Morning Commute: SHIELDS – Evidence

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How catchy is that hook? I mean, this is the kind of track that’ll make a pope dance… until he realizes that the song is about looking for evidence. Ouch. Too much? So is 4 billion dollars, but that’s a topic for another day. This is a post about SHIELDS’ new song, Evidence, an alt-pop dance tune complete with their signature harmonies, ethereal instrumentation, and complex but easy to remember/catchy song structure. It’s everything we have come to love and expect from the Newcastle based quintet.

While the song itself is light and airy, the lyrics are anything but. With a very pointed and clear message, the song delivers the time tested saying dating back to the 17th century, “actions speak louder than words,” in a new and polished package. This song is something that lyrically holds universal truth for everyone. If you’re like me, you know that actions are the key to change and honesty, but sometimes that can get muddled in selfish pride or even just being scared of what the truth actually means for your life. This is a really good reminder that the people around you don’t actually give a fuck what your reason is behind lying, they just want the truth.

I don’t believe a word you sound absurd 
I don’t believe a word you sound absurd

No one will go first, this feeling’s the worst
Waiting it out, building it up, feeding itself
No one will go first, this feeling’s the worst

You go, I go, I go, you go

You can tell me anything you want 
It’s time now to show me the truth

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New Release Friday: Saba Abraha, Caleb Kopta

Hey guys! Happy New Release Friday. We have two new tracks for you today from some amazing artists! Check back every Friday for new releases. Don’t forget to support all the artists if you like what you hear!

Saba Abraha – “Utopia”

I absolutely love this song. It grabs me immediately with the interesting spoken word intro, followed by uncanny syncopated beats. The artist describes the lyrics as “a new world where an empress loses her crown and is forced to battle the harsh realities of the world on her road to redemption. “Sweet Mirage” awaits…”

To me, the production on this song is some of the best I have ever heard. It perfectly blends elements that sound modern and classic, in an absolutely unique creation. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the EP: Sweet Mirage.

Caleb Kopta – “Anything”

“I’ve been passing out with the ashtray,
I’ve been choking on the cavalier
we were two kids finding love inside of the hallway,
isn’t it a shame,
We didn’t make it anyway,”

This song has such a classic vibe to it. It reminds me a lot of high school, and how intense every emotion and relationship seemed at the time. When he repeats in the pre-chorus, “I’d do anything for you,” I don’t know how you can’t relate to that. We’ve all been in that spot where we desperately thought that if we just loved someone with everything we had, that would eventually be enough. As we age, we see that sometimes it’s not that simple, but this song reminds me of the times that we wished it was.

Bio: Inspired by the Rock and Roll greats that came before him, and motivated by the stories that we all encounter on a daily basis, Caleb Kopta is crafting a niche for himself in the modern alternative rock landscape with honest lyrics, driving guitars and a desire to craft the soundtrack to life’s everyday experiences.

Born the son of a music minister in small-town Pennsylvania, music has fueled Caleb as long as he can remember. From attending his first concert at only two months old to sharing the stage with such bands as Motherfolk, PHANGS, Michigander and Corey Killgannon, Caleb has devoted his life to creating meaningful, resonate music that can impact the world around him.

Often drawing comparisons to The Killers, Bruce Springsteen and Bleachers, Kopta’s music is a unique blending of the Rock, New Wave and Singer / Songwriter genres. He excels at delivering powerful, anthemic choruses while still allowing the song to feel personal and complementary to the story at hand.

 

-Caleb (the blogger, not the artist)

Want to hear more? We’ve added both these songs and more to our August Spotify TOTD Playlist.

 

New Release Friday: Jamie Sloan, Tenjin, Couch Jackets, Helenor, Thumpasaurus, Charlie Phllps, Terrell Morris

These are our favorite new songs of the past couple days. Every song has been released within the last 48 hours, so you can tell your friends about not only new artists, but their new songs that they’ve never heard.

ARTISTS LOOK HERE: Caleb and I have started a Facebook group that we want to turn into a place for artists from around the country to find likeminded bands to fill shows out, find shows, and really just a community made by artists to talk about the industry. If you’re interested in joining that, CLICK HERE.

 

*Click on the artist name to visit their website*

 

Jamie Sloan – New Orleans Queen

This song is so good on so many levels. It’s the first single off his upcoming album No Fairytale Stories and he says this song is about knowing you’re soul mate is out there but having no idea who or where they might be. Hence the line “I hope I’ll find you soon.” The song mostly lays out this ideal person, and a hopefulness that pervades throughout. He saids, “no fairytale stories, we will make our own.” and “are you lonely like I am?” It’s a brutally honest and optimistic song that I think most of us can empathize with, either currently, or at certain times in our lives. I hope that he’s able to “find her soon”, and I’m so glad to have found this track.

Tenjin – Mama Don’t Know

“Got plenty friends no friend zones, I get benefits…Dental

Man I got a flow to spit coast to coast go boating tits

Then I pose up a photo click

And then compose a prose of cold flows that’ll go with this”

The defining characteristic of this song has to be just how smooth the flow is in the verses, and how fun some of the word play is. The hook repeats, “What momma don’t know won’t kill her,” which of course is a classic line that we’ve all heard before. It’s particularly fitting for this song after all the debauchery described in this song. There’s random sex, drinking and partying, drugs, fighting, and many of things I suppose you wouldn’t want your mom to know about. I really can’t get enough of just how tight the flow is on this song.

Couch Jackets – Don’t Think Just Breathe

Time to put your trippy pants on. This song is Car Seats Headrest meets Pink Floyd and the video adds a layer of Children of Men meets 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you dig it, they are releasing a full LP on July 27 called Go To Bed. The video itself is such an interesting concept, mixing a strange dinner with the band members, and a constantly changing TV that shows news and chaos. It’s a video that could probably get a full thesis written on it: from the random “Emotional dissonance” that shows up mid breakdown, to the hijinks at the dinner table. I’m not entirely sure what to make of all of it, but I really dig it. Also, the music itself is just phenomenal. It ultimately sounds like its 4 songs in one, with all the key shifts and breakdowns that flow seamless throughout the song. The band describes themselves as “a rock band from central Arkansas making wacky noise.” And I really just can’t get enough, and can’t wait to see what other wacky sounds are on the full album next week.

Helenor – Ocean State

As someone who lives in the “Ocean State”  I have a particularly affinity for this song haha. But really what drew me in was the droney sounding synths and dissonance that gets created by them when the first musical interlude comes in. The second thing I really loved was the lyrics, that seem to suggest a love/hate relationship with the place you inhabit.

“Ocean state is
a state of mind
Older neighbor’s
second lease on life
She named her dog
from multi culture night
Sawed my arm while they took
Paris flights”

This song does an excellent job of mixing the surreal and cynical at the same time. The artist mentioned being influenced by Beck, and I can’t think of someone who does the same thing better. It’s a perfect descriptor.

Background: ““Helenor” is the musical moniker for Boston based visual artist David DiAngelis. The premiere LP “something twice” was written and recorded at home in 2017 as a solo project. Drums were provided by Seth Kasper (Mass GothicChristopher OwensHooray for EarthWild LightAir Traffic Controller) who also co-produced the album. “something twice” is scheduled for release Fall 2018 with accompanying live set.”

 

Thumpasaurus – Flamingo Song

Let’s keep it weird up in here. If you can’t figure out how the video relates to the title in the first few minutes, I’ll give you a hint: it’s all the pink. I love how silly the band members dance around, sometimes acting like a boy band, sometimes just freestyling completely. This is juxtaposed with the lead singer having an emotional conversation with a doll where he seems to be having a break up conversation. I never thought it could make me feel emotional, but when you kind of listen to the lyrics and imagine it being said to an actual love interest, it does get a little melancholy. But the best part about the pace of this song and video, is it doesn’t linger in it. It continues to be absurd, and to meander instrumentally with a walking horn, until you can’t really be sad while listening. Also, I have to share their bio, because there is an amazing karate story in it, overall, they are such a fun band that I will be keeping up with all the future hijinks.

Bio:Los Angeles-based Thumpasaurus are a gang of five superbly-skilled young American musicians taking hugely divergent influences and channelling them into something uniquely Thumpasaurian.  

 

Thumpasaurus offer up their own unique punk/funk stew wherein, hidden in plain sight and sound, you’ll find traces of Zappa, Beefheart, James Chance, Funkadelic/Parliament, Morphine, Devo, Talking Heads and Prince, as well as some rocking heavy metal, free jazz, musical theatre and even some light opera references thrown in for good measure.
Lead singer and guitarist Lucas Tamaren’s alter ego, Sensei Boland, recently achieved web notoriety by challenging the world to bring him something he can’t karate chop. A promotional meme for “Mental Karate” resulted in Buzzfeed picking up on the video & the band’s music being shared by the likes of Alt-J, Shakey Graves, and Rob Thomas amongst others. See here: http://whatichopped.com

Charlie Phllps – Memory

Check out this single from Charlie Phllps upcoming album Pendulum which is due out August 10th. If you are in the New York area there will be a release party at Rockwood Music Hall at 11 pm on that day. For tickets visit  http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1719729

“I could swim
been kicking all along
Has there ever been
a change in a person
Same story now
same story now
I’ve got the staying power of a feather
But you don’t remember
you don’t remember

Is there love in the ditch?
I’m waving my fist
Tell me do I exist, now?”

I love the lyrics here. Especially, “I’ve got the staying power of a feather.” There seems to be a emphasis on memories, being remembered, and offsetting those with how temporary and fleeting everything really is. When you first hear the song, you probably don’t notice how existential it really is, because it’s hidden behind an upbeat tone and vocal style. “Tell me do I exist now?” is the first really moment where you may start to be like, oh, this is saying something real. I always love when a song can have your feet tapping and then blindside you with a deeper message.

Terrell Morris – Field Test

And last, but certainly never least. Terrell Morris has done it again. The mixing of jazzy instrumentals, and smooth flow that isn’t afraid to fluctuate tonality and tempo to emphasize the strongest emotional swings in the song, make this one of my favorite up and coming artists. This song seems to be about that change up from a relationship that is somewhat casual to something that is more serious. The “Field Test” is over, and now it’s time to admit true feelings and vulnerability.

Bio: “Hailing from the west-end of Toronto, To date Terrell has released 3 singles from his upcoming colaborative project titled Molasses. Amassing over 4.3 million plays on The Right Song a single from production duo Free n Losh’s 5th & Ghost EP. Terrell decided to team with them again, bringing on Steph Verschuren (Allan Rayman, Keys n Krates) to handle the creative direction Terrell is on the cusp of releasing his project and cementing his place amongst the greats.”

The Flock: New Release Friday: Mike Xavier, Foresteater, Chris Noah, Callum Pitt, Sean Tobin

*This first paragraph is a copy of a previously written synopsis of the point behind the new section, The Flock.*

We have two goals here with our blog and our podcast; we want to help you find a bunch of new artists that you love, and we also want to support those artists. We came up with a new idea for a post where we take a genre, and give you a few artists within that genre. That way, it helps everyone. If you come here because you love one artist, you’ve got five more that you’re probably going to love now. That helps you load up your playlist with tracks that will impress your friends, and it also helps the artists hit untapped markets and possibly network with likeminded artists they didn’t know existed. Without further ado, I present “The Flock.”

ARTISTS LOOK HERE: Caleb and I have started a Facebook group that we want to turn into a place for artists from around the country to find likeminded bands to fill shows out, find shows, and really just a community made by artists to talk about the industry. If you’re interested in joining that, CLICK HERE.

Mike Xavier – “Time to Reflect”

I love when a song says something that we’ve heard before, but says it in such a eloquent way that it reaffirms everything you know. At it’s core, this song is about society, racism, and the difficulties we all face, but Mike Xavier is just so eloquent that it illuminates these issues in a way that is impossible to ignore. Other than Mike’s obvious lyrical talent, something you may not notice unless you are paying attention is that he isn’t just rapping over a track. He has a live trumpet, sax, keys, guitar, bass, and drums accompanying his songs. It really gives this song a fuller sound that you can’t accomplish from beats, no matter how good the DJ is. When asked about his inspiration Mike’s message is simple: “We just got to teach our kids they can change the world,” Xavier raps with his calm though upbeat tone. “They used to tell me, ‘Try them drugs.’ I ain’t never try it.” Mike is a shining example of using art to make the world a better place, and I’m happy to share this as our first track of New Release Friday.

Foresteater – “Unbutton”

“Momma’s shopping at the mall
Daddy’s sipping alchohol
Baby’s watching TV shows
Shoving things up in her nose

Why do the opposites look the same?
Our manufactured outfit came
and is it sincerity
or artificial empathy?

Unbutton my head
Get me out of my head
Unbutton my head please
Get me out of my head”

This song is an anthem for middle class malaise. It does the same thing several 90s movies did by taking a closer look at suburbia and showing the horrors beneath the surface. Sure, money makes some things easier, but it also brings a new set of problems. Having grown up squarely in middle class suburbia, I saw many of the things this song mentions, and experienced the surreal plasticity that it tends to create for those who inhabit these spaces but can’t fully enjoy shopping sprees, keeping up with the Joneses, and the skewed relationships created by making money and materialism such an integral part of our happiness.

Chris Noah – “River”

This song reminds me a lot of some of my favorite summertime music. It mixes pop vocals with some really interesting electronic beats to create an experience that surrounds you completely. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics:

“This state that I’m in, I can do nothing about,
Starting to wear me out, do we need disclosure
Your voice has become an eco in my mind
I don’t really recognize and you still have me reeling

Don’t swim so fast, i can’t keep up, don’t let me drown in your river
Don’t waste your love on someone else, while I’m still here in the picture ”

So it’s a very familiar scenario. The speaker is still in love with someone who is falling out of love with him, and he feels himself being left behind. It’s a really tragic position to be in, and the haunting background vocals as the song builds really hammer home the crescendo of pain that can inhabit these moments where you aren’t ready to move on, but you know it’s not your choice anymore. Keep an eye out for Noah’s upcoming 3 song compilation due in September. He has already won “Debut of the Year” last year at the Annual Latvian Music Awards, and I can’t wait to see what else he comes up with.

Callum Pitt – “Away From The Rousing Parades”

This song just starts off so calming and soothing. The mix of the intricate picking and the beautiful vocals take you to a sunny day driving with the windows down.

“There’s a warm wind coming, marching along with a big brass band

I’m waving an outstretched aching hand, so slow”

When these lines kick in, the song transforms into an anthem worth screaming at the top of your lungs. The thing I like most about this song though, is despite how upbeat and warm the song sounds; it has some truly existential moments.

“We search fora meaning before disappearing and hope that our memories survive”

Ultimately the song ends in a conclusion that all we can do is try to find someone to share the time we do have with and hope for the best. It’s a grounded but hopeful ending to a very complex poetic song.

Sean Tobin – “This Midnight”

And last, but certainly not least. Enjoy this single off of Sean Tobin’s new release of the same name. Throughout the song, he seems amazed that he is currently where he is in life, considering some of his past and the way he viewed the world. My favorite word play in the whole song is probably:

“Met a girl one February evening, swore to God there was no God at all,

Sunday came, she was praying for God knows what she done,

guess she was just talking to the wall”

The several switch ups and double meanings in that one line are astounding. Ultimately, the song seems to have a similar message to the one before this: life is potentially meaningless, there are no guarantees, life is short, thank god I have you, let’s enjoy the time we have for now and hope it lasts forever. “Baby, we could make this midnight last, come the morning, our stories will be in the past.”

-Caleb

If you enjoyed these songs, we’ve uploaded them all to our July TOTD playlist on Spotify.

If you haven’t followed us on Facebook, check it out. We have two new live streams that we posted today.