TOTD: Intellect – “Then There Were Two”

“Then There Were Two” has been nominated for best hiphop song for this year’s Independent Music Awards, and I can see why. The beat is immediately so captivating, with the interesting use of ghostly vocals and I love the inclusion of horns here and there, especially at the end. Intellect claims this is the song that turned the whole album on it’s head (the whole album is wonderful by the way, I have a copy at home, you should too). This song is a conversation between the artist and hip-hop, who he has given feminine qualities. During the chorus you can see him asking for just a few minutes to talk to hip-hop. He seems to want to both revive and evolve hip-hop and it’s direction, and I think he’s fully accomplished that with this song and album. I love his flow change up around 1:45. This track shows the best of Intellect, and I can see why this was the turning point of the album. I hope he can “live forever through these verses” in all of your ears.

-Caleb

Bio: Hip-Hop / Cross Over / Neo-Soul / R&B Recording Artist Intellect aka ~Lect. Not only is he an ingenious songwriter and singer but he’s a “think outside of the box” entrepreneur. Intellect has quickly become successful in the competitive fields of both modeling and music. His music style is Intelligent, Classy and Eloquently spoken, and remains true to the essence of Hip-Hop. Intellect has a fierce loyalty to hip-hop and consistently delivers raw unabated energy in every track he conceives.

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

Image result for alvin martin small town values

 

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

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

 

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

 

– Small Town Caleb

Video of the Day: Tash Sultana – “Harvest Love (Live Lounge Recording)”

I feel like this artist really needs no introduction. Tash Sultana might be the most well known artist we’ve ever featured here, and she’s only blown up more since we got this song in our inbox several months ago. That being said, this song is a perfect introduction to everything I love about Tash Sultana. It strips everything down to it’s basic elements and allows her raw voice to carry the passion and intensity of the song, and she nails it. Her voice is one that makes you a little angry at god that you’ll never have it, but so blessed to witness it. I just want to emphasize some of my favorite lyrics for a second:

“I had a plan ‘Cause I had a plan, you see.
It was based on the rules that my mother and father taught me.
Press the iron when it’s hot, you jump right in.
Because the unfed mind devours itself,
water your garden”

I think most of us that don’t necessarily sync up with all of our parents’ teachings can empathize with these lines. Once that carpet gets ripped out from under you (and really thank god it does), you are left in sort of a painful, scary place for a while until you can rebuild your own mottos, maxims, viewpoints, even if that means you think there are none. Water your garden.

Bio: TASH SULTANA is a dynamic young artist who has commanded world attention since homemade videos of her jamming went viral. A true virtuoso, Tash was soon selling out big theatre shows globally and playing at the world’s biggest festivals including Lollapalooza and Coachella Music and Arts Festival. When playing live, Tash appears on stage entirely solo, creating vast and amazing soundscapes using an array of equipment and live instruments – but absolutely no laptops or backing tracks. She plays an incredible 18 different live instruments during the course of her show.

Tash – “I wrote Salvation when I realised I could be better than the things that I’d done in my past that I regret. That I am the creator of my own narrative and can always continue to grow and move forward into being a better person and can always make better decisions, that it’s okay to accept you’ve fucked up from time to time.”

All of the songs on ‘Flow State’ are produced, written, performed and arranged by Tash herself. She plays every one of the 15 instruments and sounds that feature throughout, including saxophone, pan flute, grand piano and guitar to name a few.

To date, Tash has amassed over 175 million streams globally for her previous EP ‘NOTION’, topped the iTunes charts in multiple countries, achieved gold sales for EP ‘Notion’ and platinum sales for single ‘Jungle’ which also featured in FIFA 18. Her meteoric rise has been entirely via word-of-mouth without support from traditional media

 

Salvation is available here: http://smarturl.it/TS.Salvation

-Caleb

Caleb’s Mid-Week Mixdown Featuring: Freedom Fry, Galapaghost, William Fitzsimmons, and Freddy and Francine

This is a grab bag of all of my favorite artists from the week to carry you through those Mid-week blues. No genres, no themes, nothing. I mean, I guess the theme is that I love these songs.

We try to group artists with similar artists, but the fact of the matter is that most music fans don’t solely like one genre. If you’re like me, there are very few genres that you don’t get into in some capacity. What I’ve found is that a lot of people cross paths with the same people in their musical taste. Seth and I have a lot of crossover, but one distinct difference right out of the gate is that Seth gets more into the folk scene, and I get way more experimental with what he likes. Some of what he listens to sounds like Elvish chants in the woods to me, and some of what I listen to probably sounds to him like what Michael Caine listened to  in Children of MenYou’ll probably start to notice a trend in these posts at some point. We have a lot of crossover, especially when it comes to hip-hop and emotive indie rock, but there’s a lot of music that Seth and I don’t necessarily agree on. We both know that objectively they’re good tracks, we just don’t subjectively like it as much as some other stuff. Without further ado, here are my favorite tracks of the week.

Freedom Fry – “Classic (Acoustic)”

This song is the epitome of nostalgia, albeit with a slight twist. There is the obvious examples like sipping on a glass bottle Coca-Cola, but it seems like it’s actually about how someone can give you that nostalgic “classic” feeling. Just their presence gives you that good feeling that feels like the world is as simple as enjoying each other’s company. To me there’s really nothing better than that feeling, and this song captures the vibe perfectly. You hear this structure in the chorus when it mentions “living in the past with you”, but then is followed with “jumping in the bed with you.” Maybe they are doing nostalgic activities together, but any act has that glow to it because they are doing it together. When you realize that Freedom Fry is a married French/American duo (hilarious name for that mixture by the way), the chemistry apparent in the presentation of this song makes a lot of sense. They are just sharing their love with us, and hoping we can relate, and on my best days this summer, I know I absolutely can.

Bio: Freedom Fry are Marie Seyrat and Bruce Driscoll, a married French & American musical duo. They write and record everything themselves and usually direct and edit their own music videos too. If you like what you see & hear, subscribe and say “hi.” Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat: @freedomfrymusic. They released their debut album, “Classic,” on June 1, 2018.

Galapaghost – “Jellyfish”

Any of you who have followed us for a while should be familiar with this guy. He was featured on our very first podcast episode (Hope)I am very happy to share some more music with you guys today. Galapaghost is the solo project of a very prolific songwriter, Casey Chandler. He’s released 5 albums so far, and seems to be ramping up some new music earlier this year already. The unique thing about “Jellyfish” and the album, Sootie, is that it is Casey’s first electronic album. I love the spacey atmosphere of this song, and given its place on the album, which is primarily about childhood, I can’t help but feel a sense of innocence from this song. The lyrics though, paint a different picture:

“When you told me you might need something more exciting
Well I guess I should get dressed
Cause I guess I got some expenses
Spending all the hours of the day
Working until you don’t recognize your face”

So as an adult reflecting on this innocence, it can’t help but feel but lost, when you are working all day, “until you don’t recognize your face.”

Bio:  Casey has no label, manager or band, so he produces all of his music himself. When he can afford it, he flies to Italy to record with his Italian brother from another mother, Federico. He hails from the small hippie town of Woodstock, NY. He toured Europe and North America with John Grant for 6 months in 2010, which included a prestigious slot on Later…With Jools Holland. He has released five albums. His first two albums were released on a small Italian label called Lady Lovely. He self-released his 3rd album I Never Arrived in 2016 and it already has over 2 million streams on Spotify and many rave reviews from Paste Magazine, Substream Magazine, The Big Takeover, AXS and many others. His 4th album ‘Pulse’ was self-released in January 2018. It received rave reviews from Alternative Nation, Huffington Post, Your EDM and many others. His 5th album ‘Sootie’ was released in August 2018.

William Fitzsimmons – “Distant Lovers”

This song is so haunting. Taken off his album, Mission Bell, Fitzsimmons breaks down a rough year marked by a decade-long marriage falling apart. This song in particular, questions monogamy, and how to forgive (or not) infidelity. As someone who had a marriage fall apart for similar (out of my control) reasons, I can’t help but ache in empathy with the content of this entire album. This is for anyone who has dealt with loss, and needs that bittersweet reminder of how deeply humans can love, hurt, forgive, and hopefully begin to heal.

Bio: Singer-songwriter and music producer William Fitzsimmons’ latest record Mission Bell is a chronicling of the tumultuous last year of his life, particularly of the separation from his second wife. An initial version of the album was originally recorded in Fitzsimmons’ home studio in the summer of 2017 but was subsequently abandoned during the course of, and as a result of, the separation.

In 2018 Fitzsimmons moved to Nashville and spent a month’s time rebuilding the lost record with producer Adam Landry (Deer Tick, Los Lobos, k.d. Lang, Vanessa Carlton). The resulting 11-song album tells the story of a decade-long marriage destroyed and eventually rebuilt from the ground up.

Mission Bell includes songs about betrayal, but also reconciliation and forgiveness. Choosing to go deeper than mere absolutism and fate, these are stories of people doing their best, but still managing to destroy each other in the process.

Freddy and Francine – “Half a Mind”

“Everyday I’m waging war
On who I am and what I was before
But all I want is to forget
But these memories open doors
And I want you all the more

Well if I don’t say it
Well then I’ll go crazy
I am paralyzed by the thought of you just passing by
Oh honey if I don’t say it
What’s the price I’m paying
I got half a mind to make you all mine”

 

I like putting this song right after the previous song because it shows the other side of the coin, the risk involved in not saying yes to love, even if there’s a risk of it eventually not working out. This song seems to be about that moment when you get absolutely overwhelmed by someone, and you just to have to let them know how you feel, regardless of the potential outcomes. The way this duo mixes their vocals with a twangy blues sound keeps me coming back to this song over and over. I got “half a mind” to add it to every playlist in my rotation as soon as I finish writing this.

Bio: “We’re performers. We’re not just folk musicians who play and sing mellow songs with little voices … there’s screaming,” Caruso said. Don’t call it Americana either. They don’t wear hats. Besides, Caruso says, “The minute you think one of our songs is an Americana song, it can turn into a retro pop song.”

Despite the reaction of most roots music fans to the dreaded “P” word, Caruso says she doesn’t mind Freddy & Francine being labeled a pop band. “Pop music gets a bad rap, but it comes from the word ‘popular.’ I’d love to be popular,” she said. “I never discriminate against a song because it’s popular if it stays in your head … every Beatles song is a pop song.”

But mostly, Freddy & Francine sounds like Freddy & Francine. It ain’t the easiest thing to explain, but it makes sense when you hear it, and finally, it makes sense to the two people who matter most. “I’m really happy with who I am and I’m happy with the life I have,” Ferris said.

-Caleb

Mid-Day Music Blast: Paintbox – “Honey”

Down EP by Paintbox

I’ve been so excited for this song for months now! Paintbox has such a unique sound that mixes so many of my favorite genres. The most obvious elements are folk in nature, but beneath that there is a subtle funk/soul vibe that drives the song from a nice singer/songwriter vibe to an epic ballad that pulls goosebumps up on your forearms. Let’s dive into some of the lyrics:

“I shuffled into town wonderin’ where to go
There is a home, I asked the man on the road he was praying to the Lord
He said if you go right there’ll be troubles you’ll find
Left will leave you just as sore, boy
Life is like lickin’ honey off a thorn
But

I heard its sweet, heard its sweet
Where the rivers do meet right before they reach the bend
And there’s a nice soft place to lay your head
You count your best, you count your worst,
But what is your comfort worth
To you when the truth is most everything it hurts”

 

Before I break the message down, I just want to say “life is like lickin’ honey off a thorn” is one of the best lines I’ve ever heard. It’s so succinct and relatable, perfect poetry. This song does a good job of analyzing the idea of comfort, how much of it is necessary, and if comfort even equals happiness at all. To me it seems that a lot of the times I’ve felt most alive have coincided with very little comfort: road trips, long hikes, foreign places. So maybe if you acknowledge that life is bumpy, whether you sit in the same place, or put yourself somewhere new, you can free yourself up to make the best of the time we do have here.

Bio: ​Paintbox is a Los Angeles based band that plays a unique combination of funk, folk, and soul. Formed in 2014 by singer Jake Dupre and guitarist Luca Brown, the band’s sound is a mixture of crafted songwriting and collective improvisation. Paintbox is currently writing for their second studio album, and playing shows around California.

– Caleb

Monday Mix-down featuring: Dubby, Telescreens, The Escalator, and Awolk

This is a grab bag of all of my favorite artists from the week to carry you through those Monday blues. No genres, no themes, nothing. I mean, I guess the theme is that I love these songs.

We try to group artists with similar artists, but the fact of the matter is that most music fans don’t solely like one genre. If you’re like me, there are very few genres that you don’t get into in some capacity. What I’ve found is that a lot of people cross paths with the same people in their musical taste. Seth and I have a lot of crossover, but one distinct difference right out of the gate is that Seth gets more into the folk scene, and I get way more experimental with what he likes. Some of what he listens to sounds like Elvish chants in the woods to me, and some of what I listen to probably sounds to him like what Michael Caine listened to  in Children of MenYou’ll probably start to notice a trend in these posts at some point. We have a lot of crossover, especially when it comes to hip-hop and emotive indie rock, but there’s a lot of music that Seth and I don’t necessarily agree on. We both know that objectively they’re good tracks, we just don’t subjectively like it as much as some other stuff. Without further ado, here are my favorite tracks of the week.

Dubby – “Gelati Kong ft. King Los”

Image result for dubby gelati kong

I had never heard the plural of “gelato” before this, and I’m not entirely sure what Gelati Kong would imply, but this song is so smooth. The beat is a classic throwback hip-hop beat, mixed with some trap elements that make it feel modern. I know that this song will find it’s way onto all my summer playlists.

 

Bio: If you enjoy the sound of this south central Pennsylvania artist, be sure to check him out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @Dubbygotbars! Be on the lookout for his second album entitled “TOWN” which was re-released on 10/13/18. Visit http://www.dubbygotbars.com for free music, merch and behind the scenes footage

 

Telescreens – “Poison”

Image may contain: 3 people, people playing musical instruments, people on stage and people sitting

I adore this song. The guitar line is so smooth, and has a nice genre-mix to it that makes me feel like a lazy summer day. It’s not necessarily a happy summer day, but it’s not overly depressing either. It seems to be pondering a person that is “poisonous”. The difficult thing of course is that poison is usually hidden until it starts effecting you negatively, and the damage is already done. I can’t wait for them to release more music! In the meantime, do like me and put this one on repeat all summer long.

 

The Escalator – “The Cathedral”

Found my way to St Patrick’s Cathedral
Took a seat by the alter and I cried
All alone, starring up at the ceiling
Closed my eyes
Asked God why?
Violence is normal
Why violence is normal
All through the night

What a haunting way to end a song. This song was actually sent to us a long time ago, and it’s just sort of happenstance that this is posted a week after the events in New Zealand. Of course, unfortunately, we are never too far from an act of violence in the news at any given time, but I definitely think this song hit me harder than usual this morning. The lyrics themselves would be haunting enough, but then you combine that with the soulful vocals, and it really starts to raise the hair on your arms. I think it’s fitting that this album was created to “create a cathartic experience for people visiting Trump Tower,” and hope that more people get to feel that catharsis after hearing this today.

Bio: The Escalator is a protest album featuring Grammy award winning bandleader, Steven Bernstein, vocalists Amy Leon, Trixie Whitley and many more. The album is an audio walking tour with a total playtime lasting the duration of time it takes to walk from the top of the escalator at Trump Tower, then down the street to St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York York City.

Awolk – “Open Doors”

Image result for awolk

I get some real Ben Howard vibes from this song, and seeing as how Ben Howard is one of my favorite artists, it’s pretty easy to see why this song makes my list of favorites. Another thing I really love about this song is just how positive it’s messaging is. As someone who struggles with overcoming fear/anxiety, I really needed this message of finding the open door and walking through it.

Fear is far too close
Fear will choke your growth
Fear don’t break down doors 

I think a lot of us could use this message today. Spring is starting all over the U.S. (albeit slower than I wish it was). It’s time for a new beginning.

Bio: Awolk is an alternative folk-rock singer-songwriter from Nova Scotia, Canada. For almost 10 years he has been playing under various stage names and bands.

Awolk recently released his debut full length record, available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, and Bandcamp. Self titled, the album is a weighty and eclectic list of tracks, covering his lyrical and melodic thoughts, developing over the last few years.

His alternative style, blends melody focused songs with modern acoustic and electric soundscapes. Awolk used to be known by his birth name, Jesse Thomas, releasing 2 EPs and 2 single recordings under that name. In 2017, he diverged into his new stage name.

  • Caleb

Video of the Day: Alex Bloom – “Elevator”

Image result for alex bloom music

Reminds me of: Ben Howard mixed with The Beatles and Radiohead

If you watched the video, I feel like this is already pretty clear, but let’s check out what the artist said about this excellent tune:

“I wrote a song about the existential elevator ride of life. I think it’s something everyone thinks about all the time. My creative inspiration came from this little white Casio keyboard with preset beats that I set to ‘Rock’. Then I started with this guitar riff and immediately noticed the shape and movement of the chord I used, kind of looked like an elevator.” – Alex Bloom

And what an existential elevator ride it is. From the lyrics, it seems to suggest that a lot of that ride points downward (although the end of the video finds our elevator in ethereal space). I think this metaphor is an excellent way to describe the existential dread that comes with post-modern existence. A lot of us know/believe there is no purpose to any of this, but most of us think it is important to create our own meaning regardless. It is an unwinnable game that each of us has to decide whether or not to play. I think that this song suggests that even though it’s hopeless, that doesn’t necessarily mean the game isn’t worth playing. If you can fully accept that there is no inherent purpose, that can be depressing, but it can also be freeing. This can be seen most clearly in this section:

“I don’t believe
I don’t believe
let me cheer you up
let me offer
let me take a sponge
to your human condition now I’ll boil down
all your suffering to an
elevator ride
no one will survive terminal speed Hades receive me
you can be afraid
of all your sins
you can’t see yourself breakin mirrors
climbing through the shaft see what’s coming
elevator ride
no one will survive terminal speed Hades receive me
I don’t wanna cheat it
I don’t wanna cheat it
there’s no way to beat it that’s the way I want it”

If you fully accept reality for what it is (or as close as we can get to perceiving what it is), then you can perhaps live a better personal existence, even if no one is watching over you.

One more thing I wanted to mention about the video, is how cool the blurred effect is. I have (under control) DPDR. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a shorthand for Depersonalization and Derealization. This video gets very close to explaining how I feel when I go through DPDR episodes (which is a pretty difficult thing to explain fully). It fits along nicely with the existential lyrics, and atmospheric vocals. I’m not suggesting that the video was trying to explain DPDR or anything, but I just found it comforting in a strange sort of way from a personal angle.

Bio: His 2017 “One More Shot” song became a “quiet” YouTube hit with over 2 million cumulative streams and his debut album Blue Room already has over 450,000 plays on Spotify.

Earlier this year, in the midst of working on his new material, Bloom’s song “Evanesce” was featured in the Netflix Original movie “The Open House.” An exciting moment for an indie artist who runs his own label…

Alex has received early critical praise for his songwriting and complex vocal arrangements.

“Elevator” is just a foreshadow of the rest of Bloom’s new material (sophomore album) set for release in 2019.

 

-Caleb