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

Mid-Day Music Blast: Joel Porter – “Amaranthine”

I admittedly didn’t know what an Amaranthine was, so I looked it up:

” The appellation is rooted in the Greek words “amarantos,” meaning “immortal” or “unfading,” and “anthos,” meaning “flower.” The word “amaranthine” emerged as an adjective of the imaginary flower and subsequently of anything possessing its undying quality” (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

So as a metaphor, it’s really quite beautiful. It is a flower that doesn’t exist, because it cannot exist, because the quality that defines it is immortality, and everything ends. Nonetheless, artistry explores abstract concepts that don’t have to sync up with reality all the time, and so Amaranthine can be as real as a song, an idea, a poem. The song itself backs up these poetic notions with it’s lyrical and atmospheric quality. Here’s my favorite snippet:

“Winter love and paradigm stoic
I cannot live like this
Strike the match to burn my pattern holding
Today I choose to live
Away from infinite (Someday I’ll befriend to death, there I’ll stay in Infinite)”

 

As someone who tries to take a stoic attitude toward things I cannot control (such as death in this example), I really connected with these lyrics. It seems that he is feeling the pull between trying to live stoically in the face of certain death (the infinite), and also that we as humans are passionate, we are not always meant to be stoic, and for a moment, maybe it’s best to light that passion on fire, forget about the inevitable end for a while, and hope maybe one day in the future he can “befriend death”. Whether that’s the literal meaning or not, it’s the message I needed to hear today. I’m very thankful that Joel Porter shared it with us.

Bio: Joel Porter is an ambient-folk writer, instrumentalist, and producer from North Dakota, now living in Nashville, TN. As an instrumentalist, he has recorded string and brass parts for Foreign Fields, Hembree, Matthew And The Atlas and Boom Forest. In 2017, with the guidance of producer Eric hillman (e.hillman – Foreign Fields), he introduced his intimate, ambient-folk solo project with the release of the nature-inspired Mountain Twin EP. Again in collaboration with Hillman, Joel recently released his heritage-inspired Hiraeth – EP on August 3, 2018. For the release, in collaboration with creative company Makewell, Joel created a pop-up gallery event featuring 20 different artists from the Midwest region. Over 50 pieces of art were shown, as well as the premiere of Joel’s album-length film “Hiraeth”, which told a visual story and further supported the themes and messages on the Hiraeth – EP.

A native musical son of Bismarck, Joel went to Nashville to find his truth. Along the way, he met other travelers seeking the same truth that he was. He returned to North Dakota and discovered that there were spirits hidden in cracks and crevices everywhere he looked. His simple observation could coax these beautiful truths out of hiding. His dreams of mountainside campfires and prairie oceans were full of them. And from these observations, he felt certain he was emboldening and strengthening the truths that he was finding. Making them richer and deeper.

-Caleb

 

Mid-Day Music Blast: Paintbox – “Honey”

Down EP by Paintbox

I’ve been so excited for this song for months now! Paintbox has such a unique sound that mixes so many of my favorite genres. The most obvious elements are folk in nature, but beneath that there is a subtle funk/soul vibe that drives the song from a nice singer/songwriter vibe to an epic ballad that pulls goosebumps up on your forearms. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics:

“I shuffled into town wonderin’ where to go
There is a home, I asked the man on the road he was praying to the Lord
He said if you go right there’ll be troubles you’ll find
Left will leave you just as sore, boy
Life is like lickin’ honey off a thorn
But

I heard its sweet, heard its sweet
Where the rivers do meet right before they reach the bend
And there’s a nice soft place to lay your head
You count your best, you count your worst,
But what is your comfort worth
To you when the truth is most everything it hurts”

 

Before I break the message down, I just want to say “life is like lickin’ honey off a thorn” is one of the best lines I’ve ever heard. It’s so succinct and relatable, perfect poetry. This song does a good job of analyzing the idea of comfort, how much of it is necessary, and if comfort even equals happiness at all. To me it seems that a lot of the times I’ve felt most alive have coincided with very little comfort: road trips, long hikes, foreign places. So maybe if you acknowledge that life is bumpy, whether you sit in the same place, or put yourself somewhere new, you can free yourself up to make the best of the time we do have here.

Bio: ​Paintbox is a Los Angeles based band that plays a unique combination of funk, folk, and soul. Formed in 2014 by singer Jake Dupre and guitarist Luca Brown, the band’s sound is a mixture of crafted songwriting and collective improvisation. Paintbox is currently writing for their second studio album, and playing shows around California.

– Caleb

Morning Commute: The Duskwhales – “Fight Back”

“Yet here we are stuck in this world
Oh it’s riddles in the dark
That keep us up as we toss and turn in
To God only know what

If you can’t fight back then I’ll fight back for ya
If you can’t fight back then I’ll fight back for ya
If you can’t fight back then I’ll fight back ”

Good morning and Happy Weekend! Are you looking for an inspirational story to start off 2019? Good, me too. First, check out this music video to get in the appropriate mood:

Alright, good. The song itself is so upbeat and creates a feeling of safety and warmth with the lyrics. Before I go much deeper, check out this interview from the artist, Chris Baker, before we move on, it’s only 5 minutes and I promise it’s worth your time:

Alright, at this point hopefully you are getting the inspirational story and message. The band describes the motivation behind this project as this: “This song was produced by a non-profit organization called Cancer Can Rock and written after the band’s drummer went through cancer treatment earlier this year. “Fight Back” is an anthem to fight back against cancer and a call to action to help those who can’t help themselves.”

I really like that this song is layered so deeply. On one hand, if you are struggling with something, hopefully it’s inspirational to you to make it through, but also, even if you aren’t struggling with something, I like that the song encourages us to find someone who is, and help them. We are all stuck on this rock hurtling through space together, and we only have each other. Make sure you do your part in making this rock better for someone else. I can’t think of a better way to start off a new year.

 

-Caleb

 

Morning Commute: Spitty the Sequel – “Smokin and Walking”

“often get ahead of myself/a dead head wit said cred we all bled red/white and blue feelings/mixed emotions potion and healing/high pitched squealing keep dealing ya dummies/ we got lights here riot gear/protection for those effected by my affection its an infection we no detection”

The thing I’m immediately struck by in this song is how clever the word play is. There is a nice mix of consistent meter with absolutely insane internal rhyme. I especially like the last line that I pasted above. He also really uses enjambment to his advantage. If you remember that word from high school English class, it’s when you put a line break in a clever place in the middle of a thought. Like this: “Carolina reaper and its gets deeper then in too deep wit a pool stick when its greased up/freak fuck the law the cops and all” In hip hop, it’s less about the placement on the page and more about the way it’s said. So coming off the greased up pool stick, we see “freak fuck” enjambed with “fuck the law, the cops and all. It’s all really so clever.

Here is a bonus video of the song for you guys:

Be sure to check out Spitty the Sequel on social media: Facebook 

Instagram

-Caleb

Looking for more? We’ve added this song and more to our Spotify TOTD Playlist for September. 

 

 

Track of the Day: Six Time Users – “Mattress”

“We see the steel horizon
She’s wearing cherry lipstick
She don’t care for diamonds
Just holy ghosts and matchsticks
You’re hiding on your mattress

The city is a lyric when you hear it
From fire escapes that you climb
So high
Never wanna be the one to sigh-”

This song is one of my absolute favorites right now. The lyrics throughout are a really nice mix of abstract images and really vivid snapshots that make me feel nostalgic for memories that aren’t even mine. The band says this song is about “heartbreak and beauty and moving on in a relationship.” I really love the way that is presented, because there are plenty of break up songs and plenty of love songs, but not a ton of songs that say, hey, this was beautiful, but now it’s over. It’s really hard to have that sort of perspective about something that has fallen apart. But if any of us go back in time enough, we will find someone that we don’t talk to anymore that we used to think the world of.

Bio: Mattress is off of Six TIme User’s debut EP Heads. It deals with themes of sadness, joy and anxiety of modern love in a New York City landscape under the “steel horizon.” The song is the fourth track off of Heads. “Everybody grows, everybody glows.” Lyrics by Pat D. Robinson, music by Evan Harris.

-Caleb

Looking for more music? We’ve added this song and many more to our August Spotify TOTD Playlist. 

 

TOTD: Strawberry Mountain – “Zookeeper Submarine”

How fun is this song? I wish I had all the lyrics for it, but it definitely has some existential sort of questions that I can pick up throughout it. It has a nice mix of trippy Tame Impala sort of elements, along with some indie riffs that make this 5 minute song, feel like a 2 minute power ballad. I’d listen to it constantly even if it was a 10 minute song. I also love the breakdown to a focus on the lyrics around 3:30, complete with an Empire Strikes Back reference. Basically, I’m saying that this is one of the most unique songs I’ve heard in a while and I’m so stoked for the full album: Vegetative to come out.

Bio:Zookeeper Submarine is the first track the band wrote and recorded for their upcoming record, Vegetative, and is the first total collaboration between its members. It was composed, arranged, and recorded by all members of the current lineup. As such, the track tangibly marks the transition of the group from a vessel releasing home recorded audio experiments to a touring live group, writing, producing, performing and creating songs together.”

-Caleb

Want to hear more? We’ve added this track and many more to our August TOTD Playlist on Spotify. 

 

 

The Flock: Singer/Songwriter: Simon Lewis & Onk Lou, Martha Hill, keatsu, Kaiak, Boyce Avenue, David Madras

*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.

Simon Lewis & Onk Lou – “Home 2.0”

The way this was described when it was sent to us was simply: “Two incredible voices in one song that couldn’t be more variant.” When I first started listening to the music, I was like, okay, this first guy has a beautiful voice; I’m sure the other guy does too, but how variant could they really be? And then the second guy came in; and I immediately started to type my response about wanting to feature this song on the blog. Then they harmonize together and I had to stop typing and just listen to the rest of the song before I responded. I was trying to think of who they reminded me of; and I couldn’t come up with anyone that they actually sounded like. They remind me slightly of Middle Brother in the sense that they have very different voices and beautiful lyricism, but these guys have much better voices than Middle Brother (not hating, I love Middle Brother). Let’s dive in briefly to the beautiful lyricism I mentioned:

“I dig a hole in the woods and I grow with the roots and I go with the flood as life tells me so, I let go of the mess created in my head because,
Home is where the heart is and that’s wherever I go.
bridge:
I close my eyes to feel the moment, I walk this path made out of cobblestone, I take a breath before I let it go, when stars collide they fall apart but in the end there’ll always be a start, till than I’ll dance beneath the waterfall”

I could’ve really picked any section of the song and found something to talk about, but I particularly like the message of home being different for different people. In particular; it doesn’t have to be a place with roots stuck in one place, it can also be a flooded river you float down. “Home is where the heart is, and that’s wherever I go.”

Martha Hill – “Spiders”

Do you ever feel like you’re losing your mind? Well this song perfectly describes exactly what that feels like:

“One head two minds

Hands pressing glass from separate sides

Three seconds till I dive

1 2 3 stop

CHORUS

The spiders in my head they just won’t leave me alone

I pick the legs off while I wait for the seconds to slow ”

There’s something about the lyrics that remind me a bit of the short story “The Yellow Wall Paper”, a story where a woman being shut in the house by her husband, becomes increasingly crazy; which causes her husband to shut her in even more for…being crazy.

The beautiful instrumentals that have a nice beat throughout, and then go off the rails like a Pink Floyd bridge at the 2 minutes mark only add to Martha’s haunting vocals that carry you right up to the very last second of the very last “1, 2, 3, stop.” It’s a song that strikes a perfect balance between catchy and disorienting; and I really can’t get enough of it.

Bio: “Martha Hill is a an alternative pop artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

After growing up as one of six siblings on a remote Scottish peninsula, where the only link to the mainland was via ferry, she left home at 17 and spent two years touring across Europe as a street musician.

Eventually relocating to north-east England and falling in with a local ‘scene’ for the first time, Martha and her band have spent the past year touring all over the UK – supporting the likes of Holy Moly & The Crackers and Let’s Eat Grandma at venues such as Borderline, The Cluny etc. – with two DIY tours of Europe falling in between. Her most recent gig was for BBC Introducing, supporting Atlantic-signed Mahalia on The Biggest Weekend Fringe Tour.”

keatsu – “Feel Good”

I realize this isn’t necessarily what you might initially think of as “Singer/Songwriter”, but keatsu is basically a one man show, and it’s my blog, so don’t worry about it. Also, if you only listened to the first little bit, you’d assume the whole thing was just a normal lo-fi project with a guy with an acoustic guitar, and then you quickly see it advance and evolve from there into a beautiful call and response with himself that repeats “I just feel good on the dance floor.” This is something you’d expect to be said by Justin Timberlake with a break beat behind it, but is instead said with lo-fi effects and an a minimalistic guitar. The irony and self awareness of keatsu is my favorite thing about all his projects. He’s one of my favorite artists out the moment. On his full-length, he references everything from Nirvana, to Linkin Park, to pop songs, and it all just works. Literally go throw a dart at his Spotify page and you’ll find 3 new favorite songs. We can get you started with our Spotify link at the bottom of this page (don’t skip down there yet, still plenty of good music to hear).

Kaiak – “No Regrets”

I really could see this song making waves on some mainstream channels in the summer months. The thing that really solidified this song for me, other than the beautiful production and vocals, was the interesting use of horns during the later half of the song. It really was a nice surprise for me that took this song from a nice sounding song that I would listen to again, to a song I immediately saved to all of my Spotify playlists. “Lesson learned, passed the test, life goes on, no regrets.” It’s a message that we’ve all heard before, but gets solidified by the pretty package that Kaiak has presented it in here.

Boyce Avenue – “Ride The Wave”

I immediately thought this looked like an advertisement. I guess that might come off as a bad thing; but I mean like a Super Bowl Ad. It’s one of those heartfelt ones that you expect from Budweiser or something. It’s just so beautifully shot, and the music itself fits the vibe that it’s created so well.

“The tide will rise and fall; some days you will feel small, but ride a wave, I’ll ride it in with you.”

I don’t have kids, but that sentiment is just so beautiful to me. It’s both a lesson and a show of support, an acknowledgment of the harshness of the world, but also saying “I have your back as long as I can.” This message mixed with the family fun and love shown in the video can melt the coldest of hearts. Trust me on that.

David Madras – “Me & You”

And last, but certainly not least. Do you like Phosphorescent? Who doesn’t? David Madras’ voice reminds me so much of Phosphorescent. I’m really excited to announce that this song will be a part of our upcoming podcast episode that focuses on Existentialism. Oh you didn’t know we had a podcast? Check it out here. Since we are focusing on it on the podcast, I don’t want to spoil too much here, but let’s dive briefly into one of the lines.

“She said she had a little revelation, about the way the clouds appear, and how a day becomes a year. She said she had a little realization, about everything she’s ever feared, and suddenly it’s drawing near.”

I don’t know about you guys, but I connect to the “she” in this song so strongly. The existentialism episode is going to talk about it at length, but basically the idea is that you suddenly feel and question how tiny and insignificant you are in the cosmos; and this song perfectly captures that feeling. Is that a bad feeling? Yeah, sometimes. But it can also be empowering. “She says, we are young, me and you, there’s so much that I don’t know and I’m never going to. We are young, there’s so much left to do, all the wonders of the world for a boy and girl like me and you.”

 

-Caleb

Did you like these songs? Good, me too. Want to hear them again? They are all on our July TOTD Playlist on Spotify. 

TOTD: Jesse Daniel “Gracie Henrietta”

 

It’s Friday night! Are you guys partying? The second you hit a lull and need a pick me up, throw this song on the house playlist to part like it’s 1955 (but now you have MDMA and Tinder). I really can’t get enough of this song. Whoever is playing the piano is absolutely ripping!

 

“Jesse Daniel’s self-titled debut album sounds both fresh and familiar from beginning to end. Pairing classic country styling with honest and compelling lyrics, Jesse’s album plays like an old favorite with a twist that is both edgy and uniquely his own.”

– Zach Taylor, Raised Rowdy

I really couldn’t agree more with this quote from Jesse’s website. When I read a bit about Jesse on his website, it seems that he has a deeply American story to tell, full of broken families, picking yourself up by the bootstraps, homesteading, heart break, and so much more. If you are tired of pop-country that you hear on the radio, but want some intellectual twang in your life, you can’t go wrong with Jesse Daniel.

 

-Caleb