New Release Friday: HAUS Music, Ryan Svendsen, Jesse Jo Stark, Cara Hammond, Joe Garvey, The Millennial Club, The Little Miss, The Fey

Happy official Summer everyone! To kick off this most glorious season, we have a bevy of brand new summer related tracks for you to check out. Some of you may have come here because your favorite band shared this on social media, and please, do check their write up, but stick around for a while; if we have good enough taste to like your favorite band, I bet we have more out there for you too.

HAUS Music – “Rêves Ephémères”

Let’s get this started strong here with HAUS Music. This is another one of those songs we like to share where we don’t understand any of the lyrics (because we are stupid Americans) but the vibe of the song is so infectious that I don’t think I need to. Music is a universal language. Luckily I do have a little bit of background with what they are talking about:

“Mitchell says, “Rêves Ephémères translates to Ephemeral Dreams. It is an acknowledgment that stories that we invent for ourselves to carry us forward can and will just as often carry us somewhere we didn’t intend to go. For me it is a gentle reminder that happiness doesn’t come all at once at some point in the future; instead, it grows slowly over time. Don’t get trapped in a cycle of unhappiness thinking it can bring you anything but pain.”

There’s no doubt that this song is Ephemeral, whether you know every word that is being mentioned or not. I hope we can remember his message about happiness, and avoiding unhappiness throughout this summer.

Ryan Svendsen – “One Hundred Percent Ft. Jerome Thomas”

Have you figured out the beautiful thing about these lists yet? If you come in for one band, of a certain style, you may find another band of a completely different style to also add to your list. I think this song has to be on everyone’s list. Ryan Svendsen is a talented musician who has been featured on tracks by Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato, and here you can see his creative vision taking shape under his own direction. I have to say, it’s gorgeous. Like all the songs in this list, it is absolutely perfect summer music, and luckily Ryan released this just in time for the first day of summer. Let me encourage anyone who likes horns to go check out Ryan’s back discography. It’s perfect for chilling out, background for work, or a party. It’s multifarious.

 

Jesse Jo Stark – “Dandelion”

The first thing I thought when I heard this song was how anyone who likes Lana Del Rey will almost certainly get a kick out of Jesse Jo Stark. They have similar vocal styles, and musical accompaniment. With this song, Jesse Jo Stark sings about loving something that you shouldn’t, and how complicated that quickly gets. Anyone got any theories on the title? I mean obviously Dandelions are a nice yellow flower, but I also tend to think of the seed heads, and how quickly they can blow away. Maybe this relationship is more like the latter?

Cara Hammond – “How I Feel”

How about this amazing bluesy single from Cara Hammond? This is the first song off new EP called Nice Girl, coming out in the fall. When asked about the song Cara describes it as: “How I Feel is a very relatable song about love, loss and nostalgia,” explains Cara “I think the track picks up on those little details and memories which are present in all types of relationships, making it a very powerful song” I can certainly hear that. There is a  mention of going out to bars, just hoping to see someone and ask how they are, and a lot of that terrible feeling after breaking up with someone that was once important, and no longer feeling very important to them. Really heart wrenching stuff, wrapped in a beautifully sung package.

 

Joe Garvey – “What Your Time Is Worth”

Joe Garvey asks us an important question with this smooth funk/pop song: “Do you know what your time is worth?” He begs us to consider how quickly the time passes, even a nice 80 year life is too short. In an age of increasing technology, distraction, and hustle and bustle, it seems that time isn’t what it used to be. Are you using yours the way you want to? Are you wasting days? I read once that we have about 4500 days worth of free time, meaning not work, not sleep, etc. That’s a disturbingly low number. Do you know what your time is worth?

 

The Millennial Club – “Santa Barbara”

This track is the perfect summer track. It has the perfect amount of groove to it; it even has a little bit of a California Dre whine going in the background. According to their promo materials: “At an early age, The Millennial Club has managed to blend dance-inspired 80’s pop, beat-driven 90’s R&B, and emotional love-centered lyricism to shape their original Southern California sound.” I would say that says it better than I can. These guys are on the rise, and I could even see them breaking into a top 40 style market eventually. They mix everything I love about summer into one convenient package.

The Little Miss – “American Dream”

Usually I like to get into the lyrics and try to dissect them, put my own spin on the song, etc. This song is too important to not get the words straight from the artist’s mouth. I will say this though, the irony is something that you can taste in this song, and it doesn’t taste like apple pie. The American Dream is an afterthought, a delusion that people once had, a book that you never got around to reading, collecting dust in the attic. I think it should be, at least. The thought that the American Dream has to be this perfect series of check boxes is just a way to sell more ranch style homes and Coke.

“I wrote ‘American Dream’ at a time when the tension in our country felt palpable. This was five years ago. Now, seemingly more divided than ever, I questioned whether or not I should release a song that sounds so blindly idealistic. To be clear, “American Dream” is not an endorsement of this country as it stands now. I don’t think that it is unpatriotic to think that we can do better than this. The American Dream, as it has been fed to us – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – has not delivered on its promises for many (if not most of us). So, while the song yearns for this made-up, sepia-toned time that never existed, it notes exactly that: that it never existed. We’re enchanted by our own, but very limited folklore – the pioneers, the Wild West, the civil war, the nuclear family, the moon landing, etc. We have romantic notions about who we are and who we’ve been, and it is tempting, for all of us, to want to wear those rose-colored glasses. But in order to become better, and in order to progress, we need to take off the glasses and take a good look in the mirror. We all want the same thing: to feel proud of the country we call home – we just need to accept the fact that it might be healthier to learn from our history rather than glamorize it. The lives of so many depend on it.”

 

The Fey – Contender

What is this?!? I seriously have no idea. It blends so many different genres into one crazy rollercoaster, and I loved every second of the ride. I read the bands description of their sound, and it reads as follows: “Dominantly a new age American rock-soul-r&b band, The Fey, also expresses a touch of the contemporary vibes of hip-hop and pop.” As a guy who listens to over 20 new bands a day, when you read a statement like that, you think, “Yeah, okay. Which part do you do well, though?” Most of the time it’s like a restaurant that has 50 menu items, and all of them are average. This is not most of the time. These guys know who they are, and they do rock, soul, r&b, hip-hop, and pop equally well. With strong guitar riffs and organs, smooth vocal runs, and a nice hip-hop verse, The Fey is the true definition of a multi-genre group.

 

-Caleb and Seth

 

As always, check out all of these tracks and more on our June Spotify Playlist. 

TOTD: Erik Jonasson “Horizon”

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

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

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

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

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

 

Caleb’s Favorite Releases June 15th: Jah Movement, David Myhr, Maddison, Johnny Conqueroo, Mikey Wax

Favorite Summer Song: Jah Movement “To You I Pray”

I always find myself getting into Reggae vibes in the summer. It’s just music that sounds like you should be sitting in the sun, with a spritzy drink in hand. This song particularly seems to focus on some Rastafarian elements of love and spirituality. There are some excellent instrumentals, with some fun melody matching with a lead guitar (or maybe a synth, not positive, but you’ll hear it). Another thing I like about this song is the message, self-described as: “With all the trouble that is going on in the world today. We hope and pray to Jah that it will get better for our Youths.” Who can’t get behind that?

Favorite Video: David Myhr “My Negative Friend”

I mean I assume after you watch 2 seconds of this video you can get what I like about it. The music itself is exceptional and upbeat, but the really cool animation style just pulls you in. The clunky FPS give it a surreal vibe, and then once the chorus kicks in, and by extension all the flowers and colors kick in, you’d have to be soulless not feel completely powerless to be a “negative friend”. I hope this song/video leaves you feeling better than when you entered. “We only get one chance in this world we’re living in, so make it a good one.”

Favorite song for my morning Bike Ride: Maddison “Lose My Mind”

So the best thing for me when on a bike ride, is a consistent beat that has me nodding my head, and something upbeat. This song checks all the boxes. It is upbeat, has a choir effect on the vocals reminiscent of The Black Keys, a sick guitar solo, and a rocking drum beat. This should be added to everyone’s workout playlists, or summer windows down playlists, your choice.

 

Favorite lyrics: Johnny Conqueroo “Why?”

Sometimes I’m a man who loves depressing lyrics. The bluesy vibe of this song, with the emotive driven vocals really add to the desperation found in these words, that ultimately end, without resolution, with a suicide attempt in a hotel room. If I’m feeling optimistic, maybe the sick outro riff, and organ give us a glimpse of redemption, or maybe that’s what death sounds like. Either way, here are the lyrics in full: (note, if you are thinking of suicide please talk to someone, you are not crazy for feeling that way, but you also aren’t out of options)

Some people think I’ve lost my head

Some people wish I was dead

and just maybe, just maybe it will come true

Checked into my motel room

looked through the phonebook

and I couldn’t find nobody I could call

And I said Why, why why, is everyone so cold?

And I said why, why, why is everyone so cold?

I saw my only friend today

he didn’t have nothing to say

So I guess I’m here all alone

And I said why, why, why is everyone so cold?

And I said why, why, why is everyone so cold?

Put the belt around my neck

smoked my last cigarette

and I felt my skin turn so cold

And I said why, why, why is everyone so cold?

And I said why, why, why is everyone so cold?

Favorite composition: Mikey Wax “Big Little Life”

This song is just so perfectly constructed. The beat is fairly consistent throughout, but the guitar work progresses really nicely, and you hear these moments where a slide is happening in the background, either with a guitar or a synth emulating it. That’s not even mentioning the lyrics which focus on building a life and growing old together with bubbly vocals. This song is going on all of my summer playlists (and also our monthly playlist which you can find here.) Also, if I’m not mistaken, Mikey is getting married tomorrow (June 16th) so congrats on “building that big little life”.

Morning Commute: Madge – “Alice”

 

 

Alright guys. Let’s get weird this morning. This song blew me away with how unique it is. I hear a 90s Dre sort of whine going on the background, there are sing-songy children vocals, there are so many instruments I can’t even point them all out. This song is truly unique, which is something that I rarely can say even about a lot of the music I’ve always liked.

After reading up on her background a bit, I guess it shouldn’t be surprising how unique this all sounds.  From her press release:

“Delving into the legacy of her Mormon upbringing in Utah, contemporary spirituality, and a passion for 80s dark wave, Madge has created her own lane with a DIY approach to maximalist pop, drawing comparisons to Grimes and Charli XCX along the way.

On ” Alice ” an unforgettable bassline sets the foundation for witchy vocals that float atop wood-block percussion, wood-winds, and a cat’s meow. The song is interjected by a call-and-response made up of childlike voices, representative of the self-destructive voices inside our heads. The line “…boys be wary, Alice gonna check you like a good library” is about as badass as it gets. ”

I really wish I could say anything nearly as neatly intricate as that summation, but I’ll just say this: Very few artists are being as simultaneously experimental and catchy as this track is, and I’m very anxious to see how this develops over time. In the meantime, go listen to this song over an over on her SoundCloud or on our Spotify playlist, which you can find here. 

Video of the Day: Alex Cuba “El Dia De Hoy”

Alright guys let’s get weird and symbolic. I do encourage you, if like me you only know enough Spanish to get you through high school classes, to copy paste the lyrics (which you can find in the video description on youtube) into Google translate. I do not encourage you to do that until after you’ve watched the video in full though. Sometimes we just need to let visuals and symbols tell us an abstract story that allow us to get something out of it without too much explanation. So what do you get out of these strange colorful creatures being hidden away in a black and white world? What is this song saying to you about creativity? The powers the be/the status quo? Artistry? Maybe I’ll give you some hints in a minute, but sit with it yourself first.

Who can explain me
This great illusion
That has no end
It's the sea
Is the sun
It's today
It's starting over
And let the night
And let the night
Allow us to dream

For other stupid Americans, like myself, that is the English translation to some of the lyrics. Like any great poetry, it seems to translate quite well, though I’m sure it’s always better in the native language. To me it seems this song, and this video is very much about keeping your dreams alive, despite the world’s best attempts to capture/destroy them. I think that’s a message and inspiration that we need more than ever in these trying times, and I am so thankful that Alex Cuba shared this with us, so we could share it with you.

-Caleb

If you’re looking for more Alex Cuba, I have good news, he is very prolific. He has several albums spanning many years on Spotify. We’ve added this song to our monthly Spotify playlist to get you started. Check it out here. 

Morning Commute/Video of the Day: Fever Feel – “Somewhere Down the Line”

Let’s take a moment to act like we are stepping back in time with our Video of the Day today. Fever Feel’s “Somewhere Down the Line” feels so familiar and yet unique simultaneously. They were described as Led Zeppelin meets Rick James, and I can definitely see that both in style and musicality. I really love the direction and aesthetic to this video. One thing that stands out in the use of red and yellow lighting to give it a throwback feel, and also I really like the overlays where the previous picture slowly fades on top of the new picture. Any up and coming bands that are listening should take notes on the simplicity of this video. It probably didn’t cost too much, and yet it was very effective at creating a vibe and ethos that will follow my mind’s eye picture of the band going forward.

“Founded by Landon Franklin and Logan Gabert, the band is a mix of seventies rock with modern sensibilities – in fact, they consider themselves to be a part of a new age for rock and roll music.”

From their brief bio, I have to say that there ambitions don’t seem far off to me at all. Let me give you a bonus glimpse at their sound from one of their live shows. This video started playing as I was finishing up the one above, and I just got entranced by it.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m fully sold at this point.

-Caleb

As always, don’t forget to check out Fever Feel on our June TOTD Spotify playlist.

 

TOTD: Little Sain✚ feat. Merger – “Remedy”

 

You’re in for a real treat on this one. The artist informed us they brought in a full brass section, and a gospel singer, and you can tell with how full the track feels. It’s got a little bit of a Kanye production vibe to me, with some deep brass, and the full vocals and samples really making the song feel epic. Not epic in the dumb “whoa bruh that’s epic” sort of way. Epic like it feels important. It leaves you with goosebumps on your arms.

Another thing I really appreciate about this song is it’s ambiguity. The song is talking about remedies, but filling it with “Hennessy”. Which I suppose is a sort of remedy. We all have probably leaned on drinking or partying to distract from our problems from time to time, but obviously a remedy would hopefully be more of a long term fix. I think this song definitely plays it a little tongue and cheek, which I appreciate. It also has a fun switch from the song/artist being the Remedy to others, to the artist needing a Remedy themselves. Anyway, a really fun song overall that deserves multiple listens.

Be sure to check out this song and all of our June TOTD’s on our Spotify playlist.

-Caleb