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.

 

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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TOTD: Tia Gostelow feat. LANKS “Strangers”

From the harmonious start to the equally cohesive end, Tia Gostelow’s new single, Strangers, is exactly what you look for in a tale of summer love. The instrumentals are straightforward and don’t try to go over anyone’s head, and the lyrics are simple enough to let everyone find a piece of themselves while still being detailed enough to make you feel like part of a story that’s not your own. Strangers takes the listener into a world of summer love that’s a story in and of itself, but can make the listener recount similar times in their life. The line, “We were strangers wandering home,” is so good. It could have to do with cadence, but given the nature of the song, I think it’s important that Tia doesn’t say they were wandering to the strangers home, or their home, but that they were wandering home together as two strangers. Too many people try to discount the seasonal romance, but the outcome is completely situational and personal to the individual. I think what Tia is trying to get across is that even though they are strangers, they are finding their home in each other for a night, week, month, etc. Those can be the times you look back on with the most fondness.

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“You take all the covers,
but I don’t mind
Glasses drained,
we lose our minds
The parts that had us paralyzed”

Speaking of losing your mind, when Tia flips “we were strangers” into her upper register at 2:40… wow. It is perfectly placed, and played to perfection. She understands the balance that is required to keep the listener coming back for more. If she stayed turned up to 11 like that constantly, we would lose appreciation for it. If the sun is always shining, we lose appreciation for it. We need the overcast days to know how warm the sun truly is. The song is this comfortable smooth overcast day, and then the sun bursts through the clouds for a few seconds, giving you a real appreciation for the day as a whole. With a beautiful melody, tight harmonies, and a perfect balance between Tia and LANKS’ voice, Strangers is the smooth summer song you didn’t know you needed in your life.

-Seth

Don’t miss another song we post in June by following us on Spotify.

TOTD: Pandarama – “Toxic”

Hey guys, we are going to try to share tons of music with you over the next few days. I’m stoked for you to hear this track from Pandarama. I thought the vocals were really unique, and I really like the guitar work. You don’t hear too many acoustic riffs that don’t get boring and repetitive, but this one keeps me interested and it’s impressive how clean it sounds.

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This band, full of recent college grads, are definitely one to keep your eyes on. And I’m really excited to see where they go from here, with such a strong debut effort. If you are in Miami area, you should definitely try to see them, because I expect them to be branching further and further out as time goes on. On September 3, 2016, they released their first EP, “37.5%”, which is available both as physical copies at their shows and on digital on all the major online retailers and streaming services, including iTunes and Spotify.

After performing many live shows and writing new songs, the band had enough material for an album and decided to record again. Before officially recording their new songs, they wanted to showcase their softer side and record acoustic versions of their songs, leading to the more ambient and experimental approach used in their new EP, “Mixed Messages”, which is where this song stems from. Check it out now wherever you enjoy music.

-Caleb

Want an easy way to find this song on Spotify? Check this one and all of our June tracks out right here.

Did you know we make a podcast? It’s pretty good. You can hear our latest episode here. 

 

TOTD: CARDS “One Too Many Movies”

CARDS hit hard with his newest release, “One Too Many Movies,” a soulful cruising jam just in time for the summer heat. This track will have you wearing a wide brimmed hat and coasting on a beach cruiser if you aren’t careful, and depending on how far you live from the beach, that could land you in hot water at work.

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One Too Many Movies is his most recent release in a string of single releases that will carry through until his first full-length release this fall. After listening through a few of his songs, one thing that is really amazing is that none of the songs sound even remotely similar, but you can still tell they were arranged by the same person.

If you’re looking for a track to add to your summer vacation playlist, you road trip playlist, or really a playlist for any situation where groove is important, “One Too Many Movies” has to make the cut.

If you want to see who else made the cut for our June artist reviews, check out our Spotify playlist here.

TOTD: LUI HILL “Words Become Useless”

LUI HILL takes our late night track with his new single, Words Become Useless. This is the third release from his upcoming album, “5000 Miles,” which will go live this coming August. It also has a really cool video with it that I will post below.

LUI HILL is one of those artists that I’ve never heard of, but when I hear his music, it sounds like a familiar hug. It’s a similar feel, a similar sound, and similar lyrics to things that I’ve heard before, but it feels so comforting every time I hear it. Then, at the :30 mark, the hug gets tighter, warmer. Finally, when the synth and the beat really kicks in at around the minute mark, I’m embraced in this bear hug, lifted on the ground, feet flailing, and my heart racing. LUI HILL gives the best hugs.

“There comes a time,
when there is nothing left to say
All words are useless,
sent from a thousand miles away
This is the time,
I need your heart beating next to mine
All words are useless,
if your heart is beating next to mine”

My assessment of this song is tainted after watching the video below, but I’m still going to stick with it. Watch the video to see what I mean. In this song, there is a relationship that has been damaged due to distance. We’ve all been there. It could be anything from a summer camp crush, a partner moving across the country for a job opportunity, or moving across state lines to move back in with your parents because your degree doesn’t automatically come with ‘5-8 years of experience,’ so it’s basically just a $70,000 piece of paper. Ya know. Nothing too specific here… just generic circumstances. Anyways, in these long distance relationships, there becomes a time where words, no matter how meaningful and beautiful, don’t make up for the person not being present. Until I saw the video, this song was about that. Watch the video below, and tell me what you think.

Either way, it’s a stellar new song, and LUI HILL should have a spot on everyone’s playlists.

Also, if you missed a song for the month of June, or want to have every song we review in one convenient place, check out our monthly playlist here.

-Seth

 

 

TOTD: Basement Revolver “Baby”

I am so excited to share this track from Basement Revolver with you. It’s the first single off their upcoming project which will be available in August, so make sure you follow them on SoundCloud or Spotify so you can hear that as soon as it drops. I expect, if it follows the vibe of this song, it will feature haunting vocals, spacey instrumentals, and relatable lyrics. If you like bands like the Pixies or Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I think you’ve found a new band to add to your repertoire.

Songwriter Chrisy Hurn boldly shares intimate stories and personal wounds from her past, which have come together to reveal a deeply affecting and rewarding debut full length. Album opener and lead single “Baby” was written at a time when she was seemingly happy but felt an underlying sadness and dissatisfaction, “it’s about feeling confused about what I want in life, and how that affects other people. It is about crying a lot and feeling like I was burdening my partner with those questions and not wanting him to feel like he was the source of my anxiety.”

You can hear Christy’s pain in the lyrics:

“Baby I’m so sorry, I’m trying to figure this out.”

“Just give me some time.”

As someone who has constantly struggled with depression and anxiety, and then allowed those things to spiral in front of people I cared about, I related so much with this song. There is nothing worse than going through an episode, and then also feeling aftershocks of the burdensome feeling when it’s over. I can’t tell you how many panic attacks I’ve had that I ended up apologizing for “being stupid” for afterwards. Obviously my partner never acts like I am burdening them at all with that, but it’s still hard to get past it in my own mind, which causes a new spiral. It can definitely be a sick cycle. Luckily, a few years back I found a therapist that helped me through some of it. And I encourage any of you feeling this way to find another outlet besides your partner. Obviously I still share with her, but I try not to only share with her, and not every single day. You want to keep the relationship a relationship and a therapist a therapist. Anyway, didn’t mean to pour my heart out there for a second, but that’s what art does sometimes. It’s a wonderful mirror. Anyone of you that has listened to our podcast has heard more intimate stuff than that haha.

-Caleb

Go check out this song and more on our June TOTD playlist.