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.

 

Mid Day Music Blast: B*Boss “If You Leave Me”

Originally when we received this song, there was no video with it. I am so glad we waited to post until the video was released, because it pulls everything together. When asked what the track was about, B*Boss answers quickly, knowing exactly what their message is, “This is a story about life, as seen from a place where we spend up to 1/3 of our lives, our beds. Our bed bares witness to some of the most private and intimate moments of our lives. Our secrets, our desires, our dreams and our fears. In bed, we laugh, we cry, we ponder, we obsess, we explore, we discover, we love, and we even die. For many of us, our bed is the most familiar place we know. It is the one place where we feel safe.”

bbodd

As you watch the video, you see a life unfold before you, from beginning to end, and the short film takes place in the different beds the character has throughout their life. It goes from beautiful triumphs, like the first person they ever had sleep in the bed with them, all the way to terrible defeats, like the upheaval of a marriage. The story is tangible, and the characters are real. This is what a music video is supposed to be. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like looking at the artist lip sync the song for 3 min…no… I really don’t. I like stories and I like storytellers.

If you leave me
make sure you leave me lying in my bed

Is someone cutting onions? Damn.

Make sure to check out this song and every other song we’ve posted in June on our Spotify playlist.

We also have a new podcast coming out on Monday. Subscribe and catch up on other episodes here.

-Seth

Mid Day Music Blast: Kuwaisiana “Virgin”

I love songs with something to say. I mean, most songs have something to say, I guess, but not many of them have something real to say. Relationship problems, how great you are, and dreamscapes make up 99% of all lyrics (probably), so the song, Virgin, from the multinational band, Kuwaisiana, is a welcome surprise.

With raw instrumentals, and complex composition, Virgin gets into one of the biggest moneymakers on the planet: war. The song dives into how the war machine has been effective in not only stealing land and making people wealthy, but also how its role in our lives has made us desensitized to things that should appall us.

“I’m a virgin
in a VR headset
Show me the army
Occupy me”

That is the last line of the song, and it hits so hard. In less than 15 words, they talk about how the military industrial complex can be found in everything from pornography to technology, and at this point, we are inviting it into our homes without even realizing it.

Transitioning between discourse and harmony, this song covers the gamut of emotions. We love bringing you something upbeat and interesting for the Mid Day Music Blast, the fact that the Blast is actually talking about blasts today, is just a…well…blast.

TOTD: Erik Jonasson “Horizon”

If you’d have asked me a month ago who this Swedish super nova was, I would’ve had no idea. Now, with over 6 million Spotify plays on an album that was just released earlier this month, Erik is turning heads. With a pure tone that pierces any defenses you may have built up, Erik Jonasson is forcing people to listen and take note of this rare talent.

One thing you will learn about me is that I absolutely love songs that sound like they could be a letter to someone. Oddly specific with an overarching point, these types of songs are a lost art. Erik Jonasson is a prodigious new artist.

The kicker in this song is the terminology he uses. I mean, a ton of artists write about the horizon, traveling, leaving, etc, but there aren’t many who talk about protecting their gold in a cathedral. To summarize what is happening in the lyrics, there is a person who is looking out at the horizon, and they know that their friend/partner/acquaintance wants to go out there and try to find the horizon, or travel and see what there is. The person then goes on to say how they don’t understand the attraction to going out there, and they’re going to stay in their cathedral and protect their gold. It’s an interesting phrasing, and when an artist makes an interesting choice, I like to dig into it.

Now, let’s get this out there from the beginning. You are about to enter a theoretical world. More than likely, the song is about an unequally yoked partnership where one person wants to go see the world, and the other wants stability in their life. It’s a wonderful way of describing that situation, and I love that idea. I want to go deeper and talk about one possibility behind the word choices of “cathedral” and “gold.” I’m a fairly spiritual guy, but I’ve also been close enough to organized Christianity to see a lot of the faults in what people are practicing today. One of the biggest ones, which is very common in a lot of churches, is filling the coffers in your own church while the rest of the world goes to shit. I think this song could be about that issue. Stay with me here. Is it likely that it’s about that? No, but it’s a perfect song for that dichotomy between types of Christians. There are a growing number of people who want to go out and help people all around the world and really chase after that horizon, but there are an alarming number of people who would watch the world burn if it meant that they could be Scrooge McDuck and dive into their swimming pool of gold coins.

With this theory, you can honestly replace Christians with any other word, and it works out too. From governments (especially in the United States right now) to individual people, there are groups that don’t care about anything or anyone outside of their “cathedral.” Those are the people that we can’t let win. Close-minded and fearful people shouldn’t dictate the actions of the free and the fearless.

 

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.

Morning Commute: Lion Sphere “Keep Dreaming”

SoundCloud link, if you don’t like Spotify

This song is so smooth. What better song to get you through your last day of the work week?If you’re like me and don’t work a conventional 9 to 5, this is still a wonderful song for anyone who isn’t currently where they pictured themselves at this point in their life.

“Keep dreamin’
Believin’ in you
Keep dreamin’
Reach at the moon”

The song talks about how you need to keep dreaming, but it’s not just a song to encourage you to keep dreaming. What makes this song lyrically special to me is that there is almost a call to action. They aren’t encouraging a one-sided relationship, but finding your community. Encouragement to follow your dreams is always a nice thing to receive, but they make sure giving someone else that encouragement is as prominent of an idea as the reception.

“I don’t
think that
we will fade to gray
you’ve got me
and I’m out here for you”

This groove though. My three year old just came in the room and said, “Daddy, who is this? It’s groovy, man.” First off, my three year old is saying, “It’s groovy, man,” so I’m doing something right. Secondly, he couldn’t be more right. The instrumentation is kept light and fun, keeping the song in the clouds as much as the lyrics do, and the control in Joel Montagud, the singer’s, voice is stellar as he flips from his lower register to his falsetto with ease, and then running back down the scale, all in one breath. The instrumental intro sounds like a Zelda game if it was rated “Mature” for adult themes. Starting as a sexy video game and building into something much more than that, Keep Dreaming is that summer jam that you had no idea would make it onto all of your playlists for the season. I may be projecting my feelings towards the song onto you, but if you aren’t adding it to your playlist, you’re doing summer wrong. Check out this live performance of the song to see that they aren’t a post production band, and can absolutely hold up their end of the deal in live performances.

Also, check out the June Spotify playlist if you don’t want to miss any of the artists that we post this month.

Did you know we also have a podcast? Check that out here.

-Seth

TOTD: Kind Habitat “Master of this Cage”

To close out the night, I wanted to get into a track that is going to require a couple of listens. First off, let’s talk about the anonymity. I usually try to give you a look behind the curtain at the artist(s) behind the band name, especially if it’s a singer-songwriter. Kind Habitat, whether intentionally or not, doesn’t want people to know his name. I’ve looked, briefly, at every social media account he has, and have struck out. We will call this mystery man, K. For Keenan, not Kind.*

*Since publishing this article, I have found out that the man behind Kind Habitat is Patrick White, but changing the article to reflect that would require a lot of work. Plus, it’s now become a fun joke that I want to keep. His real name is Patrick White, but you still get to read about Keenan in this article.

(For Spotify adverse readers)

Now, let’s get into the song. K’s voice is ridiculous. He has this haunting voice that sounds like he could tell you some first hand atrocities he witnessed when he was in ‘Nam, and he still dreams about them at night. There’s actual pain in his voice. So many artists try for that, with very few succeeding. Caleb and I likened his voice to the timbre of Elliott Smith, another haunted artist who we at B-Side Guys have a deep fondness of.

Now we get into the lyrics. I’m not going to get into them too much here because I want to have this song on a future episode of the podcast so that Caleb and I can discuss them together, but suffice to say, he’s alluding to much more than an animal locked in an enclosure at a zoo. I mean, shit, even if that is all it was about, it would still be a beautiful song and stance about zoos. What are your thoughts on the lyrics? Let us know what you think he’s talking about.

With Master of this Cage, Keenan, the brain and voice behind Kind Habitat, joins my list of criminally underrated bands. Also, if you already have the likes of Benjamin Franklin supporting your music, you’re definitely on the right track.

Screenshot 2018-06-14 21.22.01

TOTD: Tia Gostelow feat. LANKS “Strangers”

From the harmonious start to the equally cohesive end, Tia Gostelow’s new single, Strangers, is exactly what you look for in a tale of summer love. The instrumentals are straightforward and don’t try to go over anyone’s head, and the lyrics are simple enough to let everyone find a piece of themselves while still being detailed enough to make you feel like part of a story that’s not your own. Strangers takes the listener into a world of summer love that’s a story in and of itself, but can make the listener recount similar times in their life. The line, “We were strangers wandering home,” is so good. It could have to do with cadence, but given the nature of the song, I think it’s important that Tia doesn’t say they were wandering to the strangers home, or their home, but that they were wandering home together as two strangers. Too many people try to discount the seasonal romance, but the outcome is completely situational and personal to the individual. I think what Tia is trying to get across is that even though they are strangers, they are finding their home in each other for a night, week, month, etc. Those can be the times you look back on with the most fondness.

tia.jpg

“You take all the covers,
but I don’t mind
Glasses drained,
we lose our minds
The parts that had us paralyzed”

Speaking of losing your mind, when Tia flips “we were strangers” into her upper register at 2:40… wow. It is perfectly placed, and played to perfection. She understands the balance that is required to keep the listener coming back for more. If she stayed turned up to 11 like that constantly, we would lose appreciation for it. If the sun is always shining, we lose appreciation for it. We need the overcast days to know how warm the sun truly is. The song is this comfortable smooth overcast day, and then the sun bursts through the clouds for a few seconds, giving you a real appreciation for the day as a whole. With a beautiful melody, tight harmonies, and a perfect balance between Tia and LANKS’ voice, Strangers is the smooth summer song you didn’t know you needed in your life.

-Seth

Don’t miss another song we post in June by following us on Spotify.

Morning Commute/Video of the Day: Malak “Hard Pill”

Malak’s new single, Hard Pill, is an absolute romper, and perfect to get you pumped for your morning commute. Malak, an Egyptian immigrant due to the Arab Spring protests, currently resides in Canada. I can’t help but feel that the new freedom that is offered in her Canadian surroundings coupled with her Egyptian background is what fuels the creativity for a tumultuous song like Hard Pill. Starting out with a clean approachability in the verse, the chorus hits like a punch in the gut.

(vulnerable)
I breathe in the air you breathe out, baby,
and I believe in what you’re about

(gut punch)
Oh yeah, oh yeah,
You’re a hard pill to swallow
Yeah, oh yeah, 
So dense,
and oh so hollow

I really love that the arrangement tells half of the story here, with an obvious change in the relationship, or maybe even just the duplicitousness of every relationship. You can be their biggest champion one minute, and then really dislike everything about them the next. It is a tough balance to maintain, and Malak does a wonderful job showing that with the lyrics, the arrangement, and this really trippy video.

-Seth

Check out all of the artists we’ve featured on our Spotify playlist. Follow us so you never miss a great artist like this. 

TOTD: CARDS “One Too Many Movies”

CARDS hit hard with his newest release, “One Too Many Movies,” a soulful cruising jam just in time for the summer heat. This track will have you wearing a wide brimmed hat and coasting on a beach cruiser if you aren’t careful, and depending on how far you live from the beach, that could land you in hot water at work.

cards.JPG

One Too Many Movies is his most recent release in a string of single releases that will carry through until his first full-length release this fall. After listening through a few of his songs, one thing that is really amazing is that none of the songs sound even remotely similar, but you can still tell they were arranged by the same person.

If you’re looking for a track to add to your summer vacation playlist, you road trip playlist, or really a playlist for any situation where groove is important, “One Too Many Movies” has to make the cut.

If you want to see who else made the cut for our June artist reviews, check out our Spotify playlist here.