Caleb’s Mid-Week Mixdown Featuring: Freedom Fry, Galapaghost, William Fitzsimmons, and Freddy and Francine

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.

Freedom Fry – “Classic (Acoustic)”

This song is the epitome of nostalgia, albeit with a slight twist. There is the obvious examples like sipping on a glass bottle Coca-Cola, but it seems like it’s actually about how someone can give you that nostalgic “classic” feeling. Just their presence gives you that good feeling that feels like the world is as simple as enjoying each other’s company. To me there’s really nothing better than that feeling, and this song captures the vibe perfectly. You hear this structure in the chorus when it mentions “living in the past with you”, but then is followed with “jumping in the bed with you.” Maybe they are doing nostalgic activities together, but any act has that glow to it because they are doing it together. When you realize that Freedom Fry is a married French/American duo (hilarious name for that mixture by the way), the chemistry apparent in the presentation of this song makes a lot of sense. They are just sharing their love with us, and hoping we can relate, and on my best days this summer, I know I absolutely can.

Bio: Freedom Fry are Marie Seyrat and Bruce Driscoll, a married French & American musical duo. They write and record everything themselves and usually direct and edit their own music videos too. If you like what you see & hear, subscribe and say “hi.” Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat: @freedomfrymusic. They released their debut album, “Classic,” on June 1, 2018.

Galapaghost – “Jellyfish”

Any of you who have followed us for a while should be familiar with this guy. He was featured on our very first podcast episode (Hope)I am very happy to share some more music with you guys today. Galapaghost is the solo project of a very prolific songwriter, Casey Chandler. He’s released 5 albums so far, and seems to be ramping up some new music earlier this year already. The unique thing about “Jellyfish” and the album, Sootie, is that it is Casey’s first electronic album. I love the spacey atmosphere of this song, and given its place on the album, which is primarily about childhood, I can’t help but feel a sense of innocence from this song. The lyrics though, paint a different picture:

“When you told me you might need something more exciting
Well I guess I should get dressed
Cause I guess I got some expenses
Spending all the hours of the day
Working until you don’t recognize your face”

So as an adult reflecting on this innocence, it can’t help but feel but lost, when you are working all day, “until you don’t recognize your face.”

Bio:  Casey has no label, manager or band, so he produces all of his music himself. When he can afford it, he flies to Italy to record with his Italian brother from another mother, Federico. He hails from the small hippie town of Woodstock, NY. He toured Europe and North America with John Grant for 6 months in 2010, which included a prestigious slot on Later…With Jools Holland. He has released five albums. His first two albums were released on a small Italian label called Lady Lovely. He self-released his 3rd album I Never Arrived in 2016 and it already has over 2 million streams on Spotify and many rave reviews from Paste Magazine, Substream Magazine, The Big Takeover, AXS and many others. His 4th album ‘Pulse’ was self-released in January 2018. It received rave reviews from Alternative Nation, Huffington Post, Your EDM and many others. His 5th album ‘Sootie’ was released in August 2018.

William Fitzsimmons – “Distant Lovers”

This song is so haunting. Taken off his album, Mission Bell, Fitzsimmons breaks down a rough year marked by a decade-long marriage falling apart. This song in particular, questions monogamy, and how to forgive (or not) infidelity. As someone who had a marriage fall apart for similar (out of my control) reasons, I can’t help but ache in empathy with the content of this entire album. This is for anyone who has dealt with loss, and needs that bittersweet reminder of how deeply humans can love, hurt, forgive, and hopefully begin to heal.

Bio: Singer-songwriter and music producer William Fitzsimmons’ latest record Mission Bell is a chronicling of the tumultuous last year of his life, particularly of the separation from his second wife. An initial version of the album was originally recorded in Fitzsimmons’ home studio in the summer of 2017 but was subsequently abandoned during the course of, and as a result of, the separation.

In 2018 Fitzsimmons moved to Nashville and spent a month’s time rebuilding the lost record with producer Adam Landry (Deer Tick, Los Lobos, k.d. Lang, Vanessa Carlton). The resulting 11-song album tells the story of a decade-long marriage destroyed and eventually rebuilt from the ground up.

Mission Bell includes songs about betrayal, but also reconciliation and forgiveness. Choosing to go deeper than mere absolutism and fate, these are stories of people doing their best, but still managing to destroy each other in the process.

Freddy and Francine – “Half a Mind”

“Everyday I’m waging war
On who I am and what I was before
But all I want is to forget
But these memories open doors
And I want you all the more

Well if I don’t say it
Well then I’ll go crazy
I am paralyzed by the thought of you just passing by
Oh honey if I don’t say it
What’s the price I’m paying
I got half a mind to make you all mine”

 

I like putting this song right after the previous song because it shows the other side of the coin, the risk involved in not saying yes to love, even if there’s a risk of it eventually not working out. This song seems to be about that moment when you get absolutely overwhelmed by someone, and you just to have to let them know how you feel, regardless of the potential outcomes. The way this duo mixes their vocals with a twangy blues sound keeps me coming back to this song over and over. I got “half a mind” to add it to every playlist in my rotation as soon as I finish writing this.

Bio: “We’re performers. We’re not just folk musicians who play and sing mellow songs with little voices … there’s screaming,” Caruso said. Don’t call it Americana either. They don’t wear hats. Besides, Caruso says, “The minute you think one of our songs is an Americana song, it can turn into a retro pop song.”

Despite the reaction of most roots music fans to the dreaded “P” word, Caruso says she doesn’t mind Freddy & Francine being labeled a pop band. “Pop music gets a bad rap, but it comes from the word ‘popular.’ I’d love to be popular,” she said. “I never discriminate against a song because it’s popular if it stays in your head … every Beatles song is a pop song.”

But mostly, Freddy & Francine sounds like Freddy & Francine. It ain’t the easiest thing to explain, but it makes sense when you hear it, and finally, it makes sense to the two people who matter most. “I’m really happy with who I am and I’m happy with the life I have,” Ferris said.

-Caleb

Mid-Day Music Blast: Joel Porter – “Amaranthine”

I admittedly didn’t know what an Amaranthine was, so I looked it up:

” The appellation is rooted in the Greek words “amarantos,” meaning “immortal” or “unfading,” and “anthos,” meaning “flower.” The word “amaranthine” emerged as an adjective of the imaginary flower and subsequently of anything possessing its undying quality” (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

So as a metaphor, it’s really quite beautiful. It is a flower that doesn’t exist, because it cannot exist, because the quality that defines it is immortality, and everything ends. Nonetheless, artistry explores abstract concepts that don’t have to sync up with reality all the time, and so Amaranthine can be as real as a song, an idea, a poem. The song itself backs up these poetic notions with it’s lyrical and atmospheric quality. Here’s my favorite snippet:

“Winter love and paradigm stoic
I cannot live like this
Strike the match to burn my pattern holding
Today I choose to live
Away from infinite (Someday I’ll befriend to death, there I’ll stay in Infinite)”

 

As someone who tries to take a stoic attitude toward things I cannot control (such as death in this example), I really connected with these lyrics. It seems that he is feeling the pull between trying to live stoically in the face of certain death (the infinite), and also that we as humans are passionate, we are not always meant to be stoic, and for a moment, maybe it’s best to light that passion on fire, forget about the inevitable end for a while, and hope maybe one day in the future he can “befriend death”. Whether that’s the literal meaning or not, it’s the message I needed to hear today. I’m very thankful that Joel Porter shared it with us.

Bio: Joel Porter is an ambient-folk writer, instrumentalist, and producer from North Dakota, now living in Nashville, TN. As an instrumentalist, he has recorded string and brass parts for Foreign Fields, Hembree, Matthew And The Atlas and Boom Forest. In 2017, with the guidance of producer Eric hillman (e.hillman – Foreign Fields), he introduced his intimate, ambient-folk solo project with the release of the nature-inspired Mountain Twin EP. Again in collaboration with Hillman, Joel recently released his heritage-inspired Hiraeth – EP on August 3, 2018. For the release, in collaboration with creative company Makewell, Joel created a pop-up gallery event featuring 20 different artists from the Midwest region. Over 50 pieces of art were shown, as well as the premiere of Joel’s album-length film “Hiraeth”, which told a visual story and further supported the themes and messages on the Hiraeth – EP.

A native musical son of Bismarck, Joel went to Nashville to find his truth. Along the way, he met other travelers seeking the same truth that he was. He returned to North Dakota and discovered that there were spirits hidden in cracks and crevices everywhere he looked. His simple observation could coax these beautiful truths out of hiding. His dreams of mountainside campfires and prairie oceans were full of them. And from these observations, he felt certain he was emboldening and strengthening the truths that he was finding. Making them richer and deeper.

-Caleb

 

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

Morning Commute: Intellect – “Fonics”

 

If you pay attention to our Instagram you should recognize this album cover. I’ve been bumping it personally since it came out a few months ago in October. I thought it was time to start diving into some of the awesome music from the album, so you’ll see more posts after this one, and maybe even a podcast analysis. Today, let’s start off with the first song I heard from Intellect, “Fonics.” With a title like that, you would expect heavy wordplay and unique vocabulary in the flow and, to quote him, other “verbal gymnastics” and Intellect doesn’t disappoint. With references to Jay-Z and Nas, it’s obvious that Intellect is channeling 90s vibes with a lyrical focus and pulls it off in a way that’s difficult to do. Self described as going “back to the essence of what being a M.C. means. You know smooth, melodic, intellectual music speaking on life, love and everything in between…’Real’ hip-hop!” Intellect is an example of everything I love about creativity, hip-hop, and artistry. Be sure to check out his whole album, Out of Left Field and look out on the blog for more posts about him soon.

Bio: Hip-Hop / Cross Over / Neo-Soul / R&B Recording Artist Intellect aka ~Lect. Not only is he an ingenious songwriter and singer but he’s a “think outside of the box” entrepreneur. Intellect has quickly become successful in the competitive fields of both modeling and music. His music style is Intelligent, Classy and Eloquently spoken, and remains true to the essence of Hip-Hop. Intellect has a fierce loyalty to hip-hop and consistently delivers raw unabated energy in every track he conceives.

Intellect comes with a whole new sound to set himself apart from the rest of the hip-hop world. Something classy, jazzy, and smooth; “Veteran’s Day” and “Neck Deep” produced by Madd Frequency give a raw, personally uncensored, look into his life and experiences. Born in Pensacola, FL, Intellect has traveled the entire world and is a proud Veteran Service Member. He has also worked as an editorial clothing model in SOHO, NYC for Beau Brummel and ARI clothing Inc. and appeared on Allison Weiner’s Media Mayhem. He is currently a Consultant/Trainer/On-Air Talent for XG Productions. Using his life experiences, he helped bring together Season 2 of ABC’s hit show Quantico and NBC’s new series The Enemy Within as a consultant and actor!

-Caleb

Morning Commute: The Matchstick Skeletons – “Told Ya So”

Not to start out objectifying anyone, but good golly the eyes on the lead singer are insane. Okay, now that I got that out of my system, what a fun video! I love how straight they play it with the absurdity of going to pick up a band mate skeleton who texts them “PS I am dead.” Not to mention having to dig your own grave for said skeleton. It’s just campy enough to realize itself, without winking too hard, I love it. Also, the cigarettes being put out by the filling in of the grave is a really unique shot that I would’ve never thought of, but it’s a perfect ending to the saga. Or is it? (the The End? at the end leaves this story  open to continue haha)

Also, if you didn’t pay close attention, please go back to 2:30 and listen to the ramp up into insanity that starts there. Such a cool element to this song that takes it from a cool bluesy rock song into a different dimension entirely. Apparently the lead singer, Neu Mannas, did composing work on Dunkirk, and honestly after that build up, I can see it. I’m really impressed with this song and video, and it deserves way more love than it’s gotten so far. Please give them a follow, spend some money and give them some plays on Spotify so we can get more cool content.

Bio: The Matchstick Skeletons came out of the grave swinging. Formed by singer/multi instrumentalist Neu Mannas  and drummer Matty Carolei, this was a project years in the making.

Midway through a decade of being on the road. Neu & Matty starting playing together in Head of the Herd. After some chart topping, radio music award winning, touring, & record making in England, Wales, the Southern U.S. of A, and throughout their home and native land of Canada, they decided to lock themselves in a tiny dark room and become the band they always wanted to be.

 

-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

Mid-Day Music Blast: Paintbox – “Honey”

Down EP by Paintbox

I’ve been so excited for this song for months now! Paintbox has such a unique sound that mixes so many of my favorite genres. The most obvious elements are folk in nature, but beneath that there is a subtle funk/soul vibe that drives the song from a nice singer/songwriter vibe to an epic ballad that pulls goosebumps up on your forearms. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics:

“I shuffled into town wonderin’ where to go
There is a home, I asked the man on the road he was praying to the Lord
He said if you go right there’ll be troubles you’ll find
Left will leave you just as sore, boy
Life is like lickin’ honey off a thorn
But

I heard its sweet, heard its sweet
Where the rivers do meet right before they reach the bend
And there’s a nice soft place to lay your head
You count your best, you count your worst,
But what is your comfort worth
To you when the truth is most everything it hurts”

 

Before I break the message down, I just want to say “life is like lickin’ honey off a thorn” is one of the best lines I’ve ever heard. It’s so succinct and relatable, perfect poetry. This song does a good job of analyzing the idea of comfort, how much of it is necessary, and if comfort even equals happiness at all. To me it seems that a lot of the times I’ve felt most alive have coincided with very little comfort: road trips, long hikes, foreign places. So maybe if you acknowledge that life is bumpy, whether you sit in the same place, or put yourself somewhere new, you can free yourself up to make the best of the time we do have here.

Bio: ​Paintbox is a Los Angeles based band that plays a unique combination of funk, folk, and soul. Formed in 2014 by singer Jake Dupre and guitarist Luca Brown, the band’s sound is a mixture of crafted songwriting and collective improvisation. Paintbox is currently writing for their second studio album, and playing shows around California.

– Caleb