RVG introduce Alexandra, Gena Rose Bruce takes a ride, Modern Nature reveal the peradam and more in today’s Roundup. Generally, I’m happy with my auto mechanic, but is it just me or does $80 for an oil change seem a little steep? Especially since he left the cap off my engine last time — which I realized when the light went on while I was on the highway in the middle of nowhere in Saskatchewan. Hmm. Maybe I’m not really that happy with my mechanic, come to think of it.
1 The initials RVG might remind you of a weapon — or perhaps the monitor setting on your computer. In fact, they stand for Romy Vager Group, an Australian indie-rock quartet fronted by aforementioned singer-songwriter Vager. Now that you’ve made her acquaintance, it’s time you were introduced to the compelling heroine of the band’s emotionally intense, tightly wound track Alexandra, their first new song in two years. They’re equally memorable. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Vager describes Alexandra as a song which came together quickly, but which felt like it uncompromisingly needed to be recorded. The song details a story of personal oppression at the hands of one’s community, and is an allegory for the broader oppression marginalized people are subjected to. Vager feels an immense personal connection to this subject matter, one which can be heard in the sheer intensity of her vocal delivery: this is a song extremely close to her heart.” Meet her here:
2 Would you ever ride in one of those driverless cars? Not me. If you would, clearly you and Australian singer-songwriter Gena Rose Bruce have something in common — based on the dream-like video for her shimmery pop number Rearview, a peek at her June 28 album Can’t Make You Love Me. Much like you can’t make me take a backseat to no one. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s a beautiful and dark body of work that showcases Gena’s brand of smokey rock; smouldering vocal performances, pulsing rhythms, echoes of Mazzy Star and Lynchian undertones. Add to this the masterful restraint in the arrangements and you have an album that is both instantly timeless and unmistakably contemporary.” Speaking of taking a backseat to no one:
3 I admit it: I had to Google the title of Modern Nature’s new number Peradam. Apparently the word was first used in Rene Daumal’s acclaimed cult novel Mount Analogue, and refers to an object that is revealed only to those who seek it. Well, since the London outfit’s transcendently trippy cut and black-and-white video — a preview of their Aug. 23 LP How to Live — have both been revealed here, that must mean that we were all seeking them without knowing it. So I guess we all learned something today. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The beatific lead single Peradam revels in the cycles of nature, as Jack Cooper asks to be led “out of spirit worlds, let it whirl, out and in, swirling like fireflies.” Live it up:
4 Skye Wallace hits the wall — and hammers on the glass ceiling with the help of FRDM founder J Stead, singer-songwriter Arianna Rueda Lascano, poet/performer Britta B, Feed Canada Founder Nanook Gordon Fareal, and musicians Jenna Strautman, Vanessa Vakharia, Teagan Johnston and Gina Kennedy while she’s at it — in her slow-burning boogie rocker There Is a Wall, the second glimpse at the Toronto singer-songwriter’s self-titled June 7 album. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “There Is A Wall is a song of empowerment and an anthem lamenting the glass ceiling and the frustration of women trying to strive toward greatness throughout history. This is a song for all the untold stories, the under-appreciated, and the unseen.” See red:
5 Jeremie Albino was born in Toronto and has lived in Prince Edward County — but the folksinger would really like to meet you in the woods on his new song The Cabin, played live here with an assist from backup vocalists Carleigh Aikins and Taylor Guitard. For more, check out his debut album Hard Time, out Aug. 9. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The Cabin is a song that came from a romantic day dream. About that feeling of being away from the one you love and how we always tend to fantasize about when and where we’ll see them again. I was so grateful to have some friends come and perform on the recording with me.” See you there:
6 All of our lives are different. But perhaps not quite as different as Lives, the shape-shifting track and first new release in five years from Danish singer-songwriter Chorus Grant (whose friends and family know him as Kristian Finne). Hear for yourself. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The song comes out of the gate deceptively disguised as simple folk tune, built around looping percussion, before it takes the listener on a three minute journey, effortlessly flowingly across genres ranging from madrigal, to 70’s soft rock, and offset by modern, bombastic electronic stabs. Finne’s fingerpicked classical guitar is the thread that ties together the seemingly disparate airy and grave elements – hallmarks of Chorus Grant, embedded in a song that also signals a new direction for Finne.” Live it up:
7 Countless artists have written about death in countless ways. But few have done quite the way Detroit singer-songwriter Stef Chura does on the scrappy little garage-pop nugget Sweet Sweet Midnight, a duet with fellow indie artist Car Seat Headrest (a.k.a. Will Toldeo) that also serves as the kinda-sorta title track from her forthcoming Toledo-produced album Midnight. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Sweet Sweet Midnight is the most collaborative effort between Will and I,” explains Stef. “The chorus and guitar riff are something I had been playing with for a while after a close friend of mine died. We built the song off of the chorus keeping the theme of death, light and dreaming. While we were in the studio Will had a dream about Taylor Swift singing a song called Jordi and that became the muse of the songs verses. One of my favorite moments from making this record was when we recorded the yelling section of this song. Will just got on the mic at random and started recording the loudest howl. I was like ‘this is psycho…wtf is he doing in there…’ As soon as he finished, he came out of the booth, looked at me and said, “Ok, now your turn.” The ending vocal was a one-take track based on the day that my friend died. He was on vacation and he texted me he was coming home the next day and he never did.” It’s a wakeup call:
8 As Robert Frost reminded us, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Of course, it likely helps if you keep in touch, as Atlanta singer-songwriter Rose Hotel (real name: Jordan Reynolds) ponder in Write Home, the dreamy jazz-pop single from her upcoming (and demandingly titled) May 31 debut LP I Will Only Come When It’s a Yes. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “With the third single Write Home, Reynolds examines emotions surrounding leaving people and places behind in order to move forward in your life, while still wanting to maintain your connection to them.” Read on:
9 We all have those days when all you want to do is go flop down in a field somewhere. I’m having one now. Clearly, Toronto singer-songwriter and one-man band River Tiber (also known as Tommy Paxton-Beesley — man, the alter egos are coming thick and fast today) knows what I’m talking about. His sedate, comfortingly grounded single Taurus is the perfect soundtrack for a good lie-down — just in case the accompanying graphic didn’t make that obvious enough already. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Arguably his most serene work yet, the song’s gentle acoustic strumming stretches out across a latticework of electronic textures as Paxton-Beesley’s hushed vocals ruminate on unconditional love.” Ssssshhhhhh!
10 Singer-songwriter Shannon Lay would seem to have a few things on her mind. Firstly, she just signed a record deal with Sub Pop. Secondly, she’s going on tour as part of Ty Segall’s Freedom Band. Thirdly (and most relevantly), she just released a gorgeously intimate cover of ’60s folkie Karen Dalton’s classic Something On Your Mind. And you thought you were busy. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This song means a lot to me,” says Lay. “The version that Karen Dalton does is a gorgeous piece of wisdom. I wanted to cover it because I believe in the message with all my heart. Life is going to knock you down and lift you up and you’ll never experience any of it unless you try. I love the idea of spreading that spirit further. If there’s something on your mind, let it out. Try even if there’s a possibility you’ll fail, you might learn something amazing about yourself.” Get on it:
11 Said it before. Saying it again: I’m not sure Lust For Youth is the greatest band name this Scandinavian duo could have chosen. But hey, they’ve had it for a while now, so they’re stuck with it. Thankfully, like its predecessors, their latest single New Balance Point — a moodily pulsing slice of ’80s-style synth-pop from their self-titled June 7 album — is far more appealing. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The songs are sure-footed where they had earlier feared to tread, and light-headed for a new set of reasons. The album is driven by a dance-pop agenda, hustling its way through upbeat peaks that level out into reflective ballads. While still taking clear cues from a crop of austere synth-pop, Lust for Youth sound brighter than they ever have before, taking tips from some of the flirtiest Eurobeat to aid their new direction.” In with the new: