As Steven Wright says: It’s a small world. But I wouldn’t want to paint it. I am, however, always happy to hear some something unexpected by someone I’ve never heard of from someplace I’ve never been. And on today’s Roundup, we’ve got plenty of that. We’re going international with new clips from Japan, Poland, France, Australia and Britain, along with a few entries from closer to home. Get your seat in the upright position; it’s time for takeoff!
1Pop quiz, hotshot! Name three all-female Japanese bands. OK, there’s Babymetal. That’s one. And Shonen Knife. That’s two. And the third? Well, here’s one possibility: Chai, the new sensations who just announced a North American tour and shared the video for the song Great Job — which is every bit as bright, bouncy, bubbly and inexplicably weird as you’d expect. Get out your pink hardhats and prepare to be confused. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “Known for their energetic shows, matching outfits, absolutely insane music videos, and innovative concept of NEO-Kawaii, or New Cute (an empowering way to look at the frequently oppressive concept of cuteness in their home country), they capture the hearts of everyone.” Get Power! Fresh Feeling! See above!
2 You learn something new every day. Or at least I do — mostly because I know so little to begin with. Today I learned of the existence of Durand Jones & The Indications, a British retro-soul outfit (with two lead vocalists, no less) that seems poised for greatness on these shores. See for yourself: Here’s the video for their song Don’t You Know, which is smartly set on a demolition derby course. And if that doesn’t tell you they’re trying to court the Yanks, the title of their upcoming sophomore album — American Love Call — should leave no doubt. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “Thematically, the album covers tough ground, like the danger of simplifying and romanticizing the past, but it also attempts to reconcile, searching for unifying commonalities. Brooding, bold, and pensive, American Love Call is the result of the band fleshing out its craft and elevating its dreamy, old-soul sound.” Start your engines:
3When it comes to the music of Poland, I know there are some great brutal metal bands. And I imagine there’s plenty of folk music. But I did not know they had an electronica scene — or an artist as inspired and talented as Perfect Son (aka Tobiasz Biliński). You’d have to ask his mom if he really deserves that handle, but either way, I’m sure she’s proud of the Warsaw-shot lyric video for his darkly propulsive diamond It’s For Life, from his upcoming Sub Pop album Cast. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “On It’s For Life, Biliński’s soft falsetto and arching melodies are embedded in a world of enormous drums, pounded piano, and blown-out bass.” No passport required:
4 You might expect a band called Kilo to be, well, weighty. Or druggy. But this Melbourne electro-pop duo of Simon Lam and Chloe Kaul have a lighter and sweeter touch, as showcased in the romantic R&B vibe of Candid, their latest single. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s about understanding the power of my words, which is something new to me and the fundamental key to my happiness,” Kaul explains. Lyrically she confronts an uncomfortable experience with uncompromising strength, “being as candid as I can and deserve to be.” Smile!
5 Daniel Romano is unstoppable. The eccentric Canadian singer-songwriter has already released at least three videos to advance his upcoming album Finally Free. But just when we thought it was safe to move on with our lives, here’s another clip for the song Rhythmic Blood. And judging by the footage, even Romano is getting punchy from this onslaught. The album comes out Friday, so presumably he’s only got three or four more videos to release between now and then. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “Finally Free was recorded on a 4-Track Tascam cassette recorder with Romano making constant stream of consciousness commitments to everything that was recorded in order to bounce them down to stereo and free up tracks for additional elements.” Presumably, there’s a video somewhere of his doing just that.
6 There are many types of love. And Chicago rapper, poet, and educator, Mykele Deville shows you which variety you should be after in the video for his romantically groovy number Type Love, a preview of his upcoming full-length Maintain. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “Type Love, imagines a world where we are taught to fall in love with ourselves before we fall in love with others; a smooth ode to self-love championing the ritual and work it takes to check in and be proud of what you may find.” To the roof!
7 Water, water everywhere. And not a drop to drink. But plenty to make you think — thanks to the shimmering melodies and soothing flow of You Make Me Forget Myself, the latest single from British outfit Toy‘s upcoming release Happy In The Hollow. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “Happy In The Hollow is entirely uncompromising: an atmospheric capturing of a state of mind that touches on Post Punk, electronic dissonance, acid folk and Krautrock. Familiar qualities like metronomic rhythms, warping guitars, undulating synths and Tom’s gentle, reedy vocals are all in there, but so is a greater emphasis on melody, a wider scope, and a combining of the reassuring and the sinister that is as unnerving as it is captivating.” Ride the wave:
8 We’ve already heard from Japan, Britain, Poland and Australia on this trip. Now let’s head to France AND South America with alternative-metal outfit Far Away. They hail from the former, but the song Uyuni’s Lullaby — from their album Viaje — was apparently inspired by singer-guitarist Flo Lemonnier‘s trips to the deserts of the latter (Uyuni is actually a city in Bolivia; why it has a lullaby is beyond me). SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “Inspired by the wonders of the Earth, the band will take you on a journey through the elements. Far Away feels involved in the protection of flora and fauna. By joining forces with various research projects and associations, it conveys an ecological message at its performances.” Break out the sunscreen:
9 Pop quiz 2, hotshot! Name Shirley MacLaine‘s character in the Billy Wilder film The Apartment? Give up? It was Miss Kubelik. OK, not everyone knows that. But Toronto singer-songwriter David McFarlane does: He named his new single after her. Which might make you think it’s some kind of throwback pop-rock ditty. But no — it’s an edgy loping country-rocker that will stick in your head a lot longer than that bit of movie trivia. SEZ THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s a tragedy, really. It’s what I fear most – when skepticism becomes cynicism, when you lose hope for change. I suppose I want people to feel mad about that.” That’s the way it crumbles, cookie-wise: