’ exploration of the complex emotions that accompany love and the sacrifices it often requires resonates powerfully with listeners, offering a shared experience of introspection and self-discovery.
Each artist brings a unique lyrical style and flow, reminiscent of influential figures in the hip-hop scene like Saba, Pivot Gang, and Joey Purp. Their individual contributions coalesce into a poignant narrative, cementing the track’s place as a standout addition to their collective discography. With “Save Me,” Hoofy Baby, MFnMelo, and Noah Sims underscore the narrative depth that hip-hop can possess, solidifying their own influence within the genre. The song is not just an exploration of human emotions, but a testament to the genre’s potential for complex, personal storytelling.
juno roome – “the way you looked”
“the way you looked” by Brooklyn-based artist juno roome is a hazy dive into the retrospective realm of dream pop, with its laid-back guitar riffs and vocal melodies that hang in the air like dissipating smoke. This song captures the intimate and ordinary moments of a romantic connection, wrapping them up in the trappings of lo-fi production and a slacker aesthetic that’s irresistibly charming. The simple experiences—going to the cinema, meeting with friends, or encountering a ‘barfing’ acquaintance—become the vessels to question the nature of the attraction and feelings between the song’s characters.
Roome’s lyrical introspection lends a philosophical weight to these mundane scenes, as the lines “is it the way you looked at me? or is it the way you looked to me?” repeat throughout the track. The ambiguity in these verses reflects the confusion and uncertainty often inherent in deciphering one’s own emotions and the intentions of others. The lyrics, and the way they’re set against the easygoing instrumental background, evoke a sense of longing and nostalgia, providing a poignant exploration of how memories are often colored by our perceptions and feelings. This combination of introspective lyrics with dreamy, lo-fi music creates a track that is as thought-provoking as it is pleasing to the ear. The song’s distinctive vibe lingers, much like the memory of a significant look from a loved one, long after its final notes have faded.
Daniel Herr – “Kick This”
“Kick This” by Daniel Herr is a vibrant mosaic of alt-pop, neo-soul, and R&B, blending deeply personal lyrics with a richly layered sonic palate. The track speaks to the struggles of breaking free from destructive cycles, whether they involve unhealthy relationships or harmful coping mechanisms. It’s a testament to the power of self-realization and the grit it takes to step out of comfort zones. Herr’s vocals, a blend of strength and vulnerability, bring to mind the emotional resonance of Adele and Sam Smith, underscoring the deeply personal nature of the song’s narrative.
In Herr’s lyrics, we see a battle between desire and self-respect, between the siren call of what’s familiar and the realization that it’s detrimental. He candidly presents the struggle to break free from destructive habits with lines like “Then I’mma kick this / Habit of you / Cuz I’m addicted / But quitting soon.” This recurring theme of addiction and recovery is one that listeners will find easily relatable, as Herr examines universal themes of longing, loneliness, and the desire for genuine love. Combined with his modern pop sensibilities and soulful melodies, “Kick This” is not only a song that resonates emotionally, but one that also makes a strong musical impact.
Five Fingers of Funk – “Til The Night Is Through”
Five Fingers of Funk’s return with their single “‘Til The Night Is Through,” from their forthcoming album “Portland Say It Again,” marks a triumphant re-emergence into a music scene they once helped shape. The band, a pioneering force in marrying live instrumentation with hip hop, takes listeners on a nostalgic journey back to the roots of funk and lyrically-driven hip hop. Their long-awaited reunion and subsequent release bear the unmistakable imprint of the band’s unique sound, blending rich funk grooves with sharp lyrical storytelling. From the pulsating rhythms to the soulful horn section, this track serves as a joyful affirmation of the band’s longevity and their ability to evolve without losing sight of their roots.
The seasoned collective, originating from the indie rock and grunge-heavy Pacific Northwest, has always been known for their dynamic, high-energy performances. “‘Til The Night Is Through” captures this vibrant energy, encapsulating the ironies of maturing within the traditionally youthful realm of hip hop. Guest appearances from Cool Nutz, Jumbo (of the Lifesavas), Bosko, and Dres from Black Sheep further amplify the track’s magnetic pull. The result is a heady mix of nostalgia and contemporary influences, a testament to the band’s enduring relevance and their ability to straddle different eras of music. This new chapter in the band’s journey signals a return to their funk roots, promising a vibrant blend of old and new for long-standing fans and newcomers alike.
Cordoba – “Midnight”
Cordoba’s “Midnight,” a standout from their new record “In Hell,” demonstrates the Chicago-based sextet’s genre-blending prowess with elements of jazz, neo-soul, alt-R&B, and prog. From a sonic perspective, the track masterfully juggles these eclectic influences, showcasing their skilled musicianship and a seamless fusion of diverse styles. Their intimate understanding of jazz and neo-soul gives the track an underlying richness, while elements of alt-R&B and prog lend it a compelling modern edge.
The lyrics weave a story of pain, desire, and redemption, exploring the complex relationship between suffering and survival. The haunting refrain “I drink fire to live, I drink fire to live in you” is a powerful image that articulates a struggle with personal demons and the necessity of enduring hardship for the sake of survival. It’s a testament to the band’s ability to express profound emotional depth through their music, showing an introspective side that adds another layer of complexity to their already sophisticated sound. With “Midnight,” Cordoba continues to push boundaries and shape a unique musical identity that sets them apart in today’s jazz and alt-R&B landscape.
Gringo Star – “Hanging Around”
“Hanging Around,” a standout track from Gringo Star’s latest album “On And On And Gone,” is a testament to the Atlanta-based band’s evolution as purveyors of hazy, psychedelic garage rock. Brothers Nick and Peter Furgiuele continue to demonstrate their gift for reinvention, now framing their characteristically mind-bending blend of doo-wop-inspired R&B and British Invasion rock & roll within the context of the pandemic. According to Nick Furgiuele, the song encapsulates their longing to reconnect with friends made on the road and serves as an ode to lifelong friendships, adding a resonant layer of emotional depth to their vibrant sonic canvas.
The track’s lyrics, infused with a yearning for connection and camaraderie, resonate against the backdrop of the band’s lauded work ethic and the influence of their R&B heritage. Musically, “Hanging Around” captures the gritty spirit of Gringo Star’s homegrown sound while delivering a fresh wave of atmospheric vibes and rhythmic intensity that mirrors their noted live energy. This new track confirms that Gringo Star, who’ve outlasted countless buzz bands and indie darlings, are still carving their own path, defying convention and crafting a sound that’s as unpredictable as it is unmistakable. As they continue to write, record, and perform on their own terms, “Hanging Around” is a potent reminder of the Furgiuele brothers’ unyielding dedication to their art.
Sawyer – “Bandaids”
“Bandaids,” the latest offering from LA-based artist Sawyer, is a raw and impassioned anthem that navigates the complex landscape of physical and mental health struggles. Inspired by the song “Teeth (you)” by Re6ce, “Bandaids” is marked by a contradictory soundscape – an infectious juxtaposition of heavy drums and soft, midwest emo guitar riffs. Its foundation is further enriched by layers of ambient vocals, creating a sound that feels simultaneously urgent and ethereal. Sawyer’s personal narrative of being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at the tender age of ten adds a poignant depth to the track, creating a compelling platform for the universal exploration of vulnerability and resilience.
Sawyer’s lyrics, both intimate and confrontational, convey the trials and tribulations of dealing with personal health issues from a young age. Lines like “Bandaids to cover the scars / So you’ll never know / How I’m feelin / I’m dealin / I’m feeling fucking low” underscore the facade often worn by those grappling with internal battles. The recurring motif of “bandaids” serves as a poignant metaphor for the invisible struggles many face, offering a stark commentary on the way society often glosses over deep-seated mental and physical health issues.
Originally hailing from Miami, Sawyer’s background in performing at notable LA venues like The Troubadour and The Peppermint Club is reflected in the polished, captivating nature of “Bandaids.” It’s a song that sees the artist diving headfirst into the thorny depths of personal struggle and emerging with an anthem that strikes a delicate balance between despair and hope. A reflection of Sawyer’s audacity and resilience, “Bandaids” is not only a chronicle of their personal journey but also a testament to their deft lyricism and musical prowess. It resonates as a rallying cry for those navigating their own health struggles, marking Sawyer as an artist unafraid to bare their scars in the pursuit of authentic self-expression.
Odd Holiday – “It IS Whut It Iz”
In “It IS Whut It Iz,” the cross-continent duo Odd Holiday unfurls an audacious soundscape that straddles the territories of gritty hip-hop and avant-garde experimentalism. This North Carolina-meets-North London pairing has crafted a sonorous mini-movie, incorporating elements of psychedelia, provided by Daylight Robbery’s spellbinding sample and breakbeat work. An eruption of captivating rhymes from Mattic, replete with clever nods to Franco Harris, critiques of the 1%, and dazzling wordplay, adds an undeniable edge to the track.
The duo’s signature style reflects a fascinating fusion of their backgrounds. Daylight Robbery departs from his jazz roots, navigating a labyrinth of unconventional loops and chops, steeped in the essence of experimental hip-hop. Meanwhile, Mattic, assuming his moniker ‘The Ghost In The Machine,’ delivers seemingly straightforward yet subtly complex lyrics, while also contributing his co-production finesse to the musical composition. While Odd Holiday acknowledges its indebtedness to underground stalwarts like Madlib, Alchemist, and Special Herbs, they dare to step into uncharted terrain, curating a sonic journey that is simultaneously quirky, offbeat, and utterly enticing.
“It IS Whut It Iz” is a compelling demonstration of Odd Holiday’s unpretentious exploration of hip-hop’s peripheries. It hints at their willingness to take listeners on a dizzying ride, challenging genre confines and redefining expectations. As we anticipate the release of their new album, L.I.S.A., due out May 26 via Chinese Man Records, “It IS Whut It Iz” stands as a tantalizing appetizer, affirming Odd Holiday’s promising potential in the ever-evolving landscape of hip-hop.