Hidden Gems: Dark Mean, July Child, Flight Facilities, Lips, and Siesta on Sunday

In this new monthly feature, guest contributor RJ Kozain (2020k) shares with us the latest sonic finds that have made themselves at home on his playlists — treasures perhaps not easily stumbled upon.  Look for our monthly round-up of favourites on 2020k, Northern Lights and feel free to suggest your treasures on Twitter or Facebook.

Note:  I wrote this article on Superbowl Sunday.  Amber’s Note: He was wiser than I was, watching the damn Failfest.

Well, I’d normally be attending suburban-BYOB Football parties for the Superbowl, the Pittsburgh Steelers were not playing this year and the genre that best describes Bruno Mars’ music is Mom-Pop. Since I am neither excited for the teams playing or a Mother, I  instead bring you the top five songs flowing through both my ears lately in hopes that you enjoy them after you’re done searching through the less exciting commercial premieres (GoDaddy is a good, predictable commercial to always ignore!), throw them on rotation post-game, or just give them a spin nonchalantly and support these five fantastic acts. Here we go…

Hidden Gems is a a new infrasound series on this blog wherein I present to you my own random musical finds that I will subjectively pack into one combined blog entry. These gem entries are presented in hopes that these songs make their way from my playlist to yours. The majority of these releases are songs that’ve been dug up by surprise, that have taken me whole, and refused to let me go. It’s in promotion of music and the joy it brings.

Any genre, any timeframe, any artist.

01. “Albatross” by Dark Mean

Canada based Dark Mean has been releasing some top notch indie-rock for the last three years. In “Albatross,” the follow up lead single to their self-titled debut record, a music video directed by Lee Skinner recalls a conscience-stricken man returning to the place he grew up. Accompanied by glorious horn and guitar melodies inside the chorus, the lead singer encourages an individual to “keep it up, don’t stop for me.” The song, video, and band recall the immaculate vibe of Zach Braff soundtracks that ruled the early 2000 alternative/independent scene while painting a unique vision of honest human feeling. Samuel The Phoenix will be released February 25th. To stay up to date, head over to darkmean.com where you can snag a download of this track now.

02. “C O O L (Le Youth Cover)” by July Child

Originally a four-to-the-floor dance track that highly utilized lyrical content from cult-R&B songstress Cassie, July Child have taken the Le Youth interpolation transformed it into their unique up & coming electronic-pop styling. Fronted lyrically by Amber Clara, her and producer Kiks bring heart and soul through pitch and delayed vocals, sequenced percussion. As long as you’re cool, right here is where you wanna be…for sure. Grab a download at the Londoners’ Soundcloud. It’s worth it for that beginning sweep alone.

03. “Crave You (Featuring Giselle)” by Flight Facilities

Un-reciprocated love is not an unexplored subject in any genre of music, but it’s the Flight Facilities “Crave You” that brings ironic light to the rather melancholic subject. In the same vein of music that Greg Kurstin crafted with his side-project The Bird and the Bee, the Australian duo call for help from a friend that goes by Giselle and bring simplified synthesized Rhode piano sounds to abundant life. “Why can’t you want me like the other boys do? They stare at me while I crave you” is a line we’ve all lived through at one point in our lives, so it’s the all around reliability that allows this 2010 track to bloom.

04. “Everything to Me” by Lips

Continuing in the The Bird and the Bee influences that seem to be running through this weeks Hidden Gems article, Lips provides another look inside of this sparking, crystal-clear pop world. In summary, “Everything to Me” embodies the struggle to fight through the daily grind struggles that seem to enrapture and suffocate even the strongest individual. The best way to combat this? A holiday, of course. A bit more dreary and realistic to the tiresome troubles the world can bring, Live strings by Tash Wong are perfection, as are the subtle Electronic accents and doubled, stereo vocals. $4 at Bandcamp gets you a four track EP download called Look, Smile that features this song. How they’re unsigned, we’ll never understand.

05. “Shoegazer on the Snow [Dec.]” by Siesta on Sunday

Apparently from Japan, but probably not, Siesta on Sunday have some serious skills for grabbing hold of the most warped genres of music and making an absolute art piece of out of them. Shoegaze, drone, alternative rock, and VOCALOID SOFTWARE throw themselves in a giant melting pot; the result being a mixture between Slowdive, Hatsune Miku, and the mid-90’s era where layers of guitars built giant walls of gut-wrenching chords, melodies, passion, and spirited integrity. Sure, the mix on the song could use a lot of work, but the ethics for a perfect song lie all in the structure and downright creative use of cross-genre skill. Grab this and give it some deep headphone listens.

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