Mid-Week Mixdown – Jen Awad, Timmy Tortuga, Schaefer Llana, Zach Kleisinger, and Owlbiter

If you’re anything like me, you rarely are just listening to one artist or even genre. That’s why a couple of times per week I put together a mix of some of my favorite songs at the moment regardless of genre for you to sample and enjoy.

Jen Awad – “Break A Man”

A full band playing in matching outfits in a seedy alleyway along with a cop interaction cutaway that features Jen telling the officer to “watch your fucking head?” I guess that’s a music video Yahtzee for Jen Awad and her 2018 single “Break A Man.” Those band mates aren’t just there for looks either, this full brass section and back up singers really create an impressively full sound, and of course, Jen herself carries this song with strong full-throated vocals that make you feel like she’s laid out the perfect blue print for “how to break a man,” though some of us without that level of swag could struggle a bit more.

Despite its August 2018 release date, “Break A Man” has far too many views, likes, and comments, and I’m hoping my readers can do something about that. This song is simply too fun for you folks to miss, and if you like this one, you have to check out the rest of Awad’s discography because she’s just getting started.

Press release: This half Egyptian, half Peruvian powerhouse delivers the kneecap melting soul and sass of Sharon Jones combined with an in-your-face swagger reminiscent of Tina Turner. Self taught on vocals, piano, guitar and bass, Jen also pens the lyrics to all of her material. 

Timmy Tortuga – “Pace”

Sometimes music is meant to be purely melodic, an easy listen to play in the background. “Pace” by Timmy Tortuga is not that. Instead, it’s a song meant to be experienced as an experience. From the very beginning, we find ourselves in the mind of a speaker stuck in traffic, suffering from a bit of road rage. The dissonant and speed-shifting synth in the background staccatos perfectly in line with that feeling of being late, and amping up emotionally as more and more tiny straws begin to stack upon the camel’s back.

The track itself feels almost as much skit as music, and yet once the ethereal vocoder kicks in after the frantic anxiety of the first half of the song, it’s impossible not to empathize with the speaker when he says “That’s the first deep breath I’ve taken in 5 years.” Something about the moody atmosphere created gives the listener just as much peace as Tortuga’s character at that moment, and allows us to ride it out with him through the end of the song, at least until the anxiety returns. Don’t miss your train.

Press release: Timmy Tortuga is an evolving artist from a small town called Sayreville in New Jersey. The motto is “K.I.S.S.” Keep It Simple Stupid! Currently, he is creating out of the Lower East Side of NYC and producing and recording his projects on a lake front studio in North Jersey!

Schaefer Llana – “Angel”

Anyone that knows me knows that I am way too into sad girl music for a 32-year-old man. Luckily, there are no rules, so I’m shamelessly listening to “Angel” by Schaefer Llana on repeat every single time I go for a winter walk lately. Schaefer grew up in Mississippi and cut her teeth musically in school plays and church productions, but the twenty-something has carved a niche all her own at this point. While her voice and punk-ish aesthetic certainly shine in this song, my favorite part is undoubtedly the angsty lyricism.

Don’t act like you’re innocent, don’t be offended when I call you out
As a liar and you know it
You wanted to be alone, well how’s that go when everybody knows
You went back to her the next minute

I don’t understand but I don’t want to
And I am not surprised because I know you
I am not okay but I will be
I forgive you but I won’t forget how you hurt me

Schaefer Llana – “Angel”

I think the simplicity of “I don’t understand, but I don’t want to,” just hits on that depressive malaise better than almost any line I’ve heard in a long time.

Press Release: The first demo for 49 Ceiling Tiles was recorded for her friend Starlin Browning’s college production class. The results were so good they decided to make a whole record together, holing up with fellow musicians at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, Mississippi, exemplifying the house show ethos of “playing music with your friends, for your friends.” 

Zach Kleisinger – “Darling, Just Breathe”

Zach Kleisinger’s Symposium was one of the most overlooked albums of 2018 in my opinion. With a unique voice that is perfectly scratchy, a sound that’s perfectly folky, and lyrics that stand up to repeat listens, “Darling, Just Breathe” is just one of many great tracks from the release. Kleisinger perhaps sums it up best when he calls the album, “a gathering of entities aiming to share their thoughts on a particular subject—me. And yet, it is me who is revisited through these entities, for as much as I may recognize ‘them,’ at all times I know ‘they are me.’ If this sounds needlessly self-absorbed, it’s because it is.”

I would disagree with Kleisinger’s assessment that the songs are too self-absorbed, all the best art is somehow a reflection of the artist, and there’s no shame in recognizing your own shapes in what you’ve created.

Show it all,
Show it all to me.

‘cause i was alone when i met you,
And you saw that sadness in my eye,
Now i see it in yours;
But darling, just breathe,
Darling, just breathe.

Zach Kleisinger – “Darling Just Breathe”

Owlbiter – “Roof of the World”

Let’s keep the easy listening vibe going with Owlbiter’s “Roof Of The World,” which combines folk-style vocals with beautiful musical arrangements built around piano and horns. The track comes off of Owlbiter’s 2018 EP Stud Farm which features 5 beautiful songs just like this one. Perhaps my favorite part of “Roof of the World” comes in the final minute when the music takes over the entire mood of the song, and the horns and vocalizations build up to a peak before fading out in the final seconds. This captures the imagery of the subject of the song being “on the roof of the world” as the instruments almost coax out the stars and dreams themselves in that moment.

After the 2018 album, Owlbiter’s Matt Cascella hasn’t updated his SoundCloud or Spotify any further, but we hope he’s still making music, and we’d love to hear any new projects one day should they arise.

Mid Day Music Blast : Aubrey Haddard – “Charley”

We’re here with a mid-day bluesy ballad that would fit in right along with Kate Bush’s discography, but with her own personal flair that keeps me coming back to this song for the last 4 years. As Haddard says in the refrain, “I can’t get you out of my head.” The Brooklyn-based Haddard put together an impressive debut with her 2018 album Blue Part. While Haddard released two singles prior to the album, it quickly became clear that “Charley” was the true show-stopper.

With a voice that sounds straight out of a smokey late-night lounge, Haddard pines after “Charley” with her voice pleading with them to come back around and appease the desire that’s got them stuck in the singer’s head. To me, this perfectly captures that new relationship energy that we can so often get sucked up in when we’re excited about a new connection and obsess a bit over getting our fill.

That’s not even to mention the emotional build musically in this one. The guitar work keeps it simple enough that it never overpowers Haddard’s voice, but the riff itself is catchy and keeps you humming it long after the 2:33 song has drifted away. Another nice touch is the background almost angelic vocalizing that builds up to the song’s crescendo before Haddard fades us out with excellent control.

Charley, oh could we go back, just 24 hours

24 hours is all I need

I could see you, I could meet you

One more time, one more time

What’s going on? I was sitting around and now

I can’t get you out of my head…

Aubrey Haddard – “Charley”
Haddard’s newest album Awake and Talking (2022) is available everywhere.

Video of the Day: Passenger – Heart to Love

Sometimes the submissions I receive are from artists that are just starting out and have very little name recognition, and trust me I love those submissions, then sometimes Passenger’s publicist sends a music video. This song, and accompanying video immediately grabbed my attention because it scratches that itch of pop/indie that hits me just right on a morning walk or time spent journaling with a cup of coffee. Put plainly, it’s an earworm with a melancholic tinge that mixes well on this early January winter morning in Denver.

My first thought as the verses begin was “this is certainly a Passenger song,” and I mean that in the best way possible. Michael David Rosenberg aka Passenger has the well-produced and upbeat sad song dialed in to the point that many artists could only dream of. The message of the song is relatable for many who have navigated the dating waters in the modern world, constantly restarting the “search for a heart to love,” that Rosenberg talks about so eloquently. The video itself is simple but captures the feeling of being lost in a crowd, both literally and with the song’s content as the speaker continually wades through the crowd in search of his one and only.

I’ve been hopelessly clutching up for something I can hold
I’ve been lying in the dark with no light in my soul
I’ve been rummaging around in the rain and the cold
I’ve been searching for diamonds in a pile of coal
I’ve been searching for diamonds in a pile of coal


-Passenger “Heart to Love”
Full album Runaway available on vinyl

Caleb’s Weekly Favorites: No Kind Of Rider – “Sophia”, Coyle Girelli – “Never Thought I’d See You Again”, Sam Ryder – “Little One”

Hey guys,

If you’re like me, you don’t really just focus on one genre of music when there is so much awesome variety out there. This post is meant to hit on 3 of my favorite songs that I just can’t get out of my head this week, regardless of genre. If you like, or already know one of these artists, stick around and check out the others, expand your horizons a bit.

No Kind of Rider – “Sophia”

All of us lazy logicals

We leave our hearts behind

They tell you when you’re young

Don’t be so blind

“Sophia” – No Kind Of Rider

:30 seconds in, when the beat drops, is when I start to transcend to outer space on this song. This song immediately hooked me with it’s unique vocals that give me a bit of a mix between some 80s synth song but also touches of Panic! At The Disco playfulness. The most relateable part of this song is the seeming angst over aging, and wondering what the consequences will be. How many nights of fun and freedom can we really have before we are the old person at the club? It’s something that begins to hit you as you enter your 3rd decade (or it did for me), and while I still love to go out with friends, there is a sense that we can’t necessarily go on like that forever, but there’s certainly some fun in trying. “Now the old is done/traded for the young.”

Bio: No Kind of Rider is an American five-piece indie rock/electronic band based in Portland, OR. Their debut album “Savage Coast” (2018) blends indie rock, shoegaze, r&b and electronica influences. The close-knit group met while teenagers in Tulsa, OK and write songs in conflict – both chaotic and intricately calculated. “Savage Coast” finds those boys now older and wiser – four of the five band members lost their fathers during the album’s completion and while the gravity of loss is fully explored as a theme, “Savage Coast” isn’t content to remain in despair. In the album’s ending track, “Autumn”, seeds of new hope take root as Samuel Alexander (lead vocals/guitar) sings with resolve, “We all have to die, to be reborn”.

Coyle Girelli – “Never Thought I’d See You Again”

But I never thought id see you again

Looking as pretty as you did back then

And it caught me off guard

Like a dagger through the heart

Cos I never thought id see you again

“Never Thought I’d See You Again” – Coyle Girelli

Coyle Girelli is an artist we’ve been wanting to feature for a long, long time, and it’s easy to see why. Mixing classic style that sounds like it belongs on a vinyl playing in your dad’s sitting room in the 60s, with modern aesthetics, Girelli gives that nostalgic feeling that’s hard to fully put into words. It gives me chill bumps everytime he let’s out “I never thought I’d see you again.” The song is so relateable for anyone who has ever tried to move on and focus on themsevles, only to get sucked back in by someone’s charm, even if they aren’t the best thing for you. If nothing else, this song is a “dagger through the heart.”

Bio: Coyle Girelli is an English multi-platinum selling composer, singer, songwriter, record producer and multi-instrumentalist. Formerly frontman of Your Vegas and The Chevin he released his debut solo album, Love Kills, in 2018. He has written songs for BTS, Macklemore, Robin Schulz, Westlife and many others, including the BTS worldwide number 1 single “heartbeat”[1] and co-composed songs for the record breaking French musicals Robin des Bois and Les Trois Mousquetaires

Sam Ryder – “Little One”

Wait, don’t feel bad
You did well to love and be loved back
So don’t be so cold dear
You weren’t the only one left down here
You knew it all along
Full speed around the sun

“Little One” – Sam Ryder

Another incredible song that builds in a truly epic way. The crescendo when he belts “I know you yearn for someone” with the quick drop to “I yearn for you” is so heart wrenching I couldn’t help but restart the song immediately after it ended to feel that build and rug pull one more time. Sam Ryder has crafted the feeling of really caring about someone, and having no hard feelings, but still feeling a sense of loss that your love seems to be unrequited. Here’s to hoping we all have good luck in 2022 in being around people who yearn for us as much as we yearn for them.

Bio: Sam Ryder is a singer/songwriter and producer out of of small town outside of London. Sam spent over 10 years touring in the rock world which brought him placements on Billboard charts, songs featured on TV shows and films, and playing shows in over 20 different countries. A couple years ago, Sam took a step back from the band world to develop his own solo project and pursue other creative ventures. Those ventures ended up having him co-found the brand Lone Wolves Creative and the plant-based Lone Wolves Cafe.

Until next week,

Caleb

Weeknight Wind Down: John Steam Jr. – Let It Go



if you’re diggin’ holes to fit your casket

you might fall in and break your neck

there is a way out of your darkness

i’m fucking sure i’d place a bet

Let it go

whatever once did bite your neck

just shake it off don’t turn your head – no more

Cut the rope

release the anchor from your boat


Good evening B-Side Beauties! It’s been a while. Let’s get this thing going again shall we? Today I have a song that I’ve been jamming to for a couple of years now from the esteemed John Steam Jr. Don’t confuse it with that other “Let It Go” jam (not that I’m hating on that one, it was a banger), but John’s version does have a similar message for the R-rated crowd. Let that shit go. I posted my favorite lines at the beginning of this post. In the forever bleakness that many of us have experienced since March 2020, this stanza reminds us that we’re still getting older and we still have life left to live. If we continually focus on the casket, don’t be surprised if we fall into it, but if we can shake off our troubles, and try to find a positive outlook for the future, maybe there’s a way out of this mess, “I’m fuckin sure, I’d place a bet.”

Let John Steam Jr.’s punky vocals and driving acoustic songs sing you to a peaceful evening; I know I will. Until next time,

Caleb

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

Hey guys,

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

NeodotcoM – “Manifest”

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

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

Six Time Users – “If You Know Me”

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

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

Simon D James – “Burn The Man”

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

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

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

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

An Echoic – “Love (..As I Was Told)”

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

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

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

Mending – “Alan at Emma’s Cradle”

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

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

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

 

-Caleb

Morning Commute: Blush FM – “Clipper”

 

Image result for blush fm

 

Good morning B-Side Ballers, I have a great chill track to get your day started. I’ve been playing Blush FM’s new EP, Project A so much as I start my 2020 off on the right foot. The thing that “Clipper” in particular, but really every track impresses me with is the atmosphere it creates. This is a project that needs to be heard through some nice over the ear headphones.

Each track feels so full and swelling, with mixes of 80s synth sounds and modern pop sensibility, and then you add in the gorgeous vocals and it is easy to see why this project is one of my favorites at the moment. This is what I imagine mixing Daughter’s haunting vocals and lyricism with the guys who wrote the music for Stranger Things would come up with, and I’m 100% on board with that.

 

 

Mid-Day Music Blast: Alvin Martin – “Small Town Values”

Image result for alvin martin small town values

 

“If I leave then this place remains,
I cant imagine how a tree or house would change
I´m feeling blessed how it all turned out,
I had a great time staying but my parents were right
I know who I wanna be

So yesterday I bought myself a car,
went down a road where I have been before
And suddenly I knew I´ve seen it all,
so I packed my bags and walked out through the door”

 

As someone who is from a small town in South Carolina (think one stoplight, one grocery store, and a McDonald’s), I really appreciate the feeling that Alvin Martin creates with this song. For as long as I could remember, I knew I wanted to get away, and now that I am far away, it is interesting to see how much things change every time I visit home a few times a year. My parents don’t live in my childhood home, the McDonald’s remodeled, and the middle school is being torn down and rebuilt. I think this song does an excellent job of balancing out the individual desire to see something new and change, but a small nostalgia for the way things were, and never can be again. Let’s also talk about how smooth the guitar line starting around the 2:30 mark is. Mmhmm. Go support Alvin and other artists like him, whether you’re from a small town or big city, he’s got something for everyone. #indieartistsarebestartists

 

– Small Town Caleb

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

 

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

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

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

-Caleb

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

 

Video of the Day: Tash Sultana – “Harvest Love (Live Lounge Recording)”

I feel like this artist really needs no introduction. Tash Sultana might be the most well known artist we’ve ever featured here, and she’s only blown up more since we got this song in our inbox several months ago. That being said, this song is a perfect introduction to everything I love about Tash Sultana. It strips everything down to it’s basic elements and allows her raw voice to carry the passion and intensity of the song, and she nails it. Her voice is one that makes you a little angry at god that you’ll never have it, but so blessed to witness it. I just want to emphasize some of my favorite lyrics for a second:

“I had a plan ‘Cause I had a plan, you see.
It was based on the rules that my mother and father taught me.
Press the iron when it’s hot, you jump right in.
Because the unfed mind devours itself,
water your garden”

I think most of us that don’t necessarily sync up with all of our parents’ teachings can empathize with these lines. Once that carpet gets ripped out from under you (and really thank god it does), you are left in sort of a painful, scary place for a while until you can rebuild your own mottos, maxims, viewpoints, even if that means you think there are none. Water your garden.

Bio: TASH SULTANA is a dynamic young artist who has commanded world attention since homemade videos of her jamming went viral. A true virtuoso, Tash was soon selling out big theatre shows globally and playing at the world’s biggest festivals including Lollapalooza and Coachella Music and Arts Festival. When playing live, Tash appears on stage entirely solo, creating vast and amazing soundscapes using an array of equipment and live instruments – but absolutely no laptops or backing tracks. She plays an incredible 18 different live instruments during the course of her show.

Tash – “I wrote Salvation when I realised I could be better than the things that I’d done in my past that I regret. That I am the creator of my own narrative and can always continue to grow and move forward into being a better person and can always make better decisions, that it’s okay to accept you’ve fucked up from time to time.”

All of the songs on ‘Flow State’ are produced, written, performed and arranged by Tash herself. She plays every one of the 15 instruments and sounds that feature throughout, including saxophone, pan flute, grand piano and guitar to name a few.

To date, Tash has amassed over 175 million streams globally for her previous EP ‘NOTION’, topped the iTunes charts in multiple countries, achieved gold sales for EP ‘Notion’ and platinum sales for single ‘Jungle’ which also featured in FIFA 18. Her meteoric rise has been entirely via word-of-mouth without support from traditional media

 

Salvation is available here: http://smarturl.it/TS.Salvation

-Caleb