Caleb’s Weekly Favorites: NeodotcoM, Six Time Users, Simon D James, An Echoic, Mending

Hey guys,

If you’re like me, you don’t really just focus on one genre of music when there is so much awesome variety out there. This post is meant to hit on 5 of my favorite songs that I just can’t get out of my head this week, regardless of genre. If you like, or already know one of these artists, stick around and check out the others, you might be surprised what you fall for.

NeodotcoM – “Manifest”

I am a sucker for hip-hop with classic 90s vibes. Call it nostalgia maybe, but this song sounds straight out of hip-hop’s golden era. With a focus on lyricism and flow, NeodotcoM impresses from start to finish (but let me point out the flow change up and effortless rhyme mechanics that start around the 2 minute mark). As for the song itself, it seems to focus on the ways that creativity is a manifestation, a discovery of truth, rather than a creation from nothing. Considering all the call backs to his 90’s heroes, I would say NeodotCom is manifesting in a way that I haven’t seen in hip-hop in far too long.

Bio: Released during the eclipse on Friday the 13th, “Manifest” from Chicago Emcee/Producer NeodotcoM, is the latest release from his upcoming Album, “Gods of Egypt.” Just like this album, Manifest is inspired by the golden ages of hip-hop and the gods of the art form. Inspired by Drink Champs, Neo has decided to give his favorite artists their flowers while they can smell them and trees while they can inhale them. Dedicated to Jay Dilla, Slum Village, Rakim, Eminem, Big L, Jay-Z and Tribe called quest among others, Neo effortlessly displays a level of emcee mastery which hasn’t been witnessed in decades. Lord Haiti freaks the original sample from Slum Village’s fantastic showing respect to Jay Dilla while making the record his own, while Neo borrows classic flows and patterns making them his own and then taking it places unimagined.

Six Time Users – “If You Know Me”

“Jesus sitting in the back of the car
I hear him whisper say we gone too far
Comet coming from the broken sky
I see a tear in my mothers eye
The preacher standing at the podium
And in the square there’s pandemonium
The crowds compelled, blood in their veins
The heat fever that will drive you insane”

I don’t know how you can start a song or poem or use imagery with more depth and intrigue than the first verse of “If You Know Me.” Six Time Users describes themselves as making “millennial bullshit blues,” if that’s what this is, I need more of it. The instrumentals have a hauntingly psychedelic quality that emphasizes reverb in creatively dissonant beauty. If you’re looking for something to capture your winter blues in a bottle, this song is it.

Simon D James – “Burn The Man”

“Wake up folk’s, Its time to dance,
The human race has one more chance.
Rip the needle, from the vein.
Lets kick the habit, dream again, and be the change we want to see in the world.”

I’ve been meaning to share this song for a long time, but I actually am really happy that the timing ended up being at the start of 2020. As we start a new decade, I think the messaging in this song is really important. Don’t let the lo-fi vibes fool you into thinking this is a sad song; this song encourages each of us to take the world into our hands and dream big. Don’t forget to check out his newest EP, Days of Heaven

Bio: Simon Started to write music at the age of 16 and has continued ever since. Three tracks on ‘Days of Heaven’ were recorded and produced by Ben Hampson, who Simon was in a band with as a teenager and it has always been a dream of Simon to work with Ben again. ‘Written By Rules’ & ‘Fooled By You’ were recorded at GreenMount Studios where Simon recorded his first EP.

Simon has busked his way around the world and has spent the last years playing music in the Brighton music scene where he started the band that recorded this EP.

An Echoic – “Love (..As I Was Told)”

“Forget her, up and move on cause deep in that pond there’s always someone better
I know there’s fish in the sea but someone made me afraid of open water”

This song explores something that I’m sure plenty of us have experienced, unrequited love. I’d like to make a quick note that whoever did the album art for An Echoic deserves a shoutout; it’s gorgeous. One thing that stands out to me about this song, and the title, is how different the experience of love and the search for your “soul mate” can be from the common media depictions of it, or “what we are told” it’s supposed to be. This song does a great job of capturing the feeling when we realize it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, and there’s a lot of pain involved in the struggle. At least we have this excellent band to keep us company in the meantime.

Bio: In December of 2016, Martin Kihlstedt released An Echoic’s self-titled debut EP, and shortly thereafter signed to Rexius Records for his second project. The new release presents us with a chamber of thoughts in the form of experimental songwriting (recording spoken word and sampling traditional folk instruments, for example) and unimaginable stories.

Mending – “Alan at Emma’s Cradle”

I hope you have headphones on for this one. This song is epic. Mending is proof of true artistry in the classical sense. This is apparent in this song, that combines echoey vocals, dissonant drone sounds, piano, and subtle percussion. This is also apparent in the overall vision of Mending, where we see ambitious projects that explode in scope and narrative. If you like the vibe of this song, you have to listen to the full project, https://open.spotify.com/album/6catKVmxNPk9oMs0ySKFNN?si=qAMvDFOjSr-XyRmqSmZIXg

This is only the first chapter, as of the end of 2019 Mending has released 8 Chapters worth of EPs that span a 40 year period in an ongoing narrative. There is one Chapter left to be released in 2020, so catch up with the story now before it is complete.

Bio: We Gathered at Wakerobin Hollow is a four hour, 40 song speculative narrative, being released in nine chapters over 18 months. Combining folk songwriting with drone and noise, the songs trace the lives of a family and friends over a 40 year period in a series of connected vignettes. The broad narrative, told chronologically from multiple points-of-view, is set in motion by a catastrophic fire at an oil refinery in Odena, Alabama. From there we follow a handful of characters, as children become adults, spread out to Asheville, New York, and Bennington, get jobs, fall in and out of love, families grow, until coastal flooding and other impacts of climate change transform their day-to-day lives, eventually leading them all to Odena and Wakerobin Hollow.

 

-Caleb

Mid-Day Music Blast: Alvin Martin – “Small Town Values”

Image result for alvin martin small town values

 

“If I leave then this place remains,
I cant imagine how a tree or house would change
I´m feeling blessed how it all turned out,
I had a great time staying but my parents were right
I know who I wanna be

So yesterday I bought myself a car,
went down a road where I have been before
And suddenly I knew I´ve seen it all,
so I packed my bags and walked out through the door”

 

As someone who is from a small town in South Carolina (think one stoplight, one grocery store, and a McDonald’s), I really appreciate the feeling that Alvin Martin creates with this song. For as long as I could remember, I knew I wanted to get away, and now that I am far away, it is interesting to see how much things change every time I visit home a few times a year. My parents don’t live in my childhood home, the McDonald’s remodeled, and the middle school is being torn down and rebuilt. I think this song does an excellent job of balancing out the individual desire to see something new and change, but a small nostalgia for the way things were, and never can be again. Let’s also talk about how smooth the guitar line starting around the 2:30 mark is. Mmhmm. Go support Alvin and other artists like him, whether you’re from a small town or big city, he’s got something for everyone. #indieartistsarebestartists

 

– Small Town Caleb

Morning Commute: Vincent Randazzo: “When It’s Raining”

 

Good morning merciful B-Side Bounty Hunters (I’ve been watching too much Mandalorian). I have a nice chill beginning to your day to introduce you to today. This is a great track from Vincent Randazzo that feels just like it’s namesake. I don’t know if it’s raining where you are, or if you like when it is, but Randazzo will make you feel like the only thing to do is cozy up with a nice book in your warmest pajamas and refuse to move. This song is full of creative one-liners, puns, romance and heartbreak. I think my favorite section is the end:

“Cause you could sweat balls under the apple tree
Y’all could make out- just wake up with me
Sometimes that white light shines on me
But I write more when it’s raining”

I know all of you other creative minds have to agree with Vincent’s take that you “write more when it’s raining.” No matter how much I wish I could write a book full of happy poems, I think the darkness and the rain will always be my best muse. It’s good to be back guys, more music coming very soon, but for now, play this on repeat.

-Caleb

Bio: Indie folk singer-songwriter Vincent Randazzo, 24, charms beholders with his spellbinding lyrics and spirited performances. “Real Plan,” Randazzo’s third and latest full-length album, is not just an extension of his striking musical style, but a milestone in terms of his remarkable growth as a budding artist. In addition to hiring seasoned session musicians, Chris Shlarb, founder of esteemed cult band Psychic Temple, produced “Real Plan,” a momentous change for Randazzo compared to previously self-produced albums. The overarching result is a polished mix of similar artists like The Mountain Goats, Leif Vollebekk (of Montreal) and even the country music supergroup The Highwaymen. – Matthew Hable

 

Caleb’s Mid-Week Mix Down featuring: Raccoon Lagoon, Jay Mi$FiT, Tree Bosier, Samia, and topographies

This is a grab bag of all of my favorite artists from the week to carry you through those Mid-week 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.

Raccoon Lagoon – “Action Figure Kid”

Image result for raccoon lagoon music

I’m always a huge fan of found footage style videos. It’s one of the easiest ways to give your budget music video a nostalgic and emotive feel to it. A lot of this video reminds me of being in my early 20s, hanging out with friends, drinking, and meandering around the city (not that I’ve necessarily stopped any of that haha). This song is the epitome of all the things I love about shoegaze. The vocals fade perfectly into the psychedelic pop melody and feels like…well…meandering around the city. We’ve featured Raccoon Lagoon on the blog before, and honestly I can’t get enough of him. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this creative project.

Bio: Raccoon Lagoon is a solo project by Petya Bouianov; an Amsterdam based musician. The project was started in February 2018 with the vision that everything can be done by yourself. Raccoon Lagoon is influenced by Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker who does everything by himself as well. Other influences include Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz and The Beatles. The idea is to mix vintage rock with contemporary sounds to create a unique vibe. Besides music Raccoon Lagoon focuses on design, album cover art and music video’s.

Jay Mi$FiT – “Young Nigga”

Let’s take a turn into hip-hop land. If you’ve paid attention to the hip-hop I tend to share, it’s usually got a throwback vibe to it, and this song is no different. He even acknowledges the ways he’s trying to bridge the gap between classic hip-hop and current trends when he says,

“God son

Maybe I’m Nas son

But influenced by Jay Z

So what does makes me

One of last living lyrical savior

maybe

Feeling like drake

Cause everybody wanna hate me.

Cause I got these lyrical bullets

Loaded on safety”

There’s really not much else to say, Jay is out to prove that people still care about a dope beat and a wordsmith, and I know this blogger does.

Bio: Jay Mi$FiT is an up and coming hip hop artist out of Detroit. He has a project called Lost Soul coming out July 18th.

Tree Bosier – “Postcard 2”

I told you this mix was eclectic today. This track is from a cool project called Postcard an EP that Tree Bosier released in 2018 under Loodma Recordings. Each track is a different musical “postcard” that creates an unmistakably unique vibe for each track. You can tell that Maxim, aka Tree Bosier knows his way around multiple instruments and genres. His Facebook page  describes the duality of Maxim, and Tree Bosier when it comes to the music:

“- Max Ananyev – these are pieces for classical guitar, mandolins recorded on digits and scores, as well as acoustic and traditional ambient.

– Tree Bosier – it’s electronic music, combining elements of dream pop, shoegaze and techno.”

The guitar work really stands out to me in this track that you might notice synths on first. This track will definitely be added to any summer playlist I have, because it’s excellent beach music.

Bio: Max Ananyev – musician & producer from Saint Petersburg, also known as Tree Bosier. 

Samia – “Milk”

Oh man. That voice. I feel like I could end the discussion there, but you know by now I won’t. “Milk” seems to be exploring the classic saying, “don’t cry over spilled milk.” Which is basically another way of saying, don’t sweat the small stuff. Granted, some of these lyrics seem to be focusing on things that most wouldn’t consider small stuff, like a mention of jumping off a pier in the first verse followed by, “you’re just lucky you’re tired and not dead.” One symbolic thing I like in the video is the use of white (like milk) throughout it, starting with the balloons, transitioning to the color of the bath water, etc. Also, if any of you are Father John Misty fans like me, check out this meta tune: https://open.spotify.com/track/3Ebt8wL9eYdYN3tYZeFC5G

But really, let’s end the way we started, oh man, that voice.

Bio: Her ballads recall the low-lit charm of Tobias Jesso Jr or the hushed immediacy of Phoebe Bridgers. Her rock songs rev and howl with the intensity of Mitski or Hop Along. But whether the volume is up or down, 21-year-old New York native Samia draws from the same well of sharp-witted lyricism as forebears old and new — from Liz Phair to Patti Smith to Josh Tillman.

topographies – “Pink Thoughts”

Now for the last but certainly not least category, this dope song from topographies. I guess I did go a little shoegaze heavy today; sue me, it’s summer. If any of you are familiar with the “shoegaze scene” especially in California, this is the band for you. Formed by Gray Tolhurst (Gray Tolhurst), Jeremie Ruest (Cerf Volant, Your Friend, Lavender Blush), Justin Oronos (Solip), and Lauren Grubb (Minipop, To The Wedding) in 2017, topographies is a amalgamation of shoe gaze/psych pop genius. As with most shoegaze, it takes a bit to discern the lyrics, but the artist says this has to do with the uncanny experience of talking to the deceased in dreams. And honestly that’s the thing I like most about the genre, I don’t really need to be able to understand every word to vibe with the emotive feeling of the song. Here’s a bonus for you guys, the music video for this excellent track, see you in fever dreams:

 

Bio: Formed by Gray Tolhurst (Gray Tolhurst), Jeremie Ruest (Cerf Volant, Your Friend, Lavender Blush), Justin Oronos (Solip), and Lauren Grubb (Minipop, To The Wedding) in 2017, the band meshes the crushingly loud guitars and hushed vocals of 90’s shoegaze with the urgency and mechanical rhythms of post-punk. Their debut EP was recorded and produced at New, Improved Recording in Oakland, California by Alexis Berthelot (Gojira, Wolfgang Tillmans, Enablers) in late 2017.

 

-Caleb

TOTD: Thacker – “From The Hands of Angels”

Image result for thacker from the hands of angels

 

 

 

“Well ever/greens don’t grow/ overnight/ so tell me/ when can I start
And treetops/ once grown pierce/ the sky/ freeing the sun/ shine upon me now”
I love the sentiment at the end of this song. I think we all want to be evergreens, able to withstand changes, in weather, seasons, years. The problem is, most of us don’t know how to build ourselves up to that level, because we only see the finished product. I think this song encourages us to just aim to be a sapling, and try to grow a little each day. And that’s just the lyrical content! The best part of this song, is even if you didn’t hear the message, you’d love it. It’s got some beautiful horn arrangements, a consistent and polished vocal track, and crisp string sound from the rhythm sections. I really can’t get over how phenomenally constructed the whole track is. Everytime I listen to it, something different stands out, as I’m writing this, I’m just noticing how fun the bass line is that’s driving the song. This is a band that is criminally underrated. I hope our followers go give them some much deserved listens and love.

Bio:  First EP from the Los Angeles artist Thacker. Members include:

Andrew Thacker

Matty Margallo

André Eliazar de Carvalho

Masaki Micky Miyase

They say they are forever in gratitude for and to family, friends, listeners now and in the future, supporters, and the musicians who have illuminated the path.

-Caleb

 

Morning Commute: The Duskwhales – “Fight Back”

“Yet here we are stuck in this world
Oh it’s riddles in the dark
That keep us up as we toss and turn in
To God only know what

If you can’t fight back then I’ll fight back for ya
If you can’t fight back then I’ll fight back for ya
If you can’t fight back then I’ll fight back ”

Good morning and Happy Weekend! Are you looking for an inspirational story to start off 2019? Good, me too. First, check out this music video to get in the appropriate mood:

Alright, good. The song itself is so upbeat and creates a feeling of safety and warmth with the lyrics. Before I go much deeper, check out this interview from the artist, Chris Baker, before we move on, it’s only 5 minutes and I promise it’s worth your time:

Alright, at this point hopefully you are getting the inspirational story and message. The band describes the motivation behind this project as this: “This song was produced by a non-profit organization called Cancer Can Rock and written after the band’s drummer went through cancer treatment earlier this year. “Fight Back” is an anthem to fight back against cancer and a call to action to help those who can’t help themselves.”

I really like that this song is layered so deeply. On one hand, if you are struggling with something, hopefully it’s inspirational to you to make it through, but also, even if you aren’t struggling with something, I like that the song encourages us to find someone who is, and help them. We are all stuck on this rock hurtling through space together, and we only have each other. Make sure you do your part in making this rock better for someone else. I can’t think of a better way to start off a new year.

 

-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