Mid-Day Music Blast: Joel Porter – “Amaranthine”

I admittedly didn’t know what an Amaranthine was, so I looked it up:

” The appellation is rooted in the Greek words “amarantos,” meaning “immortal” or “unfading,” and “anthos,” meaning “flower.” The word “amaranthine” emerged as an adjective of the imaginary flower and subsequently of anything possessing its undying quality” (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

So as a metaphor, it’s really quite beautiful. It is a flower that doesn’t exist, because it cannot exist, because the quality that defines it is immortality, and everything ends. Nonetheless, artistry explores abstract concepts that don’t have to sync up with reality all the time, and so Amaranthine can be as real as a song, an idea, a poem. The song itself backs up these poetic notions with it’s lyrical and atmospheric quality. Here’s my favorite snippet:

“Winter love and paradigm stoic
I cannot live like this
Strike the match to burn my pattern holding
Today I choose to live
Away from infinite (Someday I’ll befriend to death, there I’ll stay in Infinite)”

 

As someone who tries to take a stoic attitude toward things I cannot control (such as death in this example), I really connected with these lyrics. It seems that he is feeling the pull between trying to live stoically in the face of certain death (the infinite), and also that we as humans are passionate, we are not always meant to be stoic, and for a moment, maybe it’s best to light that passion on fire, forget about the inevitable end for a while, and hope maybe one day in the future he can “befriend death”. Whether that’s the literal meaning or not, it’s the message I needed to hear today. I’m very thankful that Joel Porter shared it with us.

Bio: Joel Porter is an ambient-folk writer, instrumentalist, and producer from North Dakota, now living in Nashville, TN. As an instrumentalist, he has recorded string and brass parts for Foreign Fields, Hembree, Matthew And The Atlas and Boom Forest. In 2017, with the guidance of producer Eric hillman (e.hillman – Foreign Fields), he introduced his intimate, ambient-folk solo project with the release of the nature-inspired Mountain Twin EP. Again in collaboration with Hillman, Joel recently released his heritage-inspired Hiraeth – EP on August 3, 2018. For the release, in collaboration with creative company Makewell, Joel created a pop-up gallery event featuring 20 different artists from the Midwest region. Over 50 pieces of art were shown, as well as the premiere of Joel’s album-length film “Hiraeth”, which told a visual story and further supported the themes and messages on the Hiraeth – EP.

A native musical son of Bismarck, Joel went to Nashville to find his truth. Along the way, he met other travelers seeking the same truth that he was. He returned to North Dakota and discovered that there were spirits hidden in cracks and crevices everywhere he looked. His simple observation could coax these beautiful truths out of hiding. His dreams of mountainside campfires and prairie oceans were full of them. And from these observations, he felt certain he was emboldening and strengthening the truths that he was finding. Making them richer and deeper.

-Caleb

 

Mid-Day Music Blast: Paintbox – “Honey”

Down EP by Paintbox

I’ve been so excited for this song for months now! Paintbox has such a unique sound that mixes so many of my favorite genres. The most obvious elements are folk in nature, but beneath that there is a subtle funk/soul vibe that drives the song from a nice singer/songwriter vibe to an epic ballad that pulls goosebumps up on your forearms. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics:

“I shuffled into town wonderin’ where to go
There is a home, I asked the man on the road he was praying to the Lord
He said if you go right there’ll be troubles you’ll find
Left will leave you just as sore, boy
Life is like lickin’ honey off a thorn
But

I heard its sweet, heard its sweet
Where the rivers do meet right before they reach the bend
And there’s a nice soft place to lay your head
You count your best, you count your worst,
But what is your comfort worth
To you when the truth is most everything it hurts”

 

Before I break the message down, I just want to say “life is like lickin’ honey off a thorn” is one of the best lines I’ve ever heard. It’s so succinct and relatable, perfect poetry. This song does a good job of analyzing the idea of comfort, how much of it is necessary, and if comfort even equals happiness at all. To me it seems that a lot of the times I’ve felt most alive have coincided with very little comfort: road trips, long hikes, foreign places. So maybe if you acknowledge that life is bumpy, whether you sit in the same place, or put yourself somewhere new, you can free yourself up to make the best of the time we do have here.

Bio: ​Paintbox is a Los Angeles based band that plays a unique combination of funk, folk, and soul. Formed in 2014 by singer Jake Dupre and guitarist Luca Brown, the band’s sound is a mixture of crafted songwriting and collective improvisation. Paintbox is currently writing for their second studio album, and playing shows around California.

– Caleb

Mid-Day Music Blast: Calan Mai – “XO”

Hey guys! I’m so excited to be back and sharing music with you guys. I have an absolutely great song for your lunch break today. The Rolling Stone  compared their sound to Conor Oberst and Bon Iver. If you think those sounds are kind of far apart, I agree, but I sort of see where they are coming from. There is a rustic and small town feel to the lyrics, much like Conor, but the production on the song is smooth like Bon Iver. I could see this song on an underground college hipster’s playlist, right alongside a SNL appearance as a feature artist. It’s really an interesting and dynamic dichotomy.

When asked about the message behind the song Calan Mai has said, “When someone writes ‘xo’, that doesn’t mean they want to kiss and hug you. When they send a smiley face, they aren’t really smiling. The world is a bit like that now-a sea of lovehearts, likes, upvotes and retweets. You ask for validation and get bright lights and numbers in return. And I’m no better. I doubt myself. I compare myself. I wonder how many times this song will get played. That’s what ‘XO’ is about-wanting to reach through your LCD screen and grab the world by the collar and say, ‘I do make the cut. I do have potential. And this song is a good f*cking song.”

It is a good fucking song. And you can find it wherever you listen to music right here: Linky

-Caleb

Mid-Day Music Blast: MOWUKIS – “A Quick Stab In The Heart”

 

I don’t know about you guys, but I immediately thought of Radiohead or Polyneso when I first heard these guys. Considering those are two of my favorite bands, that immediately made this one of my favorite new songs. MOWUKIS bio says simple: “I write music to lower the weight.” I’m not entirely sure what it means, but I have some guesses. My silly answer is that he writes so much music that he doesn’t have time to over eat. My serious answer is that he’s using music as a form of therapy, like a lot of us artists tend to. He’s lowering the weight of the world, or his soul, or whatever metaphor you want to use.

The song only has two verses, so even though I normally wouldn’t put a full song’s lyrics, it’s not too egregious. Let’s check them out:

“I…
I just fed the lions
made them such cowards
made them such a lie.
I had,
I had to draw out solutions
to keep this jungle of eyes
from eating my delights.

King,
Alone in full possession
A kingdom-broken-passion
A quick stab in the heart.
Walls,
To keep ourselves from motion
Citizens as pollution
Are slowly passing by.”

I feel like I could attempt to write an essay on these lyrics. Instead, I’ll hit a couple of high points. How does feeding the lions make them cowards? If you put them in captivity and give them a consistent meal, does their drive for hunting start to dissipate? If that’s true, and we generally know that it is. It changes them into a “lie”, a shell of what nature shaped them into over the millennia. We then see this King, who can make lions into cowards, ruling over a kingdom with a broken passion. A citizenry that is safe behind walls, but wasting their lives away now that all the passions are gone. It’s a really great mirror to the lions before and a beautiful song overall.

-Caleb

 

Mid-Day Music Blast: Bethia Beadman – “At the Beach”

Well, if you know me personally, which most of you don’t, you’ll know that the Neil Young “Out of the Blue” reference immediately caught my attention. But here, she’s flipped it in a clever way to discuss dipping your feet in the blue ocean, as well as a flipping of understanding, since it follows up showing difference when she says:

“I don’t know what it’s like to be a man
And peer into the kill
Out of the black into the blue
You dip your feet into the cool”

And that brings up the most striking thing to me overall about this song. Yes it has incredible vocals that are timeless, but the lyrics really stand out to me. It seems to be setting herself against various men in her life, namely her father.

“Hell I’m just here inhabiting the holes
That you dig and dig so you can feel better

Looks like a castle in the sand
If only fathers would stick around
But I don’t know what it’s like to be a man
I don’t know what it’s like to be a man.”

Which might ultimately explain the Neil Young reference. She’s talking to someone of an older generation, her father, in a language he will hopefully understand. She’s trying to acknowledge the difficultly of being a father while also telling her father how painful it was that he wasn’t around, and the impact that it’s left on her, and all the other daughters who’ve grown up without fathers, leaving holes where there should be sand.

-Caleb

Want to hear more? We’ve added this song to our July TOTD playlist on Spotify. Check that out here.

 

 

 

Mid Day Music Blast: TyC “SELFISH”

Recently, TyC lost his father earlier than expected due to a massive heart attack. He was left with an unexpected void in his life, and turned to music as his therapy. The song that he came out with, SELFISH, is the song that most people internalize when in the same situation and they don’t know how to get it out. This song has helped TyC find some solace, and can do the same for others. We feel like it’s selfish to focus on ourselves at a time like this, but in actuality, that is exactly who the person who passed would want us to focus on. They want us to do whatever it takes to find healing.

Starting the song with a voicemail is pretty cool, but I think the content of the message is what’s important. It’s absolutely nothing. It’s the kind of message you receive and you say to yourself, “Why did they leave me a message? I know I missed their call. I’d call them back either way.” That’s the beauty of it. This message has taken on a whole new life now given the situation. Even the most mundane things become mementos and key pieces of remembering someone. I had a friend who died, and I still keep a bottle cap from a Nehi that he had been drinking the previous day and left on my dresser. It seems so ridiculous to some people, but it’s a memory of us sitting around and playing Uncharted all night, crushing sodas to stay awake.

TyC goes in with a simple but pronounced beat, keeping the focus first and foremost on the lyrics, but layering bass lines and orchestral sounds to really bring this song to life. A beautiful tribute to his late father, TyC is getting therapy through his music, and is passing something really special along to us in the process.

 

Mid-Day Music Blast: The Amber Unit – “Brother”

The Amber Unit have been playing music for a long time now. It’s quite a feat to keep a project going for two decades, and you can tell their music has a sense of maturity and crispness in it that only comes with that much experience and work flow. The song itself seems to describe a relationship between two brothers. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics:

“I follow right behind you
in the dark ~ If you just turn
around you’d see me standing
~ Like some kind of demon ~
Demon, demon, demon ”

I’m not sure if this is from a younger brother’s perspective, but that’s what it seems like to me. He is following behind the older brother, and the older brother doesn’t realize how his shadow has cast some of the mentality of the younger brother.

“Cause this is getting
dangerous, serious oh brother,
oh brother ~”

Press release: “In 2018 the new album “Fear No Giant” will be out. (it actually already is at the time of writing this, here is a bandcamp link for you.) If you’ve met the band and their music you already know what to expect: it will be neither more of the same nor something trendy. Having emerged from the mist of youth they can see now from afar how spring had radiated its light. With minimal changes in the lineup of the band, rewarding side projects and other bands (Pirates from Mars, Vic Hofstetter Solo, Ifoterius, Mistral, Brandhaerd, Karin Portmann, The Kitchenettes) some years have passed since. The Amber Unit has had half a lifetime of music so far. Rather than just a series of concerts and releases, it is has been a of love and suffering, careers and children. They used to be wild and dreamy in the past, but now they’re telling us of delayed love and bleeding lips. They encourage us to leave behind the wrong preachers, reminding us that it is the small things that kill. What they’ve learnt after half a lifetime of music, they are putting into song.”

I know I’m excited to dive into all their music new and old.

-Caleb