Morning Commute: Cambriana – “Lucifer”

“When it’s visible
Every bruise in your skin
I will never pray
if our god’s a virgin

He could use some learning

Satan is grinning
and I just wanna go down”

 

This is a really unique track with some amazing instrumentals and really intriguing lyrics. To me, the section I pasted above seems to be a discussion about how relate-able a “perfect” god is to his imperfect children. I know that a lot of religions teach us to suppress our human urges, namely the sexual ones that are mentioned in this song, and you can decide for yourself if that has any value, but it is certainly a temptation that is difficult to overcome, and a virtue that is difficult to relate with. Ultimately we see that this lyricist is willing to go to hell for the love of a woman named “Kate”. Here’s how the song ends:

“Open heaven’s gate
Gather all insurgents
If they knew you, Kate,
they would all be plunging down

They’d be raining down

Spend forever burning”

I love this image. This woman is something so powerful and beautiful that all of heaven would choose going to hell just to be with her. It’s really a unique take on the whole thing.

Bio:  Brazilian folk rockers Cambriana are teasing their upcoming album, Manaus Vidaloka, with new single, “Lucifer.” Injected with a heavy dose of afrobeat and traditional bossa nova, the song is a potpourri of laid back flourishes, fingerstyle guitar, and tongue in cheek lyrics.

According to producer and lead singer Luis Calil, “Lucifer” is “meant to be sensual, yet profane and funny. It uses the fall of the angel Lucifer as a metaphor on ‘going down,’ and mocks how certain religious traditions demonize non procreation sex as sin.” Calil sings on the track, “If our God’s a virgin / he could use some learning.” Ones To Watch said, “‘Lucifer’ not only blesses our ears, but delves deep…into societal constructs, and deep into our hearts.”

Manaus Vidaloka is the follow up to 2012’s House of Tolerance, and 2013’s EP, Worker, from which the group achieved widespread success, boasting over 1 million streams and 20k monthlies on Spotify, a slew of festival performances, and licensing to major Brazilian TV shows. Rolling Stone Brazil called the Goiânia-based group “…so impressive it’s almost frightening. [They’re] on the same level of bands like Islands and Grizzly Bear.”

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-Caleb

Want to hear more? We’ve added this song and more to our September TOTD Playlist.

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

TOTD: Erik Jonasson “Horizon”

If you’d have asked me a month ago who this Swedish super nova was, I would’ve had no idea. Now, with over 6 million Spotify plays on an album that was just released earlier this month, Erik is turning heads. With a pure tone that pierces any defenses you may have built up, Erik Jonasson is forcing people to listen and take note of this rare talent.

One thing you will learn about me is that I absolutely love songs that sound like they could be a letter to someone. Oddly specific with an overarching point, these types of songs are a lost art. Erik Jonasson is a prodigious new artist.

The kicker in this song is the terminology he uses. I mean, a ton of artists write about the horizon, traveling, leaving, etc, but there aren’t many who talk about protecting their gold in a cathedral. To summarize what is happening in the lyrics, there is a person who is looking out at the horizon, and they know that their friend/partner/acquaintance wants to go out there and try to find the horizon, or travel and see what there is. The person then goes on to say how they don’t understand the attraction to going out there, and they’re going to stay in their cathedral and protect their gold. It’s an interesting phrasing, and when an artist makes an interesting choice, I like to dig into it.

Now, let’s get this out there from the beginning. You are about to enter a theoretical world. More than likely, the song is about an unequally yoked partnership where one person wants to go see the world, and the other wants stability in their life. It’s a wonderful way of describing that situation, and I love that idea. I want to go deeper and talk about one possibility behind the word choices of “cathedral” and “gold.” I’m a fairly spiritual guy, but I’ve also been close enough to organized Christianity to see a lot of the faults in what people are practicing today. One of the biggest ones, which is very common in a lot of churches, is filling the coffers in your own church while the rest of the world goes to shit. I think this song could be about that issue. Stay with me here. Is it likely that it’s about that? No, but it’s a perfect song for that dichotomy between types of Christians. There are a growing number of people who want to go out and help people all around the world and really chase after that horizon, but there are an alarming number of people who would watch the world burn if it meant that they could be Scrooge McDuck and dive into their swimming pool of gold coins.

With this theory, you can honestly replace Christians with any other word, and it works out too. From governments (especially in the United States right now) to individual people, there are groups that don’t care about anything or anyone outside of their “cathedral.” Those are the people that we can’t let win. Close-minded and fearful people shouldn’t dictate the actions of the free and the fearless.