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.

Dismantling Paradigms: jamesbetamax’s “Vitamins”

jamesbetamax’s “Vitamins” is an intricate tapestry of conscious, alternative hip-hop that expertly blends intricate lyricism with a raw, unfiltered insight into the self. The artist appears to dance through dimensions and ideologies, stretching the boundaries of conventional thought, leaving listeners to navigate the intricate folds of his mind. The energy of the song is intense and riveting, drawing on a spectrum of references, from Han Solo to Anakin, from Plato to Kratos, each line imbued with layered significances that mirror a multifaceted exploration of existence.

The relentless pursuit of knowledge and self-discovery is a prevailing theme in “Vitamins”, with lines like “Half Plato, half Kratos / Get the message,” highlighting jamesbetamax’s navigation through philosophical ideation and raw, primal energy. The lyrics “Demon, blood in my eyes / Eating Marceline’s fries” combine abstract imagery with pop culture references, creating a rich and dynamic atmosphere. The variety of characters and imagery invoked, from “Azula” to “Sokka with the headshot,” not only enriches the textual landscape but also reinforces the notion of a continuous, multifaceted journey, one that’s steeped in complexity and unrelenting evolution.

The sonic architecture of “Vitamins” aligns harmoniously with its intricate lyricism, creating a musical ecosystem where each component enriches the other. jamesbetamax’s flow is intense yet meticulously crafted, reflecting a balance between spontaneity and precision. The mention of “Fred, Wilma, and Pebbles all in my vitamins” adds a playful element to the overall serious and contemplative mood of the song, demonstrating jamesbetamax’s ability to balance depth with levity. The song serves as an artistic rebellion, a metaphysical exploration, and a tribute to the multitudinous facets of existence, making it an exhilarating journey through the uncharted territories of alternative hip-hop consciousness.

Weekly New Releases – D’Ambrosia, Enny Owl, Conor Miley, Crewless, Aunt Vicki, Storm Franklin, Izzie Derry, and JIANTS

Welcome, audiophiles and melody maniacs, to another euphonic installment of Weekly New Releases on B-Side Guys! This segment is where we delve into the raw, uncharted territories of music, bringing to the surface the undiscovered gems and future anthems that are dropping into the music sphere this week. It’s our curated selection of sonic innovations and auditory canvases, painting your week with diverse rhythms, tunes, and lyrical narratives. From the raw, unadulterated passion of indie anthems to the complex harmonies of unsung ballads, we’re here to elevate your playlists with the fresh, unfiltered soundscapes that are resonating through the underground. Strap in, turn up the volume, and let’s ride the wave of musical exploration together!

D’Ambrosia – “Tumblin'”

Halifax’s D’Ambrosia lands another poignant punch with their latest single, “Tumblin’”, a raw contemplation on the multifaceted nature of love—a theme bathed in both melancholy and anticipation. The third single to grace our ears in the past year, “Tumblin’” traverses through emotional paradoxes, encapsulating a spectrum of sentiments in its reverb-heavy folds. Kim D’Ambrogi’s vocals unravel a narrative stitched with vulnerability, determination, and a hint of sardonic resilience, painting a journey of love experienced in perplexity and inevitability. The song doesn’t shy away from exploring the tumult within acceptance and defiance, reverberating with a bittersweet symphony of emotions and lingering like a haunting echo of unmet gazes and distant drifters.

D’Ambrosia, a well-crafted tapestry, meticulously interweaves smoky instrumentation with introspective lyrics, creating an eclectic amalgamation of sound that pays homage to various influences—from the soaring notes of Loretta Lynn to the sublime grace of Fleetwood Mac and the impassioned fervor of Kate Bush. The Halifax ensemble, helmed by the profound lyricism and the captivating presence of Kim D’Ambrogi, emanates a distinct sonic aura that is reminiscent of the timeless beauty of their influences yet distinctly innovative. “Tumblin’” serves as a testament to D’Ambrosia’s ability to merge contrasting emotions, crafting soundscapes that are laced with both hope and demise, resonating with listeners who find solace in the universal experiences of love, choice, and the ceaseless tumble through life’s unpredictable dance.

Enny Owl – “Femi”

Enny Owl’s “Femi” delicately intertwines Yoruba folklore with contemporary reflections, unraveling the tale of an elephant ensnared in deceit, believing celebration is at its feet. The song, a precursor to the anticipated album, Homes in Humans, is not merely a melodic reminder to trust one’s instincts but also a profound exploration of camaraderie and purposeful living. The track is a symphony of folky storytelling, fantasy-induced soundscapes, and experimentative pop influences, portraying a myriad of emotions—ranging from romantic nuances to epically moody contemplations. “Femi” eloquently expands upon Enny’s conceptual visions, creating cinematic melodies that echo with the philosophical undertones of intuition and the essence of genuine relationships.

Homes in Humans, set to unveil on November 3, 2023, is a harmonious culmination of reflections and musical renditions inspired by the thoughts and names submitted by Enny’s listeners during the lockdown. The album emerges as a conceptual masterpiece, emphasizing themes of healing and self-discovery, and serves as a testament to Enny Owl’s multifaceted musicality. It transgresses the boundaries of folk, blending in chamber pop elements and reimagining the realms of indie folk with its intricately layered compositions. Enny’s passion for Celtic sonorities and fantasy resonates in every note, crafting a collection that is as diverse as it is cohesive, immersing the listeners in an aural journey through varying landscapes of sound and emotion, and leaving them in contemplative silence, enveloped in the rich tapestries of her music.

Conor Miley – “Lost Honeybee”

“Lost Honeybee,” Conor Miley’s latest single, emerges as a haunting symphony, reverberating with echoes of grief and resilience, a precursor to his highly anticipated album, Thousand Yard Stare. The song intricately weaves a tapestry of melancholy, narrating a soul’s odyssey through the labyrinth of loss. From the tendrils of denial to the stark reality of acceptance, every note drips with the poignancy of heartbreak, reflecting Miley’s profound exploration of human emotions. The acoustic strings reverberate through the solemn shadows of isolation, punctuated by ethereal synths and orchestral drums, culminating in a musical maelstrom—a cathartic release from the bonds of sorrow.

Miley’s multifaceted musical journey, rich in the nuanced echoes of folk, indie, and electronica, imbues his compositions with a compelling emotive pulse. With the musical vistas stretching from intimate reflections to sweeping epics, Miley’s intricate arrangements unravel the complexities of the human soul, portraying its vulnerabilities and strengths in equal measure. The Dublin native, who has honed his craft amidst diverse musical landscapes and personal turmoil, channels his experiences into every chord, creating a harmonious amalgamation of varied genres, laden with profound lyrical expressions. The elegance of classical music and the raw energy of jazz intertwine in his work, reflecting the eclectic influences that have shaped his artistic vision. The upcoming album, woven with threads of love, hope, and despair, resonates with the multifarious shades of life, a testament to Miley’s relentless pursuit of musical excellence and his ability to transform personal crisis into universal reflections of the human experience. The accompanying visuals, directed by Michael-David McKernan and featuring Emily Kilkenny-Roddy, enhance the atmospheric essence of “Lost Honeybee,” encapsulating the dichotomy of intimacy and release in every frame, epitomizing the transformative journey of the soul.

Crewless – “Elevator (going down)”

With “Elevator (going down),” Crewless plumbs the depths of emotional turmoil and ardor, crafting a haunting soundscape of somber reflections, revealing the multitudes contained within human connection. The song is a meticulous exploration of the exhaustive range of emotions that one experiences when in proximity to a love that is as volatile as it is passionate. The synergistic confluence between Crewless and producer Nate Pyfer adds layers of nuanced melancholy and indietronica ambiance to the piece, creating a seamless blend of indie vibes and house undertones, an echo of shared musical insights and visions. The resultant sound is a labyrinthine tapestry of chill and moody tones, a journey through the introspective corridors of the heart, underscored by the masterful mixing of Finn Bjarnson.

Crewless, emanating a vibrant energy from Salt Lake City, Utah, is a sonic revelation, merging the diverse vocal dynamics of Jefferson, Brandi, and Makenna, reminiscent of the eclectic vibrancies of bands like The B52’s and Human League. This harmonious amalgamation allows the exploration of a vast musical palette, creating a powerful collective resonance that manifests in the fusion of house rhythms and punk guitars. Gunther, the architect of soundscapes within the group, orchestrates the dual sonic expressions, encapsulating the philosophy of multiplicity in expression, rooted in his multicultural upbringing. The juxtaposition of indie and electronic elements in their debut single, “Elevator,” illustrates Crewless’s innovative approach to music creation, delivering a plethora of emotions and styles, from the tumultuous guitars in “Elevator (going up)” to the nostalgic vibes in “Elevator (going down),” making them the torchbearers of unadulterated emotional and musical exploration in the contemporary music scene. The group’s aesthetic, both sonically and in fashion, reflects a myriad of influences, from The Ting Tings to Daft Punk, amalgamating to form a unique and compelling musical identity, pushing the boundaries of genre and expression.

Aunt Vicki – “Time Is On Your Side”

Aunt Vicki’s “Time Is On Your Side” unfolds like a multilayered existential rhapsody, threading the needle between introspective folk echoes and the rebellious heartbeat of garage rock. Hailing from Asheville, NC, the retro rock conclave delivers a sound that is a reverberating amalgam of raw, Beatles-esque simplicity intertwined with complex, untamed finales. The song’s dual nature presents an intricate dance between serene retrospection and unadulterated wildness, creating a sonic landscape that’s drenched in a bit of every era, a characteristic reminiscent of artists like Courtney Barnett and Ty Segall. The lyrics, a reflective contemplation of self, evoke a cinematic tapestry of life’s ceaseless march, a narrative of self-confrontation and the relentless pursuit of one’s desires. The expressions “Who do you think you are” and “This movie is a flop/And you’re the star” illustrate the struggle of self-perception and the inevitable reckoning with time, shedding light on the internal battles faced in the journey of growth and self-discovery.

The philosophical underpinnings of the track are accentuated by the band’s multifaceted musical architecture, creating a paradoxical atmosphere where the contemplative intertwines with the chaotic. Aunt Vicki’s narrative, an enthralling odyssey through the realms of existential thought, is a dynamic interplay of fervent art rock energy and the pensive nuances of folk, reminiscent of the authentic resonance of The Dead Weather. The song, an exploration of the symbiotic relationship between aging and self-realization, melds the fervor of alternative rock with the artful expressions of garage aesthetics. It is a tumultuous journey through the cascading sands of time, confronting the inevitability of growth and the relentless cycle of self-reinvention, making “Time Is On Your Side” a poignant reminder of the inexorable dance between the self and the ever-ticking clock of existence.

Storm Franklin – “The Fear”

Storm Franklin’s single, “The Fear,” emerges as a meticulously crafted symphony of existential contemplation, where Juanita Stein’s haunting vocals intertwine with Ben Hillier’s masterful production to paint a landscape suffused with an aura of internal tumult. It’s a journey through the shadowy corridors of human psyche, where the echoes of half-truths and white lies reverberate amidst the relentless pursuit of the divine. The song, a harmonic manifestation of internal conflicts and raw emotion, explores the universal sentiments of fear and chaos, serving as a mirror reflecting the ubiquitous struggle to navigate through the labyrinthine facets of the human condition. The chorus, “This is the fear,” resonates as an echoing whisper through the poetic tapestry, accentuating the symbiotic relationship between the internal and the external, the individual and the collective, the chaos and the divine.

Stein and Hillier, uniting under the moniker of Storm Franklin, manifest a nuanced exploration of existential dichotomies within “The Fear,” with each strum and each note acting as a harbinger of the myriad emotions that traverse the human soul. The lyrics, a poetic odyssey through the realms of internal trepidation and external cruelties, unravel the intertwined threads of anguish and desire, embodying the hustle through the ticking hours and the relentless march towards the ephemeral finish line. The relentless repetition of “This is the fear” serves as an echoing anthem of the shared human experience, embodying the universal dance with fear and the pursuit of existential meaning within the ceaseless cycle of chaos and divine possibility. With “The Fear,” Storm Franklin encapsulates the essence of indie rock introspection, cultivating a realm where the haunting echoes of existential musings meld seamlessly with the intricate tapestries of harmonious revelation, propelling listeners through the uncharted territories of the human soul and the inherent fear that resides within.

Izzie Derry – “Young and Free”

Izzie Derry, with her new track “Young and Free,” weaves a tapestry of introspection and nostalgia, blending the melodious essence of Indie Folk with a poignant narrative that resonates with the universal longing for the simplicity of youth. The song, reminiscent of the harmonic subtleties of artists like Laura Marling and Fiona Apple, paints a landscape colored with reflections on growing pains and the metamorphosis of relationships. Derry’s lyricism, enveloped in a soft melancholy, explores the contrast between the boundless joy of childhood and the burdensome worries of adulthood, with a recurring desire to return to ‘those days of beautiful clichés’. This release is a poignant exploration of human vulnerabilities, a melodic soliloquy reflecting the artist’s journey through self-discovery and her pursuit of musical authenticity, resonating with the echoes of her emotional and artistic evolution.

“Young and Free” is the sixth symphonic glimpse into Izzie Derry’s debut album, a project birthed from her reflections during lockdown, where each note seems to be imbued with amplified emotions and deeper personal revelations. Izzie’s artistic journey, from her initial public performance at fifteen to her diverse musical explorations and collaborations, showcases a relentless pursuit of musical excellence and a fearless embrace of evolving genres and arrangements. The song, with its layers of musical rawness and innovative vibe, exemplifies Derry’s commitment to enhancing her musical palette, highlighting her maturity and her refined perspective on life’s multifaceted experiences. The emotional depth encapsulated in this single, intertwined with its soulful composition, is a testament to Izzie’s growth as an artist and her ability to transform her contemplations into a harmonious blend of relatable and deeply moving musical experiences.

JIANTS – “Moon Lit”

Toronto-based Jiants, led by former professional skateboarder Jesse Landen, serve a poignant and nostalgia-laden indie pop concoction with their latest single, “Moon Lit.” This track, immersed in a lo-fi aesthetic, oscillates between the realms of dreamy contemplation and vigorous reality, painting the airwaves with shades of elusive summer love and the ensnaring allure of the unknown. “Moon Lit” poetically articulates the conundrum of pursuing ephemeral whims of the heart, eventually succumbing to a resonating emptiness—a journey Landen defines as a waltz with the nostalgia of imaginary summer love. The song, with its echoing lyricism, “Always searching for the ghost of the you before,” sketches the eternal chase for the mirages of the past, weaving a tale of reflective disillusionment and heartwarming realization. The intricate interplay between the soaring leads and enveloping hooks captivates the listener, drawing them into a swirl of emotions and resonant melodies, reminiscent of longing glances exchanged under the ethereal embrace of moonlit nights.

“Moon Lit,” a luminous offering from Jiants’ upcoming album, “Tall Tales,” is a mirror reflecting the band’s evolved musical craftsmanship and Landen’s profound lyrical depth. The track’s smooth progression and the emotive undulations of the music journey through the dimensions of the human soul, exploring the facets of love and the inherent human predilection for nostalgic yearning. The distinct indie-pop influences entwined with the evocative lyrics render it a mesmerizing concoction of sound and emotion. Engineered and produced by Gavin Gardiner, “Moon Lit” becomes a symphonic dance between reality and the remnants of fleeting summer encounters, illustrating Jiants’ ability to transform the abstract tapestries of human emotions into harmonious and relatable sonic experiences. This single, with its relatable narrative and compelling musical composition, augments the anticipation for their forthcoming album, promising a musical journey steeped in introspection and resonant indie-pop allure.

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.

Top Ten Tuesday – The Soods, Cody Lawless, Shadwick Wilde, Visit, Faux/Fox, Lady Silver, Goldschatz, Champion Sound, Guava, and Darling Darlene

Welcome to another riveting edition of Top Ten Tuesday here at As the week begins its stride, we once again sift through the overflowing sea of indie gems, spotlighting those tracks that have captured our ears and hearts. From brooding ballads to electrifying anthems, this weekly feature is your beacon to the world of underrated brilliance. Dive in, as we journey through ten sonic masterpieces, each with its own unique story to tell. Whether you’re here to discover your next favorite song or to champion the underdogs, Top Ten Tuesday promises a musical tapestry as diverse as our readership. Without further ado, let’s dive into this week’s curated selection!

The Soods – “Don’t Let Me Go (I’ll Only Float Off Into Space)”

In the vast expanse of indie songwriting, The Soods‘ new offering, “Don’t Let Me Go (I’ll Only Float Off Into Space)”, emerges like a distant star beckoning for closer examination. Drawing inspiration from an intriguing Karl Pilkington quote that touches upon the poignant solitude experienced by an astronaut during the moon landing, the track unfolds a narrative of existential angst, enveloped in a sonorous tapestry reminiscent of luminaries such as Guided By Voices and R.E.M. The melancholic introspection of lyrics like “I’ve been struggling hard to try / To separate stars from satellites” underscores the human endeavor to find meaning and connection in an ever-expansive universe. The celestial motif is accentuated with echoes of Spiritualized and Galaxie 500, as the song drifts between folk and country, crafting a soundscape that’s both moody and dark.

Amidst the weighty theme of cosmic isolation, the song’s refrain, “So hold me close my dear / For I fear that I’ll slip through the atmosphere”, serves as a grounding plea, rooting the protagonist’s sense of drift with a yearning for intimacy and anchoring. The juxtaposition of “That summer sun piercing through the air” with the stark confession “See I wouldn’t know since I’m made of stone” casts a shadow of perennial desolation, capturing the essence of loneliness amidst the vastness. It’s a tune that encapsulates the often unspoken abyss that separates individuals, even when they are close in proximity – an ethereal, melancholic ode to isolation and longing, and a testament to The Soods’ depth as artists.

Cody Lawless – “Grace”

When one thinks of the term indie-pop in 2023, the name Cody Lawless is poised to echo prominently. Unveiling “Grace” as the final video chapter from his album, the expanse of Lawless’s multifaceted artistry becomes even clearer. “Grace” emerges not just as a song, but as a captivating, audiovisual narrative—a melodic recounting of proximity to love and the ensuing whirlwind of emotions. The song draws you into a dreamlike reflection of affection, brought to life with the simple but powerful trio of guitar, bass, and drums. These basic instrumental elements, combined with Lawless’s evocative lyrics, paint a portrait of wistful admiration and the chaos of newfound feelings, making it evident why the song was chosen to put a conclusive, compelling mark on his visual journey.

Cody Lawless, the fresh moniker of the accomplished Cody James Henn, seems to have found a seamless and authentic pivot from his earlier project, KNOWN. His new direction, shimmering with the sunny warmth of jangly guitars, feels like a refreshing indie-pop breeze reminiscent of a lazy summer afternoon. His influences, such as Mark Foster and Sam Glick, weave their subtle touch into his music, but Lawless’s distinctive vocal style and personal tales make his work stand out in a crowded field. Behind the catchy hooks and melodies, there’s an intimacy, a raw openness that is quintessentially Cody—most evident when he talks about the transformative influence of psychedelics on his artistic perspective. With the release of “Sunshine State of a Happy Camper” earlier this year, under MNRK Music Group, Cody Lawless seems to have opened a new chapter, not just in his music but in the larger landscape of indie-pop. “Grace” serves as a testament to this journey, reminding listeners of the vast emotional landscape that Cody has traversed and inviting them to join him on this new adventure.

Shadwick Wilde – “Easy Rider”

Amidst a cacophony of evolving indie voices, Shadwick Wilde stands resolute with the serene ballad “Easy Rider.” The song weaves an intricate tale of devotion, anchoring it with comforting acoustic arrangements and introspective piano lines, reminiscent of the cozy confines of a lover’s embrace. Wilde’s lyrical journey delves into the tumultuous sea of relationships, juxtaposing the warmth of unwavering partnership with the anguish of moments lost in wistful reflection. It’s a poignant probe into the sacrifices and commitments of love, as Wilde croons about the landscape of emotions he wishes he could traverse with his significant other. The song not only highlights Wilde’s skill in evoking profound emotion through lyrical storytelling but also showcases his deft ability to balance raw vulnerability with musical sophistication.

Shadwick Wilde’s story is one of ceaseless exploration. His nomadic upbringing—spanning cities from San Francisco to Amsterdam—seems to have cultivated a restless creative spirit, which found its footing amidst the punk and hardcore bands of his youth. With the formation of the Quiet Hollers, a transition began from raucous to reflective, ultimately culminating in the sonic tapestry of “Forever Home.” “Easy Rider” embodies the essence of this album, a homage to enduring domestic comforts, with its sunlit glow enveloping listeners in the subtle charm of Wilde’s songwriting. This track, like the rest of the album, oscillates between sunny optimism and shadowed doubt, mirroring the ebbs and flows of life and love. With his piercing lyricism and unwavering commitment to his craft, Shadwick Wilde has not only cemented his status as a masterful songwriter but has also extended an intimate invitation into the quiet recesses of his heart and home.

Visit – “Laughing At The Past”

The delicate balance of embracing both the past and future is skillfully rendered in Visit’s “Laughing At The Past.” Tyler Burba, the mastermind behind Visit, crafts a temporal journey that oscillates between the haunting grip of yesteryears and the uncharted promise of what’s yet to come. The song’s arrangement is nothing short of a rollercoaster ride; it starts with a blend of melancholy and fervor reminiscent of rock’s heyday, swiftly transiting into a symphonic bridge carried by strings, only to be propelled again by a horn-driven interlude. Just when you think you have the song figured out, Burba submerges you into a dreamy realm of harp and strings, concluding in a crescendo of nostalgic rock. The song, in its many layers, embodies the duality of trepidation and exhilaration that comes with the passage of time.

Tyler Burba’s journey from gospel singer in the Pacific Northwest to the eclectic sounds of Visit mirrors the varied soundscape of “Laughing At The Past.” Early encounters with iconic figures like Allen Ginsberg not only instilled in him a love for literature but also steered him towards a path of introspection and self-awareness. With Buddhism’s teachings shaping his worldview, Burba’s music reflects a deep sense of existential exploration. Every note he crafts is a testament to his comprehensive musical background that spans from rock n roll greats like Elvis Presley to avant-garde endeavors. The duality in “Laughing At The Past” is mirrored in Burba’s own journey – a dance between academia and artistry, introspection and external observation. If there’s one thing to be said about Visit, it’s that it challenges the listener to not just hear, but truly listen, offering a soundscape that evokes memories of Arcade Fire’s grandeur, the brooding depth of Interpol, and the raw edge of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Faux/Fox – “A Place Of Great Undoing”

With “A Place Of Great Undoing”, Faux/Fox offers listeners an uncharted journey through a bleak, vast desert, harkening back to the ascetic pilgrimage of St. Anthony the Great. The song, fourth in line on the much-anticipated album “Heat Death”, moves with the stealth of a serpent, flowing placidly until its sudden, jarring transition around the 3:30 mark—much like the unpredictable and volatile nature of life itself. Its lyrics paint an austere landscape: the biting intensity of the sun and the dry desolation of the desert, juxtaposed against existential musings on light, love, and death. With poetic lines such as “The world, a perfect pearl, lost in the greatest depths,” the song delves into profound contemplations of purpose and identity, threaded with both doubt and affirmation. The use of the unique voice key, representing the varying “beings” that St. Anthony encounters, adds a layer of cryptic allure to the narrative, embodied notably in the haunting declarations of the satyr and centaur.

Emerging from Pensacola, FL, Faux/Fox’s nine-year trajectory sees them sculpting their distinct sound by blending the edges of indie rock, post-rock, and the heavier sonic realms into one. “A Place Of Great Undoing” personifies this fusion, intertwining the raw emotional intensity characteristic of bands like mewithoutYou and the expansive instrumental narratives reminiscent of Russian Circles. The track beautifully captures the album’s overarching themes rooted in the tales of St. Anthony—moments of introspection, spiritual struggle, and revelations. With phrases such as “Even in stillness chaos consumes,” Faux/Fox articulates a sentiment that resonates beyond the confines of the song, speaking to the human experience’s complexity and fragility. As listeners eagerly await the release of “Heat Death”, “A Place Of Great Undoing” offers a compelling and mystic preview of the sonic odyssey that lies ahead.

Lady Silver – “Chasing Pavements” (Adele Cover)

For many, Adele’s “Chasing Pavements” is already an anthem – a deep, emotive ballad resonating with the heart’s uncertainties and the perils of unrequited love. However, in the deft hands of Tel Aviv-based alternative indie rock band, Lady Silver, this familiar tune undergoes a transformative metamorphosis. Introducing a more modern sonic landscape paired with an avant-garde approach, Lady Silver’s rendition creates a fresh, vivacious auditory experience while retaining the song’s original poignancy.

From the outset, the vibrant harmonies of the guitars set an emotionally charged atmosphere, indicative of Lady Silver’s signature touch. And, as the deep timbre of the lead vocalist enters the soundscape, a tantalizing blend of nostalgia and newness emerges. While Adele’s version was introspective and tender, Lady Silver’s rendition boasts a robust energy, characterized by a rhythmic underbelly of dynamic drums and driving bass-lines. Come the chorus, and listeners are swept into a rapture of high-gain guitars that augment the track’s intensity. Drawing inspiration from contemporaries like Added Color and The Paz Band, the band does more than simply cover; they recreate, reimagine, and revitalize. The unexpected breaks and precision in the buildup add layers of complexity, showcasing Lady Silver’s unparalleled artistry, which has earned them accolades such as a 3rd place finish for ‘Album of the Year’ by BCFM Radio and Rock Radio UK. Their rendition of “Chasing Pavements” ultimately culminates in a fervent climax that lingers in the listener’s psyche long after the final note has faded – an ending that is as evocative as it is tantalizing. In merging the beauty of Adele’s original work with their innovative flair, Lady Silver has birthed a cover that is both homage and evolution – a testament to the timeless nature of great music.

Goldschatz – “I’ll Be Here In The Morning” (Townes Van Zandt Cover)

The poignant simplicity of Townes Van Zandt’s “I’ll Be Here In The Morning” has graced the ears of many, a bittersweet lullaby serenading the promises and heartaches of love. Yet, as Goldschatz takes on this classic, they infuse it with an enchanting duality, turning it into a mesmerizing duet. This Swiss-Canadian dreamteam, frequently likened to the iconic collaboration of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss on “Raising Sand,” unveils an interpretation that is both fresh and deeply reverential.

From the very first note, it’s clear that this rendition is set apart. Timothy Jaromir and Rykka’s voices meld in an intimate dance of longing and assurance, their harmonies weaving a tapestry of emotions, reminiscent of renowned duos like The Civil Wars and First Aid Kit. There’s a palpable tenderness between them, echoing the sentiments of the song — a declaration of unwavering presence amidst life’s fleeting moments. While the original by Van Zandt had a singular perspective, Goldschatz’s decision to transform it into a duet introduces a dialogue, a conversation between two lovers, reaffirming their commitment to one another. This blues-folk duo’s authenticity shines through, as they draw from their personal troves of musical treasures, sharing an affair of the heart with their listeners. Every chord and lyric is imbued with the genuine passion of two talents merging into one harmonious entity. Their cover of “I’ll Be Here In The Morning” is not just a tribute to an iconic song but a testament to the timeless nature of love, connection, and the magic that emerges when two voices become one.

Champion Sound – “Bullet Train Flow” (feat. R.A. The Rugged Man)

Champion Sound’s “Bullet Train Flow,” featuring the indomitable R.A. The Rugged Man, is a sonic freight train of energy that blurs the lines between eras and genres. It’s a nostalgic ride into the golden age of hip-hop, fortified with a modern pulse. The tune’s funky foundation, anchored in breaks reminiscent of Cut Chemist and the undeniable rhythmic styles of bands like Jurassic 5, reverberates with an urgency that demands attention. As the track unfolds, it’s evident that this is not just a simple throwback but a dynamic fusion of old-school cadences and contemporary flair.

R.A. The Rugged Man, no stranger to commanding a microphone, further elevates the track with his formidable lyrical prowess. His verses, sharp and incisive, cut through the breakbeat with the precision of a maestro, ensuring listeners are riveted from start to finish. The interplay of scratches punctuates the tune, paying homage to turntable masters and reinforcing the song’s rootedness in hip-hop’s rich tapestry. Elements of conscious hip-hop are subtly woven, a nod to the genre’s history of societal critique. “Bullet Train Flow” is a celebration, a head-nodding testament to the transformative power of hip-hop and its ability to evolve while paying respect to its storied past. Champion Sound, with this release, proves that the genre’s heart still beats strong, and its future, while ever-changing, will always have its roots deeply embedded in its foundational rhythms.

Guava – “Universal Angel” (feat. Maddie Ashman)

British producer Guava, known for his scintillating array of electronic productions, embarks on a fresh sonic journey with his single, “Universal Angel,” featuring the ethereal vocal stylings of Maddie Ashman. As the lead single off his debut album ‘Out of Nowhere’, it’s an offering that is both introspective and effervescent, straddling the fine line between the dreamy realms of shoegaze and the pulsing undercurrents of indietronica. Through the haze of swirling synths and understated beats, Ashman’s voice emerges as a beacon of clarity. Her refrain, “You’re my universal angel, But I know you can’t save me,” echoes the haunting duality of longing and self-awareness, creating a mood that’s both chill and evocatively moody.

Having previously graced iconic venues like Abbey Road Studio and BBC Maida Vale, Guava’s vast experience is evident in the meticulous production of the track. From its languid start to its immersive crescendo, “Universal Angel” crafts a sonic narrative about intense love and the poignant realization of its limitations. The track’s lyrical dichotomy, pivoting between dreamlike states and the stark awareness of reality, is beautifully amplified by its fusion of genres. While rooted in the shoegaze tradition, there’s an unmistakable electronic edge, giving it a fresh, contemporary vibe. With this single, Guava sets the stage for what promises to be a transformative debut album, making ‘Out of Nowhere’ one of the most anticipated releases of 2023.

Darling Darlene – “Something’s In The Woods”

On “Something’s In The Woods,” Darling Darlene charts an ambitious odyssey into the hinterlands of indie rock and alt pop, creating a compelling sonic landscape that shimmers with both the uncanny and the familiar. The track seamlessly weaves together disparate influences: the delightful disorientation of a King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard track, the expansive grandeur of Arcade Fire, and the ethereal mystique of Beach House. Yet, this shape-shifting pop rock ballad is uniquely Darling Darlene in its essence. It oscillates between bouncy waltz grooves, a kind of rock ‘n roll swagger reminiscent of 70s crooners, and an enveloping cloak of lush synth orchestrations.

The song is a cornerstone of their upcoming EP, “Lost at the Movies,” an audacious experiment birthed in the isolation of the Danish countryside. Through this track, songwriting duo Christian Popp Therkildsen and Johan Skjold Knudsen craft a narrative that delves into the human psyche, grappling with themes of egoism, indifference, and the haunting specter of dreams left unfulfilled. Their eclectic chaos production style becomes a defiant stand against the stifling norms of musical convention and fleeting fads. With this offering, Darling Darlene doesn’t just hint at their potential—they emphatically announce their arrival as a dynamic force in the indie scene, challenging and reshaping the boundaries of genre with audacious creativity.

Album Review – Blind Orbits: The Time, The Tide EP

Navigating the nebulous realm of Coventry’s shoegaze scene, Blind Orbits emerges not as mere wanderers but as torchbearers. Known primarily as shoegaze veterans, their acclaimed collaborations with hip-hop figures like Wu-Tang affiliate Killah Priest and T-Mo Goodie of Goodie Mob spoke of a daring inclination towards genre fluidity. Their latest offering, “The Time, The Tide” EP, crystallizes this daringness, presenting a cohesive project with hints of novelty and nostalgia.

The title track, “The Time, The Tide,” is a delicate dance of dream-pop elements married seamlessly with quintessential shoegaze. The captivating vocals of Martin and Lara Orton serve as ethereal guides through this misty journey. It feels as though one is floating amidst clouds, buoyed by Matt Flood’s guitars which echo with the profound depth of reverb. Each strum resonates, cutting through the ambient fog, creating an auditory spectacle. Dave Speedy’s bass lines act as the heartbeats in this vast sonic landscape, giving life to the dream, while Ciaran Corkerry’s drumming is the pulse that keeps the dreamer alive, alert, and attentive.

“Reborn” shifts the narrative slightly. This synth-embellished track, with its brisker tempo, acts as the dawn breaking after a long, introspective night. If “The Time, The Tide” is about getting lost, then “Reborn” is about finding oneself amidst the haze, a phoenix rising from the ashes of its introspection. The electronic elements woven into the track bridge the gap between classic shoegaze and contemporary sounds, echoing the past while nodding to the future.

But it’s the EP’s final track, “Day of the Dead (Krohme’s Reprise),” that showcases Blind Orbits’ audacity. The fusion of the brooding, immersive world of shoegaze with the rhythmic eloquence of hip-hop—embodied by Killah Priest’s verses—feels almost revelatory. It’s a seamless blend that doesn’t feel forced or experimental but rather the next logical step in their musical evolution. It’s a bold statement, a nod to genre-less music that might define the coming era.

It’s essential to recognize the touch of producer Krohme, whose influence is evident throughout the EP. His capability to coalesce varying sound profiles without compromising the essence of each is commendable. The EP not only serves as a testament to Blind Orbits’ legacy but also to the endless possibilities that arise when artists, unburdened by genre constraints, come together to create.

The accompanying video for “The Time, The Tide” is the cherry atop this layered cake. It’s a visual representation of the band’s journey, reinforcing the ethereal themes of the EP. It’s an experience—both auditory and visual—that fans and newcomers alike will find hard to shake off.

In conclusion, “The Time, The Tide” EP is more than just a collection of songs; it’s a statement, an exploration, and a beacon for others to follow. It stands as an emblem of Blind Orbits’ artistic courage and the broader music industry’s evolutionary potential. Dive into this immersive experience on their Bandcamp and prepare to be transported.

Weekly New Releases: FlexpackFACE, A Beacon School, A Number From The Ghost, Van Goat, Slye and Genomic Clone

Hello music aficionados! As the weekend settles in, it’s time to refresh those playlists and discover some gems. Here at B-Side Guys, we’re always on the lookout for the freshest tracks, the burgeoning artists, and those tunes that simply resonate. Dive into this week’s collection of new releases, curated meticulously for the discerning ear. Whether you’re into soothing ballads, electrifying beats, or anything in between, our weekly round-up promises a musical journey like no other. Let’s turn the volume up and delve into the sounds of now!

FlexpackFACE – “Stay Away”

In “Stay Away,” FlexpackFACE takes a sobering detour from his signature high-octane sound, delving into the harrowing depths of his struggles with addiction. The track seamlessly oscillates between moments of heart-wrenching vulnerability and fierce self-awareness, akin to the contemplative depths of J. Cole. Accompanied by cinematic visuals that amplify the song’s intensity, this piece stands out not just as a candid confession but as a testament to the transformative power of art, capturing the dual moods of desolation and hope with a piercing clarity.

Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, FlexpackFACE is more than just a rapper; he’s a storyteller using YouTube as his canvas. With a commendable work ethic, dropping a music video every month for the past ten months, he’s showcasing a rich tapestry of emotions and experiences, all while investing considerably in both the auditory and visual aspects of his craft. “Stay Away” encapsulates the essence of FlexpackFACE’s mission: to resonate, to be seen, and to touch hearts, one video at a time.

A Beacon School – “Alone”

“Alone,” the latest offering from A Beacon School, is an aural odyssey that deftly captures the fleeting essence of renewed hope amidst life’s ebb and flow. As the brainchild of the multi-talented New York artist, Patrick J. Smith, the track unravels as an intimate contemplation of despair, juxtaposed with the tantalizing allure of optimism. Smith’s description of the song, as a reflection of the moment “when you feel like your luck is finally turning,” resonates deeply in its ethereal melodies, evoking the moody atmospheres that Dream Pop connoisseurs cherish in acts like Slowdive and Alvvays.

A Beacon School’s signature lies in seamlessly blending uptempo pop elements with lush shoegaze and intricate electronic textures. Established in 2009, Smith’s journey from home-recorded demos to amassing millions of streams, is testimony to his refined artistic prowess. With a soundscape mixed by Sonny DiPerri, whose credits boast collaborations with legends like Trent Reznor and My Bloody Valentine, “Alone” foreshadows the anticipated tonal breadth of ‘yoyo’, Smith’s upcoming LP and his first full-length in half a decade. If “Alone” is any indication, ‘yoyo’, set to release on October 13, 2023, promises to be another immersive dive into Smith’s subconscious artistry, further solidifying A Beacon School’s place in the annals of modern Dream Pop.

A Number From The Ghost – “Atomize”

In the digital age where boundaries between disciplines blur, few artists epitomize this melding of worlds quite like Peter Adams, who operates under the moniker A Number From The Ghost. “Atomize”, the latest single, is a poignant blend of melancholic electronica and ethereal Dream Pop that resonates with the wistful essence of childhood memories, Saturday morning awakenings, and the surreal feeling of existence. The lyrics, laden with vivid imagery of “silver infant eyes,” the “scene of your mother,” and the haunting finality of knowing oneself, evoke a tapestry of emotions that are both universal and deeply personal. Paired with Adams’ unique interdisciplinary approach — where each release has an associated, explorable online world — the song feels like a piece of a much grander narrative, a digital experience mirroring early computer animations and the melancholy of summer dreams.

A Number From The Ghost stands as a testament to the digital artistry that can be wielded by a multi-faceted talent like Adams. The soundscape, reminiscent of Thom Yorke’s ethereal forays into Electronica, intersects with lyrical expressions that echo the profound sadness and wonder of existence. “Atomize and feel nice” — the refrain captures the transient nature of moments, memories, and emotions; feelings that momentarily coalesce only to disperse into the ether. While the tangible connection of live performance may no longer be an avenue for Adams, “Atomize” proves that his musical and digital realms are not just compensations, but evolutions, transporting listeners into expansive, interactive universes crafted from sound and code.

Van Goat – “God’s On The Other Guy’s Side”

In an era where music is often swathed in sleek production and digital precision, Van Goat’s “God’s On The Other Guy’s Side” is a gleeful departure, serving a vintage concoction of toe-tapping swing, heartfelt country, and hints of punk rock rawness. Painting the scene with sepia hues, it transports the listener to a bustling old-time saloon, where the rhythmic hum of a dusty fan is drowned by the jubilant cacophony of live music. Melding the unmistakable swing of Dr. John with the rootsy richness of Traveling Wilburys and the audacious quirk of Beck, the track captures the tragicomic essence of life’s unpredictable misadventures. Aidan Ward’s earnest vocal delivery juxtaposes the track’s upbeat instrumentation, echoing tales of woeful ignorance and cosmic jests, reminiscent of the lyrical wit of Roger Miller and the earnest introspection of Jason Isbell.

Van Goat, the Oakland five-piece known for breathing punk vitality into the timeless swing genre, has struck gold once again. Their ambitious fusion of diverse musical landscapes, from punk to southern jazz, continues to defy categorization and expectation. The band’s profound ability to draw from a myriad of influences creates a sound that’s familiar, yet entirely fresh and unpredictable. In “God’s On The Other Guy’s Side,” they’ve constructed an anthem for the underdog; a melodic embrace of life’s missteps set against a backdrop of raucous instrumentation. This track is more than just a song—it’s a cinematic journey through a world where misfortune is met with a wry smile and an accompanying swing of the hips. With its intricate layering of trombone, guitar, and piano, combined with Ward’s contemplative lyricism, Van Goat showcases their unparalleled ability to craft songs that are at once reflective and irresistibly danceable. The modern musical landscape might be vast and varied, but Van Goat has carved out a niche that’s entirely their own, making them a force to be reckoned with in today’s scene.

Slye – “Ghost (Live)”

From the dimly lit, intimate corners of Liverpool’s QUARRY venue, Slye mesmerizes with “Ghost,” an impeccable display of neo-soul fusion. The track, rich with live instrumental dynamism, immediately captivates with a rhythm section that’s as groovy as it is introspective. Come the 1:01 mark, listeners are met with a tantalizing three-part horn harmony—a sonic treat that seamlessly intertwines with Slye’s nuanced vocal performance. The overall atmosphere evokes heavyweights like Jordan Rakei and D’Angelo, yet retains a unique fingerprint that’s undeniably Slye.

Building upon a foundation of 70s funk á la Prince and Sly Stone, Slye brings forward a modern sensibility, melding introspective lyricism with melodies reminiscent of contemporary R&B and indie. “Ghost” serves as a testament to Slye’s artistry, combining evocative lyricism with a complex yet accessible arrangement. As the song unfolds, it paints a vivid picture of longing, fading desires, and the inherent romance of live music. This offering reaffirms Slye’s dedication to crafting tunes that move not just the feet, but the very soul.

Genomic Clone – “My Last Day”

Amidst the textured sonic palette of “My Last Day,” Genomic Clone crafts an introspective tale of reflection, legacy, and the passage of time. A somber narrative unfolds, detailing the musings of an individual at the twilight of their life, eager to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. As the song’s protagonist reconciles with their life’s work, the listener is enveloped in the shimmering layers of electronica and alternative rock that recall the experimental leanings of Xiu Xiu and the intricate structures of Atoms For Peace.

Since their inception in 2022, Genomic Clone has been on a meteoric ascent, consistently challenging the boundaries of their genre. Comprising Christoph Hierath of Pictures of My Friends and techno maestro Leopold Bär, the duo effortlessly melds their distinct artistic identities to birth a sound that’s both innovative and comfortingly familiar. “My Last Day” stands as a testament to the band’s ability to evoke deep emotion while pushing sonic boundaries, offering listeners an evocative glimpse into the poignant interplay of mortality and legacy.

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 – SUGARFUNGUS, Nathan Graham, AiramFM, Lawson Hull, The Steel Crows, Dune Moss, Earl Hondo, Orions Belte, and skipping

Welcome to another week of sonic exploration on B-Side Guys! As the virtual curtains pull back, we once again present to you a handpicked selection of the latest and greatest tracks that have graced the musical landscape. Whether you’re searching for your next earworm or a deep cut to lose yourself in, our Weekly New Releases has got you covered. Dive in, and let these fresh tunes be the soundtrack to your week. Whatever your vibe, we’ve sifted through the noise so you can groove to the best.

SUGARFUNGUS – “A Named Thing Is A Known Thing”

Emerging from the lush woods of Vancouver, SUGARFUNGUS offers an introspective dive into the nature of existence with “A Named Thing Is A Known Thing.” Anchored by dreamlike guitar strums and a soft cadence of percussion, the song blooms like a nightshade in the midnight moon, revealing the duality of life – where both fleeting moments of joy and eternal contemplations merge. The lyrical landscape painted by lines like, “Waking in the woods, Where darkness stood” and “Trusting that the stars are really there,” transcends a mere song. It becomes a reflection of existential wonder, capturing the universal longing for connection and understanding.

HighClouds wasn’t exaggerating when it described SUGARFUNGUS’s style as “dancy dream pop for the haunted and heartbroken.” In “A Named Thing Is A Known Thing,” the group extends their musical mycelium further into the collective consciousness, blending their signature pop hooks with atmospheric motifs. Lyrics like “A named thing is a known thing” recur, echoing like a mantra, a profound reminder of the power in understanding and naming our feelings, experiences, and the world around us. Like an ember cupped delicately in the hands, the song glows softly, illuminating SUGARFUNGUS’s potential as they continue to grow, branching out from the underbelly of the music scene. The track not only showcases the band’s capacity for depth and nuance but solidifies their place as torchbearers for the next wave of indie dream pop.

Nathan Graham – “Somebody Else”

Chicago’s Nathan Graham channels a deeply soulful exploration of ambition and self-worth in “Somebody Else.” Steering away from the well-treaded path of traditional relationship ballads, Graham instead delves into the personified relationship between an artist and their ever-elusive aspirations. Lyrics like “Sick of waiting on your call” echo a sentiment of hopeful perseverance, showcasing Graham’s unyielding chase of dreams reminiscent of that first spark, when icons like Lenny Kravitz exemplified the realms of possibilities with an electric guitar in hand. This track, situated amongst the anticipated narrative of his debut album “Saint of Second Chances,” is a poignant tribute to tenacity in the face of doubt.

Infusing South Side Blues with raw, Chuck Berry-like lyrical candor, Graham is dismantling stereotypes one chord at a time. His sound, a harmonious blend of bluesy roots and Nashville Americana, encapsulates his journey – from those early days wielding his guitar in Chicago’s legendary blues venues to opening for prominent acts like The Wallflowers. In “Somebody Else,” we’re granted a window into the heart of a musician confronting self-doubt, chasing dreams, and ultimately striving to shape the narrative of what it means to be a “singer-songwriter.” With an impassioned voice that’s both sorrowful and invigorating, Nathan Graham is not just telling a story; he’s beckoning listeners to join him, to feel, and to redefine boundaries.

AiramFM – “Heartbeat”

From the serene landscapes of Denmark, Maria Friis Møller, or better known by her ethereal moniker, AiramFM, graces the indie-alternative sphere with her beautifully somber, “Heartbeat.” This poignant track is not merely a song but a raw testimony of personal loss, capturing the agonizing moments of saying a final goodbye. “As you lay there in the bed, Your breathing’s slowing,” AiramFM’s voice delicately wavers, reminiscent of Lana Del Rey’s hauntingly melodic inflections, all the while evoking the tenderness of Birdy. The lyrics, “I try to hymn a melody that you used to sing to me, But my voice keeps shaking cause my heart is breaking,” deliver an insurmountable weight of grief, making “Heartbeat” a heartbreaking ode to a cherished loved one’s memory, but also a beacon of solace for anyone navigating the tides of sorrow.

As a self-made artist, AiramFM’s indomitable spirit shines through, molding her personal tragedies into cathartic melodies that touch the very fabric of human vulnerability. With 11 releases, she’s consistently illustrated a knack for crafting evocative narratives and “Heartbeat” stands as the pinnacle of her intimate discography. It’s a brave and hauntingly beautiful testament to the inexorable force of love, the void left by its absence, and the bittersweet memories that remain. Delving deep into the realms of melancholy and healing, AiramFM has woven her profound pain and resilience into a musical tapestry that offers both tears and comfort in its embrace.

Lawson Hull – “Strange”

In a time when the world turned topsy-turvy, Australian alt-folk bard Lawson Hull’s “Strange” emerges as a serene beacon amidst the prevailing dissonance, a reverie that delves deep into the abyss of self-reflection and the ephemerality of time. Riding on the back of his successful collaboration with Laura Lucas, Lawson’s newest offering is introspective yet universal, touching upon the collective anxiety and hopes of a world caught in the vise of an unprecedented crisis. The track draws from the pandemic’s liminal space, where one is caught between the familiar and the ‘new normal’. “Sometimes if you’re lucky as a songwriter,” Lawson muses, touching upon the creative paralysis and inertia that plagues many in these turbulent times. This sentiment finds a visual echo in the accompanying video, shot on 35mm film: a contemplative Lawson juxtaposed against the vast expanse of the Australian coast, only to end with the comforting grasp of a loved one, illustrating the profound isolation and eventual reconnection.

Musically, “Strange” carries the essence of what makes Lawson Hull so magnetic in the indie-folk scene. His self-described “Aussie take on Tom Petty” is both charming and honest, reminiscent of fellow country talents like Angus and Julia Stone. The song reverberates with cinematic production, letting his profound lyrics breathe and encapsulate the listener. Like his previous works in Hangin’ Out with Cowboys and Mountain Days, Hull continues to masterfully weave narrative and nostalgia. As he conjures images of a life spent in the tranquil Watagan Ranges of New South Wales, “Strange” becomes not just a personal reflection for Hull but a mirror for us all, pondering the steps we’ve taken, the roads yet to traverse, and the uncertainty that frames both.

The Steel Crows – “Jenny”

Channelling the undying spirit of a bygone rock era, “Jenny” by The Steel Crows is a blistering track that serves as an electrifying homage to the giants of classic rock, all while deftly bridging the past with the present. From the opening riffs, reminiscent of the iconic sounds of The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith, to the pulsating rhythm section, there’s an unmistakable vintage essence that permeates through the track. Yet, The Steel Crows manage to layer this nostalgia with a fresh, contemporary edge. This juxtaposition ensures “Jenny” resonates not just with the wistful listeners longing for the golden days of rock ‘n’ roll but also with the younger generation, seeking the same raw energy in today’s rock scene.

As a unit, The Steel Crows encapsulate what many rock aficionados miss from the famed ’60s and ’70s era. Their music thrives on the quintessential elements: the crunch of the guitars, the powerful thud of the drums, the resonant hum of a thick bass line, and above all, those raw, gravelly vocals that conjure images of smoky bars and impassioned live shows. While their inspirations clearly lie with legends like Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones, the band’s approach to infusing modernity into their tracks ensures they are not merely derivative. Instead, they carve out a space for themselves, crafting songs like “Jenny” that are both a nod to rock’s illustrious past and a testament to its enduring future.

Dune Moss – “Eyes Inside My Walls”

Dune Moss’s “Eyes Inside My Walls” is an audacious foray into the muddled intersections of sexuality, self-worth, and religious repression. The pulsating synths underscore a tale of youthful curiosity curbed by dogmatic decrees, creating a soundscape that’s both seductive and sorrowful. Dune’s sultry vocals passionately lament the judgmental eyes that watched her every youthful indiscretion. The repeated cry of “What have I done? What have I done?” isn’t just a regretful musing but an outright challenge, pushing boundaries and asking listeners to question societal norms that have unfairly imprisoned her desires and emotions.

The rawness of Dune’s recounting—being subjected to confessional scrutinies, having to detail innocent kisses to older male religious figures—creates a palpable tension. It’s an uncomfortably intimate view into her life, yet utterly mesmerizing. “Eyes Inside My Walls” is more than just a song—it’s a declaration of sexual independence and a repudiation of stifling religious dogma. Through her fearless confrontation of her past, Dune Moss has crafted a compelling anthem for every individual who’s ever felt confined by society’s judgmental gaze.

Earl Hondo – “j’s on my feet”

With “j’s on my feet,” Earl Hondo serves up a blistering, groove-laden track that skillfully intertwines the gritty realism of street hustle with glimmers of opulence and pride. Infused with the Southern charm reminiscent of Outkast and the reflective soul of Isaiah Rashad, the song is a heady mix of ambition and authenticity. Hondo’s lyricism pops with a swaggering bravado: lines like “Js on my feet, chain on my neck” juxtapose the celebratory symbols of success with the sobering refrain “Days on repeat, ain’t no respect,” underscoring the grind and resilience required to navigate a world that often fails to acknowledge his worth.

Hondo’s roots in choir and diverse musical influences—ranging from Stevie Wonder to A Tribe Called Quest—shine through in the track’s layered complexity. The references to cultural touchstones, like “watching BET .jams” and the nod to Alex Haley’s Kunta Kinte with the line “You can’t check this Kinte,” demonstrate Hondo’s adeptness at weaving socio-cultural commentaries into his bars. The recurring theme of “I got bills, I got fam, That Need them bands” offers a grounded contrast to the glitzy imagery of high-end sneakers and jewelry. Through this song, Earl Hondo doesn’t just flex his lyrical dexterity; he crafts an anthem for the everyday grind, for the struggle to make ends meet, and for the aspiration to elevate above it all.

Orions Belte – “When You’re Gone I’ll Be Gone” (feat. Louien)

Norwegian instrumental maestros Orions Belte have woven yet another tapestry of sound with their latest single, “When You’re Gone I’ll Be Gone”. This time, they’re accompanied by the ethereal voice of Louien, offering a haunting, dreamy soundscape that dances delicately atop the band’s already-established warm and immersive instrumentation. This track sees the trio continuing the ascension they began with a unique cover of Ghostface Killah’s “Cherchez La Ghost” in 2019, followed by the electric energy of Villa Amorini in 2021. The song envelops listeners like a gentle embrace, calling to mind visions of “road trips on bumpy country roads through the Amazon in Brazil”. The alliance with Louien only elevates the band’s hallmark blending of various inspirations, resulting in a single that is both familiar in its warm embrace and startlingly fresh in its approach.

The evocative narrative of “When You’re Gone I’ll Be Gone” serves as a tantalizing prelude to Orions Belte’s forthcoming album, Women, set to release in October via Jansen Records. Taking a journey through their discography, from the experimental moods of Mint to the bustling energy of Villa Amorini, it’s clear that Orions Belte possess an uncanny ability to adapt, evolve, and continually surprise their audience. The band’s roots, stemming from serendipitous encounters and shared musical dreams in Bergen, have bloomed into a flourishing tree of collaborative genius. This single stands testament to the evolving spirit of the trio—Øyvind Blomstrøm, Chris Holm, and Kim Åge Furuhaug—and sets a tantalizing stage for what’s to come in Women.

skipping – “Ice Climbers”

Emerging from the bustling alt-pop scene in Los Angeles, the enigmatic artist known as skipping reveals their newest creation, “Ice Climbers”. From the onset, listeners are transported into a dreamy synthesis of bedroom pop and vaporwave, reminiscent of the groundbreaking sounds of George Clanton and Neon Indian, yet distinct in its own right. The track exudes an energetic pulse, seamlessly blending experimental rhythms with moody undertones, creating a soundscape that’s as introspective as it is danceable.

One can’t help but draw parallels between the lo-fi aesthetics of Toro y Moi and the ethereal touches of Sitcom when diving into “Ice Climbers”. Yet, skipping manages to carve out a niche all their own, masterfully interweaving experimental elements that make this track stand out in the saturated bedroom pop scene. The song is a testament to the artist’s prowess as a singer, songwriter, and producer. One gets a sense that they are listening to the beginnings of an artist who, while drawing inspiration from the greats, is on a journey to define a unique and captivating sound space. If “Ice Climbers” is any indication, the future looks bright for skipping.

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.