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

Morning Commute: Vincent Randazzo: “When It’s Raining”

 

Good morning merciful B-Side Bounty Hunters (I’ve been watching too much Mandalorian). I have a nice chill beginning to your day to introduce you to today. This is a great track from Vincent Randazzo that feels just like it’s namesake. I don’t know if it’s raining where you are, or if you like when it is, but Randazzo will make you feel like the only thing to do is cozy up with a nice book in your warmest pajamas and refuse to move. This song is full of creative one-liners, puns, romance and heartbreak. I think my favorite section is the end:

“Cause you could sweat balls under the apple tree
Y’all could make out- just wake up with me
Sometimes that white light shines on me
But I write more when it’s raining”

I know all of you other creative minds have to agree with Vincent’s take that you “write more when it’s raining.” No matter how much I wish I could write a book full of happy poems, I think the darkness and the rain will always be my best muse. It’s good to be back guys, more music coming very soon, but for now, play this on repeat.

-Caleb

Bio: Indie folk singer-songwriter Vincent Randazzo, 24, charms beholders with his spellbinding lyrics and spirited performances. “Real Plan,” Randazzo’s third and latest full-length album, is not just an extension of his striking musical style, but a milestone in terms of his remarkable growth as a budding artist. In addition to hiring seasoned session musicians, Chris Shlarb, founder of esteemed cult band Psychic Temple, produced “Real Plan,” a momentous change for Randazzo compared to previously self-produced albums. The overarching result is a polished mix of similar artists like The Mountain Goats, Leif Vollebekk (of Montreal) and even the country music supergroup The Highwaymen. – Matthew Hable

 

Morning Commute – Culture Wars – “Bones”

Let’s get this morning started with a little energy. Culture Wars have such a great vibe to them that combines clean vocals with interesting alt. rock and synth elements. It reminds me a good bit of a band like Local Natives, but maybe with a little heavier vibe to it (see the short breakdown near 2:40 or so). One of my favorite things about Culture Wars is that they seem to lean into the creative process, without getting bogged down in the scientific way some modern music tech can halt your flow.

“We write the heart of every song using a couple of synthesizers just to get chords and melody. We’re not really technical guys. I still don’t know how to work half of these things; I’m basically just turning knobs until it makes a noise that I like,” Dugan explains. “We’re creating most of this on our laptops. A lot of our tracks have the appearance of a rock song, but underneath there’s all sorts of weird experimental shit going on. Like, we’ll strike a match and record that sound, and put it through a reverb plug-in, and stick it underneath a track so it sounds like a percussion instrument. Or we’ll record the sound of the rain outside on our iPhones, and we’ll put some reverb and delay on that, and use it as a texture.”

I think that’s a really cool way to look at all the new ways we can use technology in music. Use it, but don’t worry about doing the “right thing”, just keep playing until something inspires you. I know this song has me inspired to pull out my MIDI keyboard and play with effects all afternoon.

Bio: Leather clad Austin rockers Culture Wars “come blazing out of the gate with an addictive electro-rock sound and swagger” (PopMatters). Merging edgy, infectious song craft with inventive electronic textures, punchy guitar work, insistent melodic hooks and the commanding vocals of charismatic front man Alex Dugan, the band makes vibrant, bracing music that’s sonically adventurous yet effortlessly accessible.

 

Culture Wars’ self-titled debut EP (2017) saw its first taste of success, with their single ‘Bones’ rising to #43 on Alternative radio chart, meanwhile their previous single ‘Lies’ cracked one million streams. Culture Wars has quickly established themselves as a band with their own unique style and vibe, writing and recording both from home on laptops and in the remote setting of Sonic Ranch, located just 45 minutes toward the border outside of El Paso, TX. Alongside production by longtime friend and collaborator Robert Sewell, and mixing by Manny Marroquin (Kanye West, Imagine Dragons) and Alan Moulder (The Killers, Nine Inch Nails), Culture Wars have an extensively talented team behind them. The band return with their latest single ‘Let Me Down’ (2019), which Dugan says was created in “now-typical Culture Wars style, post-vodka and pickle shots at 2am at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo.”

-Caleb

Caleb’s Mid-Week Mix Down featuring: Raccoon Lagoon, Jay Mi$FiT, Tree Bosier, Samia, and topographies

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.

Raccoon Lagoon – “Action Figure Kid”

Image result for raccoon lagoon music

I’m always a huge fan of found footage style videos. It’s one of the easiest ways to give your budget music video a nostalgic and emotive feel to it. A lot of this video reminds me of being in my early 20s, hanging out with friends, drinking, and meandering around the city (not that I’ve necessarily stopped any of that haha). This song is the epitome of all the things I love about shoegaze. The vocals fade perfectly into the psychedelic pop melody and feels like…well…meandering around the city. We’ve featured Raccoon Lagoon on the blog before, and honestly I can’t get enough of him. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this creative project.

Bio: Raccoon Lagoon is a solo project by Petya Bouianov; an Amsterdam based musician. The project was started in February 2018 with the vision that everything can be done by yourself. Raccoon Lagoon is influenced by Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker who does everything by himself as well. Other influences include Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz and The Beatles. The idea is to mix vintage rock with contemporary sounds to create a unique vibe. Besides music Raccoon Lagoon focuses on design, album cover art and music video’s.

Jay Mi$FiT – “Young Nigga”

Let’s take a turn into hip-hop land. If you’ve paid attention to the hip-hop I tend to share, it’s usually got a throwback vibe to it, and this song is no different. He even acknowledges the ways he’s trying to bridge the gap between classic hip-hop and current trends when he says,

“God son

Maybe I’m Nas son

But influenced by Jay Z

So what does makes me

One of last living lyrical savior

maybe

Feeling like drake

Cause everybody wanna hate me.

Cause I got these lyrical bullets

Loaded on safety”

There’s really not much else to say, Jay is out to prove that people still care about a dope beat and a wordsmith, and I know this blogger does.

Bio: Jay Mi$FiT is an up and coming hip hop artist out of Detroit. He has a project called Lost Soul coming out July 18th.

Tree Bosier – “Postcard 2”

I told you this mix was eclectic today. This track is from a cool project called Postcard an EP that Tree Bosier released in 2018 under Loodma Recordings. Each track is a different musical “postcard” that creates an unmistakably unique vibe for each track. You can tell that Maxim, aka Tree Bosier knows his way around multiple instruments and genres. His Facebook page  describes the duality of Maxim, and Tree Bosier when it comes to the music:

“- Max Ananyev – these are pieces for classical guitar, mandolins recorded on digits and scores, as well as acoustic and traditional ambient.

– Tree Bosier – it’s electronic music, combining elements of dream pop, shoegaze and techno.”

The guitar work really stands out to me in this track that you might notice synths on first. This track will definitely be added to any summer playlist I have, because it’s excellent beach music.

Bio: Max Ananyev – musician & producer from Saint Petersburg, also known as Tree Bosier. 

Samia – “Milk”

Oh man. That voice. I feel like I could end the discussion there, but you know by now I won’t. “Milk” seems to be exploring the classic saying, “don’t cry over spilled milk.” Which is basically another way of saying, don’t sweat the small stuff. Granted, some of these lyrics seem to be focusing on things that most wouldn’t consider small stuff, like a mention of jumping off a pier in the first verse followed by, “you’re just lucky you’re tired and not dead.” One symbolic thing I like in the video is the use of white (like milk) throughout it, starting with the balloons, transitioning to the color of the bath water, etc. Also, if any of you are Father John Misty fans like me, check out this meta tune: https://open.spotify.com/track/3Ebt8wL9eYdYN3tYZeFC5G

But really, let’s end the way we started, oh man, that voice.

Bio: Her ballads recall the low-lit charm of Tobias Jesso Jr or the hushed immediacy of Phoebe Bridgers. Her rock songs rev and howl with the intensity of Mitski or Hop Along. But whether the volume is up or down, 21-year-old New York native Samia draws from the same well of sharp-witted lyricism as forebears old and new — from Liz Phair to Patti Smith to Josh Tillman.

topographies – “Pink Thoughts”

Now for the last but certainly not least category, this dope song from topographies. I guess I did go a little shoegaze heavy today; sue me, it’s summer. If any of you are familiar with the “shoegaze scene” especially in California, this is the band for you. Formed by Gray Tolhurst (Gray Tolhurst), Jeremie Ruest (Cerf Volant, Your Friend, Lavender Blush), Justin Oronos (Solip), and Lauren Grubb (Minipop, To The Wedding) in 2017, topographies is a amalgamation of shoe gaze/psych pop genius. As with most shoegaze, it takes a bit to discern the lyrics, but the artist says this has to do with the uncanny experience of talking to the deceased in dreams. And honestly that’s the thing I like most about the genre, I don’t really need to be able to understand every word to vibe with the emotive feeling of the song. Here’s a bonus for you guys, the music video for this excellent track, see you in fever dreams:

 

Bio: Formed by Gray Tolhurst (Gray Tolhurst), Jeremie Ruest (Cerf Volant, Your Friend, Lavender Blush), Justin Oronos (Solip), and Lauren Grubb (Minipop, To The Wedding) in 2017, the band meshes the crushingly loud guitars and hushed vocals of 90’s shoegaze with the urgency and mechanical rhythms of post-punk. Their debut EP was recorded and produced at New, Improved Recording in Oakland, California by Alexis Berthelot (Gojira, Wolfgang Tillmans, Enablers) in late 2017.

 

-Caleb

Morning Commute: Small Words – “Darling”

Good morning B-Side Back Massagers (idk man, I’m running out of alliterative ideas). I have a really great indie/pop-punk style track from Small Words to share with you this morning. This song reminds me of the best parts of my late teens/early 20s. It captures the angst, the newly found freedom, and the cautious hope that I sometimes get nostalgia for now that I’m pushing 30. Let’s dive into the first verse and chorus:

“Darling, I am calling.
I’m locked outside
With someone else,
A fragment of my former self.
So darling, could you save me?
I’m not the type to ask for help,
But if you could I’ve never felt this way.
Lets get away.
I’m far too drunk to drive,
Do you think you could??
We took the back road
singing ladadadada”

  1. I appreciate this song advocating for not driving drunk.
  2. On a serious note, these lyrics perfectly capture that youth I was talking about before. Drunk, figuring out who you are, singing on back roads with friends (or more than friends), it’s really a beautiful nostalgic picture.

If you are looking for more from Small Words, this song is from an EP called For What It’s Worthless which you can find here: For What It’s Worthless.

 

Bio: Small Words is an energetic Indie-Rock band out of Indianapolis, IN.

With 2016’s “For What It’s Worthless” EP, the 5-piece quickly began making a name for themselves in the music scene.

Drawing influence from a myriad of genres, the band keeps the audience on their toes, and glued to their performance.

2019 will see the release of their new record, “Good Day, Bad Me”, recorded at The Lumberyard in Hammonton, NJ. (Produced, and mixed by Ace Enders, and Nik Bruzzese)

The album explores the struggles of addiction, grief, depression, and accepting one’s own mortality without spoon feeding you “it’s gonna be okay”’s. In these trying times we need to know that it’s okay to struggle, and no one needs to fight their demons alone.

 

– Caleb

Morning Commute: Favours – “In The Night”

Image result for favours band

Good morning B-Side Badasses! (oh, I like that one, that’s pretty good). I have an incredible song for you this morning. Their spotify numbers are mind blowing to me. This song only has 1,000 plays? What? Hopefully we can get those numbers up some today because I think everyone on the planet needs to hear this one. The band describes the track as: “‘In The Night’ is a ballad for the stuck ones in an unfulfilling cycle of repetition. It’s about escaping from the banality of the day and longing for the dreams that seem just out of reach.” Um…so…basically all of us in modern society no? I know it at least applies to me. One of my goals for 2019 is to dream bigger, and take some practical steps to achieve those dreams, so I appreciate this song this morning as a nice reminder of why it is important. So many of us let our lives drift by without trying to do anything to shake it up, or rock the boat, me included. Let’s reflect this morning, as we listen to this beautiful orchestrated synthy jam, on what parts of our lives we are just going through the motions on, and how we can shake ourselves out of that.

Links: Facebook / Instagram

Bio: Favours plays 80s and 90s influenced dark synth rock combining British new wave with modern dream pop influences. The band features female and male vocals using their lyrical identities to embody the narrative they croon about.

-Caleb

The Flock: Caleb’s Weekly Favorites Oct. 16th: Pkwy, Charles Edison, Farewell Company

*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 post several artists in one big post. 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.”

Pkwy – “Punisher”

“Slackers are acting tough
Born in Los Angeles
Light up a Camel Crush just for fun
Poems on bathroom stalls
High as shit playing Smash Bros Brawl
Throwing a bowling ball down the road”

This song is super chill. It reminds me a ton of college. I took up the bad habit of smoking, and my go to (other than cloves) were Camel Crush. I picked those because you could crush them for people who wanted menthols. It was completely about the social aspect. This song is just so simply beautiful. It captures the fun, insecurity, and rebelliousness of youth in a way that takes itself the perfect amount of seriously. The band says that the song actually reflects the story of the band somewhat. They all met in their teens, and have fond memories, including throwing a literal bright orange bowling ball down the road with the word “PUNISHER” written on it. If you can’t relate to this song, we probably wouldn’t have been friends in high school.

Also, the EP that Punisher is included on is now out! Released this last Tuesday: pkwy.bandcamp.com/album/giant-2. You guys should definitely go give these guys some money, so they can buy Camel Crush cigs. Those bitches get expensive.

 

Charles Edison – “My Mother”

“I can’t make a track and say I’m paying for your house
But Hopefully you hear this still and it’ll make you proud
I ain’t made it yet but I bet you think I could
I hope you worry less now that I’m safe and living good
You said you felt like you must’ve gone wrong
But you showed me how to raise a child – you knew it all along,”

I always get emotional with “momma” songs. I guess that’s not really a genre, but I think you know what I mean. This song is so deeply heartfelt. There’s a moment in the first verse where he says, “as far as I’m concerned, you ain’t never been a step mum”, and you can tell that’s true because up until that point, it seemed like he was talking about a connection as deep as any I’ve ever heard. It’s obvious the woman has made a huge impact on him, and he feels guilty for the ways he hasn’t lived up to her example or expectations. Now that he’s becoming a parent himself, it seems obvious that this is causing him to reflect about his own hopes and dreams for a child, how they can go awry, and how their are still plenty of positives instilled in him, even if he made mistakes. It’s really a beautiful sentiment. That’s not even to mention the excellent sample and background vocals. This song is just incredible.

Bio: Charles is a producer & rapper from South London, pairing intricately layered, immersive beats with a raw & honest vocal style that has seen him be compared to other British Urban music acts such as Akala, Beardyman, Mike Skinner, and Loyle Carner. Charles often draws on his experiences with mental health and addiction to result in refreshingly honest and relatable hip-hop.

Friede Merz – “ALBION”

“Albion, Albion
You made me wanna carpe the fuck out of this diem”

Well you can’t beat that opening. This video is really interesting. I especially like the Elvis costume, but the whole thing works nicely on a budget. It’s a good way to lean into a scatter plot ode to a place, by representing various aspects, both seriously, and mostly ironically. There’s definitely a lot to like from Friede, who does everything on this song, from instrumentals, to singing, to production. The artist describes the vibe as: “Whatever you do feels good to me.” That’s the spirit.”

Check out more here:

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Farewell Company – “Gulf Breeze Motel”

“I ain’t living right, I’m barely keeping the pace
And I’m so far from you now
I know I’m gonna be late
Well take your time no one’s waiting on you to change
No one’s waiting on anything

Hey what’s the hurry
Time’s keeping you locked down so tight babe
I know you work, just make it something worth your life
What’s the use in finding the truth if you’re gonna go and waste the news
I’ll be singing ‘bout a brand new day til I turn blue”

This song has been on several of my playlists for a couple of months now. It’s beautifully twangy and existential. What I really like about the existential aspect is that it doesn’t quite waver into despair. It is constantly mentioning a “brand new day” in a hopeful way that promises a better tomorrow, despite whatever negative may be going on in front of you right now. It kind of seems to put a sense of worth on personal responsibility. “No one’s waiting on you to change.” It’s up to us to care about what we do with our time here, not anyone else. It’s really a beautiful message, packaged in a catchy blues song.

Bio: Formed in early 2017 by a few close friends and siblings living in Nashville, TN, Farewell Company is a soulful, southern rock ’n’ roll band.

In just three days, the six piece recorded their first LP ‘Waiting On Anything’ to analog tape at a gem of a studio in East Nashville called The Bomb Shelter.

 

-Caleb