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

 

Video of the Day: Couch Jackets – “Don’t Think Just Breathe”

 

I really have to work on taking the title’s advice here. This video is so much fun. I mean, maybe fun is the wrong word, considering the subject matter that finds its way into the video (natural disasters, protests, global warming, etc.) But it’s also offset with zen-like imagery, and trippy visuals that make it one of my favorite videos of the moment. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics real quick, in between eating bullshit and emotional dissonance (if you don’t get that reference, go back and re-watch the video, hell re-watch the video anyway):

“Lighting a burned bridge between me and the purpose I’ve made,
But in my~ smoky haze I’ve forgotten to replace it’s arcade
Every game I’ve ever played engulfed by flame, left to fade.
No one’s insane we’re each of different makes which are arcane

“Don’t think just breathe
Don’t think just breathe”

Here’s a short list of things that are bothering me at the moment:

  1. Stress at my day job.
  2. Trump
  3. Writer’s block
  4. The inevitable heat death of the universe
  5. Trump

I’m going to do my best today, because of this song’s inspiration, to slow my brain down and “just breathe.”

So regardless of the thing that’s bothering you right now, hopefully you can put this video on repeat for a bit, and take a short vacation from it.

Bio:  “Couch Jackets sounds like an alligator’s eating us,” reads the explanatory note on the Little Rock, Arkansas quartet’s Bandcamp page. Fans of the band have become accustomed to this sort of irreverence – these are funny guys, and they lead with their personalities. Yet it’s not just a joke. Listening to Couch Jackets can be like entering a whirlpool: songs don’t behave the way you expect them to. They come at the listener with manic energy; they twist and turn, shiver and shake, and no matter how playful they seem, they always carry with them a whiff of danger.

We suppose that if we were asked to be particular about it, we could try to classify Couch Jackets. Given their ambition and the idiosyncratic nature of the music they make, it’s fair to call them a progressive rock act. Their emphasis on texture and love of experimentation aligns them with the neo-psychedelic movement, and their supple grooves are redolent of classic ‘70s pop. There’s even a hint of country music somewhere in the mix. But we don’t think we’ve ever heard a band combine its influences in quite the same way. Go To Bed, the group’s most recent set, was made in Nashville, and it’s the fullest realization of their visionary sound yet committed to record. It somehow manages to sound more polished than their prior recordings while preserving the primal chaos and sense of fun that has always distinguished the band. We have no idea how they’ve pulled off this trick. Like so much about Couch Jackets, their methods are shrouded in mystery.

Just as the band has developed a singular sound, they’ve come up with a visual aesthetic that’s wholly theirs – and that matches the music perfectly. For a still-new band, Couch Jackets have made a lot of videos, and they all display the group’s inventiveness, imagination, and sense of humor. Consider, for instance, the clip for “Don’t Think Just Breathe”, which manages to satirize obsessive news-watchers, cooking shows, reality television, and the act of eating dinner.

 

-Caleb

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

The Flock: New Release Friday (on Saturday): Oddnesse, Beck Pete, Ryan Dunlap, Riley Pearce, Balto, Spirit Award, Ribotto, Wingtip, Castle Pines

These are our favorite new songs of the past couple days. Every song has been released within the last 48 hours, so you can tell your friends about not only new artists, but their new songs that they’ve never heard.

ARTISTS LOOK HERE: Caleb and I have started a Facebook group that we want to turn into a place for artists from around the country to find likeminded bands to fill shows out, find shows, and really just a community made by artists to talk about the industry. If you’re interested in joining that, CLICK HERE.

 

*Click on the artist name to visit their website*

 

Oddnesse – It Runs Wild

This song is so cool. The style reminds me instrumentally of Neil Young, and the vocals are out of this world. It seems like overall there is an emphasis on using the phrase “mind is running wild” as an elaborate personified being that is being talked to throughout the song.

come out come out, wherever you are

big mystery

bothering me

get the fuck out

i try to cultivate an organized mind still it runs wild sometimes”

So these thoughts that we wish we could run and hide form, are being represented by a monster chasing you through the woods or something. The last lines are particularly haunting:

why do i worry about any of it

i’ve survived in the dark before

i could try and find a way to stop

falling and falling

but I know there is no floor”

It reminds me a lot about the conversation Holden Caulfield has with his teacher mentor near the end of the The Catcher in the Rye when it’s discussing a “fall that never ends”. It’s basically a way to talk about depression, because, at least in my experience, depression doesn’t have a true “rock bottom.” A “rock bottom” is a place to restart from, but in the depths of depression, there’s no way to find your footing to even begin to start again. It’s a really haunting beautiful image, and song.

 

Beck Pete – Gently Break It

This song is really interesting. Musically, it has some of the coolest layered vocals I’ve heard in a long time, and I also like the guitar work, that mostly walks a pretty straight forward riff, but has moments of growth throughout that suggest a breakdown is coming, even though the guitar solo never really comes, we have two excellent vocal breakdowns around 2 minutes and 3 minutes into the song that make the build up pay off. Lyrically, the artist broke down (ha) what the song was about for us:

“‘Gently Break It’ specifically was written from the perspective of a broken person (*ahem*) seeking out another who would hurt them, because it is familiar, and therefore, comfortable. It sheds light on a situation that is all too common romantically where a person thinks that they are undeserving of love and therefore romanticizes the idea of playing a victim in an unhealthy relationship. I have been that girl, and can’t say that I won’t be again. I’m just hoping that this song serves a reminder of that tendency, and spreads awareness to everyone who hears it that 1) they are not alone in this cycle and 2) they can break it by believing they are worthy of something positive and healthy.”

 

I love that explanation because it shows 1. how art can be a sort of therapy or exorcising of certain demons, but also 2. that it doesn’t necessarily mean all the struggles are gone just because you wrote that they were. It’s a battle that will continue, no matter how much your ideal self wants to to be over, and that is a realistic message that hopefully someone needed to hear.

Ryan Dunlap – Haunted House

“waking up in this haunted house

like a dream you can’t get out.”

This song is so hauntingly beautiful. It’s an exploration of living in a place that reminds you of someone that’s not longer there (I can’t tell if it’s a literal death, or a relationship that ended). Either way, it’s like the house is haunted because the memories still hang in all of these objects and photos. It makes it really difficult to move on, with all of these reminders haunting you from the walls and shelves.

For me, this is one of the hardest type of songs to get right, a completely stripped down acoustic song with the vocals and the lyrics being the main focus, but when it is done right, like Ryan’s is, it is my favorite type of song. It makes me feel like I’m walking down an empty street on a snowy day. It’s melancholy and lonely, but it’s the way I want to be right now.

Riley Pearce – If I Knew

“Darling if I knew, half the things I thought I knew,

baby then I’d still have you.”

I nominate this video for short film of the year. The fact that this is all done with one take (or some really sneaky cuts that I didn’t see) makes it that much more impressive. Watching this narrative unfold in one room, with one person (though there is an implied second person at one point), was so riveting. I literally couldn’t take my eyes away. The song itself seems to be a lesson in regret, that feeling you get when you’ve lost somebody and realize how much you did wrong along the way to push them away. This is a lesson in getting a quality music video out of a fairly cheap set. Great, great, job.

Balto – Song for Viktor pt. 2

You have to listen to all of these lyrics. It’s got so much truth for anyone who’s had a self-destructive period of their life. It seems to be someone who is struggling with, well a lot of things, addiction? sleeping around? And there is another person who keeps trying to reach out to him and help him out, despite it all. He’s just having a hard time accepting that help, maybe he doesn’t want to get better yet.

“Yeah, I’ve been out drinking
I just talk past my friends
Trying to talk to myself
I wish I could see you
Just for a moment thought the fever had passed
My lover is calling
But my porcelain dream
I can never take back

So I let her down
And she keeps reaching out
Knowing all I need’s a little help

Just a little help ”

I was tempted to copy past the entire lyrics, because every verse really resonated me. But this one resonated with me the most, especially the “I just talk past my friends/ trying to talk to myself” line. It’s perfect in the sense that I immediately could picture it, in others, in myself, and yet it’s said in a way that I would’ve never imagined writing. That’s what makes good poetry. That’s what makes good music. That’s what makes good truth.

Spirit Award – Supreme Truth

 

The lyrics to this song are super trippy. I guess that fits with the syncopated instrumentals that leave you feeling delightfully disoriented.

“Beneath the city, a crowd a people

Muscles turning from all the vapors

Acid dreams and burnt bodies

They drank the blood, for the supreme one

So what happens now?

What have we learned?

We share with you now

We’ve done what we meant to do”

I can’t say I fully know what’s going on here, or that anyone is really supposed to. It seems like an acid dream gone wrong, but with a kernel of truth. If this is a reflection of our society, what paths have we taken to get to the negative places we reside? What happens now? What have we learned? All art can do is try to point out truths, and hope they mean something. People can then shape the rest of the world after those truths. Let’s see what Spirit Award says about the song:

“‘Supreme Truth’ points to influences of early New Order and Can, highlighting psych rock melodies and ethereal vocals. Thematically the single is based on the Japanese death cult “Aum Shinrikyo” lead by Shoko Asahara, who recruited the rich to join his cult and carry out Tokyo subway sarin attack in 1995. After becoming fascinated with cults, institutions and religions, the band shed light on how it can be so easy to get lost in something when that’s all you’re surrounded by.”

So there you go, I wouldn’t have known that (obviously) without their help, but I think the general message of the song shines through regardless of if we know the backstory.

Ribotto – Now and Then

 

Mmm. Those sweet, sweet horns. Ribotto’s music is described as “avant-folk-rock”, and though I’ve never heard anything described that way, it’s a perfect interpretation. It is, at it’s core, folk rock, but there are some experimental aspects to it that make it stand out in a way that is truly unique. It kind of reminds me of what Justin Vernon could’ve done, if he hadn’t leaned so hard into the autotune (not hating on Bon Iver, just saying his solo stuff was completely different).

The lyrics themselves also lend to the surreal “avant” part of the genre. There is a lot of witty wordplay throughout the whole album, but I love this section:

“When did all these things become then
Now that I know what was said
I wish I was then now instead”

This reminds me a good bit of e.e. cummings poetry. He plays with syntax and time in a really fun way throughout the whole song. If you check out his other stuff, you see this is consistent lyrically throughout his album Matter of Time, which makes a lot of sense, because that makes the album name itself a witty comment.

Wingtip – Pavement

“Quietly, quietly it grows
Ripping at the seams
How did we, how did we get lost
In these old city streets
Used to be, used to be in love
Now our eyes never meet

Oh, I can feel the light fading
You still have some fire worth saving
Oh, spill the blood on the pavement
Oh lord, you can tell I’m wasted”

On it’s surface, the song sounds upbeat, including a dance heavy chorus around the 1 min mark or so. When diving into the lyrics though, it’s obvious that there’s a little more going on here. It seems to be an exploration into the past, when you think about someone you used to love, and who used to love you, but now you barely know one another. The speaker can “feel the light fading”, but also believes there is “still some fire worth saving.” It’s unclear if anything ever comes to this, but the “you can tell I’m wasted” seems to imply it’s more of a drunk texting your ex scenario, than a real attempt to get back together.

 

Castle Pines – Cassiopeia 

 

And last, but certainly not least, Castle Pines. This song has an interesting mix of Grunge and Shoegaze elements, with some really thoughtful lyrics. Let’s check out some of them:

“God Damn the damned up thoughts

Sinking my ship in tied up knots

Churning the harbor door

My passage never meets the shore

 

Dressed up for a dimmer shade of gray

For a bed and a bottle laid away”
I really love the “god damn the damned up..” line because of how clever and playful the word play is. It seems like in general this song relates a malaise or depression of a generation being encapsulated through sea worthy imagery. And unfortunately at times, it feels like the best we can hope for is “a bed and a bottle laid away.” Instead of focusing on my interpretation though, let’s hear from the band:

“Cassiopeia is an intentionally droll and sleepy sung lament of differing travelers viewpoints throughout history, partly inspired by nautical themes, including the Constellation and Greek Mythological character the song is named after. A narrative of loss, forgotten meaning and questioning the reality of the status quo, the song parallels the Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church and Modern day America as civilizations defeated by the internalization of simply not caring anymore.”

I can’t say I disagree with their assessment of how this all relates to our modern America. I hope at some point hope can overcome apathy, but that’s a wait and see for now.

 

-Caleb and Seth

Did you enjoy these songs? Check them all out, along with many more, on our July TOTD Spotify playlist.

Did you know we make a podcast? It’s really good, you can check out all the episodes right here: B-Side Guys Podcast