Bathing the senses in the sublime essences of mystery and rustic nostalgia, Bad Flamingo returns with “White T-Shirt,” an intimately folky melody that meanders through the low-key landscapes of reminiscence. The masked duo, referred to as person on the left and person on the right, intricately weave their signature mysterious aura with the simplicity of rustic surroundings, crafting an atmospheric tapestry vibrant with the scent of whiskey and whispers of forgotten love stories.
The chorus, “White T-shirts falling to the floor / we’ve been here before baby / Whiskey and cola from the corner store / drunk as before,” hums with a languid energy, painting visuals of a love as intoxicating and fleeting as the spirits invoked. It’s a song that creates a magnetic pull, compelling listeners to drift into the unadulterated essence of raw emotions and truths shielded behind masks. Its tone is reminiscent of their prior work, such as “Lord Knows I tried,” retaining the rambling melodies that resonate with raw, honest reflections, perfect for scenes steeped in gritty drama. The connection to major television, as noted with their feature in “Yellowstone,” illustrates the song’s adaptability to narratives brimming with struggles and realizations.
“White T-Shirt” by Bad Flamingo isn’t merely a sonic experience; it is a journey through the winding paths of untold stories and unkept promises. The tracks they offer go beyond music; they are an exploration into the human condition, cloaked in anonymity, allowing the rawness of their work to speak untainted truths. With their music gaining traction in the entertainment world, “White T-Shirt” stands as a testament to Bad Flamingo’s ability to meld the abstract and the palpable, creating soundscapes that are as elusive as they are deeply rooted in the human experience.
In “Curl,” Hayfitz navigates the poignant threads of unrequited love and self-discovery with a sincerity that resonates through every strum, the echo of his gentle folk creating an immersive lo-fi atmosphere. This Berlin-based artist’s journey to reconcile with both his late-discovered queer identity and collaborator-turned-best friend, Sam Cope, unveils itself in a harmonious blend of anguish and acceptance, presenting a courageous confrontation with internal demons and a heartfelt reunion, bathed in the soft glow of authentic emotional storytelling. The track, a beacon of his forthcoming album “Everything Else,” stands as a testament to vulnerability and the strength inherent in opening old wounds to heal them properly.
Hayfitz’s musical tapestry in “Curl” is woven with threads of introspective lyrics and delicate melodies, mirroring his tumultuous internal world and the arduous journey he embarked upon with Cope. The song’s creation, steeped in isolation and contemplation in a cabin, highlights the intense emotional currents flowing between the artist and his muse, redefining their relationship through every chord. It’s a revelation of intimacy and transparency that not only underlines the painful separation and eventual reunion but also illuminates the labyrinth of self that Hayfitz navigated, unveiling his latent sexuality and grappling with rejection and connection.
Within the layers of “Curl,” there is a universal resonance, a human connection to the struggles of identity, love, loss, and reconciliation. The unearthing of Hayfitz’s intimate emotional landscapes transcends personal narrative, offering a shared space for reflection and empathy. The journey, from Berlin to Brooklyn, from solitude to reunion, marked by two years of silence and the eventual reconciliation, is not just a story of self-acceptance and love untold but a musical odyssey that cradles the listener in the embrace of shared human experiences. It’s a hauntingly beautiful reminder of the transformative power of music, portraying unspoken truths and weaving them into a symphony of healing and hope.
Hello music aficionados! As the weekend settles in, it’s time to refresh those playlists and discover some gems. Here at B-Side Guys, we’re always on the lookout for the freshest tracks, the burgeoning artists, and those tunes that simply resonate. Dive into this week’s collection of new releases, curated meticulously for the discerning ear. Whether you’re into soothing ballads, electrifying beats, or anything in between, our weekly round-up promises a musical journey like no other. Let’s turn the volume up and delve into the sounds of now!
FlexpackFACE – “Stay Away”
In “Stay Away,” FlexpackFACE takes a sobering detour from his signature high-octane sound, delving into the harrowing depths of his struggles with addiction. The track seamlessly oscillates between moments of heart-wrenching vulnerability and fierce self-awareness, akin to the contemplative depths of J. Cole. Accompanied by cinematic visuals that amplify the song’s intensity, this piece stands out not just as a candid confession but as a testament to the transformative power of art, capturing the dual moods of desolation and hope with a piercing clarity.
Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, FlexpackFACE is more than just a rapper; he’s a storyteller using YouTube as his canvas. With a commendable work ethic, dropping a music video every month for the past ten months, he’s showcasing a rich tapestry of emotions and experiences, all while investing considerably in both the auditory and visual aspects of his craft. “Stay Away” encapsulates the essence of FlexpackFACE’s mission: to resonate, to be seen, and to touch hearts, one video at a time.
A Beacon School – “Alone”
“Alone,” the latest offering from A Beacon School, is an aural odyssey that deftly captures the fleeting essence of renewed hope amidst life’s ebb and flow. As the brainchild of the multi-talented New York artist, Patrick J. Smith, the track unravels as an intimate contemplation of despair, juxtaposed with the tantalizing allure of optimism. Smith’s description of the song, as a reflection of the moment “when you feel like your luck is finally turning,” resonates deeply in its ethereal melodies, evoking the moody atmospheres that Dream Pop connoisseurs cherish in acts like Slowdive and Alvvays.
A Beacon School’s signature lies in seamlessly blending uptempo pop elements with lush shoegaze and intricate electronic textures. Established in 2009, Smith’s journey from home-recorded demos to amassing millions of streams, is testimony to his refined artistic prowess. With a soundscape mixed by Sonny DiPerri, whose credits boast collaborations with legends like Trent Reznor and My Bloody Valentine, “Alone” foreshadows the anticipated tonal breadth of ‘yoyo’, Smith’s upcoming LP and his first full-length in half a decade. If “Alone” is any indication, ‘yoyo’, set to release on October 13, 2023, promises to be another immersive dive into Smith’s subconscious artistry, further solidifying A Beacon School’s place in the annals of modern Dream Pop.
A Number From The Ghost – “Atomize”
In the digital age where boundaries between disciplines blur, few artists epitomize this melding of worlds quite like Peter Adams, who operates under the moniker A Number From The Ghost. “Atomize”, the latest single, is a poignant blend of melancholic electronica and ethereal Dream Pop that resonates with the wistful essence of childhood memories, Saturday morning awakenings, and the surreal feeling of existence. The lyrics, laden with vivid imagery of “silver infant eyes,” the “scene of your mother,” and the haunting finality of knowing oneself, evoke a tapestry of emotions that are both universal and deeply personal. Paired with Adams’ unique interdisciplinary approach — where each release has an associated, explorable online world — the song feels like a piece of a much grander narrative, a digital experience mirroring early computer animations and the melancholy of summer dreams.
A Number From The Ghost stands as a testament to the digital artistry that can be wielded by a multi-faceted talent like Adams. The soundscape, reminiscent of Thom Yorke’s ethereal forays into Electronica, intersects with lyrical expressions that echo the profound sadness and wonder of existence. “Atomize and feel nice” — the refrain captures the transient nature of moments, memories, and emotions; feelings that momentarily coalesce only to disperse into the ether. While the tangible connection of live performance may no longer be an avenue for Adams, “Atomize” proves that his musical and digital realms are not just compensations, but evolutions, transporting listeners into expansive, interactive universes crafted from sound and code.
Van Goat – “God’s On The Other Guy’s Side”
In an era where music is often swathed in sleek production and digital precision, Van Goat’s “God’s On The Other Guy’s Side” is a gleeful departure, serving a vintage concoction of toe-tapping swing, heartfelt country, and hints of punk rock rawness. Painting the scene with sepia hues, it transports the listener to a bustling old-time saloon, where the rhythmic hum of a dusty fan is drowned by the jubilant cacophony of live music. Melding the unmistakable swing of Dr. John with the rootsy richness of Traveling Wilburys and the audacious quirk of Beck, the track captures the tragicomic essence of life’s unpredictable misadventures. Aidan Ward’s earnest vocal delivery juxtaposes the track’s upbeat instrumentation, echoing tales of woeful ignorance and cosmic jests, reminiscent of the lyrical wit of Roger Miller and the earnest introspection of Jason Isbell.
Van Goat, the Oakland five-piece known for breathing punk vitality into the timeless swing genre, has struck gold once again. Their ambitious fusion of diverse musical landscapes, from punk to southern jazz, continues to defy categorization and expectation. The band’s profound ability to draw from a myriad of influences creates a sound that’s familiar, yet entirely fresh and unpredictable. In “God’s On The Other Guy’s Side,” they’ve constructed an anthem for the underdog; a melodic embrace of life’s missteps set against a backdrop of raucous instrumentation. This track is more than just a song—it’s a cinematic journey through a world where misfortune is met with a wry smile and an accompanying swing of the hips. With its intricate layering of trombone, guitar, and piano, combined with Ward’s contemplative lyricism, Van Goat showcases their unparalleled ability to craft songs that are at once reflective and irresistibly danceable. The modern musical landscape might be vast and varied, but Van Goat has carved out a niche that’s entirely their own, making them a force to be reckoned with in today’s scene.
Slye – “Ghost (Live)”
From the dimly lit, intimate corners of Liverpool’s QUARRY venue, Slye mesmerizes with “Ghost,” an impeccable display of neo-soul fusion. The track, rich with live instrumental dynamism, immediately captivates with a rhythm section that’s as groovy as it is introspective. Come the 1:01 mark, listeners are met with a tantalizing three-part horn harmony—a sonic treat that seamlessly intertwines with Slye’s nuanced vocal performance. The overall atmosphere evokes heavyweights like Jordan Rakei and D’Angelo, yet retains a unique fingerprint that’s undeniably Slye.
Building upon a foundation of 70s funk á la Prince and Sly Stone, Slye brings forward a modern sensibility, melding introspective lyricism with melodies reminiscent of contemporary R&B and indie. “Ghost” serves as a testament to Slye’s artistry, combining evocative lyricism with a complex yet accessible arrangement. As the song unfolds, it paints a vivid picture of longing, fading desires, and the inherent romance of live music. This offering reaffirms Slye’s dedication to crafting tunes that move not just the feet, but the very soul.
Genomic Clone – “My Last Day”
Amidst the textured sonic palette of “My Last Day,” Genomic Clone crafts an introspective tale of reflection, legacy, and the passage of time. A somber narrative unfolds, detailing the musings of an individual at the twilight of their life, eager to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. As the song’s protagonist reconciles with their life’s work, the listener is enveloped in the shimmering layers of electronica and alternative rock that recall the experimental leanings of Xiu Xiu and the intricate structures of Atoms For Peace.
Since their inception in 2022, Genomic Clone has been on a meteoric ascent, consistently challenging the boundaries of their genre. Comprising Christoph Hierath of Pictures of My Friends and techno maestro Leopold Bär, the duo effortlessly melds their distinct artistic identities to birth a sound that’s both innovative and comfortingly familiar. “My Last Day” stands as a testament to the band’s ability to evoke deep emotion while pushing sonic boundaries, offering listeners an evocative glimpse into the poignant interplay of mortality and legacy.
From the bustling streets of NYC in 1993 to the somber realities of 2023, Ned Farr & The Good Red Road have traveled a vast musical journey. Their fourth album, “THE MASTER PLAN,” encapsulates a pilgrimage through a global pandemic, distilling experiences from those isolating years into a poignant Americana tapestry.
With Ned Farr leading the project, one might have expected a cinematic quality given his long, lauded history in the film industry. And, true to form, this album plays out like an intimate indie film where folk melodies meet alt-country twang under the warm embrace of Americana. The detailed, narrative style of songwriting present on this album is a testament to Farr’s ability to craft stories, whether through visuals or, in this case, soundscapes.
Track opener “The Master Plan” sets the scene, drawing listeners into a world of uncertainty and resilience. There’s a potent atmosphere, with hints of what’s to come, musically and thematically. The shortest track, “The Captain Cries,” at just under a minute, serves as a somber interlude, reminiscent of an old ship captain’s lament echoing over an empty sea.
It’s hard to deny the palpable emotions and personal narrative throughout, reflecting the turmoil of recent years. “Hard Love” and “A Picture of the Sun” delve deep into relationships strained by the distance and stress of the pandemic era. They’re more than just songs; they’re diary entries set to melody. Cenovia Cummins’ virtuoso strings are prominent on “She Just Goes”, and she delivers a blazing violin solo in “Bulls”, highlighting her extensive prowess in both the classical and pop domains.
The soul of this album truly lies in its exceptional band members. With Jon Ossman’s seasoned bass lines providing a sturdy foundation, listeners get a taste of his illustrious musical past with icons like Chris Botti and Paula Cole. Jim Olbrys, with his Berkeley schooling, lends intricate guitar work that’s both emotive and technically splendid, weaving seamlessly with the cello tones of Juilliard-trained Evan Richey. And Joe Casalino’s drumming is precise yet impassioned, reminiscent of a teacher guiding his students with care.
Tracks like “Summer Break” and “Bulls” lean into the alt-country side, infusing an earthy grit to the mix. The former track, perhaps ironically named, suggests the transient nature of respite in these trying times, while the latter feels grounded, sturdy, and perhaps a bit defiant. “She Just Goes” and “Get Up” embody the ethos of moving forward no matter the odds, both thematically aligned with the broader album narrative.
“Bury the Stone” and “The Gift” round off the album beautifully, capturing the essence of remembrance and forward motion. They feel like closing chapters in this intricate musical novel, echoing themes of recovery, rebirth, and the determination to forge ahead.
This album is not simply a collection of songs; it’s a vessel carrying stories of pain, love, loss, and ultimately, hope. The craftsmanship is exceptional, from the instrumentals to the songwriting, reflecting the talent and experience of every band member. As the world tries to find its footing post-pandemic, “THE MASTER PLAN” serves as a poignant reminder of the power of music to capture, console, and inspire during even the darkest of times.
For those familiar with the band’s evolution, it’s hard not to reminisce about their pivotal track, “The Good Red Road.” This song isn’t just a hallmark in their musical odyssey but also the very inspiration behind the band’s name, setting a defining tone for their journey. From then to now, the evolution is evident, and Ned Farr & The Good Red Road continue to carve their unique niche in the vast world of Americana.
In conclusion, “THE MASTER PLAN” is a reflective, beautifully orchestrated homage to the human spirit. It’s not just about survival but about finding beauty amid chaos, hope amid despair. Here’s to the resilience of Ned Farr & The Good Red Road, who, despite the challenges, delivered possibly their best work yet.
There’s a stoic sense of transparency in Jon-Olov Woxlin’s Junk Trunk, a quality that invariably shines through in this Americana/folk rock/country album, the fifth in his discography. Recorded in a single December afternoon, the album comprises 12 cuts that are framed by an insistent commitment to a stripped-down, honest aesthetic.
Woxlin, the Gothenburg/Helsingland, SWE native who penned both the lyrics and music, opens the album with the raw and explicit “Exit Sign Explicit.” The audacious imagery—knives thrown, beer consumed, dancers gyrating—sets a startling stage, the music coalescing into a sharp, unforgettable sonic knife. Björn Petersson’s double bass provides a rolling backbone to Erik Gunnars Risberg’s fiddle, mandolin, dobro, and steel guitar, lending a rich tonal contour when there’s need for instrumental depth on the album, but the true star is Woxlin’s lyricism.
“Already There” swiftly picks up with a country edge, the melody bending under the weight of longing and loss. The rich interplay of Woxlin’s guitar and vocals and Petersson’s double bass creates an evocative sonic canvas, but it’s the mournful twang of Risberg’s steel guitar that particularly stands out.
“Esoteric Woman of the Night,” a melancholic folk-rock anthem, paints a haunting portrait of a woman. Here, Woxlin’s lyrics are profound, laying bare the universal human experience of unrequited love, estrangement, and longing. Meanwhile, “Our Journey’s Just Begun” offers a slightly sunnier disposition, its melody a gentle ripple on the album’s current.
“For Another Day” taps into the roots of country with its compelling narrative, invoking images of the rural heartland. Woxlin’s vocals sit firmly atop this backdrop, narrating the song’s story with a deft sense of honesty.
“Your New World Is Here” is perhaps the album’s most political track, with its apocalyptic prophesying. It’s a significant moment on the record, a stark reminder of the tumultuous times we live in. “Mother of Fate” and “The Blaze of the Thunder” are equally stirring, blending folky sensibilities with rockier undertones.
“Wrap Up My Heart” is a heartbreaking lament, its painful rawness seeping through Woxlin’s grainy vocals and the mournful twang of the steel guitar. “Venlafaxine #305 & 403,” is a bleak reflection on mental health and the impact of medication, a startlingly candid track that tugs at the heartstrings.
Finally, “Millennial Whoop” concludes the album on a note of weary acceptance and resilience, a testimony to the struggles faced and overcome. It’s a fitting close, the melody and lyrics culminating in a slow crescendo that seems to echo long after the last notes fade.
Junk Trunk’s compelling strength lies in its organic immediacy, as Woxlin rejects multiple takes and overproduction. The result is a startlingly raw and honest record that brings the listener into the room with the musicians. This album is a testament to the power of authenticity in music, demonstrating that when it comes to creating art, honesty often surpasses perfection.
If you’re anything like me, you rarely are just listening to one artist or even genre. That’s why a couple of times per week I put together a mix of some of my favorite songs at the moment regardless of genre for you to sample and enjoy.
Jen Awad – “Break A Man”
A full band playing in matching outfits in a seedy alleyway along with a cop interaction cutaway that features Jen telling the officer to “watch your fucking head?” I guess that’s a music video Yahtzee for Jen Awad and her 2018 single “Break A Man.”Those band mates aren’t just there for looks either, this full brass section and back up singers really create an impressively full sound, and of course, Jen herself carries this song with strong full-throated vocals that make you feel like she’s laid out the perfect blue print for “how to break a man,” though some of us without that level of swag could struggle a bit more.
Despite its August 2018 release date, “Break A Man” has far too many views, likes, and comments, and I’m hoping my readers can do something about that. This song is simply too fun for you folks to miss, and if you like this one, you have to check out the rest of Awad’s discography because she’s just getting started.
Press release: This half Egyptian, half Peruvian powerhouse delivers the kneecap melting soul and sass of Sharon Jones combined with an in-your-face swagger reminiscent of Tina Turner. Self taught on vocals, piano, guitar and bass, Jen also pens the lyrics to all of her material.
Timmy Tortuga – “Pace”
Sometimes music is meant to be purely melodic, an easy listen to play in the background. “Pace” by Timmy Tortuga is not that. Instead, it’s a song meant to be experienced as an experience. From the very beginning, we find ourselves in the mind of a speaker stuck in traffic, suffering from a bit of road rage. The dissonant and speed-shifting synth in the background staccatos perfectly in line with that feeling of being late, and amping up emotionally as more and more tiny straws begin to stack upon the camel’s back.
The track itself feels almost as much skit as music, and yet once the ethereal vocoder kicks in after the frantic anxiety of the first half of the song, it’s impossible not to empathize with the speaker when he says “That’s the first deep breath I’ve taken in 5 years.” Something about the moody atmosphere created gives the listener just as much peace as Tortuga’s character at that moment, and allows us to ride it out with him through the end of the song, at least until the anxiety returns. Don’t miss your train.
Press release: Timmy Tortuga is an evolving artist from a small town called Sayreville in New Jersey. The motto is “K.I.S.S.” Keep It Simple Stupid! Currently, he is creating out of the Lower East Side of NYC and producing and recording his projects on a lake front studio in North Jersey!
Schaefer Llana – “Angel”
Anyone that knows me knows that I am way too into sad girl music for a 32-year-old man. Luckily, there are no rules, so I’m shamelessly listening to “Angel” by Schaefer Llana on repeat every single time I go for a winter walk lately. Schaefer grew up in Mississippi and cut her teeth musically in school plays and church productions, but the twenty-something has carved a niche all her own at this point. While her voice and punk-ish aesthetic certainly shine in this song, my favorite part is undoubtedly the angsty lyricism.
Don’t act like you’re innocent, don’t be offended when I call you out As a liar and you know it You wanted to be alone, well how’s that go when everybody knows You went back to her the next minute
I don’t understand but I don’t want to And I am not surprised because I know you I am not okay but I will be I forgive you but I won’t forget how you hurt me
Schaefer Llana – “Angel”
I think the simplicity of “I don’t understand, but I don’t want to,” just hits on that depressive malaise better than almost any line I’ve heard in a long time.
Press Release: The first demo for 49 Ceiling Tiles was recorded for her friend Starlin Browning’s college production class. The results were so good they decided to make a whole record together, holing up with fellow musicians at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, Mississippi, exemplifying the house show ethos of “playing music with your friends, for your friends.”
Zach Kleisinger – “Darling, Just Breathe”
Zach Kleisinger’s Symposium was one of the most overlooked albums of 2018 in my opinion. With a unique voice that is perfectly scratchy, a sound that’s perfectly folky, and lyrics that stand up to repeat listens, “Darling, Just Breathe” is just one of many great tracks from the release. Kleisinger perhaps sums it up best when he calls the album, “a gathering of entities aiming to share their thoughts on a particular subject—me. And yet, it is me who is revisited through these entities, for as much as I may recognize ‘them,’ at all times I know ‘they are me.’ If this sounds needlessly self-absorbed, it’s because it is.”
I would disagree with Kleisinger’s assessment that the songs are too self-absorbed, all the best art is somehow a reflection of the artist, and there’s no shame in recognizing your own shapes in what you’ve created.
Show it all, Show it all to me.
‘cause i was alone when i met you, And you saw that sadness in my eye, Now i see it in yours; But darling, just breathe, Darling, just breathe.
Zach Kleisinger – “Darling Just Breathe”
Owlbiter – “Roof of the World”
Let’s keep the easy listening vibe going with Owlbiter’s “Roof Of The World,” which combines folk-style vocals with beautiful musical arrangements built around piano and horns. The track comes off of Owlbiter’s 2018 EP Stud Farm which features 5 beautiful songs just like this one. Perhaps my favorite part of “Roof of the World” comes in the final minute when the music takes over the entire mood of the song, and the horns and vocalizations build up to a peak before fading out in the final seconds. This captures the imagery of the subject of the song being “on the roof of the world” as the instruments almost coax out the stars and dreams themselves in that moment.
After the 2018 album, Owlbiter’s Matt Cascella hasn’t updated his SoundCloud or Spotify any further, but we hope he’s still making music, and we’d love to hear any new projects one day should they arise.
*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.”
My Terrible Friend – Proving You Right
Nataly Dawn and Lauren O’Connell make up the San Francisco based folk duo, My Terrible Friend. Both are multi-instrumentalists with silky smooth voices made for folk music, and provide an unparalleled sense of whimsy for a music video that is one medium shot angle for the duration of the video. My Terrible Friend has provided the perfect song for your summer soirees or mimosa laden brunches, and if you’re anything like me, you will definitely be mimicking Nataly and Lauren’s dance moves by the end of either of those events. This is the song that’ll help you get your summer started right. They actually remind me a lot of a friend’s old band, Feather and Belle. Also, if Nataly looks familiar, she has another project called Pomplamoose, which means grapefruit. It’s interesting the random things that La Croix teaches you. I’d be interested to know how they decided on the name, My Terrible Friend, so if anyone knows, shoot us a message.
James Rivers – All the Same
James Rivers has one of those deep voices that needs to be more popular in today’s music. He has an amazing timbre that is reminiscent of a more emotive Colter Wall. In the song and video, All the Same, James tells a story of lost love, but the video isn’t your typical delve into songs with similar lyrics. Watch the video to find out what I mean.
James is a relatively new guy on the scene, with his debut album releasing in just a couple of weeks, but if it’s anything like this, we are definitely huge fans of what he’s doing. The vignette throughout the video may be a bit overdone for our taste, but the song itself and the idea behind the video is made to perfection.
Tapes – Time is Noise
This song is so interesting to me. The voices of FARE and Milo Gore blend so well, but their harmonies are so bizarrely perfect with FARE commonly taking the low harmony while Milo belts out the melody. Time is Noise takes a really hard look at the aftermath of a cancerous relationship, and how eventually, time does allow you to move on. This Falmouth based duo is making some waves with their new EP, “dead dogs and sad songs,” so grab a pint of ice cream, your favorite sweat pants, and this EP and get ready to feel a lot of emotions.
Reina del Cid – Ferdinand
We usually don’t post these live YouTube ready style recordings, but we had to make an exception for this one. Reina del Cid has written a really fun song here, and every now and then you have to break your own rules. Reina gets into the idea behind the song, so there isn’t too much for us to discuss there. I will say this though, this relationship isn’t exclusive to Ferdinand and Isabella. This is a fun telling of an all too common relationship pitfall (maybe not a pitfall depending on how you look at it) of not being able to help who you fall for, even though you really don’t want to be into them. Once again, this is a really nice summer tune.
David Francey – Lonely Road
I had not heard of David Francey until recently, but I am absolutely enamored. There’s a gruffness to his voice and an honesty to the composition that makes it seem like his songs could’ve been written and performed anytime in the last 200 years. He has a timelessness to what he does. His songs feel like they could build a home with their bare hands, and catch dinner in the river after it’s done. That’s how tangible and how real his songs are, and Lonely Road is no different. Listening to older albums and then coming to The Broken Heart of Everything, you can notice a change in his voice. Unfortunately, David has had to take a break from music to rehabilitate a hoarseness and strain that his taken over his voice, but hopes 2019 will be the year he gets back on the road. Heal up, David, and when you’re better, run a tour through the southeast United States.
History of Time – Mona Lisa
Let’s wrap up this edition of The Flock with one of the most unique voices I’ve heard in a while. Roy Varley is the man behind the voice, and he has a real gift. Here’s the thing; I’m not a huge fan of the echo that he has after the words “Mona Lisa,” but that really doesn’t matter when you’re dealing with something this unique. Roy is a phenomenal lyricist who tells you a story, but leaves his songs open to interpretation. My favorite songs are the ones where the lyrics are obviously about a very specific circumstance, but are so abstracted that they can mean a plethora of different things. Miss Mona Lisa is one of the songs on History of Time’s album, The Comfort. The whole album is a wild ride, bouncing from folk to smooth hip-hop.
That’s it for this edition of The Flock. Stay tuned for more songs that you didn’t know you needed in your life. If you want to catch all of the songs we have featured on the blog in the month of June, head on over to ourSpotify playlist.
Also, check out our podcast for all new music, crazy ramblings from Caleb and myself, and discussions about topics like bad luck, mortality, and technology.
Have you ever wondered what Death Cab would sound like if they did a cover album of Decemberists songs? Wonder no more, you beautiful people. Meet Brett J.B., a Wisconsinite who has a Ben Gibbard-esque voice with the the variance of a Decemberists track.
In his new single, Garden Grey, Brett recaptures his childhood by going into what it was like growing up in Garden Grey. I tried figuring out where Garden Grey was, but to no avail. Neighborhood? City? A name you gave your house? I wanted there to be more, but with only the name and the fact that he currently lives in Milwaukee to go off of, I didn’t have much of a shot. Whatever it is, I’m glad it’s where Brett grew up. His fond memories of that place led to this track, and for that, I am thankful.
When I came across this new single from Emilie Mover, I knew the name was familiar. I couldn’t place where I knew it from, but there was something very familiar about the timbre of this Canadian turned New Yorker folk artist. I started looking through her discography, and immediately knew where I had heard the pure and articulate, while having just enough rasp, vocals before; she has an incredible album where she covers some of my favorite Peggy Lee songs that you can find here.
Okay, now let’s focus on Fallin’ In, the second single off of her new album, Night Owl. Mover says of the song,
“Fallin’ In is actually the last song I wrote for Night Owl. I wrote it in a park near my apartment the morning we left for Bathouse. I was kind of just going through the tunes, finalizing idea and starting to think about the order for the album. I was watching some kids play together in the park and it was a beautiful late summer day and it was one of those things that just came together within minutes. It kind of wrote itself.”
She goes on to say that the idea behind the song is to get into what really happens when we grow up. How do we go from being carefree kids playing together in the park to overworked and overstressed adults?
Okay, that last part may be me projecting, but the true idea behind the song is trying to maintain that childlike whimsy and excitement for life throughout adulthood. She lets us in on the fact that her dad has always upheld that view on life, and has been a sterling example of how to maintain a fervor for all things fun. The children in the park made Mover think of all of her childhood friends, and only thought it appropriate to have them play on the track. Those same friends that she played with in the parks as a kid are now playing on a track about them playing in those parks. If that’s not absolutely beautiful and very meta, I don’t know what is. Her dad, Mover’s “favorite kid at heart,” is also featured on the track, absolutely crushing the horn solo at the 2:30 mark.
I haven’t gotten around to listening to the whole album yet, but if Night Owl is anything like Fallin’ In, it is going to make plenty of our personal playlists. Reeking of jazz chords and off-beat rhythms, this song has a lot heavier package than most folk songs.
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Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. Gareth Inkster sounds like Ben Folds. I know it, you know it, Gareth knows it, hell, even Ben Folds knows it. The comparison isn’t lost on anyone. Gareth even uses Ben Folds as a hashtag on Soundcloud to catch fans of the singer songwriter. Gareth also has the fact that he’s a multi-instrumentalist in common with Ben, using ten different instruments on his new track, leaving only the drums and bass guitar to others. While Gareth has a lot in common with Ben, that’s not to say he can’t stand on his own, and Misfire proves just that.
Misfire is a deep, introspective look at depression. I usually take this time to go into the lyrics of the song and what it means, but Inkster provided information about his song that needed to be shared. This is an absolutely beautiful work of art.
“It was written during some difficult times, as the lyrics will certainly suggest. The introspection leads to a troubled confession, and eventually the desperate bridge, “is there something wrong with me? I don’t think so, but I don’t know.” after which there is an audible *crack* sound – the breaking point, if you will. After this, words are no longer sufficient, and the brass section does its thing, but before long even that doesn’t cut it, and there is an abrupt key-change, as the strings take over. The strings hit a diminished chord shortly before they end which I feel is the most painful part of the song. After the music has exhausted itself, there is a brief pause, and the lyrics return for one final, beaten verse. The verse lyric ends on an unresolved question, and likewise, on an unresolved chord.”
Seeing behind the veil of how a song was made usually leads to something along the lines of, “I wrote this line about a time in my life where x happened.” It rarely leads to, “I arranged the instrumentation to tell a story that can stand alone.”
Depression is a difficult subject to tackle, and Gareth does it from a place of deep understanding. So many songs try to engage the subject like it’s a cloudy day and frowny faces. While nothing is wrong with that, this is something that is moving on a different level for me. It gets into all of the feelings of inadequacy and the questions that come along with it.
Misfire is one of seven songs on Gareth’s upcoming EP, Last Year, and you can check out the same titled first single here.