Metz go cartoon, Angelica Harper loves a raccoon, Reuben Bolling returns soon, Big Thief bring the big swoon and more in today’s Roundup. Sadly, nobody sent in songs about pontoons, macaroons, balloons or doubloons. Hey, you can’t have everything.
1 The guys in Metz can’t be old enough to remember eating at an actual Automat (think of a cafeteria-sized vending machine and you’re pretty much there). So I guess we’ll have to wait until July 12 to see why the Toronto punk trio used the title Automat for their upcoming compilation of B-sides, demos and other rarities. But we don’t have to wait to enjoy the first taste of their labours: The mischievous animated video for the noisy salvo Pure Auto. SAYS HE PRESS RELEASE: “Pure Auto is METZ at our most tongue in cheek,” says Alex Edkins. “There are many winks and many nods (autonomy, me, me, me, me, me, for example) but ultimately it’s about being a control freak; fighting the urge to constantly steer the ship. Originally released as the B-side to the Eraser 7″ it has never been played live, but for some reason still manages to be one of our collective favourites.” And now, one of yours:
2 Some videos speak for themselves. Others raise more questions than they answer. Gardens, the clip for Los Angeles alt-country singer-songwriter Angelica Harper’s lovely new ballad, definitely belongs in the latter category. But the main question is raises is this: Why is she singing a “sad cowgirl” duet with a raccoon puppet? Your guess is as good as mine. Unless your guess is ‘Why not?’ Because even I could do better than that. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Inspired by the singer-songwriters of the ’60s with a hint of twang reminiscent of Phoebe Bridgers and Kacey Musgraves.” OK, but …
3 There’s no time like the present for Reuben Bolling. The leader of Reuben and the Dark announced the band will release a deluxe version of its Arms of a Dream album, updated with a cover of The Hip’s Bobcaygeon, fan fave Hold Me Like A Fire and more. When can you get it? Friday. Thankfully, you can impatiently pass the minutes until then by repeatedly watching the video for their serenely soaring You and I, filmed in Portugal. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “You And I is an “homage to childhood memory,” says Reuben Bullock. “It is about the past but carries a sentiment very grounded in the present and what shape the future could take. I tried writing about some of the stories that informed me as an adolescent but by the time I had written about two, the song was already too long. It carries much more than the words I could put into it. It is about the dreams we had. The lives we lived. It holds secrets. Good songs hold secrets.” Until tomorrow:
4 Can’t get enough of Big Thief’s recently released album U.F.O.F.? No problemo — here’s a new live video of them performing the intimate swooner Orange at a festival last year. You’re welcome. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “There is perhaps no greater example of singer Adrianne Lenker’s ability to draw in her audience, regardless of its size, to create a moment of intimate communion, than a video juxtaposing the delicacy of Orange with a massive festival crowd.” It’s the next best thing to being there:
5 Are we there yet? Every parent who’s ever driven anywhere with a little one in the car is familiar with that question. But Mother Hips guitar slinger, vocalist, and songwriter Greg Loiacono has the musical answer in his Latin-grooved song Close Your Eyes (We’ll Be There Soon). Try it on your next trip. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “With a decisively California feel, Close Your Eyes (We’ll Be There Soon) uses a bossa-esque acoustic guitar part, gorgeously sparse piano provided by Wilco’s Mikael Jorgensen, along with some vibey electric guitar drenched in reverb and tremolo, to ease listeners into Loiacono’s colorful, descriptive verses.” Adjust your seat:
6 Speaking of driving: Some people love cruising the highway at night. Others hate it. Those in the former group — and I’m definitely one of them — will feel right at home in the passenger seat for the nocturnal video of Pretty Bones, a seductively dreamy new folk-rocker from singer-songwriter Bird Streets (real name: John Brodeur). SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Something bad went down, but we don’t know exactly what,” says Brodeur of the Pretty Bones clip. The video follows him on a nighttime drive as he retraces his steps, visiting and revisiting a series of Southern California landmarks. “I’m like a private investigator following my own trail, but there’s a sense that I’m not a reliable narrator.” Well, who is?
7 Do Black Needle Noise play the devil’s music? It depends on your point of view. But one thing is for sure: The musical brainchild of veteran producer John Fryer raise a suitably holy racket with I Am God, their latest song featuring singer Marselle Hodges. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I Am God is inspired by one of the craziest years I’ve experienced, full of high highs and the lowest of lows,” says Hodges. “I felt as if I was God’s plaything. The lyric ‘I can make things different or blow it all away’ pretty much describes the tumultous feeling I had in response to these seemingly capricious events. But then I tried to put myself in God’s place—wanting to be worshipped and believed in despite it all, Or perhaps because of it all. Isn’t that what we all want?” Amen.
8 We all wish we were invisible sometimes. But Ontario indie-pop artist Kyle Woolven — who makes music under the feline moniker Pekoe Cat — takes it to the next level. And in more ways than one, based on the back story to his curiously vibrant new tune Invisibility Cloak. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I have a love/hate relationship with my music. I love creating it; I hate it when it’s finished. I’m always struggling with feeling confident in my songs once I release a finished track. Invisibility Cloak is a reflection of that. Or maybe it was a cool bassline – I can’t remember… Very few people know that I’m a musician. Even fewer know that I make my living as a comedian. I’m like Donald Glover, except uncool and unsuccessful. I’m also the co-developer of a mental wellness initiative and a college professor. Jack of all trades.” And master of at least one:
9 You might remember Montreal’s Lisa from the girl-pop nostalgia of Primitive Us, her last single to grace this space. Well, now the one-named singer-songwriter is back with another sweetly sinister offering: The moody and marvelous Fumes, which makes it clearly she’s running on anything but. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Fumes is a sigh of exasperation. Fumes is realizing your all is not enough. Fumes is having the door shut in your face and having to start again. Fumes is forcing a smile when all you want to do is cry. Fumes is like trying to swim through jello.” Breathe: