The Flock: Hip-Hop: The Supreme Kings of Yesterday, Sauce is Matisse, Liion Gamble, Datta Boy, Rageouz

*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 Hip-Hop 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.

The Supreme Kings of Yesterday – “Next Latest”

I love the sample at the beginning, especially the faked out Trap style stuff that makes fun of “Migos and all those guys that sound the same.” It really sets the stage for a throwback style hip-hop track that puts the people who throw together tracks in a few days, rappers who have no flow (i.e. mumble rap), and many other aspects of modern rap that The Supreme Kings of Yesterday hope to turn the clock back on. Above just a diss track, my favorite thing about track is that it is really a positive track that is about being yourself. He isn’t really hating on people for using the popular style to make some money, but he is calling them out for not being themselves, and if nothing else, S.K.Y. is going to be uniquely themselves. I really love how a lot of the track is filled with 90s style turntable scratching, and multiple voices with multiple flows. It makes me feel comfortable, like I’m a kid again listening to The Chronic or OutKast (not that the style is exactly the same).

Bio: The Supreme Kings of Yesterday, The S.K.Y. (comprised of brothers Cise & Classy Touch – Next Latest – Single from the forthcoming sel-titled project, based in Los Angeles & Oakland CA. Fresh vibes await with clear and concise lyrics, precision instrumentation and drum break accuracy. You seek the best from your imagination, you Look Up To The S.K.Y.

Sauce is Matisse – “Socially Inept”

It’s not exactly the same, but the flow on this song really reminded me of some early Eminem. Especially around The Slim Shady LP or so. Considering that’s one of my favorite albums, I hope that’s an okay connection. Sauce is Matisse has his own unique lyrical style that seems to focus on being an outcast “As in socially inept.” And this song at it’s heart seems to be a celebration of those who aren’t necessarily the most popular or cool. It’s an unapologetic beating of the chest saying that it’s okay to be comfortable in your own skin, regardless of how popular or not it makes you.

Bio: Depression. Social anxiety. Peer-diagnosed Asperger’s. Add a nerdy passion for artistic creation to this walking contradiction and you’ve got Sauce is Matisse, the D.C.-born rap artist currently based in Charlottesville, VA.

After being professionally described as a mental paradox in his teens, Sauce was given the advice to “contain” said paradox in order to allow all competing sides of himself to coexist.
He has done so through music.

Sauce is Matisse draws inspiration from both underground and mainstream music across all genres, and his work showcases a sound between raw hip-hop and the most technical heavy metal outfits. Over the years, he has worked with and learned from several established names (and some not so established) in the multi-genre underground. Sauce is always evolving as an artist and refining his sound and visuals, tightening them into progressively visceral polished works of art.

Eventually, Sauce realized that he could not only save himself through music, but he could reach others as well. Listen and you’ll hear that this paradox has effectively been contained, and it’s tastier than ever.

 

Liion Gamble – “Solitude”

This song is just gorgeous and haunting. The female vocals really even out the whole thing, and I’m really moved by the consciousness of the lyrics, that range from melancholy to hopeful. The lyrics discuss police brutality, violence, struggling to make the art you want, relationships, divinity, and hope that there is a purpose behind all of this struggling and solitude. It’s really a wonderfully grounded song of hope and overcoming adversity.

Bio: Liion Gamble was raised in Raleigh, NC but born in St. Andrew, Jamaica. His musical influence can be traced all the way back to his Grandfather. With conscious content we are almost always drawn to assume the nature of the music will be a bit dull and somewhat preachy. Liion bridges the gap between substance and style in a major way. Melodic hooks and bridges, paired with quotable lyrics and stylistic flow, highlight this artist’s versatility.

With a growing social media presence Liion released his first official single, “Solitude” on all streaming platforms May of 2018 and has delivered an EP entitled Grand Re-Opening July 27th of 2018. Driven to cut out the middle man, he has become a student of production and audio engineering in order to take the quality of his sound to the next level. Building a hit record from the ground up is a big goal of his right now but only one of many in the pursuit of becoming a complete artist.

 

Datta Boy – “Keep Drinking (Prod. by Epik The Dawn)”

“FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE LETHAL

STAB US WITH THE SHARPEST NEEDLE

THEY SWEAR THEY PROVE IT IN THE PENALS

BREAK A NIGGA BACK YOU KOW THIS IS A FACT LIKE WAR MACHINE TO DON CHEADLE

NIGGAS STANDING STILL TARGET PRACTICE KILLS MANAQUINS BLACK BEATLES

I DON’T REALLY KNOW”

This song is full of really intense lyrics, but this was my favorite section. It really dives into the way that the system is corrupt and broken, by beautiful evoking constitutional language, to describe how they break someone. I also like the War Machine reference, which sees a black man being used for profit, but only as a secondary character. As far as the “keep drinking” hook goes, it kind of reminds me of “Swimming Pools” by Kendrick Lamar. It doesn’t seem like the drinking is a real solution, but it is a way to cope with how bad things can get. It takes on a somber tone of some sort of plead to find a way to numb all the pain surrounding the struggle, which is evidenced by the artists description of the song: “A man blames the world for his problems and heres a voice in his head telling him to keep drinking”

Bio:  Datta Boy is a multifaceted artist from Los Angeles California. He began rapping at the age of 11 and ever since then he has had a love for music. He took a break from music to pursue a career in football. He played college football at The University Of Nevada Reno where he Played Fullback for the Wolf-Pack and also played for Southern Utah University where he was a hybrid blocker for the Thunder Birds (T-Birds). After he graduated from Southern Utah University, He played a year professional football and called it quits. He returns to his love of music. He has one mix-tape out called “Black Ink” and 3 music video out called Fell So Far, A Wave Of My Own Prod. & Feat. Ronny Bueller and THREAT which were all directed by Ralph Laurence Mariano and his assistant director Jose “No-Face” Quintanilla. Datta Boy is cousins with actress and R&B Singer Rhyon (Surviving Compton, Lincoln Heights,Get Rich or Die Tryin’) who has a hit single on the radio “California” and her older sister R&B Singer RaVaughn( Better Be Good, Best Friend).

 

Rageouz – “Bridging”

The video expresses my contentedness with my surroundings, with my day-to-day life around family and friends, being what I value most”  – Rageouz

This is really a fascinating video with a first person walk through a life, with some really inventive effects. At its heart, it’s a really calming look at a day in the life of someone who is “alright.” There’s not a ton of trauma or drama, it just feels right. I think we can all learn to look around and appreciate our lives for what they are: a good time with some friends, time spent with family, a pretty drive. “How could I complain?”

Bio: Hailing from the stomping grounds of East London’s Canning Town, Rageouz’s musical journey began at the age of just 11. Raised on a healthy diet of UK Rap legends and inspired by the likes of Kano and Dizzee Rascal, his curiosity was sparked. Bursting through with his debut ‘Outchea’ followed by his freshman mixtape Hell’s Angel, Rageouz has displayed an unwavering work rate. His innate hunger and skill at delivering has led him to be featured on GRM Daily’s ‘Next Gen 10’ alongside artist such as Avelino, Bonkaz and A2 and he has released a string of successful projects including ‘East Side’, his ‘Ethos’ EP, collaborative project ‘Back 2 Da Future’ with Preacher Soul and ‘On The House’.

Contagiously creative and enthrallingly enigmatic join Rageouz on his latest pursuit and get to know the exciting new prospect of UK music.

 

-Caleb

Want to hear more? Check out these songs and more on our August TOTD Playlist. 

We also just released a new podcast today, you can check that out here: Episode 18: Existentialism (Part 1)

 

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: 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 Mashup Flock: The Rungs, VON GREY, Dan Lyons, CONDORE, Darren Jessee, Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite, Basement Revolver, Reza Cage, Dylan Seamus, J Pee, Feiler, mA’RouGe, Wanderingted, Savannah Gardner, Marie Nafah, Wayne Graham, Jordan Max, MALMØ

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

Let’s start off August right! This is a HUGE edition of The Flock. Usually The Flock focuses on one specific genre, but sometimes we throw all the rules out of the window. The goal is to give you enough music to make it through your work week and beyond. We’ll hit quite a few genres, subjects, moods, etc. so that you can have a soundtrack for whatever this week throws at you.

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

 

The Rungs – Trees

With 18 new artists on The Flock today, I wanted to start off with an energetic and fun song. Lyrically, Trees is the synth-pop equivalent to The Lorax. With fun, off-beat cadences and a structure that feels new and fun, The Rungs have made a song that is a taste of familiarity mixed with something exciting and different. We posted a song a few weeks ago that revolved around the idea that your bed sees so many pivotal moments of your life, and this video captures that same idea sans beds, and replacing them with trees.

Bio: The Rungs are a female fronted alt-pop project who blend rock with synth pop. They record and produce everything in their home studio and draw inspiration from the sounds and stories that surround life in Brooklyn NY.

VON GREY – 6 AM

Sometimes you hear harmonies in a song, and think, “If they aren’t related, they’ve definitely been friends for a while.” I mean, that might just be me, but some harmonies are so cohesive and symbiotic that it feels like the artists have all played off each other for years. That’s definitely the case with VON GREY, three Atlantan sisters who created a seamless layered blend that seems two steps away from a Harmonix Voice Box. With very direct and pointed lyrics, these sisters arranged the song in a way that the instrumentals take a backseat to their voices and words. It’s a very mature move considering the fact that no sister is even 25 years old yet.

CONDORE – Love Zombies

It’s hard to make a complete song in less than two minutes. There’s usually something missing that makes it feel incomplete. That’s not the case for CONDORE’s “Love Zombies.” Coming in at 1:38, the song has much more heft to it than the time stamp would tell you. In fact, it almost seems like it meanders at its own pace, never cognizant of the time, only worried about the journey. CONDORE’s voice is interesting and has this beautiful tone that could be in an indie folk track, but could also just as easily take on a Joanna Newsom vibe and haunt your dreams.

Dan Lyons – Gargoyle

Dan Lyons hits with a track that has some of the most interesting imagery I’ve heard in a long time. With instrumentals that swim upstream and fight the current of typical composition, Dan tells a story of being a cog in the machine. Reminding us that most of us are being worked by invisible hands, guided through our life with the illusion of free will.

Darren Jessee – Anything You Need

If the name Darren Jessee is familiar to you, it’s because he was the drummer for Ben Folds Five, and carried a good bit of the songwriting responsibilities as well. With a morose voice, and similar lyrics, Darren keeps the focus on his intent and keeps the accompaniment sparse and solely there to provide support for the bigger picture. His first solo album releases on August 24th, where it will solely be Darren’s voice, and string arrangements from Trey Pollard.

The vibe’s gonna be
him and Trey
giving everything we need

Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite – Electrified

Right now we are in the middle of a 4 day thunderstorm, and all I want to do when the rain stops is roll my windows down in my car and listen to this song as I hug sharp turns and drink a Fanta (or an equally happy drink). I mean, the lyrics fit the current rain too, with a message that says no matter what happens, you have to keep pushing. I mean, I know a rainstorm seems trivial in comparison to what the song is about, but I’ve been wrapped up in my feelings lately. Once this rain stops, I’ll definitely apply this song to the bigger picture.

Basement Revolver – Knocking

If you are new to the blog, you may not remember the last time we shared a Basement Revolver song. If you weren’t, CLICK HERE. Even if you were, it’s a pretty good refresher. One word that immediately came to mind when I listened to Knocking after listening to Baby was “versatility.” I mean, you can tell it’s the same band (mainly because of the unique and gorgeous timbre of vocalist, Chrisy Hurn), but the songs are worlds apart. Baby is the grandiose display of what the band can do when they crank it to 11 while Knocking is a more intimate song that drips with pain and beauty, hurt and redemption. I don’t want to butcher such a personal song with my interpretation, so here are words of Chrisy on the meaning behind the song.

Knocking is probably the heaviest song on the album for me, personally. I often still can’t sing it without crying. I wrote it after writing my family a long letter that came clean about my past, and about some of the shit that I have been through. Hard things that left me feeling shameful, or like a disappointment to them – things that made me feel like I wasn’t the “good Christian woman” that they had hoped I would one day become. The letter came after a few years of hardcore wrestling and rebelling against what I believed in response to a traumatic event in my life. I got to a point where I didn’t recognize myself, or all the anger that I was holding inside. I basically kept telling myself that I was garbage, broken, unlovable, used and a whole other slur of things.

This hits so close to home for me, it’s unreal. Dealing with the expectations of family is one of the most brutal things you can put yourself through, and Chrisy lays it all out on the table for everyone to see. I probably grew up in a very similar household as Chrisy if she has a family who is disappointed in choices she made that steered her away from Christianity. There was a single event that made me think, “If this is what the church is, they suck, and I don’t want to have anything to do with that.” It turns out that it was solely the people involved in the event, and they were just shitty human beings. I didn’t realize it until years later though, and by that time, I had already “strayed from the path.” It’s a very hard thing to reconcile when you have these people who are objectively great people telling you that the way you are doing your life is wrong. I mean, granted, a lot of the things I was involved with were objectively wrong and it leaves you feeling bitter and broken. After years of fighting and resisting, my mom and I are very close now, and my sister is one of my best friends. I still don’t live up to their Christian expectations, but we have all figured out our best way to maneuver around each other. It seems that Chrisy is on the right path, at least with her own healing. Nobody should have to go through this pain over someone else’s religious beliefs.

Reza Cage feat. Telfair – velvet drapes

Everyone has that one ex. At least. A lot of people have way more than that. They never seem to go away. The memory always lingers, and you see them in your day to day life. I don’t mean that you see a ghost or anything, but a song reminds you of a time you guys danced in the kitchen together, the smell of a bakery reminds you of the time you guys attempted to make your own bread and failed miserably. The problem is that it’s definitely a one sided affair. They aren’t concerned with you, and when it seems like they are, it’s a facade to get what they want. This song is imploring the ex to be real, and just give the singer a pardon so he can move on.

you love a trivial game 
stopping my heart so i can’t feel pain 
one touch, you’re flipping your shade 
like the velvet drapes 

Dylan Seamus – Flying

Dylan didn’t know this when he asked us to check out his music, but I am a huge fan of music where the protagonist is someone you want to root for. You want this guy to win. He doesn’t quit, and he finally achieves his goal of flight. I think there are a lot of really cool lessons here, and I want to touch on two of them. First, there’s the obvious one; if you really want to accomplish big goals, you’re going to fail, and you’re going to fail a lot probably. Keep pushing through the shit until you come out on the other side. Second is the more nuanced lesson. Think outside the box, be unconventional, and whittle away until you succeed. The attempts at flight that ended in failure were all band-aids for an idea that required stitches. The guy throws on angel wings, tries to build a plane, and gets in a spaceship when the answer the whole time was to build an infinite ladder, one rung at a time. It may not be flying, technically, but the goal was to touch the sky. Do whatever it takes for however long it takes.

J Pee – To The Kids That I Might Never Have

J Pee pours his heart out into a letter addressed to his possible children, but it’s more of a song that focuses on the idea that we are absolutely destroying the future for the younger generation. Overpopulation, pollution, political dissidence, wars, and the battle of heart vs. head are only a few of the things discussed in a letter that tries to open up eyes to the fact that our choices today impact future generations.

Feiler – Ruse

There is so much to love about Feiler’s song, Ruse, and for me personally, it’s only partially due to what is presented in the track. A huge part of what I love about the song is the backstory behind it. When Austin Smith, the man behind the music, was asked about the creation of Ruse and the EP that it’s on, Dry Rot, he said,

When I finished college I packed all my gear into the back of my car, got on I-80, and drove 3500 miles to a very old house in the rural woods of Northern Georgia. I’d been living in LA for the previous four years and had a couple of different musical projects but nothing really stuck. This project had been sort of coalescing in my mind for the previous year or so and I had some vague ideas about the kind of music I wanted to make out there, but mostly I was looking for something. I made a little DIY studio and spent five months out in that house, covered in vines, from summer to fall. That’s where I started this project and made most of Dry Rot. Expect another single and an EP in the next couple of months.

What I love about this is that he took a step back to assess what he was doing in LA, didn’t like what was happening, and made a robust step to fix that. I love homespun projects, and this is a perfect example of when that goes right. Feiler creates a morose and tangible soundscape, putting thought into every piece of the track. I’m usually not a fan of “oohs” in songs because they’re usually an afterthought or a space filler. This song wouldn’t be complete without them, and that’s a testament to the forethought put into every piece of the track.

mA’RouGe – Put It On Your Phone

There are very few songs that surprise me anymore. This is one of the few. There’s just such a perfect groove in everything from the bass, to the celestial synth background, to the offbeat cadence that the vocalist sings with. There isn’t one choice in this song that is expected, and they’re all beautiful choices. The sample at the end, even though I understand very little of it, goes perfectly with the funk provided by the instrumentals.

Wanderingted – The Water of All My Days

It’s nice when a love song doesn’t follow the tropes of love songs, but it still has the same weight as hyperbolic ballads. I would much rather hear a song about how the thought of a person and their idiosyncrasies puts a smile on my face than to hear about how a person’s eyes are bluer than the bluest ocean and their voice could make angels cry. The former is what love is, the latter is what a stalker writes.

Wanderingted has a voice that walks this wild line between familiar folk and operatic classical. It’s new, it’s fun, and the timbre of his voice isn’t something that any schmuck can replicate (we all know the kinds of bands I’m talking about). The new voice combined with a creative writing style has me excited about the future of Wanderingted.

Savannah Gardner – Blake

Savannah Gardner has this alto rasp to her voice that only has one comparable sound that comes to mind: Zooey Deschanel. Savannah Gardner could easily play the Will Ferrell counterpart in Elf, nailing Baby It’s Cold Outside just as well as Zooey. Anyways, Savannah has written a song that is part affirmation and part hesitation. She knows she is strong, but she doesn’t try to pretend that the world and the current she’s swimming against isn’t strong too. With empowering lyrics and a powerful voice, Savannah sings a pure song of resilience that will be making it onto my personal playlists for quite a while.

Marie Naffah – Bones

I have no idea what to say about Marie Naffah. Seriously. I write 20-30 reviews of artists/tracks every single week, and this one got me. I knew a girl in high school who had the most beautiful voice I had heard to that point. She had this really strong and rounded out alto voice that had this resonating body on the end of every note. When I first heard Marie’s song, Bones, I immediately thought of my high school classmate. When Marie sings, “I would tear my lungs,” I smiled due to familiarity, but when Marie flips to her falsetto and says, “if the air wasn’t shared with you, my love,” my eyes literally got big, and my smile curled to a stink face that I usually reserve for exceptional hooks in hip-hop songs. The falsetto that Marie has, flawlessly flipping between her diaphragm and her head voice, is something that still gives me chill bumps even after multiple listens.

Her lyrics tell a story of dependency. When the song starts out, I thought I was in for another love story about the depths that someone would go to be with their partner/lover/muse; I mean, building bone homes and tearing lungs out is a pretty big commitment. Then it takes a different direction, talking about how the protagonist really doesn’t want to need the partner, and they’re only going to bring them down. It honestly started reminding me a lot of “Cigarettes” by Noah Gundersen. Hell, this song could definitely be about cigarettes just as easily as it could be about a person. The point of the song is that there is a dependency, an addiction, and ultimately, two parasitic relationships dependent on the other one to survive. I mean, that’s what I pulled from it. I could just be projecting.

Either way, stop smoking cigarettes, people. If you’re under 55, you don’t have an excuse. Science has been pretty definitive in the fact that it definitely leads to early death in a lot of cases. I got in trouble for hopping on that soapbox fairly recently, but I don’t care. It’s a bad habit that can kill you. This wasn’t supposed to turn into a post about cigarettes. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Wayne Graham – Bloody Montana

When I first saw the video, I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about it. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s a raccoon getting some food from a trash bin for almost four minutes. It took me watching the video twice to really realize what wasn’t sitting right with me. I actually really enjoy the video and I enjoy the simplicity of it. The raccoon is the star of the show, and an adorable one at that. The part I felt weird about was the fact that the raccoon is digging around in a City of Knoxville receptacle while the song talks about bloody Montana. I know they don’t shy away from that fact, even labeling it at the beginning, but I still found it weird. Now, I said all of that to say this; once I figured out what wasn’t sitting right with me and I could listen to the song in earnest, I absolutely fell in love.

The track is this meandering new Appalachia sound that is somewhere between country and folk. If you’ve read the blog or listened to the podcast at all, you may think, “Well I’m not sure that’s a good thing considering you guys aren’t really into country.” I would respond to you, “Well, you’re right, and I honestly can’t tell you what it is about this song that has me pining for more.” I think it’s part track, part video, part backstory, and part personal connection that has me so invested in these brothers from southeast Kentucky. Let’s break my enjoyment down into quick little bullet points.

-The track takes the few things that I like about country, and wraps them in a folk timbre. Storytelling, saloon piano, and honestly, this is a weird one, but it’s a personal quirk, songs with geographic locations in them. Don’t ask me why, but country musicians are the kings and queens of writing songs about geographic locations.

-The video keeps it simple, letting you focus on the tune itself.

-Their backstory is interesting. First off, I’m always a fan of family member bands. We’ve featured plenty on the blog, and they always hold a sweet spot for me. Also, I was looking through the ideas behind each of their songs, and these guys write about their lives. When I say that, I don’t mean these guys are writing love songs about exes. These guys are writing songs about everything from cassette tapes that belonged to their grandfather to a theoretical (and quite literal in some towns) apocalyptic wasteland caused by coal mining companies taking advantage of towns and their inhabitants.

-That last part about coal mining leads me to the last point of why I love these guys: personal connection. My wife has a lot of extended family that lives in coal mining country in western Virginia in a little town called Wise. They all live on huge family lots that are all part of this communal property. It’s one of the most picturesque places on the planet. We have visited her family countless times, and each time, I have been welcomed in like I’ve been in the family forever. They are the most selfless and thoughtful people you can come across. The town of Wise is a coal mining town, and while none of my wife’s family works in that industry (to my knowledge), it is a huge industry that keeps many families in their homes. The stories that these brothers tell are the same stories that the people in Wise have because Whitesburg Kentucky, the hometown of the brothers in Wayne Graham, is less than 45 minutes from Wise. That may not be an ending fit for a Shyamalan film, but I thought it was pretty neat.

Jordan Max – War

Children of Men. That’s what this song and video makes me think of. I know that seems really out there, but stay with me. It’s a song about being terrified of the future and what it will bring, the music video is all taking place in a post-apocalyptic world, and the whole video was done in one continuous shot. If you haven’t seen the movie, watch THIS CLIP for a frame of reference, and then go watch the movie. Then go back and watch these two clips that you may not have realized were done in one take. CLIP 2. CLIP 3 (my favorite).  Anyways, now you have some kind of an understanding of my connection between the song and my favorite movie, let’s get back to the song.

With vulnerable vocals and an instrumental track that gives you the powerful yin to Jordan’s yang, War gets into the mind of millions of soldiers all around the world. They aren’t stoked about going to fight and risk their lives, but if it means that the people they are about the most are protected, then sleep and time aren’t such difficult things to give up. Now, I don’t know if they lyrics are as on the nose as they seem. At the very least, they can apply to a plethora of other things in someone’s life. The song is just about the general feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty of the future.

One thing to keep in mind when listening to a track like this is that there’s not a single person who has it all figured out. We’re all just making this shit up as we go along.

MALMØ – You

What do you get when you cross Joanna Newsom’s timbre with Ingrid Michaelson’s range and vocal acuity? You get something pretty damn close to MALMØ vocalist, Maria Malmoe. She has one of those voices that you hear long after you stop listening to the track.

The song lyrics are fairly ambiguous, but the overarching theme seems to be a lesson in polarities. The first verse is all about being lost in a world of green, while the second verse is about being lost in a world of grey. Both verses have the main character being lost until “I found you.” The main feeling I get from this is that this is talking about the seasons of a relationship. You go through new growth, and you go through dead times, but the key is that you always keep searching for the other one. Keep chasing them even when things seem bleak.


As always, support these guys. Follow them on tour, buy merch, keep up with upcoming releases. All of these things can be done by clicking on the name of the artist above.

We also have a Spotify playlist that puts all of the songs featured on the blog that month into one convenient package.

Check out Episode 17 of the podcast

The Flock: Indie Rock: Johan Danno, Punch Drunk Tagalong, Tinnedfruit, Them Vibes

*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 rock (in many forms) 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.

Johan Danno – “Rescue Me”

“RESCUE ME started as two words in my heart as I went into the studio. Lost between what I was thinking and feeling, I wrote and recorded it in the studio as a way to save me from myself.” – Johan Danno

I just wanted to start the discussion with that quote, because it gets really interesting when analyzing the lyrics. The song starts with some really bold lines:

“Momma said take your time
when falling in love,
in your heart is how you’ll know when they’re the one but,
can’t see things clearly when the light go out,
just a fool for love when we start fooling around,”

I don’t know if you guys empathize with that, but I definitely do. The idea of “the one” gets really muddled once you actually start dating, and finding passion with people. It gets really easy to conflate love with lust, and truth with willful blindness. This fits in perfectly into those two words that Johan Danno speaks about in that first quote:

“Rescue me, rescue me,
cause this love is an addiction sticking to me
rescue me, rescue me,
cause we get what we want but not what we need”

Those two words, “rescue me” seems to be to be both a reaching out and in hope about a potential “the one” that could come along, and also a realization that when that is the attitude going into a relationship, you are liable to look for love in all the wrong places, and allow your addiction to love to keep you from finding someone who actually would be good for you. I could go on an on about the lyrics of this song, because they are so good and relatable, but another awesome thing that stands out to me in this song is the interesting styling. It has this really cool percussion throughout, which turns the vocals into a really unique cadence, somewhere between singing and speaking/pleading. Overall, this is an amazing song, and I can’t wait to see what other words pop into Johan’s head.

 

Punch Drunk Tagalongs – “Hazy”

This song really reminds me a good bit of one of my favorite artists, Hop Along. I think it’s the slightly emo/experimental sounding instrumentals, with the beautiful vocals that fluctuate from conventional to emotive. It’s funny because the lyrics somewhat match up with the previous song (non-intentional on my part).

“Call me if you please
I promise I won’t be a tease
I want to see your face
I’ll even try to go your pace
I can be this weeks craze
Minus the crazy, minus the lazy, but I might be
Hazy, I might be hazy ”

So again we seem to be talking about a potential love, and the hazards involved. The speaker seems to want to be with this person, but is still a little unsure of their intentions so they fluctuate between saying how much they want to see them, but also tempering their expectations. This matches up somewhat with what the band said the song was about:

“This song details the end of winter and the beginning of spring, which just so happened to be timed out perfectly with the ending of an unhealthy marriage and the unexpected beginning of a another relationship. Although the new relationship was not just something I was going to haphazardly jump into. Due to the circumstances, my view on men was quite hazy at this point, but as spring began and warmed up the air so did my heart to the idea of just maybe letting someone else in. So yeah I jumped back in.. although apathetically at points. “Call me if you please”.. Like yo we can hang if it works out, but no pressure because I don’t need no man”

As someone who’s been in basically the exact same position, this new understanding of what the song is about has taken it from a great song, to one of my favorite songs of the moment. Go check out Punch Drunk Tagalong’s album, “Hazy” on whatever music service you use.

Tinnedfruit – “Steal It”

Let’s get a little psychedelic/grungy on this one. I particularly love how the vocals kick in at the refrain when he belts:

“I only want to steal it
I’m never gonna need it”

I’m not entirely sure what this song is about. There are a lot of stream of consciousness thoughts regarding love, and family, and mental health, but the refrain doesn’t give us much evidence for what’s going on. That doesn’t really bother me because I love ambiguity, and also because I think the vocals are a secondary aspect of this song. The primary focus for me is the excellent guitar work that seams together several solos and riffs that seem to be like they shouldn’t fit together, and yet it’s perfect. It reminds me a lot of seeing the Oh Sees at Boston Calling earlier this summer without much pre-knowledge about them, and just being blown away at how much energy and technicality they were able to fit into songs that were the run time of punk songs. Tinnedfruit fits perfectly into whatever that genre might be called, and I am definitely going to be trying to get to one of their live shows.

Them Vibes – “Who Do You Love”

 

This song fits so well into classic rock that it reminded me of a riff that basically drove me crazy trying to figure out what it was. I know it was a song on the first Rock Band or Guitar Hero, but I can’t remember and it’s basically driving me insane. So there’s that. On a serious note, this is something that I didn’t know I needed in my life. The closest I ever hear to something like this are washed up cover bands at open mic night (no offense to them, they are better musicians than me). So hearing a modern band making original music that sounds exactly like it could fit into the 60s or 70s gets me so excited. It gives me “Them (good) Vibes”. *I know that was really cheesy*

It also has a memorable hook with the repetition of “who do you love?” Even though I love super complex, non linear music a lot of the time, it certainly is a nice surprise to have something that’s easy to listen to and memorable. Also, whoever did the production on this song deserves a lot of credit. I’m not sure if they actually used analog production equipment or not, but it certainly sounds like it. So regardless, kudos.

 

-Caleb

The Flock: Hip-Hop and Soul – D. Hart, Noah Slee, Tim Harrison, HighKarateJu, The Sir Duke, KB Devaughn, Daygo Fatts, Rafa Selase, Audrey, DemarcoTheMan, Godz Chyld X Jordan River Banks, Psychodelicate

*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 HUGE edition of The Flock. People who love hip-hop and soul 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.

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

 

D. Hart – Get To Know

It took me way too long to place where I knew that background female vocalist from. Not the feature soulful female vocalist, but that delicate, chopped up, “I would like to,” in the back. I was never a Brandy fan, but my sister was. That’s from her track “I Wanna Know.” If someone is using Brandy samples, it’s someone I want to find out more about. It’s not exactly common to use something from her in your new track, but then again, this isn’t a common song. D. Hart’s style is reminiscent of old Jay, and the soulful voice of Empara is a weird and beautiful mix of Noname and Blige.

I love honest rap. Don’t talk about your fast cars and faster spending habits if you’re shooting a music video leaned up against your ’99 Impala. I mean, dream, go big, do all of that, but it seems so phony when you rap about something you know nothing about. D. Hart feels the same way based on the lyrics of Get To Know. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, so let me rephrase that; that’s how I feel, and I respect the lyricism of D. Hart because he’s an honest guy.

I’m an introspective 
ass and 
blast from the past 
cash makes me mad because i don’t have, cant cope with it 
my bank account has been fasting since i opened it 
I go on some loco shit 

He doesn’t try to pretend he’s got a bunch of money in the bank. He wants you to know that he’s grinding, and he’s hustling to feed his bank account. The guy also has some really witty lines, throwing in allusions to politics while (possibly?) taking a jab at the current regime. If you have read or followed along for anytime at all, you know that’s the way to our heart. D. Hart is taking hip-hop back to an era where people wrote truth and did it with scratchy beats, varying cadences, and not novelty tricks.

so I build wall a up and get caught up 
in trumping those who might love me 
yeah i know its kinda ugly 

 

Noah Slee – Stayed

I wasn’t familiar with Noah before hearing this song, and judging from the millions of plays he has on Spotify, I’m in the minority here. Better late than never when it comes to a party like this though. Noah has one of the most interesting and beautiful voices that I can recall hearing in my lifetime. He has a vulnerable falsetto that resonates from life experiences he is carrying with him. I know this may be a bit of reading, but I think that the idea for the video and the idea behind the album are both things that need to be shared.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT:

Stayed’ is a solo, hallucinatory comedown set in Berlin. The music video aims to invoke that particular sense of isolation and loneliness one can feel, even when surrounded by other people. We also wanted to explore the late night/early morning end-of-the-party atmosphere, when things get a little strange. There’s a decelerated, surreal feeling that occurs when you’ve had no sleep and are in the grey area between two different mental states.

I played around with visual juxtaposition to add a subtle psychedelic element to the imagery. Berlin can be very bleak in the Winter, which is when the video was shot, and we didn’t want to let that control the tone of the video. We used tropical plants, human movement/dance and as much colour as possible to create contrast in dark, icy settings.

The project itself was a challenge. The outdoor scenes were shot guerilla-style, in temperatures sometimes as low as -20˚C. We were often working without a crew or a confirmed location. Noah and I spent many nights alone in the freezing cold grabbing whatever shots we could. Other times, our talented friends assisted…making things feel a lot more cosy. 

This collaboration was an experiment for both of us. I’ve always appreciated music videos that can build a new layer on a song without manipulating the song’s original theme. We attempted to create something that highlighted the introverted nature of the song, whilst leaving the lyrics etc open to interpretation. – cobraswan.com 

ALBUM BIO:

Focusing on many life-changing moments, the album put Slee on the world stage while remaining painfully authentic, as Noah comes out as gay, explores the Berlin nightlife, ponders on religion, pays homage to his Tongan roots, and grapples with his artistry across the incredible 17-track body of work.

 

Tim Harrison – Love is a Drug

If you have been following the blog for any amount of time, you know there’s one thing that immediately receives my immediate disapproval when it comes to hip-hop music: aggressive autotune. Sometimes something is so good you have to make an exception to the rule. Tim Harrison, or Analogy, has made a track that has made me open my mind a little bit. This song is so smooth that I can’t look it over. The main thing that pulled me back in is Analogy’s hard-hitting verse at the end, making me pause and reassess the whole track. It causes this beautiful cohesion between Bamm Bamm and Analogy that makes me groove through the autotune instead of grit my teeth. That’s an insanely hard feat to accomplish, and it’s a testament to how good this song really is.

 

HighKarateJu – Hey Dreamer

With a wordy flow and a clear message, HighKarateJu fits almost as much into each line as he does into his name. The content of this song is on point, too. We make it a point to regularly talk about how you need to pursue your passion, live in the clouds, and do whatever it takes to make your dreams happen. While that all is true, this brings up a piece that is often overlooked.  The song tells you that you need to dream, but you also have to put in work too. Dreams without work are going to be dreams forever. You have to hustle and grind if you want to get to the point where dreams become reality. Caleb and I have dreams about our place in the music industry, and they are nothing without us grinding every single day. A really nice track from HighKarateJu to remind us that work ethic beats out an idea 9 out of 10 times. When you have the work ethic and the idea, that’s when you’re a one in a million product.

The Sir Duke – Eradicated and Rise Up

I’m really liking the direction of The Flock so far today. The Sir Duke and D. Hart need to get to know each other. The Sir Duke’s gut-punch lyricism and old school flow matches up really well with D. Hart. Seriously, in my mind, these guys together could sell out arenas full of people longing for the hip-hop of days gone by. We want rappers who have something to say, and The Sir Duke knows exactly what we want.

Guys, I usually break the lyrics down separately, but these two songs are essentially one long song with one of the smoothest transitions. Seriously, I found Eradicated a while ago, and didn’t even realize that it was a new song when it transitioned to Rise Up after the gunshot. I thought it was a hard break and then the telling of the other half of the story when a race has been pushed to the brink of what they’re willing to take. I’m so interested in The Sir Duke as a human being and an artist. The guy is writing songs that could be anthems for black culture. I mean, we’re very careful not to say things that may be misconstrued since we are two white guys, but these two songs are extremely powerful and empowering.

Side note: Rise Up isn’t about any kind of physical takeover or anything like that. It’s more about the fact that a culture with such strong diversity can’t be held down by narrow-minded ideas, and something is going to change. He’s not trying to start a riot. Calm down, Trumpers.

KB Devaughn – For Me

You know how I was talking about loving honest lyricism? Fuck. This song is nasty. KB Devaughn writes one of the best examples of honesty in music that I’ve seen in a long time. For Me is a song that KB wrote while he and his girlfriend were homeless. The song essentially wrote itself one night as KB watched his girlfriend sleep in the car. He writes about the pressure of the situation, the pressure of their relationship, and then made sure she knew that everything is going to work out for them. Maybe it was more a song to himself to let him know that he would work it out. Either way, I can’t stop listening to this track. As someone who lived out of his car for a while, this song hits hard.

Daygo Fatts – Ride Away

If there’s one word to use to describe Daygo Fatts’ flow, it’s “smooth.” This is exactly what we look for in rap even without the lyrics. The guy has the perfect combination of keeping it straightforward while also mixing up his cadence and rhyme scheme. We listen to so much rap every single day from people who want us to check out their stuff, and I’ve had this idea where I want to compile a list of artists that fit what we do. For example, if the beat is too repetitive or boring, send them a link to an artist that we love the beats of. If they’re going for MC lyricism but the lyrics are fairly generic, send them a link to someone who says a lot through their music in that UK b-boy fashion. If they want to create the new school smooth, but their rhyme scheme and cadence are lazy, I’m going to show them Daygo. It’s really hard for artists to send us something that stands out from everything strictly because we get so much music, but when I listened to Daygo for the first time, I literally stopped everything I was doing, and listened to it three times in a row with my eyes closed, lip curled up the entire time. The dude is good.

Rafa Selase – The Revolution Will Be On Facebook and Chasing Demons

Rafa definitely has something to say, and we love it. There’s something very cathartic about listening to him talk about Gil Scott Heron, government corruption, and the pursuit of money hurting the pursuit of man. I usually don’t post the full lyrics to songs, but these have to be shared. Caleb and I talk regularly about the need to have uncomfortable conversations with people who understand something more than you do, and this is the perfect case of that. We’ve reached out to Rafa about doing a live interview, but understand that he is insanely busy. I just feel like not getting his side of the story would be a complete disservice to his music.

As Gil Scott Heron said 
The Revolution will not be televised 

The evolution is a revolution 
The world is changing 
We no longer praying 

We idolizing 
Selfie posterizing 
Troll seeking sodomizing 
Avatar making 
Tumblr rolling 
Instagram snapping 
We some self idolizing zombies 
You playing 
But Google is playing you 
NSA watching 
FBI profilin’ 
CIA strategizing 
Civil Liberty snatching 
But you still playing 
Gil Scott Heron told you 
The Revolution will not be televised 

Beautiful Jill Scott said 
Why you spend yo time hating 
Trolling? 
Instigating? 
Manipulating? 
Why you playing 
The Revolution will be on Facebook 

Facebook will watch you 
like you 
but not love you 
nor believing or 
supporting you 
won’t pay you 
or even hug you 
you staring face to face 
as the Revolution 
takes place 
friending 
commenting 
on nothing 
ignoring and snoring 
as the Revolution takes place 
The Revolution will be on Facebook

Dead presidents 
Dead presidents don’t matter 
When you’re dead 
Dead presidents don’t matter 
When you’re dead 
Most high forgive me 
Lord forgive me 
For chasing dead presidents Dead presidents don’t matter 
When you’re dead 

Lord I know you said 
Seek me and all these things 
Shall be granted 

He didn’t understand what that meant 
He was chasing 
Social validation 
Dangerous spiritual experimentation 
Sexual exploitation 
Trying to escape toxic romantic relations 
Maintaining false expectations 
He was chasing demons 
Demons wasn’t even messing with him 
He was chasing demons 
They say demons are scared of the righteous 
It’s only when we seek the fleshly desires 
That demons have power 

He was a corporate assassin 
Paper chasing 
Ken and Barbie lifestyle 
Lord forgive him 
False reality 
Creating the illusion 
Of perfection 
For who … like a peacock 
Colorful and showboating 
Peacocks look good 
Walk better 
But can’t fly 
Creating a false reality 
Which causes unrealistic expectations 
And Perceptions 
All while trying to maintain control 

Never realizing 
the more you pursue 
This false reality 
The less control you have 

Dead presidents don’t matter 
When you dead 

Lord forgive me 
The he realized forgiveness is a gift 
Unforgiveness is a burden 
He chose to be forgiven 
Blessed are they which do hunger 
And thirst after righteousness 
For they shall be filled 
He prays “lord forgive me, with my whole heart have I sought thee: 
O let me not wander from thy commandments 

Dead presidents don’t matter 
When you dead 

Audrey – Party

This is a “turn out the lights and sink into the sofa” groove, but don’t sink too far, or you’ll find the bodies.

smile like you’re the joker then you hide your bodies in the sofa 
count cards playin poker 
whatever you like 
bacardi with the soda and your gold teeth and your coca 
hot tub and pagoda 
whatever you like

Audrey started out singing the National Anthem at sporting events, but soon realized that there’s absolutely no fun in that (I would assume. I don’t actually no her reasoning.) and soon started making her own music. I love the National Anthem as much as the next guy, but thank god she stopped doing that and gave us groove tunes like this instead.

DemarcoTheMan – Bike Ride

Bike Ride is an interesting track. It’s a single from his upcoming release, Bland Boy, and on it’s own, its a wordy flow that doesn’t break any kind of walls for me lyrically… at first. His cadence and rhyme scheme are something fresh, and they kept me into the song long enough to figure out what the lyrics were about. On their own though, they didn’t exactly line up with what we usually share on the blog.

Spinning revolving
I keep the barrel tucked.
Auto tune and money
you niggas basic as blondie bitches wearing birks.
Lil B the B for bitch i lift the curse.
Know i’m too diverse for you to get a verse.
Cut the verdict my vertic circuit can jump a bus
and probably lift a hearse.
Who said i couldn’t actually spit.
Suck on my dick.
Until the sack is salty like a bowl full of grits. 

This is why it’s important to read into the songs you listen to. On the surface, this seems like another hip-hop track trope where you want people to know you’re better than the guy beside you. What’s actually happening on the album though is that Demarco is battling with the guy beside him. The album is told from two different perspectives within Demarco’s mind. One side is the side of everyday problems and the dark side of Demarco, and the other side is his confidence and his ego. This song is from the perspective of the latter. This is supposed to be a song about being better than the guy next to you, but that’s not what the album is about. He already had the flow, the beat, and the style, my only hesitation was the lyrics. Then you tell me it’s a really smart concept album that talks about the inner-struggle of man and tells stories from different parts of the same brain? I’m sold.

Godz Chyld X Jordan River Banks – Heavens Pt. II (Look Around)

You know how I mentioned us being fans of lyrically savvy MC’s with something real to say? Enter Godz Chyld. With a song that talks about heaven being a state of mind vs being an actual place, Godz Chyld hits with a wordy flow, big concepts, and a really smooth beat that knows it’s place in the background. So many artists try to hide generic lyrics behind a slick beat; Godz Chyld has both. This is definitely a midnight cruising song. Roll the windows down, and let the song take you to whatever state of mind leads to your heaven.

Psychodelicate – Wine

These guys have one of the most interesting tracks on this list. First off, this is their debut. They already have a great chemistry, and are coming up with something really cool. Secondly, they do everything themselves. Writing, beat production, recording, everything.

One thing that can get lost in the flow when new artists start collaborating together is the fact that they sound fairly similar. All three of these guys have very distinct voices, and it makes the track something that works really well. These guys are definitely someone you need to be watching for now, so you can be that guy who knew about them from the beginning.

Side note: The dude with the growly voice had me making a stink face every single time he started on the track. The dude is sick.


As always, check out all of these guys through the links above. Follow them, buy their stuff, see their tour dates, etc.

We also have a Spotify playlist you can check out to see all the artists we’ve featured this month.

Want to add a podcast to your list? Check out ours. 

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