Caleb’s Weekly Favorites: NeodotcoM, Six Time Users, Simon D James, An Echoic, Mending

Hey guys,

If you’re like me, you don’t really just focus on one genre of music when there is so much awesome variety out there. This post is meant to hit on 5 of my favorite songs that I just can’t get out of my head this week, regardless of genre. If you like, or already know one of these artists, stick around and check out the others, you might be surprised what you fall for.

NeodotcoM – “Manifest”

I am a sucker for hip-hop with classic 90s vibes. Call it nostalgia maybe, but this song sounds straight out of hip-hop’s golden era. With a focus on lyricism and flow, NeodotcoM impresses from start to finish (but let me point out the flow change up and effortless rhyme mechanics that start around the 2 minute mark). As for the song itself, it seems to focus on the ways that creativity is a manifestation, a discovery of truth, rather than a creation from nothing. Considering all the call backs to his 90’s heroes, I would say NeodotCom is manifesting in a way that I haven’t seen in hip-hop in far too long.

Bio: Released during the eclipse on Friday the 13th, “Manifest” from Chicago Emcee/Producer NeodotcoM, is the latest release from his upcoming Album, “Gods of Egypt.” Just like this album, Manifest is inspired by the golden ages of hip-hop and the gods of the art form. Inspired by Drink Champs, Neo has decided to give his favorite artists their flowers while they can smell them and trees while they can inhale them. Dedicated to Jay Dilla, Slum Village, Rakim, Eminem, Big L, Jay-Z and Tribe called quest among others, Neo effortlessly displays a level of emcee mastery which hasn’t been witnessed in decades. Lord Haiti freaks the original sample from Slum Village’s fantastic showing respect to Jay Dilla while making the record his own, while Neo borrows classic flows and patterns making them his own and then taking it places unimagined.

Six Time Users – “If You Know Me”

“Jesus sitting in the back of the car
I hear him whisper say we gone too far
Comet coming from the broken sky
I see a tear in my mothers eye
The preacher standing at the podium
And in the square there’s pandemonium
The crowds compelled, blood in their veins
The heat fever that will drive you insane”

I don’t know how you can start a song or poem or use imagery with more depth and intrigue than the first verse of “If You Know Me.” Six Time Users describes themselves as making “millennial bullshit blues,” if that’s what this is, I need more of it. The instrumentals have a hauntingly psychedelic quality that emphasizes reverb in creatively dissonant beauty. If you’re looking for something to capture your winter blues in a bottle, this song is it.

Simon D James – “Burn The Man”

“Wake up folk’s, Its time to dance,
The human race has one more chance.
Rip the needle, from the vein.
Lets kick the habit, dream again, and be the change we want to see in the world.”

I’ve been meaning to share this song for a long time, but I actually am really happy that the timing ended up being at the start of 2020. As we start a new decade, I think the messaging in this song is really important. Don’t let the lo-fi vibes fool you into thinking this is a sad song; this song encourages each of us to take the world into our hands and dream big. Don’t forget to check out his newest EP, Days of Heaven

Bio: Simon Started to write music at the age of 16 and has continued ever since. Three tracks on ‘Days of Heaven’ were recorded and produced by Ben Hampson, who Simon was in a band with as a teenager and it has always been a dream of Simon to work with Ben again. ‘Written By Rules’ & ‘Fooled By You’ were recorded at GreenMount Studios where Simon recorded his first EP.

Simon has busked his way around the world and has spent the last years playing music in the Brighton music scene where he started the band that recorded this EP.

An Echoic – “Love (..As I Was Told)”

“Forget her, up and move on cause deep in that pond there’s always someone better
I know there’s fish in the sea but someone made me afraid of open water”

This song explores something that I’m sure plenty of us have experienced, unrequited love. I’d like to make a quick note that whoever did the album art for An Echoic deserves a shoutout; it’s gorgeous. One thing that stands out to me about this song, and the title, is how different the experience of love and the search for your “soul mate” can be from the common media depictions of it, or “what we are told” it’s supposed to be. This song does a great job of capturing the feeling when we realize it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, and there’s a lot of pain involved in the struggle. At least we have this excellent band to keep us company in the meantime.

Bio: In December of 2016, Martin Kihlstedt released An Echoic’s self-titled debut EP, and shortly thereafter signed to Rexius Records for his second project. The new release presents us with a chamber of thoughts in the form of experimental songwriting (recording spoken word and sampling traditional folk instruments, for example) and unimaginable stories.

Mending – “Alan at Emma’s Cradle”

I hope you have headphones on for this one. This song is epic. Mending is proof of true artistry in the classical sense. This is apparent in this song, that combines echoey vocals, dissonant drone sounds, piano, and subtle percussion. This is also apparent in the overall vision of Mending, where we see ambitious projects that explode in scope and narrative. If you like the vibe of this song, you have to listen to the full project, https://open.spotify.com/album/6catKVmxNPk9oMs0ySKFNN?si=qAMvDFOjSr-XyRmqSmZIXg

This is only the first chapter, as of the end of 2019 Mending has released 8 Chapters worth of EPs that span a 40 year period in an ongoing narrative. There is one Chapter left to be released in 2020, so catch up with the story now before it is complete.

Bio: We Gathered at Wakerobin Hollow is a four hour, 40 song speculative narrative, being released in nine chapters over 18 months. Combining folk songwriting with drone and noise, the songs trace the lives of a family and friends over a 40 year period in a series of connected vignettes. The broad narrative, told chronologically from multiple points-of-view, is set in motion by a catastrophic fire at an oil refinery in Odena, Alabama. From there we follow a handful of characters, as children become adults, spread out to Asheville, New York, and Bennington, get jobs, fall in and out of love, families grow, until coastal flooding and other impacts of climate change transform their day-to-day lives, eventually leading them all to Odena and Wakerobin Hollow.

 

-Caleb

Video of the Day: Jim Audet – “Mojave Rain”

Image result for jim audet

 

Hey guys! Hopefully you recognize this handsome fella already, but if you don’t check out this post to get familiar:Jim Audet Double Feature.    I just wanted to drop a quick note that he recently put out a video for his song Mojave Rain. We already broke down the content a good bit in the other post, but basically, Jim wrote the song after the tragedy of the Las Vegas shooting last year. We quickly see the rain in the song, is actually the rain of bullets on the street below the hotel. Anyway, give this video plenty of plays. You’re not going to want to miss the boat on Jim. He’s easily one of my favorite artists we’ve ever covered, and I fully expect him to blow up in a major way soon. Help us get this hype train going!

 

Bio: The Lookout EP out now. Download/stream: https://open.spotify.com/track/4Bzg1h… Follow Jim Audet Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JimAudetMusic/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jimaudetmusic/

Morning Commute: Anderson Rocio – “Darkerside”

Image result for anderson rocio music

 

“You’re saving me, cause I can’t get back tonight
You’re holding me back from the darker side
On my own, on my own
On my own, on my own”

 

What a beautiful way to start off this morning. I’m really surprised I haven’t heard Anderson on the radio yet (granted I don’t listen too much to the radio). I really think she has the vocal chops and lyrical hooks to be an earworm for everyone in America (or the World, why not?). It’s got a really interesting look at interdependence in relationships. There definitely has to be a balance between being too independent, in which case you aren’t really in much of a relationship, but also you can be too codependent. But the best relationships mix these elements, and help us in our dark times, just like we help them in their dark times. It’s a really beautiful song and sentiment.

 

Don’t glance over this bio, it’s a pretty remarkable background.

Bio: Half Spanish, half American, Anderson was born in Italy but spent most of her formative years in England. At the age of 11 her family of five left to sail around the world on a 44ft Catamaran. Three years later they sailed into Auckland, New Zealand, where she calls home.

Classically trained in piano from the age of 6 (she had a portable piano on the boat), she continued to study Classical Piano and English at Otago University, completing a bachelor of Music in 2016.

Arriving to LA on a one way ticket back in February 2017, she began recording her EP in July. The first single DARKERSIDE was independently released 7th June 2018 with the full EP released by September.

She’s currently working on her sophomore EP and am signed to THINK Music Inc for Licensing.

 

-Caleb

Mid-Day Music Blast: Calan Mai – “XO”

Hey guys! I’m so excited to be back and sharing music with you guys. I have an absolutely great song for your lunch break today. The Rolling Stone  compared their sound to Conor Oberst and Bon Iver. If you think those sounds are kind of far apart, I agree, but I sort of see where they are coming from. There is a rustic and small town feel to the lyrics, much like Conor, but the production on the song is smooth like Bon Iver. I could see this song on an underground college hipster’s playlist, right alongside a SNL appearance as a feature artist. It’s really an interesting and dynamic dichotomy.

When asked about the message behind the song Calan Mai has said, “When someone writes ‘xo’, that doesn’t mean they want to kiss and hug you. When they send a smiley face, they aren’t really smiling. The world is a bit like that now-a sea of lovehearts, likes, upvotes and retweets. You ask for validation and get bright lights and numbers in return. And I’m no better. I doubt myself. I compare myself. I wonder how many times this song will get played. That’s what ‘XO’ is about-wanting to reach through your LCD screen and grab the world by the collar and say, ‘I do make the cut. I do have potential. And this song is a good f*cking song.”

It is a good fucking song. And you can find it wherever you listen to music right here: Linky

-Caleb

Morning Commute: Nate Smith – “None of These Things”

“The weather man says it’s gonna rain
The TV man says the world is full of pain. Oh
The white man comes and the white man goes
He takes what he takes and he never lets go. Oh

I know a girl who don’t care about none of these things –
She talks to the birds and she learns about what they sing –
All of her memories are turning into dreams – ”

 

This song is so classic. I feel like it could fit into almost any era in the past 60 years, and it would give whoever is listening to it chills. To me it seems like it’s a classic sense of disenfranchisement. There are a million voices to listen to, in the media, from those in power, and it can get pretty dark if you are paying attention. But also, we have the option to focus on nature, personal growth, creativity. We could all be like the girl “who don’t care about none of these things.” It’s a really inspiring message overlaying a classic blues guitar riff. I really can’t get enough of it. One last note of praise: I LOVE the weird sample that comes in at the end of the song. I can’t make out all of it, but it fits perfectly with the vibe that’s being created.

Bio: With nearly twenty years of song writing experience under his belt, Nate Smith has evolved into a beacon of honesty and real life experiences especially when it comes to the process of composing lyrics. Harboring a belief that all artists are most often struggling poets, Nate strives to create songs that take people on an emotional and reflective journey that can only be described as both gripping and beautiful. Check out more here: The Nate Smith Band.

-Caleb

Want to hear more? We’ve added this song and more to our September TOTD Playlist.

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. 

 

 

TOTD: Nica “Ashes”

 

Check out this spacey song with a familiar “allusion” to a certain song about children dying from the plague. This one seems to focus on an emotional death, mainly of friendship.

“Besties forever says a locket that’s lost
Buried under consuming flaws
Noticing absence surrounded by dust
Ashes to ashes all fall down

Remembering lovers in awe at first meet
Discussed plans, high hopes, real dreams
Fired by passion, add details, we drowned
Ashes to ashes all fall down”

At its core the song seems to ask you to remember that nothing is permanent, friendship, our bodies, life itself. That could be a really depressing message, but the song seems to try to take a positive out of it when it urges us to:

“Make life count everyday
It’s so special
Ashes to ashes all
Fall down”

Bio:  Ashes is the second track on Nica’s upcoming album Bruised

Her album Bruised reflects the painful beauty of growth from personal experiences

Nica’s songwriting does not follow the standard formula that ears have grown tired of

Her soulful style is nostalgic, raw, and real

Bruised Release Date 08/31/18

-Caleb

We’ve added this song to our August TOTD Spotify Playlist. You can find that here.

 

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: Hip-Hop: The Supreme Kings of Yesterday, Sauce is Matisse, Liion Gamble, Datta Boy, Rageouz

*Check out these artists and every other artist we’ve featured on the blog this month on our Spotify playlist for this month.*

This is a new edition of The Flock. People who love Hip-Hop are going to find so much good content in this post. What is The Flock, you ask? 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 fan base 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.

The Supreme Kings of Yesterday – “Next Latest”

I love the sample at the beginning, especially the faked out Trap style stuff that makes fun of “Migos and all those guys that sound the same.” It really sets the stage for a throwback style hip-hop track that puts the people who throw together tracks in a few days, rappers who have no flow (i.e. mumble rap), and many other aspects of modern rap that The Supreme Kings of Yesterday hope to turn the clock back on. Above just a diss track, my favorite thing about track is that it is really a positive track that is about being yourself. He isn’t really hating on people for using the popular style to make some money, but he is calling them out for not being themselves, and if nothing else, S.K.Y. is going to be uniquely themselves. I really love how a lot of the track is filled with 90s style turntable scratching, and multiple voices with multiple flows. It makes me feel comfortable, like I’m a kid again listening to The Chronic or OutKast (not that the style is exactly the same).

Bio: The Supreme Kings of Yesterday, The S.K.Y. (comprised of brothers Cise & Classy Touch – Next Latest – Single from the forthcoming sel-titled project, based in Los Angeles & Oakland CA. Fresh vibes await with clear and concise lyrics, precision instrumentation and drum break accuracy. You seek the best from your imagination, you Look Up To The S.K.Y.

Sauce is Matisse – “Socially Inept”

It’s not exactly the same, but the flow on this song really reminded me of some early Eminem. Especially around The Slim Shady LP or so. Considering that’s one of my favorite albums, I hope that’s an okay connection. Sauce is Matisse has his own unique lyrical style that seems to focus on being an outcast “As in socially inept.” And this song at it’s heart seems to be a celebration of those who aren’t necessarily the most popular or cool. It’s an unapologetic beating of the chest saying that it’s okay to be comfortable in your own skin, regardless of how popular or not it makes you.

Bio: Depression. Social anxiety. Peer-diagnosed Asperger’s. Add a nerdy passion for artistic creation to this walking contradiction and you’ve got Sauce is Matisse, the D.C.-born rap artist currently based in Charlottesville, VA.

After being professionally described as a mental paradox in his teens, Sauce was given the advice to “contain” said paradox in order to allow all competing sides of himself to coexist.
He has done so through music.

Sauce is Matisse draws inspiration from both underground and mainstream music across all genres, and his work showcases a sound between raw hip-hop and the most technical heavy metal outfits. Over the years, he has worked with and learned from several established names (and some not so established) in the multi-genre underground. Sauce is always evolving as an artist and refining his sound and visuals, tightening them into progressively visceral polished works of art.

Eventually, Sauce realized that he could not only save himself through music, but he could reach others as well. Listen and you’ll hear that this paradox has effectively been contained, and it’s tastier than ever.

 

Liion Gamble – “Solitude”

This song is just gorgeous and haunting. The female vocals really even out the whole thing, and I’m really moved by the consciousness of the lyrics, that range from melancholy to hopeful. The lyrics discuss police brutality, violence, struggling to make the art you want, relationships, divinity, and hope that there is a purpose behind all of this struggling and solitude. It’s really a wonderfully grounded song of hope and overcoming adversity.

Bio: Liion Gamble was raised in Raleigh, NC but born in St. Andrew, Jamaica. His musical influence can be traced all the way back to his Grandfather. With conscious content we are almost always drawn to assume the nature of the music will be a bit dull and somewhat preachy. Liion bridges the gap between substance and style in a major way. Melodic hooks and bridges, paired with quotable lyrics and stylistic flow, highlight this artist’s versatility.

With a growing social media presence Liion released his first official single, “Solitude” on all streaming platforms May of 2018 and has delivered an EP entitled Grand Re-Opening July 27th of 2018. Driven to cut out the middle man, he has become a student of production and audio engineering in order to take the quality of his sound to the next level. Building a hit record from the ground up is a big goal of his right now but only one of many in the pursuit of becoming a complete artist.

 

Datta Boy – “Keep Drinking (Prod. by Epik The Dawn)”

“FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE LETHAL

STAB US WITH THE SHARPEST NEEDLE

THEY SWEAR THEY PROVE IT IN THE PENALS

BREAK A NIGGA BACK YOU KOW THIS IS A FACT LIKE WAR MACHINE TO DON CHEADLE

NIGGAS STANDING STILL TARGET PRACTICE KILLS MANAQUINS BLACK BEATLES

I DON’T REALLY KNOW”

This song is full of really intense lyrics, but this was my favorite section. It really dives into the way that the system is corrupt and broken, by beautiful evoking constitutional language, to describe how they break someone. I also like the War Machine reference, which sees a black man being used for profit, but only as a secondary character. As far as the “keep drinking” hook goes, it kind of reminds me of “Swimming Pools” by Kendrick Lamar. It doesn’t seem like the drinking is a real solution, but it is a way to cope with how bad things can get. It takes on a somber tone of some sort of plead to find a way to numb all the pain surrounding the struggle, which is evidenced by the artists description of the song: “A man blames the world for his problems and heres a voice in his head telling him to keep drinking”

Bio:  Datta Boy is a multifaceted artist from Los Angeles California. He began rapping at the age of 11 and ever since then he has had a love for music. He took a break from music to pursue a career in football. He played college football at The University Of Nevada Reno where he Played Fullback for the Wolf-Pack and also played for Southern Utah University where he was a hybrid blocker for the Thunder Birds (T-Birds). After he graduated from Southern Utah University, He played a year professional football and called it quits. He returns to his love of music. He has one mix-tape out called “Black Ink” and 3 music video out called Fell So Far, A Wave Of My Own Prod. & Feat. Ronny Bueller and THREAT which were all directed by Ralph Laurence Mariano and his assistant director Jose “No-Face” Quintanilla. Datta Boy is cousins with actress and R&B Singer Rhyon (Surviving Compton, Lincoln Heights,Get Rich or Die Tryin’) who has a hit single on the radio “California” and her older sister R&B Singer RaVaughn( Better Be Good, Best Friend).

 

Rageouz – “Bridging”

The video expresses my contentedness with my surroundings, with my day-to-day life around family and friends, being what I value most”  – Rageouz

This is really a fascinating video with a first person walk through a life, with some really inventive effects. At its heart, it’s a really calming look at a day in the life of someone who is “alright.” There’s not a ton of trauma or drama, it just feels right. I think we can all learn to look around and appreciate our lives for what they are: a good time with some friends, time spent with family, a pretty drive. “How could I complain?”

Bio: Hailing from the stomping grounds of East London’s Canning Town, Rageouz’s musical journey began at the age of just 11. Raised on a healthy diet of UK Rap legends and inspired by the likes of Kano and Dizzee Rascal, his curiosity was sparked. Bursting through with his debut ‘Outchea’ followed by his freshman mixtape Hell’s Angel, Rageouz has displayed an unwavering work rate. His innate hunger and skill at delivering has led him to be featured on GRM Daily’s ‘Next Gen 10’ alongside artist such as Avelino, Bonkaz and A2 and he has released a string of successful projects including ‘East Side’, his ‘Ethos’ EP, collaborative project ‘Back 2 Da Future’ with Preacher Soul and ‘On The House’.

Contagiously creative and enthrallingly enigmatic join Rageouz on his latest pursuit and get to know the exciting new prospect of UK music.

 

-Caleb

Want to hear more? Check out these songs and more on our August TOTD Playlist. 

We also just released a new podcast today, you can check that out here: Episode 18: Existentialism (Part 1)