Episode 18: Existentialism (Part 1)

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Join Seth and Caleb (who had some sound issues) as they discuss free will, Ghosts, Omniscience, tyranny inspired punk, and as always, the best new music you’ve never heard of.

Intro – Alpine Blizzard – Stranger feat. Jenny Ridgeway
@alpineblizzard

Strange Neighbors – Ghost
*StrangeneighborsGhost
*bsideguys.com/2018/06/19/strange-neighbors/

Esbie Fonte – Ace’s High
www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFcH6xKy8jw
bsideguys.com/2018/06/12/esbie-fonte/

Indian Askin – I Feel Something
www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnlBSFwjc-Y
bsideguys.com/2018/06/21/the-flo…addle-hugo-fowler/

Glass Lungs – Casting Stones
www.youtube.com/watch?v=77FaaognfnY
bsideguys.com/2018/05/28/mid-day…gs-casting-stones/

Robin Hayes – Autopilot Hijack
TherobinhayesAutopilot-highjack
bsideguys.com/2018/06/10/robin-hayes/

Fort Hill – Marks
User-764965945Marks
bsideguys.com/2018/06/01/totd-fort-hill-marks/

Morning Commute: Big Sam’s Funky Nation – Pokechop

Even before they started singing about Mardi Gras, it was very clear these guys were here to represent NOLA. There isn’t another city like it on this planet, and the inhabitants are the same way. The video and the sound screams Big Easy. New Orleans is a proud and distinct city, and the only thing that doesn’t fit is the 76ers hoodie in the back. Good thing this isn’t an article about the 76ers and their squad they’ve assembled in Philadelphia that’s led by a man with two left knees. That article wouldn’t be so kind. This is an article about something way better than the Sixers. I’m a Hornets fan, so this is obviously all in good fun. I root for a team that seems content with being a 10 seed in a weak conference. My team also cheated on me and left for the Big Easy a long time ago, which is a perfect segue back to this funk track that is the epitome of the city it was born in.

Everyone feels like funk music is about the hard popping bass lines, the cadence of the vocals, and a powerful brass section. Funk is just as much about the negative space in the song, and Big Sam’s Funky Nation know how to work their negative space perfectly. I know that seems weird, but stay with me. If there’s constant sound to create a “fuller” track, you sacrifice the aspect of funk that is just as synonymous with the genre as the music itself: dancing. Having the negative space, that millisecond between bass lines, is what gives you a paint by numbers guide to exactly how your body should move to the song. It lets you know when to step, stomp, and shake, as witnessed by the men and women in this song. Funk music is about bringing everyone together, having fun, having a few drinks, and dancing until your legs feel like jello, either from the dancing or the drinks.

The perfect picture of New Orleans, Pokechop shows what the city is all about: robust music, a new twist on classic style (except for that 76ers hoodie), beautiful people and architecture, and a penchant for the good life. The Big Easy is known for their parties, and Big Sam’s Funk Nation knows how to throw one hell of a party.

TOTD: Isak Thomas and The Stoop Boys – Old School Walk

Spotify, if you prefer

This is such an appropriate song to wind down your Thursday night with. It is a great way to end a date night, and it’s that perfect groove track to get your weekend moving in the right direction.

This is a song of old school chivalry and a feeling of how things used to be, which is really strange considering that Isak and the other two stoop boys are so young. I don’t have an exact age, but let this picture speak for itself.

Image may contain: 1 person, sunglasses and closeup

That’s Isak. The same Isak who sings about going way back like a ’69 Cadillac. I am sure that people talk about the discrepancy between his lyrics and tone, and the picture he presents, so I don’t want to linger here too long. The point I wanted to make is that Isak and his fellow Berklee grads have a sound that’s refined well beyond their years,  bringing that old school soul vibe with harmonies cusping on doo-wop to a new generation with soulful ad-libs along the lines of a Hozier-esque vocalist at times, and some really smooth guitar riffs.

The lyrics speak for themselves, so I don’t want to touch on them too much. I did want to point out that the lyrical route they take is important because the robust flavor of the love songs in old school soul are almost as synonymous with the genre as the vocalists who made it famous. If you start singing 60’s soul with lyrics centered around politics, rambling stories, or any other off-brand topic, it loses a lot of the power. That’s coming from someone who relates to political dissidence and rambling tales of rail workers a lot better than I relate to love stories like this.

Follow these guys on Facebook to stay up to date on everything they have going on.

Also, if you’re interested, check out our podcast Here.

The Flock: Hip-Hop and Soul – D. Hart, Noah Slee, Tim Harrison, HighKarateJu, The Sir Duke, KB Devaughn, Daygo Fatts, Rafa Selase, Audrey, DemarcoTheMan, Godz Chyld X Jordan River Banks, Psychodelicate

*Check out these artists and every other artist we’ve featured on the blog this month on our Spotify playlist for this month.*

This is a HUGE edition of The Flock. People who love hip-hop and soul are going to find so much good content in this post. What is The Flock, you ask? 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 fan base 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*

 

D. Hart – Get To Know

It took me way too long to place where I knew that background female vocalist from. Not the feature soulful female vocalist, but that delicate, chopped up, “I would like to,” in the back. I was never a Brandy fan, but my sister was. That’s from her track “I Wanna Know.” If someone is using Brandy samples, it’s someone I want to find out more about. It’s not exactly common to use something from her in your new track, but then again, this isn’t a common song. D. Hart’s style is reminiscent of old Jay, and the soulful voice of Empara is a weird and beautiful mix of Noname and Blige.

I love honest rap. Don’t talk about your fast cars and faster spending habits if you’re shooting a music video leaned up against your ’99 Impala. I mean, dream, go big, do all of that, but it seems so phony when you rap about something you know nothing about. D. Hart feels the same way based on the lyrics of Get To Know. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, so let me rephrase that; that’s how I feel, and I respect the lyricism of D. Hart because he’s an honest guy.

I’m an introspective 
ass and 
blast from the past 
cash makes me mad because i don’t have, cant cope with it 
my bank account has been fasting since i opened it 
I go on some loco shit 

He doesn’t try to pretend he’s got a bunch of money in the bank. He wants you to know that he’s grinding, and he’s hustling to feed his bank account. The guy also has some really witty lines, throwing in allusions to politics while (possibly?) taking a jab at the current regime. If you have read or followed along for anytime at all, you know that’s the way to our heart. D. Hart is taking hip-hop back to an era where people wrote truth and did it with scratchy beats, varying cadences, and not novelty tricks.

so I build wall a up and get caught up 
in trumping those who might love me 
yeah i know its kinda ugly 

 

Noah Slee – Stayed

I wasn’t familiar with Noah before hearing this song, and judging from the millions of plays he has on Spotify, I’m in the minority here. Better late than never when it comes to a party like this though. Noah has one of the most interesting and beautiful voices that I can recall hearing in my lifetime. He has a vulnerable falsetto that resonates from life experiences he is carrying with him. I know this may be a bit of reading, but I think that the idea for the video and the idea behind the album are both things that need to be shared.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT:

Stayed’ is a solo, hallucinatory comedown set in Berlin. The music video aims to invoke that particular sense of isolation and loneliness one can feel, even when surrounded by other people. We also wanted to explore the late night/early morning end-of-the-party atmosphere, when things get a little strange. There’s a decelerated, surreal feeling that occurs when you’ve had no sleep and are in the grey area between two different mental states.

I played around with visual juxtaposition to add a subtle psychedelic element to the imagery. Berlin can be very bleak in the Winter, which is when the video was shot, and we didn’t want to let that control the tone of the video. We used tropical plants, human movement/dance and as much colour as possible to create contrast in dark, icy settings.

The project itself was a challenge. The outdoor scenes were shot guerilla-style, in temperatures sometimes as low as -20˚C. We were often working without a crew or a confirmed location. Noah and I spent many nights alone in the freezing cold grabbing whatever shots we could. Other times, our talented friends assisted…making things feel a lot more cosy. 

This collaboration was an experiment for both of us. I’ve always appreciated music videos that can build a new layer on a song without manipulating the song’s original theme. We attempted to create something that highlighted the introverted nature of the song, whilst leaving the lyrics etc open to interpretation. – cobraswan.com 

ALBUM BIO:

Focusing on many life-changing moments, the album put Slee on the world stage while remaining painfully authentic, as Noah comes out as gay, explores the Berlin nightlife, ponders on religion, pays homage to his Tongan roots, and grapples with his artistry across the incredible 17-track body of work.

 

Tim Harrison – Love is a Drug

If you have been following the blog for any amount of time, you know there’s one thing that immediately receives my immediate disapproval when it comes to hip-hop music: aggressive autotune. Sometimes something is so good you have to make an exception to the rule. Tim Harrison, or Analogy, has made a track that has made me open my mind a little bit. This song is so smooth that I can’t look it over. The main thing that pulled me back in is Analogy’s hard-hitting verse at the end, making me pause and reassess the whole track. It causes this beautiful cohesion between Bamm Bamm and Analogy that makes me groove through the autotune instead of grit my teeth. That’s an insanely hard feat to accomplish, and it’s a testament to how good this song really is.

 

HighKarateJu – Hey Dreamer

With a wordy flow and a clear message, HighKarateJu fits almost as much into each line as he does into his name. The content of this song is on point, too. We make it a point to regularly talk about how you need to pursue your passion, live in the clouds, and do whatever it takes to make your dreams happen. While that all is true, this brings up a piece that is often overlooked.  The song tells you that you need to dream, but you also have to put in work too. Dreams without work are going to be dreams forever. You have to hustle and grind if you want to get to the point where dreams become reality. Caleb and I have dreams about our place in the music industry, and they are nothing without us grinding every single day. A really nice track from HighKarateJu to remind us that work ethic beats out an idea 9 out of 10 times. When you have the work ethic and the idea, that’s when you’re a one in a million product.

The Sir Duke – Eradicated and Rise Up

I’m really liking the direction of The Flock so far today. The Sir Duke and D. Hart need to get to know each other. The Sir Duke’s gut-punch lyricism and old school flow matches up really well with D. Hart. Seriously, in my mind, these guys together could sell out arenas full of people longing for the hip-hop of days gone by. We want rappers who have something to say, and The Sir Duke knows exactly what we want.

Guys, I usually break the lyrics down separately, but these two songs are essentially one long song with one of the smoothest transitions. Seriously, I found Eradicated a while ago, and didn’t even realize that it was a new song when it transitioned to Rise Up after the gunshot. I thought it was a hard break and then the telling of the other half of the story when a race has been pushed to the brink of what they’re willing to take. I’m so interested in The Sir Duke as a human being and an artist. The guy is writing songs that could be anthems for black culture. I mean, we’re very careful not to say things that may be misconstrued since we are two white guys, but these two songs are extremely powerful and empowering.

Side note: Rise Up isn’t about any kind of physical takeover or anything like that. It’s more about the fact that a culture with such strong diversity can’t be held down by narrow-minded ideas, and something is going to change. He’s not trying to start a riot. Calm down, Trumpers.

KB Devaughn – For Me

You know how I was talking about loving honest lyricism? Fuck. This song is nasty. KB Devaughn writes one of the best examples of honesty in music that I’ve seen in a long time. For Me is a song that KB wrote while he and his girlfriend were homeless. The song essentially wrote itself one night as KB watched his girlfriend sleep in the car. He writes about the pressure of the situation, the pressure of their relationship, and then made sure she knew that everything is going to work out for them. Maybe it was more a song to himself to let him know that he would work it out. Either way, I can’t stop listening to this track. As someone who lived out of his car for a while, this song hits hard.

Daygo Fatts – Ride Away

If there’s one word to use to describe Daygo Fatts’ flow, it’s “smooth.” This is exactly what we look for in rap even without the lyrics. The guy has the perfect combination of keeping it straightforward while also mixing up his cadence and rhyme scheme. We listen to so much rap every single day from people who want us to check out their stuff, and I’ve had this idea where I want to compile a list of artists that fit what we do. For example, if the beat is too repetitive or boring, send them a link to an artist that we love the beats of. If they’re going for MC lyricism but the lyrics are fairly generic, send them a link to someone who says a lot through their music in that UK b-boy fashion. If they want to create the new school smooth, but their rhyme scheme and cadence are lazy, I’m going to show them Daygo. It’s really hard for artists to send us something that stands out from everything strictly because we get so much music, but when I listened to Daygo for the first time, I literally stopped everything I was doing, and listened to it three times in a row with my eyes closed, lip curled up the entire time. The dude is good.

Rafa Selase – The Revolution Will Be On Facebook and Chasing Demons

Rafa definitely has something to say, and we love it. There’s something very cathartic about listening to him talk about Gil Scott Heron, government corruption, and the pursuit of money hurting the pursuit of man. I usually don’t post the full lyrics to songs, but these have to be shared. Caleb and I talk regularly about the need to have uncomfortable conversations with people who understand something more than you do, and this is the perfect case of that. We’ve reached out to Rafa about doing a live interview, but understand that he is insanely busy. I just feel like not getting his side of the story would be a complete disservice to his music.

As Gil Scott Heron said 
The Revolution will not be televised 

The evolution is a revolution 
The world is changing 
We no longer praying 

We idolizing 
Selfie posterizing 
Troll seeking sodomizing 
Avatar making 
Tumblr rolling 
Instagram snapping 
We some self idolizing zombies 
You playing 
But Google is playing you 
NSA watching 
FBI profilin’ 
CIA strategizing 
Civil Liberty snatching 
But you still playing 
Gil Scott Heron told you 
The Revolution will not be televised 

Beautiful Jill Scott said 
Why you spend yo time hating 
Trolling? 
Instigating? 
Manipulating? 
Why you playing 
The Revolution will be on Facebook 

Facebook will watch you 
like you 
but not love you 
nor believing or 
supporting you 
won’t pay you 
or even hug you 
you staring face to face 
as the Revolution 
takes place 
friending 
commenting 
on nothing 
ignoring and snoring 
as the Revolution takes place 
The Revolution will be on Facebook

Dead presidents 
Dead presidents don’t matter 
When you’re dead 
Dead presidents don’t matter 
When you’re dead 
Most high forgive me 
Lord forgive me 
For chasing dead presidents Dead presidents don’t matter 
When you’re dead 

Lord I know you said 
Seek me and all these things 
Shall be granted 

He didn’t understand what that meant 
He was chasing 
Social validation 
Dangerous spiritual experimentation 
Sexual exploitation 
Trying to escape toxic romantic relations 
Maintaining false expectations 
He was chasing demons 
Demons wasn’t even messing with him 
He was chasing demons 
They say demons are scared of the righteous 
It’s only when we seek the fleshly desires 
That demons have power 

He was a corporate assassin 
Paper chasing 
Ken and Barbie lifestyle 
Lord forgive him 
False reality 
Creating the illusion 
Of perfection 
For who … like a peacock 
Colorful and showboating 
Peacocks look good 
Walk better 
But can’t fly 
Creating a false reality 
Which causes unrealistic expectations 
And Perceptions 
All while trying to maintain control 

Never realizing 
the more you pursue 
This false reality 
The less control you have 

Dead presidents don’t matter 
When you dead 

Lord forgive me 
The he realized forgiveness is a gift 
Unforgiveness is a burden 
He chose to be forgiven 
Blessed are they which do hunger 
And thirst after righteousness 
For they shall be filled 
He prays “lord forgive me, with my whole heart have I sought thee: 
O let me not wander from thy commandments 

Dead presidents don’t matter 
When you dead 

Audrey – Party

This is a “turn out the lights and sink into the sofa” groove, but don’t sink too far, or you’ll find the bodies.

smile like you’re the joker then you hide your bodies in the sofa 
count cards playin poker 
whatever you like 
bacardi with the soda and your gold teeth and your coca 
hot tub and pagoda 
whatever you like

Audrey started out singing the National Anthem at sporting events, but soon realized that there’s absolutely no fun in that (I would assume. I don’t actually no her reasoning.) and soon started making her own music. I love the National Anthem as much as the next guy, but thank god she stopped doing that and gave us groove tunes like this instead.

DemarcoTheMan – Bike Ride

Bike Ride is an interesting track. It’s a single from his upcoming release, Bland Boy, and on it’s own, its a wordy flow that doesn’t break any kind of walls for me lyrically… at first. His cadence and rhyme scheme are something fresh, and they kept me into the song long enough to figure out what the lyrics were about. On their own though, they didn’t exactly line up with what we usually share on the blog.

Spinning revolving
I keep the barrel tucked.
Auto tune and money
you niggas basic as blondie bitches wearing birks.
Lil B the B for bitch i lift the curse.
Know i’m too diverse for you to get a verse.
Cut the verdict my vertic circuit can jump a bus
and probably lift a hearse.
Who said i couldn’t actually spit.
Suck on my dick.
Until the sack is salty like a bowl full of grits. 

This is why it’s important to read into the songs you listen to. On the surface, this seems like another hip-hop track trope where you want people to know you’re better than the guy beside you. What’s actually happening on the album though is that Demarco is battling with the guy beside him. The album is told from two different perspectives within Demarco’s mind. One side is the side of everyday problems and the dark side of Demarco, and the other side is his confidence and his ego. This song is from the perspective of the latter. This is supposed to be a song about being better than the guy next to you, but that’s not what the album is about. He already had the flow, the beat, and the style, my only hesitation was the lyrics. Then you tell me it’s a really smart concept album that talks about the inner-struggle of man and tells stories from different parts of the same brain? I’m sold.

Godz Chyld X Jordan River Banks – Heavens Pt. II (Look Around)

You know how I mentioned us being fans of lyrically savvy MC’s with something real to say? Enter Godz Chyld. With a song that talks about heaven being a state of mind vs being an actual place, Godz Chyld hits with a wordy flow, big concepts, and a really smooth beat that knows it’s place in the background. So many artists try to hide generic lyrics behind a slick beat; Godz Chyld has both. This is definitely a midnight cruising song. Roll the windows down, and let the song take you to whatever state of mind leads to your heaven.

Psychodelicate – Wine

These guys have one of the most interesting tracks on this list. First off, this is their debut. They already have a great chemistry, and are coming up with something really cool. Secondly, they do everything themselves. Writing, beat production, recording, everything.

One thing that can get lost in the flow when new artists start collaborating together is the fact that they sound fairly similar. All three of these guys have very distinct voices, and it makes the track something that works really well. These guys are definitely someone you need to be watching for now, so you can be that guy who knew about them from the beginning.

Side note: The dude with the growly voice had me making a stink face every single time he started on the track. The dude is sick.


As always, check out all of these guys through the links above. Follow them, buy their stuff, see their tour dates, etc.

We also have a Spotify playlist you can check out to see all the artists we’ve featured this month.

Want to add a podcast to your list? Check out ours. 

The Flock: Singer-Songwriter/Folk – Leonie Kingdom, Winslow, Spazz Cardigan, Danny Starr, Chamber Band, Matt Millz

*Check out these artists and every other artist we’ve featured on the blog this month on our Spotify playlist for this month.*

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*

 

Leonie Kingdom – Night Terrors

This song actually made me cry the first time I heard it. If you know me, you may know that I experience night terrors, and this song is a beautiful song of hopelessness against them. I had just woken up from another night of sleepless turning, and this was one of the first ten songs I listened to that day. If you know someone who has night terrors but can’t really empathize with what they’re going through, Leonie Kingdom has written a song to help you understand how people feel when they have this haunting, reoccurring dream that they can’t wake themselves from.

You’ll shiver to the bone
It’s the thoughts that come alive when you’re alone
And it brings you to your knees
Like a current that’s raging through angry black seas

Don’t fight it
Don’t deny it
Don’t run, don’t run
They’ve already won

There’s nowhere to hide when they’re living inside
There’s nowhere to hide they’ll eat you alive
There’s nowhere to hide they hear all your cries
There’s nowhere to hide you’ll never survive

When Leonie sang the line, “It’s the thoughts that come alive when you’re alone,” I lost it. She has this tonality to her voice that makes her pain a tangible quality to her vocals, and when the haunting harmony comes in, it really sweeps you up in emotion. I’m not sure if this is about Leonie’s personal struggle with night terrors or if the night terrors are a symbol of something else in her life, but I like to think it’s about the actual terrors. It’s a song of hopelessness against them, but it’s also a song that reminds you that someone else is going through the same thing you are too. Knowing you aren’t alone is enough for most people to find solace through the struggle.

 

Winslow – Look at Me Now

I was dancing along to this track, having a great time, when the 2:10 mark hit. That’s when it went from me really liking this song to loving it. It’s amazing what a few moments of cacophonous dysfunction can do to make a poppy singer-songwriter track stand out. I love the fact that I also get part of the story through choices like that. It’s almost like you hear the story of their transition from who they thought they’d end up being to who they turned out being through the swirling portal of sound at that 2:10 mark because after that you start hearing paparazzi fighting for their attention on a runway, and the protagonist of the story says that all they’ve wanted is for people to call their name like this. First, I want to post their bio, and then I want to talk about what the song is possibly about.

BIO: Kate Miner (of folk band MINER ) and Briana Lane make up the new LA based indie duo, Winslow. Miner was working on a solo project when she heard Lane sing live at a Christmas show in 2016 and asked her to join forces to finish the album. After a year and half writing and recording in a garage studio in Silverlake, on a street appropriately named Winslow, the two are releasing their EP this fall. With its modern, synth heavy soundscapes and echoes of Miner’s folk roots, self titled Winslow is a compilation of stories of heartbreak and loss in Los Angeles.

First off, let’s get this part out of the way. If you haven’t checked out Miner, check them out hereSo good.

Okay, back to this song. The part I want to focus on is the story behind the lyrics. I missed the key phrase about halfway through the Alice in Wonderland transition because I was so focused on the instrumentals. The person who is becoming famous sees the paparazzi starting to descend upon them and notes how stressful everything looks on that side, but convinces themselves that it’s everything they ever wanted. I know nothing about being famous, or the pursuit thereof, but it honestly sounds like a nightmare to me. I believe that’s kind of what this song is talking about since it’s “a compilation of stories of heartbreak and loss in Los Angeles.” Everyone thinks that they want to be famous until they actually are. I mean, don’t get me wrong, fame comes with a lot of benefits I’m sure, but those are the only things people focus on. They don’t think about the fact that they don’t really have alone time anymore. I mean, once you reach a certain level of fame, even your family vacations have some creepy people following you to the beach, a sunscreen strip on their nose and camera in hand. It’s oftentimes not the life that people envisioned from the other side of the fence.

Spazz Cardigan – Medicine & Make America

Spazz Cardigan had a couple of tracks we wanted to share with you guys. The guy is like if Jason Mraz and Mat Kearney had a baby, and that baby liked to actually sing about real stuff. The guy has a really smooth voice, nice beats, and a look that gets picked up by major labels all the time. That’s what makes his lyrical prowess so refreshing and exciting. He could sing love songs with a stupid fedora on and make millions of dollars, but he’s choosing to use his voice and his platform to say real things and to open up real conversations. He could still make millions, but it won’t be by selling out.

Medicine is a song all about owning up to your wrongdoings and making them right. It’s definitely going to suck to do and can be painful, but I like that it doesn’t shy away from that. It’s no fun to take medicine, but it’s definitely going to make you feel better. The same can be said for admitting when you’re wrong.

From what I understand, this is a free-form spoken word piece that is meant to follow closely behind the ideology of Medicine. We as a country have obviously made mistakes when it comes to gun culture in the United States, and Spazz is wanting to start talking about it. Seeing students and other people in everyday life being gunned down every single day has kind of numbed us to the conversation. I mean, a perfect example for me is the fact that I saw the murder and standoff that was committed in the Trader Joe’s in LA, and I didn’t read past the headline. It’s not that I didn’t care; I just didn’t want to read about another senseless tragedy. Stuff like that has become so commonplace that you would have to read multiple articles every single day to stay caught up. I have been very clear on my stance on gun control, and I think Spazz and I are in pretty similar camps. There’s a lot to unpack in this song, so instead of me trying to do it all myself, I want to do a live interview with Spazz Cardigan so we can have a conversation about this. We always stress the importance of having uncomfortable conversations, and he’s right,

Nobody wants to talk
and when we do
we just shut off

 

Danny Starr – Double Red Line

Have you guys ever heard that a bar is the worst place to find a spouse? I’ve seen it work for some people… for a while… I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a relationship that started in a bar lasting forever. I’m sure there are tons of cases where it’s happened, but it’s a situation that is built for disaster. Two drunk people with crazy sex drives and impaired judgement deciding that this person is their soulmate seems like a really strange way to tell the grandchildren that you met. I’m not saying it can’t happen, and neither is this song. It’s just talking about the thousands of relationships that start in a bar, or honestly not even in a bar, just in an inebriated state, and how they’re almost designed to fail because the real version of you and that other person are not in the initial conversation.

With disarming vocals and a soundscape that creates a palatable atmosphere, Danny Starr’s, Double Red Line, is a song that is going to make it onto quite a few of my playlists for the foreseeable future.

Chamber Band – Before Iping

Ellen Winter, lead singer for Chamber Band, has created something really cool here. The whole band is phenomenal, but for me personally, it’s the timbre of her voice that brings everything together. When she flips to her higher register, it sounds like her voice could give out any second, giving it this brutal, gut-wrenching honesty. Judging from the strength of her voice throughout, this is a brilliant stylistic choice on her part. Somewhere between folk pop and sea shanty, Before Iping is a song to listen to while half a bottle in with your closest of friends, gathered around a table discussing exactly what it would be like to feel weightless.

The band is currently working on their fourth studio album, and Ellen has a solo project releasing at the end of the year. Keep up with these guys. They’re perpetually churning out great tunes.

Matt Millz – My World

Matt Millz has created a song that will pull at the heartstrings of fathers all over the world. A moving homage to fatherhood, My World is the song that all fathers feel in their hearts but aren’t sure how to put into words. As a father with one son and a daughter on the way, I can relate to this song in a real way. Matt has unique voice that resonates in your mind long after the song is over. I find myself repeating lines hours after every listen, and even sang it to my son last night while we were putting him to bed.

“…the man that I used to be, has fallen away. You’ve made me the father, that I am today”


Alright guys, follow the artist’s links in their names above to find out about tours, merch, upcoming tunes, etc.

Check out the newest podcast, Episode 17: Warmth

We also have a Spotify playlist of the month where we feature every artist we share on the blog. Check it out here.

The Flock: Singer-Songwriter – King of Little Sweden, Black Lilys, The Quill, Gabrielle Marlena, Evelyn Drach, Nicky William, Joe Bel, Wolfy, M’Lynn, Noah Kahan

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*

 

King of Little Sweden – I’ll Be Waiting

The album cover has a snowy sort of scene, and I think the song is basically a soundscape of that same scene. It mixes the darkness and sublime beauty of a snowy mountain in song form. The lyrics seem to be a stream of consciousness about past love, and what it means for the future. There are moments of nostalgia mirrored with a realization that so far the speaker hasn’t found the right fit. Oftentimes, this sort of song is after you’ve found your ideal someone. We’ve all heard the inverse of this song, which usually says something like: “I’ve been waiting for forever for someone like you.” But this song instead belts the refrain, “I’ll be waiting for someone like you,” because that person hasn’t shown up yet, and the speaker may be slightly anxious that they never will.

Bio: King of Little Sweden was born as a collective creative effort in the winter wonderland of Verbier in 2014. Most of the group is based in Sweden, so the analogy with the landscape was inevitable, with Verbier being a village that could be seen as “Little Sweden”. The Scandinavian influences are quite present in their style, which has been developed by years of family musicianship (two of the bands’ members are siblings and their uncle Sven acts as their producer and manager).

“I’ll Be Waiting” marks their label debut with Rexius Records in 2018, after almost a year of collective development of a new artistic concept.

Black Lilys – Boxes

So, anyone who knows me knows I love poetry. And something about this video struck a familiar chord with me. There was a film that came out a few years back about the poet Dylan Thomas (he’s the dude that wrote “Do not go gently into that good night..”). You can check out the trailer here: A Poet In New York. There is a scene in the film that felt so familiar in this video, where Dylan is walking through a field and sees his ex-wife, and regrets most of his decisions. Now that’s just the beginning of this video, but it felt like a fun parallel.

What follows in this particular video is a strange puppet act. Where the singer makes movements that other characters seem unable not to parrot. The movements are disjointed and panicked and give off a creepy theatrical vibe. I also like the moment where she is standing on a raised rock with a book and seemingly proselytizing about something, religion? some strange cult? It’s certainly a video that brings up more questions than answers, but those are my favorite pieces of art. It’s fun to mire yourself up in the ambiguity and let it leave it’s impression on you without knowing all of the answers. All I know is that the music, and the video, are unlike anything else I’ve heard, and that automatically makes me want more.

 

The Quill – Maid Malou, Fetch the Wood

“I am soft and sparkle in the shadows of the smokey world of You and I
See how the Hunter’s Moon, my love, has frozen frosty halo’s over the sky.

Maid Malou, do you posses
A magical Maori spell to ride the Killer Whale?
Cuz blue electric Neptune screams
“Girl! Swim swim swim!…” ”

The first thing this reminds me a bit of is Fleet Foxes. I think it’s partially how cinematic the whole thing is, and partially the surreal, yet grounded Folk storytelling. Maid Malou seems to have a lot of powerful connections to seemingly dissonant magic/religion/spiritualism, and the speaker is asking for her assistant for seemingly dissonant problems, like riding a Killer Whale. Described as Psychedelic Folk, it’s certainly exceptional and unique. Let me paste a bit of their bio to show you just how star studded this collective is:

Bio: The group includes the likes of Lyla Foy, John Herbert and James Dale (of Goldheart Assembly), æmma, fiddle legend Ben Gunnery, classically trained violinist Louisa Wood, Alex Mattinson, Rylan Holey, harmonica player Lee Vernon, and a core rhythm section of Ash Hall, Drew Wynen, Ben Davis and Riccardo Castellani. They have been actively gigging in different sizes for many years, yet reserve the full assemblage for special concerts, cued by moments in the lunar cycle.

That’s an insane amount of talent to orchestrate, and yet you hear each diverse piece get it’s moment, and shine.

 

Gabrielle Marlena – Road Thoughts

Gabrielle Marlena has already been featured here before: right here. So when we heard another great song by her, it was a no brainer. Before I dive into the lyrics, I’m going to post a bit about Gabrielle’s inspiration behind the song:

“The first track on my new EP, Road Thoughts came to me on my drive between Denver, CO and Ogden, UT while on tour last year. The shortest route was to go North through Wyoming, and the incredible landscape gave me a moment of calm and self-assurance. Reflecting on past relationships and feeling strength in my independence, I remember recording on a voice memo “You’ve got this babe, it wasn’t your time, you’ve had the love some only dream of in your life.” The rest of the song came later. The lyrics are about accepting the fact that sometimes you can really only count on yourself, and that has to be enough. It’s also about witnessing the complexities that people in relationships are constantly facing, and therefore embracing the simplicity of being alone.”

I’m really blown away by the lyrics of this song. If you didn’t listen closely, go back and listen closer:

“And I just called this guy I used to see in Brooklyn,

Cause I was curious in the direction he was headed in,

If he’ll be marrying that chick that’s trying to wife him,

but it doesn’t matter anymore”

This is just a sample, but she plants so much emotion in such relatable scenes. Who hasn’t felt nostalgic about a past love and looked them up, or reached out to them? I’ve actually had a really similar experience to what Gabrielle described above, where a long drive healed a lot of insecurity and loneliness I was feeling, and allowed me to get over a girl. If you guys liked the two songs by her, this probably won’t the last time you hear her, she’s going to be on future podcast episodes too.

Evelyn Drach – Follow Me

With an ethereal soundscape and a voice that carries straight to your innermost being, Evelyn Drach’s “Follow Me” is an absolutely beautiful piece of art. This is such a poetic track. It starts out with two separate pieces joining together to make a very full and rich first act. The singer-songwriter feel of the guitar and Evelyn’s voice meets with the orchestral, and beautifully cacophonous track behind her.  The second act of the song is a monologue with an eeriness that is palpable. Isn’t that what music is about? We all just want to feel. This song will take you to the house with the hidden floor if you let it.

I had that dream again last night,
the one about the house with the hidden floor and it made me think.
A man leaves china vases around his home and in these vases he keeps fake flowers.
Why do people keep fake flowers in their homes?
Are fake flowers beautiful?
What is beautiful about a flower?
A flower is beautiful because of its fragility.
Its beautiful because the moment its plucked from a field, a forest, a path or a garden its lifespan has been
determined.
The flower has been chosen to die and so the flower becomes a martyr.
But a martyr is someone who has died for a cause.
What is the cause of a flowers death?
Someone desires beauty in their home.
What does this mean for a man who only keeps fake flowers?
Does he wish to preserve the living and in doing so does he deny himself beauty?
Is it simply his frugality?
Is it too expensive to buy new flowers?
Whats the price of beauty?
The flowers are symbolic of an idea of beauty, an idea he can never understand.
Or is it the exact opposite?
He looks at the fake flowers and is reminded of the real.
He is reminded of the concept of a flower being plucked, being presented and perishing and it is in this concept
that he finds beauty, so that when he looks at the fake flowers he understands profoundly the tragedy of the real.
I had that dream again last night,
the one about the house with the hidden floor and it made me think

The sentiment here is one that is beautiful. What makes the human experience beautiful? Is it the presentation, or is it knowing that it will end? Is something beautiful if it’s eternal, or does it lose it’s luster? Nobody can answer this question but you. For me, it is the brokenness and the fragility of everything that really shows off it’s beauty.

Nicky William – Girls With Common Names

I have such a soft spot for barrel-chested bass singers getting out of the pigeonhole of theater, harmonizing, and quartets. Bands like The National will always be some of my favorites because they did something they weren’t supposed to do. Nicky William is another one of those guys. He has the kind of depth to his voice that rattles your rib cage while listening, and owns every bit of it.

This man has been hurt by plenty of Ashley’s in his day, and he wants to let you know that they aren’t worth it. Being married to a Megan, I would have to disagree with the sentiment, but I support the way he feels. I guess if I had been hurt by multiple girls with common names, I may draw the same personal conclusions as Nicky though.

Joe Bel – In the Morning

Joe Bel is a self taught instrumentalist who has something to say, and she does it with a distinct voice and poetic lyrics. The key to the song for me though, is the soulful backups that come in during the chorus, perfectly complimenting Bel’s soulful voice. Bel’s voice dances across the screen with more eloquence and grace than the movements in the video, and the movements in the video are a picture of grace.

Bio: Self-taught and instinctive, Joe Bel played her first shows solo with her acoustic guitar. A few months later, Asaf Avidan discovers her mesmerizing folk/soul songs and offers her to open for all of his European shows.
She keeps going with “Hit the Roads” (2015), a critically acclaimed second EP, which brings her back on the roads of Europe, and this time even as far as Japan. The year after, the title track is used to promote luxury brand Longchamp’s campaign directed by Peter Lindbergh.

Wolfy – Abigail

Wolfy is easily one of the most self-deprecating and sarcastic artists we have ever worked with, and it’s an absolutely beautiful thing. When asked to fill out a bio, this was Wolfy’s official response:

my career and the music I make are fun as hell though not very important so writing a bio (short for biography) for myself is kind of like writing a bio for a vine compilation. like, what do you want me to tell you? i’m a 25 year old moron who lives in los angeles and spends every day trying to pay rent and write/produce songs that don’t make people want to rip their eyelashes out one by one. my new ep, INK, was just released on sentimental records on may 29th. “abigail” is the closing track.

When asked about the song, this was her official response:

Yeah, so I said I hate singing and it’s still true (referencing her website bio). But when I first laid the blueprints for these three EPs, I decided I would sing one song on each and it is a personality flaw of mine that I am very, very bad at changing plans. And as my own label executive, I wasn’t about to let my shitty, weak-brained artist decide they weren’t going to sing on a song they wrote because they “hate singing”. So I put my foot down. I said, “Hey, we signed you and gave you an advance of $8 and a Trader Joe’s microwaveable burrito. We expect a return on our investment so you get back in that studio and don’t come out until you need to go to your part-time job and then go back into the studio and finish that song”. And that’s how you run a label.     

This song is one of the only songs I’ve ever written that outlines a story. But fuck me if anyone even knows what that story is. Basically, it’s about a girl who gets murdered and thrown in a well. I’ve heard the lyrics are a little “vague”. But whatever, it’s not my fault you guys forgot everything from your junior-year English class. Ever heard of context clues? Damn.     

Also this song doesn’t have anything to do with my friends named Abby. You guys are cool.

The lyrics would definitely be lost on me without the song description, but that doesn’t mean they have no meaning. Ambiguity is the name of the game when it comes to music, and this song is a shining example of that.

With a timbre that lets you know there’s real emotion behind it instead of some overproduced bullshit, Wolfy tells a story of tragedy and makes you feel warm inside. Not really sure how that works. I’m not sure I’m a good person anymore thanks to this song. Kind of like how I felt after listening Pyotr from Bad Books for the first time.

Also, Wolfy, you may hate singing, but we’re kind of into it. Keep doing it. we’ll talk to your label manager if you decide anything different.

M’Lynn – Just Take Time

A perfect song that preaches a message that tends to be forgotten. Don’t worry about your pace through the race, just worry about moving forward. Often times we get caught up in the fact that we aren’t achieving goals as quickly as we want to when all we need to focus on is if they’re still at the end of the path we are on. Self-care and self-assessment are pushed aside for the carrot that you can almost taste. Take care of yourself, people. In a lot of cases, you’re the only one who will/can.

M’Lynn has that big band sound with a soulful tone and intonation, M’Lynn is an absolutely powerhouse. Think sultry female Michael Buble, and you’re almost there.

Noah Kahan – Come Down

Are you a fan of Ed Sheeran? Then we have the guy for you. With a distinct voice all his own, Noah Kahan tells a story on “Come Down” about being there for a friend when they were experiencing extreme anxiety. We talk about anxiety and depression a lot on the blog, and we absolutely love the sentiment in the song. Panic attacks, anxiety, and depression have hit everyone, and having a friend like Noah who understands the fear and the frustration that this causes can mean the difference between recovery and a total collapse. We say this all the time, but human existence is all about community. You need a group of people who will be there to hold you and help you up when it’s needed, and you need people to assist in a likewise manner. Noah, it seems like the only thing that beats out your musical talent is your stellar support for your friends.

 


 

As we always say at the end of The Flock posts, go spend money on these guys, tell them how much you like their music, or just visit their sites to see their tour dates, new releases, etc. Their links are found by clicking on their name in the post.

We have a podcast. It’s right here ——-> Give it a click

 

-Seth and Caleb

 

 

 

The Flock: Indie Rock – The General Good, Tim Freitag, Hooli, Campdogzz, Eden Mulholland, Summerteeth, Galapaghost, Tetra

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*

 

The General Good – Where We Began

There is a music video that this reminds me of. If someone can help me out, I would be forever grateful. I feel like it’s The Black Keys from many years ago, but can’t find the video anywhere. It’s a two piece group where they’re playing on a television show set that’s akin to the set from the Eric Andre Show. This reminds me of that music video, but they graduated to a new set. It’s got gritty guitar, pacesetting drums, and unique vocals that carry on in your head long after the song ends.

The lyrics tell the story of a relationship that seems to have ended on a sour note, but the writer can’t seem to move on. They know the relationship isn’t good for them, but still want to leave a line open just in case. Just like with most past relationships, you reflect upon them more fondly the further you’re removed from the situation, even though they were truly nightmares.

But if you ever make it home again, 
I’m pleased to show you `round all the troubles I’m / we’re in. 
no need to choose words wisely, no more nightly chases, 
no thinking twice and no `glad to see you later`. 
But something’s keeping me from moving on, 
inbetween places it’s hard to hold on. 
I’m sending signs to nowhere, 
down the milky way. 
Sweet memories of nightmares 
a burning needle in the hay.

The album itself is a really interesting idea that doesn’t happen all that frequently. The drummer, Florian Hellekin, produced the whole album in his home studio, and invited a multitude of talented vocalists to sing on the tracks. The album has a ridiculous amount of variance. Go check the Spotify page and listen to Healer and Snow Yellow Carpet back to back to see what I mean.

Tim Freitag – The Wave

This song has made its way onto so many of my personal playlists outside of the ones we post on the blog. The video only adds to what is a beautiful track of undying love and dependency. First off, before we go any further, Tim Freitag isn’t a person. I mean, there’s definitely a person named Tim Freitag, but he’s not in the band. I had to check to make sure, and I absolutely loved what I found. This is straight from their facebook page:

Tim Freitag are and always will be: Janick Pfenninger, Lorenzo Demenga, Daniel Gisler, Nicolas Rüttimann, Severin Graf

I don’t love it because there’s nobody named Tim. I love it because of the words “are and always will be.” This group isn’t just a band, they are brothers. That camaraderie and friendship comes through in a track that is well-rounded, instrumentally straightforward while still having complexity, and a vocalist that has a unique tone and incredible vocal inflection.

Hooli – Cider Sue

This track is so good. It’s like Two Door Cinema Club’s existentialist cousin. The Two Door reference is easily noticeable on the track, but the existential part may have you hung up. Let’s dive into it. The song has some of the most interesting lines throughout it. I’ve listened to it three times in a row while trying to write this post and every single time I pick out a new piece that makes me smile. It’s not the content itself that makes me smile (a study of mortality and the finite time on this planet), but the way they talk about it.

I said the noose brings infinite youth, 
The more you tighten it’s hold the truth will unfold for you, 
Woah oh oh 
So come at me with your best shot best believe that i ain’t got time

Those first two lines are some of the best I’ve heard in a long time, and I listen to a ton of new music every single day. I feel like I could break that single line down and do a whole post about that, but I just want to bring up a couple of points about it. It works in multiple ways, but let’s break down just two of them.

Let’s talk about what I believe is their intent behind the lyrics first. They are saying that as we age and as we get closer to death, we find ourselves thinking more and more about mortality and wishing for our youth again. It brings wisdom, but it also brings pain and understanding of past mistakes and wishing you could go back and fix them. Maybe they aren’t talking about fixing them, but a chance to do things right now. I don’t know. I do know that they follow it up with the sentiment of understanding that there’s definitely a timer, and don’t waste part of my timer with petty bullshit.

Now I want to talk about another idea I had about these lyrics. The noose brings to mind the idea of suicide, and I think this tells a great truth about that topic. I watched a documentary recently that told the stories of people who survived their suicide attempt. One common thread between the people, especially the ones who jumped from a bridge, building, etc., was that as soon as they leapt, they immediately felt regret, even before hitting the bottom. As that noose tightened, the truth opened up for them and it wasn’t something that they truly wanted to do.

The song actually has a lot of allusions to suicide, but I believe the huge underlying message is that we all have a timer that whittles away every second, and we can’t waste our time by complaining, getting caught up in petty things. Nobody beats the reaper.

Also, if you are having suicidal thoughts, give 1-800-273-8255 a call. Also, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to talk to you. We aren’t trained professionals, but we have pretty big shoulders. 

 

Campdogzz – Souvenir

This song is raw emotion. The band is a phenomenal look at how moving gears do so for the betterment of the machine, but Jess Price, lead vocalist, is the pinion gear. For those of you not familiar with a pinion gear, that is referred to as the “drive gear” in vehicles*. She has an otherworldly voice that drips with energy and emotion. She has the kind of voice that you create in your dreams to set the scene conflict of the story. You don’t have soundtracks to your dreams? Don’t worry. It’s not as cool as it sounds. It just makes bad dreams way scarier.

*I didn’t know what a pinion gear was prior to writing this article, so if I’m way off, you get the idea.

Anyways, let’s talk about some lyrics. Ambiguity is the word of the day here, and this song is no different. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I lean towards this song being about, but we’ll give it a go.

Hold the wheel
Feel my head
Probably should have stayed in bed
Souvenir
Come right here
I’ll be yours a little bit
Did you want to get me gone
Did you want to get me
Well that train is going by

*Disclaimer: This is one of the first lyric assessments that I don’t feel great about my interpretation vs. what the song is supposed to be saying. Once again though, as we always say, once an artist releases their song to others, it’s not solely theirs anymore. Music is a beautifully subjective world*
The first three lines are fairly easy to decipher; someone is sick and shouldn’t have gotten out of bed. Now comes the fun part. The souvenir is tricky. By itself, it doesn’t really mean anything, but with the following line, we see that it is an animate object. Knowing that people typically write songs about other people, I think it’s fairly safe to say that the souvenir is a person. Now we have a bit of a story. Go back to the first line where they’re holding the wheel, put it with the souvenir, and all of a sudden we met someone on a trip. “I’ll be yours a little bit” is such a cool line, telling the person that you are invested in this fun and new relationship, but you ultimately know it’s temporary. Maybe it’s not though. The next line says if you want me gone, do it now because that *train is leaving the station. The next verse follows up with my theory, stating that their look is the smoldering look, barely keeping their emotions or even their anger below the surface, but this is so fresh that that kind of thing still looks good. The next line says “come right here, and let me feel you miss your dead,” effectively shooting my theory to shit. Possibly it’s just saying open up to me, I want to know your deepest emotions, but I’m not sure. Either way, it’s an absolutely phenomenal piece. Reach out to us, Campdogzz, and give us the full scoop.

*Just a fun fact: The first successful steam engine used a huge pinion gear to help power it.

Well that train is going by
Well that train is going

Eden Mulholland – Wild Animal

I usually don’t post full lyrics, but these are too good not to. Plus, there aren’t too many lines.

I’ve had the opportunity to do a little thinking
and I hope that you can understand
Somewhere along the way I got a little distracted
and I hope I get away with it
Because if I were a leopard I’d run really fast
and be totally untameable
Yes if I were a leopard I’d run really fast
and I’d always be wild animal
I’ve had the opportunity to see a new perspective
and I hope that you can understand
somewhere along the way I think I stopped believing
and I hope that don’t stand in our way
Because if I were a leopard I’d run really fast
and be totally untameable
Yes if I were a leopard I’d run really fast
and I’d always be wild animal
A wild animal

This seems to be a battle between the flesh and the mind. He seems to be moving on from something that made him feel caged. It may have been smart, it may have been the right move at the time, but the animal in him wants out of the cage. I feel like this song is applicable to so many aspects of our lives. Jobs, relationships, religion, or any number of things can fit into this song. It is human nature to want to explore so you can see the full gamut of the human experience. Once again, life is too short to feel like you’re in a cage.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

With emotive vocals, and an instrumental track that plods along at the perfect pace to show the current pace of the caged life, this track shows that the stories in lyrics can be told through the instruments around them too.

Summerteeth – Stay Warm

This is the song I wish we had found prior to doing our podcast episode about “Warmth.” It’s the perfect song where you hear one thing, but feel another. Instrumentally, it’s like the bands I listened to in high school (and still do), but lyrically it’s on a different level. If I’m reading into it correctly, it’s a song about battling seasonal depression, or just depression in general.

Stay warm for the weekend
for the winter
for the year
Stay inside til the summer
but show the sunlight you’re still here
Cause you don’t know what love is
but you hate who you are without it
Stay warm forever
even after your whole world disappears

I feel like they’re letting you know that depression is okay and it’s going to happen, it’s all about how you handle it. You’re going to have those weekends, seasons, or years where you have to bundle up and fight to stay warm, but remember that you need to break out at some point and you need to feel the sun, feel something new. The line, “you don’t know what love is, but you hate who are without it,” is so powerful. People act like depression is this thing that people do to themselves, instead of understanding that a lot of clinical depression is a chemical imbalance that can’t be helped outside of pretty powerful prescription drugs. It’s an affliction. Nobody on this planet is like, “Hey, I think I want to feel like everything is hopeless and there’s really no point to anything I’m doing for a while.”

The video is great because not only are they having a lot of fun, but they’re also sending a clear message; find a supportive community and make it through the hard times together. This is one of the most important things to realize; most people are meant to live in packs. Also realize that nobody around you knows shit about shit (TM).

Don’t you know?
We’re all making it up as we go
We wouldn’t have it any other way

Galapaghost – Bedtime

No stranger to the B-Side Guys, Galapaghost was one of the first artists on this planet who knew about and believed in what we were doing, and let us feature his song, Goodbye (My Visa Arrived), on the very first episode of our podcast. On the episode, he mentioned that he was working on a completely electronic album that would be a bit of a removal from his previous work. This is it, and it is phenomenal. He took the instrumentals and gave them more life while not losing the honest lyricism on the previous album. Once again, I’m going to go out of my box and share all of the lyrics, but once again, they need to be shared and they’re not too long.

Go on and have fun with your friends on the weekend 
Don’t stay home all alone with your feelings 
But I gotta say no 
I’m not a superhero 
And that’s the kind of effort that it would take 
For me to stay out late 

And I will see you 
I will see you someday 
And I will love you 
I will love you always 

So here’s my idea of fun 
My struggle book one 
Then dinner for two 
Then put on my running shoes 
In bed by 10 so if you wonder where I’ve been 
I’m too old to party on the weekend 
And every night of the week 

And I will see you 
I will see you someday 
And I will love you 
I will love you always

This is a song about growing up. Maturing, if you will. Maturation looks different for everyone, but this is fairly similar to my version of life. Gone are the days of partying, going out on the weekends, and staying up until the sun shows back up. Looking back, I don’t miss them, but I totally get why some people have chosen to stay there. There’s nothing wrong with that, we’re just on two different paths now. The song is possibly talking about a romantic relationship, but I think I lean towards this being about friendships. They can be severed with no ill intent; people just move on. It’s not saying that the friendship is over, it’s just saying that until our life goals cross paths, I understand why we don’t hang out much. It’s actually a pretty beautiful story of adulthood.

It might also be about a romantic relationship, and that synopsis works the exact same way.

His new album, Sootie, will be releasing soon, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.

Note to Casey: I love the old stuff, but this is a totally different beast as far as complexity. I love it, man.

Tetra – Fridays

“Fridays” is about the crushing sense of emptiness that follows when one realizes the subjective and thus, pointless nature of consumption under capitalism. Depression, drug abuse, loneliness — to me they are all symptoms of a culture that idolizes competitive individualism and defines success through one’s ability to consume more than others.

At the end of the tune, I talk about taking LSD and I ask myself “Why did it take so long to figure it out that it was all in my head?” To me it’s one of those things where you spend years searching for answers and a lifetime praying for ignorance.

When you can’t say it better yourself, don’t. This is a song that fights the idea of consumption and gluttony in all aspects of life, so we are naturally going to be all about it. I love that second part to the song where it talks about the idea “stuff” being important is something that is force fed to us from a very early age, and we are made to feel like that is the key to happiness. If having stuff was the key to happiness, we wouldn’t have so many celebrities with bank accounts in the tens of millions taking their own lives. Stuff consumes.


That’s 8 new artists that everyone needs to add to their rotation, but more importantly, go spend some money on these folks. A few bucks can go a long way when it comes to making more music. Remember to click the artist links in the name to check out tour dates, see merch, listen to more music, or even just send them a message to tell them you dig their sound.

Check out these artists on our July Spotify playlist.

Check out our podcast.

 

-Seth

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.