The Flock: New Release Friday (on Saturday): Oddnesse, Beck Pete, Ryan Dunlap, Riley Pearce, Balto, Spirit Award, Ribotto, Wingtip, Castle Pines

These are our favorite new songs of the past couple days. Every song has been released within the last 48 hours, so you can tell your friends about not only new artists, but their new songs that they’ve never heard.

ARTISTS LOOK HERE: Caleb and I have started a Facebook group that we want to turn into a place for artists from around the country to find likeminded bands to fill shows out, find shows, and really just a community made by artists to talk about the industry. If you’re interested in joining that, CLICK HERE.

 

*Click on the artist name to visit their website*

 

Oddnesse – It Runs Wild

This song is so cool. The style reminds me instrumentally of Neil Young, and the vocals are out of this world. It seems like overall there is an emphasis on using the phrase “mind is running wild” as an elaborate personified being that is being talked to throughout the song.

come out come out, wherever you are

big mystery

bothering me

get the fuck out

i try to cultivate an organized mind still it runs wild sometimes”

So these thoughts that we wish we could run and hide form, are being represented by a monster chasing you through the woods or something. The last lines are particularly haunting:

why do i worry about any of it

i’ve survived in the dark before

i could try and find a way to stop

falling and falling

but I know there is no floor”

It reminds me a lot about the conversation Holden Caulfield has with his teacher mentor near the end of the The Catcher in the Rye when it’s discussing a “fall that never ends”. It’s basically a way to talk about depression, because, at least in my experience, depression doesn’t have a true “rock bottom.” A “rock bottom” is a place to restart from, but in the depths of depression, there’s no way to find your footing to even begin to start again. It’s a really haunting beautiful image, and song.

 

Beck Pete – Gently Break It

This song is really interesting. Musically, it has some of the coolest layered vocals I’ve heard in a long time, and I also like the guitar work, that mostly walks a pretty straight forward riff, but has moments of growth throughout that suggest a breakdown is coming, even though the guitar solo never really comes, we have two excellent vocal breakdowns around 2 minutes and 3 minutes into the song that make the build up pay off. Lyrically, the artist broke down (ha) what the song was about for us:

“‘Gently Break It’ specifically was written from the perspective of a broken person (*ahem*) seeking out another who would hurt them, because it is familiar, and therefore, comfortable. It sheds light on a situation that is all too common romantically where a person thinks that they are undeserving of love and therefore romanticizes the idea of playing a victim in an unhealthy relationship. I have been that girl, and can’t say that I won’t be again. I’m just hoping that this song serves a reminder of that tendency, and spreads awareness to everyone who hears it that 1) they are not alone in this cycle and 2) they can break it by believing they are worthy of something positive and healthy.”

 

I love that explanation because it shows 1. how art can be a sort of therapy or exorcising of certain demons, but also 2. that it doesn’t necessarily mean all the struggles are gone just because you wrote that they were. It’s a battle that will continue, no matter how much your ideal self wants to to be over, and that is a realistic message that hopefully someone needed to hear.

Ryan Dunlap – Haunted House

“waking up in this haunted house

like a dream you can’t get out.”

This song is so hauntingly beautiful. It’s an exploration of living in a place that reminds you of someone that’s not longer there (I can’t tell if it’s a literal death, or a relationship that ended). Either way, it’s like the house is haunted because the memories still hang in all of these objects and photos. It makes it really difficult to move on, with all of these reminders haunting you from the walls and shelves.

For me, this is one of the hardest type of songs to get right, a completely stripped down acoustic song with the vocals and the lyrics being the main focus, but when it is done right, like Ryan’s is, it is my favorite type of song. It makes me feel like I’m walking down an empty street on a snowy day. It’s melancholy and lonely, but it’s the way I want to be right now.

Riley Pearce – If I Knew

“Darling if I knew, half the things I thought I knew,

baby then I’d still have you.”

I nominate this video for short film of the year. The fact that this is all done with one take (or some really sneaky cuts that I didn’t see) makes it that much more impressive. Watching this narrative unfold in one room, with one person (though there is an implied second person at one point), was so riveting. I literally couldn’t take my eyes away. The song itself seems to be a lesson in regret, that feeling you get when you’ve lost somebody and realize how much you did wrong along the way to push them away. This is a lesson in getting a quality music video out of a fairly cheap set. Great, great, job.

Balto – Song for Viktor pt. 2

You have to listen to all of these lyrics. It’s got so much truth for anyone who’s had a self-destructive period of their life. It seems to be someone who is struggling with, well a lot of things, addiction? sleeping around? And there is another person who keeps trying to reach out to him and help him out, despite it all. He’s just having a hard time accepting that help, maybe he doesn’t want to get better yet.

“Yeah, I’ve been out drinking
I just talk past my friends
Trying to talk to myself
I wish I could see you
Just for a moment thought the fever had passed
My lover is calling
But my porcelain dream
I can never take back

So I let her down
And she keeps reaching out
Knowing all I need’s a little help

Just a little help ”

I was tempted to copy past the entire lyrics, because every verse really resonated me. But this one resonated with me the most, especially the “I just talk past my friends/ trying to talk to myself” line. It’s perfect in the sense that I immediately could picture it, in others, in myself, and yet it’s said in a way that I would’ve never imagined writing. That’s what makes good poetry. That’s what makes good music. That’s what makes good truth.

Spirit Award – Supreme Truth

 

The lyrics to this song are super trippy. I guess that fits with the syncopated instrumentals that leave you feeling delightfully disoriented.

“Beneath the city, a crowd a people

Muscles turning from all the vapors

Acid dreams and burnt bodies

They drank the blood, for the supreme one

So what happens now?

What have we learned?

We share with you now

We’ve done what we meant to do”

I can’t say I fully know what’s going on here, or that anyone is really supposed to. It seems like an acid dream gone wrong, but with a kernel of truth. If this is a reflection of our society, what paths have we taken to get to the negative places we reside? What happens now? What have we learned? All art can do is try to point out truths, and hope they mean something. People can then shape the rest of the world after those truths. Let’s see what Spirit Award says about the song:

“‘Supreme Truth’ points to influences of early New Order and Can, highlighting psych rock melodies and ethereal vocals. Thematically the single is based on the Japanese death cult “Aum Shinrikyo” lead by Shoko Asahara, who recruited the rich to join his cult and carry out Tokyo subway sarin attack in 1995. After becoming fascinated with cults, institutions and religions, the band shed light on how it can be so easy to get lost in something when that’s all you’re surrounded by.”

So there you go, I wouldn’t have known that (obviously) without their help, but I think the general message of the song shines through regardless of if we know the backstory.

Ribotto – Now and Then

 

Mmm. Those sweet, sweet horns. Ribotto’s music is described as “avant-folk-rock”, and though I’ve never heard anything described that way, it’s a perfect interpretation. It is, at it’s core, folk rock, but there are some experimental aspects to it that make it stand out in a way that is truly unique. It kind of reminds me of what Justin Vernon could’ve done, if he hadn’t leaned so hard into the autotune (not hating on Bon Iver, just saying his solo stuff was completely different).

The lyrics themselves also lend to the surreal “avant” part of the genre. There is a lot of witty wordplay throughout the whole album, but I love this section:

“When did all these things become then
Now that I know what was said
I wish I was then now instead”

This reminds me a good bit of e.e. cummings poetry. He plays with syntax and time in a really fun way throughout the whole song. If you check out his other stuff, you see this is consistent lyrically throughout his album Matter of Time, which makes a lot of sense, because that makes the album name itself a witty comment.

Wingtip – Pavement

“Quietly, quietly it grows
Ripping at the seams
How did we, how did we get lost
In these old city streets
Used to be, used to be in love
Now our eyes never meet

Oh, I can feel the light fading
You still have some fire worth saving
Oh, spill the blood on the pavement
Oh lord, you can tell I’m wasted”

On it’s surface, the song sounds upbeat, including a dance heavy chorus around the 1 min mark or so. When diving into the lyrics though, it’s obvious that there’s a little more going on here. It seems to be an exploration into the past, when you think about someone you used to love, and who used to love you, but now you barely know one another. The speaker can “feel the light fading”, but also believes there is “still some fire worth saving.” It’s unclear if anything ever comes to this, but the “you can tell I’m wasted” seems to imply it’s more of a drunk texting your ex scenario, than a real attempt to get back together.

 

Castle Pines – Cassiopeia 

 

And last, but certainly not least, Castle Pines. This song has an interesting mix of Grunge and Shoegaze elements, with some really thoughtful lyrics. Let’s check out some of them:

“God Damn the damned up thoughts

Sinking my ship in tied up knots

Churning the harbor door

My passage never meets the shore

 

Dressed up for a dimmer shade of gray

For a bed and a bottle laid away”
I really love the “god damn the damned up..” line because of how clever and playful the word play is. It seems like in general this song relates a malaise or depression of a generation being encapsulated through sea worthy imagery. And unfortunately at times, it feels like the best we can hope for is “a bed and a bottle laid away.” Instead of focusing on my interpretation though, let’s hear from the band:

“Cassiopeia is an intentionally droll and sleepy sung lament of differing travelers viewpoints throughout history, partly inspired by nautical themes, including the Constellation and Greek Mythological character the song is named after. A narrative of loss, forgotten meaning and questioning the reality of the status quo, the song parallels the Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church and Modern day America as civilizations defeated by the internalization of simply not caring anymore.”

I can’t say I disagree with their assessment of how this all relates to our modern America. I hope at some point hope can overcome apathy, but that’s a wait and see for now.

 

-Caleb and Seth

Did you enjoy these songs? Check them all out, along with many more, on our July TOTD Spotify playlist.

Did you know we make a podcast? It’s really good, you can check out all the episodes right here: B-Side Guys Podcast

The Flock: Indie Rock – Raccoon Lagoon, State of Nature, The Color Forty Nine, Werwe, Houston Heard, FINE POINTS

*This first paragraph is a copy of a previously written synopsis of the point behind the new section, The Flock.*

We have two goals here with our blog and our podcast; we want to help you find a bunch of new artists that you love, and we also want to support those artists. We came up with a new idea for a post where we take a genre, and give you a few artists within that genre. That way, it helps everyone. If you come here because you love one artist, you’ve got five more that you’re probably going to love now. That helps you load up your playlist with tracks that will impress your friends, and it also helps the artists hit untapped markets and possibly network with likeminded artists they didn’t know existed. Without further ado, I present “The Flock.”

ARTISTS LOOK HERE: Caleb and I have started a Facebook group that we want to turn into a place for artists from around the country to find likeminded bands to fill shows out, find shows, and really just a community made by artists to talk about the industry. If you’re interested in joining that, CLICK HERE.

Raccoon Lagoon – “Tomorrowism”

Starting out this edition of The Flock, we figured we’d show you guys something a little different than what you usually see here. We love psych rock, but not a lot of great psych rock really rolls across our table. I’m not sure why, but those are the facts. Enter: Raccoon Lagoon. The video plays around with one picture for the duration of the song, and it never gets old. With gritty guitar and ethereal keys, Raccoon Lagoon has created a track/video that serves a very specific and trippy purpose.

State of Nature – “Someday Afternoon”

No strangers to the blog, State of Nature hits yet again with a genre bending track that melds funk and indie rock. With funky licks and smooth vocals, State of Nature takes a look at the casual relationship.

You think it’s going to be another love song with the opening line, “I love the way that you can bend and wrap around me much better than my clothes could ever do,” but then it dives into how alcohol influences their decision to meet up and the need to keep an emotional distance. Side note: That opening line is one of the coolest I’ve heard in a while. The lyrics are on point, but the vocal inflection on the word do speaks to the nature of the relationship: playful and definitely sultry. We are only becoming bigger fans of the indie rock band, and they land home with another great song for us.

The Color Forty Nine – “Storyteller”

I’ve watched this video so many times now. I still don’t really know where to start because I’m just so enamored by it. The music itself gives me a lot of different vibes, but the strongest one is probably My Morning Jacket. That said, I truly think this is difficult to classify in a good way, in a this is truly unique sort of way. Before we get to the actual video, let’s dive a bit into the lyrics:

“Ooh, but I have something to say
Feel like something is on the way

Your house of worship has locked the doors
Though many came here, there’s many more
were turned away

Oooh, but I had something to say
Oooh, we’re not worth it in any way

Storyteller, on the fence
Won’t you tell us
How it ends ”

Now these lyrics are very ambiguous. I would say due to the church reference, and the subject of the video itself, there seems to be both a critique of religious people today, and also a question to the Storyteller, who in this scenario could be God, or someone speaking “for God” asking what’s next? How does this all end? There seems to be a definite feeling from the speaker in the song that part of the story seems to be getting lost, or blocked.

Now I definitely want to hear some interpretations from you guys on the video. I see a man getting made up, at first I think in some sort of drag, but then it seems like that’s not quite it. He goes to a closet where he types on a typewriter, which works into the story feeling blocked or hidden trope from before. Then he gets presented on a stage, sings some more, and dances. I think all of that still fits into the questions I asked before, but I also think there’s maybe some sort of meditation on what it takes to get a message out going on here. Can an artist just dress normal and sing his heart out and be heard? Or does he need to be made up, with elaborate backdrops? 20 years ago, you could still presumably just be a good songwriter and rise to the top. Now? I like to think that’s still true, but it seems more and more there has to be an elaborate gimmick to go along with it. Maybe this song is talking about all the storytellers who never get an audience because of shallow reasons? I don’t know. I’ll continue to watch this video many more times into the future. It isn’t an immediate answer, and, I’m so thankful it’s not.

Werwe – “Different Tune”

Ah man guys. How good is this song? This song kind of gives me a mix of Jimmy Eat World and Modest Mouse. I also really dig the lyrics of this song. It seems to be calling up these nostalgic images, which is pretty normal, but then he kind of shows off how he’s different from back then, and he’s going to do his own thing. This works perfectly into his bio:

“Different Tune” is the first single from Werwe’s upcoming Birthday EP to be released on June 19th 2018.

On his new project, Philadelphia based singer-songwriter Steven Martinho set out to create the music he’s always wanted to make – skillfully crafted pop that remains unpretentious and fun.”

So, I never heard what he was creating before, but I’m glad he’s making the music he wants to make, because I’m really connecting with it.

Houston Heard – “My Divine (a little demo guy)”

As mentioned in the title, this is more of a demo than a fully polished album track like some of the others, but his voice shines through excellently anyway. He says he wrote this song about someone in your life who kind of sucks, but you always kind of root for them. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics:

“Would it kill to take some time for what I say, that’s okay
It’ll go in one ear and out the other anyway

My divine
Your kindness will come in time”

I don’t know about you guys but this sort of relationship is one of the most painful many of us will ever experience. It can get increasingly infuriating when you try to give them advice, that they don’t take. It takes a really patient person to stick with them after the first 5 or so times of being ignored. I know I’m not that patient.

FINE POINTS – “Ready and Able”

This song just jumped off the page at us. Or jumped out of the speakers, or whatever you want to call it. This song features Hannah Moriah with absolutely beautiful harmonies. It is the second single off their upcoming album Take Shape, out July 13, 2018 on Dine Alone Records. Their genre is technically described as “Narco Pop” and they’ve landed tours with many in the genre, including: White Fence, The Warlocks, and the Fresh and Only’s. I didn’t really know much about the genre, but apparently it is primary stories set around drugs and drug smugglers, and was originally a primarily Mexican genre? That’s from a quick google search, so it could be wrong. All I know is I love how smooth the vocals work in this song, and it gives me some vibes from a lot of classic rock, with modern indie vibes. I’m pretty much always sold when a rotation of vocals and callbacks can work together and the best play to find that in this song is around 3:00 min mark until the end. If you are on the west coast, don’t miss them in July:

Performance Dates:

July 17 – Olympia, WA  @ Le Voyeur Cafe

July 18 – Seattle, WA  @ Sunset Tavern

July 19 – Portland, OR  @ White Owl Social Club

July 20 – Berkeley, CA  @ The Starry Plough

July 21 – Visalia, CA  @ Cellar Door

July 22 – Los Angeles, CA  @ HiHat

 

-Caleb and Seth

Did you know we do a podcast? It’s true. You can check out the latest episode here.

TOTD: How Great Were The Robins – “Blind Faith”

How great were How Great Were the Robins? Pretty great. Okay, I know, I’m sure most people make that same cheesy joke, I’m almost 30 now; even though I have no kids, my dad jokes are kicking in. It’s so good to hear from How Great Were the Robins again. Again you say? Yeah, again. They were on our podcast back in March for one of our 2 episodes on the theme of Lost. You can find that here: Episode 10: Lost (part 2)

But enough about our past love affair, let’s talk about the present. Their newest track “Blind Faith” has absolutely blown me away. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics.

“Stay close and play a song that I know
It will drive me through the right door
At night we all have our Blind Faith
Be kind, tell me the way before sunrise
We strive and flutter like butterflies when
At night we follow our Blind Faith

We moved to a room in the suburbs
Where there’s room for our minds
You told me to not be afraid of the unknown
Of seeing the edge of the world”

So I like that it’s somewhat ambiguous who is being spoken to in this song. It’s someone the speaker loves and knows, and looks to for guidance. Even in the face of the unknown, or the edge of the world, this person or spirit animal or whatever is calming the speaker into the dark, because in the dark, all we really have is our blind faith. That could be seen religiously, or it could just be seen as all the sorts of negative emotions or thoughts that tend to crop up when the sun goes down.

I think the prettiest sentiment in the whole song is “Stay close and play a song that I know”. I don’t know about you guys, but since you’re reading a music blog, I’m going to assume you have some similar experience; when I am feeling down, or lost, or out of sorts, a familiar song is one of my most important crutches. I am so glad to add this song to my library so that I can also play a song that I know next time the darkness threatens.

-Caleb

Want to hear more? We’ve added this song to our June TOTD Spotify playlist. 

 

TOTD: Miserable Chillers “Un Canto a Galicia”

Anyone here like The Smiths? or The Cure? I hear elements of both in the newest single from Miserable Chillers off their upcoming split with Sun Kin (out July 27). This song features Cat Lopez on vocals. The title of this song seems to be a nod to Julio Iglesias who wrote a song with the same title as a nostalgic remembrance of his home country. The thing you need to know about this upcoming album’s concept, is it’s about real life conversations between Kabir Kumar (Sun Kin) and Miguel Gallego (Miserable chillers). They met online, and shared a lot of the experiences as immigrants and first generation kids in America. You can see some of these sentiments reflected in the lyrics:

“what’s the sun feel like in Spain?
we’re in a cafe, it’s afternoon
i smell fish and lemon.
we can sit in the shade!

Suppose our hearts are unblossomed flowers
and when they bloom what color do
you think we’ll see?
la de da! la de da!

How might it perfume the air?
I can’t wait to kiss you there
will we recognize it?
la de da! la de da!

every night when i sleep
i pray it comes to me in dreams
an image or a vision
something i can keep!”

Without knowing the full background, I would’ve assumed the song was about a long-distance relationship, which it is, but obviously with some more intricacies than that. Miguel describes the record as: “The music they made reflected their own conversations; about anxieties induced by social media, their misgivings and fears about making art in a time where a tidal wave of history seems poised to crash down on us, and the need to hold on to faith that another future, however difficult it may be to imagine, is possible.”

In a time that is both very free artistically, and very conservative and scary socially, this is an album I think we can all empathize with, and it’s off to a great start with this song.

-Caleb

Want more music? Find this song and more on our (almost completed) June TOTD spotify Playlist.

 

New Release Friday Morning Commute: Drona “First Word Problems”

“They got some first world problems
Credit cards to solve ‘em
Daddy’s paying for all their bits
Ivy league and Gucci kicks ”

Good morning first worlders. I hope you’re ready to get potentially triggered haha. We have this excellent single from Drona that really puts first world problems on trial. My favorite part of this song is how dressed up the message is. It’s a relatively upbeat track with smooth vocals that presumably those who are being sung about (if they aren’t listening too closely) would be bumping to. I hope no one finds my next analogy offensive, but this song thematically took me back to middle school and rocking out to “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” by Good Charlotte. Yeah, yeah, Good Charlotte sucks, we get it, but when I was 14, that song captured my angst about a subset of people that seemed very villainous to me (and honestly, the 1% still seems pretty villainous to me on the whole).

Press Release: “First World Problems” is a single from Drona’s upcoming EP “The Third World Season.” The song recounts Drona’s experience of moving from India to the U.S. at the age of 17 and the differences in cultures he encountered. Some of the lyrics in the song are direct references to other pop artists (such as “Pills in Ibiza” – Mike Posner, “Lovers from places that you can’t imagine” – Taylor Swift, “Tell me what you want tell me tell me what you want” – Spice Girls) and others are just first world problems that people seemed to have. “First World Problems” is a catchy and playful pop track that seeks to bring a unique perspective to the conversation from a part of the world that is often either ignored and/or stereotyped.

 

Obviously Drona’s background adds a whole new element to the track. In doing some research for this, I actually found out that “first world”=rich countries is actually a misnomer, and it has more to do with location/alliance than anything. Here is a helpful map and brief description from this Quora page:

  1. “First World – American Influenced, Democratic-Industrial Countries.
  2. Second World – Eastern part of the Communist Socialist Industrial States.
  3. Third World – States who have not aligned with any of the above two spheres or simply called Non-aligned Countries.

Being, the leader of the non-aligned movements, India always described as the ‘Third world country’. It never means, India is poor.

By sharing the above information, I want to call out, being an economic giant “India should still be called as 3rd world country”.

India had and will have so many gains, by maintaining this ‘Non-aligned Movement’. India will still be called as 3rd world country in years to come.”

 

I think the beauty in the fact that that Quora page is even necessary kind of illustrates a big point in the song and in Drona’s transition. “First World” countries automatically think they are superior. It’s easy to call to mind our loving President’s “shithole countries” comments from a few months back (or weeks?, years? time doesn’t really operate like normal under this president).

Let’s let Drona’s lyrics wrap this whole thing up shall we?

“So tell me what you want what you really really want
A villa on the french riviera with a Yatch or a plane – whichever’s more expensive
Houses in New York, and London, and Paris
Lovers from places that you can’t imagine
Thinking of all this is making me tired ugh

The struggle is real

We can’t get enough
Of their shiny stuff
I guess I can’t remember
When I had
So much to have
And they make us laugh
With all their fake feuds fake news ”

 

-Caleb

 

TOTD: lennard rubra – “Pina Bausch”

 

I don’t know what your day is like, but it is rainy and slow here in Providence, and this song is a perfect soundtrack to this sort of day. The lo-fi vocals allow you to fill in some gaps yourself on what it might be saying, and the guitar/bass line work is a nice mixture of chill and melancholy.

Hailing from Emilia-Romagna, Italy, lennard rubra reminds me of a mixture of Tame Impala and Youth Lagoon. His EP, named “Escapismo Primaverile” translates to “Spring Escapism” in English. I would say, even without knowing all the lyrics, the song certainly feels like spring escapism.

-Caleb