Album Review: Chief Broom – “hidden in plain sight”

From the vast, hauntingly ethereal landscapes of Idaho comes a debut that is as dense and compelling as the band’s rich history. CHIEF BROOM, hailing from Boise and led by multi-instrumentalist Shadrach Tuck, have sculpted an oeuvre that is at once devastatingly personal yet widely resonant in its debut album, “hidden in plain sight”, which you can order on vinyl from their Bandcamp.

The prologue “snuff” offers a subdued yet foreshadowing entry into the album’s intricate world. An immediate sense of weightiness pervades, leading us into the titular “hidden in plain sight (walked away)”, where listeners encounter a heavy-hitting blend of melancholic melodies reminiscent of Nirvana, combined with the enigmatic touch of Interpol. But CHIEF BROOM has something uniquely their own; it’s a rawness, a vulnerability that pervades each note.

By the time we get to the single “DFAH”, there’s a perceptible evolution in the record. It stands out not just for its compelling instrumentation, but for how it encapsulates the band’s overarching narrative. The intertwined histories of TJ Tuck’s profound impact, the Boise music scene, and the indomitable spirit of the band are all palpable here.

“if only” comes across as a melancholic, contemplative piece, drawing parallels to the contemplative rhythms of Low. Followed by “suspended in air (interlude)”, the album continues its journey, grounding us with familiar themes before launching us into the deeply introspective “bless my ignorance (outskirts)”. The emotional depth of this track, coupled with the poignant narrative of navigating friendships, addiction, and conflict, delivers a powerful punch.

By the time “saved(?)” begins, we are thoroughly steeped in CHIEF BROOM’s universe. This track is a testament to the album’s duality; while dealing with themes of trauma and pain, there’s an unmistakable undertone of hope and recovery. This is followed by “if only (reprise)”, a track that cleverly revisits and recontextualizes themes from earlier in the album, taking listeners on a circular journey, leading into the poignant “leaks (epilogue) [bonus]”. The album then rounds off with the reprisal of “DFAH”, a track that in its second rendering feels even more familiar and powerful.

Truly, this isn’t just an album; it’s an intimate insight into a journey of two brothers growing up in a changing world. The raw emotional gravitas of the album is further amplified by the tragic loss of TJ Tuck, a profound pillar of the Boise music scene. It’s evident that “hidden in plain sight” serves as both an homage to TJ and as a testament to CHIEF BROOM’s journey. The record reverberates with TJ’s drumming, his artistic vision, and snippets from the brothers’ childhood. It’s as if he’s right there with us, as we navigate this beautifully crafted soundscape.

An additional layer of depth is added knowing that the album was recorded in their childhood home and was then meticulously crafted by their father Terre Tuck, making it truly a family endeavor. The production expertise of Sonny DiPerri and Adam Gonalves adds polish without sacrificing authenticity, giving the project a sheen that elevates the already potent emotional experience.

Choosing to release the album on TJ Tuck’s birthday, September 29th, is a touching tribute, further solidifying the project’s intimate core. For those in Boise, the album release show promises to be an electric experience, a culmination of the band’s long journey to this pivotal point.

Drawing from the atmospheric alt-rock sounds of Built to Spill and the gritty intensity of bands like Codeine and Nirvana, CHIEF BROOM crafts a sonic palette that is uniquely their own. The ensemble of Shadrach Tuck, Will Cheeseman, Frankie Tillo, and the contributing cast gives life to a project that feels bigger than any one member. Every guitar riff, drum beat, and vocal harmony encapsulates the essence of their collective spirit.

In a world filled with fleeting digital moments, “hidden in plain sight” reminds us of the profound beauty of albums that demand our full attention. It’s a journey that requires listeners to sit down, listen, and truly feel. CHIEF BROOM has delivered a project that resonates with the deep echoes of personal history, pain, growth, and acceptance. It’s a debut that promises a bright future for the band and leaves listeners eagerly anticipating what they’ll do next. Don’t forget to get your vinyl from Mishap Records so you can listen to CHIEF BROOM the way it was intended.

Caleb’s Weekly Favorites – Summer Bedhead, Notbrian, clearvvater, Towne & Stevens, Charlie Bishop, The First Eloi, mike rowave, Johnny Lawhorn and the Pentagram String Band, Kiefer Luttrell, and Gold Lake

Welcome to “Caleb’s Weekly Favorites” on, where eclecticism meets passion in a melody-infused dance! In this harmonious alcove, we traverse through a labyrinth of tunes, transcending genres and breaking the musical mold, all guided by Caleb’s seasoned ear and undying love for sound. From the soulful strumming of an acoustic guitar in a folk ballad to the electrifying beats of a techno banger, this weekly series is a beacon for music aficionados seeking aural diversity and discovering uncharted territories in the music landscape. So, tighten your headphones and adjust your speakers as we dive into a symphonic journey, exploring ten of Caleb’s crème de la crème tracks that reverberate with his unique taste and undying passion for the myriad shades of music. Whether you’re a seeker of hidden gems in the music world or a long-time follower, prepare for a diverse auditory experience that tantalizes the senses and resonates with the soul!

Summer Bedhead – “American Dream”

In the seamless infusion of Indie Rock and Folk elements, Summer Bedhead’s “American Dream” poses a profound reflection on the contemporary societal norms and the endless pursuit of a seemingly elusive ideal. The song resonates with the lingering echoes of artists like Caroline Rose and The Backseat Lovers, woven with gritty rock influences and underscored by a dreamy atmospheric aura. The vocals are a tapestry of melodic introspection, traversing through the mundane realities of life and the inherent desire for a transcendental existence. The lyrics are a poetic delve into the dichotomy of aspirations and the conformational chains of society, painting a vivid portrayal of the “empty home” and the “shiny car,” symbols of a superficially accomplished life, juxtaposed with the raw, unfiltered longing for “more.”

The track unfolds with a contemplative tone, illustrating the profound struggle between the acquired and the inherent, the known and the unknown. The articulation of “working ourselves to death” and the recurring contemplation of the ‘American Dream’ is an introspective journey through the lanes of self-discovery and existential realization. The lucid strumming of the guitar intermingles with the rhythmic patterns of the drums, synthesizing the poignant essence of the song with the enveloping musical composition. The intrinsic essence of “wanting more” and the questioning of the ingrained societal parameters reverberate through the chords, echoing the universal quest for meaning and fulfillment. Summer Bedhead, through this symphonic narrative, unravels the tapestry of human existence, melding the rhythmic nuances with lyrical profundity, inviting the listeners into a contemplative reverie of self and the world.

Notbrian – “Can’t See / This Is It”

With the echoes of various genres whispering through its melodies, Notbrian’s “Can’t See / This Is It” is a musical odyssey that delves deep into the multifaceted spheres of relationships and existential contemplations. The song, steeped in the diverse musical influences of Brian DeSousa, unravels a harmonious convergence of energetic Indie Rock and contemplative Alternative tunes reminiscent of the eclectic vibes of The Strokes and Mac DeMarco. The lyrics portray a poignant journey through the labyrinth of emotions, meandering between the realms of love and loss, presence and absence, creating an immersive narrative that resonates with the universal echoes of human experiences. The musical composition, transcending the conventional boundaries of genres, synthesizes the myriad of influences, enveloping the listeners in a symphonic cascade of melodies and rhythms.

The song is a kaleidoscope of vibrant tunes and introspective lyrics, painting a vivid tapestry of emotions and reflections. The words “I can’t see, a world without you,” coupled with the recurring contemplation on existence, “What kind of planet have we made?” weave a narrative that is both intimately personal and profoundly universal. The solos punctuate the rhythmic flow with an instrumental eloquence, enhancing the emotive essence of the song. The poetic articulation of love and the inherent quest for meaning dance through the chords, creating a musical panorama that mirrors the intricacies of human relationships and the transient nature of life. Based in Lower East Side, NYC, Notbrian, through this harmonic journey, invites the audience to traverse the nuanced landscapes of existence, imbuing the musical tapestry with a rich confluence of sounds and sentiments.

clearvvater – “Space Cowboy”

Bringing the ethereal realms of Dream Pop to life with a celestial touch of animation-inspired nuances, clearvvater’s “Space Cowboy” melds mellifluous tones with a tranquil essence, emanating vibes reminiscent of artists like Men I Trust and The Marías. The track is a serene journey through the vastness of space and the intimacy of emotions, interweaving smooth guitar rhythms, ambient synths, and rhythmic drums to create a soundscape that is as chill as it is emotive. The lyrics, drawing inspiration from the iconic anime “Cowboy Bebop”, weave a tale of transient memories and eternal imprints, juxtaposing the ephemeral nature of experiences with the enduring shadows they cast. The repeating lines, “Summer in space, fire to erase, memories that were made,” echo a poetic dance between creation and obliteration, inviting listeners into a cosmic dance of melody and contemplation.

The lush instrumentation of “Space Cowboy” orchestrates a symphonic waltz through the velvety fabric of dreamy pop, with each note painting strokes of sonic color across the auditory canvas. The tranquil resonance of the music intertwines with the introspective lyricism, forging a harmonious alliance between sound and sentiment. The intricate amalgamation of guitar, synths, and drums crafts a melodic tapestry, whispering the silent stories of lost memories and lingering echoes. The song’s gentle embrace of chill and happy moods reflects a luminous fusion of musical serenity and lyrical depth, encapsulating the ineffable essence of ephemeral summers and the timeless weight they leave behind. It’s a musical odyssey through the interstellar voids of contemplation and the infinite galaxies of emotion, resonating with the universal heartbeat of existential musings and soulful reflections.

Towne & Stevens – “Come Along”

Harnessing the dynamic vigor of Indie and Alternative Rock and splashing it with a tinge of 90s nostalgia, Towne & Stevens’ “Come Along” is a fiery testament to resilience and camaraderie. The track, a robust creation from the alliance of Blind Melon members Rogers Stevens and Nathan Towne, echoes the eclectic influences of My Morning Jacket and The Beatles, weaving the energetic aggression with epic soundscapes reminiscent of Electric Light Orchestra and George Harrison. The lyrics, a poetic dance between hope and inquisition, resonate with the universal pursuit of reassurance, “Won’t you tell me slowly, That we’ll be alright again…” The song oscillates between a journey of questioning and a fervent assertion of enduring spirit, creating a juxtaposition between the transient uncertainties and the perennial convictions of being “alright again.” The repeated anthem, “Because we did it… And we do it… And we’ll do it again,” reverberates as a rallying cry for enduring resilience and unwavering belief, resonating with the ebbs and flows of life’s relentless tides.

The sonic tapestry of “Come Along” is a melodic combustion of energetic riffs and rhythmic crescendos, painting the auditory spectrum with vibrant strokes of musical fervor. The raw aggression and the ebullient energy of the music marry the contemplative introspection and the spirited assurance of the lyrics, forging a symphonic odyssey of epic proportions. The fiery passions of the track are interspersed with the serene reflections, creating a musical dialogue between the tumultuous uncertainties and the tranquil affirmations. The song is a melodic invitation to “Come along,” to traverse the tumultuous terrains of existence and to bask in the luminous aura of collective spirit. The compelling concoction of diverse influences and multifaceted emotions orchestrates a harmonious confluence of sound and sentiment, echoing the relentless whispers of hope and the undying echoes of belief. The intricate intertwining of energetic moods and aggressive undertones crafts a vibrant palette of musical hues, narrating the silent tales of enduring spirit and unyielding resilience.

Charlie Bishop – “Damned or Chosen”

In the hushed tones of contemplation and the resonant echoes of revelation, Charlie Bishop’s “Damned or Chosen” paints a poignant tapestry of mental struggles and existential musings, resonating with the harmonious strains of Folk and Americana. The song, a deep dive into the intricate lattice of the mind, oscillates between the tumultuous waves of sadness and the resilient strands of happiness, portraying a journey marked by self-reflection and introspection. Drawing parallels with the profound sounds of Zach Bryan and Charles Wesley Godwin, Bishop crafts a narrative that is a delicate blend of the harsh realities and the profound revelations of mental health, imploring listeners to “slow down and make time last.” The song’s lyrical landscape traverses the highs of “Highest mountains” and the lows of being “overwhelmed,” highlighting the dichotomous dance between being “damned” or “chosen,” and unraveling the intricate tapestry of internal contemplation.

Recorded live in Bishop’s basement, the raw authenticity and unfiltered emotions imbue the song with an earnest appeal, the profound musings interwoven with the textured strumming of the guitar and the ambient harmonies create an atmosphere steeped in vulnerability and resilience. The lines “You’ve been running, So fast” reverberate as an anthem of enduring struggles and a reminder of the fleeting essence of time, forging a connection between the listener and the underlying themes of mental health and existential contemplation. The musings on “deep thought or delusion” and the imagery of a mind “thinking or… bleeding” evoke a sense of poignant realism, offering a glimpse into the perpetual journey of self-discovery and realization. Bishop’s intricate portrayal of the inner battles and the resonant echoes of “making time last” coalesce into a symphony of hope and healing, whispering the silent tales of unspoken thoughts and unsung melodies, reminding us all of the perennial dance between being “Damned or Chosen.”

The First Eloi – “Last Days of Summer”

Imbued with the melancholic resonance of fleeting summer days, “Last Days of Summer” by The First Eloi spins a gossamer tapestry of shoegaze and dream pop aesthetics, invoking the haunting reverberations synonymous with my bloody valentine and Slowdive. The track, a somber ode to ephemeral moments and the inevitable progression of time, wafts through the realms of nostalgic longing and poignant realization, the effervescent harmonies entwined with the diaphanous layers of atmospheric soundscapes. It paints a cinematic tableau of a summer night drive, the rearview mirror reflecting the wistful echoes of laughter and the fading hues of golden afternoons. The interlacing of earnest vocals and ethereal instrumentals encapsulates the essence of transient beauty, the words “The summer’s almost gone” echoing as a solemn whisper through the lingering silhouettes of bygone days, depicting the perennial dance between presence and absence, capture and release.

Emerging from the confluence of noise and post-punk influences, The First Eloi weaves a rich tapestry of sound that is both an exploration of melancholic reflections and an exposition of sonic craftsmanship. The lyrics, an intricate portrayal of lost moments and fading echoes, reverberate with the subtle intensity of unspoken words and unfulfilled desires, serving as a delicate reminder of the impermanence of joy. The seamless fusion of hauntingly beautiful melodies and the immersive ambience evokes a sense of reflective introspection, inviting listeners to traverse the intricate labyrinth of their own memories and experiences.

mike rowave – “Santa Ana”

“Santa Ana” by mike rowave is a sun-drenched odyssey through winding coastal roads and the transient intimacy of newfound connections, imbued with the wistful essence of nostalgic reminiscences and lazy Sunday drives. The track, existing in the confluence of alt-pop sensibilities and romantic meanderings, encapsulates the liberating ambiance of salty breezes and sunsets’ golden hues, an echoing backdrop to the evolving dance of relationships and connections. Inspired by the reflective exploration of growing up and navigating the labyrinthine paths of human interaction, “Santa Ana” intertwines the carefree melodies and intentional production to craft a musical tapestry that resonates with the ephemeral beauty of moments suspended in time. Mike’s rendition speaks the language of serene beaches and city nights, his solo venture a canvas painted with the colors of understated production and harmonious blend, reminiscent of the introspective serenity of Alice Phoebe Lou and the vibrant expressions of Dayglow.

Emerging from the contemplative shadows of The Moving Stills, mike rowave’s musical expedition sails through the celestial dimensions of art-pop and the earthly realms of melodic reverberations, crafting a sonic kaleidoscope that reflects the multifaceted nuances of life in the 2000s. The project, a harmonious confluence of spacey undertones and melodic effervescence, is a reminder of the intrinsic beauty of overlooked moments and the myriad possibilities that lie in the heart of what could be. Mike’s compositions are the whispers of forgotten days, the echo of simpler times reverberating through the cosmic continuum of memories and reflections, inviting listeners to embark on a journey through the musical galaxies of intimate reflections and nostalgic reverie. It’s not just a song; it’s an intricate diorama of growing up, a time capsule traversing through the space-time continuum, encapsulating the infinite dance of memories and melodies.

Johnny Lawhorn And The Pentagram String Band – “Blood on the Wall”

With “Blood on the Wall,” Johnny Lawhorn and The Pentagram String Band take listeners on a haunting journey through the shadowy realms of gothic folk and punk, where the resonant strings of bluegrass meld seamlessly with the raw energy of thrash metal. The track serves as the ominous gateway to their new concept album, a dark tapestry interwoven with tales of their cat, whose posthumous metamorphosis into a chaotic demon frames the album’s grim narrative. Drawing influences from the somber narratives of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and the folk-punk fusions of Amigo the Devil, “Blood on the Wall” emanates a foreboding essence, its relentless rhythms and intense strings a resonant echo of the lyrical dance between resurrection and damnation. The PSB, skeptical of the traditional bluegrass boundaries, delve into the abyss of satanic and morose themes, their music a haunting reflection of cannibalism, death, and the ensuing echoes of misery and desolation.

Originating from KCMO, Johnny Lawhorn and The Pentagram String Band redefine the bluegrass landscapes with their sinister and satanic portrayals, constructing a novel sub-genre, embodying elements of alt-country, gothic folk, punk, and thrash metal. The band’s unconventional and bold approach to bluegrass casts shadows of the macabre and the diabolical onto their musical canvass, painting vivid images of a world where agony, death, and chaos reign supreme. The PSB does not simply create music; they construct an auditory experience, a chilling exploration of the metaphysical realms of existence and the melancholic ecstasy found within the dance of demons and despair, leaving an indelible mark on the souls of those who dare to listen. The intertwining narratives of resurrected felines and infernal mayhem provide an intricate backdrop to the gothic symphonies of the underworld, narrating tales of the cryptic and the uncanny with a raw and unrelenting fervor.

Kiefer Luttrell – “Pie in the Sky”

Nashville-based songwriter, Kiefer Luttrell, delves into the intricate complexities of introspection and the journey of self-discovery in “Pie in the Sky.” It’s an Americana-laden soundscape, tinted with the hues of alternative country, chronicling an odyssey through the terrains of the subconscious. The lyrics portray a dream-like sequence where surrealism meets reality, capturing the essence of ephemeral encounters with divinity, the allure of unfulfilled promises, and the somber reflections of isolation. Luttrell’s artful juxtaposition of “diamonds that didn’t shine” and “pie in the sky” mirrors the duality of life’s highs and lows, of dreams realized and those left in the abstract.

Anchored in the heritage of country storytelling, “Pie in the Sky” offers both an acceptance of life’s capricious nature and a resilient determination to forge one’s path, however disconnected or isolated. The recurring theme – “On a path I created… At least I made it on my own” – embodies the spirit of rugged individualism and the stubborn pursuit of one’s journey. Luttrell’s diction, laced with the grit and authenticity of Nashville’s streets, paints a poignant picture of life’s struggles, emphasizing perseverance and the will to soldier on even when faced with the bleakest of circumstances. With each verse, Kiefer Luttrell not only reaffirms his prowess as a songwriter but also cements his position as a storyteller, one who navigates the intricacies of the human experience with deftness and raw emotion.

Gold Lake – “North of Something”

Gold Lake, the transcendent Indie Rock duo composed of Lua Rios and Carlos Del Amo, re-emerges from a period of profound silence with their ethereal single “North Of Something,” a precursor to their much-anticipated album, Weightless. The song, enveloped in a radiant yet contemplative aura, mirrors the internal strife between altruistic aspirations and hedonistic pursuits in our fleeting existence. The artistry is unmistakable, as shimmering sonorous waves intertwine with deeply introspective lyrics, painting a melancholic picture of the world’s impermanence, resonating the essence of their roots— blending the serene, poetic influences of Spanish culture with the contemporary richness of the Brooklyn music scene. The touch of producers Aaron Dessner and Chris Taylor imparts a delicate balance of nostalgic ardor and innovative fervor, presenting a musical tapestry where every thread is woven with introspective deliberation and reverberating with the pulsations of an unburdened, bold creation.

The journey of “North Of Something” is not just a musical odyssey; it is a reflection of Carlos and Lua’s confrontation with life’s unpredictable dark waves, turning personal turmoil into a mesmerizing concoction of dreamy soundscapes and poetic candor. Gold Lake’s evolution is embodied in the purity and authenticity of their musical expressions, revealing a maturity birthed from facing life’s ephemeral nature and its inherent uncertainties. This single is a musical embodiment of resilience, transcending the mere aesthetics of sound, and delving into a deeper philosophical resonance, marking their transformation from the vulnerable ambiguity of youth to a more unabridged, fearless revelation of their artistic selves. The duo’s profound synergy is the compass leading the listener through the labyrinth of existential musings, leaving them on the shores of self-reflection, contemplating the profound and the mundane, all under the eternal, watchful eyes of the celestial.

Album Review – The Dandys – Sex and Feuds EP

Brisbane’s The Dandys are a refreshing gale in today’s alternative rock scene, and their debut EP ‘Sex and Feuds’ firmly establishes them as the torchbearers of the genre’s future. Riding in on the coattails of the lead single, ‘Gums’, this debut offers a fervent exploration into the tumultuous journey of adolescence, capturing both its fevered passion and the occasionally ironic detachment that defines the modern youth experience.

“Falling”, the opener, sets the scene perfectly. Clocking in at 4:35, this track resonates with the hesitancy of youth, the anxious precipice of the unknown. With an undercurrent of anticipation, it both tempts and warns of the pitfalls of youthful exuberance. Following suit, “Broke Me Down” uses its 4:15 runtime to evoke the spirit of recklessness, painting a vivid picture of the lows after the highs. It’s an evocative ballad, heavy with the weight of realizations and lessons learned the hard way.

Midway, “State of Mind” introduces a more introspective tone. The 3:38 track delves deep into the psyche, exploring the ebb and flow of youthful optimism and the accompanying shadows of doubt. The mood is contemplative, reminiscent of those nights spent staring at the ceiling, lost in thought.

This introspection gives way to the hopeful rhythms of “Temporary Fix”. A 3:46 ode to the short-lived joys and ephemeral experiences that come with growing up, it’s an anthem that encapsulates that quintessential desire to hold onto fleeting moments, even if they’re mere stopgaps to deeper issues.

Closing out with “Gums”, a track already familiar to their fans, The Dandys strike gold. Protheroe’s vocals, as raw as they are melodic, are juxtaposed against the grit of the instrumentals. The song’s ethos, which resonates with the tension between wanting change and resisting the mundane tasks required, forms the beating heart of this EP. The band’s knack for blending catchy melodies with profound messaging shines brightest here.

Throughout this five-track journey, The Dandys prove that their early acclaim was no fluke. Their exuberant energy is infectious, reminiscent of punk/alt-rock legends, while still carving a distinct identity for themselves. Their fearless approach to songwriting, which never shies away from addressing pressing issues, stands out in today’s musical landscape.

The Dandys’ ability to capture the zeitgeist of youth is noteworthy. In ‘Sex and Feuds’, they depict a world that is as much about the giddy heights of adolescence as it is about its inevitable pitfalls. Each track is a testament to the myriad emotions, from unabashed joy to heart-wrenching sorrow, that accompany this phase of life.

Their debut comes at a crucial juncture in their career. Following a successful run of singles, appearances at festivals like Splendour In The Grass, and a burgeoning reputation as a live act to reckon with, ‘Sex and Feuds’ had a lot riding on it. And it delivers. From the tongue-in-cheek songwriting that Protheroe mentioned, to their signature energy, the EP captures the essence of The Dandys in a way that few debuts manage.

In the world of indie rock and alt-pop, where authenticity often battles with commercial appeal, The Dandys stand out as genuine storytellers. ‘Sex and Feuds’ is more than just a collection of songs; it’s a snapshot of a band coming into its own, exploring its identity, and laying down the foundation for a legacy. For those who haven’t tuned in to The Dandys yet, now is the perfect time. As for those who have been on the journey from the beginning, ‘Sex and Feuds’ is a reaffirmation that the ride has just begun. With this debut, The Dandys are not just announcing their presence; they’re staking their claim.

Monday Mixtape – Lead Pony, Darling Darlene, SECOS, Morgane Abel, Daschenka Project, Atomic Fruit, Common Kings, Izzaldin, Saints & Liars, and Katelyn Butcher

Happy Monday, music lovers! Welcome back to another edition of the Monday Mixtape on, your weekly oasis of handpicked tunes to kickstart your week. As the world churns on and a new week dawns, there’s nothing quite like a fresh set of tracks to accompany your morning coffee, that mid-day lull, or your evening wind-down. From indie gems to emerging talents and timeless classics, our mixtape promises a melodious journey through moods, genres, and stories. So, put on your headphones, hit play, and let’s dive into the rhythms and harmonies of this week’s eclectic selection. Ready for the sonic ride? Let’s go!

Lead Pony – “Strangers”

San Diego’s psych/blues rock prodigies, Lead Pony, are back with “Strangers,” a sonically exuberant yet thematically intricate offering off their forthcoming album, Vultures. With the premiere of its accompanying video via Ghettoblaster Magazine, the band effortlessly merges the vigor of Indie Rock and the nuanced textures of Alternative Rock. Through Jesse Hofstee’s evocative guitar riffs and introspective vocal delivery, the track encapsulates the paradox of human connection in the age of social media: outward celebration juxtaposed with internal melancholy. “Life’s a party but keep it down,” he croons, suggesting the often-masked loneliness underneath the veneer of online joviality. The song’s potent lines, such as “Look at you now, center of the crowd/ How to get out, never alone now,” reinforce the irony of being surrounded by others yet feeling incredibly isolated. It’s a narrative that speaks to the dissonance between what’s portrayed and what’s truly felt, making “Strangers” a timely reflection on our modern existential condition.

The music’s undercurrents of happiness, subtly fused with moments of chill introspection, underscore the track’s complex emotional landscape. As Hofstee shared, the song underwent a transformation during their sessions with Trevor Spencer, mirroring the very metamorphosis of personal identity in our digital age. The upbeat rhythm, juxtaposed with the poignant lyrics, captures the tension between real-life melancholy and the forced merriment of online personas. A particular highlight is the recurring chorus, both an anthem and a lament, addressing the pressure of maintaining a facade. “Strangers” is, at its core, a party song for the detached—inviting listeners to dance, reflect, and recognize the familiar faces hiding behind their chosen masks. An impressive and resonant addition to Lead Pony’s repertoire, this track is a testament to their adeptness at crafting songs that resonate both sonically and soulfully.

Darling Darlene – “someone you’re not”

In the sprawling vastness of the alt-pop landscape, a new beacon shines: Darling Darlene’s debut single “Someone You’re Not.” This luxurious track sails smoothly, marrying the leisurely vibes of modern yacht rock with the sophistication of French designer couture, making for an intriguing auditory journey. You can hear the inspiration drawn from contemporaries like MGMT and Beach House, yet there’s an added texture, possibly attributed to their DIY spirit that’s reminiscent of early Flaming Lips. With an almost palpable opulence in its melodies and rhythms, “Someone You’re Not” presents a dichotomy: a polished soundscape underpinned by the rawness of lo-fi production, which is further enhanced by the thematic exploration of ego, dreams, and the inevitable clash with societal norms.

Emerging from a Danish countryside retreat, Darling Darlene’s alt-pop masterpiece, embedded in their upcoming EP “Lost at the Movies,” beckons the listener into a world of introspection, navigating between authentic self-expression and societal expectations. The poetic lyrics tap into our shared human experience of yearning for a past not fully grasped, pushing against societal conformity while yearning for individualistic truth. As Christian Popp Therkildsen and Johan Skjold Knudsen weave their multifaceted musical tapestries, they deftly challenge the listener to confront the façade we often present to the world, and in doing so, bring forth the question: Are we all, in some way, portraying “someone we’re not”? The track, with its artful construction and thought-provoking themes, showcases Darling Darlene not merely as musicians but as evocative storytellers in the world of indie pop.

SECOS – “Encounters”

Emerging from the radiant glitz of Las Vegas, SECOS dazzles with “Encounters,” a provocative track capturing the ephemeral nature of modern connection. Recorded in the illustrious 11th St. Records—the same hallowed ground where Las Vegas’s luminary band, The Killers, birthed their album “Wonderful Wonderful”—SECOS paints an evocative scene of fleeting love. The lyrics, with their geographical metaphors, delve into the transient and hedonistic pleasures that often characterize one-night stands in today’s world. “See me surfing on the West side… Feel you with me on the North side” becomes emblematic of this nomadic search for pleasure, where intimacy is just another territory to explore. The song’s refrain, “Ok alright, let’s have another drink tonight,” while seemingly innocuous, cleverly underlines the repetitive and cyclical nature of these fleeting affairs, and how they are often fueled by liquid courage and the haze of nightlife.

Yet, for all its vivacity, “Encounters” doesn’t shy away from reflecting on the emotional aftermath that can follow these ephemeral connections. The juxtaposition of phrases like “We’re strangers in the evening with tea for two” and “it was worth the pleasure but I just wanna tell her that I want more” underscores the jarring transition from the highs of the night to the sobering reality of dawn. In true SECOS fashion, the bridge serves as a powerful intermission—a musical respite that hints at a transformation or introspection, only to circle back to the song’s familiar cadence, mirroring the pattern of these short-lived relationships. With “Encounters,” SECOS not only captures the heartbeat of modern romantic adventures but also reflects the complexities and contradictions inherent in seeking depth within the superficial.

Morgane Abel – “She”

Berlin-based indie pop sensation, Morgane Abel, serves a haunting ode to the push-pull dynamics of love in her new single, “She”. At its core, the song is an intimate portrayal of the dilemma one faces in love—the balance between granting freedom and the intrinsic longing for reciprocation. Abel’s lyrical artistry shines, delving deep into the paradox of letting go while still secretly yearning for reunion. “No-one knows where she goes, Can’t deny she makes me burn… Hope she keeps me in mind and that she will return,” she croons, weaving a tapestry of hope, passion, and the torment of restraint. Her influences are palpable yet never overbearing; there’s the introspective poise of Alice Phoebe Lou, the raw emotional vigor reminiscent of Janis Joplin, and the delicate melodic touch of Feist.

Yet, what sets Morgane Abel apart is her immaculate voice—a combination of sincerity and a seemingly effortless cadence that makes “She” a poignant experience. Her refrain, “I want to give her freedom, But I am restricting mine,” is both an admission and a revelation, making it a focal point of the track’s emotional journey. Abel’s live performances, known for their spontaneous improvisations, promise that each rendition of this song is unique, like reliving a memory with different shades each time. “She” isn’t just a song; it’s a testament to the complexities of love, freedom, and self-boundaries in a world where emotions aren’t always black and white.

Daschenka Project – “Sledgehammer”

Daschenka Project plunges into the tumultuous currents of nostalgia and emerges with “Sledgehammer”, their vibrant rendition of the Peter Gabriel classic, setting the stage for the anticipated “Eighties Session”. This Neo-Soul Funk tapestry paints Peter Gabriel’s iconic track with strokes reminiscent of a time where groove was king, and synthesizers reigned supreme. This cover feels like a serendipitous meeting of Jamiroquai’s dynamism, Morcheeba’s tranquillity, and James Brown’s raw funk, but with a distinctly Daschenka touch. The charismatic warmth of Dascha Lüscher’s vocals transcends the original, making it as much an ode to the ’80s as a testament to the band’s unique fusion style.

The backdrop to Daschenka Project’s music offers a resounding echo of our times—where disillusionment and desolation often hold sway, and yet Dascha, with her intricate history and rediscovery of her musical self, turns adversity to anthem. The collective’s predilection for the ’80s is evident, not just as mere throwbacks, but as reconstructions steeped in Neo-Soul and Retro Soul aesthetics, making their covers both recognizable and refreshingly original. Drawing parallels to the likes of Scary Pockets and Pomplamoose, Daschenka Project’s rendition of “Sledgehammer” is energetic, pulsating with sexy undertones, and unapologetically happy—a reminder that while times may be tough, the rhythm of hope persists.

Atomic Fruit – “Eternal Afternoon”

From the legendary Hansa Studios, Atomic Fruit brings to light their newest odyssey, “Eternal Afternoon”. It’s not just a song; it’s a narrative of suspended moments in time, captured exquisitely through lines like “suspended in a brownian motion blur”. This opening salvo, taken from their impending debut album “Play Dough”, serves as an avant-garde interpretation of psychedelic and indie rock, calling to mind the experimental nuances of Radiohead and the electronic audacity of Gorillaz. The song is an exploration of transient realities and swirling emotions, reflecting the same sense of happy, chill, and energetic dynamism that underpins Atomic Fruit’s ethos.

The genius behind “Eternal Afternoon” lies not just in its entrancing grooves, but in the juxtaposition of its hauntingly evocative lyrics against a backdrop of swirling sonic contrasts. Frontman Martin Lundfall’s vocals, along with the textured layers of guitars, synthesizers, and rhythmic drum patterns, evoke a sense of wandering through the vestiges of the subconscious, searching for meaning in a chaotic universe. Lyrics like “We are but particularities, flavors of primordial soup” delve into existential ponderings, all while the track manages to maintain a danceable allure, inviting listeners into Atomic Fruit’s apocalyptic dance of the surreal. A piece that brilliantly captures the crux of the band’s debut, “Eternal Afternoon” is not just a song; it’s a beckoning into the enigmatic realm of Atomic Fruit.

Common Kings – “Do My Thing”

From the sun-soaked shores of California’s Orange County to the global stage, Common Kings have consistently infused their reggae roots with a splash of pop sensibility. Their latest offering, “Do My Thing”, is no exception. This track finds its groove in the vibrant juxtaposition of island rhythms and alternative rock fervor. It’s an audacious stride away from the traditional, yet retains the band’s unmistakable Polynesian signature. Echoes of the past can be heard in Samoan-born lead singer Sasualei “Jr. King” Maliga’s mellifluous vocals, as they ride atop the intricate tapestry woven by the rest of the band. Common Kings have always been a band that pushed boundaries, and “Do My Thing” demonstrates their keen ability to remain anchored to their heritage while venturing into the broad waters of mainstream appeal.

In the grand tapestry of their discography, “Do My Thing” stands as a testament to Common Kings’ evolution as artists and their commitment to their craft. The dedication that saw them hone 120 songs down to a curated 12 for their album ‘CELEBRATION’ is palpable in the polished production and intricate layering of the track. Their journeys with industry giants such as Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars are mirrored in the song’s universal appeal, yet it’s the tales from their backyard barbecues, their camaraderie, and their deep-seated Pacific heritage that give the song its soul. Common Kings have managed to create a tune that is both a feel-good anthem for the beaches and a rousing call in the arenas, underscoring their unique position in the global music landscape.

Izzaldin – “SPIKE”

Izzaldin’s “SPIKE” is a rich tapestry of narrative, woven with masterful storytelling and a potent juxtaposition of refined musical sensibilities with raw, unfiltered emotion. The track spins the tale of a courtside confrontation at a Knicks game, painting a vivid picture of the tension between the underdog and the established, between the outsider and the gatekeeper. Through the recounting of a heated exchange with the iconic Spike Lee, the song lays bare the hypocrisy and theatrics of those who purport to be champions of freedom. This is hip-hop in its most poetic and confrontational form, where the story is as much about the broader cultural clashes as it is about the personal ones.

Building on the legacy of legendary acts like Black Star and De La Soul, Izzaldin’s classical background seamlessly intertwines with his deep love for hip-hop, creating a sound that feels simultaneously timeless and fiercely contemporary. His lyrics on “SPIKE” display the sharp wit and observational prowess of a seasoned New Yorker, while the beats and rhythm are reminiscent of a bygone era of the genre. As Izzaldin reflects on memories of past rivalries, the game, the luxury, and the eventual face-off, listeners are transported courtside, feeling the heat and tension of the moment. This track, much like its protagonist, challenges preconceived notions and celebrates the indomitable spirit of the outsider, making it a standout in the “Futura in Retrograde” album. The sheer audacity of the story, combined with Izzaldin’s artistry, ensures that “SPIKE” is not just a song—it’s a statement.

Saints & Liars – “Garden Song”

Saints & Liars’ “Garden Song” is an effervescent ode to the untouched beauty of the American landscape, echoing through every chord with the raw energy and resilience reminiscent of the very roots of Folk and Americana music. Drawing on the vitality of their Vermont origins, the track pulses with life, inviting listeners to not just passively hear, but to actively partake – to dance, to stomp, and to sing with abandon. The simplicity of the song’s title belies the depth and complexity contained within, as layered instrumentals conjure images of sun-dappled fields and the unbridled joy of a life deeply connected to the earth.

With echoes of stalwarts like Chris Stapleton and Steve Earle, Saints & Liars have managed to carve out a unique niche, bridging the gap between traditional Country and a more contemporary Americana sound. “Garden Song” captures the signature gruffness and unapologetic vigor that the band is renowned for, making it impossible to remain still as the melodies wash over you. Yet, beneath the energetic surface lies a poignancy—a yearning for simpler times, for the beauty of unspoiled nature, and for genuine connection. In a world that often feels adrift, Saints & Liars provide an anchor, rooting us in tradition while propelling us forward with their infectious enthusiasm.

Katelyn Butcher – “I should run”

Katelyn Butcher’s “I Should Run” is a haunting dive into the complex emotional terrain of seeking escape from the weight of pain and toxicity. Each note drips with raw emotion, stemming from Butcher’s deeply personal narrative. This Alt Pop anthem does not shy away from the darkness that often accompanies life’s most challenging moments. Instead, it embraces it, creating a sonic landscape that is simultaneously aggressive and mournful, echoing the turmoil of trying to sever ties with someone who has caused profound hurt.

Hailing from Knoxville and having journeyed through Nashville to the bustling streets of Los Angeles, Butcher’s geographical transitions parallel the evolution of her sound. While she might draw on the signature elements of indie and dark pop, “I Should Run” carries a distinctive twist, a testament to her prowess not just as a vocalist, but as a songwriter and producer. The track reflects the artist’s commitment to her craft and her mission to connect with listeners on a deeply intimate level. In sharing her own vulnerabilities and struggles, Katelyn offers solace to those grappling with similar emotions, reminding them that they are not alone in their journey towards healing and self-liberation.

Weekly New Releases – Ida Mae, Analog Dog, Kohla, CS Hellmann, Hoagie, and Bear, Man Dangerous

As the sun sets on another week, a new horizon of musical exploration dawns. is here to guide you through the fresh tracks emerging from the shadows of the mainstream. From the harmonious whispers of indie artists to the vibrant echoes of undiscovered chart-toppers, our Weekly New Releases will ensure your playlist stays ahead of the curve. Keep your finger on the pulse of the music world and join us every week for the latest auditory adventures. Dive in, and let the rhythms carry you away!

Ida Mae – “Feel The World Turning”

There’s a fine art to capturing the fleeting essence of life on the road, with its poignant intersections of isolation and connection. British indie-rock duo Ida Mae masterfully taps into this universal wanderlust with “Feel The World Turning.” A departure from the band’s typical kinetic indie-rock verve, the track evokes a sense of melancholic introspection, reveling in the tender fragility of human encounters. As its ethereal sonics envelop listeners, one cannot help but be transported to dimly lit bars and edge-of-the-highway motels, where the quiet hum of stories shared fills the void of night.

The heart of “Feel The World Turning” lies in its narrative richness – a reflection of Ida Mae’s genuine experiences journeying through remote terrains and ephemerally touching the lives of strangers. This soulful offering feels like a whispered confession, a humble hymn to transient connections and moments of genuine introspection amidst the relentless churn of time. It’s not just a song; it’s a distilled memory, an evocation of the delicate balance between peace and trepidation that defines the nomadic existence. With “Feel The World Turning,” Ida Mae weaves the delicate tapestry of the road-traveler’s psyche, beautifully laying the groundwork for their upcoming album, ‘Thunder Above You.’

Analog Dog – “All The Birds”

San Francisco’s Analog Dog, known for blending multi-genre influences with nostalgic yet forward-thinking flair, emerges with their latest single “All The Birds.” Rooted deeply in the timeworn textures of psychedelic rock, the track employs shimmering guitars and harmonious vocals, reminiscent of the Beach Boys, to deliver a poignant commentary on the climate crisis. “Clutch your pearls and take a bow,” the lyrics incisively point out, invoking a sense of urgency for change. The gravity of the subject is juxtaposed against lush musical soundscapes that sway between dreamy contemplation and a visceral call to action.

However, “All The Birds” isn’t just a standalone masterstroke; it’s a part of Analog Dog’s vibrantly eclectic LP ‘Color TV’. A journey that blurs the lines between the analog past and digital present, the album offers an intricate dance of genres – from psychedelic rock to synthy dance grooves, from indie moods to jazz fusion undertones. The record feels like flipping through high-definition channels, each song a vivid hue adding to a prismatic view of modern anxieties and hopes. Drawing inspiration from the sprawling sonic playground of Golden Gate Park and fueled by a mission to transcend the confines of contemporary ennui, Analog Dog not only makes music but crafts auditory experiences that reflect a world brimming with both challenges and beauty.

Kohla – “Golden”

Emerging with an unapologetic reverence for self-worth and the splendors of being adored, Kohla’s “Golden” is a shimmering testament to the standards one sets in love. Drawing inspiration from the time-honored allure of Marvin Gaye’s soulful cadences and blending it seamlessly with contemporary R&B finesse reminiscent of Frank Ocean and Sabrina Claudio, Kohla crafts a neo-soul narrative that is as radiant as it is deeply personal. Lyrics like “Just give me all of your emotion – like I’m golden,” balance a fine line between vulnerability and audacity, capturing the transformative journey of self-awareness and the unshaken demand for respect in love. The track is awash with a gospel tinge, with soulful vocal runs that accentuate the sense of sacral love; an emotion so profound that it renders both the lover and the beloved in a golden, effervescent glow.

Yet, “Golden” is more than just a single; it’s a reflection of Kohla’s spiritual and emotional odyssey towards self-realization. The song resonates with the confidence of someone who has done the inner work, coming to the epiphany of their own worth, and now seeks nothing less than to be revered as a deity in matters of the heart. When Kohla serenades “Ooh, I’m fucking glowing baby,” it is more than just a statement of radiant love; it’s an anthem of self-celebration, a tribute to the divine feminine energy, and a reminder that love, in its purest form, should always feel as luminous as gold. “Golden” serves as a promising precursor to her debut album ‘Romance’, suggesting a collection rich in passion, introspection, and the exquisite nuances of love.

CS Hellmann – “Postcards”

In a haunting reflection of unrequited love, CS Hellmann’s “Postcards” is a poignant ode to the vulnerabilities of unspoken feelings, heartbreak, and the complexities of emotions tangled with friendships. Drawing from a rich well of inspiration that spans from the ethereal sounds of U2 to the passionate rawness of Silversun Pickups, Hellmann channels a tortured tapestry of memories, regrets, and quiet hopes into his dark indie anthems. The track stands as a testimony to the art of translating profound pain into cathartic creation, capturing the essence of the song’s backstory: a delicate confession, a rejection, and a dignified farewell note left with flowers on a porch.

CS Hellmann’s musical journey is painted with rich and varied strokes, from the early notes of The Beatles and 60’s girl groups echoing from car radios and basement vinyl players, to the guitar wizardry of rock legends that guided his own six-stringed pursuits. His unique experiences, from the highs of sold-out shows and notable producer collaborations to the lows of burnouts and battling bipolar depression, culminate in a sound that is charged with emotional intensity. “Postcards,” with its deeply personal narrative, encapsulates Hellmann’s evolution both as an artist and an individual, marking a significant entry in the discography of a Nashville songwriter who once rediscovered his passion amid personal turbulence. The track reminds us that even in the darkest chapters, there is beauty to be found in the raw honesty of music.

Hoagie – “The Karaoke Legend”

Stepping onto the stage with raw authenticity, Hoagie’s “The Karaoke Legend” offers a heartening tribute to an often overlooked, unsung hero – the local karaoke enthusiast. With a songwriting prowess reminiscent of Father John Misty and the quintessential alt-Americana energy of R.E.M., Dave Holgado – the driving force behind Hoagie – crafts an ode that treads the line between melancholic and celebratory. The track dives deep into the heart of the passion-driven, embracing the essence of music even in seemingly trivial pursuits, reminding listeners of the joys of uninhibited self-expression. Rich in texture, the song gains its weight from Shane Luckenbaugh’s poignant drumming, Steven Murillo’s harmonious background vocals, and the soulful trumpet notes from Rick Rein, all under the masterful production guidance of Joe Michelini.

Emerging from Portland’s verdant musical scene, Hoagie’s debut album “Other Folks” promises an eclectic blend of wit, nostalgia, and alt-Americana flair. The album, described as a rock opera, showcases Dave’s brilliant knack for storytelling through tongue-in-cheek lyrics, sketching out characters and narratives that resonate with life’s quirks and contradictions. “The Karaoke Legend” serves as a melodic anchor amidst the stormy seas of defiant anthems and introspective ballads. The album is an open book, flipping through pages of rebellion, acceptance, conflict, hope, and the infinite hues of human connection. Bearing similarities to the likes of Wilco and Ben Folds Five, Hoagie’s debut is set to carve a niche, whether as a playful post-modern power pop gem or a heartfelt journey into the complexities of navigating adult life. Await the unveiling this September 29th, for Hoagie is about to send ripples through the waters of contemporary Americana.

Bear, Man Dangerous – “American War”

Infusing the unapologetic intensity of The Jesus Lizard with the grand, cinematic ambience of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Bear, Man Dangerous’s “American War” emerges as an incendiary exploration of modern societal dissonance. Lyrically drawn from Omar El Akkad’s haunting dystopia, the song is not just a reflection but a harrowing prediction, delving into the darkness of America’s soul and laying bare its tribalism, inequality, and pervasive discontent. Each lyric, from the “Florida man’s burning all these books” to the repeated cries of “Icarus killed us all,” serves as a visceral reminder of the cyclical nature of history and the perils of flying too close to the sun of one’s own hubris.

The track, unrelenting in its portrayal of a society at the precipice, delves into the very essence of what it means to be “safe” in an age of uncertainty. Is safety merely the act of distancing oneself from the chaos, or does it require a more proactive stance against the encroaching threats of division and loss? The repeated line “Everybody’s fighting American War” is a chilling testament to the universality of conflict, both internal and external, and the human cost of perpetual strife. As listeners are guided through a landscape of paranoia, desperation, and reflection, Bear, Man Dangerous holds up a mirror to the simmering tensions of contemporary America, urging introspection, recognition, and ultimately, change. Amidst the sonic maelstrom, the song stands as both a warning and a lament, urging listeners to remember the lessons of the past before they become the tragedies of the future.

Album Review: Monochrome Midnight Traveller – Reality Spaces EP

In an age of vibrant maximalism and oversaturation, there is a brave beauty in an artist’s intentional understatement. Monochrome Midnight Traveller (MMT) challenges the norm with “Reality Spaces,” a two-track EP that merges Shanghai’s ambient nightscape with a minimalist, bass-heavy audial journey. Hailing from Shanghai—a city that brims with neon lights and a cacophony of sounds—the duo plucks inspiration from its nocturnal aura, translating it into a unique blend of breakbeat, hip-hop, downtempo, and ambient genres.

The EP serves not just as a musical experience but as a carefully curated audiovisual presentation. Music and visuals—two distinct art forms—are entwined so intricately in this project that they almost cease to exist without the other. For MMT, the process is visual-first: the emotion derived from black-and-white imagery guiding the sonic production.

“MMT – Spaces,” the opening track, sets the tone with its spacious, breakbeat ambiance. As its name suggests, the song is ethereal and vast, evoking feelings of wanderlust. Its bass is resonant yet understated, a constant throbbing presence beneath airy synth progressions. There’s an allure in its steadiness—a grounding force amid the whimsy. Paired with its accompanying video, listeners are transported to city streets, the quiet moments just before dawn, as they move between gazing at worn-out shoes and the distant stars.

The subsequent track, “MMT – Reality,” is a sonic dichotomy. Embodying themes of both reality and illusion, the track blends trip-hop’s rhythmic nuances with dubstep’s wobbly bass lines, all while maintaining a mainstream downtempo appeal. The result is a song ripe with contrasts. Ethereal vocals float over heavy, somber bass, and simple monophonic synth riffs bring a sense of nostalgia. The accompanying video—an exploration of a trippy night jungle—complements the song’s mood perfectly, further solidifying MMT’s knack for creating harmonious audiovisual experiences.

While “Reality Spaces” consists of only two tracks, totaling just nine minutes, it feels anything but brief. Time seems to blur as listeners are drawn into MMT’s world—a world where music and visuals are not just complementary but symbiotic.

An aspect of MMT’s artistry that’s impossible to ignore is their focus on the beauty of simplicity. From the monochromatic aesthetic to the stripped-back, bass-heavy beats, there’s an emphasis on less being more. This is particularly evident in their utilization of heavy, distorted bass and kick, elements often used to amplify a track’s intensity. Yet, in the hands of MMT, these components are reimagined, repurposed for a more laid-back, after-hours sound. It’s electronica, but not as we traditionally know it.

In conclusion, “Reality Spaces” is more than just an EP—it’s a statement of artistic intent. It’s a call to listeners to experience music in a more holistic manner, where visuals serve not as mere accessories but as essential elements of the narrative. For those yearning for a retreat into the ethereal, into the quiet contemplation of city nights, MMT’s “Reality Spaces” offers a portal. Through it, one might just find that space where reality blends seamlessly with dreams.

Weekend Wrap Up: Amani, Spirit Ritual, Mav Mack & GQ, A Days Wait & LISA, King Liar, Weston Russell, Charles Walker, Boring Story, TWIN ENVY, and Todd Binder

Welcome to the Weekend Wrap Up on B-Side Guys, your essential guide to the musical gems you might have missed in the hustle and bustle of the week. As the sun sets on another eventful week, we’ve curated a sonic digest that captures the essence, the rhythms, and the undulating beats of the past few days. Whether it’s a track that slipped under your radar, an artist making waves in the indie undercurrent, or just a tune that’s perfect for that Sunday unwind, we’ve got you covered. Sit back, plug in, and let the melodies take you on a retrospective journey. This is the Weekend Wrap Up – where the music lingers on, long after the weekend is gone.

Amani – “Take Me By The Hand”

“Take Me By The Hand” is more than just a tune—it’s an intimate sojourn. Amani crafts a narrative that carries listeners from the familiar streets of Queens, New York to the rhythmic heartbeats of Rio Grande Valley, Texas. The song explores themes of isolation and connection, echoing sentiments reminiscent of the deep-rooted melancholia in Pink Floyd’s sound, juxtaposed against the current alternative rock ambience akin to Cuco. The chorus, with its repeated plea to “Take me by the hand” and the heartfelt admission, “I don’t wanna be inside a universe where you’re not by my side,” encapsulates a universal sentiment of yearning. These lines, simple yet deeply evocative, serve as an anchor in the midst of swirling emotions and drifting memories, grounding the listener in Amani’s evocative journey.

Born amidst the hustle and cultural mosaic of Queens and later infused with the rich heritage of The Valley, Amani Hiphop brings an undeniable authenticity to the table. His verses draw on both these worlds, paying homage to his roots while intertwining them with his newfound home’s influences. The bridge’s poignant lines, “And don’t say that I did not try… I don’t want to live through this again,” further underscore a sense of introspection, of wrestling with internal struggles while seeking external connection. Amani’s deft blending of old-school influences with modern indie and alternative rock creates a soundscape that is both nostalgic and refreshingly contemporary, making “Take Me By The Hand” a transformative musical ride—one that resonates long after the final note fades.

Spirit Ritual – “Ring Around the Rosé”

Nashville’s Spirit Ritual dives headfirst into the cerebral recesses of the mind with their new track “Ring Around the Rosé.” Channeling the spectral elegance reminiscent of the band Men I Trust, Spirit Ritual creates a soundscape that is an eclectic blend of psychedelic rock, indie aesthetics, and the whimsy of dream pop. The track plays with the familiar, children’s rhyme, interweaving it with an adult narrative of missed calls, intoxication, and the ever-elusive chase of connection. Lines like “Can’t find my phone, Can you give it another ring?” juxtapose the lighthearted ring-around-the-rosy childhood games with the adult realities of miscommunication and intoxication—a clever spin on the duality of nostalgia and the trials of modern relationships.

The essence of Spirit Ritual is encapsulated not just in their distinctive sound but in the lyrical journey they craft. The repetition of “Ringing around the rosé” is an eerie callback to childhood, punctuated by the poignant mention of “A pocket full of Jose Cuervo” and “Ashes in the ashtray.” It’s a cyclical dance of memories, both good and bad, reflective of how the Nashville-based band melds familiar themes with fresh perspectives. Having garnered attention from the Edgar Allan Poets blog and the Nashville music scene, Spirit Ritual’s “Ring Around the Rosé” is a testament to the band’s ability to craft music that’s both introspective and universally relatable, a hauntingly beautiful reflection on the nature of connection and disconnection in the modern age.

Mav Mack & GQ – “Disbelief”

In “Disbelief,” Mav Mack and GQ converge at the intersection of aggressive lyrical prowess and kinetic energy, producing an explosion of conscious and alternative hip-hop. From Greensboro, Mav Mack’s dynamism shines through, blending the timbre of old-school boom bap with the melodic undertones of modern hip-hop, especially evident in the chorus’s catchy repetition: “My partner told me everybody can’t do this bruh… This shit a bop aye when it drops I bet they lose it hah.” GQ’s opening verse establishes the track’s swaggering confidence with lines like “See I can tell the way you read yo map you n—— lost,” a sentiment echoed later by Mav Mack’s fierce declaration, “I came into this game just tryna make a lil change.” The resulting track is a bold assertion of their places in the rap scene—both as individual artists and as a collective force.

With echoes of giants like Eminem in their audacity and GQ in their precision, both artists successfully navigate the track with a blend of wit and rawness. Mav Mack’s lines, like “Fire Satan with pens” and “Bitch I’ve taken some hits, my banks taken some Ms,” showcase his lyrical agility and undoubted commitment to his craft, giving nods to both his challenges and triumphs. GQ’s references, including the witty “I burn a wood like a calorie, that’s that Cali in me,” are not just a testament to his adept wordplay but also a reminder of hip-hop’s storied past, intertwining the genre’s heritage with its present. “Disbelief” stands as a testament to the potency of their collaboration and the unyielding momentum of their future in the hip-hop sphere.

A Days Wait & LISA – “Indelible”

With an introspective look into the lasting impressions left by intimate connections, “Indelible” by A Days Wait & LISA creates an emotive journey that’s both contemplative and sonically invigorating. The track, enveloped in a dreamy ambiance reminiscent of acts like Day Wave and Hazel English, captures the ineffable feeling of nostalgia and the lingering imprints of past relationships. LISA’s guest vocals add a soft richness, a mellifluous counterpart to the instrumentals, evoking a sense of ethereal beauty and providing a memorable, velvety texture to the piece.

Lyrically, “Indelible” is a poignant reflection on memory and connection. The lines “Saw your reflection in my eyes, In the middle of nowhere when time divides” and “What is all this ringing in my ears? The hard lines we draw that lead us here” delve into the complexities of relationships and the indomitable pull of past emotions. As the song progresses, the refrain “We’re moving out of time and it’s all right, Indelibly entwined, we held on tight” captures the dual themes of temporal transience and the permanent imprints of connection. Additionally, the charitable intentions behind the project add a commendable layer of depth and intentionality. As a harmonious blend of indie pop and rock with a commercial sheen, “Indelible” offers listeners a soulful dive into the profound moments of human connection.

King Liar – “Escapism”

The vast emotional soundscape of “Escapism” from King Liar is nothing short of a breathtaking rollercoaster. Like a tempestuous storm capturing the stages of human despair and yearning, the song oscillates between serene moments of acoustic contemplation and frenetic outbursts reminiscent of titans like Porcupine Tree and Muse. Its gradual evolution from a gentle lull into an explosive math-rock-infused climax speaks volumes of the track’s intricately woven narrative—a direct reflection of our shared desperation and resistance in the face of overwhelming existential challenges. Yet, in its impassioned choruses, there’s a glimmer of hope, a yearning for salvation as they implore not to forsake our fragile world. The expansive guitar work, mirroring the skyward lyricism, evokes vast, panoramic visions—further accentuating the song’s grandiosity.

Emerging as Northern rock visionaries, King Liar’s “Escapism” solidifies their undeniable prowess and unique knack for blending infectious rhythms, dizzying intricacies, and resonant thematic depth. Their storied journey, from the fevered beats of “Feverish” to the cutting commentary of “Lonely As A God”, underscores their commitment to pushing boundaries—both sonically and topically. With a distinct musical blend drawing inspiration from giants like Radiohead and Foals, King Liar doesn’t merely play music; they sculpt immersive experiences. And “Escapism”, with its soul-stirring narrative and masterful execution, stands as a testament to their ever-evolving sonic odyssey.

Weston Russell – “Peace of Us”

“Peace of Us” is a masterclass in instrumental storytelling. With no lyrics to guide the listener, Weston Russell manages to convey a narrative more profound and visceral than many lyric-driven songs achieve. From its soulful blues beginnings to its undeniable post-rock foundations, the track oscillates gracefully, creating a dialogue between distinct yet harmonious vibes. The steady progression culminates in an ethereal realm, reminiscent of celestial bodies in dialogue, before launching into two guitar solos, each of which sings with both passion and precision. These solos stand as the heart of the piece, echoing the virtuosity of artists like God Is An Astronaut and Explosions In The Sky.

Weston Russell’s self-proclaimed mission—to craft ‘beautiful music for the sake of beautiful music’—truly resonates in “Peace of Us”. There’s a cinematic expanse to his soundscape that conjures vistas of both intimate moments and epic journeys. The song doesn’t merely play; it breathes, it yearns, and it celebrates. And while the track is undeniably energetic, there’s a lingering sense of serenity, as if one is traversing through the memories of a dream once forgotten but now vividly recaptured. For fans of evocative, emotionally charged instrumentals, Weston Russell’s latest offering is not only a promise of his caliber but also a tantalizing glimpse of the musical odyssey that lies ahead.

Charles Walker – “Caught in the Current”

Navigating the vast and tumultuous ocean of human emotions, Charles Walker delivers a masterstroke with “Caught in the Current”. He plunges us into a deep-sea of anxiety, crafting an intensely personal narrative that ripples with the claustrophobic weight of an anxiety attack. The oceanic metaphor is more than just a poetic device; it permeates the very structure of the song. The deep-sea chord progression creates a hauntingly melancholic undercurrent that beautifully contrasts the song’s more energetic facets, resulting in a sound that’s evocative of the ebb and flow of tidal waves. Walker’s voice, reminiscent of icons like John Mayer, finds its strength in its vulnerability, effortlessly swimming between the worlds of folk-country ballads and the poignant honesty reminiscent of Mike Kinsella.

The release strategy of “Caught in the Current” is as layered and intricate as the song itself. As the harbinger of a seven-part series culminating in a comprehensive EP, Walker’s ambition is evident. The promise of visual content for each single speaks to the multimedia age, a clever touch that should engage fans across platforms. Additionally, the acoustic rendition from the famed Hilson studio promises to strip the track back to its bare essence, offering fans an intimate look at the song’s raw emotional core. Given the trajectory that began in North Carolina’s DIY scene and has now found its footing in Nashville, Charles Walker is poised to further solidify his place as a pivotal figure in the contemporary Americana-Indie Rock landscape.

Boring Story – “Below Us”

A disarming juxtaposition of sprightly sounds and introspective lyrics, “Below Us” from Boring Story is a musical oxymoron that plays out beautifully. Embracing the sonic spirit of Slacker Rock with the emotive heft of Emo, this debut single offers listeners a masterclass in modern Indie Rock. Reminiscent of the golden days of The Strokes and the biting wit of Arctic Monkeys, the track is anchored by a guitar hook that’s both catchy and contemplative. The vivid lyrics speak of self-awareness with lines like “Self deprecation isn’t modesty, it’s self obsession,” offering a deep dive into the psyche of the modern individual, all while being wrapped up in a seemingly cheerful package.

The juxtaposition is most palpable in the recurring plea, “Sending signals through space. If you hear ’em, could you blow us all away,”—a morose meditation on existential dread set against an anthemic backdrop. This duality resonates strongly with anyone familiar with the emotional turbulence of anxiety. By the time the track reaches its “big cathartic ending,” it’s clear that Boring Story has a knack for blending irony and earnestness. The song serves as a perfect introduction to a band that seems intent on navigating the complexities of the human experience, blurring the lines between what’s ostensibly joyful and undeniably melancholic. As a herald for their upcoming album, “Below Us” promises listeners a journey as deep as it is delightful.

TWIN ENVY – “Reptilian Overlords”

With a mischievous title like “Reptilian Overlords,” TWIN ENVY delivers an irresistibly hooky track that pulsates with the same energy as indie darlings Cage The Elephant and Peter Bjorn and John. A foot-tapping treat from the moment it starts, the song basks in its playful indie-rock aesthetic, culminating in a contagious chorus that comes crashing in at the one-minute mark. With a perfect balance of nostalgic undertones and forward-thinking originality, the track feels like a delightful homage to the early indie-pop trailblazers while standing confidently on its own merits.

The unique geographical separation between the duo—Jesse Konrad and Rob The Heart, divided by the sprawling Arizona desert—only adds an extra layer of allure to their sound. Their debut single hints at a remarkable synergy, their styles blending seamlessly to create a sonic tapestry as vast and intriguing as the landscapes that lie between them. “Reptilian Overlords” captures the essence of what TWIN ENVY aims for: a nod to the not-so-distant indie past, while forging ahead with an unmistakable contemporary flair. If this tantalizing teaser is any indication, the forthcoming EP is set to cement their position as indie rock’s newest luminaries.

Todd Binder – “Alameda”

In “Alameda,” Todd Binder masterfully weaves nostalgia, romance, and melancholy into an ethereal lo-fi dreamscape. The song, recorded purely in analog at San Francisco’s legendary Tiny Telephone Studio, is a poignant and evocative ode to the city of Alameda, California—a place close to Binder’s heart. The track’s gentle riffs and Binder’s insinuating vocals capture a deep yearning, with lyrics that transport the listener to post-World War II, echoing the sentiments of a sailor, grappling with love and identity. “Ala-me, Ala-me, Alameda mmm,” Binder croons, reinforcing the emotional pull of a place that’s both geographically specific and universally relatable.

Emerging from Charlottesville, VA, Binder’s reputation for high-energy performances and his indomitable spirit, as evident from his tireless dedication to authentic, analog recording, is strikingly juxtaposed against the serene and intimate ambience of “Alameda.” The lyrical content resonates deeply; lines like “It meant nothing to you, To send me off with a kiss” and “With a heart so red white and blue, You sent me off with a kiss” bring forth raw emotion, rendering a sense of both personal and communal loss. As Binder grapples with the bittersweet recollections of love and a city that was once home, listeners are left with a hauntingly beautiful lament that lingers well after the last note fades. Binder’s dedication to capturing genuine sentiment, both in his songwriting and his analog production, has culminated in a track that stands as a testament to his undeniable talent and authenticity.

Weekly New Releases – Ava Earl, Tamaraebi, VC Pines, Blaudzun, Shadwicke Wilde, Ian McFarland, Joh Chase, and Daniel Trakell

Welcome to the pulse of indie music: the Weekly New Releases on! Every week, we’re committed to sifting through the vast expanse of new indie tracks to bring you the crème de la crème of underground sound. From hypnotic rhythms and trailblazing instrumentals to soul-stirring lyrics, we’ve got you covered. If you’re on the hunt for your next musical obsession or simply looking to refresh your playlist, you’re in the right place. Dive in, and let the auditory adventure begin!

Ava Earl – “Too Much”

The notion of being “too much” typically drags along a shadow of societal pressure and judgment, and yet Ava Earl elegantly uses it as a medium to declare unyielding authenticity in her latest single, “Too Much.” Earl’s audacious approach fuses a vivid alt-pop canvas with organic lo-fi folk, and the outcome is both a triumph of individuality and a celebration of self-acceptance. One can’t help but trace parallels with the evocative artistry of Gracie Abrams, Remi Wolf, and even the raw emotional candidness of Phoebe Bridgers, but Earl’s spin is distinctively her own. The sprinklings of Arcade Fire-esque orchestral flourishes only accentuate the vastness of her sonic landscape.

Hailing from the picturesque realm of ice-capped Girdwood, Alaska, Ava Earl has already accumulated a wealth of experiences that belie her youth. From sharing the stage with luminaries like Maggie Rogers to prolifically penning songs that mirror the many shades of her soul, she represents a rare breed of artist: passionate, relentless, and perpetually on the move. With “Too Much,” Earl articulates the beautiful paradox of her life – constantly in motion, yet ever rooted in the authenticity of her Alaskan upbringing and the strains of a guitar that echoes the deepest recesses of her heart. As this track heralds from her fourth album, “The Roses,” it’s clear that Ava Earl isn’t just chasing momentum, she’s embodying it.

Tamaraebi – “Sweet Summers Day”

Stepping out of the vast expanse of global music with a voice and style that’s both instantly recognizable and captivating, Tamaraebi’s “Sweet Summers Day” offers an evocative, gospel-tinged odyssey into the realm of self-reflection and serenity. Comparisons to illustrious artists such as The Weeknd, D’Angelo, and Prince aren’t bestowed lightly. Yet, as expressed by reputable platforms from The Times to Wonderland, this Nigerian-born, London-based virtuoso marries the languorous magnetism of such legends with his own touch of “futuristic nostalgia.” The song’s narrative, a fervent yearning for a past or potential future serenity, captures listeners, whisking them away on a journey drenched in introspective lyricism akin to Frank Ocean and adorned with Prince’s undeniable charisma.

Born as Daniel Tamaraebi Itombra, his geographical journey from the bustling streets of Calabar to the vibrant scene of East London has woven a tapestry of diverse influences that underpin his music. After an academic detour into law, Tamaraebi soon recognized that his true calling lay in the harmonious embrace of music. His latest offering, “Sweet Summers Day,” encapsulates a singular studio session – a raw and unfiltered outpouring of emotions during a personal crossroad. And as the track envelops you, it becomes evident that Tamaraebi isn’t just another artist in the vast sea of voices. He’s a beacon, guiding us through the intricacies of our own introspections, and assuring us that amidst life’s relentless pace, moments of true clarity and understanding do exist.


In the vast panorama of the contemporary music scene, the looming figure of VC Pines, also known as Jack Mercer, paints a kaleidoscope of raw emotion and intricate lyricism. His latest release, “SUPERMAN”, comes off the back of his eagerly anticipated debut album, ‘MRI’. The single, with its unerring portrayal of self-doubt, self-sabotage, and the dichotomies of modern human emotion, draws listeners into the tumultuous maelstrom of his psyche. It’s a profound reflection, not just of Mercer’s personal journey, but of the larger human condition: the constant internal battle of wanting to be everything for everyone, often to one’s own detriment. With nods to eminent figures in the alt-music scene like Jamie T, Ezra Collective, and James Blake, VC Pines crafts a rich tapestry of sonorous electronica, poetic punk, and alt-soul, a unique blend that both devastates and reassures.

The genius of “SUPERMAN” is its unfiltered honesty, penned during a late-night session beneath Stoke Newington’s bustling streets. It captures the paradox of modern life – the simultaneous sense of connectivity and searing loneliness. The album, ‘MRI’, magnificently echoes this sentiment, providing a musical journey that defies categorization. Drawing from his personal experiences, including the seismic revelation of a temporal lobe epilepsy diagnosis, Mercer’s narrative intertwines the vivid hues of his synesthetic perceptions with the raw, unvarnished experiences of navigating life in a metropolis. The album’s title, ‘MRI’ – a nod to the medical imaging technique that helped define his condition – serves as a metaphorical scan of Mercer’s soul, displaying the intricate and complex connections of his experiences. As Jack Mercer steps into the limelight with his debut album, it’s evident that VC Pines is not just a musical endeavor but a profound exploration of identity, relationships, and the human psyche.

Blaudzun – “Dreamers”

In an era where music often leans heavily into aesthetics over substance, Blaudzun’s “Dreamers” emerges as an anomaly, a beacon of introspection framed within an indie-pop facade. The track is imbued with a classic Blaudzun resonance – an upbeat and catchy melody that starkly contrasts with the profound and melancholic lyrics, creating an evocative duality. “Dreamers” delves deep, shedding light on the strength and tenacity of those who often feel out of place, those who dare to dream even when they stand amid “barren trees.” Lines like “Don’t keep me under” act as a clarion call for liberation, cementing the song as an anthem for both the hopeful and the outcast.

The legacy of Blaudzun’s prior critically acclaimed works, notably the hauntingly beautiful ‘LONELY CITY EXIT WOUNDS,’ continues to resonate in this track. “Dreamers,” self-produced and immaculately recorded with Martijn Groeneveld at Mailmen studio, reflects Blaudzun’s growth as an artist – balancing the nuance of lyricism with the allure of a classic indie rock soundscape. As the first single leading up to his yet-to-be-announced seventh LP, “Dreamers” positions itself not just as a song, but as a testament to the indefatigable spirit of those who persevere, even when the world seems cold and unwelcoming.

Shadwicke Wilde – “Floating Away”

Navigating through the seemingly tranquil landscapes of Shadwick Wilde’s work, “Floating Away” stands as a testament to the layers of emotion and nuance one can pack into a track. From the artist whose youth was stamped by a nomadic existence—San Francisco to Havana to Amsterdam—Wilde’s vast experiences manifest themselves in the raw vulnerability of this song. It’s not just another track on his latest album, “Forever Home”; it’s an insight into the crevices of his soul, acknowledging the “fracture lines in the plaster on the bedroom wall.” The musical intricacies, a blend of minimalist beats and Ken Coomer’s more assertive drumming, paired with the nervous muted guitar strumming, deviates from the serenity of the album’s onset, guiding the listener to a more tumultuous, introspective soundscape.

Drawing parallels to the likes of Tyler Childers and Justin Townes Earle, Wilde showcases his dexterity in blending genres, exuding the earnestness of country and the compelling narratives of folk. However, it’s his punk roots and unique journey, from forming the Quiet Hollers to the relentless touring and finally, a return to his solo domain, that flavor “Floating Away” with a distinct aroma. The song unravels the complexities of home, belonging, and the eternal human fear of ephemerality. Here, Wilde does more than just sing; he crafts an odyssey of introspection and acceptance, making “Floating Away” not just a song but an emotional pilgrimage.

Ian McFarland – “Your Heart Is My Home”

Navigating the sentimental corridors of indie rock, Ian McFarland’s “Your Heart Is My Home” envelops listeners in a cocoon of undying loyalty and vulnerability. The track reverberates with the poignant echoes of an adoring love, emphasizing the lengths one would travel, the depths one would plunge, all for the sake of unwavering connection. The lyrics, heartrending in their honesty, elucidate a narrative of devotion, with lines like “I’ll follow you wherever you go, No matter how high, No matter how low,” ringing as a testament to McFarland’s evocative songwriting prowess. The song’s thematic insistence on pursuit and commitment, while steeped in romantic yearning, feels like an ode to the musician’s own experiences—his journey from Spain to Berklee College of Music and later to New York’s iconic stages, ever in chase of the next musical horizon.

Though McFarland’s resume is a myriad of performances across a tapestry of venues, “Your Heart Is My Home” is a sublime reminder of the intimacy and genuineness that underpin his work. The repeated refrain, “Your heart is my home,” not only conjures images of a romantic partner but can be interpreted as McFarland’s ode to his audience—a community he has built with his impassioned melodies and heartfelt performances. The track feels like a distillation of that fateful night at Pete’s Candy Store, where the bond between artist and listener was so magnetic that time itself seemed to elongate. In the vast panorama of indie rock, McFarland offers a poignant ballad that is bound to linger, a melodic reminder that amidst change and departure, some bonds remain unbreakable.

Joh Chase – “Risking It With You”

Amidst a journey filled with transformative experiences and eclectic sound palettes, Joh Chase’s “Risking It With You” emerges as a magnum opus of raw vulnerability. Drawing inspiration from an introspective musical upbringing—melding the timeless sensibilities of Elton John and The Cranberries with modern-day indie folk—Chase beautifully crafts a song that speaks volumes of life’s unpredictable ebb and flow. Lyrics like “You might fall in love with someone in group therapy, They might see you more clearly than me,” depict the unpredictable trajectory of love, mirroring Chase’s own nonlinear career path. There’s an undeniable sense of the transient nature of life, echoing the sentiment that there’s no assurance in love, no security blanket. Yet, in the midst of all the uncertainty lies a steadfast commitment, an unwavering dedication captured in the refrain: “But something I know for sure: I’m devoted to risking it with you.”

Joh Chase’s gift lies not just in their capacity to create melodious tunes but in their innate ability to translate the depths of human emotion into song. “Risking It With You” feels like an intimate confession, a heart laid bare, and a soul contemplating love’s imponderables. As the song evolves, Chase touches upon the myriad uncertainties of life, from the whimsical dilemmas like house paint disagreements to profound self-realizations that can shake a relationship’s foundation. Yet, the song’s climax revolves around a relentless optimism, a love that’s willing to brave storms and walk into the unknown. In “Risking It With You,” Chase encapsulates the essence of life itself—a mosaic of unpredictable moments, bound together by a love worth every gamble. As we anticipate Joh Chase’s new album via Kill Rock Stars in 2024, “Risking It With You” stands out as a poignant reminder of the power of commitment, even amidst life’s unpredictable tides.

Daniel Trakell – “Into The Blue”

The rustic timbre of Mollonggipp’s old church hall meets the indie folk artistry of Daniel Trakell in the sonorous “Into The Blue.” The song, replete with rich instrumental layers ranging from country-style drums to the delicate touch of the pedal steel, is a testament to both producer Josh Barber’s meticulous approach and Trakell’s profound songwriting. The serene ambiance of the church hall, which Trakell wanted to capture, is palpably felt in every strum and vocal nuance. The lyricism, inspired by the poignant journey of Chris McCandless in “Into The Wild,” paints a vivid tableau of escape, self-discovery, and venturing into the unknown. Lines like “Find places on maps few have seen” and “Find a beautiful, beautiful place to get lost” resonate with the themes of solitude and the quest for a deeper connection with nature and oneself.

At its core, “Into The Blue” is a melodic embrace of the idea of surrendering to the vastness of the world and the mysteries it holds. As Trakell reinterprets McCandless’s escapade into the Alaskan wilderness, the song evokes a shared yearning for freedom and the beauty of life’s uncertainties. There’s an alluring juxtaposition of melancholy and hope in lyrics such as “You’ll see everything change, To be exactly like you imagined it to, Into the blue.” The collaborative synergy in the song’s production, with the addition of the mellotron strings in the bridge and the pedal steel flourishes, completes the narrative of a wanderer’s dream. An accompanying visual representation, directed by Mike Ridley, brings to life the magic of Trakell’s sonic adventure. For the listener, “Into The Blue” isn’t just a song; it’s an invitation to embark on an introspective journey where risks, faith, and the promise of discovery intertwine.

Album Review – Black Sea Storm: İsmimi Bulutlardan Aldım

Black Sea Storm’s latest offering, “İsmimi Bulutlardan Aldım” (translating to “I was named after the clouds”), is an album of nomadic wonder and creative experimentation, one that carries the listener on a journey through the sprawling landscapes of Mexico, where it was entirely crafted. This album is more than just a collection of songs; it’s an adventurous narrative of musical discovery.

The creation of “İsmimi Bulutlardan Aldım” occurred across various locations in Mexico: Monterrey, Culiacán, Mazatlán, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, and Querétaro. The challenge set by Black Sea Storm was to create a record that sounded like a full rock band while on the road, armed only with limited musical equipment. Led by founder Ali Deniz Ozkan, the band embraced this limitation, finding within it an expansive creative freedom.

A Journey through Sound

The music’s nomadic nature resonates with the title’s ethereal connection to the clouds. It posits a theory where music comes from the universe itself, traveling into the musician’s subconscious before manifesting into sound. Such travel isn’t limited to physical landscapes but also dives into the soul, connecting both the internal and external worlds. This album, recorded on the go, encapsulates that exciting ongoing adventure.

Given the limited instruments – primarily an acoustic guitar and an SM 57 mic – the album has an intimate acoustic progressive rock sound. The organic creation process, where all the song backbones were simultaneously written and layered, echoes the natural growth of vegetation. This horizontal method of writing and recording adds a texture that is both unified and diverse.

Evocative Tracks

Each track of “İsmimi Bulutlardan Aldım” plays like a chapter in a well-constructed novel. While it might be brief in listening length, it is profoundly dense in its thematic and sonic exploration. The guitar works as the emotional backbone, guiding listeners through landscapes of reflection and excitement. From the haunting melodies of “Kirli Duman” to the rhythmic intensity of “Denizatlı Kovboy,” each track offers an exploration of the band’s experimental edge.

There is a sense of intentional limitation embraced by Black Sea Storm. More material was left out than was kept on the album, leaning towards what genuinely excited them musically. It’s an approach that imbues the album with a sense of purpose and urgency.

A Nomadic Legacy

Black Sea Storm’s journey is as fascinating as the album itself. Started as a side project in 2002 near the Mexican border in San Diego, California, it remained a recording project for several years. The nomadic lifestyle embraced in 2018 infuses the music with an authentic wandering spirit.

The band’s performances across Latin America and Türkiye enrich the sound with a multicultural vibrancy. Ali Deniz Ozkan’s rich rock career, sharing the stage with artists such as Mogwai and Royal Trux, is clearly reflected in the mature craftsmanship of this album.


“Ismimi Bulutlardan Aldım” is a testament to Black Sea Storm’s artistic evolution. It celebrates the power of minimalism and the organic growth of music, likening it to the natural world. The album’s nomadic creation is not merely a gimmick but a genuine approach that infuses the music with an authenticity and vigor that is palpable.

From the subtle interplay of the acoustic guitar to the philosophical undertones in its title and thematic content, it’s an album that asks us to reflect on the universality of music and our connection to the world around us. It’s an exploration that feels deeply personal yet wholly universal. Black Sea Storm has indeed named this album after the clouds, capturing their transient and formless beauty in a musical tapestry that invites listeners to embark on a unique journey of self-discovery and worldly adventure.

For fans of progressive rock with a penchant for philosophical introspection and sonic exploration, “İsmimi Bulutlardan Aldım” offers a concise yet profound experience that is bound to resonate long after its 23-minute run time concludes. It’s a daring experiment that succeeds with a grace and a fierceness that only a band as seasoned and adventurous as Black Sea Storm could achieve. The clouds may be ever-changing, but this album feels like a lasting imprint on the musical landscape.

Mid-Week Mixdown: Teia Elaine, EG Vines, Drew Drake, Paul Moody, AY Young, Rose Gerber, JIANTS, Alex Helsby, Social Creatures, and Mike Leon

As the workweek trudges along, it’s easy to get lost in the mundane ebb and flow of our routines. We all need that mid-week pick-me-up, a sonic jolt to rejuvenate our spirits and re-ignite our passion. Enter the Midweek Mixdown on It’s not just another playlist; it’s a curated musical journey designed to navigate the nuances of your Wednesday. From the ambient undertones that echo the morning’s first light to the fiery beats that mirror the day’s peak, we’ve got your back. Whether you’re seeking solace from a challenging project or the perfect track to celebrate a midweek triumph, our mixdown is the key. Dive in and discover an eclectic mix of genres, moods, and rhythms. It’s the pulse you didn’t know you needed, right at your fingertips. So plug in, turn up the volume, and let the Mid Week Mixdown guide you closer to the weekend.

Teia Elaine – “Garden”

There’s an infectious energy that pulsates from Teia Elaine’s track, “Garden.” From the opening chords, it’s clear we’re in for a vibrant fusion of sounds that beckons memories of iconic tracks like Beyoncé’s “Work It Out” and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” But to say “Garden” is merely an amalgamation of these would be a disservice to Elaine’s fresh spin on what feels like a modern neo-soul anthem. The grooves are funky, the beats are relentless, and as the chorus blooms, you’re invited to move, to dance, to feel alive in Elaine’s lush sonic landscape.

Teia Elaine Coley, professionally known as Teia Elaine, isn’t a novice when it comes to musicality. Hailing from Raleigh, NC, she’s enveloped herself in a legacy of sound from a young age. With a familial lineage steeped in musical talent, and inspired by powerhouses like Amy Winehouse and Erykah Badu, Elaine has crafted her own niche. “Garden” offers a glimpse into her forthcoming EP, Love Child, which promises to explore the intricate tapestries of love, relationships, and self-discovery. While her journey from musical theatre to real estate and back to music might seem winding, it’s evident that Elaine’s true north has always been the siren call of rhythm and melody. “Garden” isn’t just a song; it’s a testament to Elaine’s resilience, talent, and the intoxicating blend of RnB, Funk, and Electronic beats that she masterfully weaves together.

EG Vines – “Over the Sun”

EG Vines, an artist that Chorus FM heralds as “one of the best kept secrets in rock,” further cements his position in the alternative rock echelon with his latest release, “Over the Sun.” Introduced via New Noise Magazine, the track is a modern odyssey of emotion. With roots anchoring deep into Y2K-era rock and emo, “Over the Sun” manages to harness the raw energy of that period while channeling the angst and yearning of present-day relational disconnect. Its anthemic resonance is complemented by a hook-rich melody that leaves you contemplating the intricacies of distant relationships.

A musical rebel in his own right, EG Vines’ journey to this point has been one of defiance against convention. Transitioning from the shackles of an ordinary corporate life to the liberating realm of self-driven music, Vines embodies the spirit of challenging the status quo. Influenced by powerhouses like Radiohead and Stone Temple Pilots, yet embracing the rebellious nature of bands like Green Day and The Offspring, Vines showcases a soundscape that’s simultaneously nostalgic and innovative. The palpable energy of “Over the Sun” is a testament to this, and a tantalizing glimpse into what’s in store for his upcoming LP, Dance Moves. A project bursting with experimentation, the album promises a rich tapestry of sonic exploration, a manifestation of Vines’ insatiable quest for artistic authenticity. As 2023 beckons, so does the anticipation of experiencing Vines’ dynamism live, with a slew of shows and festival appearances on the horizon.

Drew Drake – “4Ever”

On “4Ever,” Drew Drake serves a refreshingly lucid narrative that’s a testament to the heart of conscious hip-hop. Dropped in the quiet hours of an October evening last year, the track stands as an embodiment of lyrical introspection. With sonic textures that harken to the likes of Chance the Rapper and Big K.R.I.T., the song navigates its way through boom bap rhythms, setting a mood that’s both joyous and romantically poignant. There’s an essence of old-school authenticity, reminiscent of Big Boi’s era, juxtaposed with the alternative hip-hop sensibilities of a CyHi.

Released under DistroKid, “4Ever” highlights Drake’s capacity to intertwine romance and happiness with profound contemplation. As the lines unfold, listeners are invited into a melodic discourse that’s as cerebral as it is heartwarming. In an era where hip-hop often grapples with its identity, caught between commercial demands and authentic storytelling, Drew Drake’s “4Ever” emerges as a beacon. It’s a reminder of hip-hop’s foundational pillars, and the power of music to chronicle human experience with rawness and realness.

Paul Moody – “Merciful Bloom”

Paul Moody’s “Merciful Bloom” is an introspective odyssey that melds the profound melancholy of Leonard Cohen with the modern folk tonalities of Big Thief. From its inception in the serene Catskill mountains to its realization in the bustling streets of New York City, the song echoes with a sense of place, both physical and emotional. Lyrical landscapes are painted with vivid strokes of poetic brilliance; the ebbing and flowing of waves, the morning walks amidst ruins, and the poignant acknowledgment of a pervasive loneliness. The mention of waking up to golden light on hair and the “soft breath on my chest” are fleeting moments of intimacy, juxtaposed against the vast emptiness and search for connection that the lyrics depict.

Moody’s multi-instrumental mastery crafts a background that cradles the vocals in a tender embrace. The lyrics, both haunting and heartfelt, are a journey through time and emotion, each line a memory of a past that simultaneously feels distant and intimately close. “Winter surrender, in hopes of a merciful bloom” becomes a metaphor for healing and hope, as winter’s cold embrace gives way to the promise of spring. While he navigates through themes of long-lost love, reminiscence, and the stark realization of solitude, Moody’s voice remains a steady guide, luring the listener deeper into this evocative indie-folk narrative. In “Merciful Bloom”, Paul Moody achieves what few can – a raw, vulnerable examination of the self, set against the ever-changing backdrop of life and love.

AY Young – “2030”

AY Young’s “2030” is a melodic testament to determination, purpose, and the pressing sociopolitical issues of our time. Seamlessly blending the triumphant spirit of achieving personal goals with poignant reflections on social justice issues, Young offers a track that’s both personally introspective and universally relevant. The lyrical query “How’d I get those goals?” is less a boast than an invitation for listeners to embark on a journey of introspection and societal awareness. Young doesn’t merely rap about his achievements, but challenges the listener with references to pivotal moments in recent history — the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. The line “You say this be the land of the free and home of the brave” punctuates the song’s core message, challenging societal complacency and demanding authenticity in our collective values.

AY Young’s meteoric rise from poet to global sustainable artist is keenly felt in this track, where his message transcends mere rhythm and melody to encompass activism and vision. The repetitive chorus about achieving goals works in harmony with his career’s mission, emphasizing dedication, grit, and resilience. There’s a palpable urgency in the “tick tock” countdown, suggesting a dual reading: the pressing nature of Young’s personal goals and the broader time-sensitive call to address social inequalities and environmental crises. “2030” isn’t just a song; it’s a clarion call for change, layered with AY Young’s undeniable passion and commitment, bridging the gap between individual ambition and global responsibility.

Rose Gerber – “Memories Someday”

Rose Gerber’s “Memories Someday” is an emotive journey down memory lane, a poignant reflection on life’s fleeting moments that we so often tuck away, only to revisit them later with a mix of nostalgia and sorrow. Gerber, through her exquisite Americana lens, captures the essence of these memories with an authenticity that tugs at the heartstrings. The track’s initial jauntiness masks the depth of its message, presenting listeners with a lively musical experience that slowly reveals its melancholic core. It’s a true testament to Rose’s uncanny ability to weave seemingly simple everyday moments into profound narrative tapestries, illustrating the transient nature of time and the sentimental value we attach to relics of our past.

Portland’s own Rose Gerber has a talent for effortlessly combining various American roots genres, but her music goes beyond mere genre-blending. “Memories Someday,” with its twangy guitar riffs, ethereal instrumental sections, and evocative vocals, is a prime example of how Rose channels the likes of Neil Young and Gillian Welch, while still retaining a distinct sound that’s undeniably her own. The song’s crescendo, with its dreamy ambience and vivid imagery of a fire-threatened mountain house, exemplifies Gerber’s introspective songwriting, where dreams and reality converge to reveal deeper emotional truths. When she sings about the river drying up and the encroaching wildfires, one can’t help but feel the weight of both the literal and metaphorical threats looming in her world. It’s a stark reminder of life’s impermanence, delivered with a gentle urgency, making “Memories Someday” an unforgettable experience, as haunting as it is beautiful.

JIANTS – “Real Easy”

Emerging from the vibrant indie scene of Toronto, JIANTS have crafted a poignant anthem for self-reflection with “Real Easy.” Led by the introspective songwriting prowess of ex-skateboarder Jesse Landen, the track offers a beautiful tapestry of lo-fi indie pop sensibilities, complete with nostalgic undertones reminiscent of ’90s alt-rock. At its core, “Real Easy” is a therapeutic balm for anyone struggling with self-identity and the turbulent journey of personal growth. The band beautifully channels the essence of those early mornings when one is teetering between self-acceptance and self-doubt, reminding us of the power in persistence and the beauty of starting anew, even if it’s for the third time in a week.

With each chord progression, JIANTS captures a comforting duality of embracing solitude and championing self-renewal. Jesse Landen’s sun-cracked vocals ride atop melodic hooks, while Adam Kesek’s bass and Tom Kania’s drums solidify the track’s serene and chill aura. As they effortlessly oscillate between ’90s vibes and contemporary indie flair, there’s an undeniable magnetism to JIANTS’ sound—a sound you might swear you’ve heard before in a distant memory. “Real Easy” is not just a song; it’s an affirmation of resilience, and if it’s any indication of their upcoming album “Tall Tales,” listeners are in for an evocative journey back in time, all the while remaining firmly grounded in the present.

Alex Helsby – “Are What You Said You Aren’t”

From the moment “Are What You Said You Aren’t” begins, there’s an undeniable intimacy enveloping the listener—a raw authenticity that evokes the solitude of a hometown room and the comfort of cherished memories. Alex Helsby, in a profound reflection on self and moments of vulnerability, delivers a song that captures the heart’s whispers in its purest form. Written in a fleeting 30 minutes, the track, much like an untouched photograph, stands testament to an artist’s ability to channel emotions unfiltered and untouched, preserving the sanctity of the moment.

As the song progresses, Helsby masterfully weaves together influences from icons like Daniel Caesar’s soulful depth, Billie Eilish’s nuanced alt-pop ambience, and Jeff Buckley’s impassioned resonance. The transition from a poignant acoustic beginning to a more spirited pace in the second verse exemplifies Helsby’s deftness in musical storytelling. The blend of Singer Songwriter, Acoustic Folk, and Alt Pop elements gives the track a unique sonic texture—both delicate and robust. This isn’t just a song; it’s a snapshot of an artist’s soul, capturing the essence of introspection and the ever-evolving journey of self-discovery.

Social Creatures – “Nothing Changes”

As the summer months unfurl, Brooklyn’s own SOCIAL CREATURES brings a fresh fervor to the indie rock scene with their latest offering, “Nothing Changes”. From the very first notes, there’s an immediate sense of nostalgic familiarity woven seamlessly with the innovation of modern melodies. The track, punctuated by analog synths, whimsical guitar riffs, and distinctive grooves, finds its visual counterpart in the humor-laden video crafted by Brooklyn filmmaker, Olga Elliot. Featuring Edward Furs, known for roles in “Michael Clayton” and “The Sopranos”, the video encapsulates a quintessential Brooklyn “slice of life”, complete with the quirks and intricacies of its vibrant bodega culture. The band’s desire to evoke both laughter and poignant reflection is perfectly complemented by Elliot’s comedic flair.

In just a few years since their formation in 2018, Social Creatures has undoubtedly made its mark in the Indie Rock/Electronic scene. With the resonating success of their self-titled debut album in 2022 and the accolades that followed—including tracks being highlighted on Apple Music’s curated playlists and a notable feature in the upcoming Jamie Flatters film—it’s evident that the band is on an ascendant trajectory. But what sets them apart is their commitment to sonic authenticity: from Jono Robertson’s multifaceted musical talents to the revivalist synthesis of analog and modernity. As they journey through cities, from festivals to concerts, one thing remains certain: “Nothing Changes” in the band’s passion for delivering earnest and evocative music.

Mike Leon – “In The Outdoors”

Nature has always been a refuge for the weary soul, an escape from the claustrophobic grip of urban life—and Mike Leon’s “In The Outdoors” serves as an ode to this age-old sentiment. The track, with its anthemic aura, offers listeners a panoramic view of the great expanse, evoking vivid imagery of drives through the countryside, with windows rolled down, the soft hum of the radio, and the mesmerizing display of a golden-red sunset. The lyrics paint a poignant picture—highlighting moments of solitude atop mountain peaks and the serenity that comes from knowing that, for a moment, the world belongs solely to the singer. Lines like “Lift me up sweet wind, Warm me up bright sun, Fill my heart with love” echo the song’s underlying message: nature’s transformative power to heal and rejuvenate.

From Hamilton, ON, Mike Leon’s transition from the drum kit to the center stage as a singer-songwriter feels seamless. Familiar with the touring life and having played alongside Canadian greats, his debut EP, ‘Ticket Home’, promises to be a culmination of these rich experiences. “In The Outdoors”, in particular, encapsulates the core of Leon’s sound—Indie/Folk with a rhythmic pulse that’s impossible to ignore. As he sings, “Right where I belong, Oh oh oh,” it’s hard not to be transported to those open spaces, feeling the sun’s warmth, and knowing that sometimes the greatest adventures await us just outside our door.