Ten Track Thursday – Leonard “Lowdown” Brown, Lay-Ko Beats, LB Beistad, Blake Wisner & David Rice, Jack Quit the Band, Starsign, Noah Zacharin, Sourface, The Kite Project, and Brand New Friend

Welcome, audiophiles, to another thrilling edition of Ten Track Thursday on bsideguys.com! As the week sails towards its finale, we’re revving up the musical engine to bring you a collection of ten tracks that are resounding through the underground and reverberating across the soundwaves. As ever, our aim is to provide a platform for emerging talents, unraveling a plethora of sounds and textures that span genres and traverse musical landscapes. From the sonorous strings of indie bands to the pulsating beats of underground electronic music, our curated list is a melody-infused journey designed for those with an insatiable appetite for the new, the exciting, and the undiscovered. So, secure your headphones, turn up the volume, and let’s delve into this week’s eclectic soundscape of uncharted musical territories!

Leonard “Lowdown” Brown – “Blues Make Me Feel Good”

Leonard “Lowdown” Brown’s debut, “Blues Make Me Feel Good,” is a simmering pot of rich bluesy tonalities and foot-tapping rhythms—a lush culmination of a lifetime dedicated to the musical craft. Born to a musically inclined family, Leonard’s journey traces the roots of the Great Migration, grounding his music in a palette that’s as diverse as it is profound. His profound connection with music, woven into the fabric of his existence, is palpable in this track, where his soulful vocals paint vivid imagery, bridging gaps between generations, connecting listeners to a shared, universal rhythm.

Leonard, a maestro from Houston, pours seven decades of unwavering passion and robust musical experiences into “Blues Make Me Feel Good,” turning it into a testament to his journey—from plucking the strings of his first guitar to becoming a staple in Houston’s vibrant music scene. It’s a musical odyssey underscored by encounters with diverse musical genres and encounters with legendary artists. Leonard’s profound belief in music as a universal connector, a harmonious frequency uniting disparate souls in joy and dance, is resonated in every note, offering a transcendental experience. The track is a confluence of Leonard’s significant influences, echoing the intricacies of B.B. King and the rawness of R.L. Burnside, blending seamlessly into a coherent, distinctive sound, rooted deeply in the blues but with echoes of his formative years in gospel. Every strum and lyric in “Blues Make Me Feel Good” is not just a note in a song; it’s a page from Leonard’s story, a master soul-bluesman encapsulating the essence of a musical lifetime.

Lay-Ko Beats – “Lake Ripples” feat. Desert Pond Fisherman, DREAM WRLD

“Lake Ripples” by Lay-Ko Beats is a sublime confluence of moody undertones and experimental rhythm, featuring artistic collaborations with Desert Pond Fisherman and DREAM WRLD. Lay-Ko Beats, the artistic identity of John Layko Torkelson, constructs a sonorous landscape that harmoniously blends the meticulous nuances of Trip-Hop and the intricate flow of Instrumental Hip-Hop. The track resonates with influences of renowned artists like Nosaj Thing and DJ Krush, while retaining an individuality that reflects Lay-Ko’s intrinsic style—a style characterized by his extensive vinyl collection and rich musical history, stretching from Michigan to Chicago, influencing his sonic architecture and providing a diverse array of Lo-Fi flavors.

The essence of “Lake Ripples” is deeply connected to Torkelson’s passion for vinyl collecting, which serves as both an inspirational source and a reservoir for his intricate beats. The vinyl’s vintage essence and his past associations with groups like Dear Dead City and Glynis intertwine to create a piece that is deeply layered yet universally resonant. After a decade-long hiatus, the confluence of past experiences and contemporary influences bring forth a sound that is nostalgic yet avant-garde, symbolizing a triumphant return to the musical arena. The collaboration in “Lake Ripples” emerges as a musical canvas painted with various shades of moods and tones, reflecting Torkelson’s journey through the realms of music and his exploration of the evolving technologies shaping modern soundscapes. The fusion of distinct artistic styles, both in collaboration and musical approach, makes “Lake Ripples” a compelling listen, appealing to aficionados of experimental and mood-driven music.

LB Beistad – “Why Don’t We Go West”

“Why Don’t We Go West,” the latest from LB Beistad, emerges as a harmonious amalgamation of alt-country and folk, underscored by a somber and chilled atmospheric mood. The lyrical voyage, articulating a sense of discontent and a yearning for liberation, resonates with the acoustic echoes of Mazzy Star and the experimental vibes of Japanese Breakfast. Beistad, a native of rural East Tennessee, crafts a reflective soundscape, painting pictures of ghost towns and monotony—”Wake then sleep, then rinse repeat it,”—to echo her internal turmoil and the dissociation from her surroundings. The song’s thematic arc oscillates between themes of confinement and a desire for boundless freedom, embodied in the poignant refrain, “Why don’t you free me / Why don’t we go west / It’s all the same to me / We can go wherever we wanna be.”

Born into isolation, LB found solace and inspiration through the vast musical realms uncovered by her family’s first computer, molding a sonic aesthetic that ranges from heavy pop hits to subdued, introspective melodies. The track “Why Don’t We Go West” personifies Beistad’s multifaceted musical journey, uniting her diverse influences into a coherent and deeply emotional narrative. The recurring motif of ‘going west’ echoes a timeless aspiration for a place where the constraints of the mundane fade into boundless horizons, revealing LB’s intricate layering of lyrical depth and musical innovation. It’s this duality of haunting isolation and the unceasing quest for freedom that characterizes Beistad’s work, making “Why Don’t We Go West” a fascinating exploration of human longing and the universal quest for meaning.

Blake Wisner & David Rice – “SOLO”

In “SOLO,” Blake Wisner and David Rice orchestrate a narrative of self-discovery and metamorphosis, enveloped in the poignant echoes of indie pop and singer-songwriter elements. The piece radiates a mellow blend of sadness and contemplation, articulated with a meticulous mesh of melodic flows and alternative RnB hooks, reflecting the varied influences from Anderson Paak to Mac Miller. The song’s emotional landscape unfolds as a journey of an individual wronged by others, exploring a newfound solace in solitude. A compelling chord change at 1:58 marks a subtle but resonant shift in the auditory journey, reminiscent of the evocative transformations within the works of Bon Iver and James Vincent McMorrow.

Blake Wisner, a Las Vegas-based artist with a passion rooted in early experiences with music and poetry, brings a distinctive touch to the world of pop. From his initial piano lessons at three to his high school explorations into poetic compositions, Blake’s development as a singer-songwriter emerges prominently in “SOLO.” The track exemplifies his skill in blending catchy, melodic flows with rich, emotive lyrical content, defining his unique sound within the contemporary musical landscape. “SOLO” thus stands as a testament to Blake’s evolving musical journey, sculpting an intimate and multifaceted experience for listeners navigating the realms of resilience and self-reflection.

Jack Quit the Band – “No Use et al. (2022)”

“No Use et al. (2022)” by Jack Quit the Band manifests as a vehement critique of the dehumanizing nature of dating apps, grounding its narrative in the intricate tapestry of emo alternative rock. The raw lyrical fervor channels a tangible sense of desolation and existential reckoning, echoing the artists’ personal skirmishes with the alienation inherent in digital interaction platforms. The piece explores the abyss of human connection reduced to objectification, aligning its thematic core with the distress and resignation encapsulated in the lines, “Waiting / I’ve been waiting / For no use at all.” The song’s academic pun title amplifies its lamentation on the “uselessness” and myriad emotions born from virtual connection attempts, delivering a blistering commentary on the fragmented landscapes of modern dating.

Jack Quit the Band, formed amid a juxtaposition of BBQ, kimchi, beers, and eclectic musical expressions, navigates the interstices of country, jazz, and punk. The trio—Goldie Leger, Jacques Bureau, and Joshua Grunt—are no strangers to juxtaposing musical extremities, intertwining “twinkly guitar noodle riffs” with the raw vigor of their sonic identity. A journey initiated in gastronomic conviviality and culminating in musical rebellion, “No Use et al. (2022)” marks their contemplative return to the music scene, a harbinger of their upcoming, energy-infused EP. In this single, the resonance of Algernon Cadwallader and Glocca Morra is palpable, painting their influences in strokes of frenetic anguish and unadulterated emotional discord, epitomizing the collective’s exploration into the multifaceted spheres of human connection and isolation.

Starsign – “Fish Oil”

“Fish Oil,” the avant-garde brainchild of the 10-piece ensemble Starsign, serves as a vibrant prologue to their impending debut album, weaving together the eclectic threads of jazz, funk, and fusion. The track is a labyrinth of sonic experimentation, imbued with a visceral energy reminiscent of Snarky Puppy’s intricate tapestries. A snake-charmer soprano sax solo at 2:09 melds seamlessly with a searing blues guitar solo at 4:05, cultivating an auditory spectacle that crescendos into a cataclysmic metal drum solo, manipulating time in its dynamic cadence. The experimental allure of “Fish Oil” is both a celebration and a dissection of genre conventions, its dynamic contours exploring the syncretic potentials of music.

Hailing from San Diego, California, Starsign crafts their distinct sound with a palette inspired by the likes of Steely Dan, FORQ, and Rush. The collective is a myriad of influences, a harmonious clash of award-winning funk guitar, Miami’s Latin-infused piano reverberations, the robust intensity of metal drums, and an eclectic horn section that traverses the jazz spectrum from Miles Davis to Herbie Hancock. The confluence of diverse regional and genre-specific sounds within Starsign is emblematic of their multifaceted approach to music creation, amalgamating disparate musical elements into a singular, unifying vibe that echoes with unparalleled uniqueness and intricate sophistication.

Noah Zacharin – “Ten Tons of Road”

“Ten Tons of Road,” the incisive opener to his seventh album, establishes Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist Noah Zacharin in a space teeming with intimate narratives and acute emotional journeys. The track is a solo rendition and a heartfelt homage to love and the untraveled paths it coerces one to embark upon. The strains of melancholy that entwine with romantic contemplations echo the delicate balance of sadness, moody introspection, and the raw romanticism inherent in the Americana and Acoustic Folk traditions. Zacharin’s voice, a vessel of emotive transparency, cradles each note, enveloping listeners in a delicate embrace of lyrical vulnerability and intricate guitar work.

The composition’s core is its poignant simplicity, allowing Zacharin’s deep-rooted love for folk and its storytelling capabilities to flourish unfettered. It serves as a testament to his continued evolution as an artist, with each chord striking the heartstrings with a finesse honed over a prolific musical journey. The timeless appeal of “Ten Tons of Road” lies in its exploration of love’s myriad complexities, weaving a tapestry of emotions that resonate with a universal allure. In this meticulously crafted musical soliloquy, Zacharin stands as a modern-day bard, his tunes etched with the enduring echoes of romantic wanderings and the unyielding weight of the roads less traveled.

Sourface – “Solaire”

In “Solaire,” Sourface, the dynamic Anglo-Parisian quartet, presents a sonorous spectacle, a musical canvas painted with hues of jazz fusion, indie-pop, and funk, all blending seamlessly to narrate an ode to the sun—a symbol of life’s dichotomous giver and taker. The band’s unique sound is a chaotic yet harmonious dance between diverse genres, each step infused with an exhilarating burst of energy. It channels the dynamic vibes of the ’70s jazz maestros Cortex and merges them with the psychedelic tones of La Femme. Every note is a swirl of vibrant synths, pulsating drums, and suave French vocals, creating a soundscape that’s both nostalgic and forward-thinking, illustrating Sourface’s unrelenting chaos-positive energy.

The song’s lyrical fabric, adorned with both existential and ethereal threads, weaves the portraits of sunrises and tropical landscapes, of enduring happiness and transient anger. Translating the lyrics, one perceives reflections on time’s fluidity under our gaze, the world igniting under the skies, and the sun immortalized with lines like “Long live the solar star.” The interlude explores unconfessed pleasures and unfinished projects, the transient nature of emotions, and the eternal presence of the sun in every emotion. Sourface masterfully combines the philosophical essence of their lyrics with their eclectic sound, enabling listeners to journey through the auditory landscapes of unrestrained joy and profound reflections. “Solaire” is a solar dance, a timeless euphony where each note is a ray of sun, radiant, illuminating, and infinitely energetic.

The Kite Project – “Don’t Hesitate”

Celebrating a decade since its inception, The Kite Project, Malta’s pioneering cartoon band, reverberates with renewed vigor in “Don’t Hesitate.” The track is a stirring concoction of indie and soft rock, radiating the energetic echoes of iconic bands like The Cranberries and No Doubt, and echoes the fervor of Alanis Morissette. It narrates the relentless pursuit of one’s artistic dreams, portraying the poignant synergy of frustration and passion inherent to the creative process. The animated visual accompaniment, a blend of skilfully crafted frames and fan-found footage, mirrors the vivacity and the relentless zeal imbued in every note, depicting the turbulence and the triumphs of the artistic odyssey, making it a beacon for those ensnared in the juxtaposition of their dreams and struggles.

“Don’t Hesitate” unravels the tale of unbridled ambition, the aspirations clashing and merging with the relentless march of time. The lyrics convey a poignant message—encapsulating the essence of pursuing dreams and the inherent reluctance therein, with lines like “All you wanna be is a step before the rest, And all I wanna do is do what I love best.” The relentless urgency pulsates through the lyrics, culminating in the haunting refrain “Don’t hesitate, It’ll be too late, Before you get to me,” a stark reminder of the fleeting nature of opportunity and time. It’s a sonic journey through the myriad facets of human aspiration, a symphony of fervent desires and relentless pursuit, making “Don’t Hesitate” a timeless anthem for the dreamers entwined in the eternal dance of desire and deterrence. The song is a harmonious outcry, a lyrical echo resounding through the realms of ambition and reluctance, compelling and impassioned, urging the listener to embark on their journey before the sands of time render it too late.

Brand New Friend – “Open And Shut”

With “Open and Shut,” Brand New Friend crafts a musical tableau, a melodic echo of childhood reverie interlaced with elements of indie rock and folk, an allusion to literary artistry and a reflection of life’s juxtapositions. The track is a constituent of their latest album, “Grandstand,” a project permeated with nods to diverse inspirations from Wendy Erskine and Joan Didion to the cherished reminiscences of television presenter Des Lynam’s stint on the sports show ‘Grandstand.’ The storytelling is akin to a tapestry woven with threads of multifarious influences, portraying glimpses of places, from a sunlit contemporary New York City to a desolate county Donegal in 2001, and traversing through time, reflecting transitions and shifts, presenting protagonists in varying phases of life. The band’s harmonic journey, initiated by the Johnson siblings in the serene landscapes of Northern Ireland, has matured into a resonant presence in the indie-pop scene, garnering mentorship from the likes of Gary Lightbody and gracing myriad stages, manifesting the chill and happy moods intrinsic to their music.

“Open and Shut” is not just a musical piece; it is an immersive journey, transporting the listener through eclectic terrains of human experiences, delving into themes of loss, familial bonds, and reflections on influential figures, unveiling imaginary dialogues and narratives rooted in diverse temporal and spatial dimensions. The track and the album it resides in echo the philosophy of coexistence of contrasting elements in life and emphasize the imperative of forging one’s own path amidst the inevitable alterations in existence. It’s an embodiment of the band’s musical evolution, a symbiosis of divergent inspirations from The Thrills to Mike Skinner, mirroring their explorative and adaptive essence. The harmonies embody the convergence of the past and the present, the real and the imagined, offering a mellifluous exploration of existence and its varied facets, making “Open and Shut” a musical and philosophical odyssey reflective of Brand New Friend’s innovative and introspective artistry.

Album Review: Ed Prosek – The Foreigner EP

Ed Prosek’s newest EP, “The Foreigner,” arrives like an autumn gust, ushering in introspection and ponderings about identity and place. Through six evocative tracks, the California-born, Berlin-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist crafts a contemplative masterpiece that delves deep into the very core of human emotion, intertwining his unique blend of chamber orchestration, Americana storytelling, and intimate pop. A classically trained musician, Prosek’s lifelong journey, encompassing diverse locales and musical styles, is palpable in each note and lyric of this 19-minute EP.

Beginning with “Hallelujah,” listeners are immediately embraced with a serenity and reverence, setting the tone for an emotional journey. There’s a touch of Leonard Cohen’s profound spirituality, but Prosek creates a unique space, providing a fresh perspective. “Man Overboard” picks up the pace, resonating with the feeling of being overwhelmed and lost amidst the raging currents of life. Its earnestness is balanced with soaring instrumentals, which seem to symbolize both struggle and hope.

“Ever After (Wedding Song)” is pure poetic intimacy. The track is an ode to love, not just the euphoric highs but the challenging lows, serving as a reminder that commitment is an ever-evolving process. Its subtle Americana influences give it an earthy touch, grounding it in Prosek’s roots.

Then comes “Vertigo,” which is where Prosek’s Berlin influence unmistakably shines. With a fusion of classical and modern, it conjures the image of someone teetering on the edge, in a constant battle with the anxieties and uncertainties of life. Its raw emotional intensity serves as a heart-rending prelude to the title track.

“The Foreigner” stands as the heart and soul of this collection. The song encapsulates the artist’s journey, his constant grappling with identity, and what ‘home’ truly means. His European lineage and American upbringing are woven into the narrative, echoing the sentiments of feeling adrift between two worlds. This track captures the essence of what it means to be a foreigner, not just in the geographical sense but emotionally and spiritually.

The closing track, “Tell A Lie,” offers a poignant end to a deeply introspective EP. Its melancholy tone and narrative question the truths we tell ourselves and the facades we put up. It’s a fitting culmination, bringing the overarching theme of self-exploration and acceptance full circle.

As a full listening experience, “The Foreigner” EP reveals Ed Prosek’s innate ability to transmute his experiences and emotions into music. Having studied classical trumpet and attended the prestigious San Francisco Conservatory of Music, it’s evident that Prosek’s classical training has deeply influenced his sophisticated songwriting. However, it’s his personal journey, from California to the UK, and eventually Berlin, that gives this album its soul.

His myriad experiences and cultural exposures, encapsulated in previous releases such as “Holy Water” and “The Mountain,” have culminated in “The Foreigner.” Prosek’s assertion that he’s currently the “best and happiest version” of himself can be felt in each track. This EP is not just a collection of songs; it’s a narrative, a diary of Prosek’s internal musings on belonging and identity, and his journey to find equilibrium in a world that often feels disjointed.

Ed Prosek’s “The Foreigner” is a testament to the universality of human experience. In a world that’s increasingly fragmented, Prosek offers a melodic sanctuary for listeners, a place where they can reflect on their own journeys, their own struggles with identity, and ultimately, find solace in shared human emotion. Through six songs, he has delivered not just music but a resonating message — that while we might all feel like foreigners in some capacity, music is the bridge that connects us. It’s an EP that demands repeated listens, each time offering a deeper understanding of the artist and, in turn, ourselves.

Album Review: Wide Arches – Farewell to All the Lovely Things


Wide Arches’ debut album, “Farewell to All the Lovely Things,” serves as a multi-faceted mirror reflecting both the artist Jacob Gorzhaltsan’s personal growth and the universality of human experience. In a time when many were isolated and disconnected, Gorzhaltsan reached across the void to create a rich tapestry of sound and emotion. The 12-track, 42-minute album is both a musical journey and a testament to human resilience and creativity.

The Album’s Creation and Jacob Gorzhaltsan’s Evolution

The album’s inception is as fascinating as the content itself. Recorded individually by musicians at their home studios during the pandemic, the process took Gorzhaltsan on a three-year learning curve. Studying mixing and recording, he turned limitation into creativity. This do-it-yourself attitude forms the very fabric of the album, making it a genuinely personal project. Collaborating with other talented Canadian musicians and mastering by Justin Gray adds a polished finish to this heartfelt project.

An In-Depth Look at Key Tracks

1. Pictures in the Sand:

This track showcases Gorzhaltsan’s ability to translate complex emotions into lyrical poetry. The metaphor of pictures fading in the sand is beautifully juxtaposed with the human struggle against time and change. The melody is equally mesmerizing, filled with longing and introspection.

2. Fake Smiles, Artificial Laughs:

Here, Gorzhaltsan takes a step into social commentary. This track is a cutting critique of insincerity and superficiality. The wordplay is sharp, the message is clear, and the music is perfectly aligned with the song’s subject matter, making it a standout piece on the album.

3. Roadkill Cafe:

A haunting reflection on death, existence, and the passage of time, this song adds a philosophical dimension to the album. The lyrics are deep and contemplative, supported by an arrangement that is both eerie and beautiful.

The Wider Spectrum of the Album

Other tracks also contribute to the album’s overall cohesion and emotional resonance. “Sadness Wears Her Prettiest Dress” and “Lake Scene” add to the heartbreaking emotional spectrum, while “Upside Down” and “Wasting Away” lend a quirky, tongue-in-cheek energy.

The broad array of instruments and musical textures is impressive, invoking both classic and contemporary folk influences. From the tender strings to the resonant brass, the instrumental richness adds depth and variety to the listening experience.

Emotional Connection and Lyrical Brilliance

The true genius of “Farewell to All the Lovely Things” lies in its ability to connect emotionally. Gorzhaltsan’s lyrics are not merely words but vivid images, painting pictures that speak to the heart. Whether it’s the aching nostalgia of “Lake Scene” or the lively jest of “Fake Smiles,” there is a genuine, palpable emotional connection.

The influence of renowned artists like Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, and Bob Dylan is apparent in the narrative storytelling. Yet Gorzhaltsan’s unique voice shines through, making this work undeniably his own.


“Farewell to All the Lovely Things” by Wide Arches is a true artistic triumph. It’s an album that transcends mere entertainment, providing a soulful reflection on life’s myriad complexities. The blend of lyrical depth, musical innovation, and personal authenticity is rare and refreshing.

The journey that Gorzhaltsan undertook to create this album reflects a broader human journey of overcoming adversity, embracing creativity, and seeking connection. Each track is a stepping stone, guiding the listener through various emotional landscapes.

Whether you find solace in the comforting words of “Ballerina” or feel the rebellious energy of “Upside Down,” there’s something in this album for every listener. It’s not just music; it’s a companion that offers solace, challenges thought, and celebrates the beautiful chaos that is life.

In a world often filled with noise and haste, “Farewell to All the Lovely Things” is an invitation to pause and reflect. It’s an embrace of the authentic and a celebration of human connection. An extraordinary debut by a talented artist, this album is a must-listen and a beautiful addition to the folk music landscape. It’s a farewell to superficiality and a heartfelt welcome to all that makes us human. The album doesn’t just play; it speaks, it connects, and it stays with you long after the last note has faded.

Weekly New Releases – Sea Glass, Galvo, King Khan, The Joy Formidable, charliecomehome, East Harbor, and Zach Day

Dive deep with us as we traverse the musical cosmos, unearthing hidden gems and spotlighting the latest and greatest tracks that have graced our ears. Whether you’re searching for the pulse of indie vibes, the heartbeat of electric beats, or the soothing hum of acoustic melodies, we’ve got you covered. Every week, we curate a selection that serves both the audiophile and the casual listener. From emerging artists to chart-topping legends, this is your one-stop destination to discover music that’s begging to be heard. So, grab your headphones, crank up the volume, and let’s journey through sound together. Welcome to the pulse of the underground—welcome to B-Side Guys.

Sea Glass and Sky Adler – “Lay Back”

From the textured, lustrous landscape of New York’s bustling streets emerges a sound that is both familiar yet distinctively refreshing. Sea Glass, the project helmed by the city-based producer Jake Muskat, taps into a collective consciousness of growing pains and dreams deferred with his latest offering, “Lay Back.” There’s an authentic gravitas to the track, stemming from Muskat’s own personal journey and inspired by the seismic shift of becoming a parent. The lyrics play like an intimate journal entry, a dialogue of self-awareness that juxtaposes escapism (“I get high to get away from me”) with introspection and vulnerability (“You could make love to me, But you’ll never solve ’em”). The song’s sonic space sits comfortably between the soulful grooves of Leon Bridges and the eclectic stylings of Rex Orange County, yet Sea Glass manages to carve out an identity all his own.

A sentiment echoed through channels such as Indie Shuffle and The Wild Honey Pie, Sea Glass’ sound holds a magnifying glass to the human experience, zeroing in on moments of introspection, desire, and the sometimes turbulent ride of self-discovery. In “Lay Back,” the exploration of wanting to run from oneself, only to confront the undeniable truth of personal demons, is delivered with such earnestness, it’s impossible not to be captivated. Sea Glass’s collaborative endeavor with Sky Adler on this track seamlessly marries these profound lyrical sentiments with an instrumental depth, pushing forward a narrative that is both melancholic and hopeful. The resultant track hints at the broader depth and potential of the upcoming debut LP, which, if it follows the path set by “Lay Back,” is bound to be a touchstone for listeners navigating their own life’s maze.

Galvo – “Maybe”

From the gritty streets of 1980s Ballymun to the aromatic, sun-soaked pathways of Spain, Galvo’s journey has been anything but linear. This Dublin-bred artist has absorbed every ounce of his tumultuous past and alchemized it into the profound balladry of his new single, “Maybe”. A track infused with the deep melancholy of missed connections and “what could have been” moments, “Maybe” underscores the transformative power of songwriting as a vessel for catharsis. The song’s poignant instrumentation—those steadfast strings and resonant percussion—meld effortlessly with Galvo’s emotive vocals, painting a vivid tapestry of yearning and acceptance. The accompanying video, with its vivid hues and palpable nostalgia, further drives home the weight of the track, making for an experience that’s both aurally and visually stirring.

Galvo’s life narrative reads like the lyrics of a song, filled with its fair share of trials, travels, and triumphs. A testament to his resilience, he channels adversity into art, using music as a lifeline through bouts of homelessness and personal challenges. His time in Spain and the influence of alternative rock band, September Sun, are evident in “Maybe,” reflecting a blend of melancholic indie-folk with the tender resonances of acoustic balladry. However, it’s Galvo’s idiosyncratic guitar style, born of adversity and innovation, playing a right-handed guitar upside-down, that adds a unique touch to his already distinctive sound. With “Maybe” heralding the imminent arrival of his debut album, The HeARTist, Galvo’s narrative and the emotional landscapes of his music seem poised to capture the hearts of listeners worldwide. In Galvo’s world, every hardship is a note, every triumph a melody, coming together in harmonious symphony.

King Khan & Miranda and the Beat – “Never Hold Back”

King Khan’s collaboration with Miranda Zipse of Miranda and the Beat on “Never Hold Back” reveals a profound synchronicity between a storied artist and a new collaborator, manifesting a musical tapestry rich in socio-political commentary and personal narratives. While the genesis of the track might be a serendipitous late-night in Germany filled with shared music and the warming embrace of German beer, the resulting piece conveys a resonance that transcends borders and time. With the track rooted in the poignant history surrounding Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Zipse’s rendition—her slight lyrical alteration—adds a layer of empowerment to the already powerful narrative, shifting focus from the melancholic inertia of “Never Hold On” to the spirited resilience of “Never Hold Back”. John B. Smith’s assertion that Khan’s music can illuminate the darkest corners, giving voice to the unheard, truly encapsulates the essence of this song.

Grounded in the backdrop of the documentary The Invaders, which chronicles the dramatic ebbs and flows of a militant black power group from the ’60s, the track is a testament to the timeless relevance of civil rights struggles. King Khan’s decision to compose the entire soundtrack “blind,” without the visual aid of the film’s imagery, proves to be an inspired one, leading to serendipitous alignments that brim with authenticity. When juxtaposed against Khan’s evocative descriptions of his process, “Never Hold Back” emerges as a beacon, a fiery arrow of neo-soul and retro soul, embedded with the grit of indie rock and the legacy of activism. As Khan’s music straddles eras, it serves as a rallying cry for contemporary listeners, reminding them of past battles and the timeless truth that the struggle for justice, understanding, and unity must never waver.

The Joy Formidable – “Cut Your Face”

The Welsh alt-rock juggernaut, The Joy Formidable, makes a triumphant return with “Cut Your Face,” an impassioned reflection on vulnerability and the relentless desire for authentic connection. In a world where many often disguise their imperfections, lead vocalist Ritzy Bryan’s poignant message advocates for embracing the messy, imperfect facets of our lives, emphasizing the beauty that lies therein. The raw energy of Bryan’s vocals, juxtaposed against the compelling rhythms of bassist Rhydian Dafydd and drummer Matt Thomas, gives this track an undeniable dynamism. The band’s signature blend of indie and alternative rock, with its intricate guitar riffs and captivating melodies, imbues the song with a sense of introspective urgency that resonates deeply.

Emerging from the critical acclaim of their 2021 album “Into The Blue,” this new single marks the start of a tantalizing trio of releases scheduled for the year. “Cut Your Face” acts as both a reminder of The Joy Formidable’s steadfast presence in the alt-rock landscape and a herald of the evolutions to come. Their unique bond with their fanbase, evident in their innovative TJF Music Club, only underscores their dedication to remaining engaged and accessible, regardless of geography. With a confirmed tour in the UK and a highly anticipated return to North America on the horizon, it’s evident that The Joy Formidable continue to cut through the noise, challenging listeners to face their truths with raw authenticity.

charliecomehome & Dage – “Femme Fatale”

In the electrifying realm of progressive R&B, the alliance of charliecomehome and Dage births a masterpiece entitled “Femme Fatale.” This debut single deftly traverses the expansive musical territory carved out by the likes of Hiatus Kaiyote and Stevie Wonder, merging complex arrangements with unforgettable hooks. From the opening lines, “Her bright eyes light up the room,” the song paints the portrait of an enigmatic, self-assured woman, epitomized in the repeated motif, “Let me get a glimpse of your fantasy.” The sonic landscape, punctuated by a radiant saxophone solo, is reminiscent of Moonchild and Joy Crookes’ melodic storytelling. Its pulsating rhythm invites listeners to sway and lose themselves in its danceable grooves, catering to a spectrum of R&B enthusiasts.

Lyrically, “Femme Fatale” is a fervent homage to a strong, confident woman who commands respect and adoration. The central figure of the song is unapologetically self-reliant, working her 9 to 5, immune to fleeting romances. Phrases like “The whole town knows” and “She controls the weather” amplify her omnipresence and influence. Amid the narrative, there’s an evident yearning, with lines like “I’m running out of time, so just make it quick” echoing the urgency to understand and be near this mesmerizing force. The juxtaposition of raw emotion with an upbeat musical backdrop creates a captivating tension, solidifying “Femme Fatale” as a definitive anthem in contemporary R&B.

East Harbor – “Away From You”

East Harbor’s “Away From You” is an anthemic testament to the band’s infectious alt-pop prowess. Seamlessly blending elements from rock and indie, this South Florida quartet has produced an electrifying track that effuses a sense of 80s summer nostalgia, layered with contemporary sonic nuances reminiscent of industry titans like Harry Styles and Maroon 5. The track’s pulsating rhythm coupled with its indelible vocals transports listeners straight to a neon-lit dance floor, the kind where memories are made and forgotten in the span of a single night.

Lyrically, “Away From You” navigates the tumultuous waters of a relationship characterized by doubt and distance. The song kicks off with a vulnerable plea, “If you got a second, A second for me,” before swiftly spiraling into a recount of a love imbued with uncertainty. The lines, “I worry about the things that you’re gonna do” and “I worry about it everyday something new,” paint a picture of anxiety, revealing a protagonist trapped in an emotional limbo, constantly speculating about their partner’s actions in their absence. Yet, it’s not all melancholy—there’s an undercurrent of empowerment, echoed in the affirmation that they’re not “lookin’ to save ya” and their unwavering determination to prioritize self-worth over a tumultuous love. The track’s fervent chorus, with its repetitive mantra of “When I’m away from you,” conveys a sentiment many can relate to: the simultaneous relief and apprehension felt when distancing oneself from a chaotic relationship. The culmination of East Harbor’s signature electric guitar leads, effervescent synths, and evocative lyrics solidify “Away From You” as not just a song, but an experience, an encapsulation of modern love’s complexities.

Zach Day – “New York”

In the saturated landscape of modern folk, few songs strike a chord as profoundly resonant as Zach Day’s “New York.” Under the deft production hands of Hana Elion from Overcoats, Day crafts a poignant ode to patience in love, artfully weaving the universal sentiment into a tapestry of tender melodies and introspective lyrics. The themes of longing and hopeful anticipation are palpable, suggesting the vast distances (both emotional and geographical) one might traverse for a love with boundless potential.

Zach Day’s unique upbringing in the secluded corners of Kentucky imbues a raw authenticity to his work. Every note and lyric feels like an echo from a past carved from humble beginnings, self-taught artistry, and a voracious appetite for varied musical influences. This passionate genesis of Day’s musical journey is evident as he channels the haunting intimacy of Bon Iver, the lyrical vulnerability of Phoebe Bridgers, and the narrative elegance of Taylor Swift. What sets Day apart, however, is the distinctive timbre of his voice; a soul-bearing instrument that tells stories of years spent poring over legendary vocalists, and hours skipped from school in pursuit of his craft. “New York” isn’t just a song, but a culmination of a young artist’s devotion to his art, a poignant testament to his journey from the backwoods of Kentucky to the vast expanse of emotions that make up the human experience.

Mid-Week Mixdown: Citizen Cope, Rowan Drake, Best Noodles In Town, ABSYTE, Charm The Riot, John Que Smith, Jaïnda, Caleb J. Murphy, Starpainter, and Christa Couture

Welcome to the Mid-Week Mixdown on bsideguys.com, your essential dose of sonic innovation to break through the midweek slump! It’s where emerging artists meet the timeless classics, all in one incredible playlist curated just for you. From electrifying beats that get your pulse racing to soothing melodies that transport you to a place of peace, the Mid-Week Mixdown is more than just a collection of tracks—it’s a musical journey.

Here at B-Side Guys, we believe that music has the power to transcend boundaries and connect us in ways words alone cannot. With a blend of the latest indie hits, hidden gems, and timeless favorites, the Mid-Week Mixdown is designed to elevate your music experience.

Whether you’re looking to discover your next favorite artist or simply escape the daily grind with an eclectic mix of genres, the Mid-Week Mixdown is your perfect companion. Tune in, let loose, and lose yourself in the curated brilliance of musicians from across the globe. We hope you enjoy the ride!

Citizen Cope – “Dancing Lullaby (Let’s Give Love a Try)”

Citizen Cope’s new single, “Dancing Lullaby (Let’s Give Love a Try),” marks a reflective return for the seasoned band. Swathed in a dub-influenced reggae arrangement and peppered with cultural nods to figures like Bob Marley and The I-Threes, the track unveils itself as a soothing anthem for connection. The rhythmic pulse lays the groundwork for the song’s lyrical substance, exploring themes of love, beauty, and inspiration. Lyrics like “Dancing Lullaby, let’s give love try / Don’t you wanna be more than just a friend of mine” invoke an inviting charm, colored with a sense of yearning and optimistic intrigue.

The track is an essential component of the band’s recent album, “The Victory March,” reflecting both hope and resilience. As part of Citizen Cope’s ongoing musical journey, “Dancing Lullaby” offers a mature perspective, balancing lush arrangements with Citizen Cope’s signature vibrant melodies. It’s not merely a song; it’s an encapsulation of the band’s broader philosophy, a call for embracing love as a unifying force. The echoes of love resonate through the track, encapsulating what makes this release more than a standard fare from an old band, but rather a meaningful exploration of human connection on their terms.

Rowan Drake – “How Do I Love Again”

Rowan Drake’s single “How Do I Love Again” is a poignant exploration of love lost and the subsequent emotional vacuum it can leave behind. As a centerpiece of the intimately personal EP “Dear Ella,” the track serves as both a tender farewell to a past relationship and a painful rumination on the future of love. The genre confines of Singer-Songwriter and Adult Contemporary frame the song’s structure, but within those boundaries, Drake crafts a universe that is sad, romantic, and moodily reflective. The raw emotion conveyed through both the lyrics and performance grants listeners a glimpse into the very soul of an artist grappling with universal themes of love and loss.

The beauty of “How Do I Love Again” lies in its simplicity and honesty. There are no pretensions here; it’s an unadorned, heartfelt letter set to music. Rowan Drake’s approach allows the listener to transcend mere empathy, fostering a profound connection that reaches into the shared human experience. The melancholic melody and Drake’s emotive vocals amplify the track’s mood, creating an ambience that is as haunting as it is beautiful. “How Do I Love Again” isn’t just a song; it’s a question posed to anyone who has felt love’s sting, and in its asking, offers a catharsis that only the most sincere music can provide.

Best Noodles In Town – “at least”

Best Noodles In Town make a bold statement with their debut single “at least,” an emo-infused alternative rock track that resonates with the restless spirit of youth. The song is a candid reflection of everyday anxieties and disillusionments, punctuated by a breakdown with a math rock influence and vocal harmonies that adds an unexpected complexity. Aligning with the likes of Mom Jeans., Moose Blood, and Neck Deep, the track fuses raw emotion with skillful musicianship. The lyrics, “It’s never enough we work so hard / At least we got friends and a couple dive bars,” epitomize a generation’s struggle, yet offer a communal comfort that’s as charming as it is poignant.

Musically, “at least” captures the essence of its genre while introducing a unique voice to the scene. The breakdown 30 seconds into the track and the groovy tapping section towards the end showcase a band unafraid to experiment within their sound. The lyrics carry a thoughtful resonance, weaving themes of time, mistakes, and existential questioning into a tapestry that’s as comforting as it is challenging. This first release from Best Noodles In Town is a promising glimpse into a young band’s potential, a cry of dissatisfaction that manages to find joy in friendship and music, and a welcome addition to the modern emo and alternative rock landscape.

ABSYTE – “Power of Prayer”

ABSYTE’s “Power of Prayer” is a resonant call to action, a hymn of resistance against oppression and a plea for empathy and understanding. Taking cues from similar artists like Ms. Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu, the track’s powerful message is aimed at empowering those who feel marginalized or suppressed, urging them to rise above the obstacles of political warfare, hatred, or violence. The lyrics are filled with rich imagery and a strong political undertone, such as “Raise hands to the ceiling come together on the feeling / my nation is healing from the toxicity & killings.” The hook, with its unifying chant of “Rules meant to be broken / while stroken on the high note / the power of prayer got haters on the top ropes,” serves as a bold manifesto for change without resorting to violence or destruction.

Musically, the song blends soul, R&B, and hip-hop into a cohesive and stirring whole, with a musicality that underscores its fervent message. The verses are layered with wisdom, historical reflection, and a determined call for a brighter future. The emphasis on prayer and faith adds a spiritual dimension to the song, creating a connection between personal strength and higher principles. It’s a track that, as ABSYTE stated, does not condone violence but is meant to be disruptive and encourage people to find the strength to stand up against fear and bullying. The resulting composition is both a rallying cry for justice and a soulful expression of hope, reflecting an artist deeply engaged with the social and political issues of our time.

Charm The Riot – “Live This Way (Dark Space Version)”

Charm The Riot’s “Live This Way (Dark Space Version)” is a thoughtful exploration into the juxtaposition of materialism and existential contemplation. Drawing on California Boom Bap, the London-born artist, now based in Sacramento, California, paints a lyrical picture that is both dark and introspective. With musical nods to similar artists like A Tribe Called Quest and Pete Rock, the track dwells on daily life’s complexities, as evidenced by lines like “Okay, the trees got roots / The oceans got waves / The game got dues / So you know rhyme pays.” The chorus, echoing “Don’t wanna live this way / Don’t wanna die this way,” resonates as a profound statement on life’s often conflicting desires.

Musically, “Live This Way (Dark Space Version)” demonstrates Charm The Riot’s blend of rap, funk, rock, and electronica. The artist’s flow is both smooth and articulate, weaving through the instrumental effortlessly, giving voice to a sense of dissatisfaction and longing for more meaningful existence. Whether exploring themes of hustling, materialism, or spirituality, the track’s reflective nature and Charm The Riot’s ability to articulate complex emotions make it a standout piece. The words “Hopefully, there’s more to it than this / More to it than this technology and bling for the wrist” encapsulate the song’s essence, urging listeners to look beyond the surface to discover a deeper connection with the world around them. It’s a track that challenges and inspires, marking a sophisticated and ambitious step for an artist unafraid to probe life’s darker corners.

John Que Smith – “Going Home, Monday 5 PM”

John Que Smith’s “Going Home, Monday 5 PM” is a musical odyssey that captures the excitement, anticipation, and urgency of leaving work on a Monday evening. As an instrumental track, it speaks through a vivacious blend of Funk, Nu Jazz, and Jazztronica, channeling the stylistic traits of influential artists like Herbie Hancock. The energetic and epic moods crafted by Smith resonate as a soundtrack for liberation from the workweek’s constraints, painting a musical picture of the bustling streets, vibrant city lights, and the joyful journey home.

From the first beat, the listener is taken on a spirited ride filled with rhythmic complexities, intricate bass lines, and dazzling synthesizer sequences. The funk foundation pulsates with life, while the Nu Jazz and Jazztronica elements lend a modern, innovative edge, making it a compelling and multi-layered listening experience. The choice of instruments and the way they’re employed creates a texture that’s both nostalgic and forward-looking. “Going Home, Monday 5 PM” is more than just a piece of music; it’s a joyful expression of freedom, a celebration of ordinary moments made extraordinary through the power of sound. It’s a track that doesn’t just play in the background but engages, entertains, and elevates the listener, leaving them invigorated and ready for whatever comes next.

Jaïnda – “Seconds, Minutes, Hours”

Jaïnda’s “Seconds, Minutes, Hours” is a melodious gem that encapsulates the essence of fleeting time and moments wrapped in love. With her strong Amsterdam roots, Jaïnda has a voice that is both robust and gentle, reminding listeners of the great singers of the past while infusing her work with a contemporary edge. This Neo-Soul piece, textured with Alternative / Indie R&B and a dash of Jazz Fusion, carries the happy and romantic moods that characterize the spirit of being young, wild, and free.

The song’s arrangement is as lush as it is intricate, with a vocal performance that holds traces of Alicia Keys, Lianne La Havas, and Ms. Lauryn Hill. The instrumental backdrop weaves jazz rhythms and neo-soul harmonies that complement Jaïnda’s emotive delivery. Lyrically, “Seconds, Minutes, Hours” captures the impatience of love and longing, the desire to freeze time, and the realization that every moment is precious. With her outstanding talent and authentic artistry, Jaïnda is poised to capture hearts across the globe. Her blend of classic soulfulness with modern flair creates an enchanting piece that resonates deeply and lingers long after the song ends. “Seconds, Minutes, Hours” is a testament to her potential and a promising hint at what’s to come in her upcoming EP.

Caleb J. Murphy – “The Hands I Got”

Caleb J. Murphy’s “The Hands I Got” is a heartfelt and contemplative ode to his previous neighbors, weaving together a tapestry of true stories that reflect his authentic songwriting style. Drawing from his own life experiences and recent move to a different state, Murphy crafts a narrative that is simultaneously personal and universal. With influences ranging from new folk genre artists like David Kushner and Andy Shauf, the song’s musical composition feels rooted yet explorative, telling the story with an acoustic embrace, adorned with subtle embellishments that add emotional depth.

Murphy’s late-blooming musical emergence shines through in “The Hands I Got,” showcasing his ability to transform personal reflections into poignant songs. As an artist who has grappled with his faith, embraced universal experiences, and learned from what has worn him down, Murphy’s storytelling and creative production have continually evolved. This track resonates with those themes, and his earnest vocals connect the listeners with the characters in his neighborhood. With an empathetic eye, Murphy paints a picture of ordinary lives made extraordinary through song, capturing the human experience in its raw and beautiful form. His consistency and persistence in the music career shine in this piece, marking him as an artist with the unique ability to connect, reflect, and inspire.

Starpainter – “Let It Pass”

Starpainter’s “Let It Pass,” a standout track from their latest album “Rattlesnake Dream,” takes listeners on a contemplative journey through themes of family, love, and the complexities of life’s transitions. Through a folk-rock lens that echoes the likes of Wilco and Justin Townes Earle, the song’s lyrics tell a poignant story of longing and reconciliation. The self-produced, home-recorded nature of the album adds an intimate layer to the experience, with verses like “Gonna take you down to the river / Let it pass by / in the yellow light of evening / I’ll feel alright” carrying a haunting sense of wisdom and nostalgia. The self-reflective lines, artfully mixed by John Anderson and mastered by Phillip Shaw Bova, lend themselves to the timeless craftsmanship and imaginative, guitar-driven arrangements that have come to define Starpainter’s sound.

“Let It Pass” showcases the Alberta-based band’s growth, both in musical exploration and emotional depth. Joel Stretch’s lyrical narrative is centered around small-town prairie life, interwoven with personal insights and resonating universal truths. The entire album’s collaboration with Mexico City-based painter Erick García Gomez for the artwork lends a visual richness that perfectly complements the music. “Let It Pass” serves as a testament to the band’s dedication to old-school songwriting craftsmanship, and the resulting track is a meaningful addition to the modern folk-rock canon. It stands as a highlight in Starpainter’s impressive discography, reflecting their deep connection to their roots and a willingness to forge ahead into new musical landscapes.

Christa Couture – “Summer Is Hot With My Little Trans Lover”

Christa Couture’s new single “Summer Is Hot With My Little Trans Lover” is a radiant addition to her repertoire, illuminating the landscape of love with vibrant, queer joy. This celebratory track, released in perfect timing for pride month, resonates with the warmth of acceptance and the tenderness of a modern romance. Couture’s lyrics, inspired by her own relationship, offer an intimate glimpse into a love story that transcends gender binaries: “Summer is hot with my little trans lover / They take off their shirt and kick off the covers.” The track’s buoyant instrumentation, boasting Steve Dawson on guitar, Jeremy Holmes on bass, and Gary Craig on drums, and produced by the seven-time Juno award-winning Dawson, further elevates the song, capturing the euphoric feeling of summer love.

Couture, an Indigenous (mixed Cree and Scandinavian) artist known for her multifaceted career, brings her unique perspective and authenticity to this single, transforming a personal text message into a universal anthem. “Summer Is Hot With My Little Trans Lover” is more than just a delightful love song; it’s a celebration of non-binary and trans experiences, filling a significant gap in contemporary love ballads. As much an expression of personal joy as it is a statement of inclusivity and validation, the track stands as a milestone in Couture’s already rich and varied career. It’s an enchanting and playful piece that’s sure to resonate with a broad audience, and a heartfelt contribution to the soundtracks of countless summer romances.

Album Review: Sylva Faye – The Space Before Sleep

In an era dominated by ephemeral hits and fleeting trends, Sylva Faye’s latest album “The Space Before Sleep” emerges as an enduring beacon of authenticity. Returning after five years with a profound creation, the London-based multi-instrumentalist, flautist, and singer-songwriter presents an exploration that is as much a personal diary as it is a universal narrative.

A Fusion of Genres

Sylva Faye, known for her 20-year association with hip-hop and rap as a flautist, daringly steps into the realms of folk and indie in this ten-track album. The music is a celebration of her multi-instrumental prowess as she seamlessly transitions between mandolin, accordion, guitar, piano, and her signature flute. The result is an ethereal blend of indie, rock, folk, and ambient music that transcends categorization.

Emotional Roots

The core of “The Space Before Sleep” lies in its deeply emotional roots. Written while caring for her mother during her final days, the album captures the raw emotions of love, loss, grief, and survival. The title itself symbolizes that poignant liminal space between life and death, a place of reflection, transition, and acceptance.

Standout Tracks

Among the standout tracks, “Lemons” gracefully opens the album, setting a contemplative tone that guides the listener through Sylva’s life journey. “Kiss Chase” lightens the mood with its playful melody and whimsical lyrics, reflecting on love’s youthful innocence.”Here’s To You” is a heartfelt ode that resonates with anyone who has loved deeply and lost painfully. Its beautiful composition and earnest lyrics speak to the listener’s soul. “Past is like Water” flows like its namesake, meandering through reflections and memories, while “Horror Movie” offers a pop-infused contrast, an unexpected yet welcome divergence that showcases Sylva’s vast musical palette.

Live Performances

The live rendition of the album, performed with a nine-person band at venues like JT Soar Nottingham and Stoke Newington Old Church, adds another layer to the experience. The energy and passion evident in these performances breathe life into the music, transforming it from mere sound to a shared human experience. The sold-out show in London is a testament to Sylva Faye’s connection with her audience. The live band accompanying Sylva Faye throughout “The Space Before Sleep” brings a palpable depth and dynamism to the album that is nothing short of exceptional. Each musician adds a unique color to the lush tapestry of the songs, intricately weaving together layers of melody, rhythm, and harmony.

A Cathartic Journey

Sylva’s words encapsulate the album’s essence: “Making The Space Before Sleep helped me survive a really hard time in my life.” It’s not just a collection of songs but a therapeutic process that has allowed her to channel her grief into art. For listeners, it provides a window into her soul and offers comfort and understanding.

Critical Acclaim

Described as “an unusual and wonderful British female solo artist” by Faded Glamour and praised for having “A charming sense of relatability heightened by a unique talent” by When The Gramophone Rings, Sylva Faye has earned her accolades. Her hybrid sound has caught the attention of BBC Introducing, Tom Robinson’s BBC6 Mixtape, Demon FM, K2K Radio, and the Hype Machine, reinforcing her place in the contemporary music landscape.

A Lasting Impact

The album’s profound impact is not merely due to its musical richness but also its human connection. Sylva has laid her soul bare, allowing listeners to see their own fears, hopes, and dreams reflected in her work. The fact that her mother was able to hear the album and smile before departing this world adds an indelible spiritual dimension to the work.


“The Space Before Sleep” is a triumph in every sense. Sylva Faye has woven a musical tapestry that is at once personal and universal. She has crafted an album that speaks to the human condition, embracing the complexities of life, death, and everything in between.The album’s relatively short runtime of 23 minutes is deceptive, as it offers a timeless experience that lingers long after the last note has played. It is a work of art that reassures and heals, a testament to the transformative power of music.In a world that often feels disconnected, Sylva Faye has created a space where listeners can pause, reflect, and feel a little less alone. “The Space Before Sleep” is more than just music; it is empathy set to melody, a shared journey that reminds us of our shared humanity.Her exploration into new musical terrains, combined with her unique ability to articulate emotion, makes “The Space Before Sleep” not just an album but a cultural artifact that will undoubtedly continue to resonate with audiences for years to come. It is a soul-stirring masterpiece that stands as a poignant reminder of music’s ability to heal, connect, and inspire.

Mid-Week Mixdown: Leo Paterniti, J.C. Clements, Elle Baez, hunter&wolfe, Romantic Dividends, The New Hires, Lex Leosis, and Mike Plume & Jenny Orenstein

Welcome back to bsideguys.com, where we’re constantly uncovering new layers of the music world for your listening pleasure. It’s that time again – midweek. The grind may be setting in, but we have the perfect cure to keep you motivated and your spirits high. We’re excited to bring you another edition of our much-anticipated Mid Week Mixdown.

This week’s mix is an eclectic medley of sounds and genres, carefully selected to represent the breadth and depth of music we’ve been falling in love with. From moody indie pop tunes all the way to vibrant alt-country, our Mid Week Mixdown is a sonic journey that aims to reinvigorate your week and introduce you to some of the most promising talents on the music scene.

So, crank up the volume, let the music seep into your day, and let these tunes be the pulse that carries you through the rest of your week. Remember, music is the rhythm that keeps us moving, and our Mid Week Mixdown is here to ensure that your pace never falters. Let’s dive in!

Leo Paterniti – “Nerv”

The essence of homecoming and reconnection is expertly captured in Leo Paterniti’s “Nerv,” a song that mirrors the introspective subtlety of artists like Alex G and Radiohead, with the textured sonic influences of SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE. Paterniti’s lyrical eloquence unfolds an intimate narrative of returning home, a voyage encapsulated by evocative imagery of running through rain and fog, metaphorically suggesting a journey through obstacles and confusion to find clarity. It’s a song that echoes the fragility and warmth of old connections, accentuated by a poignant refrain of “I know I won’t make it out there anyways, So I’ll come back.

“Musically, “Nerv” strikes an intriguing balance between tranquility and tension. The oscillation of the lyric, “Climbing up, And falling back down again,” reflects not only the cyclical nature of life but also the song’s fluctuating rhythm. It creates an aural landscape that embodies the ebb and flow of nostalgia and the struggle of revisiting the past while acknowledging the present. This, coupled with Paterniti’s expressive vocal delivery, reinforces the introspective and contemplative nature of the track, making “Nerv” an emotional sonic journey that resonates deeply with listeners.

J.C. Clements – “Take Me To Bluegrass”

With “Take Me To Bluegrass,” J.C. Clements crafts an eloquent and moving tribute to her familial roots and the enduring strength of matriarchy in her lineage. Rooted in the terrain of Americana where blues, roots rock, and folk coalesce, Clements’ third album continues her tradition of unflinchingly truthful storytelling. The narrative unfolds through the lens of a sister, a mother, a friend, and a wife, echoing her strong personal identification with these roles. This connection to place and family, channeled through her powerful voice, ties the song to a visceral sense of homesickness and a longing to return to a source of identity and resilience.

Clements’ lyrics embody a sincere appreciation for life’s simplicity and the infinite capacity of love passed down through generations. “Take Me To Bluegrass” is not merely a song but a tapestry of a rich familial legacy woven with threads of nostalgia and tribute. The repeated invocation to be taken to Bluegrass, the symbolic home, instills an intense yearning for return, further amplified by the poetic imagery of sweet magnolia in the air and the Cumberland’s call. The song is also a testimony to Clements’ roots in music and her commitment to keeping the tradition alive through her songs, a pledge to her lineage and a heartfelt message of appreciation and continuity. It is through such deeply personal narratives that Clements continues to mark her spot in the Americana music landscape.

Elle Baez – “Player’s Fool (Who Am I?)”

“Player’s Fool (Who Am I?)” finds Elle Baez diving into the uncharted waters of newfound love and the kaleidoscope of emotions that follow. This neo-soul pop ballad merges vintage vibes with modern production finesse, all while serving as a showcase for Baez’s vocal versatility. The song, mixed with live horns, strings, guitar, and bass, offers a platform for Elle’s sultry and raw vocals to shine, adorned with riffs, big belts, and soaring whistle tones. Her lyricism revolves around the personal exploration of identity and vulnerability in the face of a transformative romantic experience, raising the question, “Who am I?” as she navigates through this emotional maze.

Elle Baez is undeniably authentic, a testament to her power as a voice for women in the music industry. She weaves her ethos of self-love, confidence, and empowerment into the fabric of her songs, making her music not just an auditory delight but a beacon of inspiration. In “Player’s Fool (Who Am I?)”, her versatility as a songwriter is in full bloom as she flips the narrative of being a ‘player’s fool’ into a deeper introspective journey. The song sees Baez being candid about her fears and apprehensions, while also embracing the thrill that comes with vulnerability in love. This emotional duality elevates “Player’s Fool (Who Am I?)” from a simple love ballad into a complex examination of personal growth in the face of love’s unpredictable nature. Elle Baez is certainly an artist to watch as she continues to fuse pop, Latin, R&B, jazz, and funk elements into her unique and resonant sound.

hunter&wolfe – “Famous Friends”

“Famous Friends,” the new single from indie-rock duo hunter & wolfe, is a sonic exploration of the complex emotional terrain of envy and happiness, tinged with a dash of self-acceptance. Brooklyn-based Michael Maffei and Sundeep Kapur carry forward their trademark blend of vulnerability layered with wry humor, drawing from influences like Elliot Smith and St. Vincent to create a sound that is both raw and refreshingly honest. The duo brings a certain levity to the gravity of their theme, expertly straddling the line between the profundity of their subject matter and a buoyant nonchalance that adds a delicious layer of irony.

Known for their wittily sarcastic yet poignant lyricism and loud indie-rock stylings, hunter & wolfe continue their exploration of modern life’s paradoxes with “Famous Friends.” They address the struggle of measuring oneself against others in an age dominated by social media – a universally relatable experience, wrapped in the dynamic melodies of indie-rock. There’s a sense of authenticity that shines through the duo’s music, with their acknowledgement of human flaws and complexities. The duo’s ability to dissect the human condition while maintaining a sardonic edge is evidence of their exceptional songwriting skills, promising great things for their forthcoming album, “I deserve this.”. hunter & wolfe are definitely artists to keep on your radar as they continue to delve into the intricate narratives of our time.

Romantic Dividends – “Giallo”

Los Angeles-based duo Romantic Dividends, consisting of composers Allen Blickle and Josh Wiener, present “Giallo,” a lush, cinematic track that takes listeners on an instrumental journey, blurring the lines between west coast noir and the evocative soundscapes of 70’s European film. Fusing together hypnotic rhythms, rich orchestral arrangements, and expansive modern production, “Giallo” is a soulful sonic exploration that delves into the retro-futuristic. Drawing parallels with similar artists like El Michels Affair and Danger Mouse, the track carries a sense of nostalgia that is beautifully counterbalanced by the freshness of its production. The music video, directed by Jeremy Johnstone, further enhances the cinematic allure of the track, fully immersing listeners in the experience.

Romantic Dividends exhibits an undeniable love for 20th-century European film scores, a theme that is distinctively perceptible in “Giallo.” The track serves as a teaser to their forthcoming debut album and is suggestive of the level of craftsmanship and dedication the duo has committed to their work. With this single, Romantic Dividends skillfully paints a sonic landscape that is both cinematic and soulful, an intersection rarely tread upon. The use of hypnotic rhythms, intricate orchestral arrangements, and immersive production techniques sets the duo apart, promising a remarkable and compelling debut album. Keep an eye out for Romantic Dividends as they carve out their niche in the world of music with their innovative cinematic soul experiment.

The New Hires – “New York City”

dished out an infectious tune with “New York City”. Drawing inspiration from the likes of The Strokes and Vampire Weekend, the Ottawa-based band exhibits a knack for crafting melodic hooks that anchor themselves firmly into listeners’ minds. The lyrics tell a story of the intense duality of life in the Big Apple, echoing both its allure and its inhospitable traits. With themes of social inequality and the struggle to make ends meet in a city that’s out of reach for those on a budget, the band’s lyrical prowess unfolds amid a backdrop of robust rhythms and catchy riffs.

The New Hires weave a tapestry of imagery in “New York City,” their narrative propelled by vibrant melodies that serve as a counterpoint to the sobering reality depicted in the lyrics. The verses “New York city’s out of style for cheap/Cause you know I can’t afford anything,” and “Yeah, these rags to riches/Keep me counting wishes/Maybe I should just ditch this/But these views are just holding me back” reflect an ongoing struggle against the city’s alluring but harsh realities. With this track, The New Hires prove they can compose catchy indie anthems while simultaneously tackling gritty urban truths, blending thought-provoking narratives with vibrant indie-rock elements, promising an exciting future for this emerging outfit.

Lex Leosis – “A LOT”

Lex Leosis comes in hot with her new single “A LOT,” showcasing her flamboyant style and audacious lyricism. The track serves as an amalgamation of funk, dance, and hip-hop elements, reflecting her vibrant spirit and charismatic stage persona. Lex doesn’t shy away from being ‘extra’; she relishes in it, creating a club anthem that redefines the term ‘a lot’ as an embrace of one’s extravagant self. The infectious rhythm and buoyant beats, paired with her unique, gravelly delivery, make for an unmissable dance-floor banger. “A LOT” continues the vein of Lex’s recent foray into the funk/dance era of hip-hop, solidifying her presence as a versatile artist unafraid of blurring genre boundaries.

Lex Leosis’s energy is palpable in “A LOT,” an anthem dedicated to the queer community, which she says has greatly influenced her music and self-identity. As a bisexual artist, Lex not only uses her platform to uplift and represent marginalized voices but infuses these influences directly into her music, resulting in a sound that is both authentic and vibrant. Known for her dynamic flow, fierce stage presence, and deep commitment to supporting fellow women and non-binary artists, Lex’s robust personality shines through her work. With “A LOT,” Lex encourages listeners to embrace their inner superstar, advocating for self-confidence and self-expression on the dance floor and beyond. This track encapsulates Lex’s ability to combine her vocal prowess, infectious energy, and commitment to inclusivity into a tune that’s sure to light up any room.

Mike Plume & Jenny Orenstein – “Dance Ruby, Dance”

Laden with a parental love that transcends time and space, Mike Plume and Jenny Orenstein’s single “Dance Ruby, Dance” blossoms from an intimate observation into an emotional alt-country anthem. Channeling the seasoned storytelling akin to Tom Petty and the heartfelt lyricism of Bob Dylan, the couple captures a moment in their daughter’s life and spin it into a timeless narrative of growth, dreams, and the undying hopes of a parent. The texture of Plume’s rough-around-the-edges voice intertwined with Orenstein’s softer, warmer tones paints an aural image of the past, present, and future, a parent’s tender counsel wrapped up in the charm of their daughter’s innocent joy.

The lullaby-like melody, seemingly simple yet tinged with a profound depth, complements the heartfelt lyrics, reminiscent of a gentler Springsteen touched by the warmth of folk traditions. As the years of gestation might suggest, “Dance Ruby, Dance” showcases Plume’s devotion to the rock ‘n’ roll spirit – unyielding, vibrant, yet deeply personal. It’s a song that feels like it’s been carved out of their life’s fabric, with every line etched with emotion and the raw honesty of their experiences. The track serves as a testament to Plume and Orenstein’s deft musicianship, their storytelling prowess, and most importantly, their unwavering love as parents, making “Dance Ruby, Dance” a tune that tugs at the heartstrings of listeners across generations.

Album Review: The Money War – I Don’t Hear You Anymore EP

Delivering on the promise of their past accomplishments and reputation for beautifully crafted songs, Western Australian duo, The Money War, brings us their latest EP, ‘I Don’t Hear You Anymore’. Released on June 23, this collection is an exquisite fusion of pop purity and indie rock grit, penned by the skillful hands of Dylan Ollivierre and Carmen Pepper. Rooted in the duo’s own intricate experiences, it serves as a heartfelt exploration of love, loss, change, and the urgent need for self-expression.

The Money War’s ability to produce music with unwavering sincerity is key to their widespread acclaim and more than 3 million streams on Spotify. This EP is no exception. Ollivierre and Pepper translate their daily struggles of raising three young children into authentic, relatable narratives that take shape in each song. Speaking about the tracks, Ollivierre says, “The songs are special to me because they remind me of moments in the last year where I felt desperate to express myself.”Kicking off the EP, the title track ‘I Don’t Hear You Anymore’ introduces listeners to the celestial, laid-back atmosphere that pervades the entire collection. Aided by finger-picked acoustic guitar and soothing melodies from both Ollivierre and Pepper, the song sets a simultaneously ominous yet hopeful tone, paving the way for the emotional journey to come.

The journey deepens with the collaboration with Melbourne’s FEELDs on ‘Was It Ever Really Anything?’. The track builds upon The Money War’s signature sound, weaving together dreamy indie-folk stylings, gritty blues guitar, enchanting harmonies, and an enthralling slide guitar solo into a tapestry of sound that culminates in a vivid, vocal-layered final chorus.’Ride’ shifts gears with a more minimalist approach that redefines the rules of modern folk-pop. Stripped-back guitar and vocals harmonize to create a lulling, easy-going atmosphere, embodying the liberating energy found in simplicity. Inspired by the beauty of living in the present moment, Ollivierre’s lead vocals, accompanied by Pepper’s harmonies, render ‘Ride’ a gentle tribute to life’s simple joys.

Closing out the EP, ‘Somebody Loves You’ uplifts the listener with a timeless melody that radiates sincerity from the first note. Showcasing The Money War’s exceptional songwriting prowess, this track captures the essence of their partnership and leaves listeners floating in its comforting affirmation of love.

Receiving accolades from esteemed publications such as Tone Deaf, Rolling Stone AU, Blunt Mag, NME, and The Music, and having graced stages at renowned festivals including FOTSUN, SXSW, and BIGSOUND, The Money War has secured their position as one of Australia’s finest musical acts. Their unique blend of dreamy compositions and captivating performances continues to resonate with a growing fan base.’I Don’t Hear You Anymore’ is a 4-track EP that reflects the strength of The Money War’s songwriting abilities and their talent for blending musical genres. Each track offers a different perspective and a unique sonic experience, firmly positioning The Money War as innovative creatives. As the duo continues to navigate their own life experiences and translate them into music, they invite us to find our words and expressions within their melodies. The Money War has once again succeeded in creating music that both resonates deeply and transcends the ordinary. Don’t miss the chance to embark on this emotional journey when ‘I Don’t Hear You Anymore’, out now.

Mid-Week Mixdown: J Mob, Graffiti Welfare, Planet Ibiza, SloCoast, Rayburn Brothers Band, Slow Leaves, Billy Cullum, Ryan Hoffman, The Money War, and Kwasi

Welcome back to the Mid-Week Mixdown on bsideguys.com, your sonic refuge from the everyday grind. We’ve hit the midway point of the week, and if the rhythm of life has been feeling a bit off-beat, we’re here to set it right. Our carefully curated Mid-Week Mixdown is your oasis of sound, a sanctuary of rhythm and melody designed to inspire, uplift, and simply make you feel good. Our selection spans various genres, but they all have one thing in common – they’re exceptional tracks by phenomenal artists just waiting to be discovered by you. So go ahead, let your worries ebb away with the rhythm, let the melody ignite your spirit, and let our Mid-Week Mixdown be the soundtrack to the peak of your week. Tune in, turn it up, and lose yourself in the music!

J Mob – “Don’t Look Back” (feat. ieMuzik and Breana Marin)

In “Don’t Look Back,” J Mob delivers an engaging narrative of resilience, transformation, and tenacity. The Colorado-bred rapper, whose influences span from the melodic cadences of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to the speedy rhymes of Tech N9ne, constructs an introspective exploration of personal growth and the trials that forged his path. The track’s emotive weight is carried equally by the lyrical content and J Mob’s poignant, unique delivery, inviting listeners into the heart of his lived experiences and imparting a hopeful resilience that echoes long after the last note.

The track’s hook, repeated throughout, serves as an anchor, and the metaphor of becoming a “ghost” succinctly encapsulates the theme of leaving one’s past self behind. It’s not just about the struggle or the transformation, but the act of moving forward and refusing to return to what once was. Guest features from ieMuzik and Breana Marin add an extra layer of depth to the song, their contributions enhancing the overall narrative arc. As J Mob continues to share his unique perspective and journey through his music, “Don’t Look Back” stands as a clear testament to his narrative prowess and ability to connect with listeners on an emotional level.

Graffiti Welfare – “Just Follow”

Graffiti Welfare’s “Just Follow” is an enticing dive into the realm of vapor-wave pop that weaves in threads of psychedelic rock for an audacious sonic tapestry. The Austin-born, Denver-based artist concocts a soundscape that stretches and contracts in a dreamlike state, echoing the expansive influences of Radiohead’s “King of Limbs” and Animal Collective’s “Feels,” yet remaining distinctly its own. The synths work like auditory illusions, creating a feeling of distorted time, while the angular lead guitar cuts through with precision, grounding the listener amidst the cosmic journey.

The deep vocal hooks, reminiscent of Tame Impala’s influence, underscore the 60s sensibility intermingled with modern vibes. These echo the track’s poignant lyrics: “Soon as you finally let it go, all you feel outside starts to show,” encapsulating the essence of introspective liberation. Graffiti Welfare’s unique blend of ethereal synths, introspective lyrics, and a certain Tame Impala-esque flavor (a homage to the album that spurred his musical journey) create an immersive musical experience. The result is a track that serves as both a self-contained cosmos and an intriguing introduction to his artistic universe. A bedroom artist no more, Graffiti Welfare showcases in “Just Follow” a compelling artistic vision that successfully intertwines the ethereal with the earthly, the introspective with the expressive.

Planet Ibiza – “dibulla”

SloCoast – “What Are We Waiting For”

SloCoast’s new single, “What Are We Waiting For?” is a spirited blend of progressive bluegrass and classic rock, a musical elixir that seems to distill the essence of Mumford & Sons and Fleetwood Mac into its DNA. Conceived in the tranquility of a backyard during the pandemic, the track possesses an infectious energy, amplified by the authenticity of a live in-studio recording. The resulting sound feels raw, unvarnished, and wholeheartedly real – mirroring the yearning to reconnect with life and each other after a period of stagnation and isolation.

SloCoast is a dynamic ensemble of old friends united by a shared passion for music, and this kinship is palpable in “What Are We Waiting For?”. Their camaraderie is reflected in their harmonious interplay of instruments and voices, creating a sound that is intricate yet cohesive. If one listens closely, echoes of other artists like Alison Krauss & Union Station and Nickel Creek can also be detected, further enhancing the layered richness of their music. As they gear up for summer festival tours and frequent airplay on Wisconsin radio, it’s clear that SloCoast is not just asking “What Are We Waiting For?” but also demonstrating their readiness to seize every opportunity that comes their way. Their song, in this sense, is more than just a compelling listen – it’s a spirited call to action, inviting everyone to embrace life with open arms and dancing feet.

Rayburn Brothers Band – “Jez Dame”

“Jez Dame,” the newest offering from the Rayburn Brothers Band, unfolds as a clever linguistic puzzle, an enigmatic play on words that adds an extra layer of intrigue to the song. It is a sonic tableau where Americana is painted with folk, rock, and jazz hues, each element meticulously arranged to complement the other. It’s a song that leans into its deliberate ambiguity, inviting listeners to decipher its meaning while losing themselves in its harmonic richness.

Keith Rayburn, the frontman and songwriter of the band, displays a keen ear for crafting tunes that seamlessly blend different styles, making them distinctively Rayburn Brothers Band. Comparisons to artists like Little Feat and Lowell George hint at Rayburn’s stylistic pedigree, yet the band’s sound is uniquely their own. Rayburn’s transition from juggling music with a day job to dedicating more time to his craft is apparent in “Jez Dame.” There is a newfound level of polish and assuredness in their sound, perhaps a harbinger of exciting things to come as Rayburn considers potential regional tours and music festivals. As an exploration of language, music, and commitment to the craft, “Jez Dame” is an enthralling testament to the Rayburn Brothers Band’s musical journey.

Slow Leaves – “Nothing Really Changes”

“Nothing Really Changes,” the newest release from Slow Leaves, is a tender, heartfelt tribute to the beauty and importance of life’s mundane moments. With an appreciation of simplicity echoing the lyrical acuity of John Prine, Grant Davidson—the creative force behind Slow Leaves—offers a contemplative, country-folk ballad that cherishes everyday experiences as the threads that weave the fabric of existence. Davidson’s ability to elevate ordinary encounters into poignant narratives is masterful, each verse brimming with the kind of quiet magic that transforms the everyday into the extraordinary.

Davidson’s meticulous attention to his craft is palpably felt throughout the song. From the bare-bones structure and a simple yet captivating melody to his emotionally resonant vocals, every element feels intentionally chosen and skillfully assembled. His influences, spanning from classic songwriters like Mickey Newbury and Neil Young to contemporary artists like Andy Shauf and Big Thief, coalesce into a unique, introspective sound that is all his own. As both the multi-instrumentalist and the producer, Davidson ensures that his psych-folk stylings are perfectly suited to deliver the message of his lyrics. “Nothing Really Changes” is a poignant ode to life’s fleeting moments, a reminder to appreciate the mundane, and an exemplary display of Slow Leaves’ artistry.

Billy Cullum – “Twisted”

“Twisted,” the latest track from London-based artist Billy Cullum, is a complex exploration of the entangled emotions that linger after a painful breakup. Filled with love and loathing, the song expertly captures the strange, bitter-sweet dichotomy of hating to love and loving to hate, weaving it into a compelling, angst-ridden narrative. With a clever blend of heavier, emotionally charged verses and an undeniably catchy, pop-infused chorus, “Twisted” swings between the jagged edges of past heartache and the infectious allure of pop music. Its subtle nod to the 90s injects a layer of nostalgia, enhancing the song’s theme of looking back on past experiences with both fondness and bitterness.

Cullum’s diverse background, from acting in critically acclaimed dramas to choreographing for well-known artists, lends him a unique edge in the music world. His skill for creating “infectious” music, as described by Clash Magazine, is on full display in “Twisted,” his ability to capture complex emotions and deliver them in a compelling pop package evident. Embracing his queerness in his writing for the first time, Cullum adds a dimension of authenticity and personal experience to the track that makes it even more impactful. Tipped as a “star” and “one to watch” by Attitude Magazine, Billy’s “Twisted” is an impressive showcase of his ability to blend emotion, authenticity, and irresistible pop hooks into a cohesive and captivating musical narrative.

Ryan Hoffman – “Rosy Skies”

“Rosy Skies,” the latest single from Pittsburgh-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Hoffman, delivers a serene musical landscape that perfectly captures the spirit of a quiet morning drive. Characterized by its indie-Americana sound, the song melds intimate storytelling with a laid-back ambiance, creating a distinct auditory experience that is both calming and deeply personal. Lyrics such as “I’ve always been at home/With a winding road/And a song that makes me know/That I’m not alone,” imbue the track with a comforting sense of solitude and introspection. Hoffman’s ability to draw upon mundane moments, like watching the sun come up, and transform them into profound realizations makes “Rosy Skies” a sublime representation of his genuine personality and storytelling prowess.

Over the years, Hoffman has made a name for himself with his atmospheric artistry and poetic honesty, and “Rosy Skies” is no exception. Building on the anthemic sound of his debut album, ‘rue country,’ and anticipating the introspective depth of his upcoming album, “a spark blown in the breeze,” this single demonstrates Hoffman’s evolving mastery of heavy atmospheres and thoughtful songwriting. His words encapsulate feelings of nostalgia, freedom, and peace, expertly turning an ordinary morning drive into a beautiful reflection on life. With lyrics such as “Are you living someone else’s dream/It never made no sense to me/And I’m free/At home/With a peaceful wind/And an afterglow/And I’m not alone,” Hoffman challenges listeners to find their own sense of contentment and self-truth, ensuring “Rosy Skies” is a song that resonates deeply with its audience.

The Money War – “Hide”

Stripping back the ornamentation to let the simplicity of songcraft shine, The Money War delivers a tender, introspective piece with their latest single, “Ride”. Following the success of their late 2022 and early 2023 releases, the Western Australian duo, composed of Dylan Ollivierre and Carmen Pepper, show off their ability to create an emotive sonic experience with little more than an acoustic guitar and their evocative voices. Ollivierre’s lead vocals, supported by Pepper’s harmonies, create a comforting space, making the track feel like an intimate serenade from a friend. Intended to feel like a “lost demo,” “Ride” succeeds in its mission, as it paints a vivid portrait of the beauty found in the mundane, in the chaos, and in the fleeting moments of life.

The song’s sparse production enables the raw talent and emotive lyricism of The Money War to shine through. As Pepper notes, “Ride” serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of living in the moment, especially during the chaos of raising a young family and juggling various projects. The duo’s ability to imbue such personal experiences and emotions into their music only further establishes their position in the indie-folk scene. With over 3 million Spotify streams and support from notable outlets like Rolling Stone AU and NME, The Money War’s recognition is well-deserved. As “Ride” embarks on its journey from its May 26 release to the arrival of their EP, ‘I Don’t Hear You Anymore’, which was released on June 23, The Money War continues to impress with their dreamy, honest, and incredibly personal musical narratives.

Kwasi – “Ready to Go”

Naarm/Melbourne-based artist Kwasi makes a powerful statement with his new single “Ready To Go,” released on May 26. The genre-bending musician, known for his innovative fusion of punk-rock energy and alternative hip hop’s magnetic pull, once again stretches the boundaries of music with this track. Kwasi’s style—deeply rooted in rap and hip hop and demonstrated in groundbreaking collaborations like 2022’s “Self Sabotage”—is more than evident in this new anthem. “Ready To Go” is a sonic representation of the spirit of resilience, an echo of the strength found in overcoming life’s adversities through the transformative power of music.

“Ready To Go” bursts with an unapologetic energy, reflecting Kwasi’s fiery artistry while maintaining an introspective undertone. The poignant lyrics tackle themes of isolation, confusion, and heartbreak, inviting listeners into a cathartic experience through music. Kwasi’s distinctive sound is fully displayed here, as he masterfully blends soaring melodies with pulsating beats. This multifaceted track—juxtaposing frenetic energy with a cool, calm, collected demeanor—is a testament to Kwasi’s innovative artistry. With a career marked by sharing stages with artists like 360, Genesis Owusu, Allday, and Xzibit, Kwasi has cemented his place in the music industry. “Ready To Go” promises to further his influence and showcase his raw, authentic, and imaginative artistry, as recognized by platforms such as Spotify, Triple J, and AU Review.

Album Review: Galactopus by Arson Whales is due out July 7th

The 21st century has been marked by the continued expansion of the musical universe, with bands like Arson Whales rocketing to the forefront of the alt-rock scene. The ensemble, formed in the midst of the global pandemic in 2021, stands as a testament to resilience and innovation. The band’s upcoming album, “Galactopus,” set to release on July 7th, you can pre-save the album here now, offers a stunning new chapter in their musical journey.

Arson Whales—comprising Linda Brancato, Joe Kimberlin, and Brad Penner with an assist from Kevin O’Shaughnessy on lead guitar for “Spirit in a Worm Hole”—beautifully marry the genres of psychedelic rock, nu-disco, and indie rock. The band’s strength lies in their collective experience and ability to blend disparate sounds into a cohesive, stimulating sonic experience. Linda Brancato’s distinctively raspy voice serves as the lighthouse amidst the churning ocean of the band’s intricate soundscape, guiding listeners through the album’s diverse tracks.

“Galactopus” opens with “Monkey Jar,” a song that immediately sets the tone of the album. The vivid, imaginative lyrics hint at human evolution and cyclical history. Its whimsical wordplay coupled with powerful instrumentation propels the listener into a dreamlike state, laying the groundwork for the songs to follow. The repetition of the lyrics “this has all happened before” sets a pattern for the cyclical nature of life—a theme that reverberates throughout the album.

In the second track, “Upside Down,” the group explores existentialism against the backdrop of an intense musical arrangement. The lyrics explore themes of loss and longing. The phrase “A hole is a weight upside down” strikes as an unusual but fitting metaphor for the absence of something or someone, which lends weight to one’s life.

“Gray Dorian” and “Reverse the Rule” follow next, pushing boundaries even further. The former is a clever play on Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” while the latter delves into existential dilemmas with lyrics that challenge the perception of reality.

As the album progresses, Arson Whales proves their proficiency in creating a diverse soundscape. “Zephyr and the Sycophant” brings an anthemic, invigorating energy to the mix, with lyrics that are simultaneously playful and profound. The line “Monkey king / Make her sing” perhaps nods to the absurdity of societal hierarchies, a subject beautifully juxtaposed with the song’s catchy rhythm and buoyant harmonies.

“Spirit in a Wormhole” brings an element of cosmic mystique. The line “We’ll get there faster if we don’t know” comes across as a paradox but, upon reflection, resonates with the experience of life’s unpredictable journey.

“Finding Betsy Dar” is a poignant expression of longing and loss, with space and astronomy metaphors conveying the vast distance between the protagonist and the object of their desire. This emotional depth is carefully balanced by the high-energy tracks “This Chimera” and “Sonic Eclipse,” which serve as musical adrenaline shots with their quick tempos and driving beats.

The penultimate track, “Whales Fall,” is a powerful piece of introspective melancholy with its evocative lyrics and moody instrumentals. It presents a beautiful metaphor of whales falling, perhaps representing the inevitability of endings and the profound impact of loss.

The album ends with “Blackhole,” a space-rock ballad that brings the cosmic voyage of “Galactopus” to a fitting close. The lyrics speak of existential crises, brought to life by a stellar sonic backdrop. It leaves the listener in a trance, contemplating the infinite space within and beyond us, and the myriad experiences that fill it.

In “Galactopus,” Arson Whales exhibits an impressive ability to connect the personal and the cosmic, the particular and the universal. Their songs tap into both the minutiae of human experience and the grandeur of the universe, masterfully blending the two. Their lyrical depth is only rivalled by their innovative musicianship.

The production quality is top-notch, further enhancing the musical journey. The album cover, a galactic octopus swirling through the cosmos, perfectly encapsulates the album’s theme.

This is a band that knows how to push boundaries while retaining their unique sound. With their latest album, Arson Whales has yet again proven that they are not just musicians—they are poets, philosophers, and innovators who make the universe dance to their tunes. I look forward to their future contributions to the musical cosmos.