The Flock: Singer-Songwriter – Sis, Erika Davidson, Gabrielle Marlena, Emergency Tiara, weareforests, Freyr Flodgren

*This first paragraph is a copy of a previously written synopsis of the point behind the new section, The Flock.*

We have two goals here with our blog and our podcast; we want to help you find a bunch of new artists that you love, and we also want to support those artists. We came up with a new idea for a post where we take a genre, and give you a few artists within that genre. That way, it helps everyone. If you come here because you love one artist, you’ve got five more that you’re probably going to love now. That helps you load up your playlist with tracks that will impress your friends, and it also helps the artists hit untapped markets and possibly network with likeminded artists they didn’t know existed. Without further ado, I present “The Flock.”

Sis – “Gene”

Let’s get this party started with Sis’ song “Gene.” “Gene” is the fourth single off of Sis’ forthcoming album EUPHORBIA, out on Native Cat Recordings 8/8/2018. So definitely keep a look out for that.
I realize this is technically a full band, but I thought it was stripped back enough to include in our Singer/Songwriter section. Also, the singer, Jenny Gillespie Mason started most of these songs out as folk songs, before bringing the full band into the project that we see today. One thing that really stands out to me about this song is how playful the lyrics are around the word “gene”. It means a name, it means DNA, it is short for “genius” all at once. I don’t know what the full intent is, but this song is pretty genius to me.

 

Erika Davidson – “Memory Lane”

“Jim Morrison set the tone, as you and I dance alone”

Not to be too cheeky, but that opening line immediately “sets the tone” for the excellent track from Erika Davidson. “Memory Lane” seems to be both a nostalgic look at a past relationship and a heart wrenching ballad about a past relationship. The speaker is trying to recreate something deep with something shallow in hopes to get over someone. It’s a very relatable scenario that, as anyone who has tried it knows, doesn’t really work out the way you might hope.

Press release: “Her new single Memory Lane was heavily influenced by a late night binge of The Doors and The Eagles. Their haunting impressions inspired her to write a captivating lullaby. Memory Lane is the tale of heartbreak. It is the story of being lost in nostalgia and trying to fill a void with familiarity. Cinematic cello and piano entwine with her delicate vocal delivery and leave you wanting more.
Memory Lane was produced and engineered at Silverside Recording Studio where she is currently recording her new EP. Her single will be released in digital stores and on all major platforms in June 2018. Shortly after, she will be releasing her EP in the fall of 2018. When done right, mixing genres can be the start of something beautiful. Erika’s EP may be the union you’ve been waiting for.”

I know I personally can’t wait.

Gabrielle Marlena – “Easier Love”

I enjoyed putting this song right after Erika Davidson’s because of how opposite it is. It is still a breakup song, but Gabrielle Marlena seems to be thinking through it a little more optimistically. I mean sure, it’s a little bit of an ironic optimism, but she seems to be wishing this person the best, even if it’s bittersweet. She seems to take a lot of the blame for the failure of their relationship on herself.

Photo by Sarah Midkiff

Let me give you a little bit from the artist herself, because she puts it much more eloquently than I do: “The song is an indie folk ballad detailing a rainy afternoon when I called an ex boyfriend. It’s about how we all romanticize the past, imagining it as so much more perfect than it actually was. I took my first relationship, turned it into an album, put my ex’s face on the cover, and distributed it in the form of canvas tote bags, T-shirts, mugs, and CDs. I sang about my experience in 21 different states. Sometimes on tour, I would get confused between the emotions I was singing about and the present. The song is about snapping back to reality and realizing that, almost 3 years after I left the continent he lived on, I definitely was NOT still hung up on my ex.”

I can’t say that I’ve done the whole tour part, but I have certainly created art that feels unfamiliar to me now. It’s a really weird feeling, and I think this song captures it perfectly.

Emergency Tiara – “It’s A Good Day”

Alright. Enough break up songs for a second. Let’s get a summer song up in here. “It’s a good day to have a good day, life’s a cabaret, it’s time to go out and play”. I realize this song also has some accompaniment, sue me. It still has a very solo vibe to it. It actually sounds a lot to me like it belongs in a classic movie, like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Casblanca (well maybe not Casablanca, too upbeat).

Press release: “Emergency Tiara kicks off the summer season with her brand new song ‘It’s a Good Day’. Showcasing her signature, vintage-inspired sound, the single is an instant feel-good classic.

Fresh off the back of a series of UK tour dates, Emergency Tiara is the New York based artist you need to get to know. Fronted by Juri, the lead singer, queen, curator and ringleader extraordinaire to the Emergency Tiara kingdom. In Juri’s kingdom, everyone can feel like royalty in an instant – through her unique and intriguing pop sounds, ranging from sultry soul to rampaging swing anthems – taking in everything from French noir to J-Pop in between.”

It certainly captures something classic and familiar and something unique and fresh all at once. I can’t wait to see what else Emergency Tiara creates.

weareforests – “Plea For Winter”

That last song was summery, so let’s get to a wintery one. If you are a fan of Bon Iver’s early albums, I have a new artist for you to explore. weareforests is one of my favorite projects right now. Based out of Fort Collins, CO, he mixes lo-fi vocals and gorgeous lyrics to create a listening experience suited for rainy days and coffee.

“I’ll hold back the burning tide
That floods the rivers of my mind
Burning bright
Oh burning bright
Waters cool and wrought with ice

With your hand in mine
With your hand in mine
With your head right by
My side”

Something particularly effective to me, is the repetition in the hook, and how familiar and cozy it makes everything feel. I hate winter most of the time, but I can’t deny how wonderful it is on a cold day to snuggle up with someone you love in bed hand in hand and heads side by side. It’s a simplistic yet absolutely beautiful image.

Freyr Flodgren – “Over My Head”

This song is just gorgeous. Freyr Flodgren’s voice has to be one of my favorites at the moment. Something really effective to me about this song is the slow reveal of what’s happening. He mentions a fire, and a thunderstorm that come down “right over my head” in the first two verses, but what really drives home the message is the last verse:

“I heard the whisper of the many foreign years
and until the door burns
the beating time slows down
right over my head
right over my head
right over my head”

Now it’s still ambiguous, but to me it seems to be pointing to these destructive forces, fire, storms, time, and appreciating the beauty of them: “the whisper of the many foreign years” contained in all of it. Sure, they are still destructive, the fire is going to burn the door down, time is going to degrade us, but they are beautiful while they are here.

Now, that was my interpretation. That’s the fun thing about art. Here’s what Freyr says the song is about: “It is a play with one of these moments where dream and reality cannot be separated. Freyr dreamt (he realised later) that the house he was living in was burning and he saw himself in one of the windows, smoke billowing out. In memory that dream stands out as just as real as anything else. The way this song was arranged in the end was highly influenced by the fact that it was recorded in this wonderful studio in the mountains around Bergen, Norway. The sound of rain in the beginning and end is the rain falling on the roof during recording.”

So, not the same at all. Isn’t that awesome? I love how different art becomes between the artist and the consumer. I also love that the rain you hear in the track is completely natural and not dubbed in.

 

-Caleb

You can find all of these tracks on a convenient Spotify playlist along with all our other June Tracks right here.

Did you know we make a podcast? We are releasing a new episode tomorrow (June 25), you can find that on this page, along with 13 other episodes.

 

TOTD: Skysketch “Fox Wedding”

I want to start off by sharing exactly what this song is about, and then get into my analysis of it. The song has a very specific meaning, and I want to make sure that point is understood. We focus a lot on the lyrics of songs and the meaning behind them, but when the song specifically revolves around a Japanese film that neither of us here at B-Side Guys has seen, we figure it’s best that the artist tell the story.

“The album ”Fox Wedding” originates from the movie Dreams by the acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, as the band admires both his works and the Japanese folk culture. The band imagines the suite of the excerpt named ”Sunshine through the Rain” from the movie, whilst combining Kurosawa’s story and the modern world’s problems with the weapons of mass destruction and existential dread in today’s war-ruled climate.

The band takes up where Kurosawa left off his story and knit it with their own narrative, telling two synchronized story arcs simultaneously, making them realize once again in the process how the Turkish and Japanese cultures mirror each other both in the present and in the past.”

As an American, there are very few countries that have a war-ruled climate like us, but Turkey is one of those countries that definitely know what it’s like to have a shoot first, ask questions later government. I feel like I need to watch “Dreams” to really appreciate this song, but even without those mental pictures for reference, this is a sweeping 7 minute ride that shows a child growing into an adult, forced to deal with the harsh realities of the world.

“And now he’s running 
Through the forest 
Hiding 
Do you think you can hide 
From their ever-piercing glaring 
When sun shines through rain 
Do you think you can hide 
From the fox wedding? 

Oh, oh no my foolish child 
Oh, it’s time you walk this path”

With sweeping post-rock melodies that feel akin to Glowworm in places, the haunting harmonies put you in the shoes of the child as it grows and learns to tackle problems until, “Every day, you grow taller, until your head punches a hole in the sky.”