Weekly New Releases – SUGARFUNGUS, Nathan Graham, AiramFM, Lawson Hull, The Steel Crows, Dune Moss, Earl Hondo, Orions Belte, and skipping

Welcome to another week of sonic exploration on B-Side Guys! As the virtual curtains pull back, we once again present to you a handpicked selection of the latest and greatest tracks that have graced the musical landscape. Whether you’re searching for your next earworm or a deep cut to lose yourself in, our Weekly New Releases has got you covered. Dive in, and let these fresh tunes be the soundtrack to your week. Whatever your vibe, we’ve sifted through the noise so you can groove to the best.

SUGARFUNGUS – “A Named Thing Is A Known Thing”

Emerging from the lush woods of Vancouver, SUGARFUNGUS offers an introspective dive into the nature of existence with “A Named Thing Is A Known Thing.” Anchored by dreamlike guitar strums and a soft cadence of percussion, the song blooms like a nightshade in the midnight moon, revealing the duality of life – where both fleeting moments of joy and eternal contemplations merge. The lyrical landscape painted by lines like, “Waking in the woods, Where darkness stood” and “Trusting that the stars are really there,” transcends a mere song. It becomes a reflection of existential wonder, capturing the universal longing for connection and understanding.

HighClouds wasn’t exaggerating when it described SUGARFUNGUS’s style as “dancy dream pop for the haunted and heartbroken.” In “A Named Thing Is A Known Thing,” the group extends their musical mycelium further into the collective consciousness, blending their signature pop hooks with atmospheric motifs. Lyrics like “A named thing is a known thing” recur, echoing like a mantra, a profound reminder of the power in understanding and naming our feelings, experiences, and the world around us. Like an ember cupped delicately in the hands, the song glows softly, illuminating SUGARFUNGUS’s potential as they continue to grow, branching out from the underbelly of the music scene. The track not only showcases the band’s capacity for depth and nuance but solidifies their place as torchbearers for the next wave of indie dream pop.

Nathan Graham – “Somebody Else”

Chicago’s Nathan Graham channels a deeply soulful exploration of ambition and self-worth in “Somebody Else.” Steering away from the well-treaded path of traditional relationship ballads, Graham instead delves into the personified relationship between an artist and their ever-elusive aspirations. Lyrics like “Sick of waiting on your call” echo a sentiment of hopeful perseverance, showcasing Graham’s unyielding chase of dreams reminiscent of that first spark, when icons like Lenny Kravitz exemplified the realms of possibilities with an electric guitar in hand. This track, situated amongst the anticipated narrative of his debut album “Saint of Second Chances,” is a poignant tribute to tenacity in the face of doubt.

Infusing South Side Blues with raw, Chuck Berry-like lyrical candor, Graham is dismantling stereotypes one chord at a time. His sound, a harmonious blend of bluesy roots and Nashville Americana, encapsulates his journey – from those early days wielding his guitar in Chicago’s legendary blues venues to opening for prominent acts like The Wallflowers. In “Somebody Else,” we’re granted a window into the heart of a musician confronting self-doubt, chasing dreams, and ultimately striving to shape the narrative of what it means to be a “singer-songwriter.” With an impassioned voice that’s both sorrowful and invigorating, Nathan Graham is not just telling a story; he’s beckoning listeners to join him, to feel, and to redefine boundaries.

AiramFM – “Heartbeat”

From the serene landscapes of Denmark, Maria Friis Møller, or better known by her ethereal moniker, AiramFM, graces the indie-alternative sphere with her beautifully somber, “Heartbeat.” This poignant track is not merely a song but a raw testimony of personal loss, capturing the agonizing moments of saying a final goodbye. “As you lay there in the bed, Your breathing’s slowing,” AiramFM’s voice delicately wavers, reminiscent of Lana Del Rey’s hauntingly melodic inflections, all the while evoking the tenderness of Birdy. The lyrics, “I try to hymn a melody that you used to sing to me, But my voice keeps shaking cause my heart is breaking,” deliver an insurmountable weight of grief, making “Heartbeat” a heartbreaking ode to a cherished loved one’s memory, but also a beacon of solace for anyone navigating the tides of sorrow.

As a self-made artist, AiramFM’s indomitable spirit shines through, molding her personal tragedies into cathartic melodies that touch the very fabric of human vulnerability. With 11 releases, she’s consistently illustrated a knack for crafting evocative narratives and “Heartbeat” stands as the pinnacle of her intimate discography. It’s a brave and hauntingly beautiful testament to the inexorable force of love, the void left by its absence, and the bittersweet memories that remain. Delving deep into the realms of melancholy and healing, AiramFM has woven her profound pain and resilience into a musical tapestry that offers both tears and comfort in its embrace.

Lawson Hull – “Strange”

In a time when the world turned topsy-turvy, Australian alt-folk bard Lawson Hull’s “Strange” emerges as a serene beacon amidst the prevailing dissonance, a reverie that delves deep into the abyss of self-reflection and the ephemerality of time. Riding on the back of his successful collaboration with Laura Lucas, Lawson’s newest offering is introspective yet universal, touching upon the collective anxiety and hopes of a world caught in the vise of an unprecedented crisis. The track draws from the pandemic’s liminal space, where one is caught between the familiar and the ‘new normal’. “Sometimes if you’re lucky as a songwriter,” Lawson muses, touching upon the creative paralysis and inertia that plagues many in these turbulent times. This sentiment finds a visual echo in the accompanying video, shot on 35mm film: a contemplative Lawson juxtaposed against the vast expanse of the Australian coast, only to end with the comforting grasp of a loved one, illustrating the profound isolation and eventual reconnection.

Musically, “Strange” carries the essence of what makes Lawson Hull so magnetic in the indie-folk scene. His self-described “Aussie take on Tom Petty” is both charming and honest, reminiscent of fellow country talents like Angus and Julia Stone. The song reverberates with cinematic production, letting his profound lyrics breathe and encapsulate the listener. Like his previous works in Hangin’ Out with Cowboys and Mountain Days, Hull continues to masterfully weave narrative and nostalgia. As he conjures images of a life spent in the tranquil Watagan Ranges of New South Wales, “Strange” becomes not just a personal reflection for Hull but a mirror for us all, pondering the steps we’ve taken, the roads yet to traverse, and the uncertainty that frames both.

The Steel Crows – “Jenny”

Channelling the undying spirit of a bygone rock era, “Jenny” by The Steel Crows is a blistering track that serves as an electrifying homage to the giants of classic rock, all while deftly bridging the past with the present. From the opening riffs, reminiscent of the iconic sounds of The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith, to the pulsating rhythm section, there’s an unmistakable vintage essence that permeates through the track. Yet, The Steel Crows manage to layer this nostalgia with a fresh, contemporary edge. This juxtaposition ensures “Jenny” resonates not just with the wistful listeners longing for the golden days of rock ‘n’ roll but also with the younger generation, seeking the same raw energy in today’s rock scene.

As a unit, The Steel Crows encapsulate what many rock aficionados miss from the famed ’60s and ’70s era. Their music thrives on the quintessential elements: the crunch of the guitars, the powerful thud of the drums, the resonant hum of a thick bass line, and above all, those raw, gravelly vocals that conjure images of smoky bars and impassioned live shows. While their inspirations clearly lie with legends like Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones, the band’s approach to infusing modernity into their tracks ensures they are not merely derivative. Instead, they carve out a space for themselves, crafting songs like “Jenny” that are both a nod to rock’s illustrious past and a testament to its enduring future.

Dune Moss – “Eyes Inside My Walls”

Dune Moss’s “Eyes Inside My Walls” is an audacious foray into the muddled intersections of sexuality, self-worth, and religious repression. The pulsating synths underscore a tale of youthful curiosity curbed by dogmatic decrees, creating a soundscape that’s both seductive and sorrowful. Dune’s sultry vocals passionately lament the judgmental eyes that watched her every youthful indiscretion. The repeated cry of “What have I done? What have I done?” isn’t just a regretful musing but an outright challenge, pushing boundaries and asking listeners to question societal norms that have unfairly imprisoned her desires and emotions.

The rawness of Dune’s recounting—being subjected to confessional scrutinies, having to detail innocent kisses to older male religious figures—creates a palpable tension. It’s an uncomfortably intimate view into her life, yet utterly mesmerizing. “Eyes Inside My Walls” is more than just a song—it’s a declaration of sexual independence and a repudiation of stifling religious dogma. Through her fearless confrontation of her past, Dune Moss has crafted a compelling anthem for every individual who’s ever felt confined by society’s judgmental gaze.

Earl Hondo – “j’s on my feet”

With “j’s on my feet,” Earl Hondo serves up a blistering, groove-laden track that skillfully intertwines the gritty realism of street hustle with glimmers of opulence and pride. Infused with the Southern charm reminiscent of Outkast and the reflective soul of Isaiah Rashad, the song is a heady mix of ambition and authenticity. Hondo’s lyricism pops with a swaggering bravado: lines like “Js on my feet, chain on my neck” juxtapose the celebratory symbols of success with the sobering refrain “Days on repeat, ain’t no respect,” underscoring the grind and resilience required to navigate a world that often fails to acknowledge his worth.

Hondo’s roots in choir and diverse musical influences—ranging from Stevie Wonder to A Tribe Called Quest—shine through in the track’s layered complexity. The references to cultural touchstones, like “watching BET .jams” and the nod to Alex Haley’s Kunta Kinte with the line “You can’t check this Kinte,” demonstrate Hondo’s adeptness at weaving socio-cultural commentaries into his bars. The recurring theme of “I got bills, I got fam, That Need them bands” offers a grounded contrast to the glitzy imagery of high-end sneakers and jewelry. Through this song, Earl Hondo doesn’t just flex his lyrical dexterity; he crafts an anthem for the everyday grind, for the struggle to make ends meet, and for the aspiration to elevate above it all.

Orions Belte – “When You’re Gone I’ll Be Gone” (feat. Louien)

Norwegian instrumental maestros Orions Belte have woven yet another tapestry of sound with their latest single, “When You’re Gone I’ll Be Gone”. This time, they’re accompanied by the ethereal voice of Louien, offering a haunting, dreamy soundscape that dances delicately atop the band’s already-established warm and immersive instrumentation. This track sees the trio continuing the ascension they began with a unique cover of Ghostface Killah’s “Cherchez La Ghost” in 2019, followed by the electric energy of Villa Amorini in 2021. The song envelops listeners like a gentle embrace, calling to mind visions of “road trips on bumpy country roads through the Amazon in Brazil”. The alliance with Louien only elevates the band’s hallmark blending of various inspirations, resulting in a single that is both familiar in its warm embrace and startlingly fresh in its approach.

The evocative narrative of “When You’re Gone I’ll Be Gone” serves as a tantalizing prelude to Orions Belte’s forthcoming album, Women, set to release in October via Jansen Records. Taking a journey through their discography, from the experimental moods of Mint to the bustling energy of Villa Amorini, it’s clear that Orions Belte possess an uncanny ability to adapt, evolve, and continually surprise their audience. The band’s roots, stemming from serendipitous encounters and shared musical dreams in Bergen, have bloomed into a flourishing tree of collaborative genius. This single stands testament to the evolving spirit of the trio—Øyvind Blomstrøm, Chris Holm, and Kim Åge Furuhaug—and sets a tantalizing stage for what’s to come in Women.

skipping – “Ice Climbers”

Emerging from the bustling alt-pop scene in Los Angeles, the enigmatic artist known as skipping reveals their newest creation, “Ice Climbers”. From the onset, listeners are transported into a dreamy synthesis of bedroom pop and vaporwave, reminiscent of the groundbreaking sounds of George Clanton and Neon Indian, yet distinct in its own right. The track exudes an energetic pulse, seamlessly blending experimental rhythms with moody undertones, creating a soundscape that’s as introspective as it is danceable.

One can’t help but draw parallels between the lo-fi aesthetics of Toro y Moi and the ethereal touches of Sitcom when diving into “Ice Climbers”. Yet, skipping manages to carve out a niche all their own, masterfully interweaving experimental elements that make this track stand out in the saturated bedroom pop scene. The song is a testament to the artist’s prowess as a singer, songwriter, and producer. One gets a sense that they are listening to the beginnings of an artist who, while drawing inspiration from the greats, is on a journey to define a unique and captivating sound space. If “Ice Climbers” is any indication, the future looks bright for skipping.

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