Mid Week Mixdown: Bonnie and the Mere Mortals, Will Breman, JO universe, Daniel Trakell, Jordan Prince, Quaker Gun Club, Bobby JaGGerJacK, Sjfleish, and Alexander Greenfield

Welcome back to another thrilling edition of Mid-Week Mixdown on B-Side Guys. We’ve got another assortment of stirring, fresh tracks from the music world that have caught our ears this week. Whether you’re a long-time listener or just tuning in, we’re thrilled to have you here as we delve into a beautiful cacophony of new sounds and talent. We’ve been curating the best, most compelling underground music that not only graces your ears but also shakes your soul. So sit back, plug in your headphones, or turn up your speakers and let’s dive into the auditory journey that is the Mid-Week Mixdown. Get ready to discover your next favorite artist – they’re just a song away!

Bonnie and the Mere Mortals – “Tennessee”

The raw, soulful twang of Bonnie and the Mere Mortals’ “Tennessee” taps into a rich vein of alt-country, echoing the likes of Neko Case and Margo Price, but with a strikingly intimate and humanizing edge. Performed live in front of a studio audience, the song immerses you in a vivid tapestry of restless emotions and powerful longing for belonging. The yearning in frontwoman Bonnie Ramone’s voice, a queer-identifying, tattoo artist with a Dolly-Parton-meets-Elvira persona, translates the potent lyrics about dislocation and the universal human ache for connection, creating a deeply poignant and resonant narrative.

The song’s haunting imagery — from rats in the apartment to the narrator’s nostalgia for the Appalachian sky — paints a vivid picture of the gnawing disconnect one feels when they’re out of place. The track explores the heartache of not feeling at home and juxtaposes it with the hope of finding solace somewhere else, particularly in Tennessee. It’s a universal story, encapsulated in an earnest, folk-inflected melody that invites the listener into a shared experience of longing and hopeful anticipation. “Tennessee” delivers a resounding testament to the power of live music in forging connections and bearing our shared human condition. It’s the anthem for those who long to be seen and heard, and a beautiful reminder that sometimes, the destination is not as important as the journey itself.

Will Breman – “Broken Leg”

Will Breman’s “Broken Leg” is an introspective journey that marries elements of Americana with alt-country in a deeply personal testament of reclaiming mental health. From the self-taught musician and The Voice semifinalist comes an engaging narrative that is as much a nod to the artist’s own therapeutic journey as it is an invitation to listeners to embrace vulnerability. Like a mental health rally cry set to the melody of a heartland rock song, “Broken Leg” manages to capture the essence of Breman’s eclectic style, with its raw lyrics offering an intimate look into a struggle that many share but few openly discuss.

The layers of self-recorded instruments blend seamlessly, creating a richly textured soundscape that echoes the work of Colter Wall and Sturgill Simpson, while maintaining its own distinct flavor. Breman’s talent for “live looping” is evident, enhancing the track’s depth and emotional resonance. His approach to songwriting — to channel deep, often unexpressible emotions through music — shines through. “Broken Leg” serves as both an intimate reflection of Breman’s personal journey and a universal anthem for others who grapple with their mental health, showcasing his ability to not only bear his soul but to craft a song that resonates with others, inviting them to reclaim their own narrative. It’s a testament to the therapeutic power of music, capturing the listener’s heart and reminding us all of the importance of mental health.

JO universe – “Sweet Deal”

Drenched in colorful electronic pop tones and imbued with a catchy yet intricate lyrical narrative, “Sweet Deal” by the Danish duo JO universe is a sonic treat. It offers a dynamic fusion of alternative pop with a palpable analogue touch, reflecting the duo’s unique musical background. Singer and composer Johanne Marie Theill’s melodic vocals swirl over the atmospheric production of Nicolai Absalon, resulting in a track that shares parallels with the likes of Moloko and Kylie Minogue, yet with an edge that is distinctly their own.

“Sweet Deal” is an intoxicating exploration of desire and fascination, reflected in lyrics that dance between flirtation and caution. The line “You sure know how to make a girl feel special,” layered over a tantalizing blend of synths and beats, highlights the duo’s ability to capture nuanced emotions with a punchy, pop flair. The refrain “You’ve got me hooked somehow” reflects the mesmerizing allure of the track itself, which lures the listener in with its addictive mix of dreamy pop and alt-electronic elements. JO universe has crafted a track that is both a sweet deal and an intoxicating listen, merging complex emotions with a bold, vibrant soundscape. It’s a pop track that stands out for its lyrical depth and its deft fusion of pop, electronica, and alternative influences.

Daniel Trakell – “Folk Song #2”

“Folk Song #2,” the new offering from Melbourne-based artist Daniel Trakell, is a masterclass in melodic introspection. The indie/folk-rock songsmith channels echoes of Elliott Smith, Fleet Foxes, and early Bon Iver, while also acknowledging the influence of 60s era folk luminaries such as Townes Van Zandt, Jackson C Frank, and Bob Dylan. His double-tracked vocals weave a tapestry of emotions over the delicately constructed guitar work, showcasing the subtle power of Trakell’s songwriting and performance.

The lyrical narrative of “Folk Song #2” unfurls like a poignant exploration of unfulfilled aspirations and the quest for self-discovery, encapsulated in verses like “Expectations high / Into something I / Could never be”. Each line resonates with a kind of melancholic yearning, a testament to the evocative prowess of Trakell’s songwriting. As he navigates the complexity of personal expectations, he doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the inherent struggle, evident in lyrics such as “Feels like my spirit’s drained away / Gathering losses every day”. The song’s core message, wrapped in Trakell’s hauntingly beautiful folk-rock craftsmanship, is a solemn reminder of life’s transient nature and the ever-present challenge of personal evolution. As the indie/folk scene awaits the release of his new album, “Folk Song #2” is a potent preview that underscores Daniel Trakell’s ability to conjure up depth and introspection within his songcraft.

Jordan Prince – “James”

James, the elegantly sculpted piece from Jordan Prince’s “12 Songs for 12 Friends”, proves Prince’s mettle as a master storyteller and musician. Evocative of his American South upbringing and honed by his experiences in Germany, Prince channels the roots of Americana, blending it seamlessly with indie rock elements to produce a track that feels both familiar and refreshingly unique. The narrative embedded within “James” is one of the many personal stories that constitute the album – an ode to individual friendships that have had profound impacts on Prince’s life.

“James” is a careful study of character and emotion, encapsulating the essence of friendship and the indelible marks it leaves on our lives. Every note played and word sung is imbued with a level of intimacy that transcends the personal and touches the universal. As Prince’s voice narrates this ode, listeners are invited into a shared memory, making “James” not just a song but a shared experience. This is Prince’s special skill – the ability to transform personal narratives into collective memories through the power of song. Like the rest of the album, “James” is a testament to the depth of Prince’s songwriting, marking him as a vital figure in contemporary music.

Quaker Gun Club – “Parking Lots”

“Parking Lots,” the standout track from Quaker Gun Club’s debut album “Vanity Project,” is a brilliant fusion of nostalgic indie-rock with intriguing elements of pop and indie folk. The Buffalo, NY based quintet, led by Brett McEachern, showcases a unique sound that is as reflective and profound as it is catchy and kinetic. The track commences with a lively beat, paired with a series of intricate guitar riffs and bass grooves that feel like a melancholic stroll down memory lane. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of lost love and paved-over pasts, creating a tangible tension between the human experience and the encroachment of commercialism on sacred, personal spaces.

Quaker Gun Club’s strength lies in their ability to construct soundscapes that mirror the complexity of human emotions and experiences. “Parking Lots” exemplifies this talent with a seamless, abrupt tempo change that introduces a whirl of harmonies and chaos midway through the track. This transition, from rhythmic predictability to a soundscape as unpredictable and manic as the feelings it represents, is deeply resonant and memorable. McEachern’s voice is the thread that weaves the elements together, with an intimate earnestness that accentuates the track’s raw emotionality. Overall, “Parking Lots” is a testament to Quaker Gun Club’s creative range, making them a must-listen for fans who appreciate music that challenges the expected while striking an emotional chord.

Bobby JaGGerJacK – “My Own Way”

“My Own Way,” the latest release from Cleveland native Bobby JaGGerJacK, is a gritty anthem of individualism and resilience. Over a simmering beat, Bobby pens a powerful chronicle of his journey, fighting stereotypes and struggles that have shaped his unique perspective. His lyrics portray a person striving to forge their path, not following the crowd but venturing on the less popular route. As the lines unfold, Bobby displays his defiance against societal expectations, choosing instead to stand out as an outcast, thus creating a narrative that resounds with all those who’ve felt marginalized and misunderstood.

Bobby’s skill as a songwriter and storyteller shines through in this track, as he narrates the struggles of being different, getting kicked out of class, and choosing the long and difficult path towards his dreams. His lyrics present a rich tapestry of his life, infused with the raw realities of navigating the world as an underdog. Bobby’s fiery conviction is matched by his compelling flow and the pulsating rhythms, culminating in a cathartic expression of his struggle and defiance. His delivery, along with the song’s straightforward, no-nonsense tone, mirrors his rebellious nature, challenging societal norms and daring to go his own way. “My Own Way” stands as a testament to Bobby JaGGerJacK’s creative prowess and his unapologetic individuality, marking him as a distinctive voice in the hip-hop scene.

Sjfleish – “Evening Glo – demo”

In her demo track “Evening Glo,” Sjfleish weaves a delicate tale of longing and introspection that dovetails beautifully with the ethereal sonics of her lofi-jazz fusion. With her meditative vocal style and the gentle pulse of Kaijin’s beat, Sjfleish crafts an atmospheric homage to the ‘golden hour’ and post-college self-discovery. In mixing the old with the new, she pulls from the nostalgia of jazz standards and the comforting familiarity of lofi study beats, creating a piece that feels simultaneously fresh and imbued with a sense of past times. The song’s narrative is poignant and emotionally resonant, recounting the trials of falling for a friend and finding one’s path after college, making “Evening Glo” a stunning slice of introspective lyricism.

sjfleish’s songwriting abilities shine brightly in the track, as her lyrics navigate complex emotions with grace and eloquence. The atmospheric backdrop of the song, punctuated by her freestyle jazz ballad vocalization, invites listeners into a world that is both personal and relatable. Phrases like “See your shoulders in the evening glare” and “Don’t know which way to go, This feeling just feels so low” echo the sense of uncertainty and longing that are part and parcel of post-college life, but also the beauty found within those moments of transition. The track’s subtly shifting sonic landscape also reflects Sjfleish’s day job as an environmental engineer, adding a layer of complexity and depth to the narrative. With “Evening Glo,” Sjfleish proves herself to be a masterful weaver of musical and lyrical tapestries, crafting songs that resonate with a haunting, ethereal beauty.

Alexander Greenfield – “Duchenne Smile”

“Duchenne Smile” by Alexander Greenfield is a nostalgia-infused acoustic ballad that echoes the charm of golden-era pop with a fresh acoustic spin. Its intricate arrangement, bolstered by delightful piano progressions and the warm sigh of a jazzed-up violin, transports listeners into a quaint universe of romantic reminiscence. Greenfield’s rich baritone vocals embrace the tender lyrics like a lover’s arms, while the track’s classic pop sensibility draws influence from legendary songwriters like Paul McCartney, Elton John, and Joni Mitchell. Each note seems to unravel a sepia-toned memory, each chord strikes with the comforting familiarity of an old photograph, and the entire composition exudes a sense of longing wrapped in an elegantly woven sonic tapestry.

In terms of lyrical content, Greenfield’s expertise shines through, crafting a poignant story of yearning and reflection. Lines such as “Here we’re dipping in the lake, Cherry icecream in our favourite place” and “I’ll spend my days in your old photobook” are replete with vivid imagery, effortlessly evoking a sense of bittersweet nostalgia. The recurring line “If it’s forever, forever I will look at your Duchenne smile” adds a melancholic depth to the narrative, the “Duchenne smile” representing a genuine expression of happiness. The song elegantly touches on themes of transience and the permanence of cherished memories, leading the listener to contemplate the elusive nature of time. With “Duchenne Smile”, Alexander Greenfield shows himself to be a true artisan of the classic singer-songwriter genre, delivering a timeless track that beautifully balances emotion and musicality.

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