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

Morning Commute: Small Words – “Darling”

Good morning B-Side Back Massagers (idk man, I’m running out of alliterative ideas). I have a really great indie/pop-punk style track from Small Words to share with you this morning. This song reminds me of the best parts of my late teens/early 20s. It captures the angst, the newly found freedom, and the cautious hope that I sometimes get nostalgia for now that I’m pushing 30. Let’s dive into the first verse and chorus:

“Darling, I am calling.
I’m locked outside
With someone else,
A fragment of my former self.
So darling, could you save me?
I’m not the type to ask for help,
But if you could I’ve never felt this way.
Lets get away.
I’m far too drunk to drive,
Do you think you could??
We took the back road
singing ladadadada”

  1. I appreciate this song advocating for not driving drunk.
  2. On a serious note, these lyrics perfectly capture that youth I was talking about before. Drunk, figuring out who you are, singing on back roads with friends (or more than friends), it’s really a beautiful nostalgic picture.

If you are looking for more from Small Words, this song is from an EP called For What It’s Worthless which you can find here: For What It’s Worthless.

 

Bio: Small Words is an energetic Indie-Rock band out of Indianapolis, IN.

With 2016’s “For What It’s Worthless” EP, the 5-piece quickly began making a name for themselves in the music scene.

Drawing influence from a myriad of genres, the band keeps the audience on their toes, and glued to their performance.

2019 will see the release of their new record, “Good Day, Bad Me”, recorded at The Lumberyard in Hammonton, NJ. (Produced, and mixed by Ace Enders, and Nik Bruzzese)

The album explores the struggles of addiction, grief, depression, and accepting one’s own mortality without spoon feeding you “it’s gonna be okay”’s. In these trying times we need to know that it’s okay to struggle, and no one needs to fight their demons alone.

 

– Caleb

Morning Commute: Favours – “In The Night”

Image result for favours band

Good morning B-Side Badasses! (oh, I like that one, that’s pretty good). I have an incredible song for you this morning. Their spotify numbers are mind blowing to me. This song only has 1,000 plays? What? Hopefully we can get those numbers up some today because I think everyone on the planet needs to hear this one. The band describes the track as: “‘In The Night’ is a ballad for the stuck ones in an unfulfilling cycle of repetition. It’s about escaping from the banality of the day and longing for the dreams that seem just out of reach.” Um…so…basically all of us in modern society no? I know it at least applies to me. One of my goals for 2019 is to dream bigger, and take some practical steps to achieve those dreams, so I appreciate this song this morning as a nice reminder of why it is important. So many of us let our lives drift by without trying to do anything to shake it up, or rock the boat, me included. Let’s reflect this morning, as we listen to this beautiful orchestrated synthy jam, on what parts of our lives we are just going through the motions on, and how we can shake ourselves out of that.

Links: Facebook / Instagram

Bio: Favours plays 80s and 90s influenced dark synth rock combining British new wave with modern dream pop influences. The band features female and male vocals using their lyrical identities to embody the narrative they croon about.

-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

 

The Flock: New Release Friday: Dave Cavalier, Juliana Strangelove, Flo, Loneborn, Sarah MacDougall, Skout

*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.”

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.

Dave Cavalier: “Snap Out of It”

Have you ever had a relationship that you knew was bad for you, but you continued it anyway? Yeah me too. That’s why I really love this song and video from Dave Cavalier, where we see an alluring relationship slowly fade into both parties leaving dark marks on the other until they are both completely covered. It’s not just the video either, the lyrics lend itself to a similar theme:

“She put something on my tongue in Paris
“20 minutes and you’ll be fine”
Now we’re driving bout hundred seven
Down a back road quarter mile
This street goes straight to heaven
We wanna get lost for a while”

“Rent my gun but ya buying the bullet
I’m a semi automatic tearing through your mind
Whisper like a twister cuz
I’m up to something”

So in both scenarios, they are playing with fire and pushing it as close as they can without getting burned. As we all know, that can only last for so long before things start to deteriorate. Which is why the song ends like this:

“My bad habits
Make me a freak, love
When I’m howling
At the moon
If you wanna
Take em from me
They’ve tried and they’ve tried
Snap out of it”

This song is my new “bad habit” because no matter what, I can’t stop listening to it. Don’t forget to check out all these songs on our July TOTD playlist (it’s linked at the bottom of the post).

Juliana Strangelove – “Far From Moscow”

If you weren’t immediately sucked in with that opening riff, I don’t think we can be friends. Then when the kick drum kicks in, there’s pretty much no way not to tap your foot along. This song completely blew me away when I first heard it. It went from, “oh that’s a great southern/bluegrass riff”, to “oh I didn’t know that Billy Corgan was here”, to “wow these lyrics are so delightfully grungy and aggressive.”

I never knew how to describe these vocals, but luckily, Juliana’s camp explained it to us: “Contra-alto Corner describes it as ‘unique, dark and powerful’, with the heavy richness that makes the Profondo voice such a mesmerizing instrument’. In layman’s terms: Juliana sings in male keys and does it well.” I have to agree completely. If someone had thrown this on without telling me the name, I would’ve assumed it was a guy (specifically Billy Corgan like I mentioned before). It kind of reminds me of my first time hearing Alabama Shakes and then seeing Brittany for the first time and being blown away. I expect a similar come up for Juliana Strangelove, and can’t wait to see what else she creates.

One more fun fact before we move on that proves a little bit more about her badassery: She has another song called “Moscow Heterosexual Blues” which we’ve added to the July TOTD playlist. The video featured men in drag, which in and of itself isn’t all that wild, but then consider where she is from (Russia), and how Putin feels about LGBTQ+ rights and it adds a whole new level of rebellion to her character.

Flo – “Velvet”

“Looking backwards and forwards at once,

finding loopholes for time to start.”

I actually feel like that line describes my feelings on this song pretty well. It is stepping into a tradition of other pop/folk/singer-songwriters but it doesn’t sound like a retread. Flo has her own…flow. I know, I know, dad-jokes. Something you may also find impressive (I did), is that Floraine Hu (Flo), plays guitar and keys along with her beautiful singing voice.

The song title, “Velvet” gets referenced in the opening lines that describe wrapping someone in a velvet cloth to keep them warm, only to have them leave you again soon after recovering. It brings to mind nursing a baby bird back to health, and then letting it take to the skies again. I tend to think it’s more of a metaphor than literal. It seems like a good way to describe a relationship in which one person leans heavily on the other, and then leaves without appreciation. It’s really gut wrenching, yet hidden discretely within Flo’s cherubic vocals.

Loneborn – “Ghosts”

“I see a ghost who’s trying to pretend,

haunting memories of things I never did.

I see a ghost that’s staring back at me,

the echoes of a dream, a door without a key.”

I really love the chorus of this song. I’m not sure I fully understand it, but it feels important. At first when I heard/read it, I thought “haunting memories of things I never did” meant that this ghost was accusing the speaker of things and the speaker was like “no bro, I didn’t do that.” But the more I listened, and thought about it, I think the ghost is haunting the speaker by pointing out missed opportunities. “The echoes of a dream, a door without a key” then becomes those points in our past that we look back and think “what if”, all of those times where maybe we could’ve changed things: new relationships, bad decisions, moments of trauma.

About Loneborn

“Loneborn is an odd-ball collaboration between a producer with years of experience in the industry writing jingles and a graphic designer with brilliantly contagious musical ideas but no traditional musical knowledge. Having originally met in middle school, the duo took on separate career paths throughout the years and lost touch. Raul Garcia, a prolific commercial jingle-writer and indie rock producer, was reacquainted with Jonathan Tuckler, a percussionist & graphic designer on the rise, when the two decided to jam over some beers. When Tuckler began humming melodies and plotting out entire songs using only drums, Garcia decided the two should hit the studio to see how far the ideas could go.”

 

Sarah MacDougall – “Empire”

This is just one of those songs that gives you goosebumps. It has the slow build of an almost acapella first verse, and then those first “woah”s kick in and you can’t help but feel a flood of emotion, just like the singer seems to. And when you dive into the lyrics:

“We destroyed everything

Destroyed everything that was good

We destroyed everything good

Oh oh oh

Is this our empire, Is this our empire?

Oh oh oh

Is this our empire, is this our empire at our feet? ”

It is pretty clear we are singing about a tragedy of epic proportions. It almost reminds me of that line in NIN’s song “Hurt” that mentions “my empire of dirt”. Both songs are thinking about our lives as an empire, and how fleeting those empires are.

“There is so much I could have said And now I’m counting

all the hours I have left to tell you anything

We are born and then we die and in between we

are alive so let the bells ring, let the bells ring”

Now, it does seem to end on a somewhat positive note, even when it’s clouded in realism. We all have a set amount of time here, to say the things we want to say, to see the things we want to see, and that is admittedly tragic. But with the bells ringing out at “in between we are alive”, we can think about all the bells that ring in human lives. Bells of celebration, like a birth, or a wedding, bells of mourning, like a funeral, but all the bells are good bells, because we do get this time at all. What are you doing with yours?

Skout – “Space in Between”

I like putting this song right after the intensity of that last one. It has a similar feel, in the sense that it clearly acknowledges that not everything is rosy all the time. The speaker is desperately looking for “the space in between” to breathe for a while. It seems like at times they are lost in the hustle and bustle of life, and feeling the time slip away. They say, “I don’t need to know where I’ll be in five years.” In a world, especially an America, that says if you aren’t moving you are losing, we often forget how important it is to stop and smell the roses for a moment.

“Where do I go when living is home?”

This refrain has me a little perplexed, but also I find it so beautiful. I guess with what we’ve already said about the song, it is a preponderance on how to find “the space in between”. The ticking clock doesn’t stop, the hustle and need for money doesn’t stop; you can very quickly blink and wake up with years passing you by. Don’t forget to breathe, and look for the spaces that you can hold onto.

 

-Caleb

Want to hear more? These songs and more can be found on our July TOTD playlist right here.

Also, did you know we have a podcast? It’s got enough music and content you’ve never heard to last you for a 30 hour road trip. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Morning Commute: Coyle Girelli – “My Blue Heart”

Happy Fourth of July! Let’s start it off right with some raw Americana that involves both Red and Blue as a mainstay in the lyrics.:”I’ve got a blue, blue, blue heart and it’s bleeding red”. I really can’t get enough of this song. It sounds like it stepped right out of almost any era, with ranges from Johnny Cash to Jason Isbell to Roy Orbison. Let’s dive a bit into the lyrics:

“I’m Mr Nameless
In a town full of ghosts
I’m walking this road alone
Everywhere I go

I’m got a blue, blue blue heart
And it’s bleeding red

I hope tomorrow won’t hurt as much
And all my sorrow be gone gone gone with just a little love

Maybe there’s someone
As lonely as me
Looking out at the moon
Asking for somebody ”

So it’s someone who feels like their entire worldview is blue and doesn’t see much hope. He does seem to hope that one day he can find someone to share his sorrow with, and that maybe they can start to fix each other with that empathy. It’s really a beautiful sentiment, and very romanticized. From experience, two broken people can definitely make each other feel better, even if it’s not the most stable relationship all the time. I’ve never been able to sustain something like that, but it’s definitely a good starting point.

Bio: “The Chevin frontman, Coyle Girelli, releases his second solo single — “My Blue Heart” —

on Friday, June 8. The song, which follows on the heels of the first single “Where’s My Girl?,” is the second from his upcoming debut solo album, “Love Kills,” out in summer 2018.

“My Blue Heart” opens with a dirty guitar riff and stomps with an Americana heartbeat all the way through its two-minute length. The simplicity and straightforwardness of the shortest song on the album is a nod to an era of classic songwriting that inspires Girelli. Like most of the songs on the album, Girelli is the solo songwriter of “My Blue Heart.” Notably, “My Blue Heart” is the only song that he also mixed.

“I loved the rawness of this recording and this song. It’s honest, simple and satisfying like a good plate of mac & cheese,” said Girelli.

The “Love Kills” album will offer up a moody, romantic, cinematic tone, which Girelli labels Modern Noir.”

 

I certainly know if it sounds anything like this song, I’ll be all about it. Want to hear more? Check out this song and more on our July TOTD playlist on Spotify.