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

Morning Commute: Vincent Randazzo: “When It’s Raining”

 

Good morning merciful B-Side Bounty Hunters (I’ve been watching too much Mandalorian). I have a nice chill beginning to your day to introduce you to today. This is a great track from Vincent Randazzo that feels just like it’s namesake. I don’t know if it’s raining where you are, or if you like when it is, but Randazzo will make you feel like the only thing to do is cozy up with a nice book in your warmest pajamas and refuse to move. This song is full of creative one-liners, puns, romance and heartbreak. I think my favorite section is the end:

“Cause you could sweat balls under the apple tree
Y’all could make out- just wake up with me
Sometimes that white light shines on me
But I write more when it’s raining”

I know all of you other creative minds have to agree with Vincent’s take that you “write more when it’s raining.” No matter how much I wish I could write a book full of happy poems, I think the darkness and the rain will always be my best muse. It’s good to be back guys, more music coming very soon, but for now, play this on repeat.

-Caleb

Bio: Indie folk singer-songwriter Vincent Randazzo, 24, charms beholders with his spellbinding lyrics and spirited performances. “Real Plan,” Randazzo’s third and latest full-length album, is not just an extension of his striking musical style, but a milestone in terms of his remarkable growth as a budding artist. In addition to hiring seasoned session musicians, Chris Shlarb, founder of esteemed cult band Psychic Temple, produced “Real Plan,” a momentous change for Randazzo compared to previously self-produced albums. The overarching result is a polished mix of similar artists like The Mountain Goats, Leif Vollebekk (of Montreal) and even the country music supergroup The Highwaymen. – Matthew Hable

 

Mid-Day Music Blast: Joel Porter – “Amaranthine”

I admittedly didn’t know what an Amaranthine was, so I looked it up:

” The appellation is rooted in the Greek words “amarantos,” meaning “immortal” or “unfading,” and “anthos,” meaning “flower.” The word “amaranthine” emerged as an adjective of the imaginary flower and subsequently of anything possessing its undying quality” (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

So as a metaphor, it’s really quite beautiful. It is a flower that doesn’t exist, because it cannot exist, because the quality that defines it is immortality, and everything ends. Nonetheless, artistry explores abstract concepts that don’t have to sync up with reality all the time, and so Amaranthine can be as real as a song, an idea, a poem. The song itself backs up these poetic notions with it’s lyrical and atmospheric quality. Here’s my favorite snippet:

“Winter love and paradigm stoic
I cannot live like this
Strike the match to burn my pattern holding
Today I choose to live
Away from infinite (Someday I’ll befriend to death, there I’ll stay in Infinite)”

 

As someone who tries to take a stoic attitude toward things I cannot control (such as death in this example), I really connected with these lyrics. It seems that he is feeling the pull between trying to live stoically in the face of certain death (the infinite), and also that we as humans are passionate, we are not always meant to be stoic, and for a moment, maybe it’s best to light that passion on fire, forget about the inevitable end for a while, and hope maybe one day in the future he can “befriend death”. Whether that’s the literal meaning or not, it’s the message I needed to hear today. I’m very thankful that Joel Porter shared it with us.

Bio: Joel Porter is an ambient-folk writer, instrumentalist, and producer from North Dakota, now living in Nashville, TN. As an instrumentalist, he has recorded string and brass parts for Foreign Fields, Hembree, Matthew And The Atlas and Boom Forest. In 2017, with the guidance of producer Eric hillman (e.hillman – Foreign Fields), he introduced his intimate, ambient-folk solo project with the release of the nature-inspired Mountain Twin EP. Again in collaboration with Hillman, Joel recently released his heritage-inspired Hiraeth – EP on August 3, 2018. For the release, in collaboration with creative company Makewell, Joel created a pop-up gallery event featuring 20 different artists from the Midwest region. Over 50 pieces of art were shown, as well as the premiere of Joel’s album-length film “Hiraeth”, which told a visual story and further supported the themes and messages on the Hiraeth – EP.

A native musical son of Bismarck, Joel went to Nashville to find his truth. Along the way, he met other travelers seeking the same truth that he was. He returned to North Dakota and discovered that there were spirits hidden in cracks and crevices everywhere he looked. His simple observation could coax these beautiful truths out of hiding. His dreams of mountainside campfires and prairie oceans were full of them. And from these observations, he felt certain he was emboldening and strengthening the truths that he was finding. Making them richer and deeper.

-Caleb

 

Morning Commute – Culture Wars – “Bones”

Let’s get this morning started with a little energy. Culture Wars have such a great vibe to them that combines clean vocals with interesting alt. rock and synth elements. It reminds me a good bit of a band like Local Natives, but maybe with a little heavier vibe to it (see the short breakdown near 2:40 or so). One of my favorite things about Culture Wars is that they seem to lean into the creative process, without getting bogged down in the scientific way some modern music tech can halt your flow.

“We write the heart of every song using a couple of synthesizers just to get chords and melody. We’re not really technical guys. I still don’t know how to work half of these things; I’m basically just turning knobs until it makes a noise that I like,” Dugan explains. “We’re creating most of this on our laptops. A lot of our tracks have the appearance of a rock song, but underneath there’s all sorts of weird experimental shit going on. Like, we’ll strike a match and record that sound, and put it through a reverb plug-in, and stick it underneath a track so it sounds like a percussion instrument. Or we’ll record the sound of the rain outside on our iPhones, and we’ll put some reverb and delay on that, and use it as a texture.”

I think that’s a really cool way to look at all the new ways we can use technology in music. Use it, but don’t worry about doing the “right thing”, just keep playing until something inspires you. I know this song has me inspired to pull out my MIDI keyboard and play with effects all afternoon.

Bio: Leather clad Austin rockers Culture Wars “come blazing out of the gate with an addictive electro-rock sound and swagger” (PopMatters). Merging edgy, infectious song craft with inventive electronic textures, punchy guitar work, insistent melodic hooks and the commanding vocals of charismatic front man Alex Dugan, the band makes vibrant, bracing music that’s sonically adventurous yet effortlessly accessible.

 

Culture Wars’ self-titled debut EP (2017) saw its first taste of success, with their single ‘Bones’ rising to #43 on Alternative radio chart, meanwhile their previous single ‘Lies’ cracked one million streams. Culture Wars has quickly established themselves as a band with their own unique style and vibe, writing and recording both from home on laptops and in the remote setting of Sonic Ranch, located just 45 minutes toward the border outside of El Paso, TX. Alongside production by longtime friend and collaborator Robert Sewell, and mixing by Manny Marroquin (Kanye West, Imagine Dragons) and Alan Moulder (The Killers, Nine Inch Nails), Culture Wars have an extensively talented team behind them. The band return with their latest single ‘Let Me Down’ (2019), which Dugan says was created in “now-typical Culture Wars style, post-vodka and pickle shots at 2am at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo.”

-Caleb

Morning Commute: Intellect – “Fonics”

 

If you pay attention to our Instagram you should recognize this album cover. I’ve been bumping it personally since it came out a few months ago in October. I thought it was time to start diving into some of the awesome music from the album, so you’ll see more posts after this one, and maybe even a podcast analysis. Today, let’s start off with the first song I heard from Intellect, “Fonics.” With a title like that, you would expect heavy wordplay and unique vocabulary in the flow and, to quote him, other “verbal gymnastics” and Intellect doesn’t disappoint. With references to Jay-Z and Nas, it’s obvious that Intellect is channeling 90s vibes with a lyrical focus and pulls it off in a way that’s difficult to do. Self described as going “back to the essence of what being a M.C. means. You know smooth, melodic, intellectual music speaking on life, love and everything in between…’Real’ hip-hop!” Intellect is an example of everything I love about creativity, hip-hop, and artistry. Be sure to check out his whole album, Out of Left Field and look out on the blog for more posts about him soon.

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.

Intellect comes with a whole new sound to set himself apart from the rest of the hip-hop world. Something classy, jazzy, and smooth; “Veteran’s Day” and “Neck Deep” produced by Madd Frequency give a raw, personally uncensored, look into his life and experiences. Born in Pensacola, FL, Intellect has traveled the entire world and is a proud Veteran Service Member. He has also worked as an editorial clothing model in SOHO, NYC for Beau Brummel and ARI clothing Inc. and appeared on Allison Weiner’s Media Mayhem. He is currently a Consultant/Trainer/On-Air Talent for XG Productions. Using his life experiences, he helped bring together Season 2 of ABC’s hit show Quantico and NBC’s new series The Enemy Within as a consultant and actor!

-Caleb

Morning Commute: The Matchstick Skeletons – “Told Ya So”

Not to start out objectifying anyone, but good golly the eyes on the lead singer are insane. Okay, now that I got that out of my system, what a fun video! I love how straight they play it with the absurdity of going to pick up a band mate skeleton who texts them “PS I am dead.” Not to mention having to dig your own grave for said skeleton. It’s just campy enough to realize itself, without winking too hard, I love it. Also, the cigarettes being put out by the filling in of the grave is a really unique shot that I would’ve never thought of, but it’s a perfect ending to the saga. Or is it? (the The End? at the end leaves this story  open to continue haha)

Also, if you didn’t pay close attention, please go back to 2:30 and listen to the ramp up into insanity that starts there. Such a cool element to this song that takes it from a cool bluesy rock song into a different dimension entirely. Apparently the lead singer, Neu Mannas, did composing work on Dunkirk, and honestly after that build up, I can see it. I’m really impressed with this song and video, and it deserves way more love than it’s gotten so far. Please give them a follow, spend some money and give them some plays on Spotify so we can get more cool content.

Bio: The Matchstick Skeletons came out of the grave swinging. Formed by singer/multi instrumentalist Neu Mannas  and drummer Matty Carolei, this was a project years in the making.

Midway through a decade of being on the road. Neu & Matty starting playing together in Head of the Herd. After some chart topping, radio music award winning, touring, & record making in England, Wales, the Southern U.S. of A, and throughout their home and native land of Canada, they decided to lock themselves in a tiny dark room and become the band they always wanted to be.

 

-Caleb