TOTD: The Sleeplings “Long-forgotten”

Bringing their new EP to a close, Long-forgotten is a sweeping indie rock epic that comes in just shy of 6 minutes, and leaves you wanting 6 more. The buildup in this song reminds me of an old Wil E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon; running in hot pursuit of this ever increasing crescendo, you feel like you’ve reached the pinnacle when suddenly you realize at the last second that you are falling off of a cliff, landing in the subdued outro below.

The song weaves a story of post breakup sadness, and the ghost that can haunt you well after the physical form has left your planet. Working through a wide range of emotions throughout the album, Long-forgotten finally lands on completely leaving this ghost behind, including the memories.

“Tomorrow all your stories are yours only 
Leave just, for we have left in silence so long ago 
Lost in the slipstream of once was”

TheSleeplings---Hans-Peter-Erbs-Hansen

The Sleeplings are an indie post-rock group of Danes that need to be on everyone’s radar. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time at all, you know I’m an absolute sucker for a good storyteller penning a song. These guys are right up there with some of my favorites right now.

Check out The Sleeplings and all of our other tracks from June on our Spotify playlist

TOTD: Elea Calvet “Lust”

Elea Calvet at once sounds like something I’ve heard before, and something completely unique. I hear elements of Tom Waits and Patti Smith from the past, but I also hear someone like Lana Del Rey from the present, with a nice mix of a style and vocalization that only Elea can call her own. Now here’s the crazy part, she’s just one year removed from high school! Yup, that voice that has the confidence of someone who’s been belting for several albums, is just getting started. I also think her lyrics simultaneously show her youthful worldview, while sounding more mature than her age:

“My head is aching
It keeps on spinning
And I’d like to understand
What is is that commands
Us to throw ourselves into the quicksand
Put our thoughts on hold
Just to believe it’s worth the fall”

I’d like to understand that too Elea.

If you love this song, don’t worry, we have more Elea coming this weekend.

I think Elea’s press release says a lot more about her than I ever can, and I can’t wait what continues to spawn out of a mixture of Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Bukowski, Leonard Cohen, and Bob Dylan:

Elea Calvet has announced the release her debut single ‘Lust’; an electrifying and mesmerising track. Splashed with moody guitar, it describes the internal battle between temptation and sensibility. Her style doesn’t hold back, with lyrics howled, harrowing and raw.

19 year old Elea taps into music’s emotive foundations with elements of Tom Waits & Patti Smith reminiscent in her lyrical style. Born in Canada & raised in India, Elea has found her feet in the UK, where she has became a key part of Bristol’s creative hub and set about forming a solid base for her music career. As a child Elea found refuge in poetry and creative writing, influenced by the written work of Bukowski, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.

-Caleb

Check out Elea’s track on our June TOTD Spotify playlist here.

 

TOTD: Gareth Inkster “Misfire”

Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. Gareth Inkster sounds like Ben Folds. I know it, you know it, Gareth knows it, hell, even Ben Folds knows it. The comparison isn’t lost on anyone. Gareth even uses Ben Folds as a hashtag on Soundcloud to catch fans of the singer songwriter. Gareth also has the fact that he’s a multi-instrumentalist in common with Ben, using ten different instruments on his new track, leaving only the drums and bass guitar to others. While Gareth has a lot in common with Ben, that’s not to say he can’t stand on his own, and Misfire proves just that.

Misfire is a deep, introspective look at depression. I usually take this time to go into the lyrics of the song and what it means, but Inkster provided information about his song that needed to be shared. This is an absolutely beautiful work of art.

“It was written during some difficult times, as the lyrics will certainly suggest. The introspection leads to a troubled confession, and eventually the desperate bridge, “is there something wrong with me? I don’t think so, but I don’t know.” after which there is an audible *crack* sound – the breaking point, if you will. After this, words are no longer sufficient, and the brass section does its thing, but before long even that doesn’t cut it, and there is an abrupt key-change, as the strings take over. The strings hit a diminished chord shortly before they end which I feel is the most painful part of the song. After the music has exhausted itself, there is a brief pause, and the lyrics return for one final, beaten verse. The verse lyric ends on an unresolved question, and likewise, on an unresolved chord.”

Seeing behind the veil of how a song was made usually leads to something along the lines of, “I wrote this line about a time in my life where x happened.” It rarely leads to, “I arranged the instrumentation to tell a story that can stand alone.”

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Depression is a difficult subject to tackle, and Gareth does it from a place of deep understanding. So many songs try to engage the subject like it’s a cloudy day and frowny faces. While nothing is wrong with that, this is something that is moving on a different level for me. It gets into all of the feelings of inadequacy and the questions that come along with it.

Misfire is one of seven songs on Gareth’s upcoming EP, Last Year, and you can check out the same titled first single here.

Check out Gareth and all of our other tracks from June on our Spotify playlist

Video of the Day: Golan “Rocket Love (feat. Island Chain)”

I just found a song for your summer music playlist! Check out this amazing video from Golan. I’m most struck by how impressive the cinematography and direction of this video is. The wide angle shots of a beautiful beach are immediately striking. The lonely setting of the main protagonist sitting the edge of an empty rooftop pool  is eerie and beautifully barren. Another thing I really loved is that we see the protagonist carrying a video camera around, and we sometimes get some old school 90s VHS shots where we can look through her eyes directly.

I think there is still a lot to unpack with this video, and the song itself, and I would love to hear from you guys what you think in the comments. It should give anyone who’s worked a summer job in a beach town some intense nostalgia, and it captures a level of early 20s angst through visuals that I can’t even fully express because it’s more emotional than logical.

-Caleb

Want to hear more music? Check out our June TOTD Spotify playlist here. 

 

Mid-day Music Blast: Mary-Elaine Jenkins “Fools Don’t Stay”

“Storm is rolling, my house is shaking 
My man’s not coming home tonight 
He drinks whiskey in his water 
Likes to gamble with his life 

Hard lovin’ woman and a hard luck man 
Playing house in the promised land 
Cracked foundations and real bad habits 
And nobody tells me nothing”

The story is familiar, but the storyteller is new. Mary-Elaine Jenkins takes the trope of the deserter leaving home and makes it feel fresh. We see a story unfold like so many others with this lover who isn’t exactly a catch. The first thing that caught my ear though was the line, “And nobody tells me nothing.” While this could be a call to the fact that Jenkins comes from a long line of strong and independent women who can’t be bossed around, I think it is a callout to the friends who knew of this man’s “cracked foundation and real bad habits,” but failed to mention anything to Jenkins, choosing to instead watch her, or the protagonist of the song, fall down a deep well of second chances and cheap thrills.

This line is probably the most important line in the song because there is such a real life message that is applicable to so many people. If you have a friend or family member who is getting into a relationship that isn’t advisable and all of the information isn’t on the table, you have an obligation to that person to have a hard conversation. They may choose to ignore whatever you tell them, but at least the pieces are laid out for everyone to see.

jenkins

Luckily, thanks to the matriarchs in Jenkins family who have brought her up to be a free-thinking woman who won’t take shit from anyone, she (or once again, the protagonist) is able to separate herself from him, barricading her heart, and alluding to changing the locks to make sure he doesn’t try to come back.

Jenkins, a Brooklyn resident, has a pure Southern sound that can’t be imitated. As a South Carolinian who can hear a fake accent from a mile away (and because I read Jenkins’ bio), I can tell a fellow South Carolinian’s voice when I hear it. She honed her craft for years in the deep south, learning from and playing with the old-timers at her local guitar shop every Saturday afternoon, but quickly longed for a setting that could help her pursue music as a career. She moved from South Carolina to Washington D.C. and then to Spain before finding her new home in Brooklyn in 2013. With true Southern charm, and a bit of an edge to her lyrics and voice, Jenkins is the perfect artist for people looking to flirt with country music while keeping their feet firmly planted in Americana roots.

Check out Mary-Elaine and all of our other tracks from June on our Spotify playlist

TOTD: Nick Ralg “It’s a Life”

When songs come along like this one, it makes me pause for a minute. Here at B-Side Guys, we try not to prescribe to a certain genre when picking out who we want to feature on the show, but obviously what styles of music we enjoy reflects what we feature on the blog. As a big singer-songwriter fan, I always listen to the song a few times to decide if it’s just something that I enjoy, or is something that objectively has something to offer people no matter what they listen to. This song has a story for everyone.

Nick Ralg has a vulnerable voice that sings this song like only a person who’s been through this situation before can sing it. You feel the emotion dripping from every word as he tells this ghost of a past love that even though he imagined them happy together in this town with the 2.5 kids and the white picket fence, but if she isn’t happy, she needs to go find her happiness. That’s honestly what love is. It’s more than butterflies and googly eyes; it’s sacrificing your happiness for theirs.

A tough song to write, Nick lays out his life so that everyone can see, and brings together a song that showcases his unique timbre and his unfortunate situation in perfect harmony.

Morning Commute: Tilde “Our Day Won’t Come”

Swedish soul standout, Tilde, has absolutely crushed it with her second single from her debut album that’s set to release this fall. Yep, you read that right. This is going to be Tilde’s debut album. Get on the hype train now because she is in a position to do really cool things. Tell your friends about her before they hear her on the radio, or at least post a status about her on Facebook, so on this day next year you can share the fact that you’ve been listening to her for a year when everyone’s just finding out about their new favorite artist.

Our Day Won’t Come starts out very clean with Tilde’s voice captivating you immediately, but the key is at the :42 mark when the chorus kicks in, and the children’s choir* joins Tilde while a crew of pirates* echo their sea shanty: “Our day won’t come.” The symphonic strings that keep the track running forward while Tilde takes her time feels like seeing a dog walker in New York: the dog is beautiful and elegant, but without the human holding the leash, the dog might get loose and run into the road. The dog is what everyone wants to see, but the dog walker is the one who is holding everything together.

tilde

Lyrically, Our Day Won’t Come seems to be talking about grabbing hold of destiny, and forcing it to do what you want because if you wait for your day to come, you’ll be waiting forever. That’s why I picked it for the morning commute this morning. If you’re listening to this on the way to your job that you absolutely hate, something needs to change. I’m not saying you walk in and quit today. I’m just saying figure out how to take what you know, who you know, and what you’re willing to learn, and parlay that into something you’re passionate about.

Check out Tilde and all of our other tracks from June on our Spotify playlist