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.

 

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.

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.

Screenshot 2018-06-14 21.22.01

Video of the Day: SamXVI – “Such a Pretty House and Such a Pretty Garden”

 

Have a spare 15 minutes? Check out this video, or save it for later when you do, I promise it’s worth it. The video is self described as: “An audio/visual art project exploring an intense and difficult struggle with depression, and how to “stay afloat” during a difficult time.” This becomes apparent quickly with the voice over and the shocking image of someone falling into a pond. This is one of those videos that is less a conventional music video (except the music which is also exceptional) and more of an impactful short film. It has a very DIY approach to it, most of it using a single camera and very few props. Take notes musician readers of the blog. You don’t need millions of dollars to start getting your videos out there.

Image result for samxvi

The full EP, which is titled, like the blog post, Such a Pretty House, and Such a Pretty Garden” is basically played in full throughout the video. You can find the EP in broken up form on Spotify (as well as the first track on our Spotify playlist here). Something that really becomes awesome as the video progresses are the effects overlayed (like you can see in the shot above). The use of color, animation, and varied styles in music, really allow the viewer/listener to follow the progression of this depression, and the sense of feeling underwater fighting for your life that so many who have suffered from these episodes are familiar with. I won’t spoil the ending, because you need to see it yourself, but I hope any one out there who currently feels underwater can see something worth fighting for, a light at the end of the tunnel, a better tomorrow, because, at least in my experience, it does always become apparent eventually, if you can just keep fighting. Thanks again to SamXVI for reminding us how important it is to keep swimming.

-Caleb