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From the Mailbag | Four Excellent Indie Releases You Want to Hear

I finally made time to listen to these superb submissions. Now it's your turn.

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So much music, so little time. It could almost be the motto of this site. Every day I get a few dozen albums, EPs, singles and videos sent my way by record labels, publicists and indie artists. Not surprisingly, sometimes there are so many big releases that the smaller indie fare can get overlooked. But every now and then I try to find a few hours to check out a handful. Here are four recent submissions I finally made time for — and that are definitely worth your time:


1 It’s hard for me to mourn the death of Montreal indie band Soggy Beard. Chiefly because I never heard of them. For those who have — and hadn’t heard the news — sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings. But here’s the good news: They’ve reunited as The “Self Help” Club, which is clearly a better name (even with those annoying quotes). I don’t know if their sound has changed much — but their loose-limbed, raggedly romantic brand of psychedelic indie-rock on their EP The Truth Underwater makes it clear they’re far from washed up. You can handle the truth:


2 The short story on Sheila Soares is that she’s a jazz singer and pianist from Toronto. But if you think that’s all there is to her, you need to listen to her album — titled, ironically enough, All There Is. Sure, she knows her way around a swinging lounge number or a torchy ballad. But this set of seven originals also showcases her facility with everything from sophisticated blues and soul to folk and even ’70s-style piano pop. So really, her story is just getting started. Settle in for the whole tale:


3 Naturally, you would expect a singer-songwriter who calls himself The Rainy Day Apparel to be something of a sad sack. But in the case of this Carman, Man., artist, you’d be wrong. Oh sure, his songs tend to be moody if not downright melancholy at times, with slow-burn tempos and hazy vocals that drift by like dark clouds passing overhead. But thanks to his rich melodies and entrancing approach, his songs are warm and welcoming. So think of his more as a warm sweater than a yellow slicker — musically speaking of course.


4 We may never know if androids dream of electric sheep. But there’s no doubt about Norwegian electronica artist Malmo’s dream: He wanted to create new music inspired by the dark tension of Philip K. Dick’s classic tale of replicants and the agents who hunt them. And he’s made his dreams come true with his four-part suite Bladerunner Memories, featuring pulsing rhythms, piercing synths and grim dialogue samples that meld into a fever-dream. Take the journey: