The Flock: Caleb’s Weekly Favorites Oct. 16th: Pkwy, Charles Edison, Farewell Company

*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 post several artists in one big post. 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.”

Pkwy – “Punisher”

“Slackers are acting tough
Born in Los Angeles
Light up a Camel Crush just for fun
Poems on bathroom stalls
High as shit playing Smash Bros Brawl
Throwing a bowling ball down the road”

This song is super chill. It reminds me a ton of college. I took up the bad habit of smoking, and my go to (other than cloves) were Camel Crush. I picked those because you could crush them for people who wanted menthols. It was completely about the social aspect. This song is just so simply beautiful. It captures the fun, insecurity, and rebelliousness of youth in a way that takes itself the perfect amount of seriously. The band says that the song actually reflects the story of the band somewhat. They all met in their teens, and have fond memories, including throwing a literal bright orange bowling ball down the road with the word “PUNISHER” written on it. If you can’t relate to this song, we probably wouldn’t have been friends in high school.

Also, the EP that Punisher is included on is now out! Released this last Tuesday: pkwy.bandcamp.com/album/giant-2. You guys should definitely go give these guys some money, so they can buy Camel Crush cigs. Those bitches get expensive.

 

Charles Edison – “My Mother”

“I can’t make a track and say I’m paying for your house
But Hopefully you hear this still and it’ll make you proud
I ain’t made it yet but I bet you think I could
I hope you worry less now that I’m safe and living good
You said you felt like you must’ve gone wrong
But you showed me how to raise a child – you knew it all along,”

I always get emotional with “momma” songs. I guess that’s not really a genre, but I think you know what I mean. This song is so deeply heartfelt. There’s a moment in the first verse where he says, “as far as I’m concerned, you ain’t never been a step mum”, and you can tell that’s true because up until that point, it seemed like he was talking about a connection as deep as any I’ve ever heard. It’s obvious the woman has made a huge impact on him, and he feels guilty for the ways he hasn’t lived up to her example or expectations. Now that he’s becoming a parent himself, it seems obvious that this is causing him to reflect about his own hopes and dreams for a child, how they can go awry, and how their are still plenty of positives instilled in him, even if he made mistakes. It’s really a beautiful sentiment. That’s not even to mention the excellent sample and background vocals. This song is just incredible.

Bio: Charles is a producer & rapper from South London, pairing intricately layered, immersive beats with a raw & honest vocal style that has seen him be compared to other British Urban music acts such as Akala, Beardyman, Mike Skinner, and Loyle Carner. Charles often draws on his experiences with mental health and addiction to result in refreshingly honest and relatable hip-hop.

Friede Merz – “ALBION”

“Albion, Albion
You made me wanna carpe the fuck out of this diem”

Well you can’t beat that opening. This video is really interesting. I especially like the Elvis costume, but the whole thing works nicely on a budget. It’s a good way to lean into a scatter plot ode to a place, by representing various aspects, both seriously, and mostly ironically. There’s definitely a lot to like from Friede, who does everything on this song, from instrumentals, to singing, to production. The artist describes the vibe as: “Whatever you do feels good to me.” That’s the spirit.”

Check out more here:

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Farewell Company – “Gulf Breeze Motel”

“I ain’t living right, I’m barely keeping the pace
And I’m so far from you now
I know I’m gonna be late
Well take your time no one’s waiting on you to change
No one’s waiting on anything

Hey what’s the hurry
Time’s keeping you locked down so tight babe
I know you work, just make it something worth your life
What’s the use in finding the truth if you’re gonna go and waste the news
I’ll be singing ‘bout a brand new day til I turn blue”

This song has been on several of my playlists for a couple of months now. It’s beautifully twangy and existential. What I really like about the existential aspect is that it doesn’t quite waver into despair. It is constantly mentioning a “brand new day” in a hopeful way that promises a better tomorrow, despite whatever negative may be going on in front of you right now. It kind of seems to put a sense of worth on personal responsibility. “No one’s waiting on you to change.” It’s up to us to care about what we do with our time here, not anyone else. It’s really a beautiful message, packaged in a catchy blues song.

Bio: Formed in early 2017 by a few close friends and siblings living in Nashville, TN, Farewell Company is a soulful, southern rock ’n’ roll band.

In just three days, the six piece recorded their first LP ‘Waiting On Anything’ to analog tape at a gem of a studio in East Nashville called The Bomb Shelter.

 

-Caleb

 

Morning Commute – Heartless – “Project Window”

“There’s so much poverty up in the ghetto take my words and and imagine your life getting better

I was like you little homie believe matter fact these words is you speaking through me

thinking about all the things you going through now

food low and you breaking your first package down

You got
visions of being a superstar
but you know to accomplish you gotta sell hard ”

 

Let’s start off your Thursday with a song you can listen to at work. This song is a positive message about making something of yourself out of a bad situation, and it doesn’t have any profanity at all in the lyrics. Now, as someone who curses very frequently, that’s not something I look for specifically in music, but I am definitely struck by it when I notice it. It’s difficult to capture the darker parts of reality without using profanity, but I think that’s exactly what Heartless has accomplished here, and it’s really impressive. I also think I understand the rationale. If his goal is to be a positive voice for the next generation, he is placing an importance on that voice being clean, but also authentic. I think he accomplishes that goal here.

Bio: Lendell Black, ubiquitously known as Heartless, is an American rapper and hip-hop artist. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Heartless is popularly known for his profanity-free and upbeat music, and according to some is another “Bone Crusher” in the making. However, according to Black, ” I have my own style”, which is rightly so as his music is known to strike a chord, thus making it a fulfilling yet exciting experience for his audience.

-Caleb

Looking for more? We’ve added this song and more to our September TOTD Playlist.

Morning Commute: The 502s – “Olivia”

This song is so perfect for your morning commute. I don’t know about you guys, but Tuesday mornings are hard for me. I’m tired from one day of work, and I can’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel of the week yet. I drink an extra cup of coffee, and I try to find something to motivate me. This song fits into that category with it’s infectious energy and fun vibes. The lyrics themselves seem to focus on a girl, and wondering if the way they feel about her is real love or just lust. But the instrumentals, especially the horns and the rambling drum beat are perfect for putting me in the right head space this sleepy Tuesday morning.

Image result for the 502s

Bio: Listening to their lighthearted gang vocals and buoyant trumpet lines, you could certainly slap The 502s with an ambiguous indie label. Their loosely boondock, on-the-road-again acoustic tenor makes them a fit with the Americana crowd. And with their big, open strumming patterns, fingerpicked banjo, and mildly twangy vocal flair, it would be easy to call them a folk band, throw on a plaid shirt, and compare them to The Lumineers or The Avett Brothers.

Looking through a bigger lens, however – one that takes into account all aspects of their collective persona – The 502s are best described as the sound of a celebration: a wild, friendly shindig down the street that everyone wants to attend.

And the Orlando-based six-piece (Ed Isola, Jonathan Ruiz, Jake Isola, Matthew Tonner, Kaleigh LeBeau, and Tristan Smith) know that they’re ready to host. Operating within a city that sees thousands upon thousands of entertainment-hungry visitors every day has led the band to embrace their need to delight, to amuse, and to create the party for which they’re already providing the soundtrack.

The 502s’ forthcoming album Because We Had To is a lesson in finding what feels good – both in music and in life. Recorded in 36 hours over Memorial Day Weekend, it’s the kind of album you could take on a road trip, or one you might hear at a raucous New Year’s Eve Party where the lead singer smashes a pint of Guinness onstage (true story). “It’s the sound of a big rowdy party,” laughs singer/songwriter Ed Isola.

-Caleb

Looking for more? We’ve added this song and more to our September TOTD Playlist.

Morning Commute: Spitty the Sequel – “Smokin and Walking”

“often get ahead of myself/a dead head wit said cred we all bled red/white and blue feelings/mixed emotions potion and healing/high pitched squealing keep dealing ya dummies/ we got lights here riot gear/protection for those effected by my affection its an infection we no detection”

The thing I’m immediately struck by in this song is how clever the word play is. There is a nice mix of consistent meter with absolutely insane internal rhyme. I especially like the last line that I pasted above. He also really uses enjambment to his advantage. If you remember that word from high school English class, it’s when you put a line break in a clever place in the middle of a thought. Like this: “Carolina reaper and its gets deeper then in too deep wit a pool stick when its greased up/freak fuck the law the cops and all” In hip hop, it’s less about the placement on the page and more about the way it’s said. So coming off the greased up pool stick, we see “freak fuck” enjambed with “fuck the law, the cops and all. It’s all really so clever.

Here is a bonus video of the song for you guys:

Be sure to check out Spitty the Sequel on social media: Facebook 

Instagram

-Caleb

Looking for more? We’ve added this song and more to our Spotify TOTD Playlist for September. 

 

 

Video of the Day: Couch Jackets – “Don’t Think Just Breathe”

 

I really have to work on taking the title’s advice here. This video is so much fun. I mean, maybe fun is the wrong word, considering the subject matter that finds its way into the video (natural disasters, protests, global warming, etc.) But it’s also offset with zen-like imagery, and trippy visuals that make it one of my favorite videos of the moment. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics real quick, in between eating bullshit and emotional dissonance (if you don’t get that reference, go back and re-watch the video, hell re-watch the video anyway):

“Lighting a burned bridge between me and the purpose I’ve made,
But in my~ smoky haze I’ve forgotten to replace it’s arcade
Every game I’ve ever played engulfed by flame, left to fade.
No one’s insane we’re each of different makes which are arcane

“Don’t think just breathe
Don’t think just breathe”

Here’s a short list of things that are bothering me at the moment:

  1. Stress at my day job.
  2. Trump
  3. Writer’s block
  4. The inevitable heat death of the universe
  5. Trump

I’m going to do my best today, because of this song’s inspiration, to slow my brain down and “just breathe.”

So regardless of the thing that’s bothering you right now, hopefully you can put this video on repeat for a bit, and take a short vacation from it.

Bio:  “Couch Jackets sounds like an alligator’s eating us,” reads the explanatory note on the Little Rock, Arkansas quartet’s Bandcamp page. Fans of the band have become accustomed to this sort of irreverence – these are funny guys, and they lead with their personalities. Yet it’s not just a joke. Listening to Couch Jackets can be like entering a whirlpool: songs don’t behave the way you expect them to. They come at the listener with manic energy; they twist and turn, shiver and shake, and no matter how playful they seem, they always carry with them a whiff of danger.

We suppose that if we were asked to be particular about it, we could try to classify Couch Jackets. Given their ambition and the idiosyncratic nature of the music they make, it’s fair to call them a progressive rock act. Their emphasis on texture and love of experimentation aligns them with the neo-psychedelic movement, and their supple grooves are redolent of classic ‘70s pop. There’s even a hint of country music somewhere in the mix. But we don’t think we’ve ever heard a band combine its influences in quite the same way. Go To Bed, the group’s most recent set, was made in Nashville, and it’s the fullest realization of their visionary sound yet committed to record. It somehow manages to sound more polished than their prior recordings while preserving the primal chaos and sense of fun that has always distinguished the band. We have no idea how they’ve pulled off this trick. Like so much about Couch Jackets, their methods are shrouded in mystery.

Just as the band has developed a singular sound, they’ve come up with a visual aesthetic that’s wholly theirs – and that matches the music perfectly. For a still-new band, Couch Jackets have made a lot of videos, and they all display the group’s inventiveness, imagination, and sense of humor. Consider, for instance, the clip for “Don’t Think Just Breathe”, which manages to satirize obsessive news-watchers, cooking shows, reality television, and the act of eating dinner.

 

-Caleb

Looking for more music? We’ve added this song and more to our September TOTD Playlist.

TOTD: Teghan Devon – “Fresh Cut”

 

Can I just start by saying the obvious thing? Those vocals are ridiculously good. Within 30 seconds I had chill bumps all over. Okay, now that I fawned over that, let’s get into the lyrics:

“Fresh cut on a closing wound
Says he’s sober now
He doesn’t need you
Fresh cut on a closing wound
Says he’s better now
But your eyes have never looked so blue

Bright blue eyes
Back in Milwaukee
Ghost of summer’s past
Intent on haunting you
Until you crash
Hiding in the shower
Till the hot water burns”

These lyrics are so full of relatable pain. I especially like the metaphor of a “fresh cut on a closing wound” in the chorus. It’s that terrible feeling of a fresh opening on something that was seemingly healing. You thought everything was getting better, and then reality snaps back on you. I also just really like the transition from that first chorus to the verse with the play on words regarding the eye color. It both means that they are physically blue, but in the chorus, they are sad as well; really clever.

Bio: Teghan’s current style is a mix of folk, rock, and pop. If you ask her why she writes songs she’ll tell you it’s for the same reason that she breathes– to survive. “I write so I don’t take my crap out on others. Sometimes it stops me from punching people in the face. I am inspired by anything from a speck of dust to a character in a book.”

Teghan Devon is from Maryland but has also lived in California, Texas, Michigan, and Minnesota. She was a student at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul before it unexpectedly shut down in December of 2017. Although this was absolutely devastating for Teghan and her McNally Smith family, she made the best of a bad situation by returning to the twin cities in February of 2018 to record her first full length album “Fingers Crossed”  (available now everywhere).

-Caleb

We’ve added this song and more to our September TOTD playlist. Give it a follow to get new music added every single day this month.

 

New Release Friday: Saba Abraha, Caleb Kopta

Hey guys! Happy New Release Friday. We have two new tracks for you today from some amazing artists! Check back every Friday for new releases. Don’t forget to support all the artists if you like what you hear!

Saba Abraha – “Utopia”

I absolutely love this song. It grabs me immediately with the interesting spoken word intro, followed by uncanny syncopated beats. The artist describes the lyrics as “a new world where an empress loses her crown and is forced to battle the harsh realities of the world on her road to redemption. “Sweet Mirage” awaits…”

To me, the production on this song is some of the best I have ever heard. It perfectly blends elements that sound modern and classic, in an absolutely unique creation. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the EP: Sweet Mirage.

Caleb Kopta – “Anything”

“I’ve been passing out with the ashtray,
I’ve been choking on the cavalier
we were two kids finding love inside of the hallway,
isn’t it a shame,
We didn’t make it anyway,”

This song has such a classic vibe to it. It reminds me a lot of high school, and how intense every emotion and relationship seemed at the time. When he repeats in the pre-chorus, “I’d do anything for you,” I don’t know how you can’t relate to that. We’ve all been in that spot where we desperately thought that if we just loved someone with everything we had, that would eventually be enough. As we age, we see that sometimes it’s not that simple, but this song reminds me of the times that we wished it was.

Bio: Inspired by the Rock and Roll greats that came before him, and motivated by the stories that we all encounter on a daily basis, Caleb Kopta is crafting a niche for himself in the modern alternative rock landscape with honest lyrics, driving guitars and a desire to craft the soundtrack to life’s everyday experiences.

Born the son of a music minister in small-town Pennsylvania, music has fueled Caleb as long as he can remember. From attending his first concert at only two months old to sharing the stage with such bands as Motherfolk, PHANGS, Michigander and Corey Killgannon, Caleb has devoted his life to creating meaningful, resonate music that can impact the world around him.

Often drawing comparisons to The Killers, Bruce Springsteen and Bleachers, Kopta’s music is a unique blending of the Rock, New Wave and Singer / Songwriter genres. He excels at delivering powerful, anthemic choruses while still allowing the song to feel personal and complementary to the story at hand.

 

-Caleb (the blogger, not the artist)

Want to hear more? We’ve added both these songs and more to our August Spotify TOTD Playlist.