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”

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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”

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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”

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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”

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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

Video of the Day: Jim Audet – “Mojave Rain”

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Hey guys! Hopefully you recognize this handsome fella already, but if you don’t check out this post to get familiar:Jim Audet Double Feature.    I just wanted to drop a quick note that he recently put out a video for his song Mojave Rain. We already broke down the content a good bit in the other post, but basically, Jim wrote the song after the tragedy of the Las Vegas shooting last year. We quickly see the rain in the song, is actually the rain of bullets on the street below the hotel. Anyway, give this video plenty of plays. You’re not going to want to miss the boat on Jim. He’s easily one of my favorite artists we’ve ever covered, and I fully expect him to blow up in a major way soon. Help us get this hype train going!

 

Bio: The Lookout EP out now. Download/stream: https://open.spotify.com/track/4Bzg1h… Follow Jim Audet Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JimAudetMusic/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jimaudetmusic/

TOTD: We Are All Fossils – “The West”

 

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Good morning B-Side Battletoads! (I like that one, and it also shouts out the hardest game of my childhood) Before we get into this song, I just need to say that this artist/band name is one of my favorites I’ve ever seen, along with the cover art. It’s one of those when you hear it, you are bummed that you can’t use it for your future project haha. Not that I would be creative enough to come up with it anyway. Alright now let’s dive into the song. Let’s start with the lyrics:

“You can take the water
You can take the wine
From our souls
You can drink it dry

Well you can see the storm
It’s coming from the west
It’s been howling for days
You can see the sun yeah it’s leaving the bay

You can save tomorrow
Or relive yesterday
Or you can drown in sorrow
and feel the pain”

I love the ambiguity and mystery in this song. There seems to be some biblical nods, with the water and the wine, but the idea of this storm in the west reminds me of a personal experience. I don’t know how many of you have been to the American west, but one of the defining characteristics is how open everything is. This openness allows you to see a storm for several hours before it ever gets to you. So the chorus of this song reminds me of that concept, and even though you can see the storm for miles and miles and miles, you still can’t avoid it. It gives you more time to hunker down maybe, but the storm is coming anyway. It seems that this song explores what to do while you wait on the storm. Do you focus on the past? Do you drown yourself in sorrow? Do you anticipate the pain? I don’t know if we get a clear answer here, but maybe that’s the point. We each have to find our own answer.

Bio: The musical story of a South African born singer songwriter, inspired by the likes of Gregory Alan Isakov, Nathaniel Rateliff, Damien Rice & Sufjan Stevens. We Are All Fossils started in late 2014 but music has been the way of life for many years before that. March of 2015 saw the released of ‘Aether’ a live 6 track EP.

‘Songs For Strangers’ soon followed. A unique process where anyone could anonymously send in story (fiction/non fiction/undefined) to inspire a song. Out of these connections 8 tracks were created.

Late 2014 through to early 2018 were spent writing and recording for the debut album, a collection of songs that have survived the seasons. ‘The Optimist’ is the 10 track debut album from We Are All Fossils, released 4th June. The opening track and debut single ‘Honey Drop’ is a distinctive Indie/Folk sound that is a great introduction into the record.

-Caleb

TOTD: Thacker – “From The Hands of Angels”

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“Well ever/greens don’t grow/ overnight/ so tell me/ when can I start
And treetops/ once grown pierce/ the sky/ freeing the sun/ shine upon me now”
I love the sentiment at the end of this song. I think we all want to be evergreens, able to withstand changes, in weather, seasons, years. The problem is, most of us don’t know how to build ourselves up to that level, because we only see the finished product. I think this song encourages us to just aim to be a sapling, and try to grow a little each day. And that’s just the lyrical content! The best part of this song, is even if you didn’t hear the message, you’d love it. It’s got some beautiful horn arrangements, a consistent and polished vocal track, and crisp string sound from the rhythm sections. I really can’t get over how phenomenally constructed the whole track is. Everytime I listen to it, something different stands out, as I’m writing this, I’m just noticing how fun the bass line is that’s driving the song. This is a band that is criminally underrated. I hope our followers go give them some much deserved listens and love.

Bio:  First EP from the Los Angeles artist Thacker. Members include:

Andrew Thacker

Matty Margallo

André Eliazar de Carvalho

Masaki Micky Miyase

They say they are forever in gratitude for and to family, friends, listeners now and in the future, supporters, and the musicians who have illuminated the path.

-Caleb

 

Morning Commute: Leo James Conroy – “White Noise”

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Good morning B-Side Ballerinas! (nah, that one isn’t so good) Hope you guys are celebrating your Friday in style. Let’s get it started right with an excellent track from Leo James Conroy. The production on this track is so smooth. It has an analog feel from the very beginning with the excellent bass line that runs the entire song. As someone who tries to sing on occasion (poorly), I can’t help but be insanely jealous of a voice like Leo James Conroy has. It’s perfectly soulful in a way that reminds me a good bit of the lead singer of Kaleo mixed with like Jamie Cullum or someone. I think my favorite part is when everything drops out around 2:20 and then slowly builds itself back up with a background chorus, horns, and of course, that sweet sweet bass line. Let that bass line walk you right into the weekend, where of course, more music from us will be waiting.

Bio: White Noise is Leo James Conroy’s first single on his Debut EP, Plastic Chairs & Cigarette Fumes. Notable contributors to the record include drummer Russ Lawton (who has worked with Phish), background singer Sharlotte Gibson (who has collaborated with Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder), and mastering engineer Barry Grint (who has worked with The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and The Beatles). “White Noise” was produced by Lyell Evans Roeder, and it was recorded in his studio in Los Angeles with additional recording in Vermont and Washington D.C.

LINKS:

https://www.instagram.com/leojamesconroy/

https://www.facebook.com/leojamesconroy/

http://www.digitaljournal.com/entertainment/music/leo-james-conroy-talks-new-single-white-noise-jeff-buckley/article/525736

Morning Commute: Favours – “In The Night”

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Good morning B-Side Badasses! (oh, I like that one, that’s pretty good). I have an incredible song for you this morning. Their spotify numbers are mind blowing to me. This song only has 1,000 plays? What? Hopefully we can get those numbers up some today because I think everyone on the planet needs to hear this one. The band describes the track as: “‘In The Night’ is a ballad for the stuck ones in an unfulfilling cycle of repetition. It’s about escaping from the banality of the day and longing for the dreams that seem just out of reach.” Um…so…basically all of us in modern society no? I know it at least applies to me. One of my goals for 2019 is to dream bigger, and take some practical steps to achieve those dreams, so I appreciate this song this morning as a nice reminder of why it is important. So many of us let our lives drift by without trying to do anything to shake it up, or rock the boat, me included. Let’s reflect this morning, as we listen to this beautiful orchestrated synthy jam, on what parts of our lives we are just going through the motions on, and how we can shake ourselves out of that.

Links: Facebook / Instagram

Bio: Favours plays 80s and 90s influenced dark synth rock combining British new wave with modern dream pop influences. The band features female and male vocals using their lyrical identities to embody the narrative they croon about.

-Caleb