Archive for ‘The B-Side’

November 24, 2022

The B-Side: Mandi Mapes

Happy Thanksgiving. We’re thankful for our dedicated visitors who check in on the blog every week to get their new music and we are thankful for perfect little slices of sunshine like “Surely Goodness” by Mandi Mapes. If today is about gratitude we are hard pressed to think of a more perfect song for the day than this one. It’s a mantra for counting your blessings and a catchy one at that. Making a song that sounds this simple and natural is no easy feat, but Mapes nails it bringing a Carpenters level of songwriting mastery to the table. Let the gentleness of the tune wash over you as you remember all the goodness in your own life.

November 17, 2022

The B-Side: Lorem Ipsum

From the Netherlands come Lorem Ipsum with a catchy little number called “Lessons In Living.” The lessons these Nords seem to have learned is how far you can go on a well crafted, straight forward riff if you imbue it with swagger and energy and a dash of mystery. Is that a guitar running through a fuzz pedal set to obliterate or is it an organ set to 11 and played through a blown speaker? Who knows, but also who cares because either way it’s cool. Throw in a grooving rhythm section and catchy vocals and you have a certified strut that shimmies down the line between indie rock and garage rock.

November 10, 2022

The B-Side: Adam Hopper

Sad and beautiful are two of our favorite qualities in music, so you know we were excited to hear “Beauty In Sadness” by Adam Hopper when it came through our inbox. But wait, what’s this? This isn’t some lush, orchestrated melancholy number it’s a bouncy, infectious indie rock tune with big hooks and pop smarts. The old bait and switch, but in this case the switch might just be better than the bait. Go ahead and sucker your own inner goth into listening to this and then surprise it by dancing around your room in neon colored sunglasses.

November 3, 2022

The B-Side: Paul Cook & The Chronicles

Nothing quite as difficult as playing it simple and true. It’s the true part where most people get hung up. Luckily for us Paul Cook & The Chronicles nail both parts of the equation with “Before I Embarrass Myself.” A lower tempo melodic indie rocker leaning into the singer-songwriter vein / vibe it feels like a lost classic from the very best of the softer side of early 90’s alternative. Shades of The Lemonheads are present with maybe a dash of The Connells thrown in for good measure. It’s catchy and a tad melancholic and perfect for this season. Put on your oversized sweater and curl up with this one, because it’s a good one.

October 27, 2022

The B-Side: g. spinn

A lot of people try to tiptoe through that sacred space of Nick Drake and Elliott Smith – hushed and intimate but yet lush and expansive – and most do it by directly aping those masters catalogs, especially “the hits.” What a delight it is then to hear g. spinn putting their own spinn (sorry, had to) on the genre with “Solitude.” It’ll give you all the same feels but gets you there in a way that feels refreshing and original but still within the lineage and tradition of the melancholic troubadour. It’s lovely, it’s a little sad, it’s perfect for shortening days and longer nights.

October 20, 2022

The B-Side: Gareth Inkster

A flurry of strings opens this heady track from Gareth Inkster and immediately you know you’re in for something special. “Link” is a beautifully orchestrated, ambitious indie folk track that matches its moments of musical grandiose with lyrics tackling the connections between life, love, death and a few other things along the way. It is beyond lovely, it’s moving and simply one of the best tracks we’ve received in a long time.

October 13, 2022

The B-Side: Annie Sumi x Brava Kilo

“Chattels” by Brava Kilo & Annie Sumi feels a bit like a reboot of the classic Laurie Anderson model. Abstract spoken word over experimental electronica but with a decidedly fresh feel making it sound youthful and contemporary. Like Anderson’s best work, the disjointedness is balanced by a dominating positive vibe, smoothing the whole thing out. That’s particularly impressive given the story of the song, taken from Kintsugi, a new anti-racist, interactive, multi-disciplinary art installation which reflects on racial identity, healing ancestral trauma, and the fragmented history of the Japanese Canadian internment. “Chattels” is inspired by archival documentation which listed their ancestors’ belongings that were confiscated and auctioned off during that period of time. Heavy stuff, but heavy stuff that makes replaying of the song mandatory as you sit with various items listed and think about what they meant to the families.

October 6, 2022

The B-Side: Certain Self

God bless the delicate ones. Those songs that hang weightless and perfect like a fall leaf making an impossibly slow descent. “Prove Me Wrong” by Certain Self is a delicate one, with gently strummed acoustic, toy piano and vocals that are both hushed and emotive. It creates such an intoxicating space for the ears and mind that even once drums and a fleshed out musical accompaniment make their appearance the delicateness remains. It feels like staring out the window on an autumnal day, thinking about past seasons, past relationships and the last few days of the warming sun.

September 8, 2022

The B-Side: Wreath

Y’all remember Midwest emo? Specifically that genre’s version of a power ballad? Sensitive and thoughtful yet still mathy with squiggly guitars and unconventional rhythmic elements? Well, whether you do or you don’t Wreath is here to drop a fine example on your eardrums with “Voodoo Doll.” Patience is a virtue and this one is most upstanding. Slowly building and then receding into quieter moments, all the while teasing a big bombastic release that…never comes. Waves rise and fall throughout and things get churny at the end of the song, but no big crash upon the beach. Musical edging or masters at their craft avoiding an easy payoff? Either way it leaves us feeling funny inside in a good way.

September 1, 2022

The B-Side: InTechnicolour

There was a time when every other song we received was a blatant rip off of Queens of the Stone Age. Some good, some bad, but each one uninspired carbon copies and it frankly was a bummer. The bummer being of course that the desert rock sound is a great sound, and just like the desert itself, one with a lot of different variations of life within it – not just Homme & Co’s most successful venture. Consider our faith in the genre renewed with the arrival of “The Wave” by InTechnicolour. Yes, the tell tale melodic riff-centric approach is here, but it’s done in a way that feels original and a valuable addition to the genre, not just a lift from it. It rocks and we’re hoping this means we’re headed into a desert resurgence, lead by these lads from Brighton.

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