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)

 

The Flock: Indie/Alternative Rock: Dirty Hank, Ursa Major, Henry CS, Sundaes, Overstreet, Mammoth Indigo, Moses Cadillac

*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 Indie/Alternative Rock 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.

Dirty Hank – “Hot Mess”

Bet you weren’t expecting that change up at the 30 second mark. It’s what immediately got me in interested in this song. What makes it even more impressive is that this is basically just two guys making all this awesome noise. The lyrics have a bit of a grunge/punk element to them. Let’s look into some:

“You’re a timer, ticking up above
Feel the pressure Leave me now
They place us where they want to place us where they want to
Place us where we collide”

For the most part the lyrics are a bit ambiguous and abstract, but the general feeling I get is a reflection about what people disagree on, and who is benefitting from the disagreements. “they place us where they want to, place us where we collide.”

Bio: “meet dirty hank hollering two piece groove grunge duo from stevenage hertfordshire uk. with booming vocals and beat, riffs to punch teeth out to, imagine your favorite dive bar transformed into an LP, then it would sound like slip my mind, the debut album from Dirty Hank”

http://www.instagram.com/dirtyhankmusic

http://www.facebook.com/dirtyhankband

http://www.twitter.com/dirtyhank2

 

Ursa Major – “Gold Blooded”

Ursa Major mixes elements from prog. rock/psychedelic artists and spoken word/hip-hop, among many other genres. The instrumentals remind me a bit of TTNG, and maybe some early Portugal. The Man while the vocals go from Beastie Boys, to Minus the Bear, to Fort Minor. All of these elements combine together to make something entirely unique. The lyrics themselves are perhaps my favorite part in a song full of favorite parts. Since they are rattled off so quickly, let’s dive into some:

“No one told us a tattoo always itches where the lines are the thickest
Still, I never forget how quick life can slip into a thicket, and flip in an instant, hanging my legs off the edge of a ledge to test my existence, whoa! I’m in love with living!
Been digesting drugs, my tongue is feeling like a million bucks!
Music grooving through my lungs initializing meditation,
self-medication at its finest”

It definitely has a bit of a stream of consciousness vibe that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to one overall theme, but instead to several images that are relatable, and expand your own understanding of the world around you.

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing

Bio: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UrsaMajorBand/

Instagramz: https://www.instagram.com/ursamajorband/

Tweeter: https://twitter.com/ursamajor_band?lang=en

Youtube 1 (our frontman is a video director): – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLUsBsen9f0nTEr-m9o9q7A

Youtube 2 – (Our old channel. Gold Blooded music video coming in July): – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLUsBsen9f0nTEr-m9o9q7A

 

Henry CS – “live a little, enjoy”

“This song is written about my sporadic struggles with Agoraphobia and how I may sometimes not be able to leave the house for days/weeks at a time. During one of my bad moments, I put a microphone in my room and recorded this song. It is written about how depression and mental health can ruin everything about being a young adult.”

This is the statement we got from the artist about what the song is about. It’s really what art is all about for me. A therapeutic expression of the human experience from a single speaker, that multitudes can relate to. Let’s dive into a couple of those lyrics:

“I’m checking Facebook again,
It just reminds me I have no friends
My attendance is so poor
Yet I can’t get up off the floor

La, la la la la,la
La, la la la la x2

I want to get out this fucking house
I want to get off this fucking couch. x4”

I don’t know about you guys, but me and most of the people I know my age, have had this exact day. I had dozens of them throughout college. There is an overwhelming restlessness to being inside, and yet a complete lack of drive to actually step out of your door.

Bio: “College student living in Bristol, UK. I’m a self-taught multi-instrumentalist I record all my stuff myself, no outside help. I struggle badly with mental health and therefore spend most my time inside where I enjoy recording my music in my room.

I take big influence from DIY artists and producers such as Sandy Alex G, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Beck, Aaron Dessner and Mac Demarco.”

 

Sundaes – “Laundry Day”

I immediately added this song to my Fall/Winter playlist. It really reminds me a good bit of the vocal style of Mount Eerie, though luckily for my emotions, not quite as heavy. With a song that is so stripped down, the lyrics really stand out, so let’s get into some of them:

“T-shirts, underwear, matching my socks I don’t care.
There’s nobody like me
Living in a silent film
nobody is listening to me
They don’t know what they see

Nothing is going to plan
everything’s going to plan
Nothings going to plan

Everything is going to plan
nothing is going to plan
Everything is going, to plan”

I love how ambivalent the whole song is. It’s not “sad” per se, but it feels like depression. What I mean by that is there is a numb apathy to the whole thing. This, along with the lilting vocals make it perfect music for a rainy/snowy day. If you stuck around for 2:40 or so, you get this emotional breakdown that feels like the guitar itself is trapped inside this refrain. “Everything is going to plan, nothing is going to plan.”

Image may contain: 1 person

Bio: Lovechild of a wayward New York boy and the city of Nashville, Sundaes survives on McFlurrys, Steel Magnolia’s and the complete works of Lana Del Rey. The band draws influence from a combination of early oughts’ indie rock, blues, and genre assorted hits or all eras. Dancing among the kings of country, a queen does her best.

The band made their performance debut in the spring of 2015 with a set of two sold out shows at the Chelsea Hotel Storefront Gallery in New York. Fall 2015 the song “Walk My Street” appeared in the soundtrack of Best Picture Winner Spotlight. Sundaes’ self-titled debut EP was released July 2017. “Pretty Wife” Sundaes first single of 2018 was released May 18th. “Talking” followed June 12th. More to come soon!

 

Overstreet – “Carried Away”

If you are listening to all of these songs in order, you’ll notice a pretty dramatic shift in tone with this one. I mentioned the previous song is good for a rainy/snowy day, well this song is a sunny summer song through and through. It has a “no worry” attitude that proposes that any problem can be solved with “hard lemonade”. And honestly, that’s the way I feel in summer too. It’s not really that my problems disappear, but they just don’t feel as heavy with the sun shining on your face. Now, I don’t have a full version of the lyrics, so I’m not positive that there isn’t some subversion of this idea, especially with the title “Carried Away”, but nonetheless, the image of driving down the PCH with these pop vocals, will keep me from focusing too much on the negative until the leaves start to fall around here.

Bio:  Singer/Songwriter Chord Overstreet grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, in a musical environment with his parents and 5 siblings. His father, Paul Overstreet, is a two time Grammy award winner and the recipient of 5 BMI Songwriter of the Year awards.

Known for his critically acclaimed role as quarterback turned glee club member Sam Evans on FOX’s Emmy Nominated and Golden Globe winning series “Glee,” Chord graduated from high school in 2007 and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in singing and acting.

In 2015, Chord, who plays the piano, guitar, and drums, became the first artist to be signed to Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, and Phil McIntyre’s Safehouse Records, a joint venture with Island Records. Most recently, Chord released the remix of his single “Hold On” with Dutch DJ duo Deepend which debuted at #28 on the iTunes Dance charts. The original version released in February was heard in the series finale of the Vampire Diaries.

Currently, Chord is working on his debut album set to release later this year.

Mammoth Indigo – “Undertow”

This one features another vocal style that is so unique and interesting to me. With the title “Undertow”, I can’t help but think it feels like it’s slightly underwater, either physically, or metaphorically underwater as the world, the media, the future, washes all around the speaker. The video itself lends itself to this underwater interpretation, and the lyrics that flash at the bottom of the screen seem to suggest a wanting to overcome this underwater feeling. But the protagonist of our video sits on the couch, with a TV glow on his face, and a wine glass in his hand, mentioning how tired he is of drowning, while he drowns. This is what the artist says about the song:

“”Undertow” has some of my favorite lyrics from the record -“I will burn a hole in your head with your own cigarette” sounds like a growl line from a metal song, but in Undertow it’s a falsetto.To me, the song sounds like a macabre, ring-leader from a circus is singing the verses. It’s playful and solemn at once. Playing it live we get pretty psychedelic. It’s a fun track and also one of the only songs on “Wilt” to feature an acoustic guitar -which is ironic, considering it probably has the most production. Cody Bowers”

I know I would love to see this song live. I can just imagine how grandiose the whole thing gets. You can check out their website: https://www.mammothindigo.com/ for tour dates. I’m aiming for the September date in Boston.

Bio: Mammoth Indigo is an American indie rock band who’s members reside in Richmond, VA & Charlotte, NC. In 2013, they released their debut self titled album. They have toured with Taking Back Sunday , (You Blew It?), The Soil & The Sun, Joey Cook, and have headlined their own tours around the U.S. Mammoth Indigo is currently focusing their energy on their new single “Flowers In The Basement” and the upcoming release of their sophomore album ‘Wilt’.

Moses Cadillac – “A Thousand Times”

“Hello honey I know I’m late
I got too twisted tryin’ to get me straight
I lost that money I was gonna make
But still you come and take my pain away

[Chorus]

I got mixed up and I lost my way
I got fixed up but I lost a day
I got set up and I gotta pay
I wanna hit but I gotta stay

[Chorus]

I look in your eyes and I close my own
I’m just that dog out buryin’ bones
I got no place I can call my own
So if you love me better leave me alone”

I was trying to narrow down the lyrics to post, but then I just couldn’t stop adding stuff, so here’s half the song. This is a classic “rambling man” sort of song that I absolutely adore. It hits perfectly on the dynamic within many people (including myself) to be a free spirit, and to be in love. He seems to want to warn this lover that loving him will only end in pain, but he also really wants her love. It’s a tough predicament to be in, and this song perfectly captures it.

Bio: Moses Cadillac is based out Oakland, CA, where he runs an analog recording studio and makes music with his friends. He was raised by the rolling hills of California and the city streets of Montreal, Troy, and Oakland. A self-taught producer, musician, and songwriter, the sound of Moses Cadillac is always raw, unassuming, and comfortably brand new.

-Caleb

Want to hear more? These songs and more have been added to our August Spotify TOTD Playlist. 

The Flock: Hip-Hop and Soul – Hendrix Harris, Deacon, The Hashassins, DNyse, AV, MastaPiece, Nostalgia, Radioplay Reach

Guys, we are so sorry about the hiatus. We’ve been active with the podcast and interviews, but had to pump the breaks on the blog for a few days to handle real life business. We are back on it though, and we figured the best way to get things back in motion is to have an infectious hip-hop flock.

Let’s go.

*Click on the artists name to go to their website*

 

Hendrix Harris – New Chains

From the second the song starts and you hear that slick little riff, you know it’s going to be one smooth ride. What follows is four straight minutes of what’s easily going to be one of the smoothest things you’ve heard this week. Hendrix flawlessly switches between three different voices: his normal register, his falsetto, and his rap voice. I honestly can’t tell you which one I enjoy the most.

Fuck. I usually try not to get meta with my writing and act as polished as possible. I was doing research on Hendrix, and I just got blown away. I knew I had heard the name and been impressed with his stuff before, but I couldn’t place it. The reason I couldn’t place it is because the song we posted of his before and this song are worlds apart. Are you ready for this? He also does this song.

You can find the blog post here.

That’s versatility. To go from a smooth track that lands more in soulful r&b than hip-hop in one song, to head busting chopper rap in another is absolutely absurd.

 

DEACON – Negritude

You guys know we like to dig into lyrics on the blog, but sometimes we shouldn’t be the ones to discuss the lyrics. With this song, you can put a broad brush across the canvas when trying to figure out what the song is about, but the root of the song is better than anything we could ever come up with. We are painting in large strokes while DEACON is as specific as da Vinci.

DEACON says, “Negritude is a word I discovered on my travels whilst in Los Angeles. I stumbled across an establishment called “Psychiatry – An industry of Death Museum”. Whilst exploring their numerous accounts on the history of mental health practices, I found their section on Racism within psychiatry’s earliest stages. “Negritude – a term used by Benjamin Rush (Founding Father of American Psychiatry) defines “blackness” as a skin disease akin to leprosy, thus deeming segregation a “medical necessity”. The song is my way of flipping that idea on its head, and claiming negritude as the “funk” inherent in the soul of the music. If you don’t want to catch the funk, you better turn off that radio…”

As you guys know, I love digging into a song and figuring out what it means to me personally, but when it’s something this heavy, I like to leave it to the artist.

One interesting line is when they’re talking about ring around the roses, an allusion to the children’s song, Ring Around the Rosies. I don’t want to get into the etymology of the lyrics of the song, but a very common thought as to the roots of the song is that it talks about The Great Plague of London. This is a really cool easter egg in a song about black people being a plague. The lyricism throughout this song was on point for me.

 

The Hashassins – C’Mon

William Wallace (best rap name ever) and Sincere make up the hip-hop duo, The Hashassins. Sometimes a flow and beat come across our radar that is so smooth that we have to stop and take notice even if the lyrics typically aren’t our style. First off, don’t get me wrong about the lyrics, they’re clean. We just usually focus on things that are a little left of center, and the lyrics to the song are pretty straightforward. They’re witty, the cadence is nice, and they change up the rhyme scheme, but they’re talking about very similar ideas that a lot of hip-hop focuses on.

The beat and their flow are both so good that they elevate this song to another level, separating it from similarly worded songs. The piano chords at the beginning combined with the turntables let you know you’re about to be in for one hell of a ride. I’m not talking crotch rocket ride, I’m talking slow-rolling Cadillac with the top down, cruising down Main Street.

DNyse – Now Until Forever

Most hip-hop artists think they can sing, but very few can actually make it happen. DNyse has some pipes. He has this crazy mixture of singing and speaking straight to your soul.

A song about chasing your passion and making stuff happen through action and perseverance, Now Until Forever is a song that anyone who is on the cusp of pursuing something great should listen to. It’ll give you that bump you need to get you moving in the right direction.

 

AV – The Rising Son

The chorus you hear throughout this song is something that you’d hear in a movie as the gladiator steps into the arena, and that’s exactly what AV makes me think of with the lyrics to The Rising Son too. A chesty and bold rapper, he has an aggressive cadence, and doesn’t shy away from speaking his mind.

What does it mean to put her before you 
What does it mean to have faith, to be loyal 
What does it mean 
to rise up for your queen 
Rise up for the teens, lying dead in the streets 
Politicians giving in to they greed 
Make a speech for a fee worth retiring 
You think they could afford to be inspiring 
Placing blame on a groups backfiring 
Blame them blame them, they complacent 
No matter where they stationed, our space taken 
Grab em up, line em up, get em out 
You don’t belong here, show your proof if you brown

With a hook that hits hard, strong lyrics, and a tough flow, the Montgomery Sisters really bring it back to a more digestible level with their beautiful harmonies, making this a song that is making its way onto many of my personal playlists.

 

MastaPiece – Endless Night pt. 1

This song is the song that’s perfect for literally any part of a night where you are wanting to party. Pregame? It lets you know the expectation for the night. Heading to the second spot? It implores you to pick a spot you haven’t gone. Get into something new. Everyone on the cusp of calling it a night? This is the perfect rally song. Seriously. This song fits every part of the evening.

A three piece collective out of Houston, Texas, MastaPiece is turning heads in a major way. Not only are these guys hip-hop artists, but they are notable artists in everything from acting to design. These jacks-of-all-trades have a great future in art ahead of them, they just get the luxury of picking which art(s).

Nostalgia – Alone

Soulful crooning isn’t usually what we share on the blog, but there’s no way we were going to pass over this one. This Australian vocalist is essentially The Weeknd of the Eastern Hemisphere. With a similar sound to some of the most popular artists of today and a music video that had me wondering what was going to happen next from the very beginning, this is the song that would be playing in an adult version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Stick around to the end for a Shyamalan-esque twist.

Radioplay Reach – Big Money

Radioplay Reach hits us with the song, Big Money, a hard flowing song that was written behind bars in memoriam of a friend who lost his life. The words drip with emotion as he laments the loss of a friend while realizing that this loss only fuels his drive to be successful.

With a heady beat and honest lyrics, Radioplay Reach has a familiar hook in a totally new package.

Video of the Day: Sea High – “Luv.”

I love the visual style of this video. Parts of it remind me of those old flash videos on NewGrounds.com and part of it is a genius multimedia project that combines pictures, live drawn art, and movement. It’s really beautiful. The other really essential element to this song is the lyrics. Let’s dive into what makes them so effective:

“And I’m ever grown in a wood of gold
And I can’t be told when to call or fold
And I’m always talking and I can’t shut up
And I’m awful flawed but I’ve mastered stuff
And I think you’re cool.. you’re.. you’re.. you’re really nice like”

The whole song mixes a sense of poetry (as you can see in the repetition and anaphora) and conversational tone ( as you can see with the seeming stutter). This gives the song an understandable but simultaneously complex and abstract vibe. The whole first half of the song seems to be a listing off of shortcomings or anxieties, while the last half is a thank you letter:

“And it’s you that was constant you killed my concerns
It was you that was constant you killed my concerns
You should know you resurrected my trust
It was you that was constant this love is a must
(Spoken)
And if you were my only fan I’d never stop making music,
And you’re the only one pulling me through this
And I really should be saying this out loud but I can’t and
For now I’m just a ghost I’m just a phantom … ”

This whole section seems like it’s leading into a love note, but then we get the subversion of that at the end, and we see that he hasn’t said this to this person at all. He’s just a “ghost” or a “phantom”. I also really like that we get that classic movie moment in the video, when it ends with a girl picking up the phone trying to connect, but he’s already gone. It’s a very relatable theme of Unrequited Love (which we did a podcast episode on).

 

Bio: Sea High is a multi instrumentalist rapper and singer-songwriter from Ireland, using homegrown beats made by himself and O’B1 from Off Key Collective, a grassroots label that they co-founded

Sea High takes hip hop and uses it to convey abstract, conceptual themes of love, hate and everything inbetween.

LUV. Is an unsent message to a special someone that takes your breath, words and worries away.

 

-Caleb

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

New Release Friday: Luke Sullivan Jones, Curly Chuck and TyC, Caolifhionn Rose, Shoot The Duke

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.

Luke Sullivan Jones – “A Fire from the Dark”

“You don’t feel like yourself
You’re swallowed by the pain
Buried deep inside
Some things have to change

You can spark the flame
You can start again
A fire from the dark”

This song is so empathetic and hopeful! It does a great job of describing how hopeless and lonely life sometimes can be, but it encourages you to start the flame again in the dark. From a musical perspective, I really can’t get enough of the strings in the background of this song, and the interesting vocal style of Luke Sullivan Jones. This is a song that I can see myself listening to a ton this winter when I haven’t seen the sun in weeks, and I’m starting to get down.

“So tear it all apart
You’ll find your way through
Don’t wait for the world
To come and rescue you”

Bio: Luke Sullivan Jones is an independent Folk-indie artist from the UK. After the successful release of his EP ‘Through the Satellites’ two years ago, he has further developed his sound to find a unique voice in a ever evolving, yet crowded, genre.

Curly Chuck and TyC – “Get It”

How many of you checked to see if your phone was ringing when the song first started? I did too, and I’ve heard it like 10 times now. I also love how it sort sounds like parts of the beat throughout. The reason it “sort of” sounds like that is that TyC sampled all of the original Mac OS sounds, including the horns which came from the Mac “delete” song.  I also had to share this song because of how incredible his change ups in flow are throughout the song. Keep a look out for their debut EP, “Get It” is the first track, that’s going to be coming out later this summer. You better be sure to….get it.

Bio: Cleveland native, Curly Chuck has been quickly making waves on the underground scene for good reason. XXL recently said “he has the sound that can make his career go from zero to 100 in the blink of an eye.” He’s had a very busy last few months finishing up two EP’s, and spent the last week with Currency, so we can definitely expect some big things from him soon!

TyC, also from Cleveland, left Berklee School Of Music to tour with the band Carousel. A writer first, he picked up production on the road and has been honing in ever since. His single “BW/U” already has over 115,000 plays on Spotify and his last video featuring Curly Chuck, “GET DOWN” has over 35,000 views on Youtube!

Caoilfhionn Rose – Awaken

I would watch this video with no music for how beautiful the landscapes and scenes are. Luckily, we get to pair it with some beautiful music that actually sounds like it’s being sung from one of those echoey mountain tops. It seems the main message of this song, is to go outside and see the world. It’s the cure to most of what ails you. As someone who went on a 40 day road trip last summer, I have to agree with the assessment. Everyone should do their best to find a way to travel, especially in the spectacle of nature. It’s possible to do on a budget, google it. If you were like me, and didn’t know what Caoilfhionn meant, it’s a name that is described as: Derived from the Gaelic elements caol “slender” and fionn “fair”. This was the name of several Irish saints.

“So go outside
Pick the flowers in the park
Feel the sunshine
So go outside
Awaken to the world you can hear all new sounds

Don’t get left behind
Pulled down by the roots of your mind
See the new dawn on the horizon
See the colours of life again

Awaken to the world you can hear all new sounds”

If I was standing in the middle of any of the landscapes that are shown in this video, I think I’d have to be singing “go outside” at the top of my lungs too.

Bio: Caoilfhionn (pronounced Keelin) Rose will release her debut album with Gondwana Records in Autumn 2018 and ‘Awaken’ is the title track. The song is about noticing nature and everything around you, about taking a step back from your problems and going for a walk outside.

Shoot The Duke – Cash

Ah man this song is so incredible. This is a perfect example of how to properly emphasize raw vocals. They aren’t out of tune, they just peak into an emotive state that can’t be replicated by overly polished ones. This reminds me a lot of a mix between Shakey Graves and Kaleo. The song itself is about just what the name suggests, money:

So give me some money, oh let me have some cash. I promise I’ll give it back. One day at a time. ×2

I get up at the brink of the day. I apply for jobs but they all just send me away. Sorry son but you need more experience. How can I get some experience? I didn’t know I needed any to work in Morrison’s. Come on now, make my day.”

I guess more accurately the song is about the frustration between making and keeping money, especially if you are an artist:

I go outside to play some guitar, policeman comes to tell me no you can’t do that. He gives me a fine so I sold my guitar away.

I lay down to get some sleep. Policeman comes again, he’s bothering me. Get off the floor boy, you ain’t worth a dime.”

I think on an individual level, the story is really nice and relatable, but I also think it’s an appropriate metaphor for how a lot of modern society treats artists, or anyone who doesn’t want to be an entrepreneur or work in a cubicle. There is an emphasis on “contributing” to society, without an acknowledgement that art and philosophy are equally important pursuits for humanity. Ultimately, the song ends with a haunting image of a frustrated man robbing a store for money. After being told the things he is good at/passionate about are worthless in a monetary sense, he is left with very little choices for how to proceed in a society that doesn’t seem to value him at all. It’s a really interesting look at the fringes of modern capitalism, and who gets left behind, and why.

-Caleb

Looking for more music? Don’t forget to check out: Our Newest Podcast Episode

You can also find all these songs and more on our August TOTD Spotify Playlist.

The Mashup Flock: The Rungs, VON GREY, Dan Lyons, CONDORE, Darren Jessee, Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite, Basement Revolver, Reza Cage, Dylan Seamus, J Pee, Feiler, mA’RouGe, Wanderingted, Savannah Gardner, Marie Nafah, Wayne Graham, Jordan Max, MALMØ

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

Let’s start off August right! This is a HUGE edition of The Flock. Usually The Flock focuses on one specific genre, but sometimes we throw all the rules out of the window. The goal is to give you enough music to make it through your work week and beyond. We’ll hit quite a few genres, subjects, moods, etc. so that you can have a soundtrack for whatever this week throws at you.

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

 

The Rungs – Trees

With 18 new artists on The Flock today, I wanted to start off with an energetic and fun song. Lyrically, Trees is the synth-pop equivalent to The Lorax. With fun, off-beat cadences and a structure that feels new and fun, The Rungs have made a song that is a taste of familiarity mixed with something exciting and different. We posted a song a few weeks ago that revolved around the idea that your bed sees so many pivotal moments of your life, and this video captures that same idea sans beds, and replacing them with trees.

Bio: The Rungs are a female fronted alt-pop project who blend rock with synth pop. They record and produce everything in their home studio and draw inspiration from the sounds and stories that surround life in Brooklyn NY.

VON GREY – 6 AM

Sometimes you hear harmonies in a song, and think, “If they aren’t related, they’ve definitely been friends for a while.” I mean, that might just be me, but some harmonies are so cohesive and symbiotic that it feels like the artists have all played off each other for years. That’s definitely the case with VON GREY, three Atlantan sisters who created a seamless layered blend that seems two steps away from a Harmonix Voice Box. With very direct and pointed lyrics, these sisters arranged the song in a way that the instrumentals take a backseat to their voices and words. It’s a very mature move considering the fact that no sister is even 25 years old yet.

CONDORE – Love Zombies

It’s hard to make a complete song in less than two minutes. There’s usually something missing that makes it feel incomplete. That’s not the case for CONDORE’s “Love Zombies.” Coming in at 1:38, the song has much more heft to it than the time stamp would tell you. In fact, it almost seems like it meanders at its own pace, never cognizant of the time, only worried about the journey. CONDORE’s voice is interesting and has this beautiful tone that could be in an indie folk track, but could also just as easily take on a Joanna Newsom vibe and haunt your dreams.

Dan Lyons – Gargoyle

Dan Lyons hits with a track that has some of the most interesting imagery I’ve heard in a long time. With instrumentals that swim upstream and fight the current of typical composition, Dan tells a story of being a cog in the machine. Reminding us that most of us are being worked by invisible hands, guided through our life with the illusion of free will.

Darren Jessee – Anything You Need

If the name Darren Jessee is familiar to you, it’s because he was the drummer for Ben Folds Five, and carried a good bit of the songwriting responsibilities as well. With a morose voice, and similar lyrics, Darren keeps the focus on his intent and keeps the accompaniment sparse and solely there to provide support for the bigger picture. His first solo album releases on August 24th, where it will solely be Darren’s voice, and string arrangements from Trey Pollard.

The vibe’s gonna be
him and Trey
giving everything we need

Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite – Electrified

Right now we are in the middle of a 4 day thunderstorm, and all I want to do when the rain stops is roll my windows down in my car and listen to this song as I hug sharp turns and drink a Fanta (or an equally happy drink). I mean, the lyrics fit the current rain too, with a message that says no matter what happens, you have to keep pushing. I mean, I know a rainstorm seems trivial in comparison to what the song is about, but I’ve been wrapped up in my feelings lately. Once this rain stops, I’ll definitely apply this song to the bigger picture.

Basement Revolver – Knocking

If you are new to the blog, you may not remember the last time we shared a Basement Revolver song. If you weren’t, CLICK HERE. Even if you were, it’s a pretty good refresher. One word that immediately came to mind when I listened to Knocking after listening to Baby was “versatility.” I mean, you can tell it’s the same band (mainly because of the unique and gorgeous timbre of vocalist, Chrisy Hurn), but the songs are worlds apart. Baby is the grandiose display of what the band can do when they crank it to 11 while Knocking is a more intimate song that drips with pain and beauty, hurt and redemption. I don’t want to butcher such a personal song with my interpretation, so here are words of Chrisy on the meaning behind the song.

Knocking is probably the heaviest song on the album for me, personally. I often still can’t sing it without crying. I wrote it after writing my family a long letter that came clean about my past, and about some of the shit that I have been through. Hard things that left me feeling shameful, or like a disappointment to them – things that made me feel like I wasn’t the “good Christian woman” that they had hoped I would one day become. The letter came after a few years of hardcore wrestling and rebelling against what I believed in response to a traumatic event in my life. I got to a point where I didn’t recognize myself, or all the anger that I was holding inside. I basically kept telling myself that I was garbage, broken, unlovable, used and a whole other slur of things.

This hits so close to home for me, it’s unreal. Dealing with the expectations of family is one of the most brutal things you can put yourself through, and Chrisy lays it all out on the table for everyone to see. I probably grew up in a very similar household as Chrisy if she has a family who is disappointed in choices she made that steered her away from Christianity. There was a single event that made me think, “If this is what the church is, they suck, and I don’t want to have anything to do with that.” It turns out that it was solely the people involved in the event, and they were just shitty human beings. I didn’t realize it until years later though, and by that time, I had already “strayed from the path.” It’s a very hard thing to reconcile when you have these people who are objectively great people telling you that the way you are doing your life is wrong. I mean, granted, a lot of the things I was involved with were objectively wrong and it leaves you feeling bitter and broken. After years of fighting and resisting, my mom and I are very close now, and my sister is one of my best friends. I still don’t live up to their Christian expectations, but we have all figured out our best way to maneuver around each other. It seems that Chrisy is on the right path, at least with her own healing. Nobody should have to go through this pain over someone else’s religious beliefs.

Reza Cage feat. Telfair – velvet drapes

Everyone has that one ex. At least. A lot of people have way more than that. They never seem to go away. The memory always lingers, and you see them in your day to day life. I don’t mean that you see a ghost or anything, but a song reminds you of a time you guys danced in the kitchen together, the smell of a bakery reminds you of the time you guys attempted to make your own bread and failed miserably. The problem is that it’s definitely a one sided affair. They aren’t concerned with you, and when it seems like they are, it’s a facade to get what they want. This song is imploring the ex to be real, and just give the singer a pardon so he can move on.

you love a trivial game 
stopping my heart so i can’t feel pain 
one touch, you’re flipping your shade 
like the velvet drapes 

Dylan Seamus – Flying

Dylan didn’t know this when he asked us to check out his music, but I am a huge fan of music where the protagonist is someone you want to root for. You want this guy to win. He doesn’t quit, and he finally achieves his goal of flight. I think there are a lot of really cool lessons here, and I want to touch on two of them. First, there’s the obvious one; if you really want to accomplish big goals, you’re going to fail, and you’re going to fail a lot probably. Keep pushing through the shit until you come out on the other side. Second is the more nuanced lesson. Think outside the box, be unconventional, and whittle away until you succeed. The attempts at flight that ended in failure were all band-aids for an idea that required stitches. The guy throws on angel wings, tries to build a plane, and gets in a spaceship when the answer the whole time was to build an infinite ladder, one rung at a time. It may not be flying, technically, but the goal was to touch the sky. Do whatever it takes for however long it takes.

J Pee – To The Kids That I Might Never Have

J Pee pours his heart out into a letter addressed to his possible children, but it’s more of a song that focuses on the idea that we are absolutely destroying the future for the younger generation. Overpopulation, pollution, political dissidence, wars, and the battle of heart vs. head are only a few of the things discussed in a letter that tries to open up eyes to the fact that our choices today impact future generations.

Feiler – Ruse

There is so much to love about Feiler’s song, Ruse, and for me personally, it’s only partially due to what is presented in the track. A huge part of what I love about the song is the backstory behind it. When Austin Smith, the man behind the music, was asked about the creation of Ruse and the EP that it’s on, Dry Rot, he said,

When I finished college I packed all my gear into the back of my car, got on I-80, and drove 3500 miles to a very old house in the rural woods of Northern Georgia. I’d been living in LA for the previous four years and had a couple of different musical projects but nothing really stuck. This project had been sort of coalescing in my mind for the previous year or so and I had some vague ideas about the kind of music I wanted to make out there, but mostly I was looking for something. I made a little DIY studio and spent five months out in that house, covered in vines, from summer to fall. That’s where I started this project and made most of Dry Rot. Expect another single and an EP in the next couple of months.

What I love about this is that he took a step back to assess what he was doing in LA, didn’t like what was happening, and made a robust step to fix that. I love homespun projects, and this is a perfect example of when that goes right. Feiler creates a morose and tangible soundscape, putting thought into every piece of the track. I’m usually not a fan of “oohs” in songs because they’re usually an afterthought or a space filler. This song wouldn’t be complete without them, and that’s a testament to the forethought put into every piece of the track.

mA’RouGe – Put It On Your Phone

There are very few songs that surprise me anymore. This is one of the few. There’s just such a perfect groove in everything from the bass, to the celestial synth background, to the offbeat cadence that the vocalist sings with. There isn’t one choice in this song that is expected, and they’re all beautiful choices. The sample at the end, even though I understand very little of it, goes perfectly with the funk provided by the instrumentals.

Wanderingted – The Water of All My Days

It’s nice when a love song doesn’t follow the tropes of love songs, but it still has the same weight as hyperbolic ballads. I would much rather hear a song about how the thought of a person and their idiosyncrasies puts a smile on my face than to hear about how a person’s eyes are bluer than the bluest ocean and their voice could make angels cry. The former is what love is, the latter is what a stalker writes.

Wanderingted has a voice that walks this wild line between familiar folk and operatic classical. It’s new, it’s fun, and the timbre of his voice isn’t something that any schmuck can replicate (we all know the kinds of bands I’m talking about). The new voice combined with a creative writing style has me excited about the future of Wanderingted.

Savannah Gardner – Blake

Savannah Gardner has this alto rasp to her voice that only has one comparable sound that comes to mind: Zooey Deschanel. Savannah Gardner could easily play the Will Ferrell counterpart in Elf, nailing Baby It’s Cold Outside just as well as Zooey. Anyways, Savannah has written a song that is part affirmation and part hesitation. She knows she is strong, but she doesn’t try to pretend that the world and the current she’s swimming against isn’t strong too. With empowering lyrics and a powerful voice, Savannah sings a pure song of resilience that will be making it onto my personal playlists for quite a while.

Marie Naffah – Bones

I have no idea what to say about Marie Naffah. Seriously. I write 20-30 reviews of artists/tracks every single week, and this one got me. I knew a girl in high school who had the most beautiful voice I had heard to that point. She had this really strong and rounded out alto voice that had this resonating body on the end of every note. When I first heard Marie’s song, Bones, I immediately thought of my high school classmate. When Marie sings, “I would tear my lungs,” I smiled due to familiarity, but when Marie flips to her falsetto and says, “if the air wasn’t shared with you, my love,” my eyes literally got big, and my smile curled to a stink face that I usually reserve for exceptional hooks in hip-hop songs. The falsetto that Marie has, flawlessly flipping between her diaphragm and her head voice, is something that still gives me chill bumps even after multiple listens.

Her lyrics tell a story of dependency. When the song starts out, I thought I was in for another love story about the depths that someone would go to be with their partner/lover/muse; I mean, building bone homes and tearing lungs out is a pretty big commitment. Then it takes a different direction, talking about how the protagonist really doesn’t want to need the partner, and they’re only going to bring them down. It honestly started reminding me a lot of “Cigarettes” by Noah Gundersen. Hell, this song could definitely be about cigarettes just as easily as it could be about a person. The point of the song is that there is a dependency, an addiction, and ultimately, two parasitic relationships dependent on the other one to survive. I mean, that’s what I pulled from it. I could just be projecting.

Either way, stop smoking cigarettes, people. If you’re under 55, you don’t have an excuse. Science has been pretty definitive in the fact that it definitely leads to early death in a lot of cases. I got in trouble for hopping on that soapbox fairly recently, but I don’t care. It’s a bad habit that can kill you. This wasn’t supposed to turn into a post about cigarettes. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Wayne Graham – Bloody Montana

When I first saw the video, I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about it. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s a raccoon getting some food from a trash bin for almost four minutes. It took me watching the video twice to really realize what wasn’t sitting right with me. I actually really enjoy the video and I enjoy the simplicity of it. The raccoon is the star of the show, and an adorable one at that. The part I felt weird about was the fact that the raccoon is digging around in a City of Knoxville receptacle while the song talks about bloody Montana. I know they don’t shy away from that fact, even labeling it at the beginning, but I still found it weird. Now, I said all of that to say this; once I figured out what wasn’t sitting right with me and I could listen to the song in earnest, I absolutely fell in love.

The track is this meandering new Appalachia sound that is somewhere between country and folk. If you’ve read the blog or listened to the podcast at all, you may think, “Well I’m not sure that’s a good thing considering you guys aren’t really into country.” I would respond to you, “Well, you’re right, and I honestly can’t tell you what it is about this song that has me pining for more.” I think it’s part track, part video, part backstory, and part personal connection that has me so invested in these brothers from southeast Kentucky. Let’s break my enjoyment down into quick little bullet points.

-The track takes the few things that I like about country, and wraps them in a folk timbre. Storytelling, saloon piano, and honestly, this is a weird one, but it’s a personal quirk, songs with geographic locations in them. Don’t ask me why, but country musicians are the kings and queens of writing songs about geographic locations.

-The video keeps it simple, letting you focus on the tune itself.

-Their backstory is interesting. First off, I’m always a fan of family member bands. We’ve featured plenty on the blog, and they always hold a sweet spot for me. Also, I was looking through the ideas behind each of their songs, and these guys write about their lives. When I say that, I don’t mean these guys are writing love songs about exes. These guys are writing songs about everything from cassette tapes that belonged to their grandfather to a theoretical (and quite literal in some towns) apocalyptic wasteland caused by coal mining companies taking advantage of towns and their inhabitants.

-That last part about coal mining leads me to the last point of why I love these guys: personal connection. My wife has a lot of extended family that lives in coal mining country in western Virginia in a little town called Wise. They all live on huge family lots that are all part of this communal property. It’s one of the most picturesque places on the planet. We have visited her family countless times, and each time, I have been welcomed in like I’ve been in the family forever. They are the most selfless and thoughtful people you can come across. The town of Wise is a coal mining town, and while none of my wife’s family works in that industry (to my knowledge), it is a huge industry that keeps many families in their homes. The stories that these brothers tell are the same stories that the people in Wise have because Whitesburg Kentucky, the hometown of the brothers in Wayne Graham, is less than 45 minutes from Wise. That may not be an ending fit for a Shyamalan film, but I thought it was pretty neat.

Jordan Max – War

Children of Men. That’s what this song and video makes me think of. I know that seems really out there, but stay with me. It’s a song about being terrified of the future and what it will bring, the music video is all taking place in a post-apocalyptic world, and the whole video was done in one continuous shot. If you haven’t seen the movie, watch THIS CLIP for a frame of reference, and then go watch the movie. Then go back and watch these two clips that you may not have realized were done in one take. CLIP 2. CLIP 3 (my favorite).  Anyways, now you have some kind of an understanding of my connection between the song and my favorite movie, let’s get back to the song.

With vulnerable vocals and an instrumental track that gives you the powerful yin to Jordan’s yang, War gets into the mind of millions of soldiers all around the world. They aren’t stoked about going to fight and risk their lives, but if it means that the people they are about the most are protected, then sleep and time aren’t such difficult things to give up. Now, I don’t know if they lyrics are as on the nose as they seem. At the very least, they can apply to a plethora of other things in someone’s life. The song is just about the general feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty of the future.

One thing to keep in mind when listening to a track like this is that there’s not a single person who has it all figured out. We’re all just making this shit up as we go along.

MALMØ – You

What do you get when you cross Joanna Newsom’s timbre with Ingrid Michaelson’s range and vocal acuity? You get something pretty damn close to MALMØ vocalist, Maria Malmoe. She has one of those voices that you hear long after you stop listening to the track.

The song lyrics are fairly ambiguous, but the overarching theme seems to be a lesson in polarities. The first verse is all about being lost in a world of green, while the second verse is about being lost in a world of grey. Both verses have the main character being lost until “I found you.” The main feeling I get from this is that this is talking about the seasons of a relationship. You go through new growth, and you go through dead times, but the key is that you always keep searching for the other one. Keep chasing them even when things seem bleak.


As always, support these guys. Follow them on tour, buy merch, keep up with upcoming releases. All of these things can be done by clicking on the name of the artist above.

We also have a Spotify playlist that puts all of the songs featured on the blog that month into one convenient package.

Check out Episode 17 of the podcast