Mid-Week Mixdown: Citizen Cope, Rowan Drake, Best Noodles In Town, ABSYTE, Charm The Riot, John Que Smith, Jaïnda, Caleb J. Murphy, Starpainter, and Christa Couture

Welcome to the Mid-Week Mixdown on bsideguys.com, your essential dose of sonic innovation to break through the midweek slump! It’s where emerging artists meet the timeless classics, all in one incredible playlist curated just for you. From electrifying beats that get your pulse racing to soothing melodies that transport you to a place of peace, the Mid-Week Mixdown is more than just a collection of tracks—it’s a musical journey.

Here at B-Side Guys, we believe that music has the power to transcend boundaries and connect us in ways words alone cannot. With a blend of the latest indie hits, hidden gems, and timeless favorites, the Mid-Week Mixdown is designed to elevate your music experience.

Whether you’re looking to discover your next favorite artist or simply escape the daily grind with an eclectic mix of genres, the Mid-Week Mixdown is your perfect companion. Tune in, let loose, and lose yourself in the curated brilliance of musicians from across the globe. We hope you enjoy the ride!

Citizen Cope – “Dancing Lullaby (Let’s Give Love a Try)”

Citizen Cope’s new single, “Dancing Lullaby (Let’s Give Love a Try),” marks a reflective return for the seasoned band. Swathed in a dub-influenced reggae arrangement and peppered with cultural nods to figures like Bob Marley and The I-Threes, the track unveils itself as a soothing anthem for connection. The rhythmic pulse lays the groundwork for the song’s lyrical substance, exploring themes of love, beauty, and inspiration. Lyrics like “Dancing Lullaby, let’s give love try / Don’t you wanna be more than just a friend of mine” invoke an inviting charm, colored with a sense of yearning and optimistic intrigue.

The track is an essential component of the band’s recent album, “The Victory March,” reflecting both hope and resilience. As part of Citizen Cope’s ongoing musical journey, “Dancing Lullaby” offers a mature perspective, balancing lush arrangements with Citizen Cope’s signature vibrant melodies. It’s not merely a song; it’s an encapsulation of the band’s broader philosophy, a call for embracing love as a unifying force. The echoes of love resonate through the track, encapsulating what makes this release more than a standard fare from an old band, but rather a meaningful exploration of human connection on their terms.

Rowan Drake – “How Do I Love Again”

Rowan Drake’s single “How Do I Love Again” is a poignant exploration of love lost and the subsequent emotional vacuum it can leave behind. As a centerpiece of the intimately personal EP “Dear Ella,” the track serves as both a tender farewell to a past relationship and a painful rumination on the future of love. The genre confines of Singer-Songwriter and Adult Contemporary frame the song’s structure, but within those boundaries, Drake crafts a universe that is sad, romantic, and moodily reflective. The raw emotion conveyed through both the lyrics and performance grants listeners a glimpse into the very soul of an artist grappling with universal themes of love and loss.

The beauty of “How Do I Love Again” lies in its simplicity and honesty. There are no pretensions here; it’s an unadorned, heartfelt letter set to music. Rowan Drake’s approach allows the listener to transcend mere empathy, fostering a profound connection that reaches into the shared human experience. The melancholic melody and Drake’s emotive vocals amplify the track’s mood, creating an ambience that is as haunting as it is beautiful. “How Do I Love Again” isn’t just a song; it’s a question posed to anyone who has felt love’s sting, and in its asking, offers a catharsis that only the most sincere music can provide.

Best Noodles In Town – “at least”

Best Noodles In Town make a bold statement with their debut single “at least,” an emo-infused alternative rock track that resonates with the restless spirit of youth. The song is a candid reflection of everyday anxieties and disillusionments, punctuated by a breakdown with a math rock influence and vocal harmonies that adds an unexpected complexity. Aligning with the likes of Mom Jeans., Moose Blood, and Neck Deep, the track fuses raw emotion with skillful musicianship. The lyrics, “It’s never enough we work so hard / At least we got friends and a couple dive bars,” epitomize a generation’s struggle, yet offer a communal comfort that’s as charming as it is poignant.

Musically, “at least” captures the essence of its genre while introducing a unique voice to the scene. The breakdown 30 seconds into the track and the groovy tapping section towards the end showcase a band unafraid to experiment within their sound. The lyrics carry a thoughtful resonance, weaving themes of time, mistakes, and existential questioning into a tapestry that’s as comforting as it is challenging. This first release from Best Noodles In Town is a promising glimpse into a young band’s potential, a cry of dissatisfaction that manages to find joy in friendship and music, and a welcome addition to the modern emo and alternative rock landscape.

ABSYTE – “Power of Prayer”

ABSYTE’s “Power of Prayer” is a resonant call to action, a hymn of resistance against oppression and a plea for empathy and understanding. Taking cues from similar artists like Ms. Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu, the track’s powerful message is aimed at empowering those who feel marginalized or suppressed, urging them to rise above the obstacles of political warfare, hatred, or violence. The lyrics are filled with rich imagery and a strong political undertone, such as “Raise hands to the ceiling come together on the feeling / my nation is healing from the toxicity & killings.” The hook, with its unifying chant of “Rules meant to be broken / while stroken on the high note / the power of prayer got haters on the top ropes,” serves as a bold manifesto for change without resorting to violence or destruction.

Musically, the song blends soul, R&B, and hip-hop into a cohesive and stirring whole, with a musicality that underscores its fervent message. The verses are layered with wisdom, historical reflection, and a determined call for a brighter future. The emphasis on prayer and faith adds a spiritual dimension to the song, creating a connection between personal strength and higher principles. It’s a track that, as ABSYTE stated, does not condone violence but is meant to be disruptive and encourage people to find the strength to stand up against fear and bullying. The resulting composition is both a rallying cry for justice and a soulful expression of hope, reflecting an artist deeply engaged with the social and political issues of our time.

Charm The Riot – “Live This Way (Dark Space Version)”

Charm The Riot’s “Live This Way (Dark Space Version)” is a thoughtful exploration into the juxtaposition of materialism and existential contemplation. Drawing on California Boom Bap, the London-born artist, now based in Sacramento, California, paints a lyrical picture that is both dark and introspective. With musical nods to similar artists like A Tribe Called Quest and Pete Rock, the track dwells on daily life’s complexities, as evidenced by lines like “Okay, the trees got roots / The oceans got waves / The game got dues / So you know rhyme pays.” The chorus, echoing “Don’t wanna live this way / Don’t wanna die this way,” resonates as a profound statement on life’s often conflicting desires.

Musically, “Live This Way (Dark Space Version)” demonstrates Charm The Riot’s blend of rap, funk, rock, and electronica. The artist’s flow is both smooth and articulate, weaving through the instrumental effortlessly, giving voice to a sense of dissatisfaction and longing for more meaningful existence. Whether exploring themes of hustling, materialism, or spirituality, the track’s reflective nature and Charm The Riot’s ability to articulate complex emotions make it a standout piece. The words “Hopefully, there’s more to it than this / More to it than this technology and bling for the wrist” encapsulate the song’s essence, urging listeners to look beyond the surface to discover a deeper connection with the world around them. It’s a track that challenges and inspires, marking a sophisticated and ambitious step for an artist unafraid to probe life’s darker corners.

John Que Smith – “Going Home, Monday 5 PM”

John Que Smith’s “Going Home, Monday 5 PM” is a musical odyssey that captures the excitement, anticipation, and urgency of leaving work on a Monday evening. As an instrumental track, it speaks through a vivacious blend of Funk, Nu Jazz, and Jazztronica, channeling the stylistic traits of influential artists like Herbie Hancock. The energetic and epic moods crafted by Smith resonate as a soundtrack for liberation from the workweek’s constraints, painting a musical picture of the bustling streets, vibrant city lights, and the joyful journey home.

From the first beat, the listener is taken on a spirited ride filled with rhythmic complexities, intricate bass lines, and dazzling synthesizer sequences. The funk foundation pulsates with life, while the Nu Jazz and Jazztronica elements lend a modern, innovative edge, making it a compelling and multi-layered listening experience. The choice of instruments and the way they’re employed creates a texture that’s both nostalgic and forward-looking. “Going Home, Monday 5 PM” is more than just a piece of music; it’s a joyful expression of freedom, a celebration of ordinary moments made extraordinary through the power of sound. It’s a track that doesn’t just play in the background but engages, entertains, and elevates the listener, leaving them invigorated and ready for whatever comes next.

Jaïnda – “Seconds, Minutes, Hours”

Jaïnda’s “Seconds, Minutes, Hours” is a melodious gem that encapsulates the essence of fleeting time and moments wrapped in love. With her strong Amsterdam roots, Jaïnda has a voice that is both robust and gentle, reminding listeners of the great singers of the past while infusing her work with a contemporary edge. This Neo-Soul piece, textured with Alternative / Indie R&B and a dash of Jazz Fusion, carries the happy and romantic moods that characterize the spirit of being young, wild, and free.

The song’s arrangement is as lush as it is intricate, with a vocal performance that holds traces of Alicia Keys, Lianne La Havas, and Ms. Lauryn Hill. The instrumental backdrop weaves jazz rhythms and neo-soul harmonies that complement Jaïnda’s emotive delivery. Lyrically, “Seconds, Minutes, Hours” captures the impatience of love and longing, the desire to freeze time, and the realization that every moment is precious. With her outstanding talent and authentic artistry, Jaïnda is poised to capture hearts across the globe. Her blend of classic soulfulness with modern flair creates an enchanting piece that resonates deeply and lingers long after the song ends. “Seconds, Minutes, Hours” is a testament to her potential and a promising hint at what’s to come in her upcoming EP.

Caleb J. Murphy – “The Hands I Got”

Caleb J. Murphy’s “The Hands I Got” is a heartfelt and contemplative ode to his previous neighbors, weaving together a tapestry of true stories that reflect his authentic songwriting style. Drawing from his own life experiences and recent move to a different state, Murphy crafts a narrative that is simultaneously personal and universal. With influences ranging from new folk genre artists like David Kushner and Andy Shauf, the song’s musical composition feels rooted yet explorative, telling the story with an acoustic embrace, adorned with subtle embellishments that add emotional depth.

Murphy’s late-blooming musical emergence shines through in “The Hands I Got,” showcasing his ability to transform personal reflections into poignant songs. As an artist who has grappled with his faith, embraced universal experiences, and learned from what has worn him down, Murphy’s storytelling and creative production have continually evolved. This track resonates with those themes, and his earnest vocals connect the listeners with the characters in his neighborhood. With an empathetic eye, Murphy paints a picture of ordinary lives made extraordinary through song, capturing the human experience in its raw and beautiful form. His consistency and persistence in the music career shine in this piece, marking him as an artist with the unique ability to connect, reflect, and inspire.

Starpainter – “Let It Pass”

Starpainter’s “Let It Pass,” a standout track from their latest album “Rattlesnake Dream,” takes listeners on a contemplative journey through themes of family, love, and the complexities of life’s transitions. Through a folk-rock lens that echoes the likes of Wilco and Justin Townes Earle, the song’s lyrics tell a poignant story of longing and reconciliation. The self-produced, home-recorded nature of the album adds an intimate layer to the experience, with verses like “Gonna take you down to the river / Let it pass by / in the yellow light of evening / I’ll feel alright” carrying a haunting sense of wisdom and nostalgia. The self-reflective lines, artfully mixed by John Anderson and mastered by Phillip Shaw Bova, lend themselves to the timeless craftsmanship and imaginative, guitar-driven arrangements that have come to define Starpainter’s sound.

“Let It Pass” showcases the Alberta-based band’s growth, both in musical exploration and emotional depth. Joel Stretch’s lyrical narrative is centered around small-town prairie life, interwoven with personal insights and resonating universal truths. The entire album’s collaboration with Mexico City-based painter Erick García Gomez for the artwork lends a visual richness that perfectly complements the music. “Let It Pass” serves as a testament to the band’s dedication to old-school songwriting craftsmanship, and the resulting track is a meaningful addition to the modern folk-rock canon. It stands as a highlight in Starpainter’s impressive discography, reflecting their deep connection to their roots and a willingness to forge ahead into new musical landscapes.

Christa Couture – “Summer Is Hot With My Little Trans Lover”

Christa Couture’s new single “Summer Is Hot With My Little Trans Lover” is a radiant addition to her repertoire, illuminating the landscape of love with vibrant, queer joy. This celebratory track, released in perfect timing for pride month, resonates with the warmth of acceptance and the tenderness of a modern romance. Couture’s lyrics, inspired by her own relationship, offer an intimate glimpse into a love story that transcends gender binaries: “Summer is hot with my little trans lover / They take off their shirt and kick off the covers.” The track’s buoyant instrumentation, boasting Steve Dawson on guitar, Jeremy Holmes on bass, and Gary Craig on drums, and produced by the seven-time Juno award-winning Dawson, further elevates the song, capturing the euphoric feeling of summer love.

Couture, an Indigenous (mixed Cree and Scandinavian) artist known for her multifaceted career, brings her unique perspective and authenticity to this single, transforming a personal text message into a universal anthem. “Summer Is Hot With My Little Trans Lover” is more than just a delightful love song; it’s a celebration of non-binary and trans experiences, filling a significant gap in contemporary love ballads. As much an expression of personal joy as it is a statement of inclusivity and validation, the track stands as a milestone in Couture’s already rich and varied career. It’s an enchanting and playful piece that’s sure to resonate with a broad audience, and a heartfelt contribution to the soundtracks of countless summer romances.

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