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

 

The Flock: Folk and Singer Songwriter – Jeremy Voltz, I Am Soyuz, Kelsi Walker, Bad Flamingo, Gina Cimmelli, Sam Shaky, Lena Fjortoft, Mike O’Malley + Beastie Band

*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.

Jeremy Voltz – First

We are starting off this edition of The Flock with an absolute stunner. This is Jeremy Voltz’s debut single, and it is really incredible stuff. There are times where you get to hear an artist from the very beginning, and you think to yourself, “This is about to happen for them.” With emotive and honest vocals, First has a simple and thought provoking message; ask for help if you need it and help when you can give it. With a vocal range similar to chart-toppers like Hozier and James Bay, I can pretty much guarantee this isn’t the last we’ve heard from Jeremy.

I Am Soyuz – Alone

With the second track, we get into Swedish artist, I Am Soyuz, and her song that is essentially the antithesis of the above track. The chorus makes the song seem like Felicia, the person behind I Am Soyuz, would rather deal with stuff on her own, not really looking to the outside world for help.

Don’t talk to me stranger
Just do me a favor

Don’t share your joy or sorrow

As an extrovert to the nth degree, I have a feeling that Felicia and I may not be the best of friends, but I’m absolutely in love with her music.

Kelsi Walker – Breathe

I swear I thought this was a deep cut track from Julien Baker. With similar vulnerability, but a timbre that’s all her own once she gets to the buildup, Kelsi Walker pulls back the top on depression and heartache, letting listeners know that there is a light. I was actually talking to a close friend earlier tonight about this exact sentiment. We may not know the right words to say to people, but the important thing is that we say something. We let them know we are there. Depression feels like you’re brain is exhausted from yelling into a vacuum where nobody cares or listens. The important thing is to start a dialogue. This song gives you that starting point.

Bad Flamingo – Lord Knows I Tried

Give a man a mask, and he will tell you the truth. -Oscar Wilde

Masked banditos, person on the left and person on the right (no, seriously. Check their website bio.), are the truth we all need right now. With a rambling melody and honest lyrics, Lord Knows I tried is a track that is made for riding horses into sunsets. Or the scene where the protagonist tries to deliver on promises they haven’t kept. Or scenes where the protagonist realizes that their fight is futile in the face of change. Really, this song belongs anywhere in gritty dramas. Speak of the devil, their music will actually be in an upcoming tv series called Yellowstone that will have all of the aforementioned scenarios throughout the series. Bad Flamingo is already finding a foothold in a major market television series, so get on now so you can be the one to tell your friends about our new masked friends.

Gina Cimmelli – midnight

“i just want to leave the earth
and all its gravity
find new friends in the stars
and sleep for eternity, all eternity

i’m not the strong one
not when it’s said and done
ruined our lives
shouldn’t come as a surprise”

Such a beautiful and haunting sentiment with this one. The vocal stylings of Gina Cimelli are so airy and spacey, which makes “midnight” a perfect track for me. The lyrics fit, but it’s also the entire atmosphere that makes you feel both the magic and loneliness involved in being up late at night, whether you are with someone else or not.

 

 

Sam Shaky – Ghost

Sam Shaky has a voice that feels ethereal but tangible at the same time. His track, Ghost, is a well-written track that could be about anything from an unforgiving breakup to losing a loved one, and if you have been reading the blog for any length of time, you know that we love ambiguity in lyrics. The song leaves the meaning open to interpretation, and uses Sam as a vessel to guide you to your own conclusions.

Lena Fjortoft – Mr. Snow

Besides having perfect album art, Lena also has an incredible voice that is equal parts moving vibrato and steadfast pitch. She straddles that line between folk and crooning country, dipping into both throughout the track. Mr. Snow is a love song… well… it’s about love. And death. Mostly about love though, right Lena? Definitely.

Who am I kidding? We love dark songs here at B-Side Guys, and this track is right up our alley! Bring us all of your death songs, Lena.

Mike O’Malley + Beastie Band – Goblin

I love concept albums. Growlers is that, but takes it a step further. Most concept albums have the lyrics or the instrumentation focus on a specific theme or element. Growlers is something really interesting, and it’s probably unlike anything you’ve heard before. In the words of Mike O’Malley, Growlers is “four songs written on the mandocello on the theme of bad masculinity, patterned on the theory of the four humors. Orchestrated in mosaic – a billion tiny instruments playing tiny parts, like debris underfoot in an awful little room.”

With tight harmonies and honest leads, the vocals work harmoniously with the instrumentals, forming a composition that floats into a new genre that may only be occupied by Mike O’Malley +Beastie Band: orchestral folk.

 

-Seth and Caleb

While you’re here, feel free to poke around the blog. I recommend checking out the podcast and daily features first.

Morning Commute: Yellow Shoots “magic on my pillow”

“So I wake up in the morning, make a strong cup of coffee/ I can see you on the tele, see the fun that you’re having”

Maybe it’s a stretch, because this is a little more mellow than our normal morning commmutes, but I love the song, and I write the blog so….

Mixing elements that remind me of other productions like Glass Animals or Tame Impala, Yellow Shoots sounds both familiar, and completely unique. The lyrics themselves seem to focus on being “ghosted”. For any old fogies reading this, ghosted is when someone you think you have potential with completely stops responding to texts or messages. Instead of maturely explaining to someone that you are not interested, they just go silent and wait on you to get the message. (can you tell I have experience?) This song accurately portrays the confusion and hurt that is involved in the process. A hurt I think is magnified more than if someone was just straight up with you, because it takes to some time to figure out what’s happening, and where it went wrong, and you really never get closure.

Press Release:

“Brooklyn-based alternative producer and indie artist Yellow Shoots presents his latest single “magic on my pillow” from the forthcoming Everything LP. The follow-up to lead single “Desert Rose” is a tipsy slow drag that marries meandering synths, psychedelic sitars and jangly acoustic guitar with sumptuous bass. In keeping with tradition, Yellow Shoots’ raspy falsetto anchors the record. Seeping into every corner of the song about meaningless relationships, his voice lends an eerie, soulful presence to the track that makes the lyrics levitate. Questioning a flakey love interest he quips, “So why you call me if you can’t keep the flow?” The words hammer straight into the root of what it feels like to be ghosted by someone – a lover or a friend.

Greg formally launched Yellow Shoots with the More Alive EP in 2015 and the 2017 follow-up Stormy Weather. During this time he was also a heavy collaborator with iLLMind and Brooklyn heavy-weight, Skyzoo. His holistic approach to songwriting and production quickly attracted endorsements from renowned publications such as The Fader, Okay Player, EarMilk and RnB Nation. Spotify touted the tunes on playlists such as “Fresh Finds”, “New Indie Mix,” “New Zealand Viral 50” and “Best of Fresh Finds 2017: Six Strings”.

Yellow Shoots’ debut album “everything” is scheduled to be released July 2018.”

-Caleb

You don’t have to look too far to find him on Spotify, we’ve added him to our monthly TOTD playlist right here. Don’t forget to look out for his full length album coming out next month.

 

New Release Friday: HAUS Music, Ryan Svendsen, Jesse Jo Stark, Cara Hammond, Joe Garvey, The Millennial Club, The Little Miss, The Fey

Happy official Summer everyone! To kick off this most glorious season, we have a bevy of brand new summer related tracks for you to check out. Some of you may have come here because your favorite band shared this on social media, and please, do check their write up, but stick around for a while; if we have good enough taste to like your favorite band, I bet we have more out there for you too.

HAUS Music – “Rêves Ephémères”

Let’s get this started strong here with HAUS Music. This is another one of those songs we like to share where we don’t understand any of the lyrics (because we are stupid Americans) but the vibe of the song is so infectious that I don’t think I need to. Music is a universal language. Luckily I do have a little bit of background with what they are talking about:

“Mitchell says, “Rêves Ephémères translates to Ephemeral Dreams. It is an acknowledgment that stories that we invent for ourselves to carry us forward can and will just as often carry us somewhere we didn’t intend to go. For me it is a gentle reminder that happiness doesn’t come all at once at some point in the future; instead, it grows slowly over time. Don’t get trapped in a cycle of unhappiness thinking it can bring you anything but pain.”

There’s no doubt that this song is Ephemeral, whether you know every word that is being mentioned or not. I hope we can remember his message about happiness, and avoiding unhappiness throughout this summer.

Ryan Svendsen – “One Hundred Percent Ft. Jerome Thomas”

Have you figured out the beautiful thing about these lists yet? If you come in for one band, of a certain style, you may find another band of a completely different style to also add to your list. I think this song has to be on everyone’s list. Ryan Svendsen is a talented musician who has been featured on tracks by Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato, and here you can see his creative vision taking shape under his own direction. I have to say, it’s gorgeous. Like all the songs in this list, it is absolutely perfect summer music, and luckily Ryan released this just in time for the first day of summer. Let me encourage anyone who likes horns to go check out Ryan’s back discography. It’s perfect for chilling out, background for work, or a party. It’s multifarious.

 

Jesse Jo Stark – “Dandelion”

The first thing I thought when I heard this song was how anyone who likes Lana Del Rey will almost certainly get a kick out of Jesse Jo Stark. They have similar vocal styles, and musical accompaniment. With this song, Jesse Jo Stark sings about loving something that you shouldn’t, and how complicated that quickly gets. Anyone got any theories on the title? I mean obviously Dandelions are a nice yellow flower, but I also tend to think of the seed heads, and how quickly they can blow away. Maybe this relationship is more like the latter?

Cara Hammond – “How I Feel”

How about this amazing bluesy single from Cara Hammond? This is the first song off new EP called Nice Girl, coming out in the fall. When asked about the song Cara describes it as: “How I Feel is a very relatable song about love, loss and nostalgia,” explains Cara “I think the track picks up on those little details and memories which are present in all types of relationships, making it a very powerful song” I can certainly hear that. There is a  mention of going out to bars, just hoping to see someone and ask how they are, and a lot of that terrible feeling after breaking up with someone that was once important, and no longer feeling very important to them. Really heart wrenching stuff, wrapped in a beautifully sung package.

 

Joe Garvey – “What Your Time Is Worth”

Joe Garvey asks us an important question with this smooth funk/pop song: “Do you know what your time is worth?” He begs us to consider how quickly the time passes, even a nice 80 year life is too short. In an age of increasing technology, distraction, and hustle and bustle, it seems that time isn’t what it used to be. Are you using yours the way you want to? Are you wasting days? I read once that we have about 4500 days worth of free time, meaning not work, not sleep, etc. That’s a disturbingly low number. Do you know what your time is worth?

 

The Millennial Club – “Santa Barbara”

This track is the perfect summer track. It has the perfect amount of groove to it; it even has a little bit of a California Dre whine going in the background. According to their promo materials: “At an early age, The Millennial Club has managed to blend dance-inspired 80’s pop, beat-driven 90’s R&B, and emotional love-centered lyricism to shape their original Southern California sound.” I would say that says it better than I can. These guys are on the rise, and I could even see them breaking into a top 40 style market eventually. They mix everything I love about summer into one convenient package.

The Little Miss – “American Dream”

Usually I like to get into the lyrics and try to dissect them, put my own spin on the song, etc. This song is too important to not get the words straight from the artist’s mouth. I will say this though, the irony is something that you can taste in this song, and it doesn’t taste like apple pie. The American Dream is an afterthought, a delusion that people once had, a book that you never got around to reading, collecting dust in the attic. I think it should be, at least. The thought that the American Dream has to be this perfect series of check boxes is just a way to sell more ranch style homes and Coke.

“I wrote ‘American Dream’ at a time when the tension in our country felt palpable. This was five years ago. Now, seemingly more divided than ever, I questioned whether or not I should release a song that sounds so blindly idealistic. To be clear, “American Dream” is not an endorsement of this country as it stands now. I don’t think that it is unpatriotic to think that we can do better than this. The American Dream, as it has been fed to us – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – has not delivered on its promises for many (if not most of us). So, while the song yearns for this made-up, sepia-toned time that never existed, it notes exactly that: that it never existed. We’re enchanted by our own, but very limited folklore – the pioneers, the Wild West, the civil war, the nuclear family, the moon landing, etc. We have romantic notions about who we are and who we’ve been, and it is tempting, for all of us, to want to wear those rose-colored glasses. But in order to become better, and in order to progress, we need to take off the glasses and take a good look in the mirror. We all want the same thing: to feel proud of the country we call home – we just need to accept the fact that it might be healthier to learn from our history rather than glamorize it. The lives of so many depend on it.”

 

The Fey – Contender

What is this?!? I seriously have no idea. It blends so many different genres into one crazy rollercoaster, and I loved every second of the ride. I read the bands description of their sound, and it reads as follows: “Dominantly a new age American rock-soul-r&b band, The Fey, also expresses a touch of the contemporary vibes of hip-hop and pop.” As a guy who listens to over 20 new bands a day, when you read a statement like that, you think, “Yeah, okay. Which part do you do well, though?” Most of the time it’s like a restaurant that has 50 menu items, and all of them are average. This is not most of the time. These guys know who they are, and they do rock, soul, r&b, hip-hop, and pop equally well. With strong guitar riffs and organs, smooth vocal runs, and a nice hip-hop verse, The Fey is the true definition of a multi-genre group.

 

-Caleb and Seth

 

As always, check out all of these tracks and more on our June Spotify Playlist. 

Video of the Day: Rotana “Crime”

Rotana steals the Video of the Day even though the video itself is a simple loop. That tells you two things: the loop is appealing to the eye, and the song is absolutely stellar. Rotana’s voice comes from the most vulnerable part of a person, and the lyrics are open and honest.

If nothing is for keeps
Can I keep you close for a minute?
I don’t know what’s real,
But I really want to feel you now.

Get a little close
Can I stop your heart for a minute?
If we don’t give a fuck,
Is that really such a crime?

The chorus speaks to object impermanence and how life is a finite structure with a definitive end at an undisclosed time. We’ve been on a kick of talking about pursuing what is going to make you the happiest and worrying about the consequences later, and this song is no different.

Rotana’s voice held onto me for over two minutes as minimal instruments backed her up, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. What a great track for when you’re hanging out with someone you love, or at least moderately like…

Morning Commute: Caelo – “How Does It Feel”

Good morning readers. If coffee isn’t enough this morning, we have a high energy track to wake you up. Mixing elements of punk, alt. rock, stadium anthems, and more, Caelo asks us “How Does It Feel” this morning. It feels good Caelo, it feels good. The thing I like most about this track is, on it’s surface, the riff is somewhat simplistic and straightforward, but as the song builds, you start to hear all of these additional elements that layer it and make it clear that Caelo aren’t just interested in being another punk band. The hook has a Foo Fighters vibe to me, and then later in the song we get some interesting synth elements that take it into an almost Muse-ish direction.

Basically I guess what I’m saying is, Caelo has successfully taken some of the world’s biggest rock sounds from the past decade, and mashed them together in a sound that is all their own. And the best part? This is a B-Side track. Go check them out on Spotify to hear more of their singles and really get a feel for the full array of potential in this band. You can also catch them on our monthly Spotify playlist right here.

-Caleb

 

Morning Commute: Cloudmouth “Nice Looking Mountain”

 

Good morning guys! I’ve been traveling around my hometown all weekend, and it’s made keeping up with the blog a little difficult, but I think we are back on schedule now, and we are coming back with a very strong song. This song has a ton of wonderful sentiments throughout it. It starts strong with:

“All my time is spent chasing the meaning and the money, and the funny thing is lost along the way.
All I need is a nice looking mountain, a little fire burning, and a bottle or two (three, four five).”

I don’t know about you guys, but I feel this way at least once a work when I’m waking up to go to my job. I think most of us would be quite content with a pretty simple existence, with some time to search for meaning and a good time. Unfortunately, our society is set up to make that a herculean task. I am hopeful that all of you out there can strike your work/life balance in a way that finds you content. It’s no easy mission.

I’ll end with some word from the song itself, because they express the duality of this sentiment quite well:

“Some people truly follow their heart,
others just carry it around like a breifcase or a pumping clutch, all covered in blood, and it’s just dragging them down.”

-Caleb

As always, you can find this song and all our other June tracks on our Spotify playlist right here. 

 

 

Morning Commute: Madge – “Alice”

 

 

Alright guys. Let’s get weird this morning. This song blew me away with how unique it is. I hear a 90s Dre sort of whine going on the background, there are sing-songy children vocals, there are so many instruments I can’t even point them all out. This song is truly unique, which is something that I rarely can say even about a lot of the music I’ve always liked.

After reading up on her background a bit, I guess it shouldn’t be surprising how unique this all sounds.  From her press release:

“Delving into the legacy of her Mormon upbringing in Utah, contemporary spirituality, and a passion for 80s dark wave, Madge has created her own lane with a DIY approach to maximalist pop, drawing comparisons to Grimes and Charli XCX along the way.

On ” Alice ” an unforgettable bassline sets the foundation for witchy vocals that float atop wood-block percussion, wood-winds, and a cat’s meow. The song is interjected by a call-and-response made up of childlike voices, representative of the self-destructive voices inside our heads. The line “…boys be wary, Alice gonna check you like a good library” is about as badass as it gets. ”

I really wish I could say anything nearly as neatly intricate as that summation, but I’ll just say this: Very few artists are being as simultaneously experimental and catchy as this track is, and I’m very anxious to see how this develops over time. In the meantime, go listen to this song over an over on her SoundCloud or on our Spotify playlist, which you can find here. 

Morning Commute: ollebirde – “You Let Me Down”

Wake up! It’s Saturday morning and I have the perfect song to get your Saturday started right! The build up on this song is so cool, and I love that the melody reminds me so much of that classic Wham! song “Careless Whisper”Where that song meanders and ventures in melancholy, this song stays upbeat and makes you want to dance around the kitchen while you get your coffee going and make brunch plans.

Also, I just have to mention some other things that ollebirde have done that I’m in love with, like this beautiful cover of one of my favorite The National songs:

What I’m basically saying is, go follow them everywhere you can, because they are oozing with potential and I can’t wait to see what else they create.

-Caleb

Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog, and our social media here. 

Do you like podcasts? Please check out our most recent episode and let us know what you think. 

Morning Commute Double Feature: Jim Audet

Get ready for a music filled day from B-Side Guys! New music Friday means tons and tons of new music just for you guys!

“Mojave Rain” is about the procrastination of the government to do anything about mass shootings, and how it becomes too late for those who are unfortunate enough to be involved in these events.

“Sex & Money” is track 1 off “The Lookout EP” set to release June 1st on Spotify. “The Lookout EP” is an “off the wall” concept record dealing with a spectrum of socio-political problems, mainly issues surrounding our culture’s obsession with sex, money, and violence in the media.

 

Alright. Now that you’ve listened to both, let’s explore them:

 

“Mojave Rain

First of all, how great is this guy’s voice? I told him he sounds like a slightly higher pitched Jim Morrison, especially on the “Sex and Money” track. The song itself is very topical, unfortunately it’s topical about every two weeks or so, because it’s about mass shootings and the governmental response to them.

The song starts with really strong, jarring lyrics:

“They no need no control
Gonna bet a dime, little Suzie, gonna bet your soul”

Referring to the seeming willingness for our government to sacrifice children for a quick buck, or more specifically the willingness of those who lobby the government to do so. Obviously gun control is a hot button layered issue, but I think it’s art’s job to help us think about these things that effect us, and the song really makes it clear what’s at stake in this debate.

“Good God, it’s too late,
Got caught up in a downpour, in the Mojave Rain

Say son, did you make the grade?
Save a brother down with a barricade, when there was rain in the Mojave?
Was it oh, so D.F.A, with a window wide on 32? ”

 

I love the dissonance between making the grade and saving someone. These two things shouldn’t be happening side by side, and you could argue if they are happening side by side, the learning environment is going to be effected. My biggest question in the song is why the title and repetition of Mojave rain? I know the Mojave is a desert, so it doesn’t get much rain. In fact it is the driest desert in all of North America. Maybe he’s using that as a metaphor for how unlikely it is to see any change on this issue soon? What do you guys think?

 

 

“Sex and Money”

I’m not going to talk about this one too at length because (hint hint) you’re going to be seeing this one again on the podcast. But like I mentioned before, how much does this song sound like a modernized The Doors song? I also love the throwback visuals of the video. There is a lot to explore here regarding our societies relationship to sex, money, and violence, and we will be following up that discussion on our podcast in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, check out all of Jim Audet’s new EP right here, and support this dude so we can see what else he comes up with.

 

-Caleb