Video of the Day: Tash Sultana – “Harvest Love (Live Lounge Recording)”

I feel like this artist really needs no introduction. Tash Sultana might be the most well known artist we’ve ever featured here, and she’s only blown up more since we got this song in our inbox several months ago. That being said, this song is a perfect introduction to everything I love about Tash Sultana. It strips everything down to it’s basic elements and allows her raw voice to carry the passion and intensity of the song, and she nails it. Her voice is one that makes you a little angry at god that you’ll never have it, but so blessed to witness it. I just want to emphasize some of my favorite lyrics for a second:

“I had a plan ‘Cause I had a plan, you see.
It was based on the rules that my mother and father taught me.
Press the iron when it’s hot, you jump right in.
Because the unfed mind devours itself,
water your garden”

I think most of us that don’t necessarily sync up with all of our parents’ teachings can empathize with these lines. Once that carpet gets ripped out from under you (and really thank god it does), you are left in sort of a painful, scary place for a while until you can rebuild your own mottos, maxims, viewpoints, even if that means you think there are none. Water your garden.

Bio: TASH SULTANA is a dynamic young artist who has commanded world attention since homemade videos of her jamming went viral. A true virtuoso, Tash was soon selling out big theatre shows globally and playing at the world’s biggest festivals including Lollapalooza and Coachella Music and Arts Festival. When playing live, Tash appears on stage entirely solo, creating vast and amazing soundscapes using an array of equipment and live instruments – but absolutely no laptops or backing tracks. She plays an incredible 18 different live instruments during the course of her show.

Tash – “I wrote Salvation when I realised I could be better than the things that I’d done in my past that I regret. That I am the creator of my own narrative and can always continue to grow and move forward into being a better person and can always make better decisions, that it’s okay to accept you’ve fucked up from time to time.”

All of the songs on ‘Flow State’ are produced, written, performed and arranged by Tash herself. She plays every one of the 15 instruments and sounds that feature throughout, including saxophone, pan flute, grand piano and guitar to name a few.

To date, Tash has amassed over 175 million streams globally for her previous EP ‘NOTION’, topped the iTunes charts in multiple countries, achieved gold sales for EP ‘Notion’ and platinum sales for single ‘Jungle’ which also featured in FIFA 18. Her meteoric rise has been entirely via word-of-mouth without support from traditional media

 

Salvation is available here: http://smarturl.it/TS.Salvation

-Caleb

Caleb’s Mid-Week Mixdown Featuring: Freedom Fry, Galapaghost, William Fitzsimmons, and Freddy and Francine

This is a grab bag of all of my favorite artists from the week to carry you through those Mid-week 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.

Freedom Fry – “Classic (Acoustic)”

This song is the epitome of nostalgia, albeit with a slight twist. There is the obvious examples like sipping on a glass bottle Coca-Cola, but it seems like it’s actually about how someone can give you that nostalgic “classic” feeling. Just their presence gives you that good feeling that feels like the world is as simple as enjoying each other’s company. To me there’s really nothing better than that feeling, and this song captures the vibe perfectly. You hear this structure in the chorus when it mentions “living in the past with you”, but then is followed with “jumping in the bed with you.” Maybe they are doing nostalgic activities together, but any act has that glow to it because they are doing it together. When you realize that Freedom Fry is a married French/American duo (hilarious name for that mixture by the way), the chemistry apparent in the presentation of this song makes a lot of sense. They are just sharing their love with us, and hoping we can relate, and on my best days this summer, I know I absolutely can.

Bio: Freedom Fry are Marie Seyrat and Bruce Driscoll, a married French & American musical duo. They write and record everything themselves and usually direct and edit their own music videos too. If you like what you see & hear, subscribe and say “hi.” Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat: @freedomfrymusic. They released their debut album, “Classic,” on June 1, 2018.

Galapaghost – “Jellyfish”

Any of you who have followed us for a while should be familiar with this guy. He was featured on our very first podcast episode (Hope)I am very happy to share some more music with you guys today. Galapaghost is the solo project of a very prolific songwriter, Casey Chandler. He’s released 5 albums so far, and seems to be ramping up some new music earlier this year already. The unique thing about “Jellyfish” and the album, Sootie, is that it is Casey’s first electronic album. I love the spacey atmosphere of this song, and given its place on the album, which is primarily about childhood, I can’t help but feel a sense of innocence from this song. The lyrics though, paint a different picture:

“When you told me you might need something more exciting
Well I guess I should get dressed
Cause I guess I got some expenses
Spending all the hours of the day
Working until you don’t recognize your face”

So as an adult reflecting on this innocence, it can’t help but feel but lost, when you are working all day, “until you don’t recognize your face.”

Bio:  Casey has no label, manager or band, so he produces all of his music himself. When he can afford it, he flies to Italy to record with his Italian brother from another mother, Federico. He hails from the small hippie town of Woodstock, NY. He toured Europe and North America with John Grant for 6 months in 2010, which included a prestigious slot on Later…With Jools Holland. He has released five albums. His first two albums were released on a small Italian label called Lady Lovely. He self-released his 3rd album I Never Arrived in 2016 and it already has over 2 million streams on Spotify and many rave reviews from Paste Magazine, Substream Magazine, The Big Takeover, AXS and many others. His 4th album ‘Pulse’ was self-released in January 2018. It received rave reviews from Alternative Nation, Huffington Post, Your EDM and many others. His 5th album ‘Sootie’ was released in August 2018.

William Fitzsimmons – “Distant Lovers”

This song is so haunting. Taken off his album, Mission Bell, Fitzsimmons breaks down a rough year marked by a decade-long marriage falling apart. This song in particular, questions monogamy, and how to forgive (or not) infidelity. As someone who had a marriage fall apart for similar (out of my control) reasons, I can’t help but ache in empathy with the content of this entire album. This is for anyone who has dealt with loss, and needs that bittersweet reminder of how deeply humans can love, hurt, forgive, and hopefully begin to heal.

Bio: Singer-songwriter and music producer William Fitzsimmons’ latest record Mission Bell is a chronicling of the tumultuous last year of his life, particularly of the separation from his second wife. An initial version of the album was originally recorded in Fitzsimmons’ home studio in the summer of 2017 but was subsequently abandoned during the course of, and as a result of, the separation.

In 2018 Fitzsimmons moved to Nashville and spent a month’s time rebuilding the lost record with producer Adam Landry (Deer Tick, Los Lobos, k.d. Lang, Vanessa Carlton). The resulting 11-song album tells the story of a decade-long marriage destroyed and eventually rebuilt from the ground up.

Mission Bell includes songs about betrayal, but also reconciliation and forgiveness. Choosing to go deeper than mere absolutism and fate, these are stories of people doing their best, but still managing to destroy each other in the process.

Freddy and Francine – “Half a Mind”

“Everyday I’m waging war
On who I am and what I was before
But all I want is to forget
But these memories open doors
And I want you all the more

Well if I don’t say it
Well then I’ll go crazy
I am paralyzed by the thought of you just passing by
Oh honey if I don’t say it
What’s the price I’m paying
I got half a mind to make you all mine”

 

I like putting this song right after the previous song because it shows the other side of the coin, the risk involved in not saying yes to love, even if there’s a risk of it eventually not working out. This song seems to be about that moment when you get absolutely overwhelmed by someone, and you just to have to let them know how you feel, regardless of the potential outcomes. The way this duo mixes their vocals with a twangy blues sound keeps me coming back to this song over and over. I got “half a mind” to add it to every playlist in my rotation as soon as I finish writing this.

Bio: “We’re performers. We’re not just folk musicians who play and sing mellow songs with little voices … there’s screaming,” Caruso said. Don’t call it Americana either. They don’t wear hats. Besides, Caruso says, “The minute you think one of our songs is an Americana song, it can turn into a retro pop song.”

Despite the reaction of most roots music fans to the dreaded “P” word, Caruso says she doesn’t mind Freddy & Francine being labeled a pop band. “Pop music gets a bad rap, but it comes from the word ‘popular.’ I’d love to be popular,” she said. “I never discriminate against a song because it’s popular if it stays in your head … every Beatles song is a pop song.”

But mostly, Freddy & Francine sounds like Freddy & Francine. It ain’t the easiest thing to explain, but it makes sense when you hear it, and finally, it makes sense to the two people who matter most. “I’m really happy with who I am and I’m happy with the life I have,” Ferris said.

-Caleb

Morning Commute – Culture Wars – “Bones”

Let’s get this morning started with a little energy. Culture Wars have such a great vibe to them that combines clean vocals with interesting alt. rock and synth elements. It reminds me a good bit of a band like Local Natives, but maybe with a little heavier vibe to it (see the short breakdown near 2:40 or so). One of my favorite things about Culture Wars is that they seem to lean into the creative process, without getting bogged down in the scientific way some modern music tech can halt your flow.

“We write the heart of every song using a couple of synthesizers just to get chords and melody. We’re not really technical guys. I still don’t know how to work half of these things; I’m basically just turning knobs until it makes a noise that I like,” Dugan explains. “We’re creating most of this on our laptops. A lot of our tracks have the appearance of a rock song, but underneath there’s all sorts of weird experimental shit going on. Like, we’ll strike a match and record that sound, and put it through a reverb plug-in, and stick it underneath a track so it sounds like a percussion instrument. Or we’ll record the sound of the rain outside on our iPhones, and we’ll put some reverb and delay on that, and use it as a texture.”

I think that’s a really cool way to look at all the new ways we can use technology in music. Use it, but don’t worry about doing the “right thing”, just keep playing until something inspires you. I know this song has me inspired to pull out my MIDI keyboard and play with effects all afternoon.

Bio: Leather clad Austin rockers Culture Wars “come blazing out of the gate with an addictive electro-rock sound and swagger” (PopMatters). Merging edgy, infectious song craft with inventive electronic textures, punchy guitar work, insistent melodic hooks and the commanding vocals of charismatic front man Alex Dugan, the band makes vibrant, bracing music that’s sonically adventurous yet effortlessly accessible.

 

Culture Wars’ self-titled debut EP (2017) saw its first taste of success, with their single ‘Bones’ rising to #43 on Alternative radio chart, meanwhile their previous single ‘Lies’ cracked one million streams. Culture Wars has quickly established themselves as a band with their own unique style and vibe, writing and recording both from home on laptops and in the remote setting of Sonic Ranch, located just 45 minutes toward the border outside of El Paso, TX. Alongside production by longtime friend and collaborator Robert Sewell, and mixing by Manny Marroquin (Kanye West, Imagine Dragons) and Alan Moulder (The Killers, Nine Inch Nails), Culture Wars have an extensively talented team behind them. The band return with their latest single ‘Let Me Down’ (2019), which Dugan says was created in “now-typical Culture Wars style, post-vodka and pickle shots at 2am at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo.”

-Caleb

Morning Commute: The Matchstick Skeletons – “Told Ya So”

Not to start out objectifying anyone, but good golly the eyes on the lead singer are insane. Okay, now that I got that out of my system, what a fun video! I love how straight they play it with the absurdity of going to pick up a band mate skeleton who texts them “PS I am dead.” Not to mention having to dig your own grave for said skeleton. It’s just campy enough to realize itself, without winking too hard, I love it. Also, the cigarettes being put out by the filling in of the grave is a really unique shot that I would’ve never thought of, but it’s a perfect ending to the saga. Or is it? (the The End? at the end leaves this story  open to continue haha)

Also, if you didn’t pay close attention, please go back to 2:30 and listen to the ramp up into insanity that starts there. Such a cool element to this song that takes it from a cool bluesy rock song into a different dimension entirely. Apparently the lead singer, Neu Mannas, did composing work on Dunkirk, and honestly after that build up, I can see it. I’m really impressed with this song and video, and it deserves way more love than it’s gotten so far. Please give them a follow, spend some money and give them some plays on Spotify so we can get more cool content.

Bio: The Matchstick Skeletons came out of the grave swinging. Formed by singer/multi instrumentalist Neu Mannas  and drummer Matty Carolei, this was a project years in the making.

Midway through a decade of being on the road. Neu & Matty starting playing together in Head of the Herd. After some chart topping, radio music award winning, touring, & record making in England, Wales, the Southern U.S. of A, and throughout their home and native land of Canada, they decided to lock themselves in a tiny dark room and become the band they always wanted to be.

 

-Caleb

Caleb’s Mid-Week Mix Down featuring: Raccoon Lagoon, Jay Mi$FiT, Tree Bosier, Samia, and topographies

This is a grab bag of all of my favorite artists from the week to carry you through those Mid-week 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.

Raccoon Lagoon – “Action Figure Kid”

Image result for raccoon lagoon music

I’m always a huge fan of found footage style videos. It’s one of the easiest ways to give your budget music video a nostalgic and emotive feel to it. A lot of this video reminds me of being in my early 20s, hanging out with friends, drinking, and meandering around the city (not that I’ve necessarily stopped any of that haha). This song is the epitome of all the things I love about shoegaze. The vocals fade perfectly into the psychedelic pop melody and feels like…well…meandering around the city. We’ve featured Raccoon Lagoon on the blog before, and honestly I can’t get enough of him. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this creative project.

Bio: Raccoon Lagoon is a solo project by Petya Bouianov; an Amsterdam based musician. The project was started in February 2018 with the vision that everything can be done by yourself. Raccoon Lagoon is influenced by Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker who does everything by himself as well. Other influences include Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz and The Beatles. The idea is to mix vintage rock with contemporary sounds to create a unique vibe. Besides music Raccoon Lagoon focuses on design, album cover art and music video’s.

Jay Mi$FiT – “Young Nigga”

Let’s take a turn into hip-hop land. If you’ve paid attention to the hip-hop I tend to share, it’s usually got a throwback vibe to it, and this song is no different. He even acknowledges the ways he’s trying to bridge the gap between classic hip-hop and current trends when he says,

“God son

Maybe I’m Nas son

But influenced by Jay Z

So what does makes me

One of last living lyrical savior

maybe

Feeling like drake

Cause everybody wanna hate me.

Cause I got these lyrical bullets

Loaded on safety”

There’s really not much else to say, Jay is out to prove that people still care about a dope beat and a wordsmith, and I know this blogger does.

Bio: Jay Mi$FiT is an up and coming hip hop artist out of Detroit. He has a project called Lost Soul coming out July 18th.

Tree Bosier – “Postcard 2”

I told you this mix was eclectic today. This track is from a cool project called Postcard an EP that Tree Bosier released in 2018 under Loodma Recordings. Each track is a different musical “postcard” that creates an unmistakably unique vibe for each track. You can tell that Maxim, aka Tree Bosier knows his way around multiple instruments and genres. His Facebook page  describes the duality of Maxim, and Tree Bosier when it comes to the music:

“- Max Ananyev – these are pieces for classical guitar, mandolins recorded on digits and scores, as well as acoustic and traditional ambient.

– Tree Bosier – it’s electronic music, combining elements of dream pop, shoegaze and techno.”

The guitar work really stands out to me in this track that you might notice synths on first. This track will definitely be added to any summer playlist I have, because it’s excellent beach music.

Bio: Max Ananyev – musician & producer from Saint Petersburg, also known as Tree Bosier. 

Samia – “Milk”

Oh man. That voice. I feel like I could end the discussion there, but you know by now I won’t. “Milk” seems to be exploring the classic saying, “don’t cry over spilled milk.” Which is basically another way of saying, don’t sweat the small stuff. Granted, some of these lyrics seem to be focusing on things that most wouldn’t consider small stuff, like a mention of jumping off a pier in the first verse followed by, “you’re just lucky you’re tired and not dead.” One symbolic thing I like in the video is the use of white (like milk) throughout it, starting with the balloons, transitioning to the color of the bath water, etc. Also, if any of you are Father John Misty fans like me, check out this meta tune: https://open.spotify.com/track/3Ebt8wL9eYdYN3tYZeFC5G

But really, let’s end the way we started, oh man, that voice.

Bio: Her ballads recall the low-lit charm of Tobias Jesso Jr or the hushed immediacy of Phoebe Bridgers. Her rock songs rev and howl with the intensity of Mitski or Hop Along. But whether the volume is up or down, 21-year-old New York native Samia draws from the same well of sharp-witted lyricism as forebears old and new — from Liz Phair to Patti Smith to Josh Tillman.

topographies – “Pink Thoughts”

Now for the last but certainly not least category, this dope song from topographies. I guess I did go a little shoegaze heavy today; sue me, it’s summer. If any of you are familiar with the “shoegaze scene” especially in California, this is the band for you. Formed by Gray Tolhurst (Gray Tolhurst), Jeremie Ruest (Cerf Volant, Your Friend, Lavender Blush), Justin Oronos (Solip), and Lauren Grubb (Minipop, To The Wedding) in 2017, topographies is a amalgamation of shoe gaze/psych pop genius. As with most shoegaze, it takes a bit to discern the lyrics, but the artist says this has to do with the uncanny experience of talking to the deceased in dreams. And honestly that’s the thing I like most about the genre, I don’t really need to be able to understand every word to vibe with the emotive feeling of the song. Here’s a bonus for you guys, the music video for this excellent track, see you in fever dreams:

 

Bio: Formed by Gray Tolhurst (Gray Tolhurst), Jeremie Ruest (Cerf Volant, Your Friend, Lavender Blush), Justin Oronos (Solip), and Lauren Grubb (Minipop, To The Wedding) in 2017, the band meshes the crushingly loud guitars and hushed vocals of 90’s shoegaze with the urgency and mechanical rhythms of post-punk. Their debut EP was recorded and produced at New, Improved Recording in Oakland, California by Alexis Berthelot (Gojira, Wolfgang Tillmans, Enablers) in late 2017.

 

-Caleb

Morning Commute: Snailmate – “On You”

Image result for snailmate

 

Good morning B-Side Enthusiasts! Man, we really need to give you guys a better nickname, any ideas? Shoot us a message on Facebook or something. Anyway, I have a great track for you to start off this Monday morning. It’s a really catchy song with some really fun synths that seems to have a lot more depth below the surface. Let’s dive into a little of the lyrics:

“Ok where do I start…
it was probably the laser beams blasting out of your eyes like you hated me.
Creating craters in my space you made my neighbors freak.
All the sudden I’m self conscious about the way I speak.
You said you can turn your gaslight off.
I no longer need it’s illumination to write songs.
I don’t feed off the accumulation of fights gone wrong like I used to so lose the abuse dude.”

So to me the song is reflecting on a dysfunctional relationship of some sort, and the narrator seems to be self consciously exploring the ways that they weren’t the best partner. The interesting thing to me is the “gaslighting” part, only because that seems to potentially complicate the rest of the song. Who is doing the gaslighting? If it is the narrator, then the song that follows is pretty straight forward, and the gaslighting is just one of the many things that the narrator is reflecting on about himself that he may have done wrong. If the partner was doing the gaslighting, then it becomes difficult to decipher the rest of the song. Is that narrator actually the one in the wrong in this relationship? Or have they just been made to feel that way because every fight or criticism turns it self around “on them.” Either way it’s a really interesting song with a really funky jam. I recommend you listen to it 20 more times and then tell me what you think.

Bio: Snailmate was formed by Kalen Lander and Ariel Monet in early 2015 in Phoenix, AZ. To date, the band has independently released 3 EPs (on tape and CD) one 7 inch vinyl split, one tape split and one full length album “Love in the Microwave” (digital distribution by OCML records) which together have amassed thousands of physical sales and Digital downloads and garnered praise from press outlets such as Phoenix New Times, Java Magazine, Rogue Valley Messenger, ABQ Free Press and more. The band’s self-booked touring began spring of 2015 and they haven’t stopped since. Snailmate has played clubs in every region of the country while also performing at SXSW, Evel Knievel days, UFO festival, multiple pride festivals, State fairs, Maximum Ames and Fog Fest.  The duo will continue touring the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe and more until they die.

 

-Caleb

 

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.