TOTD: Phil Simmonds “Drive”

This is the third time I’ve listened through this song completely while trying to write this review, and I’ve made it through one sentence. I keep closing my eyes and getting absolutely lost in this song. From the straightforward and beautiful instrumentation like the piano to the finesse of the dulcimer, the arrangement to this song is so relaxing. Then, we get to Simmonds voice. Laying the groundwork with a pure rich tone, and an incredibly captivating falsetto, Simmonds’ voice sounds like the guy she tells you not to worry about.

In the song, Simmonds addresses moving on from addiction and heartbreak, and needing to get out of certain situations by getting in the car and driving. I think that, or at least the thought of that, is something we can relate to.

Originally hailing from the UK, now LA based artist, songwriter and producer, Phil Simmonds, returns today with his cinematically beautiful single “Drive”. In “Drive” Simmonds brings listeners into his world, taking you on a journey from the start. Guitar rifts guide you sonically along as Simmonds grabs your attention through atmospheric hues and warm tones provided by his strong vocal work.

 

The record comes in a timely manner as May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Simmonds lyrically addresses the choice of moving on from addiction and heartbreak. All at once emotive and intimate, “Drive” is a strong first record to be released from Simmonds forthcoming project “Saint Arc [Part One] In The Oak” to be released in July 2018 and will follow with “Saint Arc [Part Two] Down To The Waters” and “Saint Arc [Part Three] The Fallen” later this year.

 

Phil came to the public eye as a musician to British artist’s Jessie J, Rae Morris, Leona Lewis. Since then he’s become Musical Director for Detroit rapper Angel Haze, Australian singer Conrad Sewell, Atlantic Record’s Zak Abel, and British band Lawson to name a few. Now residing in Los Angeles Phil splits his time between his solo project and producing for other artists. He is currently working on the next Eryn Allen Kane album.

 

In June he will play in both LA and NY, showcasing his Concept albums “Saint Arc” Part One, Two and Three.

Video of the Day: Jungle Youth – “Don’t Do It”

I love how strong this song starts. “I refuse to be another one of your mistakes.” And it keeps that strength throughout the whole song. The vocals really hammer home that defiance. As for the video itself, it follows along 3 people (the band members I believe, but I don’t know if we can assume they are playing themselves) as they hang out doing fun young people things, like exploring in nature, and various urban settings, as well and driving around and hanging out. There seems to be somewhat of a subtle love triangle that forms throughout the video, with the two guys both seeming to enjoy flirting with the girl, but one guy seems to break through and hold her hand, put his arm around her, etc. Eventually, when something goes wrong with the car, the two guys get in a fight. It really reminds me a lot of how these tiny jealousies, if unchecked, can build until they explode. I love the subtle build and the rich imagery of the entire video.

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Jungle Youth is a young band from Quebec City that was born out of a common love for music. In March 2018, the band emerges from the darkness by releasing their version of Loud’s “Toutes les femmes savent danser”. The cover rapidly reaches 2000 views in less than a week and gains media attention by being featured in Le Journal de Québecand on the website of CKOI 96.0. Refusing to identify to one style of music in particular, Jungle Youth projects a modern yet retro sound that combines elements that are Pop, Rock and Indie all at the same time.

 

-Caleb

Want more music? Listen to Jungle Youth and all our June artists on this Spotify playlist. 

Don’t forget to check out our latest podcast episode: Ep. 13 Bad Luck

 

Morning Commute: The Fedz “The Traveller”

I didn’t know where to start with this song, but when I found out they have a music video that tells the story of the RCK (Refugee Community Kitchen), I decided to let them tell the story. Before reading another word, watch the video. You’ll have to read some, so I’ll see you after the video is over.

Hey guys, welcome back. First off, let me get the part of the post where I talk about the vocals, instrumentation, etc. out of the way because I know that’s not what The FEDZ are really focused on with this song. In fact, they believe in what RCK is doing so strongly, that they are donating part of the profits from this song to the organization so they can continue to feed displaced families in need. (Link to buy the song) With tight tenor vocals and minimal piano leading the way, they set the stage for the song by making you focus on the words. The most beautiful part of the arrangement to me though is the gospel choir style gang vocals in the chorus. It really gives life to this story about the plight of the homeless and the refugee and the detrimental cycle life can take when they just need a break. It lets you know that this isn’t a story about a specific homeless person or a refugee, but a story about ALL homeless people and refugees.

The word of the day is humanity. Remember that.

Now, let’s get into the lyrics of the song. It starts out by getting you to think about what you see when you see a homeless or displaced person, and it’s pretty startling. I, admittedly, have been as guilty as anyone when see a homeless person. I see someone, and without knowing their story, try to label them: drug addict, alcoholic, lazy, and the list goes on and on. Even if they are one or all of those things, it doesn’t make them any less of a person. It makes me less of a person when I try to elevate myself above another person. The world needs more people to lean down to help them out.

They talk about someone taking a bad turn and all of a sudden, they’ve fallen down a slippery slope into their current unfortunate circumstance. I can specifically remember two times in my life where if I had taken the red pill, who knows what would’ve happened? I have stood on the edge of that slippery slope, and because of the cornerstones of my life, the community I surrounded myself with, and the values I was taught by loving parents, I staved off temptation, took the blue pill, and woke up in my own bed. Most people don’t have that support in their life, so straying down the wrong path is much easier. Nobody goes straight from an average joe with 2.5 kids, the white picket fence, and everything going in an upward trend to living on the streets in one day. There are a series of unfortunate events that lead up to that point.

I have an anecdotal story about refugees that I thought would be appropriate here that echoes the points made in “The Traveller.” I know someone who works very closely with refugees in Central Asian countries; offers them shelter and support, gets them acclimated to life in a new country, helps them navigate the hardships of refugee life. I had the opportunity to visit my friend and see what life looks like for them. We ate dinner one evening with a family who had been displaced from their home not because they wanted to move, but because if they didn’t run, they could be murdered. Back in their country, they lived in a two story home, and they owned a nut farm where they grew and sold various nuts to people all over the country. This family consisted of 6 people: a mother well into her 60’s, a father who was the same age, a son in his 30’s, a daughter in her 20’s, a son with debilitating cerebral palsy, and a 3 year old granddaughter. To escape their country, they literally had to carry the son with cerebral palsy in incredible heat. They now live in a one room cement shack on the roof of a building. Life changed for them in an absolutely dramatic way, and it had nothing to do with any choices that they personally made.

They are viewed as second rate citizens in a country where they can claim asylum and wait out the storm, but you could never tell they had even seen a rain cloud. They were some of the happiest and most generous people I’ve ever met in my life. We are not defined by what happens to us, but how we handle what happens to us.

Make someone’s life easier today. Give that homeless guy a warm meal. Give RCK money so they can keep giving warm meals. 

Mid Day Music Blast: Are You Having Fun Yet “Turbo”

To answer the question, now that I know this song, yes, I am having fun. How great is this song? Mixing 80s synthwave and modern indie rock in a way that somehow feels nostalgic and fresh simultaneously, Are You Having Fun Yet is one of my favorite new projects. They have a self-titled album out now on whatever your favorite music platform is (we will link our Spotify playlist at the bottom).

“Grasping to control…”

I’m not sure if that’s what the hook says or not, but that’s what I hear and I can’t help identify with it. I assume a lot of us have felt this at some point. A feeling of trying to regain composure or control over your life situation. Step one: Listen to this album. Step two: I don’t know, see a therapist or something, don’t listen to a random dude on the internet.

 

-Caleb

Want an easy way to stay updated on new music all month long? Check out our June TOTD Spotify Playlist. 

Are you actually struggling and want more than a a silly joke? https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/