Sometimes the submissions I receive are from artists that are just starting out and have very little name recognition, and trust me I love those submissions, then sometimes Passenger’s publicist sends a music video. This song, and accompanying video immediately grabbed my attention because it scratches that itch of pop/indie that hits me just right on a morning walk or time spent journaling with a cup of coffee. Put plainly, it’s an earworm with a melancholic tinge that mixes well on this early January winter morning in Denver.
My first thought as the verses begin was “this is certainly a Passenger song,” and I mean that in the best way possible. Michael David Rosenberg aka Passenger has the well-produced and upbeat sad song dialed in to the point that many artists could only dream of. The message of the song is relatable for many who have navigated the dating waters in the modern world, constantly restarting the “search for a heart to love,” that Rosenberg talks about so eloquently. The video itself is simple but captures the feeling of being lost in a crowd, both literally and with the song’s content as the speaker continually wades through the crowd in search of his one and only.
Hope everyone that doesn’t have to go into work tomorrow has an excellent Labor Day Sunday. Let’s get it kicked off right with this intriguing video from BUHU. This is my favorite mud people video of all time. I think it’s the only mud people video I’ve ever seen, but that’s irrelevant. I don’t entirely know what to make of the symbolism. But we clearly see a graceful woman in a white dress, unsullied, juxtaposed with a man, with animalistic and jerky movements covered in mud. When they finally meet, she cleans him off, while getting her white dress and skin dirty. Then they wash off in the river and seem to be living happily ever after. Again, it could stand in for a lot of things. But I think we’ve all had the feeling of someone coming into our life at the right time, and helping us clean up some broken part. That doesn’t mean we should be dependent on people for an ideal relationship, but part of a relationship is being there for one another and making each other better. It’s a difficult balance to strike. Sometimes your dirt just gets on them. But when it does work correctly, it’s a beautiful thing. According to the artist, there is also an element on this song dealing with keeping secrets in a relationship, and being forgiven. That makes the symbolism in this song that much stronger in my opinion.
Bio: “La Truth” is a retrospective of Jeremy’s guilt in being dishonest with his wife and the strains that keeping secrets can cause on a loving relationship. Originally released as a demo in May 2017, “La Truth” was the initial spark that inspired the opus which would become BUHU’s debut studio album, Tenets. BUHU hits a galloping pace with “La Truth,” settling into a confident stride similar to some of the strongest synthgaze moments from Washed Out’s catalog. Here more than ever, Rogers leans unabashedly into the Melodyne bends of his vocal processing, laying plain his emotions without denying the synthetic tools of his trade.
Guys, we are so sorry about the hiatus. We’ve been active with the podcast and interviews, but had to pump the breaks on the blog for a few days to handle real life business. We are back on it though, and we figured the best way to get things back in motion is to have an infectious hip-hop flock.
*Click on the artists name to go to their website*
From the second the song starts and you hear that slick little riff, you know it’s going to be one smooth ride. What follows is four straight minutes of what’s easily going to be one of the smoothest things you’ve heard this week. Hendrix flawlessly switches between three different voices: his normal register, his falsetto, and his rap voice. I honestly can’t tell you which one I enjoy the most.
Fuck. I usually try not to get meta with my writing and act as polished as possible. I was doing research on Hendrix, and I just got blown away. I knew I had heard the name and been impressed with his stuff before, but I couldn’t place it. The reason I couldn’t place it is because the song we posted of his before and this song are worlds apart. Are you ready for this? He also does this song.
You guys know we like to dig into lyrics on the blog, but sometimes we shouldn’t be the ones to discuss the lyrics. With this song, you can put a broad brush across the canvas when trying to figure out what the song is about, but the root of the song is better than anything we could ever come up with. We are painting in large strokes while DEACON is as specific as da Vinci.
DEACON says, “Negritude is a word I discovered on my travels whilst in Los Angeles. I stumbled across an establishment called “Psychiatry – An industry of Death Museum”. Whilst exploring their numerous accounts on the history of mental health practices, I found their section on Racism within psychiatry’s earliest stages. “Negritude – a term used by Benjamin Rush (Founding Father of American Psychiatry) defines “blackness” as a skin disease akin to leprosy, thus deeming segregation a “medical necessity”. The song is my way of flipping that idea on its head, and claiming negritude as the “funk” inherent in the soul of the music. If you don’t want to catch the funk, you better turn off that radio…”
As you guys know, I love digging into a song and figuring out what it means to me personally, but when it’s something this heavy, I like to leave it to the artist.
One interesting line is when they’re talking about ring around the roses, an allusion to the children’s song, Ring Around the Rosies. I don’t want to get into the etymology of the lyrics of the song, but a very common thought as to the roots of the song is that it talks about The Great Plague of London. This is a really cool easter egg in a song about black people being a plague. The lyricism throughout this song was on point for me.
William Wallace (best rap name ever) and Sincere make up the hip-hop duo, The Hashassins. Sometimes a flow and beat come across our radar that is so smooth that we have to stop and take notice even if the lyrics typically aren’t our style. First off, don’t get me wrong about the lyrics, they’re clean. We just usually focus on things that are a little left of center, and the lyrics to the song are pretty straightforward. They’re witty, the cadence is nice, and they change up the rhyme scheme, but they’re talking about very similar ideas that a lot of hip-hop focuses on.
The beat and their flow are both so good that they elevate this song to another level, separating it from similarly worded songs. The piano chords at the beginning combined with the turntables let you know you’re about to be in for one hell of a ride. I’m not talking crotch rocket ride, I’m talking slow-rolling Cadillac with the top down, cruising down Main Street.
DNyse – Now Until Forever
Most hip-hop artists think they can sing, but very few can actually make it happen. DNyse has some pipes. He has this crazy mixture of singing and speaking straight to your soul.
A song about chasing your passion and making stuff happen through action and perseverance, Now Until Forever is a song that anyone who is on the cusp of pursuing something great should listen to. It’ll give you that bump you need to get you moving in the right direction.
The chorus you hear throughout this song is something that you’d hear in a movie as the gladiator steps into the arena, and that’s exactly what AV makes me think of with the lyrics to The Rising Son too. A chesty and bold rapper, he has an aggressive cadence, and doesn’t shy away from speaking his mind.
What does it mean to put her before you What does it mean to have faith, to be loyal What does it mean to rise up for your queen Rise up for the teens, lying dead in the streets Politicians giving in to they greed Make a speech for a fee worth retiring You think they could afford to be inspiring Placing blame on a groups backfiring Blame them blame them, they complacent No matter where they stationed, our space taken Grab em up, line em up, get em out You don’t belong here, show your proof if you brown
With a hook that hits hard, strong lyrics, and a tough flow, the Montgomery Sisters really bring it back to a more digestible level with their beautiful harmonies, making this a song that is making its way onto many of my personal playlists.
This song is the song that’s perfect for literally any part of a night where you are wanting to party. Pregame? It lets you know the expectation for the night. Heading to the second spot? It implores you to pick a spot you haven’t gone. Get into something new. Everyone on the cusp of calling it a night? This is the perfect rally song. Seriously. This song fits every part of the evening.
A three piece collective out of Houston, Texas, MastaPiece is turning heads in a major way. Not only are these guys hip-hop artists, but they are notable artists in everything from acting to design. These jacks-of-all-trades have a great future in art ahead of them, they just get the luxury of picking which art(s).
Soulful crooning isn’t usually what we share on the blog, but there’s no way we were going to pass over this one. This Australian vocalist is essentially The Weeknd of the Eastern Hemisphere. With a similar sound to some of the most popular artists of today and a music video that had me wondering what was going to happen next from the very beginning, this is the song that would be playing in an adult version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Stick around to the end for a Shyamalan-esque twist.
Radioplay Reach hits us with the song, Big Money, a hard flowing song that was written behind bars in memoriam of a friend who lost his life. The words drip with emotion as he laments the loss of a friend while realizing that this loss only fuels his drive to be successful.
With a heady beat and honest lyrics, Radioplay Reach has a familiar hook in a totally new package.
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.
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.
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.
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Let’s start off August right! This is a HUGE edition of The Flock. Usually The Flock focuses on one specific genre, but sometimes we throw all the rules out of the window. The goal is to give you enough music to make it through your work week and beyond. We’ll hit quite a few genres, subjects, moods, etc. so that you can have a soundtrack for whatever this week throws at you.
With 18 new artists on The Flock today, I wanted to start off with an energetic and fun song. Lyrically, Trees is the synth-pop equivalent to The Lorax. With fun, off-beat cadences and a structure that feels new and fun, The Rungs have made a song that is a taste of familiarity mixed with something exciting and different. We posted a song a few weeks ago that revolved around the idea that your bed sees so many pivotal moments of your life, and this video captures that same idea sans beds, and replacing them with trees.
Bio: The Rungs are a female fronted alt-pop project who blend rock with synth pop. They record and produce everything in their home studio and draw inspiration from the sounds and stories that surround life in Brooklyn NY.
Sometimes you hear harmonies in a song, and think, “If they aren’t related, they’ve definitely been friends for a while.” I mean, that might just be me, but some harmonies are so cohesive and symbiotic that it feels like the artists have all played off each other for years. That’s definitely the case with VON GREY, three Atlantan sisters who created a seamless layered blend that seems two steps away from a Harmonix Voice Box. With very direct and pointed lyrics, these sisters arranged the song in a way that the instrumentals take a backseat to their voices and words. It’s a very mature move considering the fact that no sister is even 25 years old yet.
It’s hard to make a complete song in less than two minutes. There’s usually something missing that makes it feel incomplete. That’s not the case for CONDORE’s “Love Zombies.” Coming in at 1:38, the song has much more heft to it than the time stamp would tell you. In fact, it almost seems like it meanders at its own pace, never cognizant of the time, only worried about the journey. CONDORE’s voice is interesting and has this beautiful tone that could be in an indie folk track, but could also just as easily take on a Joanna Newsom vibe and haunt your dreams.
Dan Lyons hits with a track that has some of the most interesting imagery I’ve heard in a long time. With instrumentals that swim upstream and fight the current of typical composition, Dan tells a story of being a cog in the machine. Reminding us that most of us are being worked by invisible hands, guided through our life with the illusion of free will.
If the name Darren Jessee is familiar to you, it’s because he was the drummer for Ben Folds Five, and carried a good bit of the songwriting responsibilities as well. With a morose voice, and similar lyrics, Darren keeps the focus on his intent and keeps the accompaniment sparse and solely there to provide support for the bigger picture. His first solo album releases on August 24th, where it will solely be Darren’s voice, and string arrangements from Trey Pollard.
The vibe’s gonna be
him and Trey
giving everything we need
Right now we are in the middle of a 4 day thunderstorm, and all I want to do when the rain stops is roll my windows down in my car and listen to this song as I hug sharp turns and drink a Fanta (or an equally happy drink). I mean, the lyrics fit the current rain too, with a message that says no matter what happens, you have to keep pushing. I mean, I know a rainstorm seems trivial in comparison to what the song is about, but I’ve been wrapped up in my feelings lately. Once this rain stops, I’ll definitely apply this song to the bigger picture.
If you are new to the blog, you may not remember the last time we shared a Basement Revolver song. If you weren’t, CLICK HERE. Even if you were, it’s a pretty good refresher. One word that immediately came to mind when I listened to Knocking after listening to Baby was “versatility.” I mean, you can tell it’s the same band (mainly because of the unique and gorgeous timbre of vocalist, Chrisy Hurn), but the songs are worlds apart. Baby is the grandiose display of what the band can do when they crank it to 11 while Knocking is a more intimate song that drips with pain and beauty, hurt and redemption. I don’t want to butcher such a personal song with my interpretation, so here are words of Chrisy on the meaning behind the song.
Knocking is probably the heaviest song on the album for me, personally. I often still can’t sing it without crying. I wrote it after writing my family a long letter that came clean about my past, and about some of the shit that I have been through. Hard things that left me feeling shameful, or like a disappointment to them – things that made me feel like I wasn’t the “good Christian woman” that they had hoped I would one day become. The letter came after a few years of hardcore wrestling and rebelling against what I believed in response to a traumatic event in my life. I got to a point where I didn’t recognize myself, or all the anger that I was holding inside. I basically kept telling myself that I was garbage, broken, unlovable, used and a whole other slur of things.
This hits so close to home for me, it’s unreal. Dealing with the expectations of family is one of the most brutal things you can put yourself through, and Chrisy lays it all out on the table for everyone to see. I probably grew up in a very similar household as Chrisy if she has a family who is disappointed in choices she made that steered her away from Christianity. There was a single event that made me think, “If this is what the church is, they suck, and I don’t want to have anything to do with that.” It turns out that it was solely the people involved in the event, and they were just shitty human beings. I didn’t realize it until years later though, and by that time, I had already “strayed from the path.” It’s a very hard thing to reconcile when you have these people who are objectively great people telling you that the way you are doing your life is wrong. I mean, granted, a lot of the things I was involved with were objectively wrong and it leaves you feeling bitter and broken. After years of fighting and resisting, my mom and I are very close now, and my sister is one of my best friends. I still don’t live up to their Christian expectations, but we have all figured out our best way to maneuver around each other. It seems that Chrisy is on the right path, at least with her own healing. Nobody should have to go through this pain over someone else’s religious beliefs.
Everyone has that one ex. At least. A lot of people have way more than that. They never seem to go away. The memory always lingers, and you see them in your day to day life. I don’t mean that you see a ghost or anything, but a song reminds you of a time you guys danced in the kitchen together, the smell of a bakery reminds you of the time you guys attempted to make your own bread and failed miserably. The problem is that it’s definitely a one sided affair. They aren’t concerned with you, and when it seems like they are, it’s a facade to get what they want. This song is imploring the ex to be real, and just give the singer a pardon so he can move on.
you love a trivial game stopping my heart so i can’t feel pain one touch, you’re flipping your shade like the velvet drapes
Dylan didn’t know this when he asked us to check out his music, but I am a huge fan of music where the protagonist is someone you want to root for. You want this guy to win. He doesn’t quit, and he finally achieves his goal of flight. I think there are a lot of really cool lessons here, and I want to touch on two of them. First, there’s the obvious one; if you really want to accomplish big goals, you’re going to fail, and you’re going to fail a lot probably. Keep pushing through the shit until you come out on the other side. Second is the more nuanced lesson. Think outside the box, be unconventional, and whittle away until you succeed. The attempts at flight that ended in failure were all band-aids for an idea that required stitches. The guy throws on angel wings, tries to build a plane, and gets in a spaceship when the answer the whole time was to build an infinite ladder, one rung at a time. It may not be flying, technically, but the goal was to touch the sky. Do whatever it takes for however long it takes.
J Pee pours his heart out into a letter addressed to his possible children, but it’s more of a song that focuses on the idea that we are absolutely destroying the future for the younger generation. Overpopulation, pollution, political dissidence, wars, and the battle of heart vs. head are only a few of the things discussed in a letter that tries to open up eyes to the fact that our choices today impact future generations.
There is so much to love about Feiler’s song, Ruse, and for me personally, it’s only partially due to what is presented in the track. A huge part of what I love about the song is the backstory behind it. When Austin Smith, the man behind the music, was asked about the creation of Ruse and the EP that it’s on, Dry Rot, he said,
When I finished college I packed all my gear into the back of my car, got on I-80, and drove 3500 miles to a very old house in the rural woods of Northern Georgia. I’d been living in LA for the previous four years and had a couple of different musical projects but nothing really stuck. This project had been sort of coalescing in my mind for the previous year or so and I had some vague ideas about the kind of music I wanted to make out there, but mostly I was looking for something. I made a little DIY studio and spent five months out in that house, covered in vines, from summer to fall. That’s where I started this project and made most of Dry Rot. Expect another single and an EP in the next couple of months.
What I love about this is that he took a step back to assess what he was doing in LA, didn’t like what was happening, and made a robust step to fix that. I love homespun projects, and this is a perfect example of when that goes right. Feiler creates a morose and tangible soundscape, putting thought into every piece of the track. I’m usually not a fan of “oohs” in songs because they’re usually an afterthought or a space filler. This song wouldn’t be complete without them, and that’s a testament to the forethought put into every piece of the track.
There are very few songs that surprise me anymore. This is one of the few. There’s just such a perfect groove in everything from the bass, to the celestial synth background, to the offbeat cadence that the vocalist sings with. There isn’t one choice in this song that is expected, and they’re all beautiful choices. The sample at the end, even though I understand very little of it, goes perfectly with the funk provided by the instrumentals.
It’s nice when a love song doesn’t follow the tropes of love songs, but it still has the same weight as hyperbolic ballads. I would much rather hear a song about how the thought of a person and their idiosyncrasies puts a smile on my face than to hear about how a person’s eyes are bluer than the bluest ocean and their voice could make angels cry. The former is what love is, the latter is what a stalker writes.
Wanderingted has a voice that walks this wild line between familiar folk and operatic classical. It’s new, it’s fun, and the timbre of his voice isn’t something that any schmuck can replicate (we all know the kinds of bands I’m talking about). The new voice combined with a creative writing style has me excited about the future of Wanderingted.
Savannah Gardner has this alto rasp to her voice that only has one comparable sound that comes to mind: Zooey Deschanel. Savannah Gardner could easily play the Will Ferrell counterpart in Elf, nailing Baby It’s Cold Outside just as well as Zooey. Anyways, Savannah has written a song that is part affirmation and part hesitation. She knows she is strong, but she doesn’t try to pretend that the world and the current she’s swimming against isn’t strong too. With empowering lyrics and a powerful voice, Savannah sings a pure song of resilience that will be making it onto my personal playlists for quite a while.
I have no idea what to say about Marie Naffah. Seriously. I write 20-30 reviews of artists/tracks every single week, and this one got me. I knew a girl in high school who had the most beautiful voice I had heard to that point. She had this really strong and rounded out alto voice that had this resonating body on the end of every note. When I first heard Marie’s song, Bones, I immediately thought of my high school classmate. When Marie sings, “I would tear my lungs,” I smiled due to familiarity, but when Marie flips to her falsetto and says, “if the air wasn’t shared with you, my love,” my eyes literally got big, and my smile curled to a stink face that I usually reserve for exceptional hooks in hip-hop songs. The falsetto that Marie has, flawlessly flipping between her diaphragm and her head voice, is something that still gives me chill bumps even after multiple listens.
Her lyrics tell a story of dependency. When the song starts out, I thought I was in for another love story about the depths that someone would go to be with their partner/lover/muse; I mean, building bone homes and tearing lungs out is a pretty big commitment. Then it takes a different direction, talking about how the protagonist really doesn’t want to need the partner, and they’re only going to bring them down. It honestly started reminding me a lot of “Cigarettes” by Noah Gundersen. Hell, this song could definitely be about cigarettes just as easily as it could be about a person. The point of the song is that there is a dependency, an addiction, and ultimately, two parasitic relationships dependent on the other one to survive. I mean, that’s what I pulled from it. I could just be projecting.
Either way, stop smoking cigarettes, people. If you’re under 55, you don’t have an excuse. Science has been pretty definitive in the fact that it definitely leads to early death in a lot of cases. I got in trouble for hopping on that soapbox fairly recently, but I don’t care. It’s a bad habit that can kill you. This wasn’t supposed to turn into a post about cigarettes. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Wayne Graham – Bloody Montana
When I first saw the video, I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about it. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s a raccoon getting some food from a trash bin for almost four minutes. It took me watching the video twice to really realize what wasn’t sitting right with me. I actually really enjoy the video and I enjoy the simplicity of it. The raccoon is the star of the show, and an adorable one at that. The part I felt weird about was the fact that the raccoon is digging around in a City of Knoxville receptacle while the song talks about bloody Montana. I know they don’t shy away from that fact, even labeling it at the beginning, but I still found it weird. Now, I said all of that to say this; once I figured out what wasn’t sitting right with me and I could listen to the song in earnest, I absolutely fell in love.
The track is this meandering new Appalachia sound that is somewhere between country and folk. If you’ve read the blog or listened to the podcast at all, you may think, “Well I’m not sure that’s a good thing considering you guys aren’t really into country.” I would respond to you, “Well, you’re right, and I honestly can’t tell you what it is about this song that has me pining for more.” I think it’s part track, part video, part backstory, and part personal connection that has me so invested in these brothers from southeast Kentucky. Let’s break my enjoyment down into quick little bullet points.
-The track takes the few things that I like about country, and wraps them in a folk timbre. Storytelling, saloon piano, and honestly, this is a weird one, but it’s a personal quirk, songs with geographic locations in them. Don’t ask me why, but country musicians are the kings and queens of writing songs about geographic locations.
-The video keeps it simple, letting you focus on the tune itself.
-Their backstory is interesting. First off, I’m always a fan of family member bands. We’ve featured plenty on the blog, and they always hold a sweet spot for me. Also, I was looking through the ideas behind each of their songs, and these guys write about their lives. When I say that, I don’t mean these guys are writing love songs about exes. These guys are writing songs about everything from cassette tapes that belonged to their grandfather to a theoretical (and quite literal in some towns) apocalyptic wasteland caused by coal mining companies taking advantage of towns and their inhabitants.
-That last part about coal mining leads me to the last point of why I love these guys: personal connection. My wife has a lot of extended family that lives in coal mining country in western Virginia in a little town called Wise. They all live on huge family lots that are all part of this communal property. It’s one of the most picturesque places on the planet. We have visited her family countless times, and each time, I have been welcomed in like I’ve been in the family forever. They are the most selfless and thoughtful people you can come across. The town of Wise is a coal mining town, and while none of my wife’s family works in that industry (to my knowledge), it is a huge industry that keeps many families in their homes. The stories that these brothers tell are the same stories that the people in Wise have because Whitesburg Kentucky, the hometown of the brothers in Wayne Graham, is less than 45 minutes from Wise. That may not be an ending fit for a Shyamalan film, but I thought it was pretty neat.
Children of Men. That’s what this song and video makes me think of. I know that seems really out there, but stay with me. It’s a song about being terrified of the future and what it will bring, the music video is all taking place in a post-apocalyptic world, and the whole video was done in one continuous shot. If you haven’t seen the movie, watch THIS CLIP for a frame of reference, and then go watch the movie. Then go back and watch these two clips that you may not have realized were done in one take. CLIP 2.CLIP 3 (my favorite).Anyways, now you have some kind of an understanding of my connection between the song and my favorite movie, let’s get back to the song.
With vulnerable vocals and an instrumental track that gives you the powerful yin to Jordan’s yang, War gets into the mind of millions of soldiers all around the world. They aren’t stoked about going to fight and risk their lives, but if it means that the people they are about the most are protected, then sleep and time aren’t such difficult things to give up. Now, I don’t know if they lyrics are as on the nose as they seem. At the very least, they can apply to a plethora of other things in someone’s life. The song is just about the general feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty of the future.
One thing to keep in mind when listening to a track like this is that there’s not a single person who has it all figured out. We’re all just making this shit up as we go along.
What do you get when you cross Joanna Newsom’s timbre with Ingrid Michaelson’s range and vocal acuity? You get something pretty damn close to MALMØ vocalist, Maria Malmoe. She has one of those voices that you hear long after you stop listening to the track.
The song lyrics are fairly ambiguous, but the overarching theme seems to be a lesson in polarities. The first verse is all about being lost in a world of green, while the second verse is about being lost in a world of grey. Both verses have the main character being lost until “I found you.” The main feeling I get from this is that this is talking about the seasons of a relationship. You go through new growth, and you go through dead times, but the key is that you always keep searching for the other one. Keep chasing them even when things seem bleak.
As always, support these guys. Follow them on tour, buy merch, keep up with upcoming releases. All of these things can be done by clicking on the name of the artist above.
We also have a Spotify playlist that puts all of the songs featured on the blog that month into one convenient package.
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.
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
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.
‘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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 here. So 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 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
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.
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 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.
This is a grab bag of all of my favorite artists from the week. No genres, no themes, nothing. I mean, I guess the theme is that I love these songs.
We try to group artists with similar artists, but the fact of the matter is that most music fans don’t solely like one genre. If you’re like me, there are very few genres that you don’t get into in some capacity. What I’ve found is that a lot of people cross paths with the same people in their musical taste. Caleb and I are going to start posting our favorite tracks of the week, and you can start to figure out whose musical taste you like more. Caleb and I have a lot of crossover, but one distinct difference right out of the gate is that I get more into the folk scene, and he gets way more experimental with what he likes. Some of what I listen to sounds like Elvish chants in the woods, I’m sure, and some of what he listens to sounds to me like what Michael Caine listened to in Children of Men. You’ll probably start to notice a trend in these posts at some point. We have a lot of crossover, especially when it comes to hip-hop and emotive indie rock, but there’s a lot of music that Caleb and I don’t necessarily agree on. We both know that objectively they’re good tracks, we just don’t subjectively like it as much as some other stuff. Without further ado, here are my favorite tracks of the week.
*click on the artist’s name to go to their website*
This is the eternal struggle between what the head wants and what the heart wants. Usually on two opposite sides of the fence, it is a constant battle on whether to give in to what is smart or to give in to your passions. If anyone knows me at all, they know which way I tend to lean. I’m a guy that jumps straight into the deep end without checking the temperature of the water… or checking for sharks. I pursue my heart, and I do it with gusto. It seems that the folks in Glassmaps may be a little more cautious than me, or at least they take pause before deciding to go with the heart.
The song starts out with what almost sounds like an organ from an early ’90’s video game, and immediately goes into the stomp clap chants that always get me going. They stay there throughout the song, adding a beautiful fuzzy guitar at times, but staying pretty constant until the ethereal breakdown that carries until the song draws to a quiet and abrupt close. I have this habit of trying to envision a scene in a movie or tv show that songs would fit in, and this is the perfect fit for a young adult blockbuster like Maze Runner or Hunger Games where the protagonist is deciding between pursuing their ultimate goal or battling 15 bad guys to help the love interest that was just kidnapped. Cue the music montage of them slicing through bad guys while this song plays in the background.
I love themed/concept albums, and Ezra Vancil has created something really interesting here. He released an album that chronicles the story of a ten year marriage. As easily understood by the lyrics (and the fact that it’s track two of the album), you can tell that this is the beginning of everything. This is the beginning of his world. We see a young man who is wild about a girl, and she has no idea he’s alive. I mean, she knows he’s alive, but she doesn’t know that he lives for her, if that makes sense. I suggest listening to the album from start to finish, and watching this saga unfold right before your eyes.
Ezra Vancil makes emotive music with a message. It’s really nice when songs don’t paint hyperbolic pictures of love (I like those too, I just need something more realistic a lot of the time), and they just say, “This is the chain of events. Do with them what you will.” People sometimes confuse poetry with depth. If I say, “Her eyes were as blue and as deep as oceans, and my love for her could outshine the sun,” I immediately tune out. Why? Because it’s not true, and it’s not something that I can really envision because it’s so wildly outlandish. Tell me a story about love with your music. Love is laughter, affection, and connection, but it’s also awkward misunderstandings, fights, and sometimes tragedy. That’s the story I want to hear. Ezra Vancil is a great storyteller.
This is one of the most interesting music videos I have seen in a long time. I thought that it was just a still when I first saw it. Then, when the lyrics kick in, the song comes to life.
I’ve tried to get to sleep
but nothing came
Sandman and I
playing hide and seek
for too long
It’s already 3 am
and as usual I won’t sleep tonight
every time it’s the same
I’ll be a mess in the morning
This has been me more nights than I care to admit. Tossing and turning, falling asleep just long enough to have a nightmare scare me awake, and keep me reeling for the next couple of hours. Rinse and repeat. Lossparado has this quiet conviction to his voice that makes you understand exactly what he’s going through even if you sleep like a baby through the night. I mean, I guess “sleeping like a baby” doesn’t make too much sense seeing as how when my son was just born, he slept in oscillating two hour shifts, rotating between wide eyed screams and restless sleep. Maybe I should say “even if you sleep like a drunk frat guy after 3 too many.” Anyways, Lossparado has a vulnerable voice that instantly makes him relatable and endearing to listeners. I can’t wait to follow his ascent.
This is the kind of song that you have to listen to with your eyes closed. Don’t know what I mean? Pull the car over, stop doing whatever you’re doing, close your eyes, and let this song be your only focus for four minutes. If you don’t, you’ll miss something. There are so many layers to this track. They’ve truly created something unique but familiar, and they’ve done an excellent job of layering the track. Whoever mixed and mastered their album needs a raise.
The beginning starts out like something you’ve heard numerous times with a picked guitar and a really clean vocal track, but then it goes off the rails almost immediately, opting to take the path less traveled. Flutes (probably? I’m not super familiar with my woodwinds. Could be piccolos for all I know.), a symphonic string section, and one of the most interesting resonating guitar parts I’ve heard in some time are only a fraction of what is going on in this piece. I’d really love to know who arranged this song and thought of all of the neat tricks to incorporate.
I was going to try and wrap it up with that last paragraph, but I just have to say one more thing about this song. The key change is one of the most subtle and interesting parts of the song. I usually get really burnt out on key changes because they are made to be this grandiose event where it’s a “look at me, I know about music” moment. This key change is almost a tertiary piece of everything that is happening at that point in the song. It’s perfect, and that’s coming from a guy who thinks that 99 out of 100 key changes should just stay home.
Baba Sonya is the emotive and raw combination of songwriter/vocalist, Rachel Gawell, and producer/engineer, Mike Costaney. They started as a “he sings, she sings” singer-songwriter duo, but soon realized that they were more suited for the roles they have now (and there are fifteen million duos like that). I never heard their original stuff, but I’m glad they abandoned that project because that decision is what got us to this song. This is new. Gritty and fuzzy instrumentals with clean drum kit overlays combine perfectly with Gawell’s vulnerable vibrato to give us a track that makes for a perfect introspective, lonely night tune. This is the kind of song that I put a notebook on the table while listening. I don’t expect epiphanous moments, but when they happen, it’s usually to songs like this. I want to be ready.
I’m not sure entirely what the song is about because it’s obviously personal to a specific story in Rachel’s life, but the overarching feeling I got from it was the feeling of constant inadequacy. In relationships, platonic or romantic, we tend to measure our worth by the people around us, and we give extra emphasis to the people we care about the most. If you feel like you’re inadequate, stop listening to those voices. Whoever you are is enough for who you need to be and who the people who actually give a shit about you need you to be. That may not even be closely related to what the song is about, that’s just good life advice.
This song hits an interesting perspective, and makes my track of the week for two reasons: it’s a self-aware song, and it’s the perfect crossover for me and my wife’s wildly different musical tastes. Raena Jade tells a story about knowing she’s in the wrong. Well, not necessarily in the wrong, but she knows that her actions are the cause of someone else’s pain. She’s tried again and again to convince herself that she loves this person who is madly in love with her, but she just can’t do it. She can’t force love. With honest lyrics and a defenseless demeanor, Raena writes an apology letter that makes me feel like she ripped my heart out of it’s socket instead of the person in the song.
The concept of the video was to capture 4 different type of realities; What you wanted to happen, what you feel inside, what’s going on through head, and what actually happening in a conscious space. In creating that virtual consciousness, each color represents each of these realities. I would want you to decide which is which because based on how the video makes you feel will determine which color means what to you. The entire video is up for interpretation. When writing the treatment, I wanted to make sure that each of these concepts were properly shown.
I have to be careful with this interpretation. This is something that I haven’t really seen before in a music video, and I absolutely dig it. I don’t want to go too far down the rabbit hole with this one because I want you to figure out what the video means to you personally without any outside influence, so I’ll keep everything objective. This story reminds me of the old adage, “There are three sides to every story: one person’s side, the other person’s side, and the truth.” Let me know in the comments what you got after you watch the video, and we can talk about it more.
Tru Vonne has such a smooth, sultry voice. She drips confidence, and hits every single note with a slight rasp that gives her words a reel, pulling you in closer with every word.
As always, go to these artist’s sites, spend money, go see their shows, become their #1 fan. The sole reason that we do this blog is to try to shine a spotlight on artists who deserve it.
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.
Luke Krutzke has a voice that made my arms feel weak and want to tap to the music both at the same time. The weakness was from these bizarre goosebumps that felt like they were under my skin. I don’t know what it means or anything like that because this is the first time I’ve had them. I just thought it was an interesting fact. Maybe it was his voice coupled with the fact that I had just read what the song was about, and it’s something I’ve been struggling with lately.
The song is a reflection on self preservation and care, in a fast paced world that doesn’t always accommodate.
I feel as though I stretch and stretch, expecting the labor to garner fruit at some point. It doesn’t seem to be, so my solution is to stretch a little more. In fact, I feel like my body is starting to give up and I can feel myself getting sick: sore throat, pounding headache, tender skin. This song is to warn people and remind them to take care of themselves before getting to this point because something will breakdown at some point if you don’t. I talked about this yesterday. We need to take care of ourselves because if you’re anything like me, we are the only ones who can force ourselves to stop.
With piercing vocals, smooth guitar riffs, and orchestral strings and brass sections that surprised the hell out of me, Luke Krutzke and the High Tides’ song, Self Esteem, is one that will stay on repeat for quite a while.
Don’t talk, don’t speak, it’s okay. It’s your problem anyway. I’m not trying not to breathe. Side effects of self esteem.
I am absolutely losing it over this song. I keep hyperbolic statements at bay when we do these reviews because I want it to mean something when I say, “I am absolutely losing it over this song.” Three words that describe this song: raw, thought-provoking, and demo. Wait. Demo? This is the kind of recording that has the perfect amount of polish meeting with the ideal amount of unbridled emotion. While reading through the lyrics to try to piece together what the song was about, I kept running into roadblocks here and there. I decided to let the song just create disjointed scenes for me instead of a whole story.
The scene in the diner, feeling the familiarity while in a distant place. Seeing home from hundreds of miles away through a picture of a girl you used to know.
The scene of a man curled up in a motel tub, either catatonic or crying, I couldn’t decide, completely immovable as the water turns from hot, to warm, to cold. He never even felt the change in temperature, mind focused on other things.
A hard conversation between brothers where one isn’t able to make it to a court date, and the other knows he’s probably not getting out of trouble this time. His crooked smile reassuring his brother that everything would be okay.
All of the scenes that I built in my head were these tangible scenes; they were something I could hold onto. I just couldn’t piece together the story. I reached out to d.c.R. Pollock to get the real story from the obviously personal song, and this is what he told me.
The song is a true story about me on tour. The first part is about us taking a break at truck stop and I recognized one of the models in a magazine. Then got me thinkin bout how I wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be. I was a hired gun playin for pop act with a real cheap budget. Was a hell of an experience, just not what I imagined it to be.
The second half is about how my brother was a arrested while I was on tour and just the phone call between me and him.
The song is very personal, but it’s also a relatable song for so many people. We may not have gone on tour and had a less than optimal experience, but most of us have accepted jobs and realized that it’s not what you really wanted to do. We may not have a brother who has been to jail before, but a lot of us have family that we care about, and they don’t take care of themselves like they should. This is the beauty of music. Even if we feel like our song is a personal story to us, people can always find something to connect with.
Right out of the gate, that guitar hammers home letting you know that you are in for almost 6 minutes of sweeping guitar and heart thumping drums join in, building up before dropping out to make way for an ethereal falsetto. This is the kind of song that you need in your ears while you are cleaning. The song talks about feeling so lonely, but the music will make it feel like you’re surrounded by 500 of your closest friends. There is so much depth to this song that it seems impossible that it’s only 5 people.
No stranger to the blog, CARDS makes another appearance on the blog, and this time he has hit us with a song that has given my right leg an uncontrollable bounce. This is the song that you hear on an advertisement for a summer beer. This is the song that paints a very specific but diverse landscape. You can see this song being played at a barbecue, dogs barking, frisbee flying, and a dancing person flipping burgers on the grill. You can see this song in the video a professional kayaker posts online to show a sweet new line they found on their favorite river. You can even see this song being used in an advertisement for new metal detectors geared towards hipsters. The point that all these scenes share is that the suns out, the people are outside, and everyone is enjoying life. This song is the perfect summertime jam for literally any fun outdoor event.
Lofty vocals and an instrumental track that grooves with a perfectly off-beat guitar track and straightforward drums. The key to this song though is the whistles. I’m usually not a fan of them in music, but the problem I have with them is that most people aren’t as good at whistling as they think they are. This song is the exception. It’s already found it’s way onto my summertime playlist, and I expect it to stick around for quite a while. Another great song from CARDS, we can’t wait to see what happens with this guy’s future.
This song is such an entertaining ride. The music video is wildly energetic, the instrumentals are a headstrong blood rush, and the vocals are abrasive and direct, just like the style of music needs. What I want to talk about is the lyrics though. This is such an interesting song lyrically. The whole song is about how once you become famous as an artist/entertainer/musician, the battle has usually only just begun. When your first album hits it big, everyone is just waiting for you to hit your sophomore slump. They’re looking for a reason to write you off as a passing meteor, and move on.
This can be really discouraging for artists, and make it difficult to create. Plus, they can lose the joy in the whole process. For example, say I have an album that I worked on for 5 years that went big. More than likely, I whittled hundreds of songs down to the ten to fifteen best for the album, spent months honing and crafting each song, and then made sure I found the best fit for me to produce the album. That song takes off, I sign with a label, and now they’re telling me I have to crank out another album by this time next year, all while going on two extensive tours. This is one of the many reasons artists hit that slump with their second album, and if that happens, it’s game over. For every artist that you hear about hitting their big break and remaining relevant, there are hundreds who were signed to a label and bumped off after their second album flopped.
This is the beginning of something really interesting. Glorietta is a collaboration between indie artists Matthew Logan Vasquez (Delta Spirit), Noah Gundersen, Kelsey Wilson (Wild Child), David Ramirez, Adrian Quesada (Brownout, Group Fantasma, Spanish Gold, Black Pumas), Jason Robert Blum. With so much talent, you’re bound to get a phenomenal song, and Heatstroke is that song. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a collaboration project this much since Kevin and Andy announced Bad Books. The gang vocals throughout are so on point, and I guess that’s fairly easy to achieve when you have multiple lead singers singing all of the parts. That in and of itself is another beautiful part about this though. Usually with collaboration projects, the build is setup in a similar fashion: I sing, he sings, she sings – rinse and repeat. Having so many dominant voices on one project, you would expect that same setup, but the members of Glorietta share the soundscape stage brilliantly, letting every unique voice be heard throughout the song.
It also doesn’t hurt my assessment of the band that I am absolutely enamored with Kelsey. My wife and I went to the Orange Peel in Asheville to see Wild Child (for the second time, the first was in a small venue with Wild Child and Pearl and the Beard *RIP*), and her stage presence is second to none. This is probably going to be a really fun act to see live, and hopefully it means there’s a Delta Spirit, Noah Gundersen, and Wild Child tour in our future.
As always, go spend money on all of these artists. Click their names to find their website, contact info, etc. Buy their albums, their merch, and tickets to their shows. If you can’t buy something, let them know how much you love their sound. Let them know that anyways.