The Mashup Flock: The Rungs, VON GREY, Dan Lyons, CONDORE, Darren Jessee, Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite, Basement Revolver, Reza Cage, Dylan Seamus, J Pee, Feiler, mA’RouGe, Wanderingted, Savannah Gardner, Marie Nafah, Wayne Graham, Jordan Max, MALMØ

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

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.

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

 

The Rungs – Trees

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.

VON GREY – 6 AM

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.

CONDORE – Love Zombies

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 – Gargoyle

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.

Darren Jessee – Anything You Need

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

Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite – Electrified

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.

Basement Revolver – Knocking

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.

Reza Cage feat. Telfair – velvet drapes

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 Seamus – Flying

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 – To The Kids That I Might Never Have

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.

Feiler – Ruse

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.

mA’RouGe – Put It On Your Phone

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.

Wanderingted – The Water of All My Days

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 – Blake

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.

Marie Naffah – Bones

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.

Jordan Max – War

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.

MALMØ – You

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.

Check out Episode 17 of the podcast

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

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

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

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

 

D. Hart – Get To Know

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

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

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

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

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

 

Noah Slee – Stayed

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

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT:

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

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

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

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

ALBUM BIO:

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

 

Tim Harrison – Love is a Drug

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

 

HighKarateJu – Hey Dreamer

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

The Sir Duke – Eradicated and Rise Up

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

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

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

KB Devaughn – For Me

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

Daygo Fatts – Ride Away

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

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

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

As Gil Scott Heron said 
The Revolution will not be televised 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dead presidents don’t matter 
When you dead 

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

Dead presidents don’t matter 
When you dead 

Audrey – Party

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

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

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

DemarcoTheMan – Bike Ride

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

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

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

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

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

Psychodelicate – Wine

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Leonie Kingdom – Night Terrors

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

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

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

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

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

 

Winslow – Look at Me Now

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

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

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

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

Spazz Cardigan – Medicine & Make America

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

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

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

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

 

Danny Starr – Double Red Line

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

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

Chamber Band – Before Iping

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

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

Matt Millz – My World

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

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


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

Check out the newest podcast, Episode 17: Warmth

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

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.