TOTD: Tim the Lion Tamer – “Dancer”

I really feel like I could break down every single line in this song. It’s one of those haunting songs with minimal production that relies on the beauty of the voice and the depth of the lyrics to carry everything, and damn, does it ever carry everything in this song.

“i’ve never seen nobody
dance like you
in times like these i wonder
if that’s true
if you are lonely too
’cause we’ve always been
hopelessly fucked up”

I don’t know if any of you have ever been in a relationship like the one described here, but it’s brutally beautiful. Two people messed up and in love and unstable, like a collapsing star. It’s full of passion and beauty, but it also isn’t sustainable. Ultimately the song sees the instability become too much, but it’s not as easy as just walking away and never thinking about it again.

“i guess i should move away
’cause in some sad way
i’m already gone”

I’m a known crier. I cry during emotional movies. I cry the first time I realize what an emotional song is really saying, like “Limousine” by Brand New, or “Honey Jars” by Bryan John Appleby, or a billion other instances. This song can now be added to that list, because when I read this last stanza, I couldn’t help but cry:

“it hits me when there’s nothing
left to give
in the ashes of my failures
there you live
ageless and possible
i’m watching you
dancing in your prime
twenty-some
frozen in time”

It may hit me particularly, because I had a 5 year relationship fall apart in my early twenties, and even though it was the best possible thing for me and her, I can relate to the idea of an ageless dancer, stuck at twenty something, frozen in time. Also, from a songwriting standpoint, the symmetry of the first and last stanza are just perfect. Go check out more of Tim the Lion Tamer’s stuff. It’s been added to our July TOTD Spotify playlist.

-Caleb

 

TOTD: Kiddo – Much To Me

I feel like that has to be a Sam Cooke nod, right? I mean, it’s the same progression right out of the gate. Listen to it again, but hear the words, “I was born by the river in a little tent. Oh, and just like that river, I’ve been running ever since.” If it’s not a Sam Cooke nod, kiddo, you should start saying it is.

kiddo pic 1

This is such a bizarre song because it takes familiar funk vibes and blends them with a Timberlake-esque vocalist. What I mean by that is that kiddo has a higher register as it is, but he seamlessly moves back and forth between his falsetto and his normal range. His vocals are pitch perfect and the instrumentation provides a sound that can easily fill packed out arenas, which I expect kiddo to be playing soon enough.

TOTD: Jay Man Sun – “The Day You Left Me”

Are you ready for an epic ballad? Who isn’t at all times? This song sounds like it’s straight out of the brain and mouth of Morrissey. Dripping with sadness and a self awareness that keeps it from veering into cheesy, “The Day You Left Me” is easily one of my favorite songs of Summer 2018. Stick around for the 3:40 mark when it explodes into an emotional crescendo like I haven’t heard in quite some time. The whole song, which focuses on loss of love, takes the listener straight back to the day each of our “you”s left us standing on a doorstep.

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

TOTD: Boxes – “Let Me In”

“I believe in superstition, but this is strange to me”

I love how this song starts off. You know how the song “Superstitious” by Stevie Wonder/Stevie Ray Vaughn (whichever you prefer) has a certain atmosphere about it that lends itself to the lyrics? I think this song does the same thing. It’s got this ethereal quality about it that perfectly lends itself to the transcendental and sometimes strange.

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“And in the dark, in the dark in the dark, when we can barely see,
Well I can still feel the love through the touch of your body
You gotta get up, get up, get up and get away from me
CAUSE I still wanna believe but the fear is still in control of me ”

Something that really strikes me about this song is the intense ambivalence in the speaker. On one hand, he is very attracted to this dangerous force, and on the other, he’s quite scared of it. I’m trying to figure out who he’s trying to protect here. It sort of seems at first like he’s afraid of the hold his lover can put on him, but by the end, I think he’s afraid of hurting them. “Because I know my heart and my heart won’t stop to, love you. ” It’s got to be quite painful, to care for someone, and try to protect them from the inevitable hurt you might cause them. This song is definitely one worth revisiting several times. Luckily for you, we’ve added it to our July TOTD playlist right here.

-Caleb

TOTD: Astral Cloud Ashes- “Old Moods”

Did you think this was a one man band? Me either. It sounds like some of my favorite emotive music, like The Hotelier, or Moose Blood, or Mccaferty. The fact this is one dude is really impressive to me. “All my life I’ve been waiting for something real.” The thing every great emo song needs is a line that you want to scream in a crowd, or going down the interstate, or alone at home, and that line is just that for me. Even though my teen angst was supposed to expire almost 10 years ago, I still thoroughly connect with it, and I must say, even at 28, all my life I’ve been looking for something real.

Bio: “Influenced by both the rise of bitcoin and Japanese culture, “Dear Absentee Creator” is the new album from one-man-band extraordinaire Astral Cloud Ashes. Raw, grungy vocals pair with emotive and pungent melodies for a sound that is as catchy as it is heartfelt. Each track offers a different variety of emo/pop-punk/alt-rock/indie and more, so definitely be sure to give this one a listen!”

I love the call back to the “clockmaker god” in the title of the album. I’ve listened the whole thing, and I have to say, if you like this song, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not listening to the rest of the album.

-Caleb

 

TOTD: Cloud Daddy & the Kingston Big Smokes “Two Things”

Looking for that Netflix and chill song to start your night out right? This is that groove for you. Two Things is one of the groups debut tracks on a double comprised of this song and Elizabeth, and we couldn’t be more stoked about it. The lyrics are very pointed, and take you on a smooth ride where there are only two stops: weed bags and you. I mean, I guess it’s more like those two things are already on the ride, and you make no stops; you just float. I mean, the lyrics may seem a bit on the nose, but I think that’s kind of the point here. This isn’t a song built to answer deep philosophical questions. This is a song to smoke to.

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 

The track itself is so complex, building to cacophonous dissonance at some points before pulling everything back in to slick bass lines and what sounds like R2-D2 samples. I’m pumped to see what these guys bring to the table going forward because their debut is lights out. It serves its purpose, it’s complex, and it makes you move. What else is there?

Check out the artists we’ve had on the blog in June in one convenient spot on our Spotify playlist.

Also check out our latest podcast on Creativity.

TOTD: How Great Were The Robins – “Blind Faith”

How great were How Great Were the Robins? Pretty great. Okay, I know, I’m sure most people make that same cheesy joke, I’m almost 30 now; even though I have no kids, my dad jokes are kicking in. It’s so good to hear from How Great Were the Robins again. Again you say? Yeah, again. They were on our podcast back in March for one of our 2 episodes on the theme of Lost. You can find that here: Episode 10: Lost (part 2)

But enough about our past love affair, let’s talk about the present. Their newest track “Blind Faith” has absolutely blown me away. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics.

“Stay close and play a song that I know
It will drive me through the right door
At night we all have our Blind Faith
Be kind, tell me the way before sunrise
We strive and flutter like butterflies when
At night we follow our Blind Faith

We moved to a room in the suburbs
Where there’s room for our minds
You told me to not be afraid of the unknown
Of seeing the edge of the world”

So I like that it’s somewhat ambiguous who is being spoken to in this song. It’s someone the speaker loves and knows, and looks to for guidance. Even in the face of the unknown, or the edge of the world, this person or spirit animal or whatever is calming the speaker into the dark, because in the dark, all we really have is our blind faith. That could be seen religiously, or it could just be seen as all the sorts of negative emotions or thoughts that tend to crop up when the sun goes down.

I think the prettiest sentiment in the whole song is “Stay close and play a song that I know”. I don’t know about you guys, but since you’re reading a music blog, I’m going to assume you have some similar experience; when I am feeling down, or lost, or out of sorts, a familiar song is one of my most important crutches. I am so glad to add this song to my library so that I can also play a song that I know next time the darkness threatens.

-Caleb

Want to hear more? We’ve added this song to our June TOTD Spotify playlist.