President’s Day with Mr. Beat [Feature]

Happy President’s Day, Everyone! Yeah, very happy. It’s the day off school that we just sort of take and quickly move on, as we all know that there are far too many asterisks involved with this particular holiday. Take that last sentence and substitute the words “Columbus Day”, and see how that just fits right in there. But, being enthusiastic about history is a concept that we can truly get behind. Even if we don’t believe that an entire day is needed to “celebrate” our founding fathers, history can be an exciting and interesting topic for sure!

Some of you long time readers may recognize the name Mr. Beat, right from the jump. It’s been about 7 years since we covered his wonderful albums about the, you guessed it, the Presidents of the United States of America. Check out President’s Day…the Indie Way! Mr. Beat has also appeared as a beloved Guest Wrecker in the past, and we even featured one of his earlier YouTube videos during the early days of its existence. He has been a dear friend of Trainwreck’d Society back when we simply called him Mr. Electric Needle Room. Oh, and how can we forget about his wonderful contribution to the now long forgotten Children of Mercy. Thanks again for that, Matt!

I was recently very pleased to notice that the Mr. Beat YouTube page has been blowing up! He has reached close to 13.5 million views and has reached audiences from across the globe. The production value of each video only continues to strengthen, and the best part of it all….people are LEARNING! Learning in a very fun way! I know we have thrown quite a bit of the proverbial shade at “YouTubers” in the past, but I am here to say that I fully respect and recommend the work of our dear friend, Mr. Beat. He has several different segments covering different subjects. From “Supreme Court Briefs” to his “Compared” series, they are all wonderful!

So, I thought it would be an appropriate President’s Day “celebration” to share with you all a few of my favorite Mr. Beat videos. Be sure to subscribe to the Mr. Beat YouTube channel, and leave some nice comments his way. It is possible to leave nice comments on YouTube, right? Anyway, tell him we sent you and, well, you won’t get anything for it. But all parties would be very appreciative! Also, if you find Mr. Beat to be truly compelling (as you should), why not sign up for the Mr. Beat Patreon?

 

“Washington and Oregon Compared”

 

 

 

Supreme Court Briefs: “Can Religion Get You Out of School? Wisconsin v. Yoder”

 

 

“The American Presidential Election of 1796”

 

 

Story Time with Mr. Beat: “The Lost Generation Writers Explained”

 

 

 

“The Dust Bowl (Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” parody) feat. @MrBettsClass

 

 

“Why Do People Hate Jews”

 

 

 

New Music Tuesday: Ph4de feat. Kap G – Don’t Say Much [Single]

 

In 2019, we are attempting to reach out into different realms of music than we have in the past. Of course, we are going to keep on showcasing our normal stuff, but expansion of the mind can be a beautiful thing. Today we are talking about hip hop. Specifically, we are talking about the new wave of hip hop that is very intriguing, even to an old head like myself.

If you happened to notice in our 2018 end of year lists, there were quite a few new age mainstream artists making appearances, including the likes of Post Malone (a.k.a. the auto-tuned Kurt Cobain) appearing 3 times in our Top 40 Singles list. This may have shocked some of our avid readers, but this has been a experiment of all things new that has been occurring (for me personally) over the last coupe of years. I’ve been attempting to appreciate what the new generation has to offer. I know in my heart of hearts that there is so pretty incredible stuff out there to enjoy. And it’s not as though we have ever strayed from the world of hip hop and R&B. It’s always been an important part of the Society. But, in all fairness, it’s always been a showcase of the underground hip hop artists that we still love and adore. Which leads me to today’s showcase:

 

 

Jacksonville raised artist Ph4de may not be a household name….yet. But, with his recent signing to In Vogue Records, and the release of this “Don’t Say Much” featuring Kap G, it is absolutely clear that he is destined to be a contender in the mainstream hip hop world. Press releases and critics alike will tell you: “Eminem level lyricism meets Drake’s melody over Travis Scott production.” And you know what..sure? Why not. These are indeed three very big names that could draw a viable comparison to what Ph4de is trying to do. But, I truly believe that he has abilities beyond this level. With “Don’t Say Much”, Ph4de has managed to combine every element of modern day hip hop and pop music that is practically required to be a hit record. But, with a bit of a twist. Ph4de and Kap G both manage to bring a two-word-a-second collection of bars that is oddly reminiscent of the old days that this aging writer can remember adoring. And yet, they modernize the whole damn thing with a catchy chorus that would work in the club, or on a light night drive in a car you probably think is nicer than it really is. It’s catchy, fun, and just down right entertaining.

Ph4de is planning to release a series of singles leading up to a brand new EP. And I can tell you all that I will definitely be watching closely for what the future holds for this incredible young artist. I can seriously only see great things for this cat. It is artists like this that make me feel as though the future of hip hop is going to be just fine. With emphasis on highly produced beats and at least a slight emphasis on the importance of having a great flow, Ph4de is the future that hip hop needs.

Follow Ph4de for yourself at the following: Instagram: @PH4DE Twitter: @PH4DE Facebook: Facebook.com/PH4DE Soundcloud: Soundcloud.com/PH4DE http://www.PH4DE.com

Check out this lyric video for “Don’t Say Much” courtesy of the In Vogue Records YouTube channel:

 

Philanthropy Thursday: Children Incorporated [Feature]

When you think about it, charity can be a tough business.  As Larissa MacFarquhar writes in her best seller Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, “The life of a zealous do-gooder is a kind of human sublime…confronting it, you see its formidable nobility, and at the same time, you sense uncomfortably that you would not survive it for long.”

That sublime ambition is what Children Incorporated tries to bring to its donors and supporters – a sense of connecting someone who can give with someone who so desperately needs help.  Since 1964, Children Incorporated has extended its reach to over 250,000 children, spread across 23 countries and through over 300 programs and outreach projects. Operating without religious or political affiliation, and with a lean staff of 16 located at headquarters in Virginia, sponsorship donations and volunteer support are the lifeblood of the organization.

For people like Shelley Callahan, Director of Development for Children Incorporated, the everyday work of global charity relief is less of a superhuman exercise in sublime divinity than it is simply magnifying the many generous actions of donors, supporters, and others who can only give “a little.”  “Working for Children Incorporated has made me a much more considerate and patient person,” Callahan observes, “but it’s also made me realize that the most important thing anyone can do is give back. You can do something small, and make a huge difference.”

Since it was founded by Jeanne Clarke Wood in 1964, Children Incorporated has engaged in direct sponsorship of specific children.  After witnessing poverty on a trip to Guatemala, Wood began writing letters to friends and colleagues asking for donations that would specifically match them with one of the 95 children she met on her travels.  Since then, all of the organization’s work has revolved around connecting donors to individual children. As the organization reaches these children all around the world, they also find ways to engage in other local projects and relief efforts that help improve the children’s lives from the outside as well.

Direct sponsorship is behind one of Children Incorporated’s current high-profile projects, inspired by the 20th anniversary of the self-help best-seller Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson.  The book proved a boom for Children Incorporated in 1997 when Carlson wrote about giving to charity, “There are many find agencies to choose from, but my personal favorite is Children Incorporated…the experience has brought tremendous joy and satisfaction to my family.”  “Dr. Carlson’s mention was one of the most meaningful things to ever happen to our organization,” says Callahan. “Thousands of impoverished children were helped as a result.” Now, Carlson’s widow Kristine is continuing that legacy, partnering with Children Incorporated to generate 2000 new sponsorships, with the Richard Carlson Memorial Foundation pledging $5000 in matching donations.  

For Callahan, working on behalf of Children Incorporated involves travel to points near (Appalachia, the inner city, and the reservation) and far (the rainforests of Bolivia and Southeast Asia).  Callahan not only manages the organization’s communications, but is the social correspondent for the web series “On the Road,” where she is able to highlight individual and community success stories and bring evidence of the effectiveness of donor support into the digital spotlight.

Her job also means celebrating the recent accomplishments of Children Incorporated’s successful community based projects, such as the recent effort to add seven classrooms to a school in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  “It’s easy to see the impact of these projects on the lives of individuals,” explains Callahan, “but we also see how the entire community benefits.” The new classrooms, for example, meant that there could be adult literacy classes offered at night for the first time, and members of the community have pooled their resources to buy AC units for the new buildings.  “We can claim that our reach is more than twice as much as the individual children we directly sponsor, because it always includes siblings, family members, neighbors, and others who benefit.”

 


The same goes for another project in Bolivia, Villa Emelia, a home for women who are transitioning from living on the streets.  “It’s a place to stay, with their children, as well as a factory that makes garments and school uniforms to give them new job skills and work towards sustainable living situations.”  The Catholic nuns who have partnered with Children Incorporated in the region have also developed a program where they purchase property that the women can pay the mortgage on as they earn.  “They had eight plots of land that were ready to go, and we were able to step in with the funding needed to actually build new homes.”

Callahan explains that each new project must be carefully planned and vetted before donors are approached for support.  “We always have a general idea about what we can do, but we need to assess everything before we fundraise, and then look to our existing donor base and ask them is this what they would want to support?”  Looking towards visits to Sri Lanka and India this summer, Callahan says that recent efforts are geared towards broader environmental issues like clean water solutions, as well as the more traditional efforts of providing shelter, clothing, and basics for sponsored individual children.

While many efforts are focused overseas –such as providing growing shoes and group homes to children in Costa Rica and Nicaragua – Children Incorporated also has projects in several states, notably in the Appalachian region.  “We have a lot of coordinators in Kentucky that have made for a great partnership, but we also have programs for children in Arizona and New Mexico, and inner cities like Detroit, and locally in Richmond and Washington DC,” Callahan explains.  “Most people think of urban poverty, but rural poverty in the mountains is a real challenge. Beyond the beautiful scenery, you have kids who live miles away from their schools, where the only transportation might be the school bus, with roads that are inaccessible in the winter.  Many of these kids live with extended family, separated from their parents because of abuse or neglect.” While American children, unlike their foreign peers, are at least guaranteed some sort of education and basic health care, they still lack many of the basics. One of Children Incorporated’s more successful programs is “Backpack Feeding” – literally stuffing kids’ backpacks full of easy-to-make food on a Friday, since they might not have access to food until school resumes on Monday.  “Poverty looks different in the U.S.,” says Callahan, “but no child is better or worse off – poverty has an impact wherever it is. Our programs remind kids that someone is looking out for them when they don’t have that anywhere else in their life.”

That brings Callahan back to the central point of the mission she shares with Children Incorporated:  the life of charity isn’t at all about realizing the potential of her own goodness, but simply a way to facilitate and magnify the generosity of others.  “There’s so much that each person can do for a child’s confidence,” she reflects. “I didn’t realize how privileged I was to have parents who kept me safe and educated and encouraged me to do things, until I meet children that didn’t have that. We don’t have to be superheroes to make a difference – I don’t do anything out of the ordinary except to tell these stories and be a voice for the voiceless.  We just want people to understand that it’s very easy to give back, it’s important to do something outside of yourself, because every gesture you make in that regard, whether it’s for Children Incorporated or somewhere else, is very valuable.”

 Grammy-award winning artist Rosanne Cash who has been a supporter of Children Incorporated for 30 years sums it up perfectly:

“The personal attention to the children and programs is exceptional and rare, but what is really unique about Children Incorporated is that they know who they are. They have a vision for their best, most productive self; one that retains their uniqueness and effectiveness, and they are acting on realizing that vision. You can trust them. You will know you are truly helping real children, in real time, and you will know how every penny you give is spent.”

Learn more about Children Incorporated at their website:

https://childrenincorporated.org/

 

STAY TUNED FOR PART II ON CHILDREN INCORPORATED, COMING TOMORROW (SEPT. 14TH) WITH A WONDERFUL INTERVIEW WITH SHELLEY CALLAHAN HERSELF!!!

New Music Tuesday: Nikhil D’Souza – Blind [Video]

Hello Folks! Regular readers here at Trainwreck’d Society may remember that a few months ago we shared Nikhil D’Souza’s brilliant single “Silver & Gold”. Well, suffice to say that we simply cannot get enough of this guy! We are here again on a New Music Tuesday to tell you all about another single from Nikhil, as well as an amazing video, entitled “Blind”. It is another prime example of why this Mumbai-born singer/songwriter is in a class all of his own. Beautiful as it is witty, charming as it is disheartening, “Blind” is an absolutely brilliant track that you all need to hear. And better yet, watch! Check out this brilliantly produced video of “Blind”, and be sure to catch Nikhil on tour, as he has done extensively throughout 2018. He’s a heck of a guy, and we so look forward to hearing from him in the future! Keep the singles coming, Sir! We live for this!

 

 

Nikhil is set to head out with The Striking Matches on their upcoming UK tour. Check out his WEBSITE for details on tickets, and more!

Dates:

September 6th, 2018 – Glasgow, UK @ Oran More

September 7th, 2018 – Sheffield, UK @ The Leadmill

September 9th, 2018 – Bristol, UK @ Thekla

New Music Tuesday: Nikhil D’Souza – Silver & Gold [Single]

“During early writing sessions I had a conversation about how relationships these days don’t seem to last. It’s like people get together then due to other options it becomes a matter of convenience. It’s so easy to end that relationship. But silver & gold signifies staying together and you have to really put an effort into it, It actually comes from the colour of hair. It also refers to the change of colour in your hair as you age and staying together through all of that.” – Nikhil D’Souza

What a lovely sentiment, isn’t it? I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to explain the track myself, so I thought I would let Nikhil do the work. “Silver & Gold” is an absolute delight of a track for anyone who loves a slightly anthemic and brilliantly crafter singer/songwriter vibe. I truly adore Nikhil’s enchanting vocals, that operatic feel of the whole track, and just a beautiful theme for a song. The sentiment of trying to understand what it truly means to love is not an unusual topic for a song, but when it is done as well as this one, it feel fresh and exciting.

Nikhil will be releasing a full length album in the coming year, and if the rest of that trackless is as provocative and down right classy as “Silver & Gold”, we are sure to be in for a real treat in 2018. I know I will be on the look out, and it would behoove you to do the same. I am confident that one listen to this track (see the video below!) and you will be as hooked as I am. Enjoy!

Tour Dates:-

April 9th – Village Underground, London – supporting Lissie & Milk & Bone

May 5th – Live At Leeds

May 17/18th – The Great Escape

May 21st – The Waiting Room, London

 Follow Nik

https://www.facebook.com/Nikhildsouzamusic/

https://twitter.com/NikhilDsouza5

https://www.instagram.com/nikhilmusic/

You can stream “Silver & Gold” via Spotify right HERE. Or download the track HERE. Also check out the song right now, with this incredible video for the song:

New Music Tuesday: Ciaran Lavery – When I Come Around [Cover]

Let me begin today’s New Music Tuesday segment by saying that the artist showcased here today, Ciaran Lavery, is a true modern treasure. I have been a fan of this Irish singer/songwriter since I discovered his track “Left For America” on Spotify a couple of years ago. Since then, I have manage to indulge in just about everything is has recorded, and I will say that he is one of the best out there right now. And today we have something very special to share with you fine folks.

“When I Come Around” has always been my favorite track from Green Day’s seminal classic album Dookie, and easily my favorite Green Day track in general. This was a pivotal track for me in my life when I first heard it as a youngster with early developmental teenage angst. I think I was 10 years old when I first heard it, but I was developing my distaste for society very early. It is an all around perfect song, to say the least. And now the delightful Ciaran Lavery has brought us a new take on this 23 year old classic jam.

Lavery brings his brilliant brand of soft storytelling to one of the greatest pop-punk songs of all time. I love a good cover, especially when it is done with a great amount of originality. When an artist can manage to put their own spin on an already wonderful track, it is indeed something very special. And Ciaran’s take on “When I Come Around” may very well be one of the best covers I have ever heard. I would be will to put it up against Lotte Kestner’s “Halo” or Naama Hillman’s “Ring of Fire” in a hypothetical competition and I believe it would easily be the victor amongst giants.

Seriously folks, you are really going to love this one. I simply can not recommend it enough.

Check out Ciaran Lavery’s brilliant cover of “When I Come Around”, right here:

Angel Russell [Artist]

angel-russell
I will be the first to admit, I am truly fascinated by multi-faceted artists. It is a sort of fascination that moves beyond jealousy for a person’s abilities in the same field as yourself, and moves into more of a total awe for the fact that this person can do so much, at any given time. Some people in this world where simply destined to be artists. They were destined to create. The truly great artists of the world tend to be the type of folks who can have discovered the ability to showcase their entire livelihood and spirit into whatever art they have chosen to use to express themselves. And as I mentioned, sometimes people can perform these acts in a multitude of ways and means. And if you weren’t quite able to make the guess just yet, the amazing artist Angel Russell is without a doubt one of the finest multi-faceted artists I have ever known. And I would like to tell you all a bit about her, using the only format I know how to create with, which happens to be one of the many formats that Angel has done far better than I have in. It all comes back around people.

I have known Angel for at least the last 6-7 years. Her name and work has been a main stay in my musical recollections and appreciation from the very first time her name was brought up to me when I was just starting out in this dirty and somewhat shameful business of blogging, specifically music blogging dealing with mainly independent music. In fact, my creative relationship with Angel truly began to take place around the now fabled times of that little book I have mentioned every once in a while known as Children of Mercy. A lot of you may already know the story, so I won’t bother retelling it, but it is suffice to say that when I went on a hunt in late 2010 to look for some of the best artists I had managed to interact with digitally over the previous couple of years, Angel Russell was definitely a name I was looking to have included in the project. And alongside her business partner Spencer Thurlow, she provided one of the finest insertions in the the final product that was Children of Mercy. And I will always be eternally thankful. The book is out there somewhere, probably, so if you are truly interested, good luck on your hunt to find it. It is lost somewhere in the darkened alleys of promise and misfortune, or just casually tossed amongst the cookbooks and religious material at any given Value Village between Spokane, Washington and Lincoln, Nebraska. But I digress, we are here to talk about Angel.

Angel Russell has spent the majority of her adult life creating. She is a full blown CREATOR. Whether it is music, poetry, art, jewelry, what-have-you’s, and what-have-you-nots, she can do it. And she can do it well. Angel’s music has always been my preferred choice of self expression, but dammit if I could pull off some of those great feather earrings I’ve noticed her hocking on line, I would totally go for it. Angel is a master wordsmith in both lyric and poetry (Poetry fans, you have to check out her blog, Lost Ghost, you won’t be let down), as well as being an instrumental mastermind who can slay on guitar, piano, trumpet, drums, bass, basically anything that makes delightful noises, she can figure it out. She also is definitely not afraid to move between several different genres of music, constantly experimenting with the plethora of sound that is available in the world. While I will always have a sort of fondness for the simpler acoustic sound of one of her first albums, Sunken Ships and Parlor Tricks, it definitely doesn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying her dabbling into the world of electronic and hip hop music on an album like Alexander Great and Tiger Lilly. That’s right people, the girl also raps. When I said multi-faceted, I fucking meant it.

But, let’s get down to brass tax here, people. Angel has something special for you all, readily available and awaiting your spiritual consumption. While it may seem cliche to say that Angel is really “putting it all out there” this time around, I would actually be giving a literal translation of what is happening. Angel Russell has decided that it was time to clean house, and has now made all of her musical recordings available for purchase via her bandcamp page, at an extremely reasonable and terrific rate, as well. That’s right holy shoppers, for just $69 dollars, you can pick up 9 (NINE!) beautiful records of many different varieties instantly! Let me show you in pictures just so we are clear:

angel1

angel2

angel3

angel4

angel-5

angel6

angel7

angel8

angel9

Do you get it now? This is an amazing deal on some amazing music. 9 beautiful albums that will keep you mesmerized for a lifetime, or at least a few physical hours if you managed to sit still long enough to enjoy it all. So, now that I know you are in, just head to:

 

Angel Russell’s Bandcamp Page

Seriously everyone, this is a helluva deal. And through the glory of Bandcamp, you don’t even have take my word for it. You can actually give a few dozen listens on the page, which will surely lead you to pulling out all those stocking stuffed gift cards you have been wondering what to do with over the last few weeks. Angel has you covered!

Just to reiterate, Angel Russell is a god damned genius, to put it simply enough. We love what she has done as an artist, and what she will definitely continue to do. And if you are not in the market for some beautiful music at the moment, be sure to check out her other ventures that might help her put food in her stomach, but more importantly some warmth in her heart and yours. Watch her Big Cartel Page for some of Angel’s amazing handcrafted jewelry, or maybe spruce up your life a bit with some Sparrow Wise Art. Whatever type of art you may find yourself gravitating towards, Angel is surely able to bring you exactly what you need. She is exactly the type of artist we need in these soon to be strange a drastic times. And she is exactly the type of person who deserves the chance to continue working on her art as a livelihood, for the world would be even more lost and doomed if her already undeserving of this plain and boring existence were to disappear. We need people like Angel in this world. More importantly, we need Angel in the world of art, right where she belongs.

So all hail the Sparrow, and support one of the greatest multi-faceted artists of our time!!!