The Flock: Singer-Songwriter/Folk – Leonie Kingdom, Winslow, Spazz Cardigan, Danny Starr, Chamber Band, Matt Millz

*Check out these artists and every other artist we’ve featured on the blog this month on our Spotify playlist for this month.*

The Flock is an idea that we had to help fans of a specific genre find multiple bands they love in one post. It helps us provide value to you, the reader, by putting more of what you want in one place. It also helps the artists. Fans of their music come to the page and become fans of other similar artists, growing their fanbase more efficiently. It also helps artists connect with other artists who have a similar feel, so they can help each other out, work together, play shows, etc. Our goal here is to help promote artists that we believe in and want to see succeed. The Flock is a great way to help with that, and we’ve seen some really cool things happen because of it. Let’s get into this edition of The Flock.

*click on the artist’s name to go to their page*

 

Leonie Kingdom – Night Terrors

This song actually made me cry the first time I heard it. If you know me, you may know that I experience night terrors, and this song is a beautiful song of hopelessness against them. I had just woken up from another night of sleepless turning, and this was one of the first ten songs I listened to that day. If you know someone who has night terrors but can’t really empathize with what they’re going through, Leonie Kingdom has written a song to help you understand how people feel when they have this haunting, reoccurring dream that they can’t wake themselves from.

You’ll shiver to the bone
It’s the thoughts that come alive when you’re alone
And it brings you to your knees
Like a current that’s raging through angry black seas

Don’t fight it
Don’t deny it
Don’t run, don’t run
They’ve already won

There’s nowhere to hide when they’re living inside
There’s nowhere to hide they’ll eat you alive
There’s nowhere to hide they hear all your cries
There’s nowhere to hide you’ll never survive

When Leonie sang the line, “It’s the thoughts that come alive when you’re alone,” I lost it. She has this tonality to her voice that makes her pain a tangible quality to her vocals, and when the haunting harmony comes in, it really sweeps you up in emotion. I’m not sure if this is about Leonie’s personal struggle with night terrors or if the night terrors are a symbol of something else in her life, but I like to think it’s about the actual terrors. It’s a song of hopelessness against them, but it’s also a song that reminds you that someone else is going through the same thing you are too. Knowing you aren’t alone is enough for most people to find solace through the struggle.

 

Winslow – Look at Me Now

I was dancing along to this track, having a great time, when the 2:10 mark hit. That’s when it went from me really liking this song to loving it. It’s amazing what a few moments of cacophonous dysfunction can do to make a poppy singer-songwriter track stand out. I love the fact that I also get part of the story through choices like that. It’s almost like you hear the story of their transition from who they thought they’d end up being to who they turned out being through the swirling portal of sound at that 2:10 mark because after that you start hearing paparazzi fighting for their attention on a runway, and the protagonist of the story says that all they’ve wanted is for people to call their name like this. First, I want to post their bio, and then I want to talk about what the song is possibly about.

BIO: Kate Miner (of folk band MINER ) and Briana Lane make up the new LA based indie duo, Winslow. Miner was working on a solo project when she heard Lane sing live at a Christmas show in 2016 and asked her to join forces to finish the album. After a year and half writing and recording in a garage studio in Silverlake, on a street appropriately named Winslow, the two are releasing their EP this fall. With its modern, synth heavy soundscapes and echoes of Miner’s folk roots, self titled Winslow is a compilation of stories of heartbreak and loss in Los Angeles.

First off, let’s get this part out of the way. If you haven’t checked out Miner, check them out hereSo good.

Okay, back to this song. The part I want to focus on is the story behind the lyrics. I missed the key phrase about halfway through the Alice in Wonderland transition because I was so focused on the instrumentals. The person who is becoming famous sees the paparazzi starting to descend upon them and notes how stressful everything looks on that side, but convinces themselves that it’s everything they ever wanted. I know nothing about being famous, or the pursuit thereof, but it honestly sounds like a nightmare to me. I believe that’s kind of what this song is talking about since it’s “a compilation of stories of heartbreak and loss in Los Angeles.” Everyone thinks that they want to be famous until they actually are. I mean, don’t get me wrong, fame comes with a lot of benefits I’m sure, but those are the only things people focus on. They don’t think about the fact that they don’t really have alone time anymore. I mean, once you reach a certain level of fame, even your family vacations have some creepy people following you to the beach, a sunscreen strip on their nose and camera in hand. It’s oftentimes not the life that people envisioned from the other side of the fence.

Spazz Cardigan – Medicine & Make America

Spazz Cardigan had a couple of tracks we wanted to share with you guys. The guy is like if Jason Mraz and Mat Kearney had a baby, and that baby liked to actually sing about real stuff. The guy has a really smooth voice, nice beats, and a look that gets picked up by major labels all the time. That’s what makes his lyrical prowess so refreshing and exciting. He could sing love songs with a stupid fedora on and make millions of dollars, but he’s choosing to use his voice and his platform to say real things and to open up real conversations. He could still make millions, but it won’t be by selling out.

Medicine is a song all about owning up to your wrongdoings and making them right. It’s definitely going to suck to do and can be painful, but I like that it doesn’t shy away from that. It’s no fun to take medicine, but it’s definitely going to make you feel better. The same can be said for admitting when you’re wrong.

From what I understand, this is a free-form spoken word piece that is meant to follow closely behind the ideology of Medicine. We as a country have obviously made mistakes when it comes to gun culture in the United States, and Spazz is wanting to start talking about it. Seeing students and other people in everyday life being gunned down every single day has kind of numbed us to the conversation. I mean, a perfect example for me is the fact that I saw the murder and standoff that was committed in the Trader Joe’s in LA, and I didn’t read past the headline. It’s not that I didn’t care; I just didn’t want to read about another senseless tragedy. Stuff like that has become so commonplace that you would have to read multiple articles every single day to stay caught up. I have been very clear on my stance on gun control, and I think Spazz and I are in pretty similar camps. There’s a lot to unpack in this song, so instead of me trying to do it all myself, I want to do a live interview with Spazz Cardigan so we can have a conversation about this. We always stress the importance of having uncomfortable conversations, and he’s right,

Nobody wants to talk
and when we do
we just shut off

 

Danny Starr – Double Red Line

Have you guys ever heard that a bar is the worst place to find a spouse? I’ve seen it work for some people… for a while… I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a relationship that started in a bar lasting forever. I’m sure there are tons of cases where it’s happened, but it’s a situation that is built for disaster. Two drunk people with crazy sex drives and impaired judgement deciding that this person is their soulmate seems like a really strange way to tell the grandchildren that you met. I’m not saying it can’t happen, and neither is this song. It’s just talking about the thousands of relationships that start in a bar, or honestly not even in a bar, just in an inebriated state, and how they’re almost designed to fail because the real version of you and that other person are not in the initial conversation.

With disarming vocals and a soundscape that creates a palatable atmosphere, Danny Starr’s, Double Red Line, is a song that is going to make it onto quite a few of my playlists for the foreseeable future.

Chamber Band – Before Iping

Ellen Winter, lead singer for Chamber Band, has created something really cool here. The whole band is phenomenal, but for me personally, it’s the timbre of her voice that brings everything together. When she flips to her higher register, it sounds like her voice could give out any second, giving it this brutal, gut-wrenching honesty. Judging from the strength of her voice throughout, this is a brilliant stylistic choice on her part. Somewhere between folk pop and sea shanty, Before Iping is a song to listen to while half a bottle in with your closest of friends, gathered around a table discussing exactly what it would be like to feel weightless.

The band is currently working on their fourth studio album, and Ellen has a solo project releasing at the end of the year. Keep up with these guys. They’re perpetually churning out great tunes.

Matt Millz – My World

Matt Millz has created a song that will pull at the heartstrings of fathers all over the world. A moving homage to fatherhood, My World is the song that all fathers feel in their hearts but aren’t sure how to put into words. As a father with one son and a daughter on the way, I can relate to this song in a real way. Matt has unique voice that resonates in your mind long after the song is over. I find myself repeating lines hours after every listen, and even sang it to my son last night while we were putting him to bed.

“…the man that I used to be, has fallen away. You’ve made me the father, that I am today”


Alright guys, follow the artist’s links in their names above to find out about tours, merch, upcoming tunes, etc.

Check out the newest podcast, Episode 17: Warmth

We also have a Spotify playlist of the month where we feature every artist we share on the blog. Check it out here.

Caleb’s Tracks of the Week: Spragga Benz, Daylight Tone, Cloud Daddy & the Kingston Big Smokes, Pandaraps, Cagework

This is a grab bag of all of my favorite artists from the week. No genres, no themes, nothing. I mean, I guess the theme is that I love these songs.

We try to group artists with similar artists, but the fact of the matter is that most music fans don’t solely like one genre. If you’re like me, there are very few genres that you don’t get into in some capacity. What I’ve found is that a lot of people cross paths with the same people in their musical taste. Seth and I are going to start posting our favorite tracks of the week, and you can start to figure out whose musical taste you like more. Seth and I have a lot of crossover, but one distinct difference right out of the gate is that Seth gets more into the folk scene, and I get way more experimental with what he likes. Some of what he listens to sounds like Elvish chants in the woods to me, and some of what I listen to probably sounds to him like what Michael Caine listened to  in Children of MenYou’ll probably start to notice a trend in these posts at some point. We have a lot of crossover, especially when it comes to hip-hop and emotive indie rock, but there’s a lot of music that Seth and I don’t necessarily agree on. We both know that objectively they’re good tracks, we just don’t subjectively like it as much as some other stuff. Without further ado, here are my favorite tracks of the week.

Spragga Benz – “Spread Out”

I mean the choice here is pretty obvious right? We basically have a short film set to dope music. The vibe created in the video perfectly captures the way the song sounds, from the hookahs, to the sets, to the lighting. I dare you to listen to this song a few times and not start dancing around the 2 minute mark when the break down drops with some crazy synth. I could legitimately see this getting some top 40 style radio play at some point. This fits summer vibes so nicely.

Bio: The début single “Spread Out” is part of a collection of work which sees Spragga bringing a new sound to his repertoire, beginning with a whisper from Spragga informing us that“when di gyal dem hear di voice dem ah jump an Spread Out” – the track premiered in clubs last weekend to critical acclaim.

Spragga has been“chiliagoning”in the UK where he’s assembled a who’s who of British artists to work with on the“Chiliagon”project which diversely features contributions from the likes of Rodney P, Harry Shotta, Doc Brown, Toddla T, Illaman, Killa P and Black Josh along with productions from Zed Bias, Sukh Knight, Cadenza as well as of course Hype and Fever.

Daylight Tone – “Way Up”

Can you tell I’m kind of in a hip hop mood? I definitely listen to way more hip hop in the summer than any other time. A few things stand out to me in this song: 1. The production on this is incredible. 2. The lyrics have a lot of positivity to them. I mean it certainly recognizes struggles as well, but at it’s heart the song seems to be about overcoming adversity, and making your “way up.” I also really like how self aware the song is. There’s a moment where it mentions it’s the “second verse” in a meta way. And it is okay with simultaneously being nerdy, with references to Rick and Morty, and Harry Potter, while also talking about fighting and struggling to make your way through all the noise. It’s really great song full of such a wide range of goodness, that I can’t imagine anyone not finding something they like in it.

When asked about his style he says simply: “this is rapping in reality.”

Cloud Daddy & The Kingston Big Smokes – “Two Things”

Let’s put our trippy shoes on for a second. If you are a fan of Animal Collective mixed with Massive Attack, I have a new band for you. I love how the reverb of the bass synth sometimes feels like it’s “out of time,” but it’s really an intentional echo effect that leaves you feeling disoriented, while smooth vocals crone over the whole track. If you listen to those vocals, you see a pretty straight forward version of what “two things” the speaker says he needs:

“All I want to do in this life,
is suck on a bag (filled with weed).
All I want to do in this life,
is fall in love with you (endlessly).
And suck on a bag

That’s all I need – weed bags, and you.
As long as you’re there, and I’ve got a weed bag in my hand,
everything’s sweet!”

I think we can all get behind that.

Bio: Born in a pizza kitchen somewhere in Sydney, Cloud Daddy and the Kingston Big Smokes is a collaboration between Galen Sultman (Gaelen) and Otto Reitano (CDAD). Their debut release, a double single comprised of “Two Things” and “Elizabeth”, Cloud Daddy & the Kingston Big Smokes presents a novel take on experimental electronic music. Drawing from a variety of influences, the duo’s sound is characterised by a combination of layered acoustic and electronic drums, mantra-esque vocals, techno-inspired synths, and a familiar sense of wonderment.

Pandaraps – “Defibrulators (Dream, Pt.1)”

This song is so interesting to me. I’ve been listening a lot to early Frank Ocean lately, and to me the production on this sounds a lot like that, but then the vocal style reminds me a bit of Hobo Johnson, and some spoken word artists I like too. This song to me is really a song of empowerment. They say they’ve been holding himself back a lot before now, but no more. They also seem conscious of how shallow some “dreams” are.

“You ain’t got to chase your dream

you can chase those pretty things,

but in the end it won’t mean nothing,

but in the end it won’t mean nothing.”

I just love how sincere this track feels from start to finish. We see from the album cover, and in Pandaraps bio when they say: “I’m a queer SF based rapper” that the artist is embracing their difference, in a country that is bipolar about it’s feelings towards anyone who is different. I like how in the first few bars, they have a voice shouting “queer” over the track, which shows how a lot of the world reacts to something they don’t understand, with hate. The track then proceeds to lay out an eloquent message of empowerment, despite all the hate. It’s really inspiring to me.

Cagework – “Simmer”

And last, but certainly not least, Cagework. This is a bit of a changeup from the other tracks, but kind of puts you into my genre tastes, because one minute I’m listening to hip-hop, or trippy indie rock, and then I can switch immediately to grunge or emo (not that mid 2000s emo). This song sounds straight out of the late 90s-early 00s, with bands like Pavement, or Built to Spill. It has just the right amount of grunge sound to it, with distorted guitar and bass, but also the classic Sunny Day Real Estate style riff to it, and just beautifully executed vocals. If you can’t get into full on dance around your house mode at the 2:45 breakdown, I don’t really know if I want to know you.

Bio: Cagework began in Cornwall, in 2016 by frontman Samuel Bedford. Originally a recording project for Bedford whilst he was performing in other groups, Cagework became the main focus for the songwriter when moving to London in 2017. Since then Cagework has come into full fruition as a four piece band, whose blend of melodic indie rock and mournful pop has earned them comparisons to artists such as Built To Spill and Stephen Malkmus. Now joined by James Luxton on drums, James Dyer on bass and Michael Clark accompanying on guitar, the group have proven themselves to be a formidable live act.

The band’s first single ‘Simmer’, released in April 2018, was met with high praise from Huw Stephens, Rough Trade and So Young magazine.

Episode 16: Warmth

Links:

Stitcher

Soundcloud

iTunes

TuneIn Radio

Google Play

Show Notes:

Show Notes:

 

Intro: Elk Bird – “Cheaper than Roses”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gXXOBBD4kE
Skysketch – “Fox Wedding” (waiting on plug notes)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAavNC71ksw
Plushgun – “Lukewarm”

https://soundcloud.com/plushgun

https://bsideguys.com/2018/06/01/totd-plushgun-lukewarm/
Leah Nobel – “Good Enough/Coffee Sunday NYT”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAUj6uM0xRk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJpsGB62hO4 (Trailer for the album)
Tilde – “Our Day Won’t Come”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB_TRUQqBnM

Yung Heazy – “Cuz You’re My Girl”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPhGrtwxjAI

Smalfeels – “Pillow Fights”

https://smalfeels.bandcamp.com/releases