Morning Commute – Heartless – “Project Window”

“There’s so much poverty up in the ghetto take my words and and imagine your life getting better

I was like you little homie believe matter fact these words is you speaking through me

thinking about all the things you going through now

food low and you breaking your first package down

You got
visions of being a superstar
but you know to accomplish you gotta sell hard ”

 

Let’s start off your Thursday with a song you can listen to at work. This song is a positive message about making something of yourself out of a bad situation, and it doesn’t have any profanity at all in the lyrics. Now, as someone who curses very frequently, that’s not something I look for specifically in music, but I am definitely struck by it when I notice it. It’s difficult to capture the darker parts of reality without using profanity, but I think that’s exactly what Heartless has accomplished here, and it’s really impressive. I also think I understand the rationale. If his goal is to be a positive voice for the next generation, he is placing an importance on that voice being clean, but also authentic. I think he accomplishes that goal here.

Bio: Lendell Black, ubiquitously known as Heartless, is an American rapper and hip-hop artist. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Heartless is popularly known for his profanity-free and upbeat music, and according to some is another “Bone Crusher” in the making. However, according to Black, ” I have my own style”, which is rightly so as his music is known to strike a chord, thus making it a fulfilling yet exciting experience for his audience.

-Caleb

Looking for more? We’ve added this song and more to our September TOTD Playlist.

Morning Commute: The 502s – “Olivia”

This song is so perfect for your morning commute. I don’t know about you guys, but Tuesday mornings are hard for me. I’m tired from one day of work, and I can’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel of the week yet. I drink an extra cup of coffee, and I try to find something to motivate me. This song fits into that category with it’s infectious energy and fun vibes. The lyrics themselves seem to focus on a girl, and wondering if the way they feel about her is real love or just lust. But the instrumentals, especially the horns and the rambling drum beat are perfect for putting me in the right head space this sleepy Tuesday morning.

Image result for the 502s

Bio: Listening to their lighthearted gang vocals and buoyant trumpet lines, you could certainly slap The 502s with an ambiguous indie label. Their loosely boondock, on-the-road-again acoustic tenor makes them a fit with the Americana crowd. And with their big, open strumming patterns, fingerpicked banjo, and mildly twangy vocal flair, it would be easy to call them a folk band, throw on a plaid shirt, and compare them to The Lumineers or The Avett Brothers.

Looking through a bigger lens, however – one that takes into account all aspects of their collective persona – The 502s are best described as the sound of a celebration: a wild, friendly shindig down the street that everyone wants to attend.

And the Orlando-based six-piece (Ed Isola, Jonathan Ruiz, Jake Isola, Matthew Tonner, Kaleigh LeBeau, and Tristan Smith) know that they’re ready to host. Operating within a city that sees thousands upon thousands of entertainment-hungry visitors every day has led the band to embrace their need to delight, to amuse, and to create the party for which they’re already providing the soundtrack.

The 502s’ forthcoming album Because We Had To is a lesson in finding what feels good – both in music and in life. Recorded in 36 hours over Memorial Day Weekend, it’s the kind of album you could take on a road trip, or one you might hear at a raucous New Year’s Eve Party where the lead singer smashes a pint of Guinness onstage (true story). “It’s the sound of a big rowdy party,” laughs singer/songwriter Ed Isola.

-Caleb

Looking for more? We’ve added this song and more to our September TOTD Playlist.

TOTD: Mia and Jonah “Spin as One”

I’m so happy to introduce you guys to one of my favorite songs of the moment, off of a brand new EP that came out on Friday. I had a great interview with both Mia and Jonah that I’ll be posting soon as a podcast episode, so keep your eyes peeled for that. They were absolutely delightful, and even played a live song for you guys. For now though, let’s focus on this super hopeful song in not so hopeful times, a song that encourages us to “spin as one” when the world turns upside down. The press release describes the inspiration behind the song with: “The couple’s daughter, Rose, was born in 2012. Spin as One’s lyrical themes reflect on family life—overcoming struggles through love and care of one other—as well as Mia and Jonah’s wishes of soulful self-discovery and a collective coming-together for our world to find its way back home.” Both personally and collectively, I really need this song in my life right now, and that’s before even mentioning how beautiful it is instrumentally. The strings in particular are just incredibly arranged over flawless harmonies from both Mia and Jonah, and trust me, the whole EP is just as good as this song.

Image result for mia and jonah

Bio: “With accomplished highlights such as opening for pop idols such as Sia, Tracy Chapman and Ben Taylor at the Fillmore, the duo eventually migrated south to Los Angeles whereby they quickly ingratiated themselves into the local scene, sharing a residence with the Burning Man star William Close (Earth Harp Collective creator). Since their arrival, they’ve been religious performers at LA’s annual Truck Stop “Hootenanny!” where they played with Central California icon Brett Dennen and round the fire with up ’n coming legends such as Lukas Nelson.

In 2016, Jonah, along with his 6-pc band, released a 9-track excursion entitled Midnight Ball. With a funky sound that recalled the sunny effervescence of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sublime, LA Weekly commended “its vibey, eclectic sound, that embodies the laid-back coolness of Southern Californian culture.”

Scheduled for release on September 7, their new album, Spin as One,features the talents of bass player Seth Ford-Young (Tom Waits, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), and drummer Steve DiStanislao (David Gilmour, CSN, Kenny Loggins), with banjo by Chris Pandolfi (Infamous Stringdusters), and violin by Alan Grubner. Americana UK praised their “highly effective harmonies, as good a pairing as anything out there.”

Discography

2005 Shine I

2006 Hallelujah EP

2008 Rooms for Adelaide

2011 The Golden Ass (with claymation based on ancient story “The 11 Book Metamorphosis” by Greek writer Apuleius)

2012 Mountainside (single)

2016 Midnight Ball (Jonah’s band)

2018 Spin as One

-Caleb

Looking for more? We’ve added this song and more to our September TOTD Playlist.

Like I mentioned before, we will soon have an interview with Mia and Jonah on our podcast, you can check out our most recent episode here: Episode 18: Existentialism (Part 1)

Morning Commute: Blynd Birds – “Vice Veins”

 

Check out this awesome single off of Blynd Birds first full length album. I get definitely TV on the Radio vibes here, mixed with some lighter indie sounds. The album was mixed by Jim Eno from SPOON, and you can definitely feel the influence. One thing that really stands out to me about this song is the lyrics, let’s dive into some:

“We know where we can find you
You stumble twice to explain
If happiness is for fine fools,
Then why you take pills for pain?
In the back room, is it too soon?
Blood’s too Black and sour to maintain
Keep your vice in your veins”

This section is really strong to me. It points out how easy it is to be cynical about how important it is to be “happy”, yet we are all seeking pleasure over pain, even if it’s not always the healthiest way to do so.

Bio: Blynd Birds is a rock and ruin band from Austin, TX. It was created by Jared Blair after years of playing guitar in loud indie-rock bands.

Blynd Birds’ latest single, VICE VEINS, came out on March 17th. Mixed by Jim Eno at Public Hi-Fi Studios in Austin, TX.

The band is genre-bending, sharp-toothed, honest and strange. The live show combines elements of Punk and Blues. Their last album, Find Your Conscience Baby, is now available for download on iTunes.

-Caleb

Want to hear more? We’ve added this song and more to our September TOTD Playlist.

TOTD: Teghan Devon – “Fresh Cut”

 

Can I just start by saying the obvious thing? Those vocals are ridiculously good. Within 30 seconds I had chill bumps all over. Okay, now that I fawned over that, let’s get into the lyrics:

“Fresh cut on a closing wound
Says he’s sober now
He doesn’t need you
Fresh cut on a closing wound
Says he’s better now
But your eyes have never looked so blue

Bright blue eyes
Back in Milwaukee
Ghost of summer’s past
Intent on haunting you
Until you crash
Hiding in the shower
Till the hot water burns”

These lyrics are so full of relatable pain. I especially like the metaphor of a “fresh cut on a closing wound” in the chorus. It’s that terrible feeling of a fresh opening on something that was seemingly healing. You thought everything was getting better, and then reality snaps back on you. I also just really like the transition from that first chorus to the verse with the play on words regarding the eye color. It both means that they are physically blue, but in the chorus, they are sad as well; really clever.

Bio: Teghan’s current style is a mix of folk, rock, and pop. If you ask her why she writes songs she’ll tell you it’s for the same reason that she breathes– to survive. “I write so I don’t take my crap out on others. Sometimes it stops me from punching people in the face. I am inspired by anything from a speck of dust to a character in a book.”

Teghan Devon is from Maryland but has also lived in California, Texas, Michigan, and Minnesota. She was a student at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul before it unexpectedly shut down in December of 2017. Although this was absolutely devastating for Teghan and her McNally Smith family, she made the best of a bad situation by returning to the twin cities in February of 2018 to record her first full length album “Fingers Crossed”  (available now everywhere).

-Caleb

We’ve added this song and more to our September TOTD playlist. Give it a follow to get new music added every single day this month.

 

The Flock: Hip-Hop: The Supreme Kings of Yesterday, Sauce is Matisse, Liion Gamble, Datta Boy, Rageouz

*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 new edition of The Flock. People who love Hip-Hop 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.

The Supreme Kings of Yesterday – “Next Latest”

I love the sample at the beginning, especially the faked out Trap style stuff that makes fun of “Migos and all those guys that sound the same.” It really sets the stage for a throwback style hip-hop track that puts the people who throw together tracks in a few days, rappers who have no flow (i.e. mumble rap), and many other aspects of modern rap that The Supreme Kings of Yesterday hope to turn the clock back on. Above just a diss track, my favorite thing about track is that it is really a positive track that is about being yourself. He isn’t really hating on people for using the popular style to make some money, but he is calling them out for not being themselves, and if nothing else, S.K.Y. is going to be uniquely themselves. I really love how a lot of the track is filled with 90s style turntable scratching, and multiple voices with multiple flows. It makes me feel comfortable, like I’m a kid again listening to The Chronic or OutKast (not that the style is exactly the same).

Bio: The Supreme Kings of Yesterday, The S.K.Y. (comprised of brothers Cise & Classy Touch – Next Latest – Single from the forthcoming sel-titled project, based in Los Angeles & Oakland CA. Fresh vibes await with clear and concise lyrics, precision instrumentation and drum break accuracy. You seek the best from your imagination, you Look Up To The S.K.Y.

Sauce is Matisse – “Socially Inept”

It’s not exactly the same, but the flow on this song really reminded me of some early Eminem. Especially around The Slim Shady LP or so. Considering that’s one of my favorite albums, I hope that’s an okay connection. Sauce is Matisse has his own unique lyrical style that seems to focus on being an outcast “As in socially inept.” And this song at it’s heart seems to be a celebration of those who aren’t necessarily the most popular or cool. It’s an unapologetic beating of the chest saying that it’s okay to be comfortable in your own skin, regardless of how popular or not it makes you.

Bio: Depression. Social anxiety. Peer-diagnosed Asperger’s. Add a nerdy passion for artistic creation to this walking contradiction and you’ve got Sauce is Matisse, the D.C.-born rap artist currently based in Charlottesville, VA.

After being professionally described as a mental paradox in his teens, Sauce was given the advice to “contain” said paradox in order to allow all competing sides of himself to coexist.
He has done so through music.

Sauce is Matisse draws inspiration from both underground and mainstream music across all genres, and his work showcases a sound between raw hip-hop and the most technical heavy metal outfits. Over the years, he has worked with and learned from several established names (and some not so established) in the multi-genre underground. Sauce is always evolving as an artist and refining his sound and visuals, tightening them into progressively visceral polished works of art.

Eventually, Sauce realized that he could not only save himself through music, but he could reach others as well. Listen and you’ll hear that this paradox has effectively been contained, and it’s tastier than ever.

 

Liion Gamble – “Solitude”

This song is just gorgeous and haunting. The female vocals really even out the whole thing, and I’m really moved by the consciousness of the lyrics, that range from melancholy to hopeful. The lyrics discuss police brutality, violence, struggling to make the art you want, relationships, divinity, and hope that there is a purpose behind all of this struggling and solitude. It’s really a wonderfully grounded song of hope and overcoming adversity.

Bio: Liion Gamble was raised in Raleigh, NC but born in St. Andrew, Jamaica. His musical influence can be traced all the way back to his Grandfather. With conscious content we are almost always drawn to assume the nature of the music will be a bit dull and somewhat preachy. Liion bridges the gap between substance and style in a major way. Melodic hooks and bridges, paired with quotable lyrics and stylistic flow, highlight this artist’s versatility.

With a growing social media presence Liion released his first official single, “Solitude” on all streaming platforms May of 2018 and has delivered an EP entitled Grand Re-Opening July 27th of 2018. Driven to cut out the middle man, he has become a student of production and audio engineering in order to take the quality of his sound to the next level. Building a hit record from the ground up is a big goal of his right now but only one of many in the pursuit of becoming a complete artist.

 

Datta Boy – “Keep Drinking (Prod. by Epik The Dawn)”

“FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE LETHAL

STAB US WITH THE SHARPEST NEEDLE

THEY SWEAR THEY PROVE IT IN THE PENALS

BREAK A NIGGA BACK YOU KOW THIS IS A FACT LIKE WAR MACHINE TO DON CHEADLE

NIGGAS STANDING STILL TARGET PRACTICE KILLS MANAQUINS BLACK BEATLES

I DON’T REALLY KNOW”

This song is full of really intense lyrics, but this was my favorite section. It really dives into the way that the system is corrupt and broken, by beautiful evoking constitutional language, to describe how they break someone. I also like the War Machine reference, which sees a black man being used for profit, but only as a secondary character. As far as the “keep drinking” hook goes, it kind of reminds me of “Swimming Pools” by Kendrick Lamar. It doesn’t seem like the drinking is a real solution, but it is a way to cope with how bad things can get. It takes on a somber tone of some sort of plead to find a way to numb all the pain surrounding the struggle, which is evidenced by the artists description of the song: “A man blames the world for his problems and heres a voice in his head telling him to keep drinking”

Bio:  Datta Boy is a multifaceted artist from Los Angeles California. He began rapping at the age of 11 and ever since then he has had a love for music. He took a break from music to pursue a career in football. He played college football at The University Of Nevada Reno where he Played Fullback for the Wolf-Pack and also played for Southern Utah University where he was a hybrid blocker for the Thunder Birds (T-Birds). After he graduated from Southern Utah University, He played a year professional football and called it quits. He returns to his love of music. He has one mix-tape out called “Black Ink” and 3 music video out called Fell So Far, A Wave Of My Own Prod. & Feat. Ronny Bueller and THREAT which were all directed by Ralph Laurence Mariano and his assistant director Jose “No-Face” Quintanilla. Datta Boy is cousins with actress and R&B Singer Rhyon (Surviving Compton, Lincoln Heights,Get Rich or Die Tryin’) who has a hit single on the radio “California” and her older sister R&B Singer RaVaughn( Better Be Good, Best Friend).

 

Rageouz – “Bridging”

The video expresses my contentedness with my surroundings, with my day-to-day life around family and friends, being what I value most”  – Rageouz

This is really a fascinating video with a first person walk through a life, with some really inventive effects. At its heart, it’s a really calming look at a day in the life of someone who is “alright.” There’s not a ton of trauma or drama, it just feels right. I think we can all learn to look around and appreciate our lives for what they are: a good time with some friends, time spent with family, a pretty drive. “How could I complain?”

Bio: Hailing from the stomping grounds of East London’s Canning Town, Rageouz’s musical journey began at the age of just 11. Raised on a healthy diet of UK Rap legends and inspired by the likes of Kano and Dizzee Rascal, his curiosity was sparked. Bursting through with his debut ‘Outchea’ followed by his freshman mixtape Hell’s Angel, Rageouz has displayed an unwavering work rate. His innate hunger and skill at delivering has led him to be featured on GRM Daily’s ‘Next Gen 10’ alongside artist such as Avelino, Bonkaz and A2 and he has released a string of successful projects including ‘East Side’, his ‘Ethos’ EP, collaborative project ‘Back 2 Da Future’ with Preacher Soul and ‘On The House’.

Contagiously creative and enthrallingly enigmatic join Rageouz on his latest pursuit and get to know the exciting new prospect of UK music.

 

-Caleb

Want to hear more? Check out these songs and more on our August TOTD Playlist. 

We also just released a new podcast today, you can check that out here: Episode 18: Existentialism (Part 1)