Mid-Week Mixdown: J Mob, Graffiti Welfare, Planet Ibiza, SloCoast, Rayburn Brothers Band, Slow Leaves, Billy Cullum, Ryan Hoffman, The Money War, and Kwasi

Welcome back to the Mid-Week Mixdown on bsideguys.com, your sonic refuge from the everyday grind. We’ve hit the midway point of the week, and if the rhythm of life has been feeling a bit off-beat, we’re here to set it right. Our carefully curated Mid-Week Mixdown is your oasis of sound, a sanctuary of rhythm and melody designed to inspire, uplift, and simply make you feel good. Our selection spans various genres, but they all have one thing in common – they’re exceptional tracks by phenomenal artists just waiting to be discovered by you. So go ahead, let your worries ebb away with the rhythm, let the melody ignite your spirit, and let our Mid-Week Mixdown be the soundtrack to the peak of your week. Tune in, turn it up, and lose yourself in the music!

J Mob – “Don’t Look Back” (feat. ieMuzik and Breana Marin)

In “Don’t Look Back,” J Mob delivers an engaging narrative of resilience, transformation, and tenacity. The Colorado-bred rapper, whose influences span from the melodic cadences of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to the speedy rhymes of Tech N9ne, constructs an introspective exploration of personal growth and the trials that forged his path. The track’s emotive weight is carried equally by the lyrical content and J Mob’s poignant, unique delivery, inviting listeners into the heart of his lived experiences and imparting a hopeful resilience that echoes long after the last note.

The track’s hook, repeated throughout, serves as an anchor, and the metaphor of becoming a “ghost” succinctly encapsulates the theme of leaving one’s past self behind. It’s not just about the struggle or the transformation, but the act of moving forward and refusing to return to what once was. Guest features from ieMuzik and Breana Marin add an extra layer of depth to the song, their contributions enhancing the overall narrative arc. As J Mob continues to share his unique perspective and journey through his music, “Don’t Look Back” stands as a clear testament to his narrative prowess and ability to connect with listeners on an emotional level.

Graffiti Welfare – “Just Follow”

Graffiti Welfare’s “Just Follow” is an enticing dive into the realm of vapor-wave pop that weaves in threads of psychedelic rock for an audacious sonic tapestry. The Austin-born, Denver-based artist concocts a soundscape that stretches and contracts in a dreamlike state, echoing the expansive influences of Radiohead’s “King of Limbs” and Animal Collective’s “Feels,” yet remaining distinctly its own. The synths work like auditory illusions, creating a feeling of distorted time, while the angular lead guitar cuts through with precision, grounding the listener amidst the cosmic journey.

The deep vocal hooks, reminiscent of Tame Impala’s influence, underscore the 60s sensibility intermingled with modern vibes. These echo the track’s poignant lyrics: “Soon as you finally let it go, all you feel outside starts to show,” encapsulating the essence of introspective liberation. Graffiti Welfare’s unique blend of ethereal synths, introspective lyrics, and a certain Tame Impala-esque flavor (a homage to the album that spurred his musical journey) create an immersive musical experience. The result is a track that serves as both a self-contained cosmos and an intriguing introduction to his artistic universe. A bedroom artist no more, Graffiti Welfare showcases in “Just Follow” a compelling artistic vision that successfully intertwines the ethereal with the earthly, the introspective with the expressive.

Planet Ibiza – “dibulla”

SloCoast – “What Are We Waiting For”

SloCoast’s new single, “What Are We Waiting For?” is a spirited blend of progressive bluegrass and classic rock, a musical elixir that seems to distill the essence of Mumford & Sons and Fleetwood Mac into its DNA. Conceived in the tranquility of a backyard during the pandemic, the track possesses an infectious energy, amplified by the authenticity of a live in-studio recording. The resulting sound feels raw, unvarnished, and wholeheartedly real – mirroring the yearning to reconnect with life and each other after a period of stagnation and isolation.

SloCoast is a dynamic ensemble of old friends united by a shared passion for music, and this kinship is palpable in “What Are We Waiting For?”. Their camaraderie is reflected in their harmonious interplay of instruments and voices, creating a sound that is intricate yet cohesive. If one listens closely, echoes of other artists like Alison Krauss & Union Station and Nickel Creek can also be detected, further enhancing the layered richness of their music. As they gear up for summer festival tours and frequent airplay on Wisconsin radio, it’s clear that SloCoast is not just asking “What Are We Waiting For?” but also demonstrating their readiness to seize every opportunity that comes their way. Their song, in this sense, is more than just a compelling listen – it’s a spirited call to action, inviting everyone to embrace life with open arms and dancing feet.

Rayburn Brothers Band – “Jez Dame”

“Jez Dame,” the newest offering from the Rayburn Brothers Band, unfolds as a clever linguistic puzzle, an enigmatic play on words that adds an extra layer of intrigue to the song. It is a sonic tableau where Americana is painted with folk, rock, and jazz hues, each element meticulously arranged to complement the other. It’s a song that leans into its deliberate ambiguity, inviting listeners to decipher its meaning while losing themselves in its harmonic richness.

Keith Rayburn, the frontman and songwriter of the band, displays a keen ear for crafting tunes that seamlessly blend different styles, making them distinctively Rayburn Brothers Band. Comparisons to artists like Little Feat and Lowell George hint at Rayburn’s stylistic pedigree, yet the band’s sound is uniquely their own. Rayburn’s transition from juggling music with a day job to dedicating more time to his craft is apparent in “Jez Dame.” There is a newfound level of polish and assuredness in their sound, perhaps a harbinger of exciting things to come as Rayburn considers potential regional tours and music festivals. As an exploration of language, music, and commitment to the craft, “Jez Dame” is an enthralling testament to the Rayburn Brothers Band’s musical journey.

Slow Leaves – “Nothing Really Changes”

“Nothing Really Changes,” the newest release from Slow Leaves, is a tender, heartfelt tribute to the beauty and importance of life’s mundane moments. With an appreciation of simplicity echoing the lyrical acuity of John Prine, Grant Davidson—the creative force behind Slow Leaves—offers a contemplative, country-folk ballad that cherishes everyday experiences as the threads that weave the fabric of existence. Davidson’s ability to elevate ordinary encounters into poignant narratives is masterful, each verse brimming with the kind of quiet magic that transforms the everyday into the extraordinary.

Davidson’s meticulous attention to his craft is palpably felt throughout the song. From the bare-bones structure and a simple yet captivating melody to his emotionally resonant vocals, every element feels intentionally chosen and skillfully assembled. His influences, spanning from classic songwriters like Mickey Newbury and Neil Young to contemporary artists like Andy Shauf and Big Thief, coalesce into a unique, introspective sound that is all his own. As both the multi-instrumentalist and the producer, Davidson ensures that his psych-folk stylings are perfectly suited to deliver the message of his lyrics. “Nothing Really Changes” is a poignant ode to life’s fleeting moments, a reminder to appreciate the mundane, and an exemplary display of Slow Leaves’ artistry.

Billy Cullum – “Twisted”

“Twisted,” the latest track from London-based artist Billy Cullum, is a complex exploration of the entangled emotions that linger after a painful breakup. Filled with love and loathing, the song expertly captures the strange, bitter-sweet dichotomy of hating to love and loving to hate, weaving it into a compelling, angst-ridden narrative. With a clever blend of heavier, emotionally charged verses and an undeniably catchy, pop-infused chorus, “Twisted” swings between the jagged edges of past heartache and the infectious allure of pop music. Its subtle nod to the 90s injects a layer of nostalgia, enhancing the song’s theme of looking back on past experiences with both fondness and bitterness.

Cullum’s diverse background, from acting in critically acclaimed dramas to choreographing for well-known artists, lends him a unique edge in the music world. His skill for creating “infectious” music, as described by Clash Magazine, is on full display in “Twisted,” his ability to capture complex emotions and deliver them in a compelling pop package evident. Embracing his queerness in his writing for the first time, Cullum adds a dimension of authenticity and personal experience to the track that makes it even more impactful. Tipped as a “star” and “one to watch” by Attitude Magazine, Billy’s “Twisted” is an impressive showcase of his ability to blend emotion, authenticity, and irresistible pop hooks into a cohesive and captivating musical narrative.

Ryan Hoffman – “Rosy Skies”

“Rosy Skies,” the latest single from Pittsburgh-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Hoffman, delivers a serene musical landscape that perfectly captures the spirit of a quiet morning drive. Characterized by its indie-Americana sound, the song melds intimate storytelling with a laid-back ambiance, creating a distinct auditory experience that is both calming and deeply personal. Lyrics such as “I’ve always been at home/With a winding road/And a song that makes me know/That I’m not alone,” imbue the track with a comforting sense of solitude and introspection. Hoffman’s ability to draw upon mundane moments, like watching the sun come up, and transform them into profound realizations makes “Rosy Skies” a sublime representation of his genuine personality and storytelling prowess.

Over the years, Hoffman has made a name for himself with his atmospheric artistry and poetic honesty, and “Rosy Skies” is no exception. Building on the anthemic sound of his debut album, ‘rue country,’ and anticipating the introspective depth of his upcoming album, “a spark blown in the breeze,” this single demonstrates Hoffman’s evolving mastery of heavy atmospheres and thoughtful songwriting. His words encapsulate feelings of nostalgia, freedom, and peace, expertly turning an ordinary morning drive into a beautiful reflection on life. With lyrics such as “Are you living someone else’s dream/It never made no sense to me/And I’m free/At home/With a peaceful wind/And an afterglow/And I’m not alone,” Hoffman challenges listeners to find their own sense of contentment and self-truth, ensuring “Rosy Skies” is a song that resonates deeply with its audience.

The Money War – “Hide”

Stripping back the ornamentation to let the simplicity of songcraft shine, The Money War delivers a tender, introspective piece with their latest single, “Ride”. Following the success of their late 2022 and early 2023 releases, the Western Australian duo, composed of Dylan Ollivierre and Carmen Pepper, show off their ability to create an emotive sonic experience with little more than an acoustic guitar and their evocative voices. Ollivierre’s lead vocals, supported by Pepper’s harmonies, create a comforting space, making the track feel like an intimate serenade from a friend. Intended to feel like a “lost demo,” “Ride” succeeds in its mission, as it paints a vivid portrait of the beauty found in the mundane, in the chaos, and in the fleeting moments of life.

The song’s sparse production enables the raw talent and emotive lyricism of The Money War to shine through. As Pepper notes, “Ride” serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of living in the moment, especially during the chaos of raising a young family and juggling various projects. The duo’s ability to imbue such personal experiences and emotions into their music only further establishes their position in the indie-folk scene. With over 3 million Spotify streams and support from notable outlets like Rolling Stone AU and NME, The Money War’s recognition is well-deserved. As “Ride” embarks on its journey from its May 26 release to the arrival of their EP, ‘I Don’t Hear You Anymore’, which was released on June 23, The Money War continues to impress with their dreamy, honest, and incredibly personal musical narratives.

Kwasi – “Ready to Go”

Naarm/Melbourne-based artist Kwasi makes a powerful statement with his new single “Ready To Go,” released on May 26. The genre-bending musician, known for his innovative fusion of punk-rock energy and alternative hip hop’s magnetic pull, once again stretches the boundaries of music with this track. Kwasi’s style—deeply rooted in rap and hip hop and demonstrated in groundbreaking collaborations like 2022’s “Self Sabotage”—is more than evident in this new anthem. “Ready To Go” is a sonic representation of the spirit of resilience, an echo of the strength found in overcoming life’s adversities through the transformative power of music.

“Ready To Go” bursts with an unapologetic energy, reflecting Kwasi’s fiery artistry while maintaining an introspective undertone. The poignant lyrics tackle themes of isolation, confusion, and heartbreak, inviting listeners into a cathartic experience through music. Kwasi’s distinctive sound is fully displayed here, as he masterfully blends soaring melodies with pulsating beats. This multifaceted track—juxtaposing frenetic energy with a cool, calm, collected demeanor—is a testament to Kwasi’s innovative artistry. With a career marked by sharing stages with artists like 360, Genesis Owusu, Allday, and Xzibit, Kwasi has cemented his place in the music industry. “Ready To Go” promises to further his influence and showcase his raw, authentic, and imaginative artistry, as recognized by platforms such as Spotify, Triple J, and AU Review.

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