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Indie Roundup (Mass Appeal Edition) | 19 New Tracks to Fire Up For Friday Night

Head into the weekend with gems from Hawksley Workman, Charles X and more.

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Hawk moonwalks, Charles X gets bloody, Micah Erenberg sticks close to home, Marlon Chaplin drops in, Yves Jarvis gets quiet, Ben Rogers does double duty and much, much more in another epic Friday Roundup. That oughta hold you for a minute or two.


1 Everybody knows Hawksley Workman is a man of many talents — singer, songwriter, poet, producer, you name it. But did you know he can also lay down a pretty solid Moonwalk? And rock the hell out of a vintage Michael Jackson jacket? Well, he can — and does — in the video for the nostalgic 1983, the latest single from his just-released 16th studio album Median Age Wasteland. Watch and learn, children. Watch and learn. Then read my review of his album tomorrow morning. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This album is beautifully sentimental. I have a unique perspective on the world that comes from the person I think I am and the person I actually am, and I wanted to explore the latter. There’s a lot of looking back at being a kid and more innocent times.” Can’t beat it:


2 L.A. rapper Charles X dropped a suitably dark, creepy and twisted video for the song Blood Money from his March 15 release EID2. And while he may talk like a superhero, I’m not so sure. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I am your friendly neighbourhood Charles X. Hood enough for your daughter, but classy enough to take home to your mother. I want to help bring heart and soul back to music and the world, and I want people to dance while it’s happening. I want them to feel and understand it’s not an angle at all. I want to be like E.T. and I want the world to be Elliot.” Phone home:


3 Well, you can’t accuse Micah Erenberg of forgetting where he comes from. The Manitoba indie-rocker takes to the local streets, slopes and eateries in his video for the endearing song Somewhere Beyond the Ocean. Way beyond, by the looks of it. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This is a song that I wrote almost ten years ago. I remember the house. I remember the party. I remember the reports of my friend getting knocked out after I left. I remember the face of the person who did it. Around that time, the opening lyrics described a lot of the people in my social circles, and probably myself more than I would like to admit. I wanted to write about the feeling you get when you step away from that lifestyle. Bad habits are still habits and its harder to walk away from them than it seems.” How about sledding away?


4 Toronto singer-songwriter Marlon Chaplin has dropped in again. And he’s brought along the eccentric new video for his heartland rock-tinged song A Single Drop, some of which was supposedly shot on ancient film stock to illustrate his points on technology and connection. And to look really cool, of course. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:A Single Drop is a dramatic and energetic rock n’ roll song with catchy and relatable lyrics. It resonates strongly with audiences through its social media and technology references. The song is a reminder of the temporal nature of the fantasies we are creating and of how important true human relationships and connections are.” If you say so:


5 Some folks know how to talk. And some folks know how to listen. Which is the better option? It’s a good question — and one that singer-songwriter Yves Jarvis (ne Un Blonde’s Jean-Sebastian Audet) ponders in the reflective video for his ethereal single Talking or Listening?, out to coincide with the release of his new album The Same But By Different Means. But enough of my yap-yap. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Like much of the record, the song is at once minimalist and maximalist. Asked for a message he hopes his listeners receive, Audet simply says: “I really have to ask – talking or listening? That’s all I want to ask with anything I do now, I think. It’s this spectrum and it’s this dichotomy that I’m interested in exploring. Both sides of everything, and everything in between.” Lend him your ears:


6+7 To bang the drum for his just-released album Wildfire, Americana singer-songwriter Ben Rogers offered solo acoustic performances of album tracks Steady Going Nowhere and A Changed Man live in the SiriusXM Studio. Hey, radio with pictures! What a great idea! That’s so crazy is just might catch on! SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Wildfire sees Rogers drifting away from it the sounds of his first two acclaimed solo albums, 2015’s The Bloodred Yonder and 2013’s Lost Stories: Volume One. The sound – still rooted in folk and Americana, though now with an earnest new attitude permeates throughout – is a raw, hazy, rock-inspired swagger that channels the likes of possessed masterminds from Nick Cave to Otis Redding to Marc Bolan of T.Rex. Put simply, it is enveloping, and the authenticity is palpable.” There’s been a hoot-owl howling by my window now for six nights in a row:


8 I interviewed Children of Bodom singer-guitarist Alexi Laiho several years ago. At the time, he told me he had broken his shoulder twice: Once from drunkenly falling out his tour-bus bunk (very rock ’n’ roll) and the other time while bowling (not rock ’n’ roll at all). That has nothing to do with the new video for Platitudes and Barren Words from their soon-to-be-released disc Hexed, but it’s a fun fact, no? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This one has been a lot of people’s favorite song since day one and when you think about it, every single part of it is catchy as hell so it makes sense. Can’t wait to play it live.” Just be careful, dude:


9 I know the American health-care system is in rough shape. But I had no idea how dire things really were until I watched the video for Cleveland indie-rock trio Heart Attack Man’s new song Fake Blood — also the title of their April 19 album. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Heart Attack Man has also just released a music video for Fake Blood which finds frontman Eric Egan undergoing a strange medical experiment in a secret lab, which leads to much rocking– until things go awry….” Say aaaaah:


10 Need a short, sharp shot of old-school punk to kickstart your Friday night? Hamilton’s Dead Tired — fronted by Alexisonfire vocalist George Petit — are only to happy to oblige with the disturbing and disorienting new video for their ferocious number Get On Me, the opening salvo from their upcoming disc Full Vol., which compiles songs from three recent EPs and tosses in some new fare for shiggles. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “A pressing of exclusive red vinyl limited to 300 units will also be available as of today, March 1 via the New Damage Webstore and at upcoming Dead Tired shows.” You might want to get on that:


11 When I first glanced at the title of San Felipe, the appropriately tropical new single and lyric video from Mother Hips singer-guitarist Greg Loiacono, I thought it was a reference to that town in the Black Mirror episode. Then I realized that was San Junipero. Very different. Though that reminds me: If you haven’t already watched it, check it out sometime. But not before you watch this. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:San Felipe reflects the immediate chemistry that emerged when Jamie Drake arrived in Ojai to work with Loiacono and producer Scott Hirsch (Hiss Golden Messenger) on this very personal song that draws heavily on Bossa Nova and Cuban-inspired rhythms, a pattern Loiacono learned from his wife’s aunt who grew up playing guitar in Santiago de Cuba.” Heaven is a place on Earth:


12 Here’s something you don’t see every day (or ever, really): Swedish metalheads doing their thing en Espanol. No, really. Scandinavian headbangers Enforcer just released a lyric video for their south-of-the-border version of Die For the Devil — which translates to the Muere Por El Diablo. Why? Who knows? All I know is that it makes the title sound even cooler and more evil. So what more do you need? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Here’s something special for you! This is a tribute to our Latin American fans for being the best fans in the world!” Fans from other countries: Please complain so they’ll record a version in your language too. This could get wild:


13+14 Canadian troubadour Ben Rogers (See 6+7 above) isn’t the only singer-songwriter doubling down (or should that be doubling up?) on the new tunes. Just in time for spring, Brooklyn bard Sam Evian is sharing two recent examples of his typically serene sound: The swelling sweeping Cherry Tree and the folksy Roses. They’ll grow on you. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Cherry Tree is a daydream of the first warm hints of spring, which came to Sam as he took in the sun under a cherry tree in New York’s Central Park … Roses, an unreleased song, offers a lyrically complex but equally reflective outlook as its 7” counterpart. “I’d like to travel freely and see the old roads that I’ve known…” Dig ’em both:


15 Who doesn’t love a Fleetwood Mac cover? Nobody, that’s who. That includes singer-pianist Lissie, who just released this uncanny solo rendition of the Rumors classic Dreams, a sequel to her version of Go Your Own Way and a preview of  her forthcoming disc When I’m Alone: The Piano Retrospective. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Stripping away much of the original’s lush instrumentation, Lissie’s cover of Dreams (Piano Version) leaves plenty of open space. The piano serves as a supportive backbone allowing the emotionally-naked vocals to take center stage. While Stevie Nicks’ voice took a commanding presence, Lissie cops a more contemplative and vulnerable pose, striking deep in your core.” When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know. You will know:


16 Comeback kids are a dime a dozen in the music biz. But few of them have faced the things Janis Joplinesque Chapel Hill garage-rocker Reese McHenry had to overcome: A series of strokes and an irregular heartbeat that kept her in hospital for nearly two years and basically out of commission for a decade. Now she’s making up for lost time with the upcoming album No Dados, featuring the rambunctious, hard-driving first single Detroit. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Combining a ferocious dose of ears-pinned-back garage rock with a penchant for expert songwriting honed in her years confined to a couch with her guitar, Reese McHenry has created an album that is at once exuberant and introspective, foreboding and exultant, violent yet warm, and always a whole lot of fun.” Put the pedal to the metal:


17 Q: What do you get when you combine Black Needle Noise founder John Fryer — the producer of such iconic bands as Depeche Mode and Cocteau Twins — and Ministry/Revolting Cocks guitarist and vocalist Chris Connelly? A: The darkly burnished industrial-tinged ballad I’ll Give You Shape, which sounds more like Bowie than anything on their resumés. Go figure. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s been a great pleasure working with Chris. I’ve been listening to his records for a very long time. Our friend Marija Buljeta put us in touch with each other thinking it would be a good idea if we collaborated on a song or two. As you can hear, she was right.” I’ll give her that:


18 Yves Jarvis (see 5 above) isn’t the only one pondering the benefits of silence over sound these days. Toronto neo-soul singer Lydia Persaud also has a few things to say about the topic on her new single Let Me Show You. And she says them quite soothingly and sweetly on the cut, which also happens to be the title track from her May 10 album. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Let Me Show You is a call for people to listen and give space to those without a voice.” Hush up:


19 Turns out you can be a mook all your life. At least, The Mooks can. And to their credit, it seems to be working out just fine for them. The Toronto indie-rock trio that formed in late 2017 already has one EP to their credit, and just released the bouncy new single So Kind, which might put you in mind of The Strokes hanging out with Vampire Weekend. Or maybe I’m just being a … you know. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:So Kind is simply a happy go lucky dance number with a melancholic undertone. It’s a classic story of unrequited love. It’s the first single from our forthcoming EP I Hope That You Feel The Same, out later this year.” So kind of them: