TOTD: Kiddo – Much To Me

I feel like that has to be a Sam Cooke nod, right? I mean, it’s the same progression right out of the gate. Listen to it again, but hear the words, “I was born by the river in a little tent. Oh, and just like that river, I’ve been running ever since.” If it’s not a Sam Cooke nod, kiddo, you should start saying it is.

kiddo pic 1

This is such a bizarre song because it takes familiar funk vibes and blends them with a Timberlake-esque vocalist. What I mean by that is that kiddo has a higher register as it is, but he seamlessly moves back and forth between his falsetto and his normal range. His vocals are pitch perfect and the instrumentation provides a sound that can easily fill packed out arenas, which I expect kiddo to be playing soon enough.

The Flock: Hip-Hop/Rap – Jamar Carr, Makk, NGHTMRE & Pell, Geno Five, Obi Khan, Darien Fields, Rodagues, MRGR

The Flock is an idea that we had to help fans of a specific genre find multiple bands they love in one post. It helps us provide value to you, the reader, by putting more of what you want in one place. It also helps the artists. Fans of their music come to the page and become fans of other similar artists, growing their fanbase more efficiently. It also helps artists connect with other artists who have a similar feel, so they can help each other out, work together, play shows, etc. Our goal here is to help promote artists that we believe in and want to see succeed. The Flock is a great way to help with that, and we’ve seen some really cool things happen because of it. Let’s get into this edition of The Flock.

*click on the artist’s name to go to their page*

Jamar Carr – Nothing New

There’s nothing new under the sun, and there’s also nothing new about us falling in love with a Jamar Carr song. If you aren’t familiar yet, or you’re new to the blog/podcast, this man has been featured on the blog more than any other artist. He is a great writer, has a smooth cadence and flow, and is looking to use his platform as a rapper to bring to light topics that bother him. He doesn’t want to talk about the money, the fame, the cars, etc. He’d rather talk about racial inequality, the economic divide, and the struggles of turning nothing into something and breaking out of perpetuating cycles of poverty in areas of the country that the government has forgotten about. We love bangers as much as the next guy here at B-Side Guys, but it’s a lot harder to talk about from a lyrical standpoint. Jamar makes our job so easy by giving us insightful and thoughtful lyrics that tell the story of a man who is out to break the cycle that this country and that his neighborhood are both in.

I’m a product of my borough
Queens get the money
 And us kings keep it thorough
Demeanor often humble
We only use aggression
If our challenge is oppression 
Otherwise we drop gems
And these words be our weapon
I’m filled with ammunition
Some brothers value money
But I’m driven by ambition
You’ll never know I’m hungry
And for that there is a difference

 

Makk – Empty Bottles

Makk is the Lebanese Earl Sweatshirt. He even has a nod to Earl towards the end of the track. Lyrical melancholy hip-hop is something that we here at BSG absolutely love, and Makk is doing it at a level that can compete with anyone. What I believe the key to his sound is, is the fact that he doesn’t view his songs as songs, but as therapy. He has things he wants to say, or at least write, and this is his way of getting it out. When artists view their music this way, the emotion in their songs is palpable. Andy Hull, my favorite artist on this planet, said something to this effect. He said that he writes his songs not to fill an album, but to empty his mind. Every word has a purpose, and every song has a story. That’s not a direct quote, but it was the sentiment behind his words. Makk is an artist who writes in the same vein.

It’s hard writing these sonnets 
And when I read em I vomit 
I gotta act like I’m modest 
But I just find it ironic 
This fucking mess I made 
Leave it for another date 
working on my mental state 
you see it on my fucking face 
I Hope you all got the message 
This a vocal repression 
This a mental suppression 
But is This is not a fucking song it’s my therapy session 

 

NGHTMRE & Pell – Swiss/Lights Low

Who the hell directed this video? Give that person a raise! The trip is strong with this one. I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but I’m saying you should definitely enjoy a little bit of extracurricular activities before sitting down to watch this one.

NGHTMRE brings an absolutely slick track that perfectly compliments Pell, creating two fully formed and complete tracks in a 4 minute period. When Caleb told me about the transition at around the 2 minute mark, I kind of laughed and thought that there was no way there would be two fully fleshed out ideas and songs; I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong. I’m wrong. This song(s) is so well rounded, and it is a perfect balance of producer/artist. Pell puts his trademark rapping style on the track, mixing up his cadence, switching between rapping and singing, and letting his unique timbre come through. NGHTMRE may actually be the feature here though. I’m usually a lyrics and vocals guy, but I don’t remember a song that I’ve listened to recently that made me audibly yell, “Yoooooo.” What NGHTMRE put together at around the 1:04 mark is so cool. For that reason, he gets the nod from me, but these guys both worked really well together and we hope to see more collaborations in the future.

Image result for nghtmre and pell

 

Geno Five feat. Stone Soto – Without You

I’m no cardiologist
But you ain’t got the heart for this

That line is so good. We listen to a lot of music here, and that is a line I’ve never heard before. That’s just a quick note I had to get out before I did the review of the song. Let’s move onto the track.

Geno Five has written a track that everyone has been or will be able to relate to at some point in their life. He has had a relationship end with his significant other, and it was not a mutual agreement. The man misses his partner, and to avoid having it trapped in his head, he wrote a song about it. I love how he starts the song off by saying that he may appear fine on the outside, and he may even try to convince himself that he’s fine, but in the end, his feelings still eat him up inside.

Feels is the only thing that keeps it real
Cause you can fake who you are
and what they see,
But you can’t fake what you feel

With a smooth cadence, a timbre that bounces between silky smooth and perfectly rough edges, and a beat that makes your head bounce and your lip curl, Geno Five has a track that is making it onto playlists ranging from hip-hop lists to breakup lists, which is a pretty hard feat to accomplish.

 

Obi Khan feat. Profesa’ Dibbs & Trippy Trip – The Life

This flock is coming together to be one of the most eclectic lists while still remaining in the genre. Obi Khan brings that MC lyrical flow that’s reminiscent of a smoother Eyedea and Abilities. One thing that is wild about these guys is the difference in their voices. You go from a deep gruff voice to smooth rap that teeters on the cusp of singing. Lounge piano and turntables create a beat behind them that has enough variance to keep you engaged, but never detracting from the main event, the MC’s. This is the kind of song that makes me want to start skateboarding again. Then I remember I was terrible at it then, and I’d definitely break something now.

This is that pharaoh music.

 

Darien Fields – Applesauce

 

With an ethereal beat, off-balance flow, and vocal inflection for days, Darien Fields has something real with his track, Applesauce. He has that perfect blend where he talks on the track, but keeps the flow in line so he can hop back on at any point. The lyrics tell a story of possibly being bumped into a friend zone and being secure in that for now so you can maintain the friendship. The relationship ended, but the friendship is still there. It’s a really neat perspective to write a song from, especially in a genre that is dominated by lyrics about chasing girls, not being happy with the “friend” designation, and being god’s gift to women. Darien’s lyrics are more introspective and honest, citing that it is probably his fault that he is where he is, but he’ll work to fix it.

Squadron full of some goons 
So I’m never alone 
But if I’m honest with you 
I’ll be forever alone, yeah 
I’ve been all the way to space and back 
Spit a waitress rap 
While she was out in Norway 
I ran and lost more weight 
And after all that 
She still wouldn’t take me back 
Damn.. 

Well, I probably wouldn’t either 
Kind of a lost cause 
I wish I didn’t need her 
Wish I could stop, pause and rewind time 
I wouldn’t change a thing 
I just miss the ignorance 
Bliss in the make-believe 

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, standing and outdoor

 

Rodagues – Apologize

This beat is insane. The time signature, the beat, and the flow together are unlike anything I’ve heard before, and that is an absolutely beautiful thing. The beat starts off almost tribal, and takes a sharp left as the lyrics kick in with a deep tone and a cadence that constantly changes. I know at the top of the post we talked about how we look for rap songs that don’t follow the stereotypical lyric tropes of hip-hop. This one skirts that line, talking about how he keeps people that try to fuck with him out of his eyesight, but when you hear something great, you have to appreciate it regardless of the rules you typically abide by. This song is meant to break rules of stereotypical hip-hop and plays on a playground that most artists, regardless of genre, dare to touch. I don’t know Rodagues’ background, but I feel like there has to be some music theory somewhere on his resume.

 

MRGR – Human Being

I saved this song for last for a very specific reason; it tells a message that is applicable across the world. I am someone who goes hard towards my goals everyday, much to the dismay of my family and my brain. This song is a great reminder that you have to take time to breathe. Getting to the finish line isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. I know… cheese alert – but it’s so true. Working on this blog is a perfect example. If I was better at pacing myself and took my time to create a steady workflow instead of going 110 and burning out, I would have a much better end result. Luckily, when I’m off, Caleb’s on, and when he’s off, I’m on. A lot of people don’t have that kind of support though, whether we’re talking about a job, relationships, passions, or anything else that can suck you in.

This song is therapy. Lyrically, it is a great reminder that we need to take time to not be a robot and actually behave like a human being, and the beat is so smooth and soothing that it has already been added to my “wind down” playlist on Spotify. With well rounded samples and a flow that fits perfectly in his lines, MRGR has created a track that can seriously pull you out of hard times. Most songs are just songs; this song is more than that.


Alright guys, that’s it for this Flock. Check out all of these artists, buy their albums and merch, and keep track of when they’re going to be in your area.

Also, check out our Spotify playlist that features all the artists from the blog this month.

We have a podcast too. Check it out here.

-Seth

 

Monday Mix – Rowan Kerrick, Arms Akimbo, George Hadfield, Nik Freitas, Curly Vampiro, Rea Garvey, Simon D. James, Liza, The Hollow Ends, Matt Andersen

Ten new artists to help you get through the next five days of work. 

 

Rowan Kerrick – Your Song

Rowan Kerrick has created something cool here with her new album, Foolish. The album tells a story of a relationship from beginning to end with Your Song leading starting the album by learning from the mistakes of previous relationships, and making promises of how this relationship will be different. Do yourself a favor and listen to the album from beginning to end and see how this relationship turns out.

With soulful vocals, and raw and emotive lyrics, Rowan Kerrick is an artist that people can appreciate regardless of their genre preferences.

 

Arms Akimbo – Velleity

Arms Akimbo makes the kind of music I wish I made. They have emotive lyrics, tight harmonies, wide open guitar, a lot of fun, but most importantly, a cynicism that runs deep in their veins. Velleity itself is an inclination or a wish that isn’t strong enough to act upon.

the notions on the road are keeping me at home
velleity to roam is keeping me at home

They delve into the idea that people become too comfortable with where they currently are to really break out and chase the things they really want. The idea that the grass isn’t always greener has been beat into our head to the point where we accept our current position and are content with dreaming and living vicariously through others. Fear of the unknown can be crippling, but as Michael Scott said that Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

 

George Hadfield – Brenda

George Hadfield has created a really interesting synth funk track with Brenda. What I can’t stop focusing on here is the idea behind the lyrics. Now, I have very little experience with synthesizers, but I do have experience with first instruments. George Hadfield has written a song that is an ode to his first synthesizer. He talks about the scenario that really kicked off his love for the instrument he affectionately named, you guessed it, Brenda. My guess, based on the lyrics, is that he sold it and knows that due to the increasing rarity of the vintage version he had and the increasing popularity of the instrument itself, he will probably never get to play with Brenda again.

If the loss of Brenda makes Hadfield continue to create more fun songs about loss, I hope Brenda stays lost for quite a while.

*I do hope they’re reunited one day though.*

 

Nik Freitas – Listen

“We live in a very self centered culture and its becoming harder to disconnect from everything, including yourself. My oldest daughter started preschool this year and when I’d pick her up in the afternoon she had so much to say about her day, just tons of words trying to explain herself. I had to stop everything i was thinking about or doing and really listen to piece it all together. Its been so refreshing stopping everything to listen and I try to apply it in more conversations now with everybody. Maria Taylor is a good friend and mother of two and i knew she’d get what the song was about, so i asked her to sing backing vocals on the song. I think her performance helped give it a softer and more inviting tone and really brings the point across.”

With a son who is close to entering preschool, this is a song description that really hits home. My son is the exact same way as Freitas’ daughter in regards to how they describe their day. I’ll return home from work and he will just start unloading all of the thoughts he’s tried to stash away to tell me, and they bust out with seemingly no rhyme or reason. He will unload everything from which dinosaur he decided was his favorite (ankylosaurus) to asking me if I had to pick a kitchen appliance, which would it be. This song and description has made me analyze the way I view my conversations with Ollie and the way I view my conversations with the rest of the world. I tend to give Ollie all of my attention and focus while giving most other people about 50% because I’m focusing on the other 298381 things that I currently have going on. I need to have my ears and mind wide open while I’m in ever day conversations so I can really connect with the person I’m talking to.

 

Curly Vampiro – A new new new here

I am such a fan of Curly Vampiro’s honesty on this track. When asked to give and elevator pitch about what the song was about, Curly states simply, “jobs, birthday, death, etc ty.”

An experimental track in the same vein as King Krule, A new new new here is the perfect blend of melancholic truth, perfectly placed samples, and the fuck all attitude that makes it impossible to stop listening.

I can’t believe I lost last month’s work check 
I drink hibiscus tea am I fucking high yet 
Use chapstick cherry, kiss July very 
I’m 25 i’ll eat cake and just be happy 

 

Rea Garvey – Is It Love?

If you have been keeping up with us for a month or so, then you know I recently got back from a trip to Ireland. Rea Garvey, an Irish singer-songwriter, has written a song that kind of sums up a lot of the struggles going on over there right now. Women are fighting for the right to control their own bodies and have the right to not be controlled by a government full of men who don’t understand them.

I won’t pretend to know the full scope of the struggles going on in Ireland right now because I am neither a woman nor am I Irish, but I know a culturally relevant piece that will last a lot longer than a season when I hear it. Rea Garvey’s song has been adapted as an anthem for many across the world, garnering over 14 million plays on Spotify within the first month of its release.

 

Simon D. James – In The Fields

With his second single, Simon D. James writes what may be one of the warmest songs we’ve ever shared on the blog. This is a song that talks about the deep and infinite bond that true friendship creates, and that even though time and distance may separate us, we are always family until the end.

With a timbre all his own, Simon creates a distinct sound of pure emotion with a very humbling gravitas to his music.

 

Liza – Vladimir and 1 Girl, 2 Cups

We have never shared two songs from the same artist in one post, but Liza is a truly unique musician who deserves the distinction that we will call, due to the song title, 1 Girl, 2 Songs.

Vladimir starts out, appropriately enough, like a scene from Eastern Promises; it’s wide open, full of intrigue, and could not possibly sound more Russian. The dark echo of the guitar sets the scene for something truly beautiful.

I can beg you all I want
But you won’t give in
It’s either me or the world in her arms
And I heard she’s with stars
Next to god
She’ll breathe you in

It’s either me or the world in her arms, and I heard she’s with the stars. Damn. She could’ve packed it up after that line, and she would’ve had a more developed world than 98% of the songs I come across. This song is lyrically gut-wrenching, the composition is gorgeous, and Liza’s voice is something that is on a visual spectrum when you close your eyes.

The reason we had to share both is because this song is the yin to Vladimir’s yang. The buildup is smooth and calculated, and develops into a strong finish at around 2:30. The songs have two similarities: Liza’s raw and developed voice full of pain and emotion, and the fucking lyrics. I mean, dear god. Liza is a woman after my own heart as a writer. I’m sure she’s seen happy times, but she doesn’t write about them. This song is about a physically and emotionally abusive piece of trash that is written in such a way that it has to be at the very least “based on a true story.” She writes in a way that could only be achieved if you have been on the other end of flying fists and venomous words.

I hope the boys like a girl who can’t breathe
You think about spending another nice night with me
You live in a dream and my fists are all you can see
And don’t you ever pick up that phone
Your friends never liked you
They want you alone
I told you this countless times
You only have me and that should be fine

Finding artists like Liza actually kind of pisses me off, and it’s not because of anything she did; I tried to find her page on Spotify and had to sift through so many objectively bad artists who have more of a following than her. She easily joins the ranks of my “Criminally Underrated Artists.”

Also, if you are in an abusive relationship and need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233.

 

The Hollow Ends – Bears In Mind

With a rambling melody, tight harmonies, and vocals that mix James Mercer and Chris Thile, Bears In Mind is the kind of ride that is best taken with the windows down.

The song starts out at a Decemberists pace and flow before moving into an absolutely untethered frenzy of abrasive guitar, sweeping harmonies, and a sympathy head rush for Zachary Schwartz, the brain behind the Bear. He hits notes with a strength that is very difficult to do, and then he holds onto those notes for longer than most can. I would go light-headed if I attempted to do what he does.

Starting in a controlled folk environment and ending in a cacophonous folk rock boot stomper, Bears In Mind is like if all the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park somehow made it out into the real world; they are beautiful to look at and admire, but you don’t truly know their power until they’re in your every day life. That’s this song.

 

Matt Andersen – Going Down

If you’ve used this list correctly, this is your Friday afternoon song. This is the song that is going to start your weekend, and I couldn’t think of a better way to do that than with Matt Andersen and crew absolutely melting your face off. Their larger than life live track features roaring vocals, multiple feature solos, and the deep emotion and stage presence needed to carry the audience through six and a half minutes of head rush blues. I’ve listened to this song three times in a row, and it still makes my lip curl and get that stink face whenever one of them steps forward to show us what they’ve got.

 

Check out all of the artist’s songs in a convenient Spotify playlist here.

Did you know we have a podcast? Check it out here.

Video of the Day: Samantha Clemons “Burn”

With powerful vocals and unapologetic lyrics, Samantha Clemons’ song, “Burn,” is a song that’s made for anyone who has been oppressed and made to feel like that oppression is okay. She punches home the idea that when there is oppression in any form, there’s no reason for the oppressed to have to ‘walk a mile in the other’s shoes’ when the opposition’s goal is to keep you underfoot. The song is applicable on so many levels in our country right now: politically, racially, across genders, and really on an almost infinite number of other levels.

When did you go change the rules?
When did you come to be so cruel?
I may be a bit naive
But how can our dreams
All of our freedom
Mean nothing to you?

Yeah, I just crossed the line
No need for compromise
Yeah, mine fit me just fine
No need to walk
in your shoes

SAMANTHA CLEMONS PROMO 1.jpg

Where there is oppression, there is an oppressor, and Samantha has obviously had enough. She goes on to sing about how she’s going to stand her ground, and if she continues to be put down, she will take more drastic measures by burning it all down. Now, if you know me, I’m not a big advocate for violence, but I definitely think there’s a time and place for more than words. This song seems to be in the same camp as me. Stand firmly and stand boldly, but if there’s still no change, proceed to the next logical step. The progression is important.

As a straight white male with a nuclear family, I haven’t faced any kind of real oppression, so anything I say is completely from an outsiders standpoint. I can sympathize, but can’t fully empathize. I will say this though; we are at a point in this country where even if you can’t empathize, morality should dictate that if you do nothing, you are enabling the oppression. Even if you don’t fully understand, you still have to stand up.

Video of the Day – Rathbone “Ain’t Somebody Here”

Easily the winner for the most unique music video we’ve had on the blog yet, Rathbone’s “Ain’t Somebody Here” is avant garde funk; it’s experimental fun, but firmly rooted in funk with a strong bass line and the instrumentation used throughout. It’s not often that I can picture a song in both a Fast and Furious movie and a sophisticated art heist film. Make your own judgements on the video, but one thing is certain; Rathbone isn’t afraid to go outside of the lines, and we absolutely love the direction he’s taking his art.

Also, keep up with our new Spotify playlist to make sure you catch all of our July artists.

And checkout our podcast here.

Mid Day Music Blast: TyC “SELFISH”

Recently, TyC lost his father earlier than expected due to a massive heart attack. He was left with an unexpected void in his life, and turned to music as his therapy. The song that he came out with, SELFISH, is the song that most people internalize when in the same situation and they don’t know how to get it out. This song has helped TyC find some solace, and can do the same for others. We feel like it’s selfish to focus on ourselves at a time like this, but in actuality, that is exactly who the person who passed would want us to focus on. They want us to do whatever it takes to find healing.

Starting the song with a voicemail is pretty cool, but I think the content of the message is what’s important. It’s absolutely nothing. It’s the kind of message you receive and you say to yourself, “Why did they leave me a message? I know I missed their call. I’d call them back either way.” That’s the beauty of it. This message has taken on a whole new life now given the situation. Even the most mundane things become mementos and key pieces of remembering someone. I had a friend who died, and I still keep a bottle cap from a Nehi that he had been drinking the previous day and left on my dresser. It seems so ridiculous to some people, but it’s a memory of us sitting around and playing Uncharted all night, crushing sodas to stay awake.

TyC goes in with a simple but pronounced beat, keeping the focus first and foremost on the lyrics, but layering bass lines and orchestral sounds to really bring this song to life. A beautiful tribute to his late father, TyC is getting therapy through his music, and is passing something really special along to us in the process.

 

Mid Day Music Blast – LIEZA “Yellow Roses”

LIEZA’s new single, Yellow Roses, is exactly what you want for that summertime jams playlist you have on Spotify. It starts out as a lot of songs do, with LIEZA catching a partner cheating on her, but it puts a slight twist on that; the partner says the name of the third party while in bed with LIEZA.

The song then goes into how LIEZA won’t take any shit, and they both need to move on. I love the sentiment here. LIEZA takes the power away from her (ex)partner by standing steadfast in her resolve to end things while they beg for forgiveness and promise it won’t happen again.

You’ve got love in your eyes
and I’ve got karma in mine
cause every promise was broken
you were drunk
and she was high
it meant nothing,
it felt fine,
but is it still fine when we’re broken

Femke, friend of the blog (really, we’ve just posted a song of hers before. we want to be her friend though), worked on this song with LIEZA, and it only took them 45 minutes to write it. With ethereal dream pop composition and a pure and pitch perfect voice, LIEZA is already turning heads even though she’s new to the pop scene. She inked a deal with Whizbang earlier this year, so 2018 is shaping up to be a pretty great year for the dream(y) pop artist.

I don’t want to be that girl, coming second to your second girl.

The Flock: Rap and Hip-Hop – Chris Color, Raw Collective, Jamar Carr, Jay Holly and Primaa Bank$, Tee Noah, Rome

*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.

Chris Color – “five.”

Oh my god that saxophone line. Using a sample from Take Five is absolutely genius. Once they clip it up and add the beat, it’s impossible for me not to start nodding my head. Once the lyrics kick in, we see a nice proud sort of lyrical tradition, with a flow that’s extra smooth. I also really appreciate how clever some of the word play is. Like: “Got a couple o’s in my pocket straight chilling/ Ain’t lying set my pants on fire no kidding”

Or: “Spill it, don’t trip it/
Paper on your back saying kick it but I rip it/
Off and go flip it”

At the very end he says “Mr Rodgers gotta have a great band”, which after seeing his picture here, I wonder if he’s just referring to his clean cut look and how that could be seen as a detriment in certain circles? I don’t know, could just be me speculating, but either way, it’s great sounding track that I’ll be bumping in my car all summer long.

Raw Collective – “Pictures”

Something that makes Raw Collective unique, is that they play their instruments live, rather than just using a pre-produced track. They have a full 12 piece band complete with guitar, bass, a horn section, live percussion, and more. This instrumental prowess is on full display around the 2:00 mark with the sweet horn breakdown. And again around the 3:00 mark with another instrumental interlude to ride the song out.

Image result for raw collective

It’s a herculean task to get that many people to work together “collectively” (pun intended). I also really love the ambiguous lyrics of this song:

“Fake pictures tainted by the painting of your virtue

The end of the day, you’re the only person that can really hurt you

Live and learn getting burned, laying lucid, losing the meaning

Cold at the poles, staying neutral isn’t always that easy”

There is a big focus on pictures in the song, here and in the hook (oh and obviously the title. I don’t know exactly what it might be referencing. If the pictures are fake and tainted by the painting of your virtue, it would mean that the picture is the opposite of what you actually are. So that can either be a positive to negative shift or a vice versa. It could be a picture of you helping someone out while you’re actually very selfish, or it could be a picture of you looking downtrodden when you’re actually very happy, but either way, something about this picture does not mix with the actuality of the person. It’s a really interesting angle to consider for sure. And if blown up, it should make you consider the media you take in about people you know nothing about.

Jamar Carr – “Million Dollar Slaves (Prod. Bandit Luce)”

The ever present Jamar Carr is back with another socially conscious hip hop track. It starts with a great sample from some news source (I’m tempted to say Fox News, but I can’t be sure). It is apparently after several NBA players spoke out against Trump or police brutality or some right wing talking point, and the reporter reminds them to stay in their place as “someone paid millions to dribble a ball”. This immediately sets up Jamar Carr’s title: “Million Dollar Slaves” which calls to mind these basketball players, and also, in the topic of the year, all the NFL kneeling stuff that happened last year. It calls to mind the hypocrisy in white conservatives enjoying their entertainment from black people in sports, or the music industry, but once they share their perception of the flaws in this country, those same people want them to shut up and fall in line. “Never talk politics, that ain’t what we wanna hear, if you don’t like this country you can get the fuck up out of here”, Jamar Carr screams near the beginning of the song, which sets the precedent of the rest of the song where we see that the whole song is from the perspective of one of these white conservatives, dripping with irony the whole time obviously. I want to say it’s also dripping with exaggeration, but honestly, like a lot of satire in the past 2 years, it feels too close to truth.

Jay Holly, Primaa Bank$ & DJ JS-1 – “Stand Tall”

This Queens banger calls back to a better era of hip-hop. No tricks, no mumbling, no autotune, just emcee word flow over a booth beat, and enough scratching to remind you why you fell in love with hip-hop all those years ago. This is the new era of Nas, a fellow New York emcee. This is that gut punch truth. Fuck talking about cars and girls, Jay Holly and Primaa Bank$ pull no punches when talking about being proud of who you are and where you come from. You can hear the struggle in their voice, and their word flow is made for battles, both on a stage, and in their neighborhoods.

Tee Noah – “OMW”

When is the last time you were floored by an Australian rapper? That’s what we do here. We help you track down artists that you’re going to love from every single corner of the globe. Yes, I know that doesn’t really make sense since globes have no corners, but you know what I mean.

Tee Noah hits us with his third song from the upcoming EP, “T,” and it is an absolutely head rush. With a unique flow and vocal inflections over a beat that will make you bounce wherever you’re at (No, seriously. Currently dancing in an Atlanta Bread), Tee Noah delivers something that’s even more rare than any of the aforementioned things in rap; he delivers a positive message about coming up through the struggle and coming out on top. What makes that a rare message? Tee Noah doesn’t shit on anyone else while doing it. Hip-hop usually takes a direction when talking about this subject where it’s, “I made it, I’m doing great, and you really suck.” Tee Noah doesn’t bother with the other people, having put them in his rearview, and solely focuses on himself and this other person who helped him through the struggle. They may still struggle, but together, they can move mountains.

Rome – “All In”

Yooooo. If Tee Noah is the good guy of rap, Rome is one of the four horseman sent to bring rap back to its roots. He goes in on everyone who is part of the tie-dyed, mumble rap sub genre of rap. The video shows someone who is shockingly similar to Tekashi69 (or really any number of new rappers) getting famous, doing big things, and then being brought in to Rome and his crew for what we’ll call “repentance.”

Roll call, roll call,
Every new rapper lookin’ like a troll doll
In my era, gangs died over colors
These pussies yell gang, 
dreads dyed different colors
Rome, bitch
Hit ’em with that grown shit
Mumble rap
cause you’re chokin’ on your own dick

This is the definition of a diss track. What’s great about it though is Rome doesn’t target an individual, he targets a whole genre. This song is meant to ruffle feathers, and it appears Rome is ready for hunting season.

The Flock: Indie Rock – The Mooks, Indian Askin, The Braves, The Nova Darlings, Paddle Paddle, Hugo Fowler

*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.”

The Mooks – Fools

Mook – a stupid or incompetent person – isn’t the term that comes to mind when listening to the heady indie rock from the Toronto based trio. With straightforward instrumentals and a singer with the range most folks dream about, this band sounds a lot more seasoned than they actually are. The band formed in November of last year, but has a feeling of a modern day Velvet Underground; everything is very straightforward, everyone has a lane to fill, and they’re both storytellers. The Mooks are already on my 4th of July playlist for the beach this year, and I expect them to find a home on playlists all across the country.

 

Indian Askin – I Feel Something

Indian Askin, the Amsterdam based indie rock band, released their single, I Feel Something, earlier this month, and it has been creating a lot of buzz. Chino Alaya, the lead singer of the group, has a great mixture of silk and rocks in his voice, so it creates absolutely beautiful moments where the silk slides to gravel throughout the song, giving his voice and the song human characteristics. The song dives into what happens after a traumatic event. You feel like you are at the edge of everything, looking into the abyss of what comes after, and with time, you realize that you can feel something again.

 

The Braves – How the Money Rolls In

A gritty look at how a lot of the rich get their money off of the backs of the poor, How The Money Rolls In is a song that is full of nails and venom. Deep grit and sandpaper round out the vocals of Kelly Watson, who shares the chanting chorus with bandmates, Jesse Bolte and Ethan Lerversha. With a style that is equal parts The Clash and Gogol Bordello, The Braves bring storytelling to a tangible level, and have absolutely no apologies if they don’t check off all of your boxes. They are raw, they are moving, and they are real.

 

The Nova Darlings – I Like Crashing My Car (Into Yours)

This is that summer song that hits me right in the teeth. An introspective look at how we are usually our own worst enemy, I Like Crashing My Car (Into Yours) is the “bummer jam of the summer.” To add to their point about self-destruction, this song has been added to all of my summer playlists. Nothing like hiking through the woods to clear my mind only to feel it with all of my shortcomings as a human being. Rarely is the first verse of a song my favorite verse (at least if I like the writing all the way through, and they didn’t phone in the second half of the song… but I digress), but the first verse of this song is an absolute gut punch and sets the stage for self-exploration and a look into just how shitty we all are. Emotive vocals with a timbre that feels like it’s on the edge of breaking down keep you on the edge of your seat, ready to run out in front of traffic, and the shopping card keeps you firmly planted in your seat out of sheer curiosity.

 

Paddle Paddle – Speak Your Mind

This French indie/electro rock group is absolutely mesmerizing. I listen to a lot of new music, and I tell people constantly that they need their songs to be more full or have more layers if they want to aim for this style of music. Speak Your Mind is a shining example of what I mean. The song has as many rich textures as the album art, with everything working off the melody, but seemingly following its own track. The lyrics are something that we definitely need in an age where people struggle to share their ideas for multiple reasons, and hide behind everything from political ideology to computer screens.

 

Hugo Fowler – Faking Lately

Huge Fowler’s new track, Faking Lately, has that same groove to it that made Portugal. The Man a household name. With a similar timbre of John Gourley, Fowler has a gift for playing around with the beat, moving freely from quarters to sixteenths while keeping the pedal to the floor. The new single is out now, with the EP following up on the 26th. Make sure to keep tabs on this guy, because he already has his fingers on the pulse of proven success.

Mid Day Music Blast: Kuwaisiana “Virgin”

I love songs with something to say. I mean, most songs have something to say, I guess, but not many of them have something real to say. Relationship problems, how great you are, and dreamscapes make up 99% of all lyrics (probably), so the song, Virgin, from the multinational band, Kuwaisiana, is a welcome surprise.

With raw instrumentals, and complex composition, Virgin gets into one of the biggest moneymakers on the planet: war. The song dives into how the war machine has been effective in not only stealing land and making people wealthy, but also how its role in our lives has made us desensitized to things that should appall us.

“I’m a virgin
in a VR headset
Show me the army
Occupy me”

That is the last line of the song, and it hits so hard. In less than 15 words, they talk about how the military industrial complex can be found in everything from pornography to technology, and at this point, we are inviting it into our homes without even realizing it.

Transitioning between discourse and harmony, this song covers the gamut of emotions. We love bringing you something upbeat and interesting for the Mid Day Music Blast, the fact that the Blast is actually talking about blasts today, is just a…well…blast.