Welcome, audiophiles, to another thrilling edition of Ten Track Thursday on bsideguys.com! As the week sails towards its finale, we’re revving up the musical engine to bring you a collection of ten tracks that are resounding through the underground and reverberating across the soundwaves. As ever, our aim is to provide a platform for emerging talents, unraveling a plethora of sounds and textures that span genres and traverse musical landscapes. From the sonorous strings of indie bands to the pulsating beats of underground electronic music, our curated list is a melody-infused journey designed for those with an insatiable appetite for the new, the exciting, and the undiscovered. So, secure your headphones, turn up the volume, and let’s delve into this week’s eclectic soundscape of uncharted musical territories!
Leonard “Lowdown” Brown – “Blues Make Me Feel Good”
Leonard “Lowdown” Brown’s debut, “Blues Make Me Feel Good,” is a simmering pot of rich bluesy tonalities and foot-tapping rhythms—a lush culmination of a lifetime dedicated to the musical craft. Born to a musically inclined family, Leonard’s journey traces the roots of the Great Migration, grounding his music in a palette that’s as diverse as it is profound. His profound connection with music, woven into the fabric of his existence, is palpable in this track, where his soulful vocals paint vivid imagery, bridging gaps between generations, connecting listeners to a shared, universal rhythm.
Leonard, a maestro from Houston, pours seven decades of unwavering passion and robust musical experiences into “Blues Make Me Feel Good,” turning it into a testament to his journey—from plucking the strings of his first guitar to becoming a staple in Houston’s vibrant music scene. It’s a musical odyssey underscored by encounters with diverse musical genres and encounters with legendary artists. Leonard’s profound belief in music as a universal connector, a harmonious frequency uniting disparate souls in joy and dance, is resonated in every note, offering a transcendental experience. The track is a confluence of Leonard’s significant influences, echoing the intricacies of B.B. King and the rawness of R.L. Burnside, blending seamlessly into a coherent, distinctive sound, rooted deeply in the blues but with echoes of his formative years in gospel. Every strum and lyric in “Blues Make Me Feel Good” is not just a note in a song; it’s a page from Leonard’s story, a master soul-bluesman encapsulating the essence of a musical lifetime.
Lay-Ko Beats – “Lake Ripples” feat. Desert Pond Fisherman, DREAM WRLD
“Lake Ripples” by Lay-Ko Beats is a sublime confluence of moody undertones and experimental rhythm, featuring artistic collaborations with Desert Pond Fisherman and DREAM WRLD. Lay-Ko Beats, the artistic identity of John Layko Torkelson, constructs a sonorous landscape that harmoniously blends the meticulous nuances of Trip-Hop and the intricate flow of Instrumental Hip-Hop. The track resonates with influences of renowned artists like Nosaj Thing and DJ Krush, while retaining an individuality that reflects Lay-Ko’s intrinsic style—a style characterized by his extensive vinyl collection and rich musical history, stretching from Michigan to Chicago, influencing his sonic architecture and providing a diverse array of Lo-Fi flavors.
The essence of “Lake Ripples” is deeply connected to Torkelson’s passion for vinyl collecting, which serves as both an inspirational source and a reservoir for his intricate beats. The vinyl’s vintage essence and his past associations with groups like Dear Dead City and Glynis intertwine to create a piece that is deeply layered yet universally resonant. After a decade-long hiatus, the confluence of past experiences and contemporary influences bring forth a sound that is nostalgic yet avant-garde, symbolizing a triumphant return to the musical arena. The collaboration in “Lake Ripples” emerges as a musical canvas painted with various shades of moods and tones, reflecting Torkelson’s journey through the realms of music and his exploration of the evolving technologies shaping modern soundscapes. The fusion of distinct artistic styles, both in collaboration and musical approach, makes “Lake Ripples” a compelling listen, appealing to aficionados of experimental and mood-driven music.
LB Beistad – “Why Don’t We Go West”
“Why Don’t We Go West,” the latest from LB Beistad, emerges as a harmonious amalgamation of alt-country and folk, underscored by a somber and chilled atmospheric mood. The lyrical voyage, articulating a sense of discontent and a yearning for liberation, resonates with the acoustic echoes of Mazzy Star and the experimental vibes of Japanese Breakfast. Beistad, a native of rural East Tennessee, crafts a reflective soundscape, painting pictures of ghost towns and monotony—”Wake then sleep, then rinse repeat it,”—to echo her internal turmoil and the dissociation from her surroundings. The song’s thematic arc oscillates between themes of confinement and a desire for boundless freedom, embodied in the poignant refrain, “Why don’t you free me / Why don’t we go west / It’s all the same to me / We can go wherever we wanna be.”
Born into isolation, LB found solace and inspiration through the vast musical realms uncovered by her family’s first computer, molding a sonic aesthetic that ranges from heavy pop hits to subdued, introspective melodies. The track “Why Don’t We Go West” personifies Beistad’s multifaceted musical journey, uniting her diverse influences into a coherent and deeply emotional narrative. The recurring motif of ‘going west’ echoes a timeless aspiration for a place where the constraints of the mundane fade into boundless horizons, revealing LB’s intricate layering of lyrical depth and musical innovation. It’s this duality of haunting isolation and the unceasing quest for freedom that characterizes Beistad’s work, making “Why Don’t We Go West” a fascinating exploration of human longing and the universal quest for meaning.
Blake Wisner & David Rice – “SOLO”
In “SOLO,” Blake Wisner and David Rice orchestrate a narrative of self-discovery and metamorphosis, enveloped in the poignant echoes of indie pop and singer-songwriter elements. The piece radiates a mellow blend of sadness and contemplation, articulated with a meticulous mesh of melodic flows and alternative RnB hooks, reflecting the varied influences from Anderson Paak to Mac Miller. The song’s emotional landscape unfolds as a journey of an individual wronged by others, exploring a newfound solace in solitude. A compelling chord change at 1:58 marks a subtle but resonant shift in the auditory journey, reminiscent of the evocative transformations within the works of Bon Iver and James Vincent McMorrow.
Blake Wisner, a Las Vegas-based artist with a passion rooted in early experiences with music and poetry, brings a distinctive touch to the world of pop. From his initial piano lessons at three to his high school explorations into poetic compositions, Blake’s development as a singer-songwriter emerges prominently in “SOLO.” The track exemplifies his skill in blending catchy, melodic flows with rich, emotive lyrical content, defining his unique sound within the contemporary musical landscape. “SOLO” thus stands as a testament to Blake’s evolving musical journey, sculpting an intimate and multifaceted experience for listeners navigating the realms of resilience and self-reflection.
Jack Quit the Band – “No Use et al. (2022)”
“No Use et al. (2022)” by Jack Quit the Band manifests as a vehement critique of the dehumanizing nature of dating apps, grounding its narrative in the intricate tapestry of emo alternative rock. The raw lyrical fervor channels a tangible sense of desolation and existential reckoning, echoing the artists’ personal skirmishes with the alienation inherent in digital interaction platforms. The piece explores the abyss of human connection reduced to objectification, aligning its thematic core with the distress and resignation encapsulated in the lines, “Waiting / I’ve been waiting / For no use at all.” The song’s academic pun title amplifies its lamentation on the “uselessness” and myriad emotions born from virtual connection attempts, delivering a blistering commentary on the fragmented landscapes of modern dating.
Jack Quit the Band, formed amid a juxtaposition of BBQ, kimchi, beers, and eclectic musical expressions, navigates the interstices of country, jazz, and punk. The trio—Goldie Leger, Jacques Bureau, and Joshua Grunt—are no strangers to juxtaposing musical extremities, intertwining “twinkly guitar noodle riffs” with the raw vigor of their sonic identity. A journey initiated in gastronomic conviviality and culminating in musical rebellion, “No Use et al. (2022)” marks their contemplative return to the music scene, a harbinger of their upcoming, energy-infused EP. In this single, the resonance of Algernon Cadwallader and Glocca Morra is palpable, painting their influences in strokes of frenetic anguish and unadulterated emotional discord, epitomizing the collective’s exploration into the multifaceted spheres of human connection and isolation.
Starsign – “Fish Oil”
“Fish Oil,” the avant-garde brainchild of the 10-piece ensemble Starsign, serves as a vibrant prologue to their impending debut album, weaving together the eclectic threads of jazz, funk, and fusion. The track is a labyrinth of sonic experimentation, imbued with a visceral energy reminiscent of Snarky Puppy’s intricate tapestries. A snake-charmer soprano sax solo at 2:09 melds seamlessly with a searing blues guitar solo at 4:05, cultivating an auditory spectacle that crescendos into a cataclysmic metal drum solo, manipulating time in its dynamic cadence. The experimental allure of “Fish Oil” is both a celebration and a dissection of genre conventions, its dynamic contours exploring the syncretic potentials of music.
Hailing from San Diego, California, Starsign crafts their distinct sound with a palette inspired by the likes of Steely Dan, FORQ, and Rush. The collective is a myriad of influences, a harmonious clash of award-winning funk guitar, Miami’s Latin-infused piano reverberations, the robust intensity of metal drums, and an eclectic horn section that traverses the jazz spectrum from Miles Davis to Herbie Hancock. The confluence of diverse regional and genre-specific sounds within Starsign is emblematic of their multifaceted approach to music creation, amalgamating disparate musical elements into a singular, unifying vibe that echoes with unparalleled uniqueness and intricate sophistication.
Noah Zacharin – “Ten Tons of Road”
“Ten Tons of Road,” the incisive opener to his seventh album, establishes Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist Noah Zacharin in a space teeming with intimate narratives and acute emotional journeys. The track is a solo rendition and a heartfelt homage to love and the untraveled paths it coerces one to embark upon. The strains of melancholy that entwine with romantic contemplations echo the delicate balance of sadness, moody introspection, and the raw romanticism inherent in the Americana and Acoustic Folk traditions. Zacharin’s voice, a vessel of emotive transparency, cradles each note, enveloping listeners in a delicate embrace of lyrical vulnerability and intricate guitar work.
The composition’s core is its poignant simplicity, allowing Zacharin’s deep-rooted love for folk and its storytelling capabilities to flourish unfettered. It serves as a testament to his continued evolution as an artist, with each chord striking the heartstrings with a finesse honed over a prolific musical journey. The timeless appeal of “Ten Tons of Road” lies in its exploration of love’s myriad complexities, weaving a tapestry of emotions that resonate with a universal allure. In this meticulously crafted musical soliloquy, Zacharin stands as a modern-day bard, his tunes etched with the enduring echoes of romantic wanderings and the unyielding weight of the roads less traveled.
Sourface – “Solaire”
In “Solaire,” Sourface, the dynamic Anglo-Parisian quartet, presents a sonorous spectacle, a musical canvas painted with hues of jazz fusion, indie-pop, and funk, all blending seamlessly to narrate an ode to the sun—a symbol of life’s dichotomous giver and taker. The band’s unique sound is a chaotic yet harmonious dance between diverse genres, each step infused with an exhilarating burst of energy. It channels the dynamic vibes of the ’70s jazz maestros Cortex and merges them with the psychedelic tones of La Femme. Every note is a swirl of vibrant synths, pulsating drums, and suave French vocals, creating a soundscape that’s both nostalgic and forward-thinking, illustrating Sourface’s unrelenting chaos-positive energy.
The song’s lyrical fabric, adorned with both existential and ethereal threads, weaves the portraits of sunrises and tropical landscapes, of enduring happiness and transient anger. Translating the lyrics, one perceives reflections on time’s fluidity under our gaze, the world igniting under the skies, and the sun immortalized with lines like “Long live the solar star.” The interlude explores unconfessed pleasures and unfinished projects, the transient nature of emotions, and the eternal presence of the sun in every emotion. Sourface masterfully combines the philosophical essence of their lyrics with their eclectic sound, enabling listeners to journey through the auditory landscapes of unrestrained joy and profound reflections. “Solaire” is a solar dance, a timeless euphony where each note is a ray of sun, radiant, illuminating, and infinitely energetic.
The Kite Project – “Don’t Hesitate”
Celebrating a decade since its inception, The Kite Project, Malta’s pioneering cartoon band, reverberates with renewed vigor in “Don’t Hesitate.” The track is a stirring concoction of indie and soft rock, radiating the energetic echoes of iconic bands like The Cranberries and No Doubt, and echoes the fervor of Alanis Morissette. It narrates the relentless pursuit of one’s artistic dreams, portraying the poignant synergy of frustration and passion inherent to the creative process. The animated visual accompaniment, a blend of skilfully crafted frames and fan-found footage, mirrors the vivacity and the relentless zeal imbued in every note, depicting the turbulence and the triumphs of the artistic odyssey, making it a beacon for those ensnared in the juxtaposition of their dreams and struggles.
“Don’t Hesitate” unravels the tale of unbridled ambition, the aspirations clashing and merging with the relentless march of time. The lyrics convey a poignant message—encapsulating the essence of pursuing dreams and the inherent reluctance therein, with lines like “All you wanna be is a step before the rest, And all I wanna do is do what I love best.” The relentless urgency pulsates through the lyrics, culminating in the haunting refrain “Don’t hesitate, It’ll be too late, Before you get to me,” a stark reminder of the fleeting nature of opportunity and time. It’s a sonic journey through the myriad facets of human aspiration, a symphony of fervent desires and relentless pursuit, making “Don’t Hesitate” a timeless anthem for the dreamers entwined in the eternal dance of desire and deterrence. The song is a harmonious outcry, a lyrical echo resounding through the realms of ambition and reluctance, compelling and impassioned, urging the listener to embark on their journey before the sands of time render it too late.
Brand New Friend – “Open And Shut”
With “Open and Shut,” Brand New Friend crafts a musical tableau, a melodic echo of childhood reverie interlaced with elements of indie rock and folk, an allusion to literary artistry and a reflection of life’s juxtapositions. The track is a constituent of their latest album, “Grandstand,” a project permeated with nods to diverse inspirations from Wendy Erskine and Joan Didion to the cherished reminiscences of television presenter Des Lynam’s stint on the sports show ‘Grandstand.’ The storytelling is akin to a tapestry woven with threads of multifarious influences, portraying glimpses of places, from a sunlit contemporary New York City to a desolate county Donegal in 2001, and traversing through time, reflecting transitions and shifts, presenting protagonists in varying phases of life. The band’s harmonic journey, initiated by the Johnson siblings in the serene landscapes of Northern Ireland, has matured into a resonant presence in the indie-pop scene, garnering mentorship from the likes of Gary Lightbody and gracing myriad stages, manifesting the chill and happy moods intrinsic to their music.
“Open and Shut” is not just a musical piece; it is an immersive journey, transporting the listener through eclectic terrains of human experiences, delving into themes of loss, familial bonds, and reflections on influential figures, unveiling imaginary dialogues and narratives rooted in diverse temporal and spatial dimensions. The track and the album it resides in echo the philosophy of coexistence of contrasting elements in life and emphasize the imperative of forging one’s own path amidst the inevitable alterations in existence. It’s an embodiment of the band’s musical evolution, a symbiosis of divergent inspirations from The Thrills to Mike Skinner, mirroring their explorative and adaptive essence. The harmonies embody the convergence of the past and the present, the real and the imagined, offering a mellifluous exploration of existence and its varied facets, making “Open and Shut” a musical and philosophical odyssey reflective of Brand New Friend’s innovative and introspective artistry.