Weekly New Releases: Ryan Burns, Angelo De Augustine, Matthew and the Arrogant Sea, Shannon Clark and the Sugar, Haley Heath, Nikoli, Samantha Margaret, The Nadas, Waste of Paint, and A Beacon School

Welcome to the latest edition of Weekly New Releases here on bsideguys.com! We understand that we’re a few days behind schedule this time around, and we thank you for your patience. The world of music doesn’t stop, and neither do we – albeit sometimes a little late.

We’ve been busy diving deep into the sonic oceans, climbing up the chart mountains, and wandering through the rhythm-filled forests to bring you the most exciting new releases from the week of June 16th. We know you’ve been eagerly waiting, and we promise it’s been worth the wait.

Life can often feel like a record playing on a loop, and sometimes we need a little shake-up to our regular routine. So, if you’re looking to discover some fresh tunes that stir your soul, make you ponder, or just make you want to move, you’re in the right place.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the mesmerizing world of music that’s been released last week, and see what hidden gems we can unearth together. As always, we’re thrilled to share these auditory treasures with you!

Ryan Burns – “Empty Pools and Golden Leaves”

In his latest single, “Empty Pools and Golden Leaves,” Ryan Burns demonstrates his prowess as a genre-bending Americana artist with a keen ear for diverse influences. Raised in the Midwest and residing in Chicago, Burns seamlessly synthesizes his geographical heritage with his wide-ranging musical interests, resulting in a sound that’s at once comfortably familiar and refreshingly innovative. His rich, cathartic vocals resonate over the gentle strumming of his banjo and guitar, grounding his ethereal blend of Mande drumming, spacey rock, and Irish traditional music in an earthy, heartfelt authenticity.

The lyrics of “Empty Pools and Golden Leaves” underscore Burns’s inherent yearning for respite from the repetitive routines of city life. Lines such as “honey toast and morning tea / same old things every week” reveal a palpable desire for change, a longing for the tranquil simplicity of nature echoed in the imagery of “golden leaves” and “tall grass, tickling my knees.” The recurring plea, “lord I’ve got to get away,” stands as a testament to this urgency, a sentiment shared by many in our frenzied, modern world. Burns’s ethos—rooted in the humility of his Midwest upbringing and emboldened by the diverse musical threads he’s woven into his style—is the driving force behind this stirring ballad of escape. “Empty Pools and Golden Leaves” is a poignant testament to the inherent human desire to reconnect with nature and self, serving as a timely reminder in an ever-chaotic world.

Angelo De Augustine – “Toil and Trouble”

Angelo De Augustine’s “Toil and Trouble” is a heart-wrenching exploration into the depths of human despair and the search for escape. As a singer-songwriter who can hold his own alongside contemporaries like Sufjan Stevens and Adrianne Lenker, De Augustine’s confessional approach to songwriting is nuanced and poignant. His sound is a harmonious blend of folk and indie, with a subtle alternative rock edge, and he excels in crafting beautiful acoustic melodies that perfectly frame his introspective lyrics.

The lyrics of “Toil and Trouble” take listeners on a harrowing journey into the shadowy recesses of the mind, probing its darkest corners and questioning the existence of an ominous puppet master behind the scenes. The recurring themes of pain, evil, and regret are given voice through raw, emotive expressions of inner turmoil. Lyrics that hint at the allure of drugs as a potential sanctuary from this psychological torment add a layer of sobering realism to De Augustine’s songwriting. The title track of his upcoming album, “Toil and Trouble,” showcases the artist’s ability to encapsulate the raw human struggle against mental demons, illustrating his lyrical prowess and his depth as a musician. De Augustine’s reflection on the duality of our existence, residing in both a physical world and one of mental creation, is profoundly stirring and serves as a chilling testament to the struggle of navigating our internal landscapes.

Matthew and the Arrogant Sea – “Targets”

“Targets,” the latest single from indie rock veterans Matthew and The Arrogant Sea, is a powerful piece that grapples with the challenging construct of toxic masculinity. Taken from their forthcoming LP, “If you find yourself floating away,” the song is an introspective tour de force that captures frontman Matthew Gray’s personal journey and the trials he has endured in a society that often valorizes aggression, bigotry, and dominance. With its poignant lyrics and expressive melody, “Targets” is a raw and honest exploration of the human experience, a clarion call for listeners to scrutinize their own encounters with societal expectations and rejection.

The band, a compelling ensemble from Denton, Texas, comprises Matthew Gray, Blake Vickrey, Tony Whitlock, Hagen Hauschild, and Pablo Alzate. Their unique brand of indie rock is enhanced by folk and psychedelic elements, all beautifully tied together by Gray’s haunting vocals and thoughtful lyricism. For over 20 years, Matthew and The Arrogant Sea have bewitched audiences worldwide, earning critical acclaim since their national debut in 2009. “Targets,” with its stirring examination of masculinity, continues the band’s legacy of pushing the boundaries of their sound and creativity. By consistently challenging societal norms through their art, Matthew and The Arrogant Sea remain a key and influential force in the indie rock landscape. Their forthcoming LP “If you find yourself floating away” is a highly anticipated addition to their discography, promising to deliver another exceptional demonstration of their musical dexterity and songwriting talents.

Shannon Clark and the Sugar – “This Old World”

Midwest Americana family outfit Shannon Clark and the Sugar have delivered a deeply personal and resonant new album titled “This Old World.” Released on September 8, the album is a striking tapestry of American life, unraveling the complexities of the modern era through a blend of country, soulful folk, roots, and heartland rock, bound together by the enchanting cadence of familial harmonies. The title track, “This Old World,” is a profoundly introspective exploration of our national identity, bravely navigating the intricate contours of gender identity, anxiety, depression, war, and gun violence.

Hailing from Darke County, Ohio, Shannon Clark & the Sugar comprise of the husband-wife duo Shannon and Brittany Clark, along with their daughter, Navie. Their journey as a band has been marked by personal loss and heartache, yet their music reflects an indomitable spirit of resilience and an unyielding devotion to the art. Their sound is undeniably unique— a distinctive brew of Midwest Americana Soul. The raw emotional intensity of Shannon’s vocal delivery exposes the bittersweet beauty of their lyrics, underpinning the group’s authenticity. The album, produced by Justin Weaver, features an impressive array of musicians, including Billy Justineau, Cactus Moser, Michael G. Ronstadt, Chris Autry, and Phil Towns. “This Old World” is a testament to the power of music as a tool for healing and an embodiment of Shannon Clark & the Sugar’s continuous evolution as artists, making it an important addition to the Americana music landscape.

Haley Heath – “Frustrate Me”

North Carolina-based singer-songwriter Haley Heath, known for her dark, nocturnal folk songs with subtle Latin influences, brings us a song from the other end of the spectrum in her latest release, “Frustrate Me.” Drawing inspiration from the unending heat of her oceanside town, Heath weaves a tantalizing tale of summer love, capturing a steamy, sun-drenched atmosphere with her experimental blend of Spanish-rooted instrumentation. The result is a sensory indulgence, a track that calls out to be played on a sandy beach with the waves crashing nearby.

“Frustrate Me” teems with an undercurrent of passion and longing. Heath’s velvet vocals glide effortlessly over the lyrics, capturing the torrid, often maddening, dance of attraction. “Speak sweetly darlin’ / I can’t be blamed / It’s spring and I’m in heat / Oh you frustrate me,” she sings, embodying the heat of both the season and the desire brewing within her. The lyrics paint vivid pictures – “You’re spyin’ in the kitchen / You’re climbin’ up our walls again / I’m standin’ in the sand dune wonderin’ what’s wrong with you.” The beauty of her words lies not just in their expressiveness but in their relatability, reflecting moments that anyone in the throes of passion can connect with. At its heart, “Frustrate Me” is a song about love’s intoxicating grip, its ability to plunge us into a dreamlike state from which we might not want to awaken—a sentiment anyone who’s ever been in love can surely relate to.

Nikoli – “Telling Lies”

Nikoli Partiyeli, aka NIKOLI, previously known as Elais Park, delivers a sonic tapestry of introspection in his latest track, “Tellin’ Lies,” off his forthcoming EP ‘Slightly Imperfect.’ Emerging from five years of creative labor, this song is a testament to NIKOLI’s dedication to his craft and his journey of self-discovery. Built upon a chorus and bass-line birthed from an early bedroom session with a friend, the song evolved over countless iterations into a refined narrative of NIKOLI’s experiences, both as an artist and individual.

NIKOLI’s lyrics drip with raw vulnerability. The refrain—”I’ve been tellin’ lies like half the time / Buying time or spendin’ mine / She don’t know, but askin’ why? / Girl I’m playin’ is my line”—echoes the struggle of a man wrestling with his truths and the lies that shield them. His words touch on themes of denial and avoidance (“I don’t give a fuck about it / Woke up in a dream / Got higher than my means”), hinting at the tumultuous journey of personal discovery. “Tellin’ Lies” is a candid, auditory self-portrait, layered with honesty and cryptic introspection. The track encapsulates NIKOLI’s multifaceted artistic approach, with the genre-bending singer-songwriter showcasing his capacity for complex, thought-provoking storytelling. His diverse artistic talents, including photography, design, and videography, lend themselves to a holistic and unique sonic experience—a testament to NIKOLI’s refusal to be confined by the traditional boundaries of music-making.

Samantha Margaret – “GENTLE”

“GENTLE,” the latest dark pop single from Samantha Margret, shatters conventions with its dynamic fusion of vulnerability and power. The song’s opening—a raw, a cappella intro—draws the listener into an intimate, vulnerable space, reflecting on the struggles of maintaining gentleness in a hard, demanding society. The dramatic shift to electronic bass and distorted vocals introduces a gritty undertone, embodying the unexpected aggression and power contained within gentleness. Margret’s calculated play with contrasts paves the way for the subsequent singles in 2023, which promise to further unravel the themes of finding strength in gentleness and self-compassion.

Margret’s lyrical prowess shines through her poetic yet potent words, with lines like “You’ve got a gentle soul / In a cold hard world / You’ve got a touch of gold / You’re my Midas girl” painting an evocative picture of resilience. Her emphasis on mental health and self-care, evident in the repeated plea to “Stay easy on yourself / Your mental health / Your body like a temple,” highlights the importance of self-compassion. “GENTLE” is a melodic mantra for the modern individual, a reminder to cherish one’s inner gentleness amid the hardness of the world. Samantha Margret has crafted a powerful anthem with “GENTLE,” revealing her commitment to creating music that empowers listeners to embrace their histories, their bodies, and their feelings—a testament to her talent as an alt-pop lyricist and a voice for self-compassion.

The Nadas – “Come Along For The Ride”

“Come Along For The Ride,” the latest track from The Nadas, imbues a sense of simple joy and companionship that one finds in shared journeys. This track stands as a poignant tribute to the experiences of band co-founder Jason Walsmith and his wife, encapsulating their 150,000 miles of travels together. The song projects an alluring call to experience life’s various landscapes, both literal and metaphorical, together—a sentiment reflecting the essence of slowing down, embracing the journey, and relishing the shared company.

Steeped in the heritage of Stones-era “Country Honk,” with touches of ’90s alternative rock, The Nadas continue to build upon their unique sound: twangy, plaintive, melodic, and always distorted. Their music—authentic and grounded, yet ambitious and soaring—captures the spirit of their home state. With “Come Along For The Ride,” The Nadas distill the journey of their evolution and experiences into a cohesive narrative, offering listeners a melodic roadmap of shared memories. These seasoned musicians skillfully weave electric and acoustic elements, smart, subtle keys, and a punchy rhythm section to craft a rich, sonic tapestry. The song echoes with the collective wisdom of a band that’s produced over a dozen studio albums and navigated a gamut of on-road experiences. “Come Along For The Ride” stands as a testament to The Nadas’ versatility and enduring appeal, showcasing their talent in crafting music that resonates with the human experience.

Waste of Paint – “Run (Only Ever Wanted You To Chase)”

With “Run (Only Ever Wanted You To Chase),” Waste of Paint plunges the listener into the roiling ocean of emotional intimacy, crafting a musical experience as exhilarating as it is poignant. Described as “ego stripped and painfully authentic,” the track mirrors the humbling experience of paddling out into a big wave, evoking the dichotomy of feeling alive yet utterly helpless. The song blossoms from a delicate whisper into a turbulent storm of sound, embarking on an exploration of both personal and relational vulnerability.

Waste of Paint demonstrates their remarkable ability to architect moments, immersing their audience in a visceral sea of emotions. “Run (Only Ever Wanted You To Chase)” starts small and innocent, like a wave in its early stages. As the song progresses, the musical elements align like a rip tide, pulling the listener into its depth. The melodic vocals are layered over Chili Peppers-esque guitar, the bass line emanates a sinister lure, and the percussions drop like hammering breakers, culminating in a wave-like crescendo. As the lyrics unravel a narrative of emotional struggle and reconciliation, Waste of Paint echoes the enduring human quest for connection, painting a narrative of resilience and hope in the face of personal tribulations. The result is a testament to the band’s artistic growth and their ability to evoke raw emotions, paving the way for a much-anticipated succession of releases in the coming year.

A Beacon School – “Potion”

“Potion,” the upcoming single from A Beacon School’s soon-to-be-released album ‘yoyo’, revels in the paradox of the human experience, encapsulating the exhilaration of novel experiences and the accompanying dread. Written in a single sitting back in 2019, the song carries the distinct impression of spontaneity and the immediate burst of creative energy that characterizes its genesis. Known for being a staple in live performances, “Potion” promises to blend the quintessential dream pop textures that A Beacon School is renowned for, with the evocative and introspective lyricism that the artist has beautifully articulated.

A Beacon School, the brainchild of New York-based artist Patrick J. Smith, excels in the creation of soundscapes that fluctuate between jangly pop, lush shoegaze, and meticulously constructed electronic compositions. Smith’s ability to manipulate sonic textures to evoke emotion is not only a testament to his talent but a reflection of his versatility as an artist. As with previous releases, the expectation for “Potion” and indeed the upcoming album ‘yoyo’, is a series of tracks that serve as a testament to Smith’s exploration of the ‘unconscious artistic self’. A follow-up to the highly successful ‘Cola’, ‘yoyo’ is anticipated to provide an immersive experience that sways in time with the oscillations of life, captured brilliantly within the realm of dream pop and shoegaze music.

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