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Indie Roundup | 11 New Songs To Hear Today

Enjoy new gems from Dream Syndicate, Lisa Hannigan, Motherhood & more.

The Dream Syndicate paint it black, Reuben and the Dark see the light, Saxsyndrum let go, Lisa Hannigan does some stargazing and more in today’s Roundup. So much for easing into the work week, huh?

1 Few bands can pull off a decent comeback. Fewer still can keep it going. But Paisley Underground legends The Dream Syndicate are the exception that proves both rules. After returning in 2017 with the acclaimed How Did I Find Myself — and following it up by taking part in the throwback multi-band tribute 3X4 — the L.A. vets are back with their latest album These Times. And if the psychedelic video and first single Black Light are anything to go by, it’s gonna be one helluva trip. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “When I was writing the songs for the new album I was pretty obsessed with Donuts by J-Dilla,” lead singer and songwriter Steve Wynn explained. “I loved the way that he approached record making as a DJ, a crate-digger, a music fan wanting to lay out all of his favorite music, twist and turn the results until he made them into his own. I was messing around with step sequencers, drum machines, loops—anything to take me out of my usual way of writing and try to feel as though I was working on a compilation rather than ‘more of the same’. ” The dream is alive:

2 Reuben Bullock of Reuben and the Dark makes music for the people. And with the people. To conclude the Calgarian’s term as Artist in Residence at the National Music Centre in his hometown, the singer-songwriter recorded a stirring gospel version of the song Hold Me Like a Fire — with the help of a local community choir featuring 70 locals and NMC members. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The song started as some kind of mantra for myself,” Bullock says. “I found I was singing the words over and over on an endless loop. It’s comforting. It felt healing. The first time we played it, the audience did the same thing, sang it over and over again past the end of the song. That’s all I really want to do as a songwriter. Write something for myself, then give it away to be someone else’s. The song deals with finding comfort in the things that confuse you. Coming to peace with the things you don’t understand. Faith in chaos.” Join the chorus:

3 You can’t accuse Saxsyndrum of playing coy with their name — the Montreal trio consists of a sax player, a keyboardist and a drummer. But you can accuse them of playing stylish pop for grownups on their new single Let Go, the first preview of their upcoming album Second Nature. And they’d be guilty as charged. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “By the time we started working on this tune, we all had a very clear sense of what strengths we each brought to Saxsyndrum. The songwriting process then became much more intrinsic, more second nature. We had let go of our past overthinking and simply played, allowing us to put our emotions and states of mind directly into the piece. The resulting tune has a candid energy that really captures the at-times meditative process of songcraft and the spirit of our live performance.” Watchthevideo:

4 How do you like your Irish folk music? If your answer is ‘sparse, ethereal and performed live with the contemporary-classical orchestra s t a r g a z e,’ you’re in luck: Singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan’s new Live in Dublin album will check all of those boxes when it comes out in May. But first, you can check out the preview track Swan, a track born from a collaboration between Hannigan, playwright Enda Walshand and The National’s Aaron Dessner. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Sometimes working with classically trained musicians can be slightly nerve-wracking as a singer songwriter because they speak a language so beautifully fluently that I can only fumble towards,” Hannigan recalls: “In a band, so much communication is done through the shoulders, the lift of an eyebrow, the feel of a small group breathing and dancing together. It’s hard to extrapolate that out into 20, 40, even 80 people! It can feel like a glorious ocean liner tied to a creaking rowboat.” Set sail:

5 Things happen when they’re meant to happen. And they don’t always happen at the best of times. Just ask Austin-based singer-songwriter Robert Arellano. Or better still, listen to the calming tones of On Time, a soothing roots meditation from the former member of Retarted Elf, Atlantics Soul Review, Velvethead and Shining Path. If you don’t remember him from any of those bands, don’t worry — you’ll remember him from this. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “After a decade spent honing my vocals, writing, and arranging while raising my daughter, the foundations began to crumble. My strange motivations for music, which had been fed by flattery heaped upon me when I was young, collapsed. Unable to pick up my beloved acoustic six-string, I experienced first-hand the desert of creative emptiness. On Time is the first testament of my renewal. I wrote this song for my daughter. It seems to channel the tenderness that I feel towards her.” Right on time:

6 We all love to put our best face forward. Sometimes it’s our true face. Sometimes it’s a mask. For French metal outfit Dizorder, it’s The Real Face — and it’s a face as heavy as you can get from a seven-string guitar, a five-string bass and a female singer who can shred her lungs with the best of them. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Driven by the brutal screams of their female singer, the band offers an alternative metal at the crossroads between Flyleaf, Deftones, Northlane and frees themselves from more lyrical spheres.” Watch out for the broken glass:

7 Some people put tons of energy into choosing their name. Yetep — who just reversed his name — is clearly not one of those people. Thankfully, the L.A. beatmaker put a little more effort into his new banger What Do U Want, which features some suitably backward-sounding synth sweeps, along with some sweet vocals from Sara Skinner. Just be glad she doesn’t call herself Renniks Aras. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:What Do U Want feels like a journey through cosmic space with its beautiful melodies and stunning vocals.” Should U want that:

8 They say good things come in threes. In Emilie Kahn’s case, it seems to be true. The Montreal harpist has released a third track — the fittingly titled Three — from her upcoming album Outro. And the surprisingly punchy indie rocker is indeed a very good thing. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Three is a song about desire and the need for absolute clarity, explains Emilie. It’s the oldest song on the record and also the one that evolved the most during the process, from an intimate acoustic piece to a three-part epic suite, it was the first track Warren Spicer and I felt really proud of.” One, two …

9 Every day I get songs and videos submitted from indie artists — most of whom neglect to tell me where they’re from. So I would like to thank Calgary indie-rock group The Northern Coast — first for hiring a publicist who sent me an email that begins with the words, “Calgary-based indie rock group The Northern Coast,” and second for accompanying it with the song Blindside, an enjoyably scrappy nugget of pop-rock suitable for repeated listening. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Blindside is less about one particular experience and is kind of a commentary on modern love and its shortcomings. There was a moment in the studio where we were all thinking, ‘what are the odds that three humans are working on one of hundreds of albums across the country and are in the same spot in their love lives’, but I mean you see it all around. Maybe it’s just coincidence, maybe it’s the moon, ya know?” I get where you’re coming from:

10 Anybody who cites The Cramps as an influence is going to get my attention. Ditto anybody who name-checks rockabilly pioneer Charlie Feathers. So when Fredericton, N.B. weirdos Motherhood sent over their magnificently unhinged new song Costanza — admittedly inspired by The Cramps’ cover of the Feathers classic I Can’t Hardly Stand It — you know I’m there. You should be too. It comes from their new album Dear Bongo, — and yes, the comma is part of the title. Because of course. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Costanza pushes forward on the album’s lyrical narrative of a distressed painter sinking deeper into lunacy. Establishing a metaphor equating missing the bus to living a messy life, the track – as explained by guitarist/vocalist Brydon Crain – comes at the height of the painter’s madness and confidence in his madness.” Attention:

11 The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. For example: Today I learned about Norwegian minimalist composer Erik Wøllo. I admit I’ve never heard of him before — even though he’s been making music for nearly four decades. Looks like I’ve got some catching up to do. Luckily, I can do that with the upcoming anthology Early Works 1986 – 1992, out March 29. And I can get a start with the ethereal and atmospheric Ody to Sea. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “His musical statements range from slowly-drifting kaleidoscopic passages to epic soaring guitar melancholy, to upbeat ever-changing sequences and compelling melodies. Possessing a sense of drama and storytelling, Wøllo has been composing and performing music for films, theater, ballets, and art exhibitions, as well as music for string quartets and large orchestras.” Listen and learn:

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