Written by Ida V. Eskamani
Bandifesto is a home for music that moves us. Music that shapes the most impactful moments in our lives and the most powerful movements in our communities. Keeping up with the infinite amount of frontier-forging, soul-stirring, movement-making music is certainly an overwhelming challenge. But beyond any challenge, we cherish the exchange of meaningful music. From our hearts to yours, here’s our mini-mixtape of music that’s moving us, presented by Ida V. Eskamani. We hope it moves you too.
"I Wanna Love You" by Just Friends
Meet Just Friends, the 8+ piece genre-bending band from California making inimitable music. Just Friends is who what the band's name implies; a large group of very good friends. Specifically, Sam Kless, Brianda Goyos León, Chris Palowitch, Avi Dey, Brandon Downum, Matt Yankovich, Ryan Ellery, Ben Donlon, Kent Soliday, and Murph Aucamp. The band writes collaboratively with vocalist Kless at the helm.
Their 2018 record Nothing But Love blends punk, soul, and funk to create a sound that literally no one else is doing right now, featuring all-consuming guitar solos and a brass section you didn't know just how desperately you needed until you hear it; centered with Kless' soulful vocals flawlessly slips from one register to another.
"I Wanna Love You" encompasses all those aforementioned magical pieces. The track opens with a delicate guitar riff and lyrics that speak to the simple and beautiful vulnerability found in affection; "I wanna love you / Dancing on the floor / We keep dancing, which makes me love you some more." Standalone, this would be a gorgeous lovesong, but it soon gives way to raucous horns and gang vocals, the lyrics on repeat. This song is a moment, and is feels so goddamn good. Just Friends is currently touring the states this summer alongside some incredible bands. Catch them while you can.
"Carry Me" by The Original Crooks and Nannies
The sad news is that Philadelphia-based The Original Crooks and Nannies disbanded after their 2016 release Ugly Laugh. The good news is that Madeline Rafter and Sam Huntington blessed us with two records under the banner, and continue to make music independent of the band. The Original Crooks and Nannies created mesmerizing tracks with traditional instrumentation alongside synthesizer and sampler, with both Rafter and Huntington providing vocals.
"Carry Me" is quite simply, a gift to our hearts / ears. The song launches with decisive drums and Rafter's earnest vocals, "I’d take my shirt off / Hang upside down on the couch / I always feel good / When I’m shirtless and upside down." Immediately it becomes clear that this song is about absolutely nothing and absolutely everything, at the same time. Rafter continues, "But I’ve got roommates who don’t want to see me naked / So I find other ways to make myself be silly."
The track is wonderfully ridiculous, yet there's an undercurrent of anguish that makes your heart pang. At some point, there's the vocal equivalent of pure exasperation, as the pleas made in the chorus continue to go unfulfilled: "You can carry me / I’m not heavy / I’ll grow extra arms to hold onto your body." Songs like "Carry Me" speaks to the high stakes of our everyday low-stakes lives, and does so with an incredible audacity that leaves you feeling better than when you started.
"Take Off Ur Pants" by Indigo De Souza
"Take Off Ur Pants," from Indigo De Souza's 2018 record I Love You Mom is equal parts dreamy and devastating. A warm, fuzzy bassline paired with crisp percussion creates an ephieral energy. They provide background to the Asheville musician's crystalline vocals, as she puts forth confessions in the form of questions, "When am I gonna get back to school / Like everybody else does, everybody else does?" She goes on, "When am I gonna start being cool / Like everybody else is, everybody else is?"
I Love My Mom embodies an impressive convergence of genres, ranging from garage punk, pop, and intimate acoustic sets. Similarly, "Take Off Ur Pants" is pure Indigo De Souza, you can't define the song by a genre. The track speaks to a few universal struggles among our generation; the sense of not being or doing enough, particularly when compared to the rosy-glow social media perpetuates. De Souza breaks through the third wall and addresses this head-on, "Now that everyone's gone / I can tell you it hurts / Honey I am just like you." The artist just wrapped up a cross-country tour; we eagerly anticipate her next move. In the meantime, we're sure her music will move you like it does us.
Ida is an Iranian-American from Florida who grew up with the Beatles, and came of age in the pit. She will talk to you about music for as long as you will pretend to listen. She is founder of Bandifesto, a little blog with a big heart.