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

Morning Commute: Intellect – “Fonics”

 

If you pay attention to our Instagram you should recognize this album cover. I’ve been bumping it personally since it came out a few months ago in October. I thought it was time to start diving into some of the awesome music from the album, so you’ll see more posts after this one, and maybe even a podcast analysis. Today, let’s start off with the first song I heard from Intellect, “Fonics.” With a title like that, you would expect heavy wordplay and unique vocabulary in the flow and, to quote him, other “verbal gymnastics” and Intellect doesn’t disappoint. With references to Jay-Z and Nas, it’s obvious that Intellect is channeling 90s vibes with a lyrical focus and pulls it off in a way that’s difficult to do. Self described as going “back to the essence of what being a M.C. means. You know smooth, melodic, intellectual music speaking on life, love and everything in between…’Real’ hip-hop!” Intellect is an example of everything I love about creativity, hip-hop, and artistry. Be sure to check out his whole album, Out of Left Field and look out on the blog for more posts about him soon.

Bio: Hip-Hop / Cross Over / Neo-Soul / R&B Recording Artist Intellect aka ~Lect. Not only is he an ingenious songwriter and singer but he’s a “think outside of the box” entrepreneur. Intellect has quickly become successful in the competitive fields of both modeling and music. His music style is Intelligent, Classy and Eloquently spoken, and remains true to the essence of Hip-Hop. Intellect has a fierce loyalty to hip-hop and consistently delivers raw unabated energy in every track he conceives.

Intellect comes with a whole new sound to set himself apart from the rest of the hip-hop world. Something classy, jazzy, and smooth; “Veteran’s Day” and “Neck Deep” produced by Madd Frequency give a raw, personally uncensored, look into his life and experiences. Born in Pensacola, FL, Intellect has traveled the entire world and is a proud Veteran Service Member. He has also worked as an editorial clothing model in SOHO, NYC for Beau Brummel and ARI clothing Inc. and appeared on Allison Weiner’s Media Mayhem. He is currently a Consultant/Trainer/On-Air Talent for XG Productions. Using his life experiences, he helped bring together Season 2 of ABC’s hit show Quantico and NBC’s new series The Enemy Within as a consultant and actor!

-Caleb

Monday Mix-down featuring: Dubby, Telescreens, The Escalator, and Awolk

This is a grab bag of all of my favorite artists from the week to carry you through those Monday blues. No genres, no themes, nothing. I mean, I guess the theme is that I love these songs.

We try to group artists with similar artists, but the fact of the matter is that most music fans don’t solely like one genre. If you’re like me, there are very few genres that you don’t get into in some capacity. What I’ve found is that a lot of people cross paths with the same people in their musical taste. Seth and I have a lot of crossover, but one distinct difference right out of the gate is that Seth gets more into the folk scene, and I get way more experimental with what he likes. Some of what he listens to sounds like Elvish chants in the woods to me, and some of what I listen to probably sounds to him like what Michael Caine listened to  in Children of MenYou’ll probably start to notice a trend in these posts at some point. We have a lot of crossover, especially when it comes to hip-hop and emotive indie rock, but there’s a lot of music that Seth and I don’t necessarily agree on. We both know that objectively they’re good tracks, we just don’t subjectively like it as much as some other stuff. Without further ado, here are my favorite tracks of the week.

Dubby – “Gelati Kong ft. King Los”

Image result for dubby gelati kong

I had never heard the plural of “gelato” before this, and I’m not entirely sure what Gelati Kong would imply, but this song is so smooth. The beat is a classic throwback hip-hop beat, mixed with some trap elements that make it feel modern. I know that this song will find it’s way onto all my summer playlists.

 

Bio: If you enjoy the sound of this south central Pennsylvania artist, be sure to check him out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @Dubbygotbars! Be on the lookout for his second album entitled “TOWN” which was re-released on 10/13/18. Visit http://www.dubbygotbars.com for free music, merch and behind the scenes footage

 

Telescreens – “Poison”

Image may contain: 3 people, people playing musical instruments, people on stage and people sitting

I adore this song. The guitar line is so smooth, and has a nice genre-mix to it that makes me feel like a lazy summer day. It’s not necessarily a happy summer day, but it’s not overly depressing either. It seems to be pondering a person that is “poisonous”. The difficult thing of course is that poison is usually hidden until it starts effecting you negatively, and the damage is already done. I can’t wait for them to release more music! In the meantime, do like me and put this one on repeat all summer long.

 

The Escalator – “The Cathedral”

Found my way to St Patrick’s Cathedral
Took a seat by the alter and I cried
All alone, starring up at the ceiling
Closed my eyes
Asked God why?
Violence is normal
Why violence is normal
All through the night

What a haunting way to end a song. This song was actually sent to us a long time ago, and it’s just sort of happenstance that this is posted a week after the events in New Zealand. Of course, unfortunately, we are never too far from an act of violence in the news at any given time, but I definitely think this song hit me harder than usual this morning. The lyrics themselves would be haunting enough, but then you combine that with the soulful vocals, and it really starts to raise the hair on your arms. I think it’s fitting that this album was created to “create a cathartic experience for people visiting Trump Tower,” and hope that more people get to feel that catharsis after hearing this today.

Bio: The Escalator is a protest album featuring Grammy award winning bandleader, Steven Bernstein, vocalists Amy Leon, Trixie Whitley and many more. The album is an audio walking tour with a total playtime lasting the duration of time it takes to walk from the top of the escalator at Trump Tower, then down the street to St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York York City.

Awolk – “Open Doors”

Image result for awolk

I get some real Ben Howard vibes from this song, and seeing as how Ben Howard is one of my favorite artists, it’s pretty easy to see why this song makes my list of favorites. Another thing I really love about this song is just how positive it’s messaging is. As someone who struggles with overcoming fear/anxiety, I really needed this message of finding the open door and walking through it.

Fear is far too close
Fear will choke your growth
Fear don’t break down doors 

I think a lot of us could use this message today. Spring is starting all over the U.S. (albeit slower than I wish it was). It’s time for a new beginning.

Bio: Awolk is an alternative folk-rock singer-songwriter from Nova Scotia, Canada. For almost 10 years he has been playing under various stage names and bands.

Awolk recently released his debut full length record, available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, and Bandcamp. Self titled, the album is a weighty and eclectic list of tracks, covering his lyrical and melodic thoughts, developing over the last few years.

His alternative style, blends melody focused songs with modern acoustic and electric soundscapes. Awolk used to be known by his birth name, Jesse Thomas, releasing 2 EPs and 2 single recordings under that name. In 2017, he diverged into his new stage name.

  • Caleb

Morning Commute: Anderson Rocio – “Darkerside”

Image result for anderson rocio music

 

“You’re saving me, cause I can’t get back tonight
You’re holding me back from the darker side
On my own, on my own
On my own, on my own”

 

What a beautiful way to start off this morning. I’m really surprised I haven’t heard Anderson on the radio yet (granted I don’t listen too much to the radio). I really think she has the vocal chops and lyrical hooks to be an earworm for everyone in America (or the World, why not?). It’s got a really interesting look at interdependence in relationships. There definitely has to be a balance between being too independent, in which case you aren’t really in much of a relationship, but also you can be too codependent. But the best relationships mix these elements, and help us in our dark times, just like we help them in their dark times. It’s a really beautiful song and sentiment.

 

Don’t glance over this bio, it’s a pretty remarkable background.

Bio: Half Spanish, half American, Anderson was born in Italy but spent most of her formative years in England. At the age of 11 her family of five left to sail around the world on a 44ft Catamaran. Three years later they sailed into Auckland, New Zealand, where she calls home.

Classically trained in piano from the age of 6 (she had a portable piano on the boat), she continued to study Classical Piano and English at Otago University, completing a bachelor of Music in 2016.

Arriving to LA on a one way ticket back in February 2017, she began recording her EP in July. The first single DARKERSIDE was independently released 7th June 2018 with the full EP released by September.

She’s currently working on her sophomore EP and am signed to THINK Music Inc for Licensing.

 

-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

 

Video of the Day: Mahalia “I Wish I Missed My Ex”

Let’s end this Monday right. This track is so smooth, and also expresses a really unconventional sentiment: “damn, I wish I missed my ex”. I really appreciate the idea of regretting how much you don’t care about your ex’s pain. This is nicely exemplified in the video by running the whole video backwards, which signifies a look backwards of some sort. It definitely sucks to be on the wrong side of a break up where you are the groveling fool who hasn’t gotten over things, but it also sucks to see someone you care about and spent time with, groveling at your feet. Maybe it doesn’t suck as bad, but it’s still not an enviable position. You are simultaneously trying to be empathetic and losing your patience.

Press release: “The first time I heard IWIMME, I knew the track needed a big idea. I’ve always loved Spike Jonze’s video for “Drop” by the Pharcyde and decided to pay homage by creating a backwards music video with a contemporary spin. I hired a linguist from UCLA to teach Mahalia the song backwards which she surprisingly learned in a day. The DP, Dustin Lane, and I have always wanted to make something in our neighborhood, Highland Park. We chose family owned locations and hired a few extras while scouting the neighborhood. Mahalia’s reversed performance oozes spontaneity and confidence. I can’t thank her enough for joining us on the journey, and signing on to recreate this insane concept.”

That’s really crazy that she literally learned the song backwards for the video, I assume they just had her going forward with everything else going backwards in the editing bay.

-Caleb

 

 

Podcast Episode 14: Creativity

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Don’t forget to leave us reviews and share so that we can share undiscovered music with more and more people. Thanks so much for your support.

-Caleb

Show notes:

Join Seth and Caleb as they discuss creativity, audience, Bob Ross, Irish Whiskey, drinking while pregnant, hip-hop philosophy, and as always, the best music you’ve never heard.

Caleb’s book if you are interested: www.amazon.com/Cosmic-Hello-Less…=the+cosmic+hello

Intro: Freedom Baby – I Want to Give

song.link/us/i/1374721588

Glamour and the Baybes – Taking it Back
itunes.apple.com/us/album/taking-…787?i=1355528791

2. Brian Freeman – Facade
itunes.apple.com/us/album/keep-in…light/1360386830

3.PENPALS – Up to the Sky
pen-pals.bandcamp.com/track/up-to-the-sky

4. Lightning Echoes – In Circles
itunes.apple.com/ca/album/one-tin…ingle/1368296524

5. Twiddy – Live From The Bowling Alley
itunes.apple.com/us/album/live-fr…s&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

twiddy – Live from the Bowling Alley [LIVE PERFORMANCE VIDEO]

6. Robert Ledet – Play For Free
robertledet.bandcamp.com/track/play-for-free

7. Freedom Baby – I Want to Give
song.link/us/i/1374721588

Don’t forget to check out our previous episodes here.

If you like what we do, and you have a spare $1 per month, please consider supporting us on Patreon.