Caleb’s Weekly Favorites: NeodotcoM, Six Time Users, Simon D James, An Echoic, Mending

Hey guys,

If you’re like me, you don’t really just focus on one genre of music when there is so much awesome variety out there. This post is meant to hit on 5 of my favorite songs that I just can’t get out of my head this week, regardless of genre. If you like, or already know one of these artists, stick around and check out the others, you might be surprised what you fall for.

NeodotcoM – “Manifest”

I am a sucker for hip-hop with classic 90s vibes. Call it nostalgia maybe, but this song sounds straight out of hip-hop’s golden era. With a focus on lyricism and flow, NeodotcoM impresses from start to finish (but let me point out the flow change up and effortless rhyme mechanics that start around the 2 minute mark). As for the song itself, it seems to focus on the ways that creativity is a manifestation, a discovery of truth, rather than a creation from nothing. Considering all the call backs to his 90’s heroes, I would say NeodotCom is manifesting in a way that I haven’t seen in hip-hop in far too long.

Bio: Released during the eclipse on Friday the 13th, “Manifest” from Chicago Emcee/Producer NeodotcoM, is the latest release from his upcoming Album, “Gods of Egypt.” Just like this album, Manifest is inspired by the golden ages of hip-hop and the gods of the art form. Inspired by Drink Champs, Neo has decided to give his favorite artists their flowers while they can smell them and trees while they can inhale them. Dedicated to Jay Dilla, Slum Village, Rakim, Eminem, Big L, Jay-Z and Tribe called quest among others, Neo effortlessly displays a level of emcee mastery which hasn’t been witnessed in decades. Lord Haiti freaks the original sample from Slum Village’s fantastic showing respect to Jay Dilla while making the record his own, while Neo borrows classic flows and patterns making them his own and then taking it places unimagined.

Six Time Users – “If You Know Me”

“Jesus sitting in the back of the car
I hear him whisper say we gone too far
Comet coming from the broken sky
I see a tear in my mothers eye
The preacher standing at the podium
And in the square there’s pandemonium
The crowds compelled, blood in their veins
The heat fever that will drive you insane”

I don’t know how you can start a song or poem or use imagery with more depth and intrigue than the first verse of “If You Know Me.” Six Time Users describes themselves as making “millennial bullshit blues,” if that’s what this is, I need more of it. The instrumentals have a hauntingly psychedelic quality that emphasizes reverb in creatively dissonant beauty. If you’re looking for something to capture your winter blues in a bottle, this song is it.

Simon D James – “Burn The Man”

“Wake up folk’s, Its time to dance,
The human race has one more chance.
Rip the needle, from the vein.
Lets kick the habit, dream again, and be the change we want to see in the world.”

I’ve been meaning to share this song for a long time, but I actually am really happy that the timing ended up being at the start of 2020. As we start a new decade, I think the messaging in this song is really important. Don’t let the lo-fi vibes fool you into thinking this is a sad song; this song encourages each of us to take the world into our hands and dream big. Don’t forget to check out his newest EP, Days of Heaven

Bio: Simon Started to write music at the age of 16 and has continued ever since. Three tracks on ‘Days of Heaven’ were recorded and produced by Ben Hampson, who Simon was in a band with as a teenager and it has always been a dream of Simon to work with Ben again. ‘Written By Rules’ & ‘Fooled By You’ were recorded at GreenMount Studios where Simon recorded his first EP.

Simon has busked his way around the world and has spent the last years playing music in the Brighton music scene where he started the band that recorded this EP.

An Echoic – “Love (..As I Was Told)”

“Forget her, up and move on cause deep in that pond there’s always someone better
I know there’s fish in the sea but someone made me afraid of open water”

This song explores something that I’m sure plenty of us have experienced, unrequited love. I’d like to make a quick note that whoever did the album art for An Echoic deserves a shoutout; it’s gorgeous. One thing that stands out to me about this song, and the title, is how different the experience of love and the search for your “soul mate” can be from the common media depictions of it, or “what we are told” it’s supposed to be. This song does a great job of capturing the feeling when we realize it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, and there’s a lot of pain involved in the struggle. At least we have this excellent band to keep us company in the meantime.

Bio: In December of 2016, Martin Kihlstedt released An Echoic’s self-titled debut EP, and shortly thereafter signed to Rexius Records for his second project. The new release presents us with a chamber of thoughts in the form of experimental songwriting (recording spoken word and sampling traditional folk instruments, for example) and unimaginable stories.

Mending – “Alan at Emma’s Cradle”

I hope you have headphones on for this one. This song is epic. Mending is proof of true artistry in the classical sense. This is apparent in this song, that combines echoey vocals, dissonant drone sounds, piano, and subtle percussion. This is also apparent in the overall vision of Mending, where we see ambitious projects that explode in scope and narrative. If you like the vibe of this song, you have to listen to the full project, https://open.spotify.com/album/6catKVmxNPk9oMs0ySKFNN?si=qAMvDFOjSr-XyRmqSmZIXg

This is only the first chapter, as of the end of 2019 Mending has released 8 Chapters worth of EPs that span a 40 year period in an ongoing narrative. There is one Chapter left to be released in 2020, so catch up with the story now before it is complete.

Bio: We Gathered at Wakerobin Hollow is a four hour, 40 song speculative narrative, being released in nine chapters over 18 months. Combining folk songwriting with drone and noise, the songs trace the lives of a family and friends over a 40 year period in a series of connected vignettes. The broad narrative, told chronologically from multiple points-of-view, is set in motion by a catastrophic fire at an oil refinery in Odena, Alabama. From there we follow a handful of characters, as children become adults, spread out to Asheville, New York, and Bennington, get jobs, fall in and out of love, families grow, until coastal flooding and other impacts of climate change transform their day-to-day lives, eventually leading them all to Odena and Wakerobin Hollow.

 

-Caleb

The Flock: Singer-Songwriter – Sis, Erika Davidson, Gabrielle Marlena, Emergency Tiara, weareforests, Freyr Flodgren

*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.”

Sis – “Gene”

Let’s get this party started with Sis’ song “Gene.” “Gene” is the fourth single off of Sis’ forthcoming album EUPHORBIA, out on Native Cat Recordings 8/8/2018. So definitely keep a look out for that.
I realize this is technically a full band, but I thought it was stripped back enough to include in our Singer/Songwriter section. Also, the singer, Jenny Gillespie Mason started most of these songs out as folk songs, before bringing the full band into the project that we see today. One thing that really stands out to me about this song is how playful the lyrics are around the word “gene”. It means a name, it means DNA, it is short for “genius” all at once. I don’t know what the full intent is, but this song is pretty genius to me.

 

Erika Davidson – “Memory Lane”

“Jim Morrison set the tone, as you and I dance alone”

Not to be too cheeky, but that opening line immediately “sets the tone” for the excellent track from Erika Davidson. “Memory Lane” seems to be both a nostalgic look at a past relationship and a heart wrenching ballad about a past relationship. The speaker is trying to recreate something deep with something shallow in hopes to get over someone. It’s a very relatable scenario that, as anyone who has tried it knows, doesn’t really work out the way you might hope.

Press release: “Her new single Memory Lane was heavily influenced by a late night binge of The Doors and The Eagles. Their haunting impressions inspired her to write a captivating lullaby. Memory Lane is the tale of heartbreak. It is the story of being lost in nostalgia and trying to fill a void with familiarity. Cinematic cello and piano entwine with her delicate vocal delivery and leave you wanting more.
Memory Lane was produced and engineered at Silverside Recording Studio where she is currently recording her new EP. Her single will be released in digital stores and on all major platforms in June 2018. Shortly after, she will be releasing her EP in the fall of 2018. When done right, mixing genres can be the start of something beautiful. Erika’s EP may be the union you’ve been waiting for.”

I know I personally can’t wait.

Gabrielle Marlena – “Easier Love”

I enjoyed putting this song right after Erika Davidson’s because of how opposite it is. It is still a breakup song, but Gabrielle Marlena seems to be thinking through it a little more optimistically. I mean sure, it’s a little bit of an ironic optimism, but she seems to be wishing this person the best, even if it’s bittersweet. She seems to take a lot of the blame for the failure of their relationship on herself.

Photo by Sarah Midkiff

Let me give you a little bit from the artist herself, because she puts it much more eloquently than I do: “The song is an indie folk ballad detailing a rainy afternoon when I called an ex boyfriend. It’s about how we all romanticize the past, imagining it as so much more perfect than it actually was. I took my first relationship, turned it into an album, put my ex’s face on the cover, and distributed it in the form of canvas tote bags, T-shirts, mugs, and CDs. I sang about my experience in 21 different states. Sometimes on tour, I would get confused between the emotions I was singing about and the present. The song is about snapping back to reality and realizing that, almost 3 years after I left the continent he lived on, I definitely was NOT still hung up on my ex.”

I can’t say that I’ve done the whole tour part, but I have certainly created art that feels unfamiliar to me now. It’s a really weird feeling, and I think this song captures it perfectly.

Emergency Tiara – “It’s A Good Day”

Alright. Enough break up songs for a second. Let’s get a summer song up in here. “It’s a good day to have a good day, life’s a cabaret, it’s time to go out and play”. I realize this song also has some accompaniment, sue me. It still has a very solo vibe to it. It actually sounds a lot to me like it belongs in a classic movie, like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Casblanca (well maybe not Casablanca, too upbeat).

Press release: “Emergency Tiara kicks off the summer season with her brand new song ‘It’s a Good Day’. Showcasing her signature, vintage-inspired sound, the single is an instant feel-good classic.

Fresh off the back of a series of UK tour dates, Emergency Tiara is the New York based artist you need to get to know. Fronted by Juri, the lead singer, queen, curator and ringleader extraordinaire to the Emergency Tiara kingdom. In Juri’s kingdom, everyone can feel like royalty in an instant – through her unique and intriguing pop sounds, ranging from sultry soul to rampaging swing anthems – taking in everything from French noir to J-Pop in between.”

It certainly captures something classic and familiar and something unique and fresh all at once. I can’t wait to see what else Emergency Tiara creates.

weareforests – “Plea For Winter”

That last song was summery, so let’s get to a wintery one. If you are a fan of Bon Iver’s early albums, I have a new artist for you to explore. weareforests is one of my favorite projects right now. Based out of Fort Collins, CO, he mixes lo-fi vocals and gorgeous lyrics to create a listening experience suited for rainy days and coffee.

“I’ll hold back the burning tide
That floods the rivers of my mind
Burning bright
Oh burning bright
Waters cool and wrought with ice

With your hand in mine
With your hand in mine
With your head right by
My side”

Something particularly effective to me, is the repetition in the hook, and how familiar and cozy it makes everything feel. I hate winter most of the time, but I can’t deny how wonderful it is on a cold day to snuggle up with someone you love in bed hand in hand and heads side by side. It’s a simplistic yet absolutely beautiful image.

Freyr Flodgren – “Over My Head”

This song is just gorgeous. Freyr Flodgren’s voice has to be one of my favorites at the moment. Something really effective to me about this song is the slow reveal of what’s happening. He mentions a fire, and a thunderstorm that come down “right over my head” in the first two verses, but what really drives home the message is the last verse:

“I heard the whisper of the many foreign years
and until the door burns
the beating time slows down
right over my head
right over my head
right over my head”

Now it’s still ambiguous, but to me it seems to be pointing to these destructive forces, fire, storms, time, and appreciating the beauty of them: “the whisper of the many foreign years” contained in all of it. Sure, they are still destructive, the fire is going to burn the door down, time is going to degrade us, but they are beautiful while they are here.

Now, that was my interpretation. That’s the fun thing about art. Here’s what Freyr says the song is about: “It is a play with one of these moments where dream and reality cannot be separated. Freyr dreamt (he realised later) that the house he was living in was burning and he saw himself in one of the windows, smoke billowing out. In memory that dream stands out as just as real as anything else. The way this song was arranged in the end was highly influenced by the fact that it was recorded in this wonderful studio in the mountains around Bergen, Norway. The sound of rain in the beginning and end is the rain falling on the roof during recording.”

So, not the same at all. Isn’t that awesome? I love how different art becomes between the artist and the consumer. I also love that the rain you hear in the track is completely natural and not dubbed in.

 

-Caleb

You can find all of these tracks on a convenient Spotify playlist along with all our other June Tracks right here.

Did you know we make a podcast? We are releasing a new episode tomorrow (June 25), you can find that on this page, along with 13 other episodes.

 

TOTD: The Delivery “take the chance”

I love this song. It mixes a lot of elements that I don’t normally hear together. It has some 80s driving at night vibes musically, but lyrically and vocally it has some 1st wave emo elements. I guess the closest comparison I can think of is Jimmy Eat World or something, but it’s still not a great comparison. I love the hook though. “Don’t be afraid to show/ what lingers deep within your soul.” He also calls out the “masquerade of fools”. I can’t help but feel like this song is very appropriate for the present, where we show only certain masks on social media and in person, and rarely show what lingers deep within our soul.

About The Delivery

Hailing from the city of Munich in Germany, Markus Klaas makes his debut album New Days. The Delivery is at once influenced by his childhood; making and collecting songs in Germany, and by his extensive travel experience. A few years in London secured his focus on the alternative pop rock, guitar sounds he now produces.

 

You can find his entire album streaming on Spotify or wherever you get your music. To give you a good start, check out this song posted on our monthly Spotify playlist.

-Caleb

 

Morning Commute: Air Stranger “Sunday So Good”

Let’s get funky this Saturday morning. I love getting these studio session versions of songs. You really get a feel for how talented each member is, and how well her voice holds up in a personal setting. I was kind of half listening when the song first came up, and then I heard the voice and wasn’t expecting it to be coming from a tiny white girl. I don’t know where she stores all that soul and lung capacity, but it’s very impressive. She has a spoken word break down, she hits every note on the range, and she’s seemingly pretty charismatic with her presence. This band has quickly hit the top of my “must see in person” list. It seems like they are mostly around Vancouver at the moment, but I’m holding out hope for an eventual U.S. tour.

Image result for air stranger

Luckily for us, Air Stranger has given us some insight to what inspired this song:

“Sunday So Good takes its inspiration from a Richard Pryor stand-up routine where he imitates an old man reminiscing about the days when the sun came out only on Wednesdays and people used to rub it all over their bodies. That monologue spurred Irish vocalist Sophie Ricshar to write a verse for the song Summertime and she superimposed the melody over a Meters song. When she traveled from her hometown in Dublin to Vancouver, Canada, she met Air Stranger, who had composed a funk jam that fit her idea perfectly.

The line, ‘Working five to live two is not a thing that you should do,’ exemplifies how life should not be experienced through the monotony of a day job just to live on the weekends. The lyrics are a call for society to get out of the routine of everyday life and ‘make each day a Sunday So Good.'”

So I guess Sophie kind of does her own thing and this is a one time installment? Hopefully they can make more music together, because this track really works. I also love the Richard Pryor reference and the lesson to not live for the weekend, but find a life that you want to live daily. I know that is something that a lot of us in the music world are working hard at achieving.

-Caleb

Did you know we do a podcast? It’s pretty great. I’m editing our most recent episode today, so look out for a new one Monday. In the meantime, check out our first 13 episodes here.

 

New Release Friday: HAUS Music, Ryan Svendsen, Jesse Jo Stark, Cara Hammond, Joe Garvey, The Millennial Club, The Little Miss, The Fey

Happy official Summer everyone! To kick off this most glorious season, we have a bevy of brand new summer related tracks for you to check out. Some of you may have come here because your favorite band shared this on social media, and please, do check their write up, but stick around for a while; if we have good enough taste to like your favorite band, I bet we have more out there for you too.

HAUS Music – “Rêves Ephémères”

Let’s get this started strong here with HAUS Music. This is another one of those songs we like to share where we don’t understand any of the lyrics (because we are stupid Americans) but the vibe of the song is so infectious that I don’t think I need to. Music is a universal language. Luckily I do have a little bit of background with what they are talking about:

“Mitchell says, “Rêves Ephémères translates to Ephemeral Dreams. It is an acknowledgment that stories that we invent for ourselves to carry us forward can and will just as often carry us somewhere we didn’t intend to go. For me it is a gentle reminder that happiness doesn’t come all at once at some point in the future; instead, it grows slowly over time. Don’t get trapped in a cycle of unhappiness thinking it can bring you anything but pain.”

There’s no doubt that this song is Ephemeral, whether you know every word that is being mentioned or not. I hope we can remember his message about happiness, and avoiding unhappiness throughout this summer.

Ryan Svendsen – “One Hundred Percent Ft. Jerome Thomas”

Have you figured out the beautiful thing about these lists yet? If you come in for one band, of a certain style, you may find another band of a completely different style to also add to your list. I think this song has to be on everyone’s list. Ryan Svendsen is a talented musician who has been featured on tracks by Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato, and here you can see his creative vision taking shape under his own direction. I have to say, it’s gorgeous. Like all the songs in this list, it is absolutely perfect summer music, and luckily Ryan released this just in time for the first day of summer. Let me encourage anyone who likes horns to go check out Ryan’s back discography. It’s perfect for chilling out, background for work, or a party. It’s multifarious.

 

Jesse Jo Stark – “Dandelion”

The first thing I thought when I heard this song was how anyone who likes Lana Del Rey will almost certainly get a kick out of Jesse Jo Stark. They have similar vocal styles, and musical accompaniment. With this song, Jesse Jo Stark sings about loving something that you shouldn’t, and how complicated that quickly gets. Anyone got any theories on the title? I mean obviously Dandelions are a nice yellow flower, but I also tend to think of the seed heads, and how quickly they can blow away. Maybe this relationship is more like the latter?

Cara Hammond – “How I Feel”

How about this amazing bluesy single from Cara Hammond? This is the first song off new EP called Nice Girl, coming out in the fall. When asked about the song Cara describes it as: “How I Feel is a very relatable song about love, loss and nostalgia,” explains Cara “I think the track picks up on those little details and memories which are present in all types of relationships, making it a very powerful song” I can certainly hear that. There is a  mention of going out to bars, just hoping to see someone and ask how they are, and a lot of that terrible feeling after breaking up with someone that was once important, and no longer feeling very important to them. Really heart wrenching stuff, wrapped in a beautifully sung package.

 

Joe Garvey – “What Your Time Is Worth”

Joe Garvey asks us an important question with this smooth funk/pop song: “Do you know what your time is worth?” He begs us to consider how quickly the time passes, even a nice 80 year life is too short. In an age of increasing technology, distraction, and hustle and bustle, it seems that time isn’t what it used to be. Are you using yours the way you want to? Are you wasting days? I read once that we have about 4500 days worth of free time, meaning not work, not sleep, etc. That’s a disturbingly low number. Do you know what your time is worth?

 

The Millennial Club – “Santa Barbara”

This track is the perfect summer track. It has the perfect amount of groove to it; it even has a little bit of a California Dre whine going in the background. According to their promo materials: “At an early age, The Millennial Club has managed to blend dance-inspired 80’s pop, beat-driven 90’s R&B, and emotional love-centered lyricism to shape their original Southern California sound.” I would say that says it better than I can. These guys are on the rise, and I could even see them breaking into a top 40 style market eventually. They mix everything I love about summer into one convenient package.

The Little Miss – “American Dream”

Usually I like to get into the lyrics and try to dissect them, put my own spin on the song, etc. This song is too important to not get the words straight from the artist’s mouth. I will say this though, the irony is something that you can taste in this song, and it doesn’t taste like apple pie. The American Dream is an afterthought, a delusion that people once had, a book that you never got around to reading, collecting dust in the attic. I think it should be, at least. The thought that the American Dream has to be this perfect series of check boxes is just a way to sell more ranch style homes and Coke.

“I wrote ‘American Dream’ at a time when the tension in our country felt palpable. This was five years ago. Now, seemingly more divided than ever, I questioned whether or not I should release a song that sounds so blindly idealistic. To be clear, “American Dream” is not an endorsement of this country as it stands now. I don’t think that it is unpatriotic to think that we can do better than this. The American Dream, as it has been fed to us – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – has not delivered on its promises for many (if not most of us). So, while the song yearns for this made-up, sepia-toned time that never existed, it notes exactly that: that it never existed. We’re enchanted by our own, but very limited folklore – the pioneers, the Wild West, the civil war, the nuclear family, the moon landing, etc. We have romantic notions about who we are and who we’ve been, and it is tempting, for all of us, to want to wear those rose-colored glasses. But in order to become better, and in order to progress, we need to take off the glasses and take a good look in the mirror. We all want the same thing: to feel proud of the country we call home – we just need to accept the fact that it might be healthier to learn from our history rather than glamorize it. The lives of so many depend on it.”

 

The Fey – Contender

What is this?!? I seriously have no idea. It blends so many different genres into one crazy rollercoaster, and I loved every second of the ride. I read the bands description of their sound, and it reads as follows: “Dominantly a new age American rock-soul-r&b band, The Fey, also expresses a touch of the contemporary vibes of hip-hop and pop.” As a guy who listens to over 20 new bands a day, when you read a statement like that, you think, “Yeah, okay. Which part do you do well, though?” Most of the time it’s like a restaurant that has 50 menu items, and all of them are average. This is not most of the time. These guys know who they are, and they do rock, soul, r&b, hip-hop, and pop equally well. With strong guitar riffs and organs, smooth vocal runs, and a nice hip-hop verse, The Fey is the true definition of a multi-genre group.

 

-Caleb and Seth

 

As always, check out all of these tracks and more on our June Spotify Playlist. 

Video of the Day: Handshake “Crawling”

We have a delightfully upbeat and strange video for you today, complete with puppets, snow gear, color shifting objects, and social commentary, among others. I’d definitely be interesting in hearing your thoughts in the comments on what message is being espoused. I mean other than just how visually stunning all of it is, which is certainly true. I tend to think there is some sort of angle about social media, and our relationships with technology, but I also think it could just to be some witty and creative shots that go well with the electronic rock style.

-Caleb

As always you can find this song and more on our June Spotify Playlist. Right here. 

Mid Day Music Blast: Pistachio Gods – “a few more months”

I have a really interesting track for you today as you take a mid day break. When you start listening, you may think it is going in a pure folky direction. And then the beat starts to come in and you are like, oh okay I guess this is R&B. And then the flow kicks in, and hopefully you stop trying to define it. This one seems fully prepped to be one of my singles of the summer. It’s short and effective. It catches my attention with both catchy beats and elements of trippiness to it. The vocals are clean and various. I really can’t get enough of it.

Luckily for us, Pistachio Gods gave us a little background about the seemingly dissonant elements of this song:

“This song deals with our struggle of moving on in a relationship, we had the idea to combine folk music with hard trap drums and tell the story of how we know in a few months will get over this breakup finally and be moving on, but right now things are really hard for us.”

This song definitely pretty well encapsulates that idea. It’s so frustrating when your logical brain tells you that time is the only cure, but you still feel all the difficult emotions anyway. Hopefully this song helps some of you feel better and carries you through some of the darkness.

-Caleb

Want more music? Don’t forget to follow our monthly Spotify playlists.