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Indie Roundup | 16 Tracks To Make Wednesday Wonderful

Get over the hump day with cuts from Calpurnia, Yawners and plenty more.

Calpurnia cell out, Yawners open wide, ITSOKATTOCRY takes his pick, Flesh Eaters hit and miss, Leaf Rapids keep it all in the family and more in today’s Roundup. I’d say go big or go home, but I’m already home.

1 Finn Wolfhard is one of those guys you want to hate — but just can’t. At the age of 16, the Vancouver native is already a bona fide superstar thanks to his top-notch work in Stranger Things. And since fame, fortune and global teen idolatry in one medium are not enough for him, he’s also the frontman for the band Calpurnia. But unlike the usual self-indulgent dreck dished out by actors, these guys dish up some solid pop-rock nuggets. Like their latest single Cell and its playful video. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This song is about being taken advantage of in anyway,” says frontman Wolfhard.” Sold:

2 If I told you that a band from Madrid has a new single called La Escalera, you might think you’re about to hear some Latin-rhythm dance fluff. And you wouldn’t be more wrong. That’s because the band in question is the power-pop duo Yawners, and the song in question — which comes from their tellingly titled upcoming album Just Calm Down — is a clanging outbust of wiry guitar-rock with echoes of Hüsker Dü. Book and covers, my friend. Books and covers. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:La Escalera is the only song in Spanish on the album and the first one I’ve written in my native language. It’s about the beginning of the summer, pure joy and being in a place you really like. It puts into words the immediacy of enjoying every little moment. The chorus translates into ‘I think your mom is calling you through the stairwell’ which is literally what was happening when I wrote this guitar part, when dinner was ready.” Dig in:

3 He’s got green hair and face tattoos. He writes his name and song titles in capital letters. He’s wearing antlers in his new video. And his music is some sort of weird, basically indecipherable collision of rap, rock and industrial. By all rights, Denver’s ITSOKTOCRY should be the kind of insufferable twit you can easily dismiss. But one spin through his infectiously twisted single Lil Lock Pick — sorry, LIL LOCK PICK — makes it clear he will not be that easily ignored. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:LIL LOCK PICK is a personal swagger anthem. A result of unlocking hidden potential and self-care leads to an experimental ensemble of fast dirty synths and cartoonish vocals. Anybody who is feeling themself or the swag is really gonna vibe with the track. The concept behind the video is a mixture of aesthetics from the Disney Hercules underworld, and an ode to the Fall Out Boy classic Sugar We’re Going Down. Dark deep blues mixed with pastel electric pinks really pull you into the world of the video. The point was to convey a demigod like presence and otherworldly atmosphere to run parallel with the harsh futuristic instrumental.” WELLOKTHEN:

4 If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve read my glowing review of the Flesh Eaters album I Used to Be Pretty. And if you have any sense, you’ve shelled out for the L.A. punk supergroup’s universally acclaimed comeback disc. Well, here’s your reward: A sorta live video for the dark rocker Miss Muerte, starring fearsome howler Chris D. and his band of legendary Angelenos (including guitarist Dave Alvin and bassist John Doe). And for those who still aren’t on the bus: Get that sorted right away. After all, they ain’t getting any prettier. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “A few weeks after we completed the album, I was saying to the guys that what was so special is that we were no longer just the sum of our parts — we were more than the sum of our parts. We were like a single, symbiotic organism, and we each unconsciously, intuitively knew what the rest of the band was going to play split seconds before we played it. Sometimes I’ll listen to one of the songs now, and it really raises the hair on the back of my neck.” Mine too:

5 You think your family has secrets and scandals? You should compare notes with Keri Latimer of Winnipeg husband-and-wife duo Leaf Rapids. Her great-grandmother — a tiny, soft-spoken and gentle woman who only spoke Japanese — once stabed a man with a pair of barbershop shears. Why? Well, you’ll have to wait for Leaf RapidsCitizen Alien to find out. Latimer’s latest project with husband and musical partner Devin apparently takes a deep dive into the family backstory. But you don’t have to wait to get a taste of what’s to come, thanks to the sweetly (and strangely) familial alt-folk ode Dear Sister and its suitably rustic and homespun video. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Dear Sister was inspired by some of the remarkable stories told to me by loved ones of their teenage pregnancies. Who doesn’t remember that horrible high school dread of being late in your moonly cycle? Shame and blame baby, coming right up. Maybe you’ll be supported by a loving family, or maybe you’ll be shunned from your community, or maybe both.” It’s a family affair:

6 We’re still a ways away from beach weather. But you can pretend — with the help of Atlanta singer-songwriter Faye Webster’s warm retro-pop single Room Temperature — from her forthcoming third album Atlanta Millionaires Club — and its summery video full of sand, surf and synchronized swimmers. Don’t forget the sunscreen. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Atlanta Millionaires Club is an album stitched together by intimate songwriting about lonesomeness in spite of Webster’s connection to a larger community. The lead single, Room Temperature, communicates this clearly, acting as a breezy recollection of Webster’s day-to-day life. The song simmers with a rattling bass line and the fleeting twang of pedal steel as Webster vocalizes her own inversion, trying to be at peace with being alone.” Surf’s up:

7 In the movies, whenever somebody is lost in the desert, they imagine they can see an oasis full of palm trees and birds and food water in the distance. Then, inevitably, it shimmers and shapeshifts and vanishes before their eyes. I’m going to presume that’s the effect Toronto duo Hush Pup were going for with the tropical-scented dream-pop of their gently gliding new single Oasis and the accompanying video. Only because I’m pretty sure they didn’t put all that time and effort into a song about the Gallaghers. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Inspired by the films 3 Women and Paris Texas, Oasis is about a feeling of blurriness. Sometimes the blur feels blissful and sometimes it feels like a loss of identity. Going in and out of this blur, occasionally you find something to cling to, that’s the oasis. Sonically the track is inspired by dusty landscapes and Danny Elfman’s music in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.” I know you are, but what am I?

8 French metal foursome Hell in Town have found their groove — and they lock into it with a vengeance on their new single Bones, the title cut from their most recent album. Now you can get into the groove with the help of their equally heavy video, built around vintage black-and-white war footage. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The eponymous track deals with mass manipulation, awareness through revolt — a recurring topic among the band’s thematics. Chapter after chapter, this new album takes us into the mind of a dark magus devoted to a ritual watch of Humans. Voodoo, divination, animist witchcraft, mass control: Bones poetically brings up stories full of mysticism, while subtly depicting the kind of ordeals the band has gone through since its inception ten years ago.” Roll ’em:

9 There is a time to dance. There is a time to croon like an angel. There’s a time to make glitchy electro-R&B. And if you’re Tom Krell from Bounder’s How To Dress Well, there’s a time to do it all — on the off-kilter and unsettling Vacant Boat, the latest single from his Anteroom album. And while you’re at it, you might as well illustrate it with a fittingly twitchy and eccentric video. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:The Anteroom plays as a single continuous piece of 21st century psychedelic music and features Krell’s most bewitching sound experimentation to date. Moreover, the stories Krell sings on this record – some biographical, many from the most knotted corners of human life – are deeply personal and human(e).” Well put:

10 What’s new? With me? Not much. But you should ask Jackie Mohr. She seems to have a few things to share. Like the fact that her band name has changed from The Mohrs to Jackie. And the fact that they just released a punchy, crunchy and undeniably catchy pop-rock nugget called New at Drugs, produced by longtime cohort Hawksley Workman. And the fact that they’ve also released a granny-friendly video to go with it. Pass it around. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:New At Drugs is a continual loop of energy, and good vibes. The lyrics, at times, are enigmatic which I miss in music. A lot of artists say things too matter-of-factly for my taste. Lyrics should be interpreted in a way that fits the listener, or makes you think.” In fact, Jackie drew inspiration for the song from her mother who is ‘new at drugs’, and worried about the associated negative connotations. Adds Jackie, “New At Drugs is a sing-a-long song on a mission to break down the stigma around drugs, and make you dance all the while.” Light ’em up:

11 Music is about sharing. So, for their latest video for the song Ready to Win, Tokyo Police Club asked their fans to send in their own tales of failure. And the resulting song — not to mention the charming Dymo-taped clip itself — is a winner. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “When we asked people to send in their f*ck ups, I figured we’d get a bunch of funny “I tripped over my cat” style ones, and I was really knocked over by how earnest and serious people were” says guitarist Graham Wright. “And when we saw that, it made us be more earnest and serious about our own f*ck ups (yes there are a bunch of my mistakes hiding in there, no I will not tell you which ones). As much as anything else, making music is basically trying to turn your mistakes into something worthwhile, so getting to literally build a music video out of people’s fuck ups was pretty special.” To the tape:

12 What’s a few vowels between friends? Nothing, apparently — at least not to Oakland musician Jeff Wright, the mastermind behind indie pop-rock outfit compltr. Now, let you think he’s one of those annoying types who never uses capitals or the letter E, his single is titled Fare Jumper, and it comes from his upcoming album Rogue. Even better: It’s an appealingly chiming number that seems to take its cues from ’90s alt-rock, but expands them with some wide-screen sonics. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Fare Jumper, highlights the recognition of consistently poisoning oneself, being disgusted with the result yet still not knowing how to change for the better.” intrsting:

13 What do you get when you cross elements of Chemical Brothers, CSNY, Beastie Boys, Madonna’s Beautiful Stranger and a provocative TV-dialogue sample? Well, it depends who’s putting them together. In the hands of most folks, you’d probably end up with an unlistenable hunk of rubbish. But in the mitts of Toronto quartet Greys, you get the wild ’n’ wooly single These Things Happen, an impressive preview of their third full-length Age Hasn’t Spoiled You. Indeed not. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “At turns buzzy and blown out, then sweetly melodic, the track warps and distorts Greys’ off the floor performances with a collection of experimental studio techniques. Opening with an effect-laden guitar loop and ending with a sample from a PBS documentary about the Black Panthers, the single presents a wide array of sonic textures as Shehzaad Jiwani’s lyrics explore his admiration for the political movements of the 1960s and his frustration with the way communication between fundamentally like-minded people is clouded and polarized within his internet-adapted generation.” No grey area there:

14 They don’t make ’em like Johnny Shines anymore. Nor could they. The veteran blues guitarist toured with Robert Johnson, recorded for Columbia, Vanguard and Chess Records, and played with Little Walter, Robert Lockwood Jr., Mississippi Fred McDowell and Willie Dixon, among others. Well, those days and those icons are sadly gone. But thanks to the twin miracle of recording tape and musical packrats, we will soon have The Blues Came Falling Down – Live 1973, a previously unreleased concert recording of a Shines gig in St. Louis. Check out the title cut and tell me the last time you heard anything as pure and soulful. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The recording was overseen by Leroy Jodie Pierson, founder of legendary blues and reggae label Nighthawk Records, but was never issued — until now. The set contains liner notes by Pierson as well as photos from his collection.” About time:

15 Ugly, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Case in point: Brooklyn-based art blog Hyperallergic recently proclaimed opaque couché the World’s Ugliest Color. Which was good enough for veteran electronica duo Meat Beat Manifesto to choose is as the title of their upcoming album. And the colour of their new video for the ironically energetic and colourful single Pin Drop. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I wanted to do a title based around a particular color, so I wanted to give opaque couché a chance since it’s not black or white,” explains MBM mastermind Jack Dangers. With its syncopated percussive breakbeats amidst a deep bass groove and Danger’s caustic vocals interspersed throughout, Pin Drop is anything but its namesake.” Colour your world:

16 If you’re wondering about the inspiration behind the title of Method Man, the single from singer-guitarist Stef Chura’s next album Midnight, wonder no more. It’s exactly what — or who — you think it is. But fear not; the Detroit ndie-rocker isn’t dishing up some East Coast rap rhymes on this barnburner. She’s sticking to what she does best — but with even more power and ferocity than before. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “A long time ago I was pondering the literal words “Method Man” while listening to Wu-Tang. There was a person in my life that I had a confusing array of emotions for, sometimes I was in love with him, I admired and looked up to him, I thought of him as superior to me. He was older than me and I was a teenager. At that age I experienced a titanic amount of anxiety that usually expressed itself as silence.” Guard your grill:

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