Morning Commute – Culture Wars – “Bones”

Let’s get this morning started with a little energy. Culture Wars have such a great vibe to them that combines clean vocals with interesting alt. rock and synth elements. It reminds me a good bit of a band like Local Natives, but maybe with a little heavier vibe to it (see the short breakdown near 2:40 or so). One of my favorite things about Culture Wars is that they seem to lean into the creative process, without getting bogged down in the scientific way some modern music tech can halt your flow.

“We write the heart of every song using a couple of synthesizers just to get chords and melody. We’re not really technical guys. I still don’t know how to work half of these things; I’m basically just turning knobs until it makes a noise that I like,” Dugan explains. “We’re creating most of this on our laptops. A lot of our tracks have the appearance of a rock song, but underneath there’s all sorts of weird experimental shit going on. Like, we’ll strike a match and record that sound, and put it through a reverb plug-in, and stick it underneath a track so it sounds like a percussion instrument. Or we’ll record the sound of the rain outside on our iPhones, and we’ll put some reverb and delay on that, and use it as a texture.”

I think that’s a really cool way to look at all the new ways we can use technology in music. Use it, but don’t worry about doing the “right thing”, just keep playing until something inspires you. I know this song has me inspired to pull out my MIDI keyboard and play with effects all afternoon.

Bio: Leather clad Austin rockers Culture Wars “come blazing out of the gate with an addictive electro-rock sound and swagger” (PopMatters). Merging edgy, infectious song craft with inventive electronic textures, punchy guitar work, insistent melodic hooks and the commanding vocals of charismatic front man Alex Dugan, the band makes vibrant, bracing music that’s sonically adventurous yet effortlessly accessible.

 

Culture Wars’ self-titled debut EP (2017) saw its first taste of success, with their single ‘Bones’ rising to #43 on Alternative radio chart, meanwhile their previous single ‘Lies’ cracked one million streams. Culture Wars has quickly established themselves as a band with their own unique style and vibe, writing and recording both from home on laptops and in the remote setting of Sonic Ranch, located just 45 minutes toward the border outside of El Paso, TX. Alongside production by longtime friend and collaborator Robert Sewell, and mixing by Manny Marroquin (Kanye West, Imagine Dragons) and Alan Moulder (The Killers, Nine Inch Nails), Culture Wars have an extensively talented team behind them. The band return with their latest single ‘Let Me Down’ (2019), which Dugan says was created in “now-typical Culture Wars style, post-vodka and pickle shots at 2am at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo.”

-Caleb

Morning Commute: Intellect – “Fonics”

 

If you pay attention to our Instagram you should recognize this album cover. I’ve been bumping it personally since it came out a few months ago in October. I thought it was time to start diving into some of the awesome music from the album, so you’ll see more posts after this one, and maybe even a podcast analysis. Today, let’s start off with the first song I heard from Intellect, “Fonics.” With a title like that, you would expect heavy wordplay and unique vocabulary in the flow and, to quote him, other “verbal gymnastics” and Intellect doesn’t disappoint. With references to Jay-Z and Nas, it’s obvious that Intellect is channeling 90s vibes with a lyrical focus and pulls it off in a way that’s difficult to do. Self described as going “back to the essence of what being a M.C. means. You know smooth, melodic, intellectual music speaking on life, love and everything in between…’Real’ hip-hop!” Intellect is an example of everything I love about creativity, hip-hop, and artistry. Be sure to check out his whole album, Out of Left Field and look out on the blog for more posts about him soon.

Bio: Hip-Hop / Cross Over / Neo-Soul / R&B Recording Artist Intellect aka ~Lect. Not only is he an ingenious songwriter and singer but he’s a “think outside of the box” entrepreneur. Intellect has quickly become successful in the competitive fields of both modeling and music. His music style is Intelligent, Classy and Eloquently spoken, and remains true to the essence of Hip-Hop. Intellect has a fierce loyalty to hip-hop and consistently delivers raw unabated energy in every track he conceives.

Intellect comes with a whole new sound to set himself apart from the rest of the hip-hop world. Something classy, jazzy, and smooth; “Veteran’s Day” and “Neck Deep” produced by Madd Frequency give a raw, personally uncensored, look into his life and experiences. Born in Pensacola, FL, Intellect has traveled the entire world and is a proud Veteran Service Member. He has also worked as an editorial clothing model in SOHO, NYC for Beau Brummel and ARI clothing Inc. and appeared on Allison Weiner’s Media Mayhem. He is currently a Consultant/Trainer/On-Air Talent for XG Productions. Using his life experiences, he helped bring together Season 2 of ABC’s hit show Quantico and NBC’s new series The Enemy Within as a consultant and actor!

-Caleb

Morning Commute: The Matchstick Skeletons – “Told Ya So”

Not to start out objectifying anyone, but good golly the eyes on the lead singer are insane. Okay, now that I got that out of my system, what a fun video! I love how straight they play it with the absurdity of going to pick up a band mate skeleton who texts them “PS I am dead.” Not to mention having to dig your own grave for said skeleton. It’s just campy enough to realize itself, without winking too hard, I love it. Also, the cigarettes being put out by the filling in of the grave is a really unique shot that I would’ve never thought of, but it’s a perfect ending to the saga. Or is it? (the The End? at the end leaves this story  open to continue haha)

Also, if you didn’t pay close attention, please go back to 2:30 and listen to the ramp up into insanity that starts there. Such a cool element to this song that takes it from a cool bluesy rock song into a different dimension entirely. Apparently the lead singer, Neu Mannas, did composing work on Dunkirk, and honestly after that build up, I can see it. I’m really impressed with this song and video, and it deserves way more love than it’s gotten so far. Please give them a follow, spend some money and give them some plays on Spotify so we can get more cool content.

Bio: The Matchstick Skeletons came out of the grave swinging. Formed by singer/multi instrumentalist Neu Mannas  and drummer Matty Carolei, this was a project years in the making.

Midway through a decade of being on the road. Neu & Matty starting playing together in Head of the Herd. After some chart topping, radio music award winning, touring, & record making in England, Wales, the Southern U.S. of A, and throughout their home and native land of Canada, they decided to lock themselves in a tiny dark room and become the band they always wanted to be.

 

-Caleb

Morning Commute: Gabriel Petra – Made of Stone

 

The hiatus is over! Expect to see lots of posts in the coming days/weeks, and we should be reopening submissions in July sometime. Let’s get this thing rolling again with one of my favorite tracks of the moment, “Made of Stone” by Gabriel Petra. As you know, we love to analyze lyrics around here, and this song does not disappoint in that department.

 

“What If I’m made of stone
What If my heart can’t feel
So If I’m destined to suffer
And nothing achieve

What if these ghosts will never die
What if I’m haunted for life
So if my words are not enough
To make a change

I got a feeling I will live another day
I got a feeling I will see another face”

 

I love how this track starts with a series of questions that many of us have probably encountered in our lower points, that awful feeling of being down and wondering if anything will every change. Instead of trying to solve this with some overly cheery message, the songwriter keeps it grounded in a simple, “I got a feeling I will live another day/ I got a feeling I will see another face.” That’s different than saying, everything is going to be perfect now, but it is a message that can allow one to keep going. Even in the rough times, if you can make it to one more day, one more interaction, there is still hope for a better future.

I also love the production on this song. It gives me a little bit of a stripped down early James Blake vibe, and really let’s the message of the song breathe through echoed reverb in that indie pop, middle of winter sort of way that I really never get tired of. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Gabriel Petra. Go show him some love wherever you get your music.

Bio: Gabriel Petra a singer/songwriter based in Lisbon, he studied jazz and musical production, and been writing since then, for himself and for other projects.

He emerged from the unknown to the spotlight with his first single “Made of Stone”, an intimate ballad that carries an relevant message about battling your demons and overcoming pain.

Spotify : https://open.spotify.com/track/2jt32sLsnUOntg2AJJ4iBh?si=P_zl3Qy_RDC8Gacjx47ahQ

Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/pt/album/made-of-stone/1379833562?i=1379833821

Deezer: https://www.deezer.com/pt/album/62635282

Shazam: https://www.shazam.com/track/416380893/made-of-stone

Napster : https://pt.napster.com/artist/gabriel-petra/album/made-of-stone

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gabrielpetramusic/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/itsmegabrielpetra/

 

-Caleb

Morning Commute: Small Words – “Darling”

Good morning B-Side Back Massagers (idk man, I’m running out of alliterative ideas). I have a really great indie/pop-punk style track from Small Words to share with you this morning. This song reminds me of the best parts of my late teens/early 20s. It captures the angst, the newly found freedom, and the cautious hope that I sometimes get nostalgia for now that I’m pushing 30. Let’s dive into the first verse and chorus:

“Darling, I am calling.
I’m locked outside
With someone else,
A fragment of my former self.
So darling, could you save me?
I’m not the type to ask for help,
But if you could I’ve never felt this way.
Lets get away.
I’m far too drunk to drive,
Do you think you could??
We took the back road
singing ladadadada”

  1. I appreciate this song advocating for not driving drunk.
  2. On a serious note, these lyrics perfectly capture that youth I was talking about before. Drunk, figuring out who you are, singing on back roads with friends (or more than friends), it’s really a beautiful nostalgic picture.

If you are looking for more from Small Words, this song is from an EP called For What It’s Worthless which you can find here: For What It’s Worthless.

 

Bio: Small Words is an energetic Indie-Rock band out of Indianapolis, IN.

With 2016’s “For What It’s Worthless” EP, the 5-piece quickly began making a name for themselves in the music scene.

Drawing influence from a myriad of genres, the band keeps the audience on their toes, and glued to their performance.

2019 will see the release of their new record, “Good Day, Bad Me”, recorded at The Lumberyard in Hammonton, NJ. (Produced, and mixed by Ace Enders, and Nik Bruzzese)

The album explores the struggles of addiction, grief, depression, and accepting one’s own mortality without spoon feeding you “it’s gonna be okay”’s. In these trying times we need to know that it’s okay to struggle, and no one needs to fight their demons alone.

 

– Caleb

Morning Commute: Edwin – “Uncontrollable Pride”

Edwin live.

Good morning B-Side Bandicoots (nah, that’s not it)! Before we talk about the song, go back to the :41 second mark and wince in fear with me one more time that Edwin was going to get his guitar wet for the shot. Okay. Are you back? Now let’s talk about this song. I don’t know about you guys, but I LOVE this song and video. I was sold from the first few frames. I love music videos that take a simple concept and just execute the hell out of it, and Edwin does exactly that with “Uncontrollable Pride.” I got so drawn in by the video and beautiful melody, that it took me a few times to pay attention to the lyrics, but luckily for you, I can point them out now, so you don’t miss how awesome they are:

“I was under pressure when the Devil told me what she thought.
Nothing made much sense and I said “Jesus, you sound just like God”
Will my life come at a cost, cause my money’s gone to rent?
What else would you want, to get my life back again?

Uncontrollable pride
Me and the Devil dining side by side
Uncontrollable pride
How much love will it take to make this right?”

That opening is so playfully witty, and yet deeply interesting at the same time. At first I thought maybe the Devil was telling him what “she”, as in some third party girl who the narrator was crushing on, thought. But the more I read it, I think the Devil is the she. And the Devil doesn’t make any sense, which makes her sound like God. I really can’t emphasize how cleverly worded that stanza is. It’s really a thing of beauty. The next verse explores the whole idea further:

“I was under pressure when the Devil came to speak to me
She said “You’re a fool for loving someone you don’t truly see”
How much would it cost, cause my hair is getting thin?
Well, what else would you want, cause my beauty’s at its end?”

So is the “someone you don’t truly see” also the Devil? Since the Devil doesn’t make much sense, and he and the Devil are dining side my side. It could be speaking about a third party girl, and I think both are interesting, but I can’t get over the idea of being in a dysfunctional relationship with the Devil just because it’s such an interesting concept to me. Either way though, it’s a great song that’s hiding an ambiguous poetry behind beautiful upbeat melodies. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And Edwin, keep your guitar dry buddy.

“You Have No Idea, Man” EP available on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7AYZxQyhNgswFgKJ9ZaxwL?si=XUCVLGl5Q1mi6NmC3VXJbQ

Morning Commute: Leo James Conroy – “White Noise”

Image result for leo james conroy

 

Good morning B-Side Ballerinas! (nah, that one isn’t so good) Hope you guys are celebrating your Friday in style. Let’s get it started right with an excellent track from Leo James Conroy. The production on this track is so smooth. It has an analog feel from the very beginning with the excellent bass line that runs the entire song. As someone who tries to sing on occasion (poorly), I can’t help but be insanely jealous of a voice like Leo James Conroy has. It’s perfectly soulful in a way that reminds me a good bit of the lead singer of Kaleo mixed with like Jamie Cullum or someone. I think my favorite part is when everything drops out around 2:20 and then slowly builds itself back up with a background chorus, horns, and of course, that sweet sweet bass line. Let that bass line walk you right into the weekend, where of course, more music from us will be waiting.

Bio: White Noise is Leo James Conroy’s first single on his Debut EP, Plastic Chairs & Cigarette Fumes. Notable contributors to the record include drummer Russ Lawton (who has worked with Phish), background singer Sharlotte Gibson (who has collaborated with Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder), and mastering engineer Barry Grint (who has worked with The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and The Beatles). “White Noise” was produced by Lyell Evans Roeder, and it was recorded in his studio in Los Angeles with additional recording in Vermont and Washington D.C.

LINKS:

https://www.instagram.com/leojamesconroy/

https://www.facebook.com/leojamesconroy/

http://www.digitaljournal.com/entertainment/music/leo-james-conroy-talks-new-single-white-noise-jeff-buckley/article/525736