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Indie Roundup | 20 New Tracks to Fill Up Friday – And Beyond

Celebrate IWD and welcome the weekend with a score of cool new cuts.

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Royal Republic play with fire, Handsome Young Ladies kill the fatted calf tonight, Luke McMaster bares his soul, James Parm shows what he knows, Grace Lachance and Skye Wallace celebrate women and more in today’s mega-jackpot Roundup. Your bonus number is 46.


1 If you’ve ever wondered what The Hives would be like if they were fronted by a Ron Burgundy impersonator, you’re in luck. Swedish party-rockers Royal Republic supply the answer to that musical question with their fiery video for the itchy dance-rocker Fireman & Dancer, the first song from their forthcoming full-length Club Majesty. Oh, and that answer is: Pretty damn cool. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Sweden’s four-man rock sensation and party machine Royal Republic proudly presents Fireman & Dancer, the newest and arguably sexiest member in the band’s armada of relentless mood boosters Packed with guitar-riffs the size of Mount Everest, pow-pow-pounding rhythms and lyrics that make Dr. Feelgood himself sweat bullets – it is your solution to, well, everything!” That’s kind of a big deal:


2 It would be hard to make Elton John’s immortal Bennie and the Jets any cooler. But Rochester power-trio Handsome Young Ladies come thisclose — by making it way heavier in the drop-tuned version from their May album We Got it Covered, which also features revamped classics by Queen, The Police, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and plenty more. We’ll see if they make them ageless. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “So many of Elton’s songs have been covered over the years but I had yet to hear a guitar-driven studio version of Bennie and the Jets. There is something hypnotic and special about the way those major 7th chords hit on the beat. Something about this song has always caught my ear and that something I believe is those chords coupled together with the falsettos. Again, re-working and re-arranging this song was a very enjoyable experience which allowed me to add some different layers sporadically in the studio. Every time we play this one out live the crowd nods to the chord hits in abrupt start/stop motion. I think we definitely gave it our own spin that shines a new light on it.” Hey kids, shake it loose together:


3 Luke McMaster is a soul man. No, seriously. Stop laughing. The Canadian popster’s album and documentary project is titled Icons of Soul Vol. 1 — and true to said title, it apparently finds him collaborating with some icons and heroes from the glory days of Motown. Like songwriter and producer Lamont Dozier, who chips in on the throwback track My Life is a Song and the accompanying video. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This is a way for me to honour the soul music and the Motown sound that I fell in love with and which continues to be my favourite music. These songs and the documentary remind people who may have forgotten and educates those who may have never known, about the legacy that people like Lamont Dozier have built, and that the music these individuals created in the 1960s is the foundation of much of what they are hearing in modern soul, R&B and pop music today.” Welcome to Hittsville:


4 Sometimes, even the simplest sentiments bear repeating. Just ask Montreal singer-guitarist James Parm. His new single I Know I Know I Know is an infectious nugget of crunchy pop-rock whose mantra-like chorus and classic alt-rock guitar power will keep you coming back for seconds. And then thirds. And then … you know. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I feel like my music is just a process that allows me to slowly unravel what isn’t truthful about life, so I applied it to processing this feeling of being a cultural outsider.” Now you know, you know?


5 You want fresh video? It doesn’t come much fresher than this clip of 18 year-old Toronto singer-songwriter Grace Lachance playing a solo piano-pop medley of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, Britney SpearsToxic and Demi Lovato’s Sorry Not Sorry to celebrate International Women’s Day. According to the timestamp in the corner of the practice-room clip, it was shot Feb. 27. Check it out while it’s still warm. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:International Women’s Day is important because it draws attention to great successes and triumphs achieved by women,” Grace reflects. “Beyond considering these successes, it is also a reminder to work towards the complete elimination of discrimination against women, both subtly implied actions and extreme gestures.” Now’s the time:


6 File under: Great minds think alike. Like popster Lachance above, Toronto singer-songwriter Skye Wallace has recorded a stripped-down cover of a classic in honour of International Women’s Day. As you might have guessed, it’s a slightly rockier number: Because the Night, Patti Smith’s darkly romantic collaboration with Bruce Springsteen. For this live-in-the-studio clip, Wallace collaborates with singer-cellist Michelle Faehrmann. Just because, presumably. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Patti Smith’s quiet power, her fearless artistic expression, her deconstruction of expectation: many pieces of her have influenced who I am and where I want to be in my art. When I’m down and feel like quitting, thinking about her and her path brings me back to the reasons why I embarked on this journey in the first place. She’s a bad ass. I wanted to cover her song Because The Night for International Women’s Day to pay homage to her fuel to my fire.” They can’t hurt you now:


7 Everyone knows we all spend too much time staring at screens. Including London electro-rockers Iamwarface. So, to make their point in the most compelling way, they made a creepy video for their techno-terror track Fear the Future — which will keep you fixated on the screen of your choice for even longer. Good work, guys. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Fear The Future addresses how the media plays a large role on our mental health. The video shows how part of us knows what we see day in day out on tv is not good for us but yet we are continuously drawn into it. Vocalist and Composer Matt Warneford, explains the inspiration behind the video and song: “I tried to come from the angle that the media and modern entertainment is a very dangerous thing to become obsessed with and could be responsible in some way for a lot of mental illnesses of our time.” Theyareironyface:


8 You know what they say: Every dog has its day. Including German-Luxembourgish electro-pop trio Say Yes Dog. They just dropped a live performance video for their sweetly understated and fittingly cosmic single Deep Space, from the forthcoming full-length Voyage. That’s one small step for man … SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Say Yes Dog have travelled far, come far, and are now exactly where they should be – in their own galaxy of artful, heart-warming electro-pop. Their sound has matured into songs with a higher attention to melody and driving hooks, but with both feet firmly set on the dance floor.” We have liftoff:


9 Don’t say Chrome Division never did anything for you. The Norwegian metal crew’s life video for the meaty rocker I’m On Fire Tonight isn’t just a headbanging single: It’s also a self-help affirmation, according to singer Eddie Guz, who introduces the song with these instructions: “This is what i want you to do. stand in front of the mirror and shout this to yourself before going out for the night: I’m on fire tonight!” SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Make sure to raise your glasses and watch the clip of I’m On Fire Tonight live in Oslo 2019.” Feel the heat:


10 Some languages sound cooler than others. For instance: The title of visionary Swedish metal band Soilwork’s latest album is Verkligheten, which is way better than the translation: Reality. And then there’s the song Sålfågel. That means Steel Bird, so that one’s sort of a tie. Either way, you can hear the soaring anthem take flight on this just-released live video from their current tour. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “To sum up our journey through Europe, we chose to make a live video out of Sålfågel as the crowd reaction, when playing it live, was just INSANE!!!” Fly like an agel


11 There are two kinds of people: Those who want to feel less and those who want to feel more. Based on the title of her single and lyric video — Feel More — Canadian electro-rocker Wandrer (a.k.a. Renee Lemieux) is clearly in the latter category. And a few spins through the gothically muscular industrial-tinged track might be enough to woo some folks over from the other side. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s definitely a sexualized song, but it didn’t really start out that way. I was in a situation where I felt cut off from life and I wasn’t really feeling much of anything – I was numb inside. I wasn’t depressed, more like I was bored. So, I wrote about yearning to feel more in my life. I wanted to be on a roller coaster, not just going in a straight line in life. But when I took it into the studio, me and Ian both looked at each other and realized that it had this really playful 50 Shades of Grey vibe,” she said.” You feel that?


12 Swiss metal outfit Cellar Darling continue to case out videos from their upcoming concept disc The Spell, about a girl who falls in love with death. But this time, the band let online followers pick the song. The winner was the epic Drown. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “For this single, we wanted to do something different”, the band states. “And we felt that our striking one-word track list is perfect for a fan vote. To let people decide which song they want to hear next based on only the title and length of the song, and to take us out of the decision process for once. To our surprise — and joy — the song that is probably the least “commercial” of all of them was chosen and we think that is kind of cool… we are proud of every chapter of this concept album, so let’s go ahead and release a non-single single, for once. We hope you enjoy it!” Water, water everywhere:


13 Children of Bodom are trying to put words in your mouth. The Finnish melodic death metal superstars unleash a deep-purple lyric video for their mid-tempo groove-rocker Hecate’s Nightmare, the latest single from their just-released return-to-form album Hexed. Hope you’re as chuffed as they are. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “So finally the day has arrived,” states COB frontman, guitarist, and mastermind Alexi Laiho. “The 10th COB record has finally been released!!! It took an insane amount of hard work to put all this together but at this point it feels like it’s been more waiting anxiously than anything else so I’m both excited and relieved that the damn thing is out. So thank you for your patience my friends, I hope the waiting has been worthwhile and that you’ll like the album. Either way I’ll see you on the road soon. Horns up!” Those crazy kids:


14 Even if you sit and watch the hands of a clock, you can’t spot them moving. The same is true of the gradually shifting background in the artfully minimalist lyric video for exotic singer-songwriter Tamino’s mesmerizing song Each Time. It’s the latest track from his most recent album Amir — clearly an album you should be paying more attention to. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The video is a still yet evolving landscape – making it the perfect backdrop for the song’s mesmerizing melodies and ethereal orchestral arrangements that utilize the Arabic scale, making for a track that is strikingly subversive to the western ear.” It’s midnight at the oasis:


15 In Jimi Hendrix’s hands, manic depression was a frustrating mess that captured his soul. In the world of San Francisco Bay-area electro duo Manics, it’s the inspiration for disco-fuelled synth-pop stompers like the moodily groovy title cut from their new EP Binary. It’ll still capture your soul. Just in a different, much better way. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The identities we portray to the world vs our personal realities can be dichotic at best, and bipolar at worst. We originally came up with the name MANICS because being in the manic, upside of manic depression is where a lot of creativity happens. Trying to hold onto that energy and focus it before you swing the other way into depression is really important.” Step into joy:


16 You like beer. I like beer. Hell, U.S. Supreme Court justices like beer. But perhaps nobody likes beer quite as much as Korpiklaani like beer. The Finnish folk-metal superstars just released a special tour album titled Beer Beer, featuring 14 different versions of their suds-worshiping anthem of the same name. Here’s one, featuring Gerre from like-minded metal boozers Tankard. Bottom’s up. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I remember when we toured with KORPIKLAANI across Finland in 2009, where we had tons of fun! I also had a lot of fun while writing German lyrics for the band’s iconic song and recording it with our sound engineer Gerd Lücking (drummer of HOLY MOSES). I hope that I’ll meet the guys in KORPIKLAANI again soon, and we can have a few beers once again.” Cheers:


17 Two heads are etc. Especially when they belong to New York DJ Prince Fox and Ellise, who team up on the bass-tastic slow-groove single Tell Me. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Deep basslines and captivating verses intersect on the duo’s standout pop collaboration. Combining future bass undertones, shimmering guitar notes, and a layer of subdued synths, Tell Me plays to Prince Fox’s production strengths, while leaving room for Ellise’s vocals to shine.” Do tell:


18 Adir L.C. gets around. The uniquely named singer-songwriter supposedly grew up in the N.J. scene that birthed Titus Andronicus, went to college in New Paltz, N.Y. scene that gave us Porches, and lived in Brooklyn with members of LVL UP. Oddly enough, his spry folk-rock single Reacting — a glimpse of his upcoming May album Basket Star — sounds a bit like Beck in one of his more sincere moments. Go figure. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “A savvy folk-pop craftsman with a track record, Adir coaxed Basket Star to life as he moved from one ad-hoc studio to another: Brooklyn apartments and practice spaces, an aunt’s house in Vermont, a studio outside Binghamton, New York, and more.” See what I mean? Dude can’t keep still:


19 Albany punks Hate Club recently decided to rush-release their new EP A Clear Mistake. Where’s the fire? Well, funny you should ask — it was in singer Noah Bondy’s apartment, which apparently burned to the ground recently. On the plus side, there were no reported injuries. And it gave them the cover art for their EP, which features the gently chugging single Earth Sign. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Hate Club widen the scope of their sound and chasing ineffable feelings. Their expanded use of dynamics pays homage to their 90s slacker rock and indie punk heroes.” Make no mistake:


20 You’d think a guy who been playing in a punk band called Single Mothers for a decade would have taken the hint and made a solo album by now. Guess Drew Thomson is just slow on the uptake. Thankfully, the London, Ont. musician’s time has apparently been well spent crafting hook guitar-rock gems like Break, a track that will appear on his upcoming album. Fair enough. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “On the surface, Break is about a relationship, but in a broader sense, it’s about not being afraid of change and the possible consequences that can come from it. We had a lot of fun working with Alex Newport, and I think that comes through in the recording and the rest of the album.” Give him a … you know.