The Flock: Caleb’s Weekly Favorites Oct. 16th: Pkwy, Charles Edison, Farewell Company

*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 post several artists in one big post. 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.”

Pkwy – “Punisher”

“Slackers are acting tough
Born in Los Angeles
Light up a Camel Crush just for fun
Poems on bathroom stalls
High as shit playing Smash Bros Brawl
Throwing a bowling ball down the road”

This song is super chill. It reminds me a ton of college. I took up the bad habit of smoking, and my go to (other than cloves) were Camel Crush. I picked those because you could crush them for people who wanted menthols. It was completely about the social aspect. This song is just so simply beautiful. It captures the fun, insecurity, and rebelliousness of youth in a way that takes itself the perfect amount of seriously. The band says that the song actually reflects the story of the band somewhat. They all met in their teens, and have fond memories, including throwing a literal bright orange bowling ball down the road with the word “PUNISHER” written on it. If you can’t relate to this song, we probably wouldn’t have been friends in high school.

Also, the EP that Punisher is included on is now out! Released this last Tuesday: pkwy.bandcamp.com/album/giant-2. You guys should definitely go give these guys some money, so they can buy Camel Crush cigs. Those bitches get expensive.

 

Charles Edison – “My Mother”

“I can’t make a track and say I’m paying for your house
But Hopefully you hear this still and it’ll make you proud
I ain’t made it yet but I bet you think I could
I hope you worry less now that I’m safe and living good
You said you felt like you must’ve gone wrong
But you showed me how to raise a child – you knew it all along,”

I always get emotional with “momma” songs. I guess that’s not really a genre, but I think you know what I mean. This song is so deeply heartfelt. There’s a moment in the first verse where he says, “as far as I’m concerned, you ain’t never been a step mum”, and you can tell that’s true because up until that point, it seemed like he was talking about a connection as deep as any I’ve ever heard. It’s obvious the woman has made a huge impact on him, and he feels guilty for the ways he hasn’t lived up to her example or expectations. Now that he’s becoming a parent himself, it seems obvious that this is causing him to reflect about his own hopes and dreams for a child, how they can go awry, and how their are still plenty of positives instilled in him, even if he made mistakes. It’s really a beautiful sentiment. That’s not even to mention the excellent sample and background vocals. This song is just incredible.

Bio: Charles is a producer & rapper from South London, pairing intricately layered, immersive beats with a raw & honest vocal style that has seen him be compared to other British Urban music acts such as Akala, Beardyman, Mike Skinner, and Loyle Carner. Charles often draws on his experiences with mental health and addiction to result in refreshingly honest and relatable hip-hop.

Friede Merz – “ALBION”

“Albion, Albion
You made me wanna carpe the fuck out of this diem”

Well you can’t beat that opening. This video is really interesting. I especially like the Elvis costume, but the whole thing works nicely on a budget. It’s a good way to lean into a scatter plot ode to a place, by representing various aspects, both seriously, and mostly ironically. There’s definitely a lot to like from Friede, who does everything on this song, from instrumentals, to singing, to production. The artist describes the vibe as: “Whatever you do feels good to me.” That’s the spirit.”

Check out more here:

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Farewell Company – “Gulf Breeze Motel”

“I ain’t living right, I’m barely keeping the pace
And I’m so far from you now
I know I’m gonna be late
Well take your time no one’s waiting on you to change
No one’s waiting on anything

Hey what’s the hurry
Time’s keeping you locked down so tight babe
I know you work, just make it something worth your life
What’s the use in finding the truth if you’re gonna go and waste the news
I’ll be singing ‘bout a brand new day til I turn blue”

This song has been on several of my playlists for a couple of months now. It’s beautifully twangy and existential. What I really like about the existential aspect is that it doesn’t quite waver into despair. It is constantly mentioning a “brand new day” in a hopeful way that promises a better tomorrow, despite whatever negative may be going on in front of you right now. It kind of seems to put a sense of worth on personal responsibility. “No one’s waiting on you to change.” It’s up to us to care about what we do with our time here, not anyone else. It’s really a beautiful message, packaged in a catchy blues song.

Bio: Formed in early 2017 by a few close friends and siblings living in Nashville, TN, Farewell Company is a soulful, southern rock ’n’ roll band.

In just three days, the six piece recorded their first LP ‘Waiting On Anything’ to analog tape at a gem of a studio in East Nashville called The Bomb Shelter.

 

-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.

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)

Video of the Day: Couch Jackets – “Don’t Think Just Breathe”

 

I really have to work on taking the title’s advice here. This video is so much fun. I mean, maybe fun is the wrong word, considering the subject matter that finds its way into the video (natural disasters, protests, global warming, etc.) But it’s also offset with zen-like imagery, and trippy visuals that make it one of my favorite videos of the moment. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics real quick, in between eating bullshit and emotional dissonance (if you don’t get that reference, go back and re-watch the video, hell re-watch the video anyway):

“Lighting a burned bridge between me and the purpose I’ve made,
But in my~ smoky haze I’ve forgotten to replace it’s arcade
Every game I’ve ever played engulfed by flame, left to fade.
No one’s insane we’re each of different makes which are arcane

“Don’t think just breathe
Don’t think just breathe”

Here’s a short list of things that are bothering me at the moment:

  1. Stress at my day job.
  2. Trump
  3. Writer’s block
  4. The inevitable heat death of the universe
  5. Trump

I’m going to do my best today, because of this song’s inspiration, to slow my brain down and “just breathe.”

So regardless of the thing that’s bothering you right now, hopefully you can put this video on repeat for a bit, and take a short vacation from it.

Bio:  “Couch Jackets sounds like an alligator’s eating us,” reads the explanatory note on the Little Rock, Arkansas quartet’s Bandcamp page. Fans of the band have become accustomed to this sort of irreverence – these are funny guys, and they lead with their personalities. Yet it’s not just a joke. Listening to Couch Jackets can be like entering a whirlpool: songs don’t behave the way you expect them to. They come at the listener with manic energy; they twist and turn, shiver and shake, and no matter how playful they seem, they always carry with them a whiff of danger.

We suppose that if we were asked to be particular about it, we could try to classify Couch Jackets. Given their ambition and the idiosyncratic nature of the music they make, it’s fair to call them a progressive rock act. Their emphasis on texture and love of experimentation aligns them with the neo-psychedelic movement, and their supple grooves are redolent of classic ‘70s pop. There’s even a hint of country music somewhere in the mix. But we don’t think we’ve ever heard a band combine its influences in quite the same way. Go To Bed, the group’s most recent set, was made in Nashville, and it’s the fullest realization of their visionary sound yet committed to record. It somehow manages to sound more polished than their prior recordings while preserving the primal chaos and sense of fun that has always distinguished the band. We have no idea how they’ve pulled off this trick. Like so much about Couch Jackets, their methods are shrouded in mystery.

Just as the band has developed a singular sound, they’ve come up with a visual aesthetic that’s wholly theirs – and that matches the music perfectly. For a still-new band, Couch Jackets have made a lot of videos, and they all display the group’s inventiveness, imagination, and sense of humor. Consider, for instance, the clip for “Don’t Think Just Breathe”, which manages to satirize obsessive news-watchers, cooking shows, reality television, and the act of eating dinner.

 

-Caleb

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

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.

 

Video of the Day: BUHU – “La Truth”

Hope everyone that doesn’t have to go into work tomorrow has an excellent Labor Day Sunday. Let’s get it kicked off right with this intriguing video from BUHU. This is my favorite mud people video of all time. I think it’s the only mud people video I’ve ever seen, but that’s irrelevant. I don’t entirely know what to make of the symbolism. But we clearly see a graceful woman in a white dress, unsullied, juxtaposed with a man, with animalistic and jerky movements covered in mud. When they finally meet, she cleans him off, while getting her white dress and skin dirty. Then they wash off in the river and seem to be living happily ever after. Again, it could stand in for a lot of things. But I think we’ve all had the feeling of someone coming into our life at the right time, and helping us clean up some broken part. That doesn’t mean we should be dependent on people for an ideal relationship, but part of a relationship is being there for one another and making each other better. It’s a difficult balance to strike. Sometimes your dirt just gets on them. But when it does work correctly, it’s a beautiful thing. According to the artist, there is also an element on this song dealing with keeping secrets in a relationship, and being forgiven. That makes the symbolism in this song that much stronger in my opinion.

Bio: “La Truth” is a retrospective of Jeremy’s guilt in being dishonest with his wife and the strains that keeping secrets can cause on a loving relationship. Originally released as a demo in May 2017, “La Truth” was the initial spark that inspired the opus which would become BUHU’s debut studio album, Tenets. BUHU hits a galloping pace with “La Truth,” settling into a confident stride similar to some of the strongest synthgaze moments from Washed Out’s catalog. Here more than ever, Rogers leans unabashedly into the Melodyne bends of his vocal processing, laying plain his emotions without denying the synthetic tools of his trade.

-Caleb

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

Don’t forget to check out past playlists as well. Here is August: August TOTD Playlist