Monday Mix-down featuring: Dubby, Telescreens, The Escalator, and Awolk

This is a grab bag of all of my favorite artists from the week to carry you through those Monday blues. 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. Seth and I have a lot of crossover, but one distinct difference right out of the gate is that Seth gets more into the folk scene, and I get way more experimental with what he likes. Some of what he listens to sounds like Elvish chants in the woods to me, and some of what I listen to probably sounds to him 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 Seth 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.

Dubby – “Gelati Kong ft. King Los”

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I had never heard the plural of “gelato” before this, and I’m not entirely sure what Gelati Kong would imply, but this song is so smooth. The beat is a classic throwback hip-hop beat, mixed with some trap elements that make it feel modern. I know that this song will find it’s way onto all my summer playlists.

 

Bio: If you enjoy the sound of this south central Pennsylvania artist, be sure to check him out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @Dubbygotbars! Be on the lookout for his second album entitled “TOWN” which was re-released on 10/13/18. Visit http://www.dubbygotbars.com for free music, merch and behind the scenes footage

 

Telescreens – “Poison”

Image may contain: 3 people, people playing musical instruments, people on stage and people sitting

I adore this song. The guitar line is so smooth, and has a nice genre-mix to it that makes me feel like a lazy summer day. It’s not necessarily a happy summer day, but it’s not overly depressing either. It seems to be pondering a person that is “poisonous”. The difficult thing of course is that poison is usually hidden until it starts effecting you negatively, and the damage is already done. I can’t wait for them to release more music! In the meantime, do like me and put this one on repeat all summer long.

 

The Escalator – “The Cathedral”

Found my way to St Patrick’s Cathedral
Took a seat by the alter and I cried
All alone, starring up at the ceiling
Closed my eyes
Asked God why?
Violence is normal
Why violence is normal
All through the night

What a haunting way to end a song. This song was actually sent to us a long time ago, and it’s just sort of happenstance that this is posted a week after the events in New Zealand. Of course, unfortunately, we are never too far from an act of violence in the news at any given time, but I definitely think this song hit me harder than usual this morning. The lyrics themselves would be haunting enough, but then you combine that with the soulful vocals, and it really starts to raise the hair on your arms. I think it’s fitting that this album was created to “create a cathartic experience for people visiting Trump Tower,” and hope that more people get to feel that catharsis after hearing this today.

Bio: The Escalator is a protest album featuring Grammy award winning bandleader, Steven Bernstein, vocalists Amy Leon, Trixie Whitley and many more. The album is an audio walking tour with a total playtime lasting the duration of time it takes to walk from the top of the escalator at Trump Tower, then down the street to St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York York City.

Awolk – “Open Doors”

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I get some real Ben Howard vibes from this song, and seeing as how Ben Howard is one of my favorite artists, it’s pretty easy to see why this song makes my list of favorites. Another thing I really love about this song is just how positive it’s messaging is. As someone who struggles with overcoming fear/anxiety, I really needed this message of finding the open door and walking through it.

Fear is far too close
Fear will choke your growth
Fear don’t break down doors 

I think a lot of us could use this message today. Spring is starting all over the U.S. (albeit slower than I wish it was). It’s time for a new beginning.

Bio: Awolk is an alternative folk-rock singer-songwriter from Nova Scotia, Canada. For almost 10 years he has been playing under various stage names and bands.

Awolk recently released his debut full length record, available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, and Bandcamp. Self titled, the album is a weighty and eclectic list of tracks, covering his lyrical and melodic thoughts, developing over the last few years.

His alternative style, blends melody focused songs with modern acoustic and electric soundscapes. Awolk used to be known by his birth name, Jesse Thomas, releasing 2 EPs and 2 single recordings under that name. In 2017, he diverged into his new stage name.

  • Caleb

Video of the Day: Tender Glue – “Rudy”

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I have a really chill song for you guys to check out this morning. Before we get into the song itself, I really like the vibe of this video. There’s nothing overly complicated going on. It’s mainly just quick shots of various things, and an occasional video of the guitarist playing the song in a shadowy room, but the bright colors and strange effects keep me glued to it, and it fits so well with the music and vibe of the song in general. If you guys are trying to make a good video on a budget, take notes. Now, let’s dive into the song itself a little bit, listen to it again here if you want, to give my guy some Spotify plays:

 

“And if I go
Roll one for me
Cigarettes you used to smoke
Hope you will quit
And if I die
Bury me so deep under all our lies
Hope you will quit”

I love the sentiment to the chorus here. There is this awesome dissonance of wanting what’s best for someone, and accepting them as they are. He wants this person to remember him when he’s gone, and remember him in the way that they feel comfortable, even if he’d rather the person quit smoking and be healthy. It’s really a beautifully melancholic sentiment.

Don’t just take my word for interpretations though, let’s check out the artist’s idea about his creation: “‘Rudy’ was written about 6 years ago and was inspired by a girl I met once. I had chords and a melody written beforehand and the words came quickly to me. This girl had shown me how she rolls her cigarettes, which was inspiration for the lyrics “And if I go ; Roll one for me; Cigarettes you used to smoke; Hope you will quit”. Although some of the lyrics were based on real scenarios, the whole idea of the song is more of an imagination. I took some of the details of this brief non-intimate meeting and created a story.”

I love the idea of these random encounters allowing us to create an entire universe of art, a relationship that never actually happened, and yet, I, as the listener, feel the same emotions regardless of how real or not it was. Really incredible.

Bio: Tender Glue (noun): Not a person. Not a band. Music made by an urge to create.

Tender Glue is made up of Tom Gluewicki, who was originally born and raised in Poland and later moved to New York in 2002. He explains his first encounter with playing music when he was twelve years-old after he had fixed a broken guitar that his brother brought home. You can learn more about his story in the “ABOUT” section of his website.

On September 25th, 2015, Tender Glue released his debut EP titled, “Wait For Steady Light”. After several years of creating original music, this album is a culmination of raw recordings, composed with minimal equipment, using the resources Tom had in his home. Full length album “Steady Light”, which was a continuation of the EP, was released year later on August 26th, 2016.

The latest album titled “Closet Leftovers”, was released on September 28th, 2018 on Tom’s record label called Don’t Label Me Records. The first four singles from the album were released between February to June of 2018. “Closet Leftovers” was recorded and produced by Tom in his studio apartment closet after he moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan more than a year ago.

-Caleb

Morning Commute: Small Words – “Darling”

Good morning B-Side Back Massagers (idk man, I’m running out of alliterative ideas). I have a really great indie/pop-punk style track from Small Words to share with you this morning. This song reminds me of the best parts of my late teens/early 20s. It captures the angst, the newly found freedom, and the cautious hope that I sometimes get nostalgia for now that I’m pushing 30. Let’s dive into the first verse and chorus:

“Darling, I am calling.
I’m locked outside
With someone else,
A fragment of my former self.
So darling, could you save me?
I’m not the type to ask for help,
But if you could I’ve never felt this way.
Lets get away.
I’m far too drunk to drive,
Do you think you could??
We took the back road
singing ladadadada”

  1. I appreciate this song advocating for not driving drunk.
  2. On a serious note, these lyrics perfectly capture that youth I was talking about before. Drunk, figuring out who you are, singing on back roads with friends (or more than friends), it’s really a beautiful nostalgic picture.

If you are looking for more from Small Words, this song is from an EP called For What It’s Worthless which you can find here: For What It’s Worthless.

 

Bio: Small Words is an energetic Indie-Rock band out of Indianapolis, IN.

With 2016’s “For What It’s Worthless” EP, the 5-piece quickly began making a name for themselves in the music scene.

Drawing influence from a myriad of genres, the band keeps the audience on their toes, and glued to their performance.

2019 will see the release of their new record, “Good Day, Bad Me”, recorded at The Lumberyard in Hammonton, NJ. (Produced, and mixed by Ace Enders, and Nik Bruzzese)

The album explores the struggles of addiction, grief, depression, and accepting one’s own mortality without spoon feeding you “it’s gonna be okay”’s. In these trying times we need to know that it’s okay to struggle, and no one needs to fight their demons alone.

 

– Caleb

Morning Commute: Favours – “In The Night”

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Good morning B-Side Badasses! (oh, I like that one, that’s pretty good). I have an incredible song for you this morning. Their spotify numbers are mind blowing to me. This song only has 1,000 plays? What? Hopefully we can get those numbers up some today because I think everyone on the planet needs to hear this one. The band describes the track as: “‘In The Night’ is a ballad for the stuck ones in an unfulfilling cycle of repetition. It’s about escaping from the banality of the day and longing for the dreams that seem just out of reach.” Um…so…basically all of us in modern society no? I know it at least applies to me. One of my goals for 2019 is to dream bigger, and take some practical steps to achieve those dreams, so I appreciate this song this morning as a nice reminder of why it is important. So many of us let our lives drift by without trying to do anything to shake it up, or rock the boat, me included. Let’s reflect this morning, as we listen to this beautiful orchestrated synthy jam, on what parts of our lives we are just going through the motions on, and how we can shake ourselves out of that.

Links: Facebook / Instagram

Bio: Favours plays 80s and 90s influenced dark synth rock combining British new wave with modern dream pop influences. The band features female and male vocals using their lyrical identities to embody the narrative they croon about.

-Caleb

Mid-Day Music Blast: Calan Mai – “XO”

Hey guys! I’m so excited to be back and sharing music with you guys. I have an absolutely great song for your lunch break today. The Rolling Stone  compared their sound to Conor Oberst and Bon Iver. If you think those sounds are kind of far apart, I agree, but I sort of see where they are coming from. There is a rustic and small town feel to the lyrics, much like Conor, but the production on the song is smooth like Bon Iver. I could see this song on an underground college hipster’s playlist, right alongside a SNL appearance as a feature artist. It’s really an interesting and dynamic dichotomy.

When asked about the message behind the song Calan Mai has said, “When someone writes ‘xo’, that doesn’t mean they want to kiss and hug you. When they send a smiley face, they aren’t really smiling. The world is a bit like that now-a sea of lovehearts, likes, upvotes and retweets. You ask for validation and get bright lights and numbers in return. And I’m no better. I doubt myself. I compare myself. I wonder how many times this song will get played. That’s what ‘XO’ is about-wanting to reach through your LCD screen and grab the world by the collar and say, ‘I do make the cut. I do have potential. And this song is a good f*cking song.”

It is a good fucking song. And you can find it wherever you listen to music right here: Linky

-Caleb

Morning Commute New Year New Me Edition (and a brief apology) 1/4/2019: Levant – “Time to Shine”

Hey guys. You probably noticed we haven’t posted in a while. That’s kind of a bummer. There’s been some things going on in the background that has kept us from doing this blog justice, mostly concerning obligations and real work and real-life responsibility. It’s a new year though, and I am committed to posting several times a week at the very least. I hope you stayed around, and enjoy our journey into the future, because we still have so much amazing music to share with you. Let’s get it started today with this awesome track from Levant called “Time to Shine.”

Levant- “Time to Shine”

This project is really cool. Levant wrote and arranged all the songs on this project, but then had different people come into the studio to play/sing the songs.  This track features JJ Jackson from The Bastard Sons and is the closing track on the album, Beneath rubble, run rivers red, which can be found on all your major music providers. I really love how this song feels like a taste of something new and something old. It has some moments that sound a lot like mid 00s indie, and even some tinges of grunge, but it’s also something completely new and fresh. The thing I think that stands out the most to me in this song is the creative use of the sample, and the transitions between piano and low end instrumentation.

 

-Caleb

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.