Author Archive

Hugging – “How Many Marigolds?”

Hugging - Today

Sometimes Bandcamp is beautiful. Sure it’s vast and chaotic, but amidst the chaos often hides a bit of peace. Many times I’ll stroll through the “Baltimore” tag just to see what oddities are occurring in my hometown that avoid PR, labels, and email hype. What I happened upon this instance is the glorious found-sound samplings of Hugging.

Hugging is the side project of Jason the Swamp, a Baltimore artist whom I know nothing about. When Jason isn’t swamping, he’s skirting the art-rock experimental pop vibe. It’s pretty stunning in its own right (check his most recent EP, Remember, Resemble). What he’s doing with Hugging is somewhat different—creating exceptional melodic instrumentals with bits and pieces of samples from all over.

Today is his newest LP, filled with a wide array of moods and moments that tell a lonely story of hope and mystery. While most of the tracks build to a higher beat or energy, the song I was most captivated by was “How Many Marigolds?” This song is a peaceful summer dream x10. It’s hard to listen and not immediately imagine floating down an undiscovered waterway, birds darting through the distant clouds that thankfully cover the sun’s heated rays.

Weekends – “Bee Side”

Weekends new humans

What’s that saying? When it rains it pours?

As many can confirm, Monday’s usually seem like the optimum day for things to generally go to hell. This past manic Monday was hell-times-10 in terms of stress/things breaking/things going missing at my 9-5er. And surprisingly I think I’m happy that it went that way. For you see, towards the end of the workday, Adam Lempel of Baltimore’s Weekends sent me a much needed email featuring a brand new track from their upcoming LP, New Humans. Without the previous hours of mind-numbing-workplace-horror-show, I don’t think my mindset would have been ready for the absolute intense throbbing beauty and force of “Bee Side,” the closing song on the album. I put my headphones on, let my fingers rest off the keyboard for once, turned the volume waaaaay up, and imagined the entire office falling to pieces bit by bit until the final note faded. That was the true peace of mind I needed—the kind you can only get through the loud thundering guitars and drums of Weekends.

Speaking of rising from the ashes, Weekends and New Humans have done just that. A little while ago, Open Space, Weekends’ (and a host of other artists and kind souls) practice/living space caught fire, displacing a lot of people, and ruining a lot of beautiful things. One thing that did survive was 50 copies of this much-anticipated LP—which will be available in limited edition complete with the smokey aroma (an additional 250 copies will be available too) on August 30th.

Weekends will be posting one song at a time on their SoundCloud, in reverse order, until the final release date.

Ke$ha – “Die Young” (Meth Dad Remix)

Meth Dad Kesha remix cover

Pop music is a funny thing, right? Powerful, sometimes beautiful, but most of the time, painful.

Take for instance Ke$ha. Don’t like her music. Nope. Not at all. But I’ve heard a lot of it. Probably too much, really. So when a reworked Ke$ha track by someone I love, Meth Dad, rolls onto my ears, there’s a sense of familiarity along with an overwhelming sense of adventure. Tyler of Meth Dad shreds every essence of “Die Young” and reapplies it in broad and appealing brush strokes. So I guess I am thankful for Ke$ha, as much as it pains me to write that. Without her absurd pop music there would be no masterful time-warping transfiguration created by Meth Dad.

Heavy Deeds – “Light Lunch”

Heavy Deeds Light Lunch LP

Music without a care in the world. Music looking to open the windows and let the light shine in a bit. Not afraid to kick off its shoes. Not afraid to sing along. Not afraid to have a chorus. Not afraid to let loose and gospel. Not afraid to let rock and roll set you free. Not afraid to be a family. Not afraid to feel good.

Heavy Deeds are a five member group from Minneapolis featuring members of Vampire Hands. They have just released the EP Light Lunch, an album soaked in nostalgic rock vibes. Fleetwood Mac, Crosby Stills and Nash, Buffalo Springfield, and Neil Young tones flutter on the same plane as Heavy Deeds—a powerful amalgam of rock and roll, country, rhythm and blues, gospel, and folk. Spiritual and uplifting, the title track is a dance-through-the-forest, jump-into-the-river, wash-your-worries-away kind of song. It’s perfect for sloughing away the dense work overload as you slip into summer vacation.


Cassorla – "broke down"

Cosby Show video broke down Cassorla

I’ve seen a lot of interesting/not-so-interesting glitched out, cut up videos in my life. What I have not seen is one entirely devoted to the Cosby Show, a childhood favorite of mine. Bill, Claire, Theo, Samantha,Vanessa, Sondra, and Rudy all have a place in my heart. And now, in this video (directed by Louis Fried) for Cassorla‘s “broke down” they get dismantled, re-animated, posterized, and generally psyched out. It’s bizarre in every way and completely engrossing.

Equally as mesmerizing is the song the video is tracked by.  Cassorla is a rock band fronted by Ben Cassorla and pretty much defined by the charm and swagger he brings to his vocal delivery and guitar streaks. “broke down” is the first tune from the upcoming album, plastic (their ode to the Plastic Ono Band), due out in the fall. It’s about love and pain and can pretty much be defined best by Cosby’s narration, “Matters of the heart. Proceed with caution.”

Meanwhile, in the very near future they have an EP entitled friend benefits. As the name suggests, it’s a collaborative release featuring friends of Cassorla on each track (Eric Earley of Blitzen Trapper, Angel Deradoorian, Christopher Richard of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Krystle Warren, Henry Wolfe, and Aubrey Plaza on sax).

Puddel – “Downtown”

Puddel Downtown

Have you ever been stuck in a downpour? Running among a group of people trying to get to a dry situation? Then at some point you realize that the water hitting your face was refreshing—a pleasant change courtesy of mother nature. You stop and let the rain beats be your walking tempo.

Slowing it down.

Enough of the hustle.

Perhaps its the hectic workload causing my adoration of Puddel‘s “Downtown,” but nevertheless I’m quite taken with it. The first time I listened, I stopped it three-quarters of the way through and restarted the song. I stopped whatever menial task that enveloped me and just let the headphones comfort me with their misted and fluttering electronics. Puddel’s slow ambience paired with soul hooks is something to behold and definitely has me awaiting their next endeavor.

Ever Ending Kicks – “Outside Again”

Ever Ending Kicks Weird Priorities

I don’t know where I think I’ve been
But it’s good to be outside again

Every work day I feel that verse to the bone. Trapped in a windowless wire-filled room from 8-5pm, it’s almost awe-inspiring to open the door and let the light pour in.

Ever Ending Kicks (formerly Motorbikes), the musical project of Paul Adam Benson, has just re-issued his other worldly pop cassette entitled Weird Priorities via Baltimore’s Holy Page. The opening track, “Outside Again,” gives a good keyhole look at the diverse spectrum of sounds following on the LP—honest lo-fi verses skimming the realms of beat tapes and synths.

Raindeer – “Tattoo”

raindeer baltimore

I think I’m listening to something I can only describe as carousel-pop. As in, when I close my eyes while listening I imagine myself spinning ’round a carousel in a complete soft focus Hollywood manner. A blend of romance, nostalgia, vibrant colors, and weird carney mystique.

Baltimore’s electro psych-pop quartet Raindeer are working that carousel magic well. Tattoo was just released on cassette by the ever-stellar Friends Records and it continues the neon summer star-gazing vibe pushed out last year with their S/T release.

Frontman Charlie Hughes builds an intricate amalgam of sugary synthed-out psych that is much in line with the likes of Black Moth Super Rainbow, but also ties into some complex and rewarding pop-rock vibes. So for every ounce of Dan Deacon-like synthesizer overloads packed into a song, there’s an equal amount New Pornographers/Fleetwood Mac harmonious pop-rock vibes backing it up. The latter flows from the title track, “Tattoo.”

Pay what you want for Tattoo on Raindeer’s Bandcamp page or pick it up on cassette via Friends Records.


Mickey Free - "The Unnies"

Mickey Free The Unnies Video

Last week I posted on Baltimore’s Height With Friends and their new throwback release. Continuing on that line of sound, Mickey Free (Mickey Freeland), who is part of the Height crew, just dropped a new video for “The Unnies.”

The track is quite a few years old, being part of the underrated Last of the Tight Wiggers album the was self-released in 2010. The video has been in the making over the last two years by Towson University film and animation professor Phil Davis but it was worth the wait. On full display is Freeland’s comedic personality; his rhymes have a genuine flair for the chuckle in certain spots, but it wasn’t until I spotted a YouTube clip of him doing standup that I realized the full spectrum of his talents. That being said, enjoy!