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Indie Roundup | 10 Tunes To Wrap Up Wednesday

Check out new tunes from Great Lake Swimmers, Versing, Sasami and more.

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Great Lake Swimmers embrace the dark, Versing tie one on, Alex Toth has the feels, Sasami does it for free, High Reeper bring the dead and more on today’s Roundup. If you didn’t already get flowers and chocolate, you’d better start working on that homemade card.


1 We’re coming up on the sixth anniversary of singer-songwriter Jason Molina’s untimely death. But he has clearly not been forgotten by those who loved him and his work. That includes Canadian folk-rockers Great Lake Swimmers, who recently recorded a cover of Molina’s Magnolia Electric Co. number The Dark Don’t Hide It for the series The Influences in Utrecht. Thankfully, you don’t have to go overseas to hear it, since they’re sharing the Neil Young-ish slow-burner here. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Several years ago we lost Jason Molina, a brilliant songwriter and a powerful voice in the world of independent music,” says lead singer-songwriter Tony Dekker. “I’ve been thinking about his songs a lot lately, especially while reading the book about his life, Riding With The Ghost by Erin Osmon. We had the honour of opening for Magnolia Electric Co. a few times over the years in places as disparate as Austin, Texas and Brussels, Belgium. Jason’s music has always meant a lot to me, as Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co., and also in his solo albums and collaborations, and it is in regular rotation in our tour van. Our cover of The Dark Don’t Hide It is an homage to his influence and the body of work he gave us.” And a fine tribute it is:


2 According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated, deliberate practice to become an expert at something. I have no idea if that’s why the members of Seattle indie-rockers Versing decided to title their upcoming album 10000. But it certainly does seem the members of this quartet have put in their time in various bands. And now they’re putting it out there in Tethered, a suitably wiry and tightly wound single with Sonic Youth-y guitars and no shortage of hooks. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Tethered is a low-key, Daydream Nation-esque anthem with plenty of dissonance and surging, distorted guitars, plus rhythms that drive piles. Salas explains that it’s “about how people are tied together,” figuratively. “It’s a reminder of the interconnectedness of humans, to people who make excuses for not doing the right thing” for the greater good of humanity.” You might need to play it more than once:


3 If there’s any day when you could use some music to help seal the deal — or repair some romantic glitches — it’s Valentine’s Day. And singer-songwriter Alex Toth — the former member of Rubblebucket and Alexander F who now records under his last name — is here to help. His new single is titled Song To Make You Fall in Love With Me, and if sweetly sung plaintive pop is what your sweetie is after, it might just be everything you need. Though the charming, semi-animated video set in a dance studio certainly can’t hurt either. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “His album Practice Magic and Seek Professional Help When Necessary is a self-help guide unlike any other—a breakup album before wholeness, but after anger. Where you might expect to find bitterness, there’s Blessing Song; where you might expect to find blame, there’s Copilot. Years of meditation have given Alex a Taoist farmer’s aptitude for hitting walls and finding windows. For remembering and letting go—and discovering what magic remains.” It’s up to you now:


4 Any artist who opens their video with a shot of an overturned, smoking car on a deserted country road at night is someone who knows how to make an entrance. But L.A. singer-songwriter Sasami (last name: Ashworth) also follows it up with a track that seamlessly fuses gorgeously glowing introspective with ominously scraping noise (and more unsettling visuals to match). It all adds up to Free, the latest preview of her upcoming self-titled debut disc. Sounds entrancing. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Free is a lopsided duet about how destiny plays into matters of the heart – how sometimes when you lose in love, freedom is the consolation prize, and in that way, you’ve actually transcended.” Enjoy your free time:


5 Sometime, somebody should put together a definitive list of every metal band out there that blatantly worships at the altar of Black Sabbath. Don’t look at me; I’ve got too many other things to do. Like watching the blood-red video for Bring the Dead, the suitably satanic, sludgy and subterranean riff-fest from Philadelphia metalheads High Reeper — a taste of their hilariously titled forthcoming sophomore album Higher Reeper. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Imagine a sound and smell of leather, weed and death with the hint of Campari and cocaine to color all eight tracks we get to hear on High Reeper’s sophomore record.” Everybody into the basement:


6 If one picture is worth 1,000 words, what is Ian Daniel Kehoe’s new video for the song One Picture worth? Well, it’s definitely worth checking out — especially if you dig tenderly yearning yet irresistibly catchy synth-pop odes to undying love. Or if you love stylishly simple videos featuring picture frames and metallic face paint. It’s also worth watching if you recognize Kehoe as the drummer for Andy Shauf, Weather Station and Julia Jacklin, or the bassist for Attack in Black. Or finally, if you’d like to get a preview of his upcoming album Secret Republic, which seems poised to establish his solo career. Picture that. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Kehoe’s first eponymous album presents ten confident, immaculate pop songs drenched in analog synth and punchily articulate in their pursuit of love, beauty, and movement. Secret Republic is a creation on which Kehoe steps out as a preternaturally confident frontman and producer with a tight grasp on every musical weapon at his disposal.” Smile:


7 We’re a long way from patio season. But we can always dream. And Hull eccentrics FET.NAT can provide the soundtrack with their new single Patio Monday, an infectious, free-wheeling amalgam of skittery trip-hop rhythm, finger-funking bass, smeary horns, playground chants and poetic whispers. The first preview of their apparently essential upcoming album Le Mal, it’s really more suited for late-night Saturday than Monday, but at this point, we should take what we can get. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Patio Monday features scuttling rhythm & bass, sax dubs, beat-riddled poetry, and a beyond infectious vocal refrain from another dimension.” Keep ’em coming:


8 Remember The Cinematic Orchestra? It’s OK if you don’t. The British electronic outfit created by Jason Swinscoe hasn’t released an album in 12 years. But there comes a time for everything — and now is apparently the time for them to return with the new song A Promise, a pulsating beauty laced with jazzy touches, lush strings and sublime vocals from Heidi Vogel. It comes from their forthcoming comeback disc To Believe, and gives you as good a reason as any to believe it will have been worth the wait. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “If To Believe represents their most complete artist statement to date, A Promise is the apogee of their inimitable sound – intimacy without sentimentality, intensity without hyperbole, gravitas without self-importance.” Seems promising:


9 The Call of the Void is one you generally don’t want to answer. Except this time. Simply because it just happens to be the title of the upcoming sophomore album from British psychedelic post-rockers Crooked Machine. And if their first single — the shape-shifting epic instrumental Typhon — is anything to go by, you won’t want to look before you leap. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “There’s a lot of jamming involved in our creative process and we’ve learnt how to be fairly ruthless with ideas when they don’t work and equally we don’t overthink ideas that do. We definitely thrive on the improvisation side of playing.” Welcome to the abyss:


10 Here’s a question nobody has every asked me (or anybody else, I suspect): Where can you find some great new Bulgarian doom metal? Well, if anyone ever does, now I know the answer. Check out Obsidian Sea, whose just-released single The Birth of Fear from their upcoming Strangers album, delivers all the darkness and power you expect — along with soaring vocals and a prominent melody you probably don’t anticipate. Not that you asked. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Formed in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2009 by guitarist/singer Anton Avramov and close friend/drummer, Bozhidar Parvanov, Obsidian Sea is a doom metal band whose style shifts atmospherically through heavy rock ‘n’ roll, dark variants of 70s doom metal, and psychedelic and progressive rock.” Fear not: