The Flock: Singer-Songwriter – King of Little Sweden, Black Lilys, The Quill, Gabrielle Marlena, Evelyn Drach, Nicky William, Joe Bel, Wolfy, M’Lynn, Noah Kahan

The Flock is an idea that we had to help fans of a specific genre find multiple bands they love in one post. It helps us provide value to you, the reader, by putting more of what you want in one place. It also helps the artists. Fans of their music come to the page and become fans of other similar artists, growing their fanbase more efficiently. It also helps artists connect with other artists who have a similar feel, so they can help each other out, work together, play shows, etc. Our goal here is to help promote artists that we believe in and want to see succeed. The Flock is a great way to help with that, and we’ve seen some really cool things happen because of it. Let’s get into this edition of The Flock.

*click on the artist’s name to go to their page*

 

King of Little Sweden – I’ll Be Waiting

The album cover has a snowy sort of scene, and I think the song is basically a soundscape of that same scene. It mixes the darkness and sublime beauty of a snowy mountain in song form. The lyrics seem to be a stream of consciousness about past love, and what it means for the future. There are moments of nostalgia mirrored with a realization that so far the speaker hasn’t found the right fit. Oftentimes, this sort of song is after you’ve found your ideal someone. We’ve all heard the inverse of this song, which usually says something like: “I’ve been waiting for forever for someone like you.” But this song instead belts the refrain, “I’ll be waiting for someone like you,” because that person hasn’t shown up yet, and the speaker may be slightly anxious that they never will.

Bio: King of Little Sweden was born as a collective creative effort in the winter wonderland of Verbier in 2014. Most of the group is based in Sweden, so the analogy with the landscape was inevitable, with Verbier being a village that could be seen as “Little Sweden”. The Scandinavian influences are quite present in their style, which has been developed by years of family musicianship (two of the bands’ members are siblings and their uncle Sven acts as their producer and manager).

“I’ll Be Waiting” marks their label debut with Rexius Records in 2018, after almost a year of collective development of a new artistic concept.

Black Lilys – Boxes

So, anyone who knows me knows I love poetry. And something about this video struck a familiar chord with me. There was a film that came out a few years back about the poet Dylan Thomas (he’s the dude that wrote “Do not go gently into that good night..”). You can check out the trailer here: A Poet In New York. There is a scene in the film that felt so familiar in this video, where Dylan is walking through a field and sees his ex-wife, and regrets most of his decisions. Now that’s just the beginning of this video, but it felt like a fun parallel.

What follows in this particular video is a strange puppet act. Where the singer makes movements that other characters seem unable not to parrot. The movements are disjointed and panicked and give off a creepy theatrical vibe. I also like the moment where she is standing on a raised rock with a book and seemingly proselytizing about something, religion? some strange cult? It’s certainly a video that brings up more questions than answers, but those are my favorite pieces of art. It’s fun to mire yourself up in the ambiguity and let it leave it’s impression on you without knowing all of the answers. All I know is that the music, and the video, are unlike anything else I’ve heard, and that automatically makes me want more.

 

The Quill – Maid Malou, Fetch the Wood

“I am soft and sparkle in the shadows of the smokey world of You and I
See how the Hunter’s Moon, my love, has frozen frosty halo’s over the sky.

Maid Malou, do you posses
A magical Maori spell to ride the Killer Whale?
Cuz blue electric Neptune screams
“Girl! Swim swim swim!…” ”

The first thing this reminds me a bit of is Fleet Foxes. I think it’s partially how cinematic the whole thing is, and partially the surreal, yet grounded Folk storytelling. Maid Malou seems to have a lot of powerful connections to seemingly dissonant magic/religion/spiritualism, and the speaker is asking for her assistant for seemingly dissonant problems, like riding a Killer Whale. Described as Psychedelic Folk, it’s certainly exceptional and unique. Let me paste a bit of their bio to show you just how star studded this collective is:

Bio: The group includes the likes of Lyla Foy, John Herbert and James Dale (of Goldheart Assembly), æmma, fiddle legend Ben Gunnery, classically trained violinist Louisa Wood, Alex Mattinson, Rylan Holey, harmonica player Lee Vernon, and a core rhythm section of Ash Hall, Drew Wynen, Ben Davis and Riccardo Castellani. They have been actively gigging in different sizes for many years, yet reserve the full assemblage for special concerts, cued by moments in the lunar cycle.

That’s an insane amount of talent to orchestrate, and yet you hear each diverse piece get it’s moment, and shine.

 

Gabrielle Marlena – Road Thoughts

Gabrielle Marlena has already been featured here before: right here. So when we heard another great song by her, it was a no brainer. Before I dive into the lyrics, I’m going to post a bit about Gabrielle’s inspiration behind the song:

“The first track on my new EP, Road Thoughts came to me on my drive between Denver, CO and Ogden, UT while on tour last year. The shortest route was to go North through Wyoming, and the incredible landscape gave me a moment of calm and self-assurance. Reflecting on past relationships and feeling strength in my independence, I remember recording on a voice memo “You’ve got this babe, it wasn’t your time, you’ve had the love some only dream of in your life.” The rest of the song came later. The lyrics are about accepting the fact that sometimes you can really only count on yourself, and that has to be enough. It’s also about witnessing the complexities that people in relationships are constantly facing, and therefore embracing the simplicity of being alone.”

I’m really blown away by the lyrics of this song. If you didn’t listen closely, go back and listen closer:

“And I just called this guy I used to see in Brooklyn,

Cause I was curious in the direction he was headed in,

If he’ll be marrying that chick that’s trying to wife him,

but it doesn’t matter anymore”

This is just a sample, but she plants so much emotion in such relatable scenes. Who hasn’t felt nostalgic about a past love and looked them up, or reached out to them? I’ve actually had a really similar experience to what Gabrielle described above, where a long drive healed a lot of insecurity and loneliness I was feeling, and allowed me to get over a girl. If you guys liked the two songs by her, this probably won’t the last time you hear her, she’s going to be on future podcast episodes too.

Evelyn Drach – Follow Me

With an ethereal soundscape and a voice that carries straight to your innermost being, Evelyn Drach’s “Follow Me” is an absolutely beautiful piece of art. This is such a poetic track. It starts out with two separate pieces joining together to make a very full and rich first act. The singer-songwriter feel of the guitar and Evelyn’s voice meets with the orchestral, and beautifully cacophonous track behind her.  The second act of the song is a monologue with an eeriness that is palpable. Isn’t that what music is about? We all just want to feel. This song will take you to the house with the hidden floor if you let it.

I had that dream again last night,
the one about the house with the hidden floor and it made me think.
A man leaves china vases around his home and in these vases he keeps fake flowers.
Why do people keep fake flowers in their homes?
Are fake flowers beautiful?
What is beautiful about a flower?
A flower is beautiful because of its fragility.
Its beautiful because the moment its plucked from a field, a forest, a path or a garden its lifespan has been
determined.
The flower has been chosen to die and so the flower becomes a martyr.
But a martyr is someone who has died for a cause.
What is the cause of a flowers death?
Someone desires beauty in their home.
What does this mean for a man who only keeps fake flowers?
Does he wish to preserve the living and in doing so does he deny himself beauty?
Is it simply his frugality?
Is it too expensive to buy new flowers?
Whats the price of beauty?
The flowers are symbolic of an idea of beauty, an idea he can never understand.
Or is it the exact opposite?
He looks at the fake flowers and is reminded of the real.
He is reminded of the concept of a flower being plucked, being presented and perishing and it is in this concept
that he finds beauty, so that when he looks at the fake flowers he understands profoundly the tragedy of the real.
I had that dream again last night,
the one about the house with the hidden floor and it made me think

The sentiment here is one that is beautiful. What makes the human experience beautiful? Is it the presentation, or is it knowing that it will end? Is something beautiful if it’s eternal, or does it lose it’s luster? Nobody can answer this question but you. For me, it is the brokenness and the fragility of everything that really shows off it’s beauty.

Nicky William – Girls With Common Names

I have such a soft spot for barrel-chested bass singers getting out of the pigeonhole of theater, harmonizing, and quartets. Bands like The National will always be some of my favorites because they did something they weren’t supposed to do. Nicky William is another one of those guys. He has the kind of depth to his voice that rattles your rib cage while listening, and owns every bit of it.

This man has been hurt by plenty of Ashley’s in his day, and he wants to let you know that they aren’t worth it. Being married to a Megan, I would have to disagree with the sentiment, but I support the way he feels. I guess if I had been hurt by multiple girls with common names, I may draw the same personal conclusions as Nicky though.

Joe Bel – In the Morning

Joe Bel is a self taught instrumentalist who has something to say, and she does it with a distinct voice and poetic lyrics. The key to the song for me though, is the soulful backups that come in during the chorus, perfectly complimenting Bel’s soulful voice. Bel’s voice dances across the screen with more eloquence and grace than the movements in the video, and the movements in the video are a picture of grace.

Bio: Self-taught and instinctive, Joe Bel played her first shows solo with her acoustic guitar. A few months later, Asaf Avidan discovers her mesmerizing folk/soul songs and offers her to open for all of his European shows.
She keeps going with “Hit the Roads” (2015), a critically acclaimed second EP, which brings her back on the roads of Europe, and this time even as far as Japan. The year after, the title track is used to promote luxury brand Longchamp’s campaign directed by Peter Lindbergh.

Wolfy – Abigail

Wolfy is easily one of the most self-deprecating and sarcastic artists we have ever worked with, and it’s an absolutely beautiful thing. When asked to fill out a bio, this was Wolfy’s official response:

my career and the music I make are fun as hell though not very important so writing a bio (short for biography) for myself is kind of like writing a bio for a vine compilation. like, what do you want me to tell you? i’m a 25 year old moron who lives in los angeles and spends every day trying to pay rent and write/produce songs that don’t make people want to rip their eyelashes out one by one. my new ep, INK, was just released on sentimental records on may 29th. “abigail” is the closing track.

When asked about the song, this was her official response:

Yeah, so I said I hate singing and it’s still true (referencing her website bio). But when I first laid the blueprints for these three EPs, I decided I would sing one song on each and it is a personality flaw of mine that I am very, very bad at changing plans. And as my own label executive, I wasn’t about to let my shitty, weak-brained artist decide they weren’t going to sing on a song they wrote because they “hate singing”. So I put my foot down. I said, “Hey, we signed you and gave you an advance of $8 and a Trader Joe’s microwaveable burrito. We expect a return on our investment so you get back in that studio and don’t come out until you need to go to your part-time job and then go back into the studio and finish that song”. And that’s how you run a label.     

This song is one of the only songs I’ve ever written that outlines a story. But fuck me if anyone even knows what that story is. Basically, it’s about a girl who gets murdered and thrown in a well. I’ve heard the lyrics are a little “vague”. But whatever, it’s not my fault you guys forgot everything from your junior-year English class. Ever heard of context clues? Damn.     

Also this song doesn’t have anything to do with my friends named Abby. You guys are cool.

The lyrics would definitely be lost on me without the song description, but that doesn’t mean they have no meaning. Ambiguity is the name of the game when it comes to music, and this song is a shining example of that.

With a timbre that lets you know there’s real emotion behind it instead of some overproduced bullshit, Wolfy tells a story of tragedy and makes you feel warm inside. Not really sure how that works. I’m not sure I’m a good person anymore thanks to this song. Kind of like how I felt after listening Pyotr from Bad Books for the first time.

Also, Wolfy, you may hate singing, but we’re kind of into it. Keep doing it. we’ll talk to your label manager if you decide anything different.

M’Lynn – Just Take Time

A perfect song that preaches a message that tends to be forgotten. Don’t worry about your pace through the race, just worry about moving forward. Often times we get caught up in the fact that we aren’t achieving goals as quickly as we want to when all we need to focus on is if they’re still at the end of the path we are on. Self-care and self-assessment are pushed aside for the carrot that you can almost taste. Take care of yourself, people. In a lot of cases, you’re the only one who will/can.

M’Lynn has that big band sound with a soulful tone and intonation, M’Lynn is an absolutely powerhouse. Think sultry female Michael Buble, and you’re almost there.

Noah Kahan – Come Down

Are you a fan of Ed Sheeran? Then we have the guy for you. With a distinct voice all his own, Noah Kahan tells a story on “Come Down” about being there for a friend when they were experiencing extreme anxiety. We talk about anxiety and depression a lot on the blog, and we absolutely love the sentiment in the song. Panic attacks, anxiety, and depression have hit everyone, and having a friend like Noah who understands the fear and the frustration that this causes can mean the difference between recovery and a total collapse. We say this all the time, but human existence is all about community. You need a group of people who will be there to hold you and help you up when it’s needed, and you need people to assist in a likewise manner. Noah, it seems like the only thing that beats out your musical talent is your stellar support for your friends.

 


 

As we always say at the end of The Flock posts, go spend money on these guys, tell them how much you like their music, or just visit their sites to see their tour dates, new releases, etc. Their links are found by clicking on their name in the post.

We have a podcast. It’s right here ——-> Give it a click

 

-Seth and Caleb

 

 

 

The Flock: Singer-Songwriter – Sis, Erika Davidson, Gabrielle Marlena, Emergency Tiara, weareforests, Freyr Flodgren

*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.”

Sis – “Gene”

Let’s get this party started with Sis’ song “Gene.” “Gene” is the fourth single off of Sis’ forthcoming album EUPHORBIA, out on Native Cat Recordings 8/8/2018. So definitely keep a look out for that.
I realize this is technically a full band, but I thought it was stripped back enough to include in our Singer/Songwriter section. Also, the singer, Jenny Gillespie Mason started most of these songs out as folk songs, before bringing the full band into the project that we see today. One thing that really stands out to me about this song is how playful the lyrics are around the word “gene”. It means a name, it means DNA, it is short for “genius” all at once. I don’t know what the full intent is, but this song is pretty genius to me.

 

Erika Davidson – “Memory Lane”

“Jim Morrison set the tone, as you and I dance alone”

Not to be too cheeky, but that opening line immediately “sets the tone” for the excellent track from Erika Davidson. “Memory Lane” seems to be both a nostalgic look at a past relationship and a heart wrenching ballad about a past relationship. The speaker is trying to recreate something deep with something shallow in hopes to get over someone. It’s a very relatable scenario that, as anyone who has tried it knows, doesn’t really work out the way you might hope.

Press release: “Her new single Memory Lane was heavily influenced by a late night binge of The Doors and The Eagles. Their haunting impressions inspired her to write a captivating lullaby. Memory Lane is the tale of heartbreak. It is the story of being lost in nostalgia and trying to fill a void with familiarity. Cinematic cello and piano entwine with her delicate vocal delivery and leave you wanting more.
Memory Lane was produced and engineered at Silverside Recording Studio where she is currently recording her new EP. Her single will be released in digital stores and on all major platforms in June 2018. Shortly after, she will be releasing her EP in the fall of 2018. When done right, mixing genres can be the start of something beautiful. Erika’s EP may be the union you’ve been waiting for.”

I know I personally can’t wait.

Gabrielle Marlena – “Easier Love”

I enjoyed putting this song right after Erika Davidson’s because of how opposite it is. It is still a breakup song, but Gabrielle Marlena seems to be thinking through it a little more optimistically. I mean sure, it’s a little bit of an ironic optimism, but she seems to be wishing this person the best, even if it’s bittersweet. She seems to take a lot of the blame for the failure of their relationship on herself.

Photo by Sarah Midkiff

Let me give you a little bit from the artist herself, because she puts it much more eloquently than I do: “The song is an indie folk ballad detailing a rainy afternoon when I called an ex boyfriend. It’s about how we all romanticize the past, imagining it as so much more perfect than it actually was. I took my first relationship, turned it into an album, put my ex’s face on the cover, and distributed it in the form of canvas tote bags, T-shirts, mugs, and CDs. I sang about my experience in 21 different states. Sometimes on tour, I would get confused between the emotions I was singing about and the present. The song is about snapping back to reality and realizing that, almost 3 years after I left the continent he lived on, I definitely was NOT still hung up on my ex.”

I can’t say that I’ve done the whole tour part, but I have certainly created art that feels unfamiliar to me now. It’s a really weird feeling, and I think this song captures it perfectly.

Emergency Tiara – “It’s A Good Day”

Alright. Enough break up songs for a second. Let’s get a summer song up in here. “It’s a good day to have a good day, life’s a cabaret, it’s time to go out and play”. I realize this song also has some accompaniment, sue me. It still has a very solo vibe to it. It actually sounds a lot to me like it belongs in a classic movie, like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Casblanca (well maybe not Casablanca, too upbeat).

Press release: “Emergency Tiara kicks off the summer season with her brand new song ‘It’s a Good Day’. Showcasing her signature, vintage-inspired sound, the single is an instant feel-good classic.

Fresh off the back of a series of UK tour dates, Emergency Tiara is the New York based artist you need to get to know. Fronted by Juri, the lead singer, queen, curator and ringleader extraordinaire to the Emergency Tiara kingdom. In Juri’s kingdom, everyone can feel like royalty in an instant – through her unique and intriguing pop sounds, ranging from sultry soul to rampaging swing anthems – taking in everything from French noir to J-Pop in between.”

It certainly captures something classic and familiar and something unique and fresh all at once. I can’t wait to see what else Emergency Tiara creates.

weareforests – “Plea For Winter”

That last song was summery, so let’s get to a wintery one. If you are a fan of Bon Iver’s early albums, I have a new artist for you to explore. weareforests is one of my favorite projects right now. Based out of Fort Collins, CO, he mixes lo-fi vocals and gorgeous lyrics to create a listening experience suited for rainy days and coffee.

“I’ll hold back the burning tide
That floods the rivers of my mind
Burning bright
Oh burning bright
Waters cool and wrought with ice

With your hand in mine
With your hand in mine
With your head right by
My side”

Something particularly effective to me, is the repetition in the hook, and how familiar and cozy it makes everything feel. I hate winter most of the time, but I can’t deny how wonderful it is on a cold day to snuggle up with someone you love in bed hand in hand and heads side by side. It’s a simplistic yet absolutely beautiful image.

Freyr Flodgren – “Over My Head”

This song is just gorgeous. Freyr Flodgren’s voice has to be one of my favorites at the moment. Something really effective to me about this song is the slow reveal of what’s happening. He mentions a fire, and a thunderstorm that come down “right over my head” in the first two verses, but what really drives home the message is the last verse:

“I heard the whisper of the many foreign years
and until the door burns
the beating time slows down
right over my head
right over my head
right over my head”

Now it’s still ambiguous, but to me it seems to be pointing to these destructive forces, fire, storms, time, and appreciating the beauty of them: “the whisper of the many foreign years” contained in all of it. Sure, they are still destructive, the fire is going to burn the door down, time is going to degrade us, but they are beautiful while they are here.

Now, that was my interpretation. That’s the fun thing about art. Here’s what Freyr says the song is about: “It is a play with one of these moments where dream and reality cannot be separated. Freyr dreamt (he realised later) that the house he was living in was burning and he saw himself in one of the windows, smoke billowing out. In memory that dream stands out as just as real as anything else. The way this song was arranged in the end was highly influenced by the fact that it was recorded in this wonderful studio in the mountains around Bergen, Norway. The sound of rain in the beginning and end is the rain falling on the roof during recording.”

So, not the same at all. Isn’t that awesome? I love how different art becomes between the artist and the consumer. I also love that the rain you hear in the track is completely natural and not dubbed in.

 

-Caleb

You can find all of these tracks on a convenient Spotify playlist along with all our other June Tracks right here.

Did you know we make a podcast? We are releasing a new episode tomorrow (June 25), you can find that on this page, along with 13 other episodes.