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

TOTD: Miserable Chillers “Un Canto a Galicia”

Anyone here like The Smiths? or The Cure? I hear elements of both in the newest single from Miserable Chillers off their upcoming split with Sun Kin (out July 27). This song features Cat Lopez on vocals. The title of this song seems to be a nod to Julio Iglesias who wrote a song with the same title as a nostalgic remembrance of his home country. The thing you need to know about this upcoming album’s concept, is it’s about real life conversations between Kabir Kumar (Sun Kin) and Miguel Gallego (Miserable chillers). They met online, and shared a lot of the experiences as immigrants and first generation kids in America. You can see some of these sentiments reflected in the lyrics:

“what’s the sun feel like in Spain?
we’re in a cafe, it’s afternoon
i smell fish and lemon.
we can sit in the shade!

Suppose our hearts are unblossomed flowers
and when they bloom what color do
you think we’ll see?
la de da! la de da!

How might it perfume the air?
I can’t wait to kiss you there
will we recognize it?
la de da! la de da!

every night when i sleep
i pray it comes to me in dreams
an image or a vision
something i can keep!”

Without knowing the full background, I would’ve assumed the song was about a long-distance relationship, which it is, but obviously with some more intricacies than that. Miguel describes the record as: “The music they made reflected their own conversations; about anxieties induced by social media, their misgivings and fears about making art in a time where a tidal wave of history seems poised to crash down on us, and the need to hold on to faith that another future, however difficult it may be to imagine, is possible.”

In a time that is both very free artistically, and very conservative and scary socially, this is an album I think we can all empathize with, and it’s off to a great start with this song.

-Caleb

Want more music? Find this song and more on our (almost completed) June TOTD spotify Playlist.

 

TOTD: lennard rubra – “Pina Bausch”

 

I don’t know what your day is like, but it is rainy and slow here in Providence, and this song is a perfect soundtrack to this sort of day. The lo-fi vocals allow you to fill in some gaps yourself on what it might be saying, and the guitar/bass line work is a nice mixture of chill and melancholy.

Hailing from Emilia-Romagna, Italy, lennard rubra reminds me of a mixture of Tame Impala and Youth Lagoon. His EP, named “Escapismo Primaverile” translates to “Spring Escapism” in English. I would say, even without knowing all the lyrics, the song certainly feels like spring escapism.

-Caleb

 

The Flock: Folk and Singer Songwriter – Jeremy Voltz, I Am Soyuz, Kelsi Walker, Bad Flamingo, Gina Cimmelli, Sam Shaky, Lena Fjortoft, Mike O’Malley + Beastie Band

*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.”

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.

Jeremy Voltz – First

We are starting off this edition of The Flock with an absolute stunner. This is Jeremy Voltz’s debut single, and it is really incredible stuff. There are times where you get to hear an artist from the very beginning, and you think to yourself, “This is about to happen for them.” With emotive and honest vocals, First has a simple and thought provoking message; ask for help if you need it and help when you can give it. With a vocal range similar to chart-toppers like Hozier and James Bay, I can pretty much guarantee this isn’t the last we’ve heard from Jeremy.

I Am Soyuz – Alone

With the second track, we get into Swedish artist, I Am Soyuz, and her song that is essentially the antithesis of the above track. The chorus makes the song seem like Felicia, the person behind I Am Soyuz, would rather deal with stuff on her own, not really looking to the outside world for help.

Don’t talk to me stranger
Just do me a favor

Don’t share your joy or sorrow

As an extrovert to the nth degree, I have a feeling that Felicia and I may not be the best of friends, but I’m absolutely in love with her music.

Kelsi Walker – Breathe

I swear I thought this was a deep cut track from Julien Baker. With similar vulnerability, but a timbre that’s all her own once she gets to the buildup, Kelsi Walker pulls back the top on depression and heartache, letting listeners know that there is a light. I was actually talking to a close friend earlier tonight about this exact sentiment. We may not know the right words to say to people, but the important thing is that we say something. We let them know we are there. Depression feels like you’re brain is exhausted from yelling into a vacuum where nobody cares or listens. The important thing is to start a dialogue. This song gives you that starting point.

Bad Flamingo – Lord Knows I Tried

Give a man a mask, and he will tell you the truth. -Oscar Wilde

Masked banditos, person on the left and person on the right (no, seriously. Check their website bio.), are the truth we all need right now. With a rambling melody and honest lyrics, Lord Knows I tried is a track that is made for riding horses into sunsets. Or the scene where the protagonist tries to deliver on promises they haven’t kept. Or scenes where the protagonist realizes that their fight is futile in the face of change. Really, this song belongs anywhere in gritty dramas. Speak of the devil, their music will actually be in an upcoming tv series called Yellowstone that will have all of the aforementioned scenarios throughout the series. Bad Flamingo is already finding a foothold in a major market television series, so get on now so you can be the one to tell your friends about our new masked friends.

Gina Cimmelli – midnight

“i just want to leave the earth
and all its gravity
find new friends in the stars
and sleep for eternity, all eternity

i’m not the strong one
not when it’s said and done
ruined our lives
shouldn’t come as a surprise”

Such a beautiful and haunting sentiment with this one. The vocal stylings of Gina Cimelli are so airy and spacey, which makes “midnight” a perfect track for me. The lyrics fit, but it’s also the entire atmosphere that makes you feel both the magic and loneliness involved in being up late at night, whether you are with someone else or not.

 

 

Sam Shaky – Ghost

Sam Shaky has a voice that feels ethereal but tangible at the same time. His track, Ghost, is a well-written track that could be about anything from an unforgiving breakup to losing a loved one, and if you have been reading the blog for any length of time, you know that we love ambiguity in lyrics. The song leaves the meaning open to interpretation, and uses Sam as a vessel to guide you to your own conclusions.

Lena Fjortoft – Mr. Snow

Besides having perfect album art, Lena also has an incredible voice that is equal parts moving vibrato and steadfast pitch. She straddles that line between folk and crooning country, dipping into both throughout the track. Mr. Snow is a love song… well… it’s about love. And death. Mostly about love though, right Lena? Definitely.

Who am I kidding? We love dark songs here at B-Side Guys, and this track is right up our alley! Bring us all of your death songs, Lena.

Mike O’Malley + Beastie Band – Goblin

I love concept albums. Growlers is that, but takes it a step further. Most concept albums have the lyrics or the instrumentation focus on a specific theme or element. Growlers is something really interesting, and it’s probably unlike anything you’ve heard before. In the words of Mike O’Malley, Growlers is “four songs written on the mandocello on the theme of bad masculinity, patterned on the theory of the four humors. Orchestrated in mosaic – a billion tiny instruments playing tiny parts, like debris underfoot in an awful little room.”

With tight harmonies and honest leads, the vocals work harmoniously with the instrumentals, forming a composition that floats into a new genre that may only be occupied by Mike O’Malley +Beastie Band: orchestral folk.

 

-Seth and Caleb

While you’re here, feel free to poke around the blog. I recommend checking out the podcast and daily features first.

Podcast Episode 14: Creativity

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Don’t forget to leave us reviews and share so that we can share undiscovered music with more and more people. Thanks so much for your support.

-Caleb

Show notes:

Join Seth and Caleb as they discuss creativity, audience, Bob Ross, Irish Whiskey, drinking while pregnant, hip-hop philosophy, and as always, the best music you’ve never heard.

Caleb’s book if you are interested: www.amazon.com/Cosmic-Hello-Less…=the+cosmic+hello

Intro: Freedom Baby – I Want to Give

song.link/us/i/1374721588

Glamour and the Baybes – Taking it Back
itunes.apple.com/us/album/taking-…787?i=1355528791

2. Brian Freeman – Facade
itunes.apple.com/us/album/keep-in…light/1360386830

3.PENPALS – Up to the Sky
pen-pals.bandcamp.com/track/up-to-the-sky

4. Lightning Echoes – In Circles
itunes.apple.com/ca/album/one-tin…ingle/1368296524

5. Twiddy – Live From The Bowling Alley
itunes.apple.com/us/album/live-fr…s&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

twiddy – Live from the Bowling Alley [LIVE PERFORMANCE VIDEO]

6. Robert Ledet – Play For Free
robertledet.bandcamp.com/track/play-for-free

7. Freedom Baby – I Want to Give
song.link/us/i/1374721588

Don’t forget to check out our previous episodes here.

If you like what we do, and you have a spare $1 per month, please consider supporting us on Patreon.

Morning Commute: Air Stranger “Sunday So Good”

Let’s get funky this Saturday morning. I love getting these studio session versions of songs. You really get a feel for how talented each member is, and how well her voice holds up in a personal setting. I was kind of half listening when the song first came up, and then I heard the voice and wasn’t expecting it to be coming from a tiny white girl. I don’t know where she stores all that soul and lung capacity, but it’s very impressive. She has a spoken word break down, she hits every note on the range, and she’s seemingly pretty charismatic with her presence. This band has quickly hit the top of my “must see in person” list. It seems like they are mostly around Vancouver at the moment, but I’m holding out hope for an eventual U.S. tour.

Image result for air stranger

Luckily for us, Air Stranger has given us some insight to what inspired this song:

“Sunday So Good takes its inspiration from a Richard Pryor stand-up routine where he imitates an old man reminiscing about the days when the sun came out only on Wednesdays and people used to rub it all over their bodies. That monologue spurred Irish vocalist Sophie Ricshar to write a verse for the song Summertime and she superimposed the melody over a Meters song. When she traveled from her hometown in Dublin to Vancouver, Canada, she met Air Stranger, who had composed a funk jam that fit her idea perfectly.

The line, ‘Working five to live two is not a thing that you should do,’ exemplifies how life should not be experienced through the monotony of a day job just to live on the weekends. The lyrics are a call for society to get out of the routine of everyday life and ‘make each day a Sunday So Good.'”

So I guess Sophie kind of does her own thing and this is a one time installment? Hopefully they can make more music together, because this track really works. I also love the Richard Pryor reference and the lesson to not live for the weekend, but find a life that you want to live daily. I know that is something that a lot of us in the music world are working hard at achieving.

-Caleb

Did you know we do a podcast? It’s pretty great. I’m editing our most recent episode today, so look out for a new one Monday. In the meantime, check out our first 13 episodes here.

 

TOTD: Strange Neighbors “Ghost”

 

I love this song! I know, I know, I say that in every post, and it’s true, I wouldn’t be sharing it if I didn’t. This song hits on a niche that I think is sorely lacking at the moment: a female led grunge/punk band a la Paramore, Alanis Morissette, etc. Not only does it hit that niche, it knocks it out of the park. When asked about the background of the track the band replied: “Ghost is a tongue in cheek song with multilayered meanings – drawing out tropes and stereotypes from horror films as metaphors for feeling like existence is ultimately doomed, confusing and trite identities, and so on.”

This description becomes immediately apparent as you listen to the lyrics mention Michael Myers, tropes in horror movies, a hook mentioning the existence of ghosts in a tongue and cheek sort of way, etc. That “tongue and cheekness” is probably my favorite part of Strange Neighbors. Their bio reads:

“Every once in a while, a band comes along that changes the world. But, shit, that’s a lot of responsibility. Strange Neighbors combines the talents of Aidan (vocals), Tracey (drums), Dob (bass) and Zach (guitar) to make noise about things that matter, things that don’t, and things that lie somewhere in between. Some songs are quiet, some are loud, but at least they’re all honest – rock ’n’ roll that makes your ears feel nice.”

I have to say it’s so refreshing to find a band that knows exactly what they are, doesn’t try to take themselves too seriously, and seems to be having a lot of fun making art, which at it’s core is what art is for most of us: a form of expression that allows us to be whatever we want, silly, funny, romantic, dark, brooding, and all the shades in between.

-Caleb

As always, you can find this track on our monthly Spotify playlist, right here.