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.

Seth’s Tracks of the Week

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 MenYou’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*

 

Glassmaps – My Head My Heart

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.

 

Ezra Vancil – Complicated Man

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.

 

Lossapardo – Sleep (3 a.m.)

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
I’ve tried

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.

 

The Lifers – New Eyes

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 – Enough

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.

 

Raena Jade – Forever in my Pocket

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.

 

Tru Vonne – Crazy Love

BEFORE YOU WATCH, READ THE CONCEPT BELOW

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.

We have a podcast. Click here to listen.

We have a Spotify playlist that has every song we’ve featured this month. Give it a follow. 

The Flock: Indie Rock – Luke Krutzke and the High Tides, d.c.R. Pollock, Culture Thief, CARDS, Flip Rushmore, Glorietta

*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*

 

Luke Krutzke and the High Tides – Self Esteem

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. 

 

d.c.R Pollock – Cold Bath

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.

 

Culture Thief – Tidal Breath

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.

 

CARDS – Periphery

No stranger to the blogCARDS 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.

Flip Rushmore – Phife and Merle

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.

Chase the dream, but never forget the roots.

Please don’t lose me now
I’m still delivering

 

Glorietta – Heatstroke

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.

We have a podcast. Click here to listen to it. 

 

-Seth

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

 

 

 

TOTD: Kiddo – Much To Me

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

kiddo pic 1

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

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

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

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

Jamar Carr – Nothing New

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

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

 

Makk – Empty Bottles

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

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

 

NGHTMRE & Pell – Swiss/Lights Low

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

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

Image result for nghtmre and pell

 

Geno Five feat. Stone Soto – Without You

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

This is that pharaoh music.

 

Darien Fields – Applesauce

 

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

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

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

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

 

Rodagues – Apologize

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

 

MRGR – Human Being

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

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


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

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

We have a podcast too. Check it out here.

-Seth

 

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

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

 

Rowan Kerrick – Your Song

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

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

 

Arms Akimbo – Velleity

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

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

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

 

George Hadfield – Brenda

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

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

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

 

Nik Freitas – Listen

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

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

 

Curly Vampiro – A new new new here

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

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

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

 

Rea Garvey – Is It Love?

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

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

 

Simon D. James – In The Fields

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

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

 

Liza – Vladimir and 1 Girl, 2 Cups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Hollow Ends – Bears In Mind

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

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

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

 

Matt Andersen – Going Down

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

 

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

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