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Indie Roundup | Eight Great Songs To Improve Your Monday

Start your week off right with new cuts from Steve Earle, Madison Violet & more.

Cartoon Lizard land, Jerry Leger plays dumb, Homeshake has fun with numbers, Steve Earle hits the highway and more in today’s Roundup. Apparently some millionaires staged some sort of sportsing contest yesterday.

1 If you’re going to name your band Cartoon Lizard, you’d better know what you’re doing. And what kind of weirdness people expect from you. This Victoria indie-pop outfit clearly gets it. And delivers on both counts. Look and listen no further than their new single and video for Lay of the Land, a wonderfully trippy excursion to a playful sonic (and visual) landscape that would make Wayne Coyne and his Flaming Lips feel right at home. You as well, I suspect. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Lay of the Land is essentially motivation to never stop questioning yourself. Nobody has the answer, nobody is perfect. That’s something you have to be willing to accept and acknowledge when you’re in the wrong. Take Lay of the Land as a free pass to admit you were wrong without any judgement.” Nice try, Lizard. But you can’t pin anything on me:

2 Jerry Leger is no dummy. Wish I could say the same for the star of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s new video for his shimmery folk-pop gem You Really Got It So Bad. Produced by Michael Timmins and featuring Carleigh Aikins, Tamara Lindeman and Ivy Mairi, he song is a previously unreleased that will finally see the light of day on his forthcoming compilation Too Broke To Die: Retrospective 2005-2019. Watch it here now, but be careful of that dummy: Judging by all appearances, he can’t hold his liquor. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “He’s remained somewhat under-the-radar. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind commercial success but perhaps the career as a cult artist suits him better, as in the same fashion as songwriters like John Prine and Tom Waits … Like these writers, Leger is prolific, uncompromising and fixated on artistic success.” Dummy up:

3 There are two types of people in this world: Those who use the phrase, ‘You’ve got another thing coming’ and those who use the phrase, ‘You’ve got another think coming.’ I’ve never been too clear which one is supposed to be correct, but I can see how either might work depending on context. For instance: I could say, ‘If you think I’m going to fork over $270 to see Neil Young, then you’ve got another think coming.’ Or I could say, ‘If you think Montreal popster and former Mac DeMarco sideman Peter Sagar is going to release a fourth advance single from his upcoming Homeshake album Helium, you’ve got Another Thing coming.’ Because that just happenes to be the title of this sweet little 6/4 ditty. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The Montreal-based artist will tour Europe immediately following the release of Helium. In late March, Homeshake will set out across North America to play his biggest venues yet including Brooklyn Steel in New York and the Metro in Chicago. Homeshake was also recently added to Primavera Sound in Spain this May.” How nice for him:

4 Last time I talked to Steve Earle was on the day of his late mentor Guy Clark’s memorial in 2016. Not surprisingly, Earle spent some time reminiscing about his pal: “He was wise. He and Townes (Van Zandt) were pretty much opposites. Guy was pretty much nuts and bolts. Townes just told me to go read Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee — and to put the cap on the bottle in case somebody kicks it over. And trust me, Guy believed all those things too. But he also showed me a bunch of things. He didn’t expect me to do them that way; he just thought it would be helpful if I saw how he did it, and he was willing to show me. I had a really old-fashioned, Old World apprenticeship. Not everybody gets that anymore. I was lucky.” Now, we’re the lucky ones — a decade after he paid tribute to Van Zandt on Townes, Earle does the same for Clark with his upcoming album Guy. He already shared the gritty roots-rocker Dublin Blues. Here’s the second preview: A loose, lazy and lovely cruise down Clark’s L.A. Freeway. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Guy wasn’t really a hard record to make,” Earle says. “We did it fast, five or six days with almost no overdubbing. I wanted it to sound live…When you’ve got a catalog like Guy’s and you’re only doing sixteen tracks, you know each one is going to be strong.” He should know:

5 Life is full of highs and lows. Especially these days. And especially if you’re Daniel O’Sullivan. The London singer-songwriter’s upcoming sophomore solo album Folly was reportedly written around both the birth of his son Ari and the pass of his friend Ian Johnstone, with both events impacting the disc. See if you can spot their influence in the first single Silhouette, a slow-burn heartache reminiscent at times of Neil Young’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart. Fair enough. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Joy is inseparable from suffering and sometimes those polarities arrive at the same moment. Music offers a vessel to contain the unspeakable.” But with, you know, lyrics:

6 Lindy Vopnfjörd was born in Winnipeg. He grew up performing in his family’s Icelandic folk group the Hekla Singers. He co-founded the Victoria folk-rock group Northern Junk. Eventually he moved to Toronto and released six solo albums over the past 24 years. Now he’s announced his seventh — You Will Know When It’s Right, due at the end of March. He recorded it in Iceland with the help of beloved Icelandic band Nydonsk and Gus Gus frontman Daníel Ágúst. Despite all of this, his new single Love Me Like That is classic folk-rock cut from the same sonic cloth first woven by Bob Dylan and today’s running-thread gag and fellow former Winnipegger Neil Young. Go figure. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Vopnfjörd is a proficient storyteller who distills human experience into the vital emotions that define a moment so crisply, and memorably … From his earliest albums, The Humourous Years and Suspension of Disbelief which he toured extensively through the U.K., to his 2013 record Young Waverer, Lindy has consistently delivered a caliber of songwriting and musical arrangement, that has garnered heaps of critical accolades.” Love him any way you want:

7 They say that breaking up is hard to do. Undoubtedly. But sometimes staying together is no picnic either. And choosing between the two can be even harder. Just ask Madison Violet singer-songwriters Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac. Individually and collectively, they’ve clearly learned a few things about life and relationships over the years. And they put a few of those thoughts into their new single Tell Me, from their upcoming album Everything’s Shifting. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Tell Me is about when one of you falls out of love, you sometimes can’t help but keep one foot in the door after thinking of all the good times, leaving your partner with a glimmer of hope that it can be put back together.” That’s telling ’em:

8 Perhaps the musical endeavour known as Weird and Wonderful Words rings a bell. In that case, you might be a fan of Asbury Park singer-songwriter Andy Katz. And if you’re a fan of Mr. Katz, then you probably should know that he’s got a new project called Nude Shoes. And that he’s got a jangly new pop-punk single called Couple’s Jenga. And that you can listen to it right now. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This song is about a couple’s relationship essentially falling apart like a game of Jenga, one piece at a time. They both are actively taking apart the pieces one by one until it falls apart. The verses are someone realizing its over and they are in denial about it, and the chorus is the other person telling saying that they’re moving on.” Now you know: