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