The Flock: Singer-Songwriter: Ben Foerg, Jacko Hooper, Deer Fellow, Moncrieff, Emina Sonnad

*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 Singer-Songwriters 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.

Ben Foerg – “Around The Bend”

This song does an excellent job of world building in such a small space. I felt like I was playing Red Dead Redemption or something with the rich imagery of the the lyrics. Let’s dive into a couple:

“on the day the fire burned he rolled around in the embers
cackling like a wild animal with ticks beneath its fur
his horse vanished with the smoke
the rider just laughed at the joke
and so he stood and walked on into the woods”

There are several verses with a similar sentiment that seem to be “laughing the face of despair”. No matter what life throws at the protagonist of this song, he meets it with a smirk. It’s really the best parts of who we hope we are. The parts of humanity that shine when faced with trying times and difficulties. The speaker is the anti-hero that we hope is lurking beneath the surface in all of us, and that we often hope we never really have to find out about. Yet:

“if you listen close, you’ll hear the echoes of his ghost
laughing madly through the night but never coming into sight
it’s a sound that will chill your bones
while you were busy skipping stones
the city raged and silently turned the page

it’s the same now as it was then, everyone’s waiting for the end
that moment when we make amends and put it all together again
like somehow we got off course
like somehow we lost our horse
but the river bends and so it will bend again”

So maybe that’s a big part of what is missing in our spirit right now. We’ve become so disconnected from the tests of nature that allowed us to rise as the dominant species on the planet that we no longer feel purposeful. From an objective angle, maybe we never were, but at least on the ground, with a rock in our hand, we felt like we were moving forward and that it was good.

Bio: Released November 2017, “Around the Bend” is the title track from so-named EP.

Ben Foerg is the lead singer of LA rock band The Absurd, here offering a different twist on his writing capabilities. Produced in the bedroom with what lo-fi equipment was available, “Around the Bend” is a testament to Foerg’s lyrical abilities, as well as his interest in fusing the worlds of electronic and folk music.

Jacko Hooper – “All I Deserve, Is Not You”

Did you make it to the breakdown at 1:25? That’s really where this song and video started to completely capture me to the point that I couldn’t look away. The vocals have a bit of a Rainbow Kitten Surprise feel (which if you know me, you know that’s one of the best compliments I can give.) This song seems to be about the feeling you get when you find someone so absurdly perfect that it doesn’t seem right that you deserve it. You are waiting on the shoe to drop. This really becomes apparent with the chorus:

“Oh i deserve to be let down by you
If you’re the rays then i’m the gloom
Desperately searching for two
Oh i deserve to be let down by you”

I really connected with the line: “if you’re the rays then I’m the gloom” because I often feel that way about a lot of positive people in my life, and definitely my SO. I’ve worked through a lot of those issues in therapy over the years, but I still can’t help but feel like Eeyore bringing the mood down when I get hit with a bad day. Aside from the relatable lyrics, the music in this song is unquestionable diverse and beautiful. There are dissonant guitars, gorgeous swelling horns, and drums that know exactly when to emphasize and when to lay off. The whole thing gives me chills, no matter how many times I hear it.

Bio: This track is part of the 4 track split EP out via Folklore Sessions on 7″ vinyl and digitally on all major outlets.

As part of a split EP with George Ogilvie, Bess Atwell and Oktoba.

 

Deer Fellow – “Beautiful Gray”

“Black and white
Ruled my life ‘till I found you
Now I’m living
In this limbo built for two
Late nights talking
Tightrope walking rendezvous
For now I’ll be
Happy just to be close to you

‘Till then
I’ll love you
In this sad but happy state
Beautiful gray”

I love how wonderfully this song works in the title “Beautiful Gray” into the entirety of the lyrics. After spending an entire life in Black and White, it takes a gray area to show the speaker true beauty. Beauty isn’t being happy all the time. Beauty isn’t stark tragedy. Beauty is found in the gray areas between. The gray area also seems to suggest a lover that’s not fully yours. Someone you’re willing to wait on, even though things may not be exactly where you want them right now. It is an appreciation of exactly where you are, even though you probably have to fight the thoughts of where they may one day go. The vocal harmonies themselves give the song the same sort of quality. Where the female vocals seem to be in the front of the mix, but the male vocals echo in the background, filling the empty space.

Bio: Deer Fellow is an indie alt-soul group out of Austin, TX. The band began as an acoustic duo between Matt Salois (vocals, guitar) and Alyssa Kelly (vocals, keys, violin), before expanding to its current 4-member lineup that includes drummer, Joel Klaus, and bassist, John Wilhelm. Deer Fellow performs in several arrangements, whether duo, trio, or electrified full band. Their vocal harmonies seamlessly blend indie with a serving of soul.

Moncrieff – “Serial Killer”

Speaking on the lyrical meaning behind the new single, Moncrieff said: “I wrote Serial Killer a few months after coming out of what was a pretty intense relationship; to put it lightly. It’s nuts how you never seem to notice how your perspective changes when you’re in deep with someone. You lose the ability to be objective as infatuation paints over traits in a person that would otherwise serve as warning signs.”

I’m not going to dive too deeply into the specific lyrics, because we will do that at length on an upcoming podcast episode (maybe 4 weeks or so?). I am going to talk about how great the production on this track is. It builds in the best possible way. It uses vocal distortion and echo to create a darkness that belies the seemingly upbeat melody. And it ultimately ends up with a breakdown that would fit in any EDM mix.

Bio:  Moncrieff’s reputation as a phenomenal live act continues to spread, with upcoming performances confirmed at The Great Escape (having been chosen to be one of the festival’s “First Fifty”), Live At Leeds, and more. Add to that, strong airplay from BBC Radio 16 Music, and Beats 1, along with a 13 week stint on the European Border Breakers Chart – this is only the start of what is set to be an incredibly exciting 12 months for Moncrieff.

Facebook: facebook.com/moncrieffmusic

Twitter: twitter.com/moncrieffmusic

Instagram: instagram.com/moncrieffmusic

 

Emina Sonnad – “Pretending to See Stars”

“So close your eyes
And we’ll pretend to see stars
In a world where the light has to hide behind
The smoke coming out of cars
And we’ll pretend all the planets are our
And I can see (you’re lying next to me)
As we lie in bed (I love you, please don’t leave)
The most beautiful things are the ones we imagine in our heads.

Did you hear the spaceships flying by
(happiness consumes you all night long)
Cause all I see are light shows in the sky
(you always take the pill I guess the real thing’s not as strong)
But don’t you sometimes want something to keep?
Wish I could wake you up, you look so lonely in your sleep. ”

Man, these lyrics give me chill throughout. I don’t usually post this many of them, but it’s like poetry. This perfectly captures the way I feel about our place as humans in a society that has mostly realized our existence is meaningless. (That’s not to say you can’t find meaning, or that I judged you if you find it through older conventional means/religions). To me though, we know enough now to know that we are a tiny speck, on a tiny speck, that seemingly evolved to realize that fact, but not enough to find out what it all means, or if it all means anything. This song does a great job capturing that lonely feeling that comes along with that realization. It also does a great job of capturing the way that relationships fit into that feeling. I have a SO that I want to spend the rest of my life with, and I think we will, but ultimately that ends, and ultimately, we all die alone. “(I love you, please don’t leave)”. It immediately reminds me of the Typhoon song “Common Sentiments” which leaves you with this little existential threat: “They say you want to hear something that you already know
If it comes from above, well this one comes from below
It says, “You are sleeping together, but you will die alone.”

Bio: Emina Sonnad is an indie-pop singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles, California. She made her performing debut recently while living abroad in Madrid, Spain, where she gained recognition for her ability to pair simple melodies with complex and strikingly relatable lyrics. In the style of artists such as Regina Spektor, Lana Del Rey, and Ingrid Michaelson, Emina’s songs take on a narrative and dynamic form, switching from dreamlike to bluntly honest as she tells stories about the people and places she’s known or imagined.

 

-Caleb (sorry for the darkness)

Did you like this? We have these songs and more on our August Spotify TOTD Playlist.

Did any of these songs make you feel Existential? We just recorded part one of our Existentialism episode for our Podcast. It will be live on Monday, August 13th.

The Flock: Singer-Songwriter – King of Little Sweden, Black Lilys, The Quill, Gabrielle Marlena, Evelyn Drach, Nicky William, Joe Bel, Wolfy, M’Lynn, Noah Kahan

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*

 

King of Little Sweden – I’ll Be Waiting

The album cover has a snowy sort of scene, and I think the song is basically a soundscape of that same scene. It mixes the darkness and sublime beauty of a snowy mountain in song form. The lyrics seem to be a stream of consciousness about past love, and what it means for the future. There are moments of nostalgia mirrored with a realization that so far the speaker hasn’t found the right fit. Oftentimes, this sort of song is after you’ve found your ideal someone. We’ve all heard the inverse of this song, which usually says something like: “I’ve been waiting for forever for someone like you.” But this song instead belts the refrain, “I’ll be waiting for someone like you,” because that person hasn’t shown up yet, and the speaker may be slightly anxious that they never will.

Bio: King of Little Sweden was born as a collective creative effort in the winter wonderland of Verbier in 2014. Most of the group is based in Sweden, so the analogy with the landscape was inevitable, with Verbier being a village that could be seen as “Little Sweden”. The Scandinavian influences are quite present in their style, which has been developed by years of family musicianship (two of the bands’ members are siblings and their uncle Sven acts as their producer and manager).

“I’ll Be Waiting” marks their label debut with Rexius Records in 2018, after almost a year of collective development of a new artistic concept.

Black Lilys – Boxes

So, anyone who knows me knows I love poetry. And something about this video struck a familiar chord with me. There was a film that came out a few years back about the poet Dylan Thomas (he’s the dude that wrote “Do not go gently into that good night..”). You can check out the trailer here: A Poet In New York. There is a scene in the film that felt so familiar in this video, where Dylan is walking through a field and sees his ex-wife, and regrets most of his decisions. Now that’s just the beginning of this video, but it felt like a fun parallel.

What follows in this particular video is a strange puppet act. Where the singer makes movements that other characters seem unable not to parrot. The movements are disjointed and panicked and give off a creepy theatrical vibe. I also like the moment where she is standing on a raised rock with a book and seemingly proselytizing about something, religion? some strange cult? It’s certainly a video that brings up more questions than answers, but those are my favorite pieces of art. It’s fun to mire yourself up in the ambiguity and let it leave it’s impression on you without knowing all of the answers. All I know is that the music, and the video, are unlike anything else I’ve heard, and that automatically makes me want more.

 

The Quill – Maid Malou, Fetch the Wood

“I am soft and sparkle in the shadows of the smokey world of You and I
See how the Hunter’s Moon, my love, has frozen frosty halo’s over the sky.

Maid Malou, do you posses
A magical Maori spell to ride the Killer Whale?
Cuz blue electric Neptune screams
“Girl! Swim swim swim!…” ”

The first thing this reminds me a bit of is Fleet Foxes. I think it’s partially how cinematic the whole thing is, and partially the surreal, yet grounded Folk storytelling. Maid Malou seems to have a lot of powerful connections to seemingly dissonant magic/religion/spiritualism, and the speaker is asking for her assistant for seemingly dissonant problems, like riding a Killer Whale. Described as Psychedelic Folk, it’s certainly exceptional and unique. Let me paste a bit of their bio to show you just how star studded this collective is:

Bio: The group includes the likes of Lyla Foy, John Herbert and James Dale (of Goldheart Assembly), æmma, fiddle legend Ben Gunnery, classically trained violinist Louisa Wood, Alex Mattinson, Rylan Holey, harmonica player Lee Vernon, and a core rhythm section of Ash Hall, Drew Wynen, Ben Davis and Riccardo Castellani. They have been actively gigging in different sizes for many years, yet reserve the full assemblage for special concerts, cued by moments in the lunar cycle.

That’s an insane amount of talent to orchestrate, and yet you hear each diverse piece get it’s moment, and shine.

 

Gabrielle Marlena – Road Thoughts

Gabrielle Marlena has already been featured here before: right here. So when we heard another great song by her, it was a no brainer. Before I dive into the lyrics, I’m going to post a bit about Gabrielle’s inspiration behind the song:

“The first track on my new EP, Road Thoughts came to me on my drive between Denver, CO and Ogden, UT while on tour last year. The shortest route was to go North through Wyoming, and the incredible landscape gave me a moment of calm and self-assurance. Reflecting on past relationships and feeling strength in my independence, I remember recording on a voice memo “You’ve got this babe, it wasn’t your time, you’ve had the love some only dream of in your life.” The rest of the song came later. The lyrics are about accepting the fact that sometimes you can really only count on yourself, and that has to be enough. It’s also about witnessing the complexities that people in relationships are constantly facing, and therefore embracing the simplicity of being alone.”

I’m really blown away by the lyrics of this song. If you didn’t listen closely, go back and listen closer:

“And I just called this guy I used to see in Brooklyn,

Cause I was curious in the direction he was headed in,

If he’ll be marrying that chick that’s trying to wife him,

but it doesn’t matter anymore”

This is just a sample, but she plants so much emotion in such relatable scenes. Who hasn’t felt nostalgic about a past love and looked them up, or reached out to them? I’ve actually had a really similar experience to what Gabrielle described above, where a long drive healed a lot of insecurity and loneliness I was feeling, and allowed me to get over a girl. If you guys liked the two songs by her, this probably won’t the last time you hear her, she’s going to be on future podcast episodes too.

Evelyn Drach – Follow Me

With an ethereal soundscape and a voice that carries straight to your innermost being, Evelyn Drach’s “Follow Me” is an absolutely beautiful piece of art. This is such a poetic track. It starts out with two separate pieces joining together to make a very full and rich first act. The singer-songwriter feel of the guitar and Evelyn’s voice meets with the orchestral, and beautifully cacophonous track behind her.  The second act of the song is a monologue with an eeriness that is palpable. Isn’t that what music is about? We all just want to feel. This song will take you to the house with the hidden floor if you let it.

I had that dream again last night,
the one about the house with the hidden floor and it made me think.
A man leaves china vases around his home and in these vases he keeps fake flowers.
Why do people keep fake flowers in their homes?
Are fake flowers beautiful?
What is beautiful about a flower?
A flower is beautiful because of its fragility.
Its beautiful because the moment its plucked from a field, a forest, a path or a garden its lifespan has been
determined.
The flower has been chosen to die and so the flower becomes a martyr.
But a martyr is someone who has died for a cause.
What is the cause of a flowers death?
Someone desires beauty in their home.
What does this mean for a man who only keeps fake flowers?
Does he wish to preserve the living and in doing so does he deny himself beauty?
Is it simply his frugality?
Is it too expensive to buy new flowers?
Whats the price of beauty?
The flowers are symbolic of an idea of beauty, an idea he can never understand.
Or is it the exact opposite?
He looks at the fake flowers and is reminded of the real.
He is reminded of the concept of a flower being plucked, being presented and perishing and it is in this concept
that he finds beauty, so that when he looks at the fake flowers he understands profoundly the tragedy of the real.
I had that dream again last night,
the one about the house with the hidden floor and it made me think

The sentiment here is one that is beautiful. What makes the human experience beautiful? Is it the presentation, or is it knowing that it will end? Is something beautiful if it’s eternal, or does it lose it’s luster? Nobody can answer this question but you. For me, it is the brokenness and the fragility of everything that really shows off it’s beauty.

Nicky William – Girls With Common Names

I have such a soft spot for barrel-chested bass singers getting out of the pigeonhole of theater, harmonizing, and quartets. Bands like The National will always be some of my favorites because they did something they weren’t supposed to do. Nicky William is another one of those guys. He has the kind of depth to his voice that rattles your rib cage while listening, and owns every bit of it.

This man has been hurt by plenty of Ashley’s in his day, and he wants to let you know that they aren’t worth it. Being married to a Megan, I would have to disagree with the sentiment, but I support the way he feels. I guess if I had been hurt by multiple girls with common names, I may draw the same personal conclusions as Nicky though.

Joe Bel – In the Morning

Joe Bel is a self taught instrumentalist who has something to say, and she does it with a distinct voice and poetic lyrics. The key to the song for me though, is the soulful backups that come in during the chorus, perfectly complimenting Bel’s soulful voice. Bel’s voice dances across the screen with more eloquence and grace than the movements in the video, and the movements in the video are a picture of grace.

Bio: Self-taught and instinctive, Joe Bel played her first shows solo with her acoustic guitar. A few months later, Asaf Avidan discovers her mesmerizing folk/soul songs and offers her to open for all of his European shows.
She keeps going with “Hit the Roads” (2015), a critically acclaimed second EP, which brings her back on the roads of Europe, and this time even as far as Japan. The year after, the title track is used to promote luxury brand Longchamp’s campaign directed by Peter Lindbergh.

Wolfy – Abigail

Wolfy is easily one of the most self-deprecating and sarcastic artists we have ever worked with, and it’s an absolutely beautiful thing. When asked to fill out a bio, this was Wolfy’s official response:

my career and the music I make are fun as hell though not very important so writing a bio (short for biography) for myself is kind of like writing a bio for a vine compilation. like, what do you want me to tell you? i’m a 25 year old moron who lives in los angeles and spends every day trying to pay rent and write/produce songs that don’t make people want to rip their eyelashes out one by one. my new ep, INK, was just released on sentimental records on may 29th. “abigail” is the closing track.

When asked about the song, this was her official response:

Yeah, so I said I hate singing and it’s still true (referencing her website bio). But when I first laid the blueprints for these three EPs, I decided I would sing one song on each and it is a personality flaw of mine that I am very, very bad at changing plans. And as my own label executive, I wasn’t about to let my shitty, weak-brained artist decide they weren’t going to sing on a song they wrote because they “hate singing”. So I put my foot down. I said, “Hey, we signed you and gave you an advance of $8 and a Trader Joe’s microwaveable burrito. We expect a return on our investment so you get back in that studio and don’t come out until you need to go to your part-time job and then go back into the studio and finish that song”. And that’s how you run a label.     

This song is one of the only songs I’ve ever written that outlines a story. But fuck me if anyone even knows what that story is. Basically, it’s about a girl who gets murdered and thrown in a well. I’ve heard the lyrics are a little “vague”. But whatever, it’s not my fault you guys forgot everything from your junior-year English class. Ever heard of context clues? Damn.     

Also this song doesn’t have anything to do with my friends named Abby. You guys are cool.

The lyrics would definitely be lost on me without the song description, but that doesn’t mean they have no meaning. Ambiguity is the name of the game when it comes to music, and this song is a shining example of that.

With a timbre that lets you know there’s real emotion behind it instead of some overproduced bullshit, Wolfy tells a story of tragedy and makes you feel warm inside. Not really sure how that works. I’m not sure I’m a good person anymore thanks to this song. Kind of like how I felt after listening Pyotr from Bad Books for the first time.

Also, Wolfy, you may hate singing, but we’re kind of into it. Keep doing it. we’ll talk to your label manager if you decide anything different.

M’Lynn – Just Take Time

A perfect song that preaches a message that tends to be forgotten. Don’t worry about your pace through the race, just worry about moving forward. Often times we get caught up in the fact that we aren’t achieving goals as quickly as we want to when all we need to focus on is if they’re still at the end of the path we are on. Self-care and self-assessment are pushed aside for the carrot that you can almost taste. Take care of yourself, people. In a lot of cases, you’re the only one who will/can.

M’Lynn has that big band sound with a soulful tone and intonation, M’Lynn is an absolutely powerhouse. Think sultry female Michael Buble, and you’re almost there.

Noah Kahan – Come Down

Are you a fan of Ed Sheeran? Then we have the guy for you. With a distinct voice all his own, Noah Kahan tells a story on “Come Down” about being there for a friend when they were experiencing extreme anxiety. We talk about anxiety and depression a lot on the blog, and we absolutely love the sentiment in the song. Panic attacks, anxiety, and depression have hit everyone, and having a friend like Noah who understands the fear and the frustration that this causes can mean the difference between recovery and a total collapse. We say this all the time, but human existence is all about community. You need a group of people who will be there to hold you and help you up when it’s needed, and you need people to assist in a likewise manner. Noah, it seems like the only thing that beats out your musical talent is your stellar support for your friends.

 


 

As we always say at the end of The Flock posts, go spend money on these guys, tell them how much you like their music, or just visit their sites to see their tour dates, new releases, etc. Their links are found by clicking on their name in the post.

We have a podcast. It’s right here ——-> Give it a click

 

-Seth and Caleb

 

 

 

The Flock: Singer/Songwriter: Simon Lewis & Onk Lou, Martha Hill, keatsu, Kaiak, Boyce Avenue, David Madras

*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.

Simon Lewis & Onk Lou – “Home 2.0”

The way this was described when it was sent to us was simply: “Two incredible voices in one song that couldn’t be more variant.” When I first started listening to the music, I was like, okay, this first guy has a beautiful voice; I’m sure the other guy does too, but how variant could they really be? And then the second guy came in; and I immediately started to type my response about wanting to feature this song on the blog. Then they harmonize together and I had to stop typing and just listen to the rest of the song before I responded. I was trying to think of who they reminded me of; and I couldn’t come up with anyone that they actually sounded like. They remind me slightly of Middle Brother in the sense that they have very different voices and beautiful lyricism, but these guys have much better voices than Middle Brother (not hating, I love Middle Brother). Let’s dive in briefly to the beautiful lyricism I mentioned:

“I dig a hole in the woods and I grow with the roots and I go with the flood as life tells me so, I let go of the mess created in my head because,
Home is where the heart is and that’s wherever I go.
bridge:
I close my eyes to feel the moment, I walk this path made out of cobblestone, I take a breath before I let it go, when stars collide they fall apart but in the end there’ll always be a start, till than I’ll dance beneath the waterfall”

I could’ve really picked any section of the song and found something to talk about, but I particularly like the message of home being different for different people. In particular; it doesn’t have to be a place with roots stuck in one place, it can also be a flooded river you float down. “Home is where the heart is, and that’s wherever I go.”

Martha Hill – “Spiders”

Do you ever feel like you’re losing your mind? Well this song perfectly describes exactly what that feels like:

“One head two minds

Hands pressing glass from separate sides

Three seconds till I dive

1 2 3 stop

CHORUS

The spiders in my head they just won’t leave me alone

I pick the legs off while I wait for the seconds to slow ”

There’s something about the lyrics that remind me a bit of the short story “The Yellow Wall Paper”, a story where a woman being shut in the house by her husband, becomes increasingly crazy; which causes her husband to shut her in even more for…being crazy.

The beautiful instrumentals that have a nice beat throughout, and then go off the rails like a Pink Floyd bridge at the 2 minutes mark only add to Martha’s haunting vocals that carry you right up to the very last second of the very last “1, 2, 3, stop.” It’s a song that strikes a perfect balance between catchy and disorienting; and I really can’t get enough of it.

Bio: “Martha Hill is a an alternative pop artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

After growing up as one of six siblings on a remote Scottish peninsula, where the only link to the mainland was via ferry, she left home at 17 and spent two years touring across Europe as a street musician.

Eventually relocating to north-east England and falling in with a local ‘scene’ for the first time, Martha and her band have spent the past year touring all over the UK – supporting the likes of Holy Moly & The Crackers and Let’s Eat Grandma at venues such as Borderline, The Cluny etc. – with two DIY tours of Europe falling in between. Her most recent gig was for BBC Introducing, supporting Atlantic-signed Mahalia on The Biggest Weekend Fringe Tour.”

keatsu – “Feel Good”

I realize this isn’t necessarily what you might initially think of as “Singer/Songwriter”, but keatsu is basically a one man show, and it’s my blog, so don’t worry about it. Also, if you only listened to the first little bit, you’d assume the whole thing was just a normal lo-fi project with a guy with an acoustic guitar, and then you quickly see it advance and evolve from there into a beautiful call and response with himself that repeats “I just feel good on the dance floor.” This is something you’d expect to be said by Justin Timberlake with a break beat behind it, but is instead said with lo-fi effects and an a minimalistic guitar. The irony and self awareness of keatsu is my favorite thing about all his projects. He’s one of my favorite artists out the moment. On his full-length, he references everything from Nirvana, to Linkin Park, to pop songs, and it all just works. Literally go throw a dart at his Spotify page and you’ll find 3 new favorite songs. We can get you started with our Spotify link at the bottom of this page (don’t skip down there yet, still plenty of good music to hear).

Kaiak – “No Regrets”

I really could see this song making waves on some mainstream channels in the summer months. The thing that really solidified this song for me, other than the beautiful production and vocals, was the interesting use of horns during the later half of the song. It really was a nice surprise for me that took this song from a nice sounding song that I would listen to again, to a song I immediately saved to all of my Spotify playlists. “Lesson learned, passed the test, life goes on, no regrets.” It’s a message that we’ve all heard before, but gets solidified by the pretty package that Kaiak has presented it in here.

Boyce Avenue – “Ride The Wave”

I immediately thought this looked like an advertisement. I guess that might come off as a bad thing; but I mean like a Super Bowl Ad. It’s one of those heartfelt ones that you expect from Budweiser or something. It’s just so beautifully shot, and the music itself fits the vibe that it’s created so well.

“The tide will rise and fall; some days you will feel small, but ride a wave, I’ll ride it in with you.”

I don’t have kids, but that sentiment is just so beautiful to me. It’s both a lesson and a show of support, an acknowledgment of the harshness of the world, but also saying “I have your back as long as I can.” This message mixed with the family fun and love shown in the video can melt the coldest of hearts. Trust me on that.

David Madras – “Me & You”

And last, but certainly not least. Do you like Phosphorescent? Who doesn’t? David Madras’ voice reminds me so much of Phosphorescent. I’m really excited to announce that this song will be a part of our upcoming podcast episode that focuses on Existentialism. Oh you didn’t know we had a podcast? Check it out here. Since we are focusing on it on the podcast, I don’t want to spoil too much here, but let’s dive briefly into one of the lines.

“She said she had a little revelation, about the way the clouds appear, and how a day becomes a year. She said she had a little realization, about everything she’s ever feared, and suddenly it’s drawing near.”

I don’t know about you guys, but I connect to the “she” in this song so strongly. The existentialism episode is going to talk about it at length, but basically the idea is that you suddenly feel and question how tiny and insignificant you are in the cosmos; and this song perfectly captures that feeling. Is that a bad feeling? Yeah, sometimes. But it can also be empowering. “She says, we are young, me and you, there’s so much that I don’t know and I’m never going to. We are young, there’s so much left to do, all the wonders of the world for a boy and girl like me and you.”

 

-Caleb

Did you like these songs? Good, me too. Want to hear them again? They are all on our July TOTD Playlist on Spotify. 

The Flock: Indie Rock – Bears in Hazenmore, The Brothers Moore, State of Nature, Hannah’s Little Sister, Vern Matz, Somehow

*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.

Bears in Hazenmore – Wedding Season

When I saw that this music video was 3 minutes and 23 seconds of making and eating eggs, I wasn’t sure how I felt at first. Then, I decided how much I love it all. It’s a perfect example of how sometimes the most mundane times with your best friends are the times that stick out in your mind forever. In the words of the band, “The video is entirely unrelated — a sneak-peek into the life and times of five best friends and their mere interactions with one man’s obsession with eggs.”

With ethereal vocals and synths,  perfectly stated brass, and offbeat drums, this track is one that has made it onto all of my summer playlists.

 

The Brothers Moore – Moves

No strangers to the website, The Brothers Moore come through again with their unique brand of almost familiar indie rock. If you haven’t been hanging out on the blog long, check out their previous post here. It’s easy to pull the similarities between them and early Kings of Leon, but they seem to go beyond that for me personally. I think the main reason that they hold a higher spot for me than Kings of Leon (send the hate mail to bsideguys@gmail.com) is because of how much fun these guys always seem to be having. These guys are getting some rightfully deserved recognition, getting to open for bands like Ra Ra Riot, Nada Surf, and my favorite band of all time, Manchester Orchestra. That’s something these guys couldn’t be more stoked about, and it shows through the video and the tunes.

 

State of Nature – Two Weeks Notice

If you’ve been around any amount of time, you know that any song that talks about quitting a soul-crushing job to pursue your passion is a soft spot for me. Anything that promotes getting out of the grind of the 9-5 holds a special place in my heart. A lot of times I project that sentiment into a song, but in Two Weeks Notice, this band leaves nothing to the imagination. This Third Eye Blind reincarnate group from New York will have you ready to turn in your letter of resignation, and I’m always cool with that.

 

Hannah’s Little Sister – 20

“Creeping out from the pot holes and the storm drains, these four are about to take over your local cul-de-sac. With their offbeat humour, untamed manners and trashy tunes, these terrible tikes sound truly delightful.”

Hannah’s Little Sister has a wild reformed grit that isn’t quite like anything out there, and it is absolutely refreshing. This is raw roots rock at its finest. They prescribe to the genre of “alternative,” and they are definitely an alternative to anything else I’m listening to right now. They take emotive vocals and witty lyrics, and they pair that with beveled edge guitar hooks and an unrepentant snare/kick combo.

 

Vern Matz – Shelby Park

This is the kind of complex track that only a band from the likes of Harvard could create. I guess these Yale students have exceeded their surrounding threshold then. I jest. The only Ivy League school I have allegiance to is the one that accepts me. I don’t see that happening anytime soon, so for now my only allegiance is to Vern Matz… so I guess my allegiance is to Yale. Man, what a rollercoaster! It’s kind of like their song, Shelby Park, or as the band affectionately calls it, Shelby. When asked about the track, the band has a very articulate response (I would hope so from Ivy League students):

“Perhaps we are on a first name basis with the song because of how close we have grown to it; Shelby’s a big part of our lives now. But this wasn’t always the case. Shelby Park didn’t have it’s identity until it was done. It was only until after the song was complete that it really grew on all of us. With Shelby, we got to put on a lot of different hats and play something vaguely aggressive. There’s some focus on aging, and losing identities, but it’s not an overly serious song – there’s blue hearts, and martians moons, and dropped phone calls, and leaving Shelby. It’s a childish piece a lot of ways; in some ways we were sort of pretending to be 16 year-olds in a rock band from 1993.”

They perfectly encapsulated everything that made rock bands from the early 90’s popular: the Pixies progression in the intro, the ritardando in the chorus, and the cacophonous dissonance in the buildup that flirts with the line of being too much. I am absolutely in love with this song from my favorite Brown students.

 

Somehow – While the Days Go By

The wrap-up for this edition of The Flock is held by a French multi-instrumentalist, Erwan Pépiot. The first thing that got my attention about this track is Erwan’s Matt Berringer-esque timbre with his lower register ringing clearly. It’s the kind of voice that makes you feel loved. His voice could wrap its arms around you and let you know that everything will be okay. When Erwan takes the stage, he strips his performances down and delivers intimate acoustic sets. Next time I’m in the Paris area, I have to check out one of those performances.

Check out these artists, and all of our other June artists, on our Spotify playlist of the month here. 

The new episode of the podcast is live here.

 

Seth’s Favorite Releases June 15th: Dustin Tebbutt, Call Me Karizma, Alexander Wolfe, Traveling John, Smalfeels

Favorite Music Video: Dustin Tebbutt “Love Is Blind”

Love may be blind, but I’m luckily not. I mean, I’m very fortunate to not be blind for a plethora of reasons, but this video is definitely one of them. I would be curious to know how long it took Dustin to learn the dance moves for this song, because he seems to have about the same coordination as I do. Now, that’s a bit of an exaggeration because he’s a much better dancer than me, but with a backdrop of insanely talented dancers, Dustin definitely sticks out a bit. Another beautiful song from Dustin, and another wonderful video full of synchronized dance moves.

Favorite Lyrics: Call Me Karizma “JOHNNY”

Johnny’s got a loaded .45
Found it in his dad’s shoebox
Johnny doesn’t want to be alive
But he’s gotta make his school stop
He’s-
Sick of being bullied, his mother’s starting to worry
But she doesn’t want to ask him or try to call the authorities
Now he is on the bus, to him it’s just another morning
But he doesn’t got a book, he’s got a gun without a warning

Cindy’s got a scholarship to Yale
Wants to be a nurse and spread love
Cindy’s moving out before the fall
Only got a week til’ school’s done
Taking every final of the season, she doesn’t mind ’em
She’s always nice to the kids that are coming away behind her
She would never hurt a fly or bat an eye, she’s way too kind
But then a flash and then a cry and sees Johnny with a rifle

I’m not going to put all of the lyrics here because it would be a huge wall of text, but I was definitely tempted. Call Me Karizma’s new song dives into one of the messiest waters in the country right now, and makes absolutely no apologies. A hard hitting song with a nasty flow, the message is clear:

Reporting live from high school
We’re now learning more about the terrible events that took place
And what can drive someone that seemed like a normal kid
To do something so evil and inhumane
We’re asking everyone and anyone that sees warning signs-
To please offer help and love and compassion to those who need it
Together we can make a difference

Favorite Composition: Alexander Wolfe “Your Love is a Wheel”

This song is such a rollercoaster. Alexander Wolfe’s new track was made for a movie. With many dynamic changes throughout the song, the track goes from ethereal instrumentation to headstrong reverb and offbeat drum cadences, stopping at a couple of places in between. The harmonies aren’t overdone, which is a common problem with artists in the same genre. Alexander Wolfe doesn’t live in his falsetto, but he definitely has a vacation home there. He makes really smooth transitions in and out of his falsetto, and has tight control over his upper register. This song will pick you up at your house, drive you all around town, and then take you back home at the end of the day, tucking you gently into your bed.

Favorite Ramblin’ Song: Traveling John “It Burns”

Man, you guys are getting so lucky that so many of my favorites of the week have videos that go with them. This video is great, but that’s not what drew me to this song. It’s a gorgeous video, and I’m crazy jealous that they got to spend time in such a beautiful space. Seriously, TJ, let us swing by. Next time we’re in Sweden… Anyways, anyone who has paid attention to the blog for a while, or if you listen to the podcast, you know I love a good ramblin’ song. What does that mean? Well, it means that it’s a song that you can picture yourself driving down backroads with no destination in mind with the windows rolled down. A beautiful song with tight harmonies and a folk-driven melody, It Burns is the perfect song for warm summer nights with a full tank of gas and nowhere to be.

Favorite Summer Song: Smalfeels “Pillow Fights”

Very few songs create a palpable atmosphere. Smalfeels new track, Pillow Fights, draws the listener in with a slick bass line, and holds you in place with smooth vocals, smart harmonies, and a quicksand composition; you don’t realize just how stuck you are until the track is over. This song is the perfect song to accompany a night of laying on your roof, having a few drinks, and talking about other planes of existence with a close friend.

TOTD: YVI “Hometown”

New Release Friday is here! We pride ourselves on bringing you songs and artists you haven’t heard before and introducing you to your new favorite songs. For the rest of the day, expect fresh new music that you definitely haven’t heard before because it just came out today.

Diedrick Brandsma, the voice and mind behind YVI, has a brutal yet vulnerable honesty to his voice that is immediately apparent on his new single, Hometown. Check out his live recording of the song to really understand what I mean by “brutal yet vulnerable honesty.”

Hometown is the story of high school friendship. A beautiful telling of how distance and growing up has separated them physically, but the memories will never leave his mind or that town. Even though you continue to make friends throughout college and adulthood, those high school friendships are the ones you look back on with a strong fondness. I don’t necessarily miss high school, but I definitely understand the idea of missing those friendships you made.

This is a band who wasn’t even on our radar before this song, but I’m so glad we came across them. I’m definitely going to be watching for new songs and videos as they get ready to release their debut album, “A Few Words of Comfort,” in April of next year.

TOTD: Gareth Inkster “Misfire”

Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. Gareth Inkster sounds like Ben Folds. I know it, you know it, Gareth knows it, hell, even Ben Folds knows it. The comparison isn’t lost on anyone. Gareth even uses Ben Folds as a hashtag on Soundcloud to catch fans of the singer songwriter. Gareth also has the fact that he’s a multi-instrumentalist in common with Ben, using ten different instruments on his new track, leaving only the drums and bass guitar to others. While Gareth has a lot in common with Ben, that’s not to say he can’t stand on his own, and Misfire proves just that.

Misfire is a deep, introspective look at depression. I usually take this time to go into the lyrics of the song and what it means, but Inkster provided information about his song that needed to be shared. This is an absolutely beautiful work of art.

“It was written during some difficult times, as the lyrics will certainly suggest. The introspection leads to a troubled confession, and eventually the desperate bridge, “is there something wrong with me? I don’t think so, but I don’t know.” after which there is an audible *crack* sound – the breaking point, if you will. After this, words are no longer sufficient, and the brass section does its thing, but before long even that doesn’t cut it, and there is an abrupt key-change, as the strings take over. The strings hit a diminished chord shortly before they end which I feel is the most painful part of the song. After the music has exhausted itself, there is a brief pause, and the lyrics return for one final, beaten verse. The verse lyric ends on an unresolved question, and likewise, on an unresolved chord.”

Seeing behind the veil of how a song was made usually leads to something along the lines of, “I wrote this line about a time in my life where x happened.” It rarely leads to, “I arranged the instrumentation to tell a story that can stand alone.”

gareth

Depression is a difficult subject to tackle, and Gareth does it from a place of deep understanding. So many songs try to engage the subject like it’s a cloudy day and frowny faces. While nothing is wrong with that, this is something that is moving on a different level for me. It gets into all of the feelings of inadequacy and the questions that come along with it.

Misfire is one of seven songs on Gareth’s upcoming EP, Last Year, and you can check out the same titled first single here.

Check out Gareth and all of our other tracks from June on our Spotify playlist