Archive for ‘The B-Side’

April 21, 2022

The B-Side: Mal

“Oven” by Mal is a short and sweet number that occupies the same sort of melancholic and hypnotic state that Mark Linkous explored with later era Sparklehorse. Gentle vocals and acoustic guitars become enveloped in a loop of reversed sounds and a loose drum part that acts as the songs anchor, preventing it from dissolving entirely. It’s mysterious and fleeting, like a waking dream too slippery to hold onto but too beautiful to let go.

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April 14, 2022

The B-Side: Udoka Malachi

While we realize all music is technically music to the ears, “High 99” by Udoka Malachi is music to our ears both literally and figuratively. This song is, as they used to say, a whole ass vibe. Slinky, smooth and chill it’s a smoked out night drive when everything feels alright and everyone feels just a bit more alive. A dirty fuzzed out guitar solo and occasional vocal moments bring to mind Awaken, My Love! era Childish Gambino but Malachi makes this one his own.

April 7, 2022

The B-Side: SNIFF

Is Thursday too early in the week to get this sexy? Should we have waited until tomorrow to post this one? Perhaps, but sexy knows nothing of your calendar, it knows only of your desire. “Get Off” by SNIFF is an atmospheric post punk number in the vein of a goth Love and Rockets and we are here for it. It broods, it seduces, it makes you wonder if you can still fit in that old pair of vinyl pants in the back of the closet. Is the video a bit heavy handed with well worn imagery? Perhaps, but it’s well done and like the standard positions of lovemaking, a classic never goes out of style.

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March 31, 2022

The B-Side: Big Bailey & Bugsy Calhoun

Can’t think of a better day of the week to drop “B.I.G.” by Big Bailey (featuring Bugsy Calhoun) as it is a throwback of the highest quality. If you are, like us, not a fan of emo-hop, cloud-hop and the rest of the current sub-genres of hip-hop and long for the days when rap was real than this is the song for you. It seems odd to want to describe a hip-hop track as “charming” but fuck it, this shit is charming as hell. We are charmed. Two talented mc’s spitting rhymes over a dope old school track in the purest way possible feels not so much nostalgic as it does necessary. Turn this up, bob ya head and have faith that real hip-hop is forever.

March 24, 2022

The B-Side: Speed Control

We’re almost to the weekend so what better song to post to help us get on through the rest of working week blarghs than the upbeat and driving “Mr. Romance.” Dancing out of the frozen Yukon its Speed Control with this number that feels a bit like if The Killers traded in their Joy Division records for Superchunk ones. It’s catchy, it’s poppy yet rocking, it begs to be sung along to at the top of your lungs while driving with the windows down in places that are warmer than the Yukon.

March 17, 2022

The B-Side: Creek Violence

With “Cutthroat Regional Trucking” the Pittsburgh band Creek Violence blends classic 90’s slacker style indie rock with, well, yelling. Lots of yelling. Which you would think would harsh the charmingly shambling vibe of the dirty yet jangling guitars and loose but still in the pocket drums, but in fact it makes it even more charming. The song feels like your friends at a basement show making a glorious racket, rough and beautiful, loud and righteous.

March 10, 2022

The B-Side: Julia Gaeta

There’s a warning at the start of this video about it containing flashing lights, but we just want to reiterate that it’s pretty much nothing but flashing lights, so if you have a sensitivity be doubly warned.

We love us some 80’s darkwave and love it even more when a new song in that style is so good that should a DJ put it in the mix it would have the entire goth nightclub making out in dark corners. And we know you’re saying, “but aren’t goth nightclubs like 80% dark corners?” to which we say “EXACTLY.” That’s how good “Weight of You” by Julia Gaeta is. It’s an ominous pop song that keeps it sexy without trying and is sure to be the cause of multiple full on leather on latex grind sessions. All while that one person dances alone in the middle of the dance floor; which is also somehow, against the laws of physics, a dark corner.

March 3, 2022

The B-Side: Shelterheart

As anyone who has been following music for the past 20 years knows, there is no shortage of indie folk out there. From the whispered to the rambunctious and every variation in between, it is ground well covered. What a delightful surprise it is then when a song like “In Photographs” arrives wearing the tell tale trappings of the genre but also transcending them. Falling on the expansive and orchestral side of indie folk (Jim James, Bon Iver, etc…) Shelterheart gives us a sound that is at once familiar and comforting but also original enough to float up above the din of a thousand other groups working the same sonic field. I guess a simpler way to say that is to say that when a song is good its good and that’s all there is to it. You just feel it on a different level, and “In Photographs” hits that mark.

February 24, 2022

The B-Side: Loren Beri

It’s always exciting when Loren Berí (Met City, Gardendale & Berkley) has a new project and his latest solo release is no exception. “My Brooklyn” finds Berí trading in his former orchestrally influenced indie leanings for a decidedly more synth driven approach and to great effect, taking more than a few steps into a sound not unlike LCD Soundsystem. It’s hard not to make a comparison with that particular on again, off again, break up and then have a residency project as the lyrics of “My Brooklyn” focus on NYC and explore the same kind of juxtaposition of detached satire and vulnerable emotion that James Murphy built into a brand, but that is not to say that Berí doesn’t make it his own. While this song could very easily occupy the same art school dance party playlist as LCD, the sense of melody and composition is uniquely Berí, with his baroque pop DNA breathing between the electro beats and bubbling underneath the synth lines. It’s a catchy ode to Brooklyn that is both celebration and critique and has us excited for the rest of the debut release Stray Cat Kingdom coming out later this year.

February 17, 2022

The B-Side: Barrett Davis

Some genres live and die by authenticity, and certainly American roots music is one of those. This isn’t to say that English boys with banjos can’t occasionally write a good tune, but it’s just not the same. There’s something about growing up with the mountain mist in your lungs and the ghosts of pickers and fiddlers and yodelers echoing through the holler while you sleep that makes it different. Barrett Davis is different. Born and raised and still residing in the mountains of North Carolina, there’s a tempered weariness to his voice that sounds like lineage, sounds like respect. Davis uses it in “The Ballad of Aesop Fin” first to comfort us, to give us those old time feels (albeit with a thoroughly modern indie folk production and arrangement) with a simple but catchy melody, telling us the tale of hard luck rambler – a song tradition as old as songs themselves. But as the song builds toward the end, the voice soars and pushes the whole affair out of traditionalism and into something else entirely. The transition feels natural but that makes it no less striking, and elevates the song to something really special.

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