TOTD: Mia and Jonah “Spin as One”

I’m so happy to introduce you guys to one of my favorite songs of the moment, off of a brand new EP that came out on Friday. I had a great interview with both Mia and Jonah that I’ll be posting soon as a podcast episode, so keep your eyes peeled for that. They were absolutely delightful, and even played a live song for you guys. For now though, let’s focus on this super hopeful song in not so hopeful times, a song that encourages us to “spin as one” when the world turns upside down. The press release describes the inspiration behind the song with: “The couple’s daughter, Rose, was born in 2012. Spin as One’s lyrical themes reflect on family life—overcoming struggles through love and care of one other—as well as Mia and Jonah’s wishes of soulful self-discovery and a collective coming-together for our world to find its way back home.” Both personally and collectively, I really need this song in my life right now, and that’s before even mentioning how beautiful it is instrumentally. The strings in particular are just incredibly arranged over flawless harmonies from both Mia and Jonah, and trust me, the whole EP is just as good as this song.

Image result for mia and jonah

Bio: “With accomplished highlights such as opening for pop idols such as Sia, Tracy Chapman and Ben Taylor at the Fillmore, the duo eventually migrated south to Los Angeles whereby they quickly ingratiated themselves into the local scene, sharing a residence with the Burning Man star William Close (Earth Harp Collective creator). Since their arrival, they’ve been religious performers at LA’s annual Truck Stop “Hootenanny!” where they played with Central California icon Brett Dennen and round the fire with up ’n coming legends such as Lukas Nelson.

In 2016, Jonah, along with his 6-pc band, released a 9-track excursion entitled Midnight Ball. With a funky sound that recalled the sunny effervescence of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sublime, LA Weekly commended “its vibey, eclectic sound, that embodies the laid-back coolness of Southern Californian culture.”

Scheduled for release on September 7, their new album, Spin as One,features the talents of bass player Seth Ford-Young (Tom Waits, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), and drummer Steve DiStanislao (David Gilmour, CSN, Kenny Loggins), with banjo by Chris Pandolfi (Infamous Stringdusters), and violin by Alan Grubner. Americana UK praised their “highly effective harmonies, as good a pairing as anything out there.”

Discography

2005 Shine I

2006 Hallelujah EP

2008 Rooms for Adelaide

2011 The Golden Ass (with claymation based on ancient story “The 11 Book Metamorphosis” by Greek writer Apuleius)

2012 Mountainside (single)

2016 Midnight Ball (Jonah’s band)

2018 Spin as One

-Caleb

Looking for more? We’ve added this song and more to our September TOTD Playlist.

Like I mentioned before, we will soon have an interview with Mia and Jonah on our podcast, you can check out our most recent episode here: Episode 18: Existentialism (Part 1)

TOTD: Teghan Devon – “Fresh Cut”

 

Can I just start by saying the obvious thing? Those vocals are ridiculously good. Within 30 seconds I had chill bumps all over. Okay, now that I fawned over that, let’s get into the lyrics:

“Fresh cut on a closing wound
Says he’s sober now
He doesn’t need you
Fresh cut on a closing wound
Says he’s better now
But your eyes have never looked so blue

Bright blue eyes
Back in Milwaukee
Ghost of summer’s past
Intent on haunting you
Until you crash
Hiding in the shower
Till the hot water burns”

These lyrics are so full of relatable pain. I especially like the metaphor of a “fresh cut on a closing wound” in the chorus. It’s that terrible feeling of a fresh opening on something that was seemingly healing. You thought everything was getting better, and then reality snaps back on you. I also just really like the transition from that first chorus to the verse with the play on words regarding the eye color. It both means that they are physically blue, but in the chorus, they are sad as well; really clever.

Bio: Teghan’s current style is a mix of folk, rock, and pop. If you ask her why she writes songs she’ll tell you it’s for the same reason that she breathes– to survive. “I write so I don’t take my crap out on others. Sometimes it stops me from punching people in the face. I am inspired by anything from a speck of dust to a character in a book.”

Teghan Devon is from Maryland but has also lived in California, Texas, Michigan, and Minnesota. She was a student at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul before it unexpectedly shut down in December of 2017. Although this was absolutely devastating for Teghan and her McNally Smith family, she made the best of a bad situation by returning to the twin cities in February of 2018 to record her first full length album “Fingers Crossed”  (available now everywhere).

-Caleb

We’ve added this song and more to our September TOTD playlist. Give it a follow to get new music added every single day this month.

 

TOTD: Nica “Ashes”

 

Check out this spacey song with a familiar “allusion” to a certain song about children dying from the plague. This one seems to focus on an emotional death, mainly of friendship.

“Besties forever says a locket that’s lost
Buried under consuming flaws
Noticing absence surrounded by dust
Ashes to ashes all fall down

Remembering lovers in awe at first meet
Discussed plans, high hopes, real dreams
Fired by passion, add details, we drowned
Ashes to ashes all fall down”

At its core the song seems to ask you to remember that nothing is permanent, friendship, our bodies, life itself. That could be a really depressing message, but the song seems to try to take a positive out of it when it urges us to:

“Make life count everyday
It’s so special
Ashes to ashes all
Fall down”

Bio:  Ashes is the second track on Nica’s upcoming album Bruised

Her album Bruised reflects the painful beauty of growth from personal experiences

Nica’s songwriting does not follow the standard formula that ears have grown tired of

Her soulful style is nostalgic, raw, and real

Bruised Release Date 08/31/18

-Caleb

We’ve added this song to our August TOTD Spotify Playlist. You can find that here.

 

Track of the Day: Six Time Users – “Mattress”

“We see the steel horizon
She’s wearing cherry lipstick
She don’t care for diamonds
Just holy ghosts and matchsticks
You’re hiding on your mattress

The city is a lyric when you hear it
From fire escapes that you climb
So high
Never wanna be the one to sigh-”

This song is one of my absolute favorites right now. The lyrics throughout are a really nice mix of abstract images and really vivid snapshots that make me feel nostalgic for memories that aren’t even mine. The band says this song is about “heartbreak and beauty and moving on in a relationship.” I really love the way that is presented, because there are plenty of break up songs and plenty of love songs, but not a ton of songs that say, hey, this was beautiful, but now it’s over. It’s really hard to have that sort of perspective about something that has fallen apart. But if any of us go back in time enough, we will find someone that we don’t talk to anymore that we used to think the world of.

Bio: Mattress is off of Six TIme User’s debut EP Heads. It deals with themes of sadness, joy and anxiety of modern love in a New York City landscape under the “steel horizon.” The song is the fourth track off of Heads. “Everybody grows, everybody glows.” Lyrics by Pat D. Robinson, music by Evan Harris.

-Caleb

Looking for more music? We’ve added this song and many more to our August Spotify TOTD Playlist. 

 

TOTD: Strawberry Mountain – “Zookeeper Submarine”

How fun is this song? I wish I had all the lyrics for it, but it definitely has some existential sort of questions that I can pick up throughout it. It has a nice mix of trippy Tame Impala sort of elements, along with some indie riffs that make this 5 minute song, feel like a 2 minute power ballad. I’d listen to it constantly even if it was a 10 minute song. I also love the breakdown to a focus on the lyrics around 3:30, complete with an Empire Strikes Back reference. Basically, I’m saying that this is one of the most unique songs I’ve heard in a while and I’m so stoked for the full album: Vegetative to come out.

Bio:Zookeeper Submarine is the first track the band wrote and recorded for their upcoming record, Vegetative, and is the first total collaboration between its members. It was composed, arranged, and recorded by all members of the current lineup. As such, the track tangibly marks the transition of the group from a vessel releasing home recorded audio experiments to a touring live group, writing, producing, performing and creating songs together.”

-Caleb

Want to hear more? We’ve added this track and many more to our August TOTD Playlist on Spotify. 

 

 

TOTD: Dylan Lawrence – “Dreamland”

Ah yeah. We are back after a brief vacation and we are coming back with a track that’s so smooth it’s silly. This track is perfect for me right now because I (as a school teacher) have to go back to work in a week, and this song kind of bottles all the best sounds of summer into one track for me. So hopefully I can squeeze out just a little more before I go back. Now when you get to the lyrics, they aren’t particularly summery, but that’s cool with me, my favorite music sounds upbeat but hides a deeper message in the lyrics. One set I really identified with:

“As a child, as a child I was the only one who knew in the back door of your mind there is a ladder
It makes me sadder now to know that it’s true
I was baptized in a Georgia church that sang as loud as god
When the congregation parted I was handed a facade
Singing lord, wade in the water and let everyone applaud
And I was blue”

That’s some grade A poetry. As someone who was baptized as kid in a South Carolina church, I really identified with the sentiment. They pushed us a lot as kids to accept Jesus or whatever, and then once that was accomplished, and you start to age, you’re like, hmm… is this really something an adult version of myself would’ve opted into? Or at least that’s what I experienced, I can’t speak for everyone.

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing, sky, sunglasses and outdoor

The most impressive thing to me about his whole EP, is that even though it often sounds like a full band, Dylan played every instrument. He is currently based in either Miami or Providence (he claims both), but if he is in Providence, I hope to see him soon.

-Caleb

Looking for more music? We added this song and many more to our August Spotify TOTD Playlist. 

 

TOTD: Caicos – “Promised Lands”

“Sands fallen through hands
Make new promised lands”

This song from Caicos is a really interesting look at opportunities and change. The image of sand shifting through fingers, like if you picked up a handful at the beach, is a nice metaphor for many aspects of life. I can’t say I necessarily have the right interpretation, but here at B-Side Guys, we like to give you our take, with the thought that art has two important pieces, the artist and the observer. So, the line that is repeated above to me is talking about the things that slip away from you, and that you think at the time is a tragedy. Maybe a relationship doesn’t work out, maybe you lose your job, etc. Given enough time, those opportunities missed, can make “new promised lands” that take your life in directions that you couldn’t imagine back when you were trying to hold onto a handful of sand.

“Arms and ears
Mouth in gears
Rewired and sore
But well enough to get
One foot out the door
Prepared for what had met
Me at the threshold
Between the new and old”

I think this section really emphasizes what I said above, when he describes “the threshold between the new and old.” Even though you’ve grown comfortable with the way things are, nothing lasts forever, and to continue, you’re going to have to adjust, and maybe even go through some growing pains :”rewired and sore, but well enough to get one foot out  the door.” As someone who has had several major life changes that on the surface sounded like a negative, but ultimately turned into a positive, I really love the message of this song and the stoic philosophy it relates.

Bio:  Alex Frenkel was one of the principle songwriters in the New York-based band Gospels ( http://www.nylon.com/articles/song-premiere-gospels-sleepwalkers https://www.interviewmagazine.com/music/discovery-gospels ) and is a collaborator with Gabriel Garzon-Montano (appearing on a couple of tracks on his recent LP out on Stones Throw Records).

He is in the process of completing three of his own records to be released under the pseudonym Caicos. The first of these records is called Promised Lands, and is out on veryjazzed records/Frenchkiss Label Group on August 10th. The title track from the forthcoming album is the second single.

-Caleb

Want to hear more music? Check out our August TOTD Spotify Playlist.

Don’t forget to check out our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, etc. Here’s our newest episode: Episode 17: Idols