Video of the Day: Pablo Nouvelle feat. Lulu James – “I’m Not”

Hey there guys. We have an excellent video for you today. The main thing that will immediately strike you is the amazing use of collage-like effects. It reminds me of that scene in The Truman Show where he is trying to piece together faces using magazine clippings, but on a more cosmic scale.

The next thing you’ll be struck by is how awesome the music is. It is ambient in the best way, and subverts your expectations at every turn. When you think it’s building up to a drop, it’s building up to a mind expanding section that let’s itself breathe out. The main thing I hear repeated is “Trying to find my way.” I think that’s a perfect sample for this track and video, that finds us traveling through the cosmos, trying to find our way.

-Caleb

Want to hear this track again? Me too. Follow our Spotify playlist to hear this and many more June features.

 

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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.

 

Seth’s Favorite Releases June 15th: Dustin Tebbutt, Call Me Karizma, Alexander Wolfe, Traveling John, Smalfeels

Favorite Music Video: Dustin Tebbutt “Love Is Blind”

Love may be blind, but I’m luckily not. I mean, I’m very fortunate to not be blind for a plethora of reasons, but this video is definitely one of them. I would be curious to know how long it took Dustin to learn the dance moves for this song, because he seems to have about the same coordination as I do. Now, that’s a bit of an exaggeration because he’s a much better dancer than me, but with a backdrop of insanely talented dancers, Dustin definitely sticks out a bit. Another beautiful song from Dustin, and another wonderful video full of synchronized dance moves.

Favorite Lyrics: Call Me Karizma “JOHNNY”

Johnny’s got a loaded .45
Found it in his dad’s shoebox
Johnny doesn’t want to be alive
But he’s gotta make his school stop
He’s-
Sick of being bullied, his mother’s starting to worry
But she doesn’t want to ask him or try to call the authorities
Now he is on the bus, to him it’s just another morning
But he doesn’t got a book, he’s got a gun without a warning

Cindy’s got a scholarship to Yale
Wants to be a nurse and spread love
Cindy’s moving out before the fall
Only got a week til’ school’s done
Taking every final of the season, she doesn’t mind ’em
She’s always nice to the kids that are coming away behind her
She would never hurt a fly or bat an eye, she’s way too kind
But then a flash and then a cry and sees Johnny with a rifle

I’m not going to put all of the lyrics here because it would be a huge wall of text, but I was definitely tempted. Call Me Karizma’s new song dives into one of the messiest waters in the country right now, and makes absolutely no apologies. A hard hitting song with a nasty flow, the message is clear:

Reporting live from high school
We’re now learning more about the terrible events that took place
And what can drive someone that seemed like a normal kid
To do something so evil and inhumane
We’re asking everyone and anyone that sees warning signs-
To please offer help and love and compassion to those who need it
Together we can make a difference

Favorite Composition: Alexander Wolfe “Your Love is a Wheel”

This song is such a rollercoaster. Alexander Wolfe’s new track was made for a movie. With many dynamic changes throughout the song, the track goes from ethereal instrumentation to headstrong reverb and offbeat drum cadences, stopping at a couple of places in between. The harmonies aren’t overdone, which is a common problem with artists in the same genre. Alexander Wolfe doesn’t live in his falsetto, but he definitely has a vacation home there. He makes really smooth transitions in and out of his falsetto, and has tight control over his upper register. This song will pick you up at your house, drive you all around town, and then take you back home at the end of the day, tucking you gently into your bed.

Favorite Ramblin’ Song: Traveling John “It Burns”

Man, you guys are getting so lucky that so many of my favorites of the week have videos that go with them. This video is great, but that’s not what drew me to this song. It’s a gorgeous video, and I’m crazy jealous that they got to spend time in such a beautiful space. Seriously, TJ, let us swing by. Next time we’re in Sweden… Anyways, anyone who has paid attention to the blog for a while, or if you listen to the podcast, you know I love a good ramblin’ song. What does that mean? Well, it means that it’s a song that you can picture yourself driving down backroads with no destination in mind with the windows rolled down. A beautiful song with tight harmonies and a folk-driven melody, It Burns is the perfect song for warm summer nights with a full tank of gas and nowhere to be.

Favorite Summer Song: Smalfeels “Pillow Fights”

Very few songs create a palpable atmosphere. Smalfeels new track, Pillow Fights, draws the listener in with a slick bass line, and holds you in place with smooth vocals, smart harmonies, and a quicksand composition; you don’t realize just how stuck you are until the track is over. This song is the perfect song to accompany a night of laying on your roof, having a few drinks, and talking about other planes of existence with a close friend.

Video of the Day: Brett Dennen “Already Gone”

*First off, before we get into this particular song, just know that I’m writing this one as a longtime fan of Brett’s, so it may sound more fanboy-ish than the typical posts I write. My wife and I even used a Brett Dennen song in our wedding back in 2009.*

Brett Dennen’s new video, Already Gone, is probably not only my video of the day, but my video of 2018 so far. This video made me smile more than any other music video that I can recall. Already Gone tells the story of 80 year old Vera, a woman who got caught up in the normal responsibilities of adulthood, and never made time for herself to pursue her passions. Vera’s story is a story like millions of people’s around the world. Vera focused on pleasing everyone around her, and forgot to take care of the things she wanted to do.

Cue Brett Dennen, the unassuming 38 year old superhero of Vera’s dreams. He not only takes over Vera’s household obligations, but sends her out to knock off as many bucket list items as possible. Vera proceeds to do things like learning how to surf, presses the “big red button”, streaks across the beach, and completes a tandem skydive, all while Brett scrubs toilets and vacuums her home. This story has two parts to it, and I want to get into both of them for a second.

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Part 1: Do whatever it takes to take care of yourself, and pursue what makes you happy. You have absolutely no idea what moment will be your last, and too many aren’t fortunate enough to live to 80 and have an opportunity like Vera had. Brett ends the video with that same sentiment, with the words, “Go do something you want to do before you run out of time to do it,” taking up the top half of the screen while Vera sits on the beach in a bathtub full of sprinkles eating a huge banana split. No, seriously. She does. It is probably my favorite scene from the whole video because it’s the perfect mix of a feel-good story and whimsy.

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Part 2: Be the person who helps others achieve their goals. Vera spent her whole life helping others get to their destination while she’s still sitting in neutral personally. Brett, and the whole production team, saw an issue with that, and did something about it. You don’t have to set someone up with the bucket list vacation of a lifetime, but there are a ton of people around you that you can help. Give your time, efforts, and network to others, and help them fulfill their goals. You may not have money to spare, but you may know someone who can help, can contribute a skillset, or do something as monotonous as vacuum their home so they can have time to work on their passions. Now, and important piece of this equation is that you have to be apart of a community that also encourages you to pursue your passions. If you’re solely giving your time, efforts, etc, then you can find yourself in a similar situation as Vera. Find your tribe. I know the word “tribe” is an overused cliche word, but it’s overused because it’s good.

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Another stellar song from Brett, and an even better video. Can’t wait to see what’s in the pipeline next. Also, if you’re curious about which song we used in our wedding, click here.

-Seth

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: Lion Sphere “Keep Dreaming”

SoundCloud link, if you don’t like Spotify

This song is so smooth. What better song to get you through your last day of the work week?If you’re like me and don’t work a conventional 9 to 5, this is still a wonderful song for anyone who isn’t currently where they pictured themselves at this point in their life.

“Keep dreamin’
Believin’ in you
Keep dreamin’
Reach at the moon”

The song talks about how you need to keep dreaming, but it’s not just a song to encourage you to keep dreaming. What makes this song lyrically special to me is that there is almost a call to action. They aren’t encouraging a one-sided relationship, but finding your community. Encouragement to follow your dreams is always a nice thing to receive, but they make sure giving someone else that encouragement is as prominent of an idea as the reception.

“I don’t
think that
we will fade to gray
you’ve got me
and I’m out here for you”

This groove though. My three year old just came in the room and said, “Daddy, who is this? It’s groovy, man.” First off, my three year old is saying, “It’s groovy, man,” so I’m doing something right. Secondly, he couldn’t be more right. The instrumentation is kept light and fun, keeping the song in the clouds as much as the lyrics do, and the control in Joel Montagud, the singer’s, voice is stellar as he flips from his lower register to his falsetto with ease, and then running back down the scale, all in one breath. The instrumental intro sounds like a Zelda game if it was rated “Mature” for adult themes. Starting as a sexy video game and building into something much more than that, Keep Dreaming is that summer jam that you had no idea would make it onto all of your playlists for the season. I may be projecting my feelings towards the song onto you, but if you aren’t adding it to your playlist, you’re doing summer wrong. Check out this live performance of the song to see that they aren’t a post production band, and can absolutely hold up their end of the deal in live performances.

Also, check out the June Spotify playlist if you don’t want to miss any of the artists that we post this month.

Did you know we also have a podcast? Check that out here.

-Seth

TOTD: Kind Habitat “Master of this Cage”

To close out the night, I wanted to get into a track that is going to require a couple of listens. First off, let’s talk about the anonymity. I usually try to give you a look behind the curtain at the artist(s) behind the band name, especially if it’s a singer-songwriter. Kind Habitat, whether intentionally or not, doesn’t want people to know his name. I’ve looked, briefly, at every social media account he has, and have struck out. We will call this mystery man, K. For Keenan, not Kind.*

*Since publishing this article, I have found out that the man behind Kind Habitat is Patrick White, but changing the article to reflect that would require a lot of work. Plus, it’s now become a fun joke that I want to keep. His real name is Patrick White, but you still get to read about Keenan in this article.

(For Spotify adverse readers)

Now, let’s get into the song. K’s voice is ridiculous. He has this haunting voice that sounds like he could tell you some first hand atrocities he witnessed when he was in ‘Nam, and he still dreams about them at night. There’s actual pain in his voice. So many artists try for that, with very few succeeding. Caleb and I likened his voice to the timbre of Elliott Smith, another haunted artist who we at B-Side Guys have a deep fondness of.

Now we get into the lyrics. I’m not going to get into them too much here because I want to have this song on a future episode of the podcast so that Caleb and I can discuss them together, but suffice to say, he’s alluding to much more than an animal locked in an enclosure at a zoo. I mean, shit, even if that is all it was about, it would still be a beautiful song and stance about zoos. What are your thoughts on the lyrics? Let us know what you think he’s talking about.

With Master of this Cage, Keenan, the brain and voice behind Kind Habitat, joins my list of criminally underrated bands. Also, if you already have the likes of Benjamin Franklin supporting your music, you’re definitely on the right track.

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