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Indie Roundup (Friday 13 Edition) | A Musical Baker’s Dozen To Wrap Up the Week

Knock off early and enjoy new tunes from Overkill, Krowns and plenty of others.

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Living Hours take it to the streets, Mantra aim for the head, Defying Decay box it up, Porteau swim upstream, Grace Lachance gets in the ring and more in today’s Roundup. You weekend officially starts now. Tell the boss I said so. It’s OK.


1 Home is where the art is for Winnipeg shoegazers Living Hours. But not quite the way you might expect. Their previous video for the song Bottom Step was shot on the shore of Pointe Du Bois for some reason. Whereas this clip for the shimmery number Water — the second single from their next album Softer Faces — was filmed at various non-aquatic locations throughout the city. Go figure. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Water is a video about winter in Winnipeg. The video was shot covertly on the streets and in the homes of friends and grandmothers. Liminal spaces such as buses, shopping malls, and arcades all percolate together. Periods of rest and the textures of winter were captured on the outdated medium of 16mm film.” Dive in:


2 If you’re going to, um, shoot a video for a song called Russian Roulette, the obvious cinematic influence would seem to be Michael Cimino’s classic The Deer Hunter. Well, give London rockers Mantra credit for avoiding the obvious with this Twin Peaks-inspired clip for this song from their upcoming album Dreamland. Speaking of drowsy, is it just me, or does the song sound a lot like Nirvana slowed down by about 18%? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Russian Roulette almost didn’t make it on to the album until our producer, Tom Dalgety, picked it as one of his favourites”, explains vocalist and guitarist Simon Stark. “It was the first song we recorded for Dreamland and is about someone who’s rolling the dice one too many times.” Ready, aim …


3 It really is a small world after all. Especially in the metal world. Case in point: Defying Decay. They hail from Bangkok, Thailand. But based on the vulcanized rubber guitar lines, midtempo wallop and blowtorch vocals of Judas Kiss, the latest single from their upcoming album Metamorphosis, they could just as easily live in Toronto, Toldeo or Timbuktu. But even if they’re not exactly breaking any new musical ground, at least the enigmatic and ominous video for the song thinks outside the box. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Vocalist (Jay) Poom Euarchukiati says: “This song was the first song we finished writing for the album. It was originally on a 8-bit sounding synth and it was the first time that I decided to experiment more with electronic elements. With vibes of urgency, aggression and mystery, I’d say this is definitely something on the more heavy side of this album we’ve worked on.” Pucker up:


4 I have no idea if B.C. folk-pop duo Porteau are Doctor Who fans. All I know is that they sent me this lovely video for their mellow, gently flowing single River Song — but made zero mention of the universally beloved, identically named character played by Alex Kingston. Perhaps it’s just a wild coincidence. Unless their upcoming album Water’s Gate features songs titled Clara Oswald, Amy Pond or Missy. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I found myself inspired to write River Song while watching salmon swim in the streams … Seeing the salmon’s instinctual guidance drawing them back to their place of birth helped me discover where I needed to be … Ask yourself – do we really have a choice? Does instinct guide us home?” Of course not; the TARDIS does:


5 You’re stronger than you know. Even so, you probably don’t want to mess with 18-year-old pop singer-songwriter Grace Lachance. The Ontario native has a black belt in the martial art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and shows off some of her moves in the black-and-white video for her fittingly titled new ballad Strong. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Says Lachance, “The song marks a coming of age, whereby independence is relished on a higher level. Strong asserts that it is not vain to understand and admit one’s inner strength; it is truly fundamental for self-discovery.” Stay down:


6 I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again: The men of New York State indie band Burly do not sound like their name. It was true of the laid-back song Infinite Broken, which they sent to me back in December. And it’s just as true of the song Kent Lame, a rippling ballad from their coming EP Self-Titled Demon. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “In this digital age, internet message boards are the rich, gem-studded bedrock underlying its structure – a subterranean frontier for devotees of all kinds. Kent Lame rose fully formed from one of these crystalline pools, when songwriter Ryan Stewart was investigating the status of a particular Grateful Dead bootleg. This song collects details from an anonymous retelling of a lost weekend in 1980, laying them across a soft and verdant bed of vibraphone, effected guitar, bass, saxophone, and drums.” It’s an American beauty:


7 In spring, it is said, a young girl’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. But what happens in the dead of winter? Well, if the sombre title track from Swedish progressive folk-rock outfit Cellar Darling’s upcoming sophomore album The Spell is a sign, that girl’s fancy turns to thoughts of death. That may be logical, I guess. But it sure seems way less romantic. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “As some of you have discovered already, over the past 13 days we have revealed the tracklist of our new album, along with amazing artwork created by Costin Chioreanu, who is also behind all of the beautiful animated videos for the new songs. The 13 tracks of The Spell invite you to witness the journey of a girl who falls in love with Death. In the song released today, a spell has been cast on our protagonist — for now, her love shall go unfulfilled…” They say that like it’s a bad thing:


8 “When we finally get to heaven, absolved of all our sin / We will know how many angels on the head of a pin,” New Jersey thrashers Overkill claim on Head Of A Pin, the second single from their imminent 19th album The Wings Of War. I’m not sure if main man Bobby (Blitz) Ellsworth purposely left the world ‘dance’ out of the chorus of this midtempo grinder, but either way, I wouldn’t advise any of them to hold their breath on the whole absolution thing. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Head of a Pin took a long time to come together, it is probably the tune that went through the most changes and the last one I finished. Looking back on it’s development, the time invested was all well worth it. The tonality of the guitar shines on it and the song goes ‘other places’, traditional with a touch of the down-low-dirty riff, and a sing-along chorus.” You get the point:


9 Wendy O. Williams of The Plasmatics used to say that a pig was a pig. Swedish metallists Almøst Human clearly don’t subscribe to that theory. Not when it comes to War Pigs, anyway. As pretty much any metal fan knows, the song is a Black Sabbath classic. But that clearly didn’t deter these guys from nicking the title for their own totally original industrial-tinged grindfest — though their version goes by the mononymic handle WarPigs. Yeah, that should clear up any confusion. Even worse: The songs comes from their upcoming debut album XS2XTC. Let’s not even open that can of worms. Maybe they’re losing something in the translation. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Initially raised in the 90’s by Olivier Perdrizat (guitar) & Rosario Fullone (drums), Almøst Human splitted a few years later before to born again – on the ashes of the previous band – in 2008 when Jan Peyer joined his “new” co-conspirators.” Yeah, we’re definitely dealing with translation issues:


10 The cover of B.C. singer-songwriter Ben Rogers’ forthcoming third album Wildfire is adorned with a flaming upright piano. Supposedly, this reflects the troubadour’s shift to a more rock-oriented stance reminiscent of Nick Cave, Otis Redding and even T. Rex’s Marc Bolan. I’ll have to take his word for it. Because you won’t hear anything resembling any of them on his new Dallas Green-produced single Rattle Your Chains — which, despite its rabble-rousing title, might just be the sleepiest song this side of a NyQuil jingle. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “When I wrote Rattle Your Chains I was flat broke, had just been dumped on Christmas morning and had no idea where my life was headed. The verses came in droves and then I cut and pasted them all together. It started as a jilted love song but turned into something much more than that. Turns out I was pissed off about a lot of other things too.” If this is angry, I’d hate to hear him when he’s relaxed:


11 Back in October, up-and-coming Calgary trio Krowns knocked me out with their sophomore single Fake It, which delivered a killer hybrid of hip-hop and alt-pop. The followup Triumphant — from their simultaneously released Fake It EP — doesn’t quite pack the same wallop. But with its suitably soaring chorus and anthemic keyboard lines, it certainly lives up to its title. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I remember staying up every night listening to Nirvana’s Nevermind, dissecting every part and harmony. Everything around me was crumbling at the time. In the chaos, I had to find strength. Processing my past through confessional-style pieces, I took these truths to Grammy Award-winning producer Stephen Kozmeniuk, and Todd Clark, to begin crafting the songs that make up our debut Fake It EP. It is the honesty in these stories that will empower you to rise above your own feelings of oppression in the world.” Heavy hangs the head:


12 Every car changes lanes. Including Car Astor. The New York singer-songwriter has previously graced these pages with the electro-pop number Girlfriend. But now she’s shifting gears and putting the pedal to the metal with the hard-driving rocker Don’t Stop, Don’t Speak. Buckle up, buttercup. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This song is my current favorite of the batch of songs I’ve recorded recently! I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone vocally here and am using my voice in ways that I never did before recording this track. I think it really brings in some amazing early 2000’s vibes. I just have so much fun playing and listening back to it. Lyrically, this is about the tension of two people wanting each other but not being able to be together physically, which can be so frustrating and tense, but also an incredible feeling.” Get your motor running:


13 You know the cliche: If you have your health, you have everything. Eventually, we all learn it’s not really true. Scottish indie-popster C Duncan found out the hard way when his long-distance romance imploded. Oh well; at least he got the soft-centred sweetie Impossible — which also happens to be the first single from his upcoming third album Health — out of the deal. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “At one point he was working night shifts, so it was very hard to communicate with each other because our schedules were completely out of sync. I wanted to see him all of the time, but it was impossible to do at that point in time,” Duncan explains. Strings and oddball psychedelic sounds combine with equal vigor, it’s jarring rhythmic art-funk of offering an accurate portrayal based on personal experience.” Share his Impossible dream: