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

TOTD: Cloud Daddy & the Kingston Big Smokes “Two Things”

Looking for that Netflix and chill song to start your night out right? This is that groove for you. Two Things is one of the groups debut tracks on a double comprised of this song and Elizabeth, and we couldn’t be more stoked about it. The lyrics are very pointed, and take you on a smooth ride where there are only two stops: weed bags and you. I mean, I guess it’s more like those two things are already on the ride, and you make no stops; you just float. I mean, the lyrics may seem a bit on the nose, but I think that’s kind of the point here. This isn’t a song built to answer deep philosophical questions. This is a song to smoke to.

All I want to do in this life, 
is suck on a bag (filled with weed). 
All I want to do in this life, 
is fall in love with you (endlessly). 
And suck on a bag 

The track itself is so complex, building to cacophonous dissonance at some points before pulling everything back in to slick bass lines and what sounds like R2-D2 samples. I’m pumped to see what these guys bring to the table going forward because their debut is lights out. It serves its purpose, it’s complex, and it makes you move. What else is there?

Check out the artists we’ve had on the blog in June in one convenient spot on our Spotify playlist.

Also check out our latest podcast on Creativity.

TOTD: How Great Were The Robins – “Blind Faith”

How great were How Great Were the Robins? Pretty great. Okay, I know, I’m sure most people make that same cheesy joke, I’m almost 30 now; even though I have no kids, my dad jokes are kicking in. It’s so good to hear from How Great Were the Robins again. Again you say? Yeah, again. They were on our podcast back in March for one of our 2 episodes on the theme of Lost. You can find that here: Episode 10: Lost (part 2)

But enough about our past love affair, let’s talk about the present. Their newest track “Blind Faith” has absolutely blown me away. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics.

“Stay close and play a song that I know
It will drive me through the right door
At night we all have our Blind Faith
Be kind, tell me the way before sunrise
We strive and flutter like butterflies when
At night we follow our Blind Faith

We moved to a room in the suburbs
Where there’s room for our minds
You told me to not be afraid of the unknown
Of seeing the edge of the world”

So I like that it’s somewhat ambiguous who is being spoken to in this song. It’s someone the speaker loves and knows, and looks to for guidance. Even in the face of the unknown, or the edge of the world, this person or spirit animal or whatever is calming the speaker into the dark, because in the dark, all we really have is our blind faith. That could be seen religiously, or it could just be seen as all the sorts of negative emotions or thoughts that tend to crop up when the sun goes down.

I think the prettiest sentiment in the whole song is “Stay close and play a song that I know”. I don’t know about you guys, but since you’re reading a music blog, I’m going to assume you have some similar experience; when I am feeling down, or lost, or out of sorts, a familiar song is one of my most important crutches. I am so glad to add this song to my library so that I can also play a song that I know next time the darkness threatens.

-Caleb

Want to hear more? We’ve added this song to our June TOTD Spotify playlist. 

 

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

 

Morning Commute: Yellow Shoots “magic on my pillow”

“So I wake up in the morning, make a strong cup of coffee/ I can see you on the tele, see the fun that you’re having”

Maybe it’s a stretch, because this is a little more mellow than our normal morning commmutes, but I love the song, and I write the blog so….

Mixing elements that remind me of other productions like Glass Animals or Tame Impala, Yellow Shoots sounds both familiar, and completely unique. The lyrics themselves seem to focus on being “ghosted”. For any old fogies reading this, ghosted is when someone you think you have potential with completely stops responding to texts or messages. Instead of maturely explaining to someone that you are not interested, they just go silent and wait on you to get the message. (can you tell I have experience?) This song accurately portrays the confusion and hurt that is involved in the process. A hurt I think is magnified more than if someone was just straight up with you, because it takes to some time to figure out what’s happening, and where it went wrong, and you really never get closure.

Press Release:

“Brooklyn-based alternative producer and indie artist Yellow Shoots presents his latest single “magic on my pillow” from the forthcoming Everything LP. The follow-up to lead single “Desert Rose” is a tipsy slow drag that marries meandering synths, psychedelic sitars and jangly acoustic guitar with sumptuous bass. In keeping with tradition, Yellow Shoots’ raspy falsetto anchors the record. Seeping into every corner of the song about meaningless relationships, his voice lends an eerie, soulful presence to the track that makes the lyrics levitate. Questioning a flakey love interest he quips, “So why you call me if you can’t keep the flow?” The words hammer straight into the root of what it feels like to be ghosted by someone – a lover or a friend.

Greg formally launched Yellow Shoots with the More Alive EP in 2015 and the 2017 follow-up Stormy Weather. During this time he was also a heavy collaborator with iLLMind and Brooklyn heavy-weight, Skyzoo. His holistic approach to songwriting and production quickly attracted endorsements from renowned publications such as The Fader, Okay Player, EarMilk and RnB Nation. Spotify touted the tunes on playlists such as “Fresh Finds”, “New Indie Mix,” “New Zealand Viral 50” and “Best of Fresh Finds 2017: Six Strings”.

Yellow Shoots’ debut album “everything” is scheduled to be released July 2018.”

-Caleb

You don’t have to look too far to find him on Spotify, we’ve added him to our monthly TOTD playlist right here. Don’t forget to look out for his full length album coming out next month.

 

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.

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: The Delivery “take the chance”

I love this song. It mixes a lot of elements that I don’t normally hear together. It has some 80s driving at night vibes musically, but lyrically and vocally it has some 1st wave emo elements. I guess the closest comparison I can think of is Jimmy Eat World or something, but it’s still not a great comparison. I love the hook though. “Don’t be afraid to show/ what lingers deep within your soul.” He also calls out the “masquerade of fools”. I can’t help but feel like this song is very appropriate for the present, where we show only certain masks on social media and in person, and rarely show what lingers deep within our soul.

About The Delivery

Hailing from the city of Munich in Germany, Markus Klaas makes his debut album New Days. The Delivery is at once influenced by his childhood; making and collecting songs in Germany, and by his extensive travel experience. A few years in London secured his focus on the alternative pop rock, guitar sounds he now produces.

 

You can find his entire album streaming on Spotify or wherever you get your music. To give you a good start, check out this song posted on our monthly Spotify playlist.

-Caleb

 

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.