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.

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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

 

TOTD: Emily Brown – Beautiful Baby

If you’ve listened to the podcast/followed along with the blog for at least a couple of weeks, you know how much we love this song. We’ve had a live interview with her, her music was on episode 17 of the podcast, and now I want to do a proper review of it. Caleb and I are both better at writing our feelings than articulating them in conversation, so to give this song the credit it is due, we had to bring it up one more time.

This is one of the most interesting tracks I’ve heard in a long time. The lyrics are both empowering and poignant, giving power to women everywhere while evoking a sense of regret and introspection from the men in the audience. Before we go any further, I want to make sure you’re tracking what the lyrics mean.

“Beautiful Baby responds to an old love song by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer called ‘You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby.’ It speaks to the heartbreak and disillusionment of women who have been infantilized or treated with lightness in highly emotional relationships.”

As a woman, (which I’m not, and luckily we had an interview with her that kept us from mansplaining too much, that is going to be posted as a bonus podcast episode this weekend) this is the kind of song that gives you support and aids you if you’re in a relationship where it feels like you’re treated as more of an accessory or lesser-than. As a man, it makes me think about past interactions and relationships, and makes me a little sad. I was a different guy than I am now, especially in high school. I can’t recall a time where I knowingly treated a relationship or emotions lightly due to the fact that the other party was female, but I definitely can’t rule it out.

It is easy enough to have an unhealthy power dynamic in a relationship, but when that power dynamic stems from a sexist ideal that women are cute little butterflies that don’t have real thoughts, goals, dreams, beyond however they relate to yourself, that’s more a reflection on your worldview than on the relationship you are in right now.

-Seth (with a small assist from Caleb, whatever part you didn’t like, it was Caleb)

You can find this song and more on our August TOTD Spotify playlist.

We also premiered this song for the first time on our newest podcast episode.

TOTD: Isak Thomas and The Stoop Boys – Old School Walk

Spotify, if you prefer

This is such an appropriate song to wind down your Thursday night with. It is a great way to end a date night, and it’s that perfect groove track to get your weekend moving in the right direction.

This is a song of old school chivalry and a feeling of how things used to be, which is really strange considering that Isak and the other two stoop boys are so young. I don’t have an exact age, but let this picture speak for itself.

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That’s Isak. The same Isak who sings about going way back like a ’69 Cadillac. I am sure that people talk about the discrepancy between his lyrics and tone, and the picture he presents, so I don’t want to linger here too long. The point I wanted to make is that Isak and his fellow Berklee grads have a sound that’s refined well beyond their years,  bringing that old school soul vibe with harmonies cusping on doo-wop to a new generation with soulful ad-libs along the lines of a Hozier-esque vocalist at times, and some really smooth guitar riffs.

The lyrics speak for themselves, so I don’t want to touch on them too much. I did want to point out that the lyrical route they take is important because the robust flavor of the love songs in old school soul are almost as synonymous with the genre as the vocalists who made it famous. If you start singing 60’s soul with lyrics centered around politics, rambling stories, or any other off-brand topic, it loses a lot of the power. That’s coming from someone who relates to political dissidence and rambling tales of rail workers a lot better than I relate to love stories like this.

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Also, if you’re interested, check out our podcast Here.

TOTD: Van El – “Japanese Garden”

I immediately got early Fleet Foxes vibe from this song. It has this excellent space to it that mixes folk musings and reverberating vocals that sound like they are being belted from one mountain top to another. The whole song, instrumentally and lyrically, feels so relaxing and peaceful. I imagine I’ll go back to this song a lot in the fall, just like I do with Fleet Foxes, because it’s so fitting to listen to this style of music when I’m driving through the mountains for a big hike, or a camping trip.

“Waterfall, koi fish pond,

I’m singing in the garden.”

Like I said, the lyrics really add to the peaceful vibe that’s created here. I can’t wait to get a full copy of the lyrics before we feature this on the podcast eventually, but the bits I gathered just from listening seem to find a speaker that is at peace, both externally and internally. Externally his surroundings are peaceful, hence the name, Japanese Garden. And internally, they seem self assured, with the repetition of the line: “I think I know, where to go.” I don’t know about you guys, but there have been very few times in my life that I have felt that, but the few that I have, the clarity is unreal. I imagine this speaker is having one of those moments, where everything just seems like it’s inevitably headed in a certain direction, and you just have to execute.

This song is the first song off of a four song EP that Van El plans to release in about a month, so if you liked this song (I know you did) then keep your eyes peeled for that. And like I mentioned before, we are hoping to eventually feature the song on an upcoming podcast episode.

-Caleb

Want to hear more? This song and many others have been added to our July TOTD Playlist on Spotify.