Episode 18: Existentialism (Part 1)

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Join Seth and Caleb (who had some sound issues) as they discuss free will, Ghosts, Omniscience, tyranny inspired punk, and as always, the best new music you’ve never heard of.

Intro – Alpine Blizzard – Stranger feat. Jenny Ridgeway
@alpineblizzard

Strange Neighbors – Ghost
*StrangeneighborsGhost
*bsideguys.com/2018/06/19/strange-neighbors/

Esbie Fonte – Ace’s High
www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFcH6xKy8jw
bsideguys.com/2018/06/12/esbie-fonte/

Indian Askin – I Feel Something
www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnlBSFwjc-Y
bsideguys.com/2018/06/21/the-flo…addle-hugo-fowler/

Glass Lungs – Casting Stones
www.youtube.com/watch?v=77FaaognfnY
bsideguys.com/2018/05/28/mid-day…gs-casting-stones/

Robin Hayes – Autopilot Hijack
TherobinhayesAutopilot-highjack
bsideguys.com/2018/06/10/robin-hayes/

Fort Hill – Marks
User-764965945Marks
bsideguys.com/2018/06/01/totd-fort-hill-marks/

The Flock: Indie/Alternative Rock: Dirty Hank, Ursa Major, Henry CS, Sundaes, Overstreet, Mammoth Indigo, Moses Cadillac

*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 Indie/Alternative Rock 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.

Dirty Hank – “Hot Mess”

Bet you weren’t expecting that change up at the 30 second mark. It’s what immediately got me in interested in this song. What makes it even more impressive is that this is basically just two guys making all this awesome noise. The lyrics have a bit of a grunge/punk element to them. Let’s look into some:

“You’re a timer, ticking up above
Feel the pressure Leave me now
They place us where they want to place us where they want to
Place us where we collide”

For the most part the lyrics are a bit ambiguous and abstract, but the general feeling I get is a reflection about what people disagree on, and who is benefitting from the disagreements. “they place us where they want to, place us where we collide.”

Bio: “meet dirty hank hollering two piece groove grunge duo from stevenage hertfordshire uk. with booming vocals and beat, riffs to punch teeth out to, imagine your favorite dive bar transformed into an LP, then it would sound like slip my mind, the debut album from Dirty Hank”

http://www.instagram.com/dirtyhankmusic

http://www.facebook.com/dirtyhankband

http://www.twitter.com/dirtyhank2

 

Ursa Major – “Gold Blooded”

Ursa Major mixes elements from prog. rock/psychedelic artists and spoken word/hip-hop, among many other genres. The instrumentals remind me a bit of TTNG, and maybe some early Portugal. The Man while the vocals go from Beastie Boys, to Minus the Bear, to Fort Minor. All of these elements combine together to make something entirely unique. The lyrics themselves are perhaps my favorite part in a song full of favorite parts. Since they are rattled off so quickly, let’s dive into some:

“No one told us a tattoo always itches where the lines are the thickest
Still, I never forget how quick life can slip into a thicket, and flip in an instant, hanging my legs off the edge of a ledge to test my existence, whoa! I’m in love with living!
Been digesting drugs, my tongue is feeling like a million bucks!
Music grooving through my lungs initializing meditation,
self-medication at its finest”

It definitely has a bit of a stream of consciousness vibe that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to one overall theme, but instead to several images that are relatable, and expand your own understanding of the world around you.

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing

Bio: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UrsaMajorBand/

Instagramz: https://www.instagram.com/ursamajorband/

Tweeter: https://twitter.com/ursamajor_band?lang=en

Youtube 1 (our frontman is a video director): – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLUsBsen9f0nTEr-m9o9q7A

Youtube 2 – (Our old channel. Gold Blooded music video coming in July): – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLUsBsen9f0nTEr-m9o9q7A

 

Henry CS – “live a little, enjoy”

“This song is written about my sporadic struggles with Agoraphobia and how I may sometimes not be able to leave the house for days/weeks at a time. During one of my bad moments, I put a microphone in my room and recorded this song. It is written about how depression and mental health can ruin everything about being a young adult.”

This is the statement we got from the artist about what the song is about. It’s really what art is all about for me. A therapeutic expression of the human experience from a single speaker, that multitudes can relate to. Let’s dive into a couple of those lyrics:

“I’m checking Facebook again,
It just reminds me I have no friends
My attendance is so poor
Yet I can’t get up off the floor

La, la la la la,la
La, la la la la x2

I want to get out this fucking house
I want to get off this fucking couch. x4”

I don’t know about you guys, but me and most of the people I know my age, have had this exact day. I had dozens of them throughout college. There is an overwhelming restlessness to being inside, and yet a complete lack of drive to actually step out of your door.

Bio: “College student living in Bristol, UK. I’m a self-taught multi-instrumentalist I record all my stuff myself, no outside help. I struggle badly with mental health and therefore spend most my time inside where I enjoy recording my music in my room.

I take big influence from DIY artists and producers such as Sandy Alex G, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Beck, Aaron Dessner and Mac Demarco.”

 

Sundaes – “Laundry Day”

I immediately added this song to my Fall/Winter playlist. It really reminds me a good bit of the vocal style of Mount Eerie, though luckily for my emotions, not quite as heavy. With a song that is so stripped down, the lyrics really stand out, so let’s get into some of them:

“T-shirts, underwear, matching my socks I don’t care.
There’s nobody like me
Living in a silent film
nobody is listening to me
They don’t know what they see

Nothing is going to plan
everything’s going to plan
Nothings going to plan

Everything is going to plan
nothing is going to plan
Everything is going, to plan”

I love how ambivalent the whole song is. It’s not “sad” per se, but it feels like depression. What I mean by that is there is a numb apathy to the whole thing. This, along with the lilting vocals make it perfect music for a rainy/snowy day. If you stuck around for 2:40 or so, you get this emotional breakdown that feels like the guitar itself is trapped inside this refrain. “Everything is going to plan, nothing is going to plan.”

Image may contain: 1 person

Bio: Lovechild of a wayward New York boy and the city of Nashville, Sundaes survives on McFlurrys, Steel Magnolia’s and the complete works of Lana Del Rey. The band draws influence from a combination of early oughts’ indie rock, blues, and genre assorted hits or all eras. Dancing among the kings of country, a queen does her best.

The band made their performance debut in the spring of 2015 with a set of two sold out shows at the Chelsea Hotel Storefront Gallery in New York. Fall 2015 the song “Walk My Street” appeared in the soundtrack of Best Picture Winner Spotlight. Sundaes’ self-titled debut EP was released July 2017. “Pretty Wife” Sundaes first single of 2018 was released May 18th. “Talking” followed June 12th. More to come soon!

 

Overstreet – “Carried Away”

If you are listening to all of these songs in order, you’ll notice a pretty dramatic shift in tone with this one. I mentioned the previous song is good for a rainy/snowy day, well this song is a sunny summer song through and through. It has a “no worry” attitude that proposes that any problem can be solved with “hard lemonade”. And honestly, that’s the way I feel in summer too. It’s not really that my problems disappear, but they just don’t feel as heavy with the sun shining on your face. Now, I don’t have a full version of the lyrics, so I’m not positive that there isn’t some subversion of this idea, especially with the title “Carried Away”, but nonetheless, the image of driving down the PCH with these pop vocals, will keep me from focusing too much on the negative until the leaves start to fall around here.

Bio:  Singer/Songwriter Chord Overstreet grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, in a musical environment with his parents and 5 siblings. His father, Paul Overstreet, is a two time Grammy award winner and the recipient of 5 BMI Songwriter of the Year awards.

Known for his critically acclaimed role as quarterback turned glee club member Sam Evans on FOX’s Emmy Nominated and Golden Globe winning series “Glee,” Chord graduated from high school in 2007 and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in singing and acting.

In 2015, Chord, who plays the piano, guitar, and drums, became the first artist to be signed to Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, and Phil McIntyre’s Safehouse Records, a joint venture with Island Records. Most recently, Chord released the remix of his single “Hold On” with Dutch DJ duo Deepend which debuted at #28 on the iTunes Dance charts. The original version released in February was heard in the series finale of the Vampire Diaries.

Currently, Chord is working on his debut album set to release later this year.

Mammoth Indigo – “Undertow”

This one features another vocal style that is so unique and interesting to me. With the title “Undertow”, I can’t help but think it feels like it’s slightly underwater, either physically, or metaphorically underwater as the world, the media, the future, washes all around the speaker. The video itself lends itself to this underwater interpretation, and the lyrics that flash at the bottom of the screen seem to suggest a wanting to overcome this underwater feeling. But the protagonist of our video sits on the couch, with a TV glow on his face, and a wine glass in his hand, mentioning how tired he is of drowning, while he drowns. This is what the artist says about the song:

“”Undertow” has some of my favorite lyrics from the record -“I will burn a hole in your head with your own cigarette” sounds like a growl line from a metal song, but in Undertow it’s a falsetto.To me, the song sounds like a macabre, ring-leader from a circus is singing the verses. It’s playful and solemn at once. Playing it live we get pretty psychedelic. It’s a fun track and also one of the only songs on “Wilt” to feature an acoustic guitar -which is ironic, considering it probably has the most production. Cody Bowers”

I know I would love to see this song live. I can just imagine how grandiose the whole thing gets. You can check out their website: https://www.mammothindigo.com/ for tour dates. I’m aiming for the September date in Boston.

Bio: Mammoth Indigo is an American indie rock band who’s members reside in Richmond, VA & Charlotte, NC. In 2013, they released their debut self titled album. They have toured with Taking Back Sunday , (You Blew It?), The Soil & The Sun, Joey Cook, and have headlined their own tours around the U.S. Mammoth Indigo is currently focusing their energy on their new single “Flowers In The Basement” and the upcoming release of their sophomore album ‘Wilt’.

Moses Cadillac – “A Thousand Times”

“Hello honey I know I’m late
I got too twisted tryin’ to get me straight
I lost that money I was gonna make
But still you come and take my pain away

[Chorus]

I got mixed up and I lost my way
I got fixed up but I lost a day
I got set up and I gotta pay
I wanna hit but I gotta stay

[Chorus]

I look in your eyes and I close my own
I’m just that dog out buryin’ bones
I got no place I can call my own
So if you love me better leave me alone”

I was trying to narrow down the lyrics to post, but then I just couldn’t stop adding stuff, so here’s half the song. This is a classic “rambling man” sort of song that I absolutely adore. It hits perfectly on the dynamic within many people (including myself) to be a free spirit, and to be in love. He seems to want to warn this lover that loving him will only end in pain, but he also really wants her love. It’s a tough predicament to be in, and this song perfectly captures it.

Bio: Moses Cadillac is based out Oakland, CA, where he runs an analog recording studio and makes music with his friends. He was raised by the rolling hills of California and the city streets of Montreal, Troy, and Oakland. A self-taught producer, musician, and songwriter, the sound of Moses Cadillac is always raw, unassuming, and comfortably brand new.

-Caleb

Want to hear more? These songs and more have been added to our August Spotify TOTD Playlist. 

The Flock: Indie/Alternative Rock: The Dawn Brothers, Nick Di Gregorio, Real Ponchos, Weaver, Magic Bronson, Stranger Sounding, Beachdust

*Check out these artists and every other artist we’ve featured on the blog this month on our Spotify playlist for this month.*

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 fanbase 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.

*click on the artist’s name to go to their page*

The Dawn Brothers – “Sweet Love”

Mm. This song is so smooth, from the walking bass line, to the chunky guitar, to the excellent vocals. This song sounds straight out of the 70s to me, in the best way. It has done an effective job of creating that vibe, and keeping the lyrics simple and relatable:

“Give me your sweet love, honey
I’ll give it right back to you
Give me your sweet love, honey
You know I love you, do you? ”

This song is a perfect summer song for me. It creates a sense of nostalgia like The Sandlot or something. Let me share one more lyrical section, which is my favorite moment:

“Baby won’t you lay your head
Let me take you home to bed
Good night
Twelve feet tall the trees they cast their
Dark and mighty shadows wide, what a sight

I’ve been round your neighbourhood
Sitting on the benches in the park
You knew that I’d be back again
When the evening sky grew dark”

It just reminds me so much of my late teens/early twenties. Young enough to make some fun mistakes, and old enough to have the freedom to do so. Keep a look out for their full album coming out later this year, if this song is any indication, it’s going to be very good.

Nick Di Gregorio – “Misery Has Everything”

This song has a classic message, with a beautiful Sufjan Stevens style package. It seems to be somewhat based on this quote: ““An advanced city is not one where even the poor use cars, but rather one where even the rich use public transport”– Enrique Peñalosa”

“Shelved and branded living on display
Mentally I’m overdrawn buying things I can’t afford,
All our lives appear so ornate,
Could you believe that misery has come from having everything,
Misery has everything.”

We quickly see that the title has to do with middle-class malaise. Or First World malaise. Or whatever you want to call it. It has some to do with a personal level of misery, but the song seems to suggest that a lot of the misery in the world is created by people’s desire to “have everything.” We get an indicator in the chorus when he finishes with: “Could you believe society would fix itself eventually if rich old men began to take the bus.” I absolutely love that image. I think that would be a great way for rich old men to see how the rest of us live, and rub shoulders with the people they often demonize. It makes sense to me, that less misery would stem from that. Nick Di Gregorio for President.

Real Ponchos – “Stranger Days”

What an interesting video. It makes me feel nostalgic for a party in Canada that I’ve never been to. It honestly feels like they just had a party, and a guy walked around panning out on different parts of it. It’s a really nice art piece. Some things that stood out to me: the phone getting blown up with text messages on the counter, the fog machine that wasn’t putting out much fog, the long shot of the girl smoking. There was plenty more, but it’s just a lot of isolated images that really feel authentic. I also found it interesting that in the last minute or so of the video, instead of the camera panning out, it starts to pan in. I don’t know if that’s somehow a signal for the way a party can turn from shallow to authentic as the night wears on, or something else entirely, but I really dig leaving that as an easter egg to try to make meaning of.

Aside from the really cool video, the sound of this band is amazing. The vocals in particularly stand out as something entirely unique, but beautifully haunting. I also really like that the band describes themselves as “psychedelic-country-soul” because I don’t think I’ve ever described a band that way, and yet, it’s a perfect way to describe this group. I can’t wait to see what else they come up with, as this is just single from an upcoming project.

Weaver – “Whatever Seems Less Wrong”

I found the 80s hiding in 2018. From everything to the bright album cover, to the walking bass, to the droning synth. I’m also OBSESSED, with the idea of “whatever seems less wrong.” It’s such a 2018 sentiment. These past few years have been so chaotic on a global scale. It has caused people to question if we slipped into the “darkest timeline” from Community. And in these times, with seemingly no set truth or direction, the best we can do, is “take on, whatever seems less wrong, living in a dying time.”

Moment to look for: 3:30 or so with an excellent musical interlude following by an interesting bridge.

Bio: “Weaver is following up the sucessfull single “Boxes”, which has been streamed over 100.000 times, with an exploding tune called “Whatever Seems Less Wrong”. This is an upbeat nod to the 80s and the perfect soundtrack to any road trip. “Whatever Seems Less Wrong” is the first single from Weaver this year, and we can expect more music from the hard working Swede in the near future.”

Magic Bronson – “Knock It Off”

This song takes us on a trippy ride through the subconscious. It seems both ridiculous, and has these moments of clarity that make the whole ride worth it.

“Cowboys dressed as cops
Telling me to knock it off
They swing their batons
But can’t we all just get along
Blue eyes and bow tie men
Try to steal my lady friend
I know it’s not real
But for tonight lets just pretend”

These Cowboys, dressed as cops, continue to show up in the song. Telling them to “knock it off.” For some reason, that image is so striking to me. I can’t fully decide what to make of it. It seems like a potential statement on who we give authority and a gun in our society, namely, boys who used to play cowboy, and never grew out of the narrative. Or, I’m reading too deeply into it, and it’s just a fun image. Either way, the song itself is and infectious blend of psychedelia and indie rock. Given that they claim they’ll “never write the same song twice,” I can’t see what else they come up with.

Stranger Sounding – “Anything Is Possible”

I couldn’t help but be struck by a mix between a Fleet Foxes vibe, and a 60s analog sort of soft rock track. The thing that really stand out here are: 1. The beautiful melody and harmonizing. 2. The lyrics. Let’s dive into some of those:

“in my place do I push you away when you’re asking me. Anything where I can’t say. Oh I’ve backed my way into details, no fun. But oh it’s so easy for me to get in my own way but I love you please don’t go, my fragile heart has got your mark to last another lifetime in space! I can’t fall now it’s settled in its place.”

I absolutely love “I’ve backed my way into details, no fun.” This line, like many of the lines in the song, aren’t cut and dry. There’s a lot of ambiguity, and personalization to each of the lines, but it does a really good job of saying it with a confidence that makes it feel like Ghandi said it or something. It seems like everyone should be putting tattoos of these one liners on them, even if we don’t full understand the meaning.

I also am struck by how inspiring the repetition of the last line is: “anything is possible, everything unstoppable”

Bio: “This is the second track from a recent tape called Pastoral Memories 1, released July 7th 2018. Each song is paired with a visual art piece that all combine to form a greater work also called Pastoral Memories 1.”

Beachdust – “Cleft”

Everyone knows that we are lyrics first guys here at B-Side Guys, but sometimes there’s just something that pulls you in solely based on the instrumental track. With Beachdust’s, “Cleft,” that thing is the funky guitar riffs. Don’t get me wrong, the lyrics are nice, but man, the guitars throughout this song keep every part of your body bouncing. The lyrics are nothing to brush off either. Beachdust makes it a point to tell you as much of a story as possible with as few words as possible, and that’s something that as a poet, I really got into. It’s definitely something I can appreciate as well.

I can’t tell 
Heaven from hell 
It seems these days 
It all feels the same 

They’ll never know 
That pain I hold 
Things I’ll never say 
The past I hide away

I kind of referenced it with an earlier song, but this is the sort of music we need in these turbulent times. It doesn’t try to ignore how confusing and absurd the present is, but we all have to keep living, and figuring it out.

-Caleb

Caleb’s Tracks of the Week: Spragga Benz, Daylight Tone, Cloud Daddy & the Kingston Big Smokes, Pandaraps, Cagework

This is a grab bag of all of my favorite artists from the week. 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 are going to start posting our favorite tracks of the week, and you can start to figure out whose musical taste you like more. 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.

Spragga Benz – “Spread Out”

I mean the choice here is pretty obvious right? We basically have a short film set to dope music. The vibe created in the video perfectly captures the way the song sounds, from the hookahs, to the sets, to the lighting. I dare you to listen to this song a few times and not start dancing around the 2 minute mark when the break down drops with some crazy synth. I could legitimately see this getting some top 40 style radio play at some point. This fits summer vibes so nicely.

Bio: The début single “Spread Out” is part of a collection of work which sees Spragga bringing a new sound to his repertoire, beginning with a whisper from Spragga informing us that“when di gyal dem hear di voice dem ah jump an Spread Out” – the track premiered in clubs last weekend to critical acclaim.

Spragga has been“chiliagoning”in the UK where he’s assembled a who’s who of British artists to work with on the“Chiliagon”project which diversely features contributions from the likes of Rodney P, Harry Shotta, Doc Brown, Toddla T, Illaman, Killa P and Black Josh along with productions from Zed Bias, Sukh Knight, Cadenza as well as of course Hype and Fever.

Daylight Tone – “Way Up”

Can you tell I’m kind of in a hip hop mood? I definitely listen to way more hip hop in the summer than any other time. A few things stand out to me in this song: 1. The production on this is incredible. 2. The lyrics have a lot of positivity to them. I mean it certainly recognizes struggles as well, but at it’s heart the song seems to be about overcoming adversity, and making your “way up.” I also really like how self aware the song is. There’s a moment where it mentions it’s the “second verse” in a meta way. And it is okay with simultaneously being nerdy, with references to Rick and Morty, and Harry Potter, while also talking about fighting and struggling to make your way through all the noise. It’s really great song full of such a wide range of goodness, that I can’t imagine anyone not finding something they like in it.

When asked about his style he says simply: “this is rapping in reality.”

Cloud Daddy & The Kingston Big Smokes – “Two Things”

Let’s put our trippy shoes on for a second. If you are a fan of Animal Collective mixed with Massive Attack, I have a new band for you. I love how the reverb of the bass synth sometimes feels like it’s “out of time,” but it’s really an intentional echo effect that leaves you feeling disoriented, while smooth vocals crone over the whole track. If you listen to those vocals, you see a pretty straight forward version of what “two things” the speaker says he needs:

“All I want to do in this life,
is suck on a bag (filled with weed).
All I want to do in this life,
is fall in love with you (endlessly).
And suck on a bag

That’s all I need – weed bags, and you.
As long as you’re there, and I’ve got a weed bag in my hand,
everything’s sweet!”

I think we can all get behind that.

Bio: Born in a pizza kitchen somewhere in Sydney, Cloud Daddy and the Kingston Big Smokes is a collaboration between Galen Sultman (Gaelen) and Otto Reitano (CDAD). Their debut release, a double single comprised of “Two Things” and “Elizabeth”, Cloud Daddy & the Kingston Big Smokes presents a novel take on experimental electronic music. Drawing from a variety of influences, the duo’s sound is characterised by a combination of layered acoustic and electronic drums, mantra-esque vocals, techno-inspired synths, and a familiar sense of wonderment.

Pandaraps – “Defibrulators (Dream, Pt.1)”

This song is so interesting to me. I’ve been listening a lot to early Frank Ocean lately, and to me the production on this sounds a lot like that, but then the vocal style reminds me a bit of Hobo Johnson, and some spoken word artists I like too. This song to me is really a song of empowerment. They say they’ve been holding himself back a lot before now, but no more. They also seem conscious of how shallow some “dreams” are.

“You ain’t got to chase your dream

you can chase those pretty things,

but in the end it won’t mean nothing,

but in the end it won’t mean nothing.”

I just love how sincere this track feels from start to finish. We see from the album cover, and in Pandaraps bio when they say: “I’m a queer SF based rapper” that the artist is embracing their difference, in a country that is bipolar about it’s feelings towards anyone who is different. I like how in the first few bars, they have a voice shouting “queer” over the track, which shows how a lot of the world reacts to something they don’t understand, with hate. The track then proceeds to lay out an eloquent message of empowerment, despite all the hate. It’s really inspiring to me.

Cagework – “Simmer”

And last, but certainly not least, Cagework. This is a bit of a changeup from the other tracks, but kind of puts you into my genre tastes, because one minute I’m listening to hip-hop, or trippy indie rock, and then I can switch immediately to grunge or emo (not that mid 2000s emo). This song sounds straight out of the late 90s-early 00s, with bands like Pavement, or Built to Spill. It has just the right amount of grunge sound to it, with distorted guitar and bass, but also the classic Sunny Day Real Estate style riff to it, and just beautifully executed vocals. If you can’t get into full on dance around your house mode at the 2:45 breakdown, I don’t really know if I want to know you.

Bio: Cagework began in Cornwall, in 2016 by frontman Samuel Bedford. Originally a recording project for Bedford whilst he was performing in other groups, Cagework became the main focus for the songwriter when moving to London in 2017. Since then Cagework has come into full fruition as a four piece band, whose blend of melodic indie rock and mournful pop has earned them comparisons to artists such as Built To Spill and Stephen Malkmus. Now joined by James Luxton on drums, James Dyer on bass and Michael Clark accompanying on guitar, the group have proven themselves to be a formidable live act.

The band’s first single ‘Simmer’, released in April 2018, was met with high praise from Huw Stephens, Rough Trade and So Young magazine.

TOTD: Astral Cloud Ashes- “Old Moods”

Did you think this was a one man band? Me either. It sounds like some of my favorite emotive music, like The Hotelier, or Moose Blood, or Mccaferty. The fact this is one dude is really impressive to me. “All my life I’ve been waiting for something real.” The thing every great emo song needs is a line that you want to scream in a crowd, or going down the interstate, or alone at home, and that line is just that for me. Even though my teen angst was supposed to expire almost 10 years ago, I still thoroughly connect with it, and I must say, even at 28, all my life I’ve been looking for something real.

Bio: “Influenced by both the rise of bitcoin and Japanese culture, “Dear Absentee Creator” is the new album from one-man-band extraordinaire Astral Cloud Ashes. Raw, grungy vocals pair with emotive and pungent melodies for a sound that is as catchy as it is heartfelt. Each track offers a different variety of emo/pop-punk/alt-rock/indie and more, so definitely be sure to give this one a listen!”

I love the call back to the “clockmaker god” in the title of the album. I’ve listened the whole thing, and I have to say, if you like this song, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not listening to the rest of the album.

-Caleb

 

The Flock: Indie Rock – Raccoon Lagoon, State of Nature, The Color Forty Nine, Werwe, Houston Heard, FINE POINTS

*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.

Raccoon Lagoon – “Tomorrowism”

Starting out this edition of The Flock, we figured we’d show you guys something a little different than what you usually see here. We love psych rock, but not a lot of great psych rock really rolls across our table. I’m not sure why, but those are the facts. Enter: Raccoon Lagoon. The video plays around with one picture for the duration of the song, and it never gets old. With gritty guitar and ethereal keys, Raccoon Lagoon has created a track/video that serves a very specific and trippy purpose.

State of Nature – “Someday Afternoon”

No strangers to the blog, State of Nature hits yet again with a genre bending track that melds funk and indie rock. With funky licks and smooth vocals, State of Nature takes a look at the casual relationship.

You think it’s going to be another love song with the opening line, “I love the way that you can bend and wrap around me much better than my clothes could ever do,” but then it dives into how alcohol influences their decision to meet up and the need to keep an emotional distance. Side note: That opening line is one of the coolest I’ve heard in a while. The lyrics are on point, but the vocal inflection on the word do speaks to the nature of the relationship: playful and definitely sultry. We are only becoming bigger fans of the indie rock band, and they land home with another great song for us.

The Color Forty Nine – “Storyteller”

I’ve watched this video so many times now. I still don’t really know where to start because I’m just so enamored by it. The music itself gives me a lot of different vibes, but the strongest one is probably My Morning Jacket. That said, I truly think this is difficult to classify in a good way, in a this is truly unique sort of way. Before we get to the actual video, let’s dive a bit into the lyrics:

“Ooh, but I have something to say
Feel like something is on the way

Your house of worship has locked the doors
Though many came here, there’s many more
were turned away

Oooh, but I had something to say
Oooh, we’re not worth it in any way

Storyteller, on the fence
Won’t you tell us
How it ends ”

Now these lyrics are very ambiguous. I would say due to the church reference, and the subject of the video itself, there seems to be both a critique of religious people today, and also a question to the Storyteller, who in this scenario could be God, or someone speaking “for God” asking what’s next? How does this all end? There seems to be a definite feeling from the speaker in the song that part of the story seems to be getting lost, or blocked.

Now I definitely want to hear some interpretations from you guys on the video. I see a man getting made up, at first I think in some sort of drag, but then it seems like that’s not quite it. He goes to a closet where he types on a typewriter, which works into the story feeling blocked or hidden trope from before. Then he gets presented on a stage, sings some more, and dances. I think all of that still fits into the questions I asked before, but I also think there’s maybe some sort of meditation on what it takes to get a message out going on here. Can an artist just dress normal and sing his heart out and be heard? Or does he need to be made up, with elaborate backdrops? 20 years ago, you could still presumably just be a good songwriter and rise to the top. Now? I like to think that’s still true, but it seems more and more there has to be an elaborate gimmick to go along with it. Maybe this song is talking about all the storytellers who never get an audience because of shallow reasons? I don’t know. I’ll continue to watch this video many more times into the future. It isn’t an immediate answer, and, I’m so thankful it’s not.

Werwe – “Different Tune”

Ah man guys. How good is this song? This song kind of gives me a mix of Jimmy Eat World and Modest Mouse. I also really dig the lyrics of this song. It seems to be calling up these nostalgic images, which is pretty normal, but then he kind of shows off how he’s different from back then, and he’s going to do his own thing. This works perfectly into his bio:

“Different Tune” is the first single from Werwe’s upcoming Birthday EP to be released on June 19th 2018.

On his new project, Philadelphia based singer-songwriter Steven Martinho set out to create the music he’s always wanted to make – skillfully crafted pop that remains unpretentious and fun.”

So, I never heard what he was creating before, but I’m glad he’s making the music he wants to make, because I’m really connecting with it.

Houston Heard – “My Divine (a little demo guy)”

As mentioned in the title, this is more of a demo than a fully polished album track like some of the others, but his voice shines through excellently anyway. He says he wrote this song about someone in your life who kind of sucks, but you always kind of root for them. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics:

“Would it kill to take some time for what I say, that’s okay
It’ll go in one ear and out the other anyway

My divine
Your kindness will come in time”

I don’t know about you guys but this sort of relationship is one of the most painful many of us will ever experience. It can get increasingly infuriating when you try to give them advice, that they don’t take. It takes a really patient person to stick with them after the first 5 or so times of being ignored. I know I’m not that patient.

FINE POINTS – “Ready and Able”

This song just jumped off the page at us. Or jumped out of the speakers, or whatever you want to call it. This song features Hannah Moriah with absolutely beautiful harmonies. It is the second single off their upcoming album Take Shape, out July 13, 2018 on Dine Alone Records. Their genre is technically described as “Narco Pop” and they’ve landed tours with many in the genre, including: White Fence, The Warlocks, and the Fresh and Only’s. I didn’t really know much about the genre, but apparently it is primary stories set around drugs and drug smugglers, and was originally a primarily Mexican genre? That’s from a quick google search, so it could be wrong. All I know is I love how smooth the vocals work in this song, and it gives me some vibes from a lot of classic rock, with modern indie vibes. I’m pretty much always sold when a rotation of vocals and callbacks can work together and the best play to find that in this song is around 3:00 min mark until the end. If you are on the west coast, don’t miss them in July:

Performance Dates:

July 17 – Olympia, WA  @ Le Voyeur Cafe

July 18 – Seattle, WA  @ Sunset Tavern

July 19 – Portland, OR  @ White Owl Social Club

July 20 – Berkeley, CA  @ The Starry Plough

July 21 – Visalia, CA  @ Cellar Door

July 22 – Los Angeles, CA  @ HiHat

 

-Caleb and Seth

Did you know we do a podcast? It’s true. You can check out the latest episode here.

Video of the Day: Djo Life – “The Cactus Song”

 

Described briefly as “A musical rarity about the forbidden love between man and cactus,” Djo Life has our vote for best Cactus love song of the year. The video has a unique, draw as you go sort of style to it, with, you guessed it, tons of pictures of cactuses, cacti? Of course, as you might expect, love between a man and a cactus has it’s complications, including pricks of the hand, that result in blood spilling down into the pot the cactus is housed in.

Bio: About Djo Life

“Djo Life is a one piece band based in the sun drenched environs of Tucson, AZ. Originally hailing from NYC, Djo practiced his song craft in various bands of no great acclaim both in NY and later in Boston’s Hot Wire Zeppo and the very defunct The 520s.  Upon arriving in Tucson to attend graduate school, he continued to pen his unique pop songs(instead of studying) just for personal enjoyment.

Djo treats each song as a singular entity and tries to infuse each song with as many catchy hooks and phrases as possible. “Each song is a lyrical poem with the music as a means to augment the composition into something altogether precious and singular”.   Ultimately, his love of New Wave and Classic Rock seeps into each track as if by osmosis.

Much of 2018 will be spent in the studio working on new material released one song after another. New releases can be found at djolife.com”

 

I know the next time I’m looking for love stories between a man and an desert plant, I’ll be visiting djolife.com for sure.

-Caleb

I don’t know if you know this, but we released a podcast episode yesterday. You can find that here.

Podcast Episode 14: Creativity

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iTunes

Don’t forget to leave us reviews and share so that we can share undiscovered music with more and more people. Thanks so much for your support.

-Caleb

Show notes:

Join Seth and Caleb as they discuss creativity, audience, Bob Ross, Irish Whiskey, drinking while pregnant, hip-hop philosophy, and as always, the best music you’ve never heard.

Caleb’s book if you are interested: www.amazon.com/Cosmic-Hello-Less…=the+cosmic+hello

Intro: Freedom Baby – I Want to Give

song.link/us/i/1374721588

Glamour and the Baybes – Taking it Back
itunes.apple.com/us/album/taking-…787?i=1355528791

2. Brian Freeman – Facade
itunes.apple.com/us/album/keep-in…light/1360386830

3.PENPALS – Up to the Sky
pen-pals.bandcamp.com/track/up-to-the-sky

4. Lightning Echoes – In Circles
itunes.apple.com/ca/album/one-tin…ingle/1368296524

5. Twiddy – Live From The Bowling Alley
itunes.apple.com/us/album/live-fr…s&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

twiddy – Live from the Bowling Alley [LIVE PERFORMANCE VIDEO]

6. Robert Ledet – Play For Free
robertledet.bandcamp.com/track/play-for-free

7. Freedom Baby – I Want to Give
song.link/us/i/1374721588

Don’t forget to check out our previous episodes here.

If you like what we do, and you have a spare $1 per month, please consider supporting us on Patreon.

TOTD: The Delivery “take the chance”

I love this song. It mixes a lot of elements that I don’t normally hear together. It has some 80s driving at night vibes musically, but lyrically and vocally it has some 1st wave emo elements. I guess the closest comparison I can think of is Jimmy Eat World or something, but it’s still not a great comparison. I love the hook though. “Don’t be afraid to show/ what lingers deep within your soul.” He also calls out the “masquerade of fools”. I can’t help but feel like this song is very appropriate for the present, where we show only certain masks on social media and in person, and rarely show what lingers deep within our soul.

About The Delivery

Hailing from the city of Munich in Germany, Markus Klaas makes his debut album New Days. The Delivery is at once influenced by his childhood; making and collecting songs in Germany, and by his extensive travel experience. A few years in London secured his focus on the alternative pop rock, guitar sounds he now produces.

 

You can find his entire album streaming on Spotify or wherever you get your music. To give you a good start, check out this song posted on our monthly Spotify playlist.

-Caleb

 

New Release Friday: HAUS Music, Ryan Svendsen, Jesse Jo Stark, Cara Hammond, Joe Garvey, The Millennial Club, The Little Miss, The Fey

Happy official Summer everyone! To kick off this most glorious season, we have a bevy of brand new summer related tracks for you to check out. Some of you may have come here because your favorite band shared this on social media, and please, do check their write up, but stick around for a while; if we have good enough taste to like your favorite band, I bet we have more out there for you too.

HAUS Music – “Rêves Ephémères”

Let’s get this started strong here with HAUS Music. This is another one of those songs we like to share where we don’t understand any of the lyrics (because we are stupid Americans) but the vibe of the song is so infectious that I don’t think I need to. Music is a universal language. Luckily I do have a little bit of background with what they are talking about:

“Mitchell says, “Rêves Ephémères translates to Ephemeral Dreams. It is an acknowledgment that stories that we invent for ourselves to carry us forward can and will just as often carry us somewhere we didn’t intend to go. For me it is a gentle reminder that happiness doesn’t come all at once at some point in the future; instead, it grows slowly over time. Don’t get trapped in a cycle of unhappiness thinking it can bring you anything but pain.”

There’s no doubt that this song is Ephemeral, whether you know every word that is being mentioned or not. I hope we can remember his message about happiness, and avoiding unhappiness throughout this summer.

Ryan Svendsen – “One Hundred Percent Ft. Jerome Thomas”

Have you figured out the beautiful thing about these lists yet? If you come in for one band, of a certain style, you may find another band of a completely different style to also add to your list. I think this song has to be on everyone’s list. Ryan Svendsen is a talented musician who has been featured on tracks by Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato, and here you can see his creative vision taking shape under his own direction. I have to say, it’s gorgeous. Like all the songs in this list, it is absolutely perfect summer music, and luckily Ryan released this just in time for the first day of summer. Let me encourage anyone who likes horns to go check out Ryan’s back discography. It’s perfect for chilling out, background for work, or a party. It’s multifarious.

 

Jesse Jo Stark – “Dandelion”

The first thing I thought when I heard this song was how anyone who likes Lana Del Rey will almost certainly get a kick out of Jesse Jo Stark. They have similar vocal styles, and musical accompaniment. With this song, Jesse Jo Stark sings about loving something that you shouldn’t, and how complicated that quickly gets. Anyone got any theories on the title? I mean obviously Dandelions are a nice yellow flower, but I also tend to think of the seed heads, and how quickly they can blow away. Maybe this relationship is more like the latter?

Cara Hammond – “How I Feel”

How about this amazing bluesy single from Cara Hammond? This is the first song off new EP called Nice Girl, coming out in the fall. When asked about the song Cara describes it as: “How I Feel is a very relatable song about love, loss and nostalgia,” explains Cara “I think the track picks up on those little details and memories which are present in all types of relationships, making it a very powerful song” I can certainly hear that. There is a  mention of going out to bars, just hoping to see someone and ask how they are, and a lot of that terrible feeling after breaking up with someone that was once important, and no longer feeling very important to them. Really heart wrenching stuff, wrapped in a beautifully sung package.

 

Joe Garvey – “What Your Time Is Worth”

Joe Garvey asks us an important question with this smooth funk/pop song: “Do you know what your time is worth?” He begs us to consider how quickly the time passes, even a nice 80 year life is too short. In an age of increasing technology, distraction, and hustle and bustle, it seems that time isn’t what it used to be. Are you using yours the way you want to? Are you wasting days? I read once that we have about 4500 days worth of free time, meaning not work, not sleep, etc. That’s a disturbingly low number. Do you know what your time is worth?

 

The Millennial Club – “Santa Barbara”

This track is the perfect summer track. It has the perfect amount of groove to it; it even has a little bit of a California Dre whine going in the background. According to their promo materials: “At an early age, The Millennial Club has managed to blend dance-inspired 80’s pop, beat-driven 90’s R&B, and emotional love-centered lyricism to shape their original Southern California sound.” I would say that says it better than I can. These guys are on the rise, and I could even see them breaking into a top 40 style market eventually. They mix everything I love about summer into one convenient package.

The Little Miss – “American Dream”

Usually I like to get into the lyrics and try to dissect them, put my own spin on the song, etc. This song is too important to not get the words straight from the artist’s mouth. I will say this though, the irony is something that you can taste in this song, and it doesn’t taste like apple pie. The American Dream is an afterthought, a delusion that people once had, a book that you never got around to reading, collecting dust in the attic. I think it should be, at least. The thought that the American Dream has to be this perfect series of check boxes is just a way to sell more ranch style homes and Coke.

“I wrote ‘American Dream’ at a time when the tension in our country felt palpable. This was five years ago. Now, seemingly more divided than ever, I questioned whether or not I should release a song that sounds so blindly idealistic. To be clear, “American Dream” is not an endorsement of this country as it stands now. I don’t think that it is unpatriotic to think that we can do better than this. The American Dream, as it has been fed to us – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – has not delivered on its promises for many (if not most of us). So, while the song yearns for this made-up, sepia-toned time that never existed, it notes exactly that: that it never existed. We’re enchanted by our own, but very limited folklore – the pioneers, the Wild West, the civil war, the nuclear family, the moon landing, etc. We have romantic notions about who we are and who we’ve been, and it is tempting, for all of us, to want to wear those rose-colored glasses. But in order to become better, and in order to progress, we need to take off the glasses and take a good look in the mirror. We all want the same thing: to feel proud of the country we call home – we just need to accept the fact that it might be healthier to learn from our history rather than glamorize it. The lives of so many depend on it.”

 

The Fey – Contender

What is this?!? I seriously have no idea. It blends so many different genres into one crazy rollercoaster, and I loved every second of the ride. I read the bands description of their sound, and it reads as follows: “Dominantly a new age American rock-soul-r&b band, The Fey, also expresses a touch of the contemporary vibes of hip-hop and pop.” As a guy who listens to over 20 new bands a day, when you read a statement like that, you think, “Yeah, okay. Which part do you do well, though?” Most of the time it’s like a restaurant that has 50 menu items, and all of them are average. This is not most of the time. These guys know who they are, and they do rock, soul, r&b, hip-hop, and pop equally well. With strong guitar riffs and organs, smooth vocal runs, and a nice hip-hop verse, The Fey is the true definition of a multi-genre group.

 

-Caleb and Seth

 

As always, check out all of these tracks and more on our June Spotify Playlist.