Home Hear Indie Roundup (Tardy Edition) | Nine Songs To Close Out Thursday

Indie Roundup (Tardy Edition) | Nine Songs To Close Out Thursday

New cuts from Lower Dens, Julia Shapiro and others come better late than never.

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Lower Dens think young, Surprises visit El Salvador, Hyleen dishes up the royal treatment and more in today’s Roundup. Sorry for being tardy; it was too nice a day not to spend it on a patio enjoying a beer or three. Hope your day was equally enjoyable. Now, on with the show:


1 There are many things in this world I would not want to be, but a member of the Young Republicans is pretty close to the top of the list. Something tells me Jana Hunter and his Baltimore outfit Lower Dens feel the same. Unless, that is, their indie-pop single of the same name — and its pointedly political cannibal-themed video — are a very elaborate hoax. And I don’t think they are. Find out for yourself when their album The Competition comes out Sept. 6. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The album’s first song, Young Republicans, is about a certain sect of society’s elite and their insatiable appetite to consume the lower classes both figuratively and literally.” Food for thought:


2 Have you heard about Surprises’ debut album Natural Disasters yet? No? Well, you can’t fault Brooks Paschal. The singer-songwriter and former frontman of emo group Sullivan has released umpteen advance songs and videos to hype the disc, which arrives tomorrow. Assuming he doesn’t have some sort of midnight madness up his sleeve, here’s the last sneak peek — the gear-changing El Salvador, set to a video that will definitely not go the way you expect. Yet another surprise. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The core philosophy of Surprises is: no rules,” Paschal says. “While writing, I’ve never thought to myself, ‘kids won’t like this,’ or ‘people’ will love this.’ In fact, if I do, I stop. If I sit down and try, it’s not going to come out right.” Put the hammer down:


3 What rhymes with Hyleen? My Queen, of course. So that’s what the former — a French soul singer-songwriter — has titled her latest sultry single and walkabout video, which also happens to be the first track off her upcoming third album. Of course, there’s a lot more behind that title (and the song) than just an easy rhyme. So don’t expect her other tune to sport titles like Bye Spleen, Hi, Dean! and Why Clean? Though that would be kind of awesome. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This song is a heartwarming tribute to her mother and is dedicated to ‘all the strong marvelous and beautiful women who make us a better person’.” Well, OK:


4 I’ve never been to a bullfight. Don’t think I’d care for it. Thankfully, the latter cannot be said for Ottawa singer-songwriter Laurent Bourque’s sweet indie-pop single Matador. In fact, it’s almost impossible not to fall under the spell of his breezy melody and lovestruck lyrics. No bull. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Swirling about in his stoic, flashy garb, the Matador leads his heedless opponent around in circles. Chasing in furious zig-zag patterns, the opponent doesn’t know where they are being led to or why they’re chasing at all. Hypnotized by the Matador, they are fixated and unable to comprehend the inevitable end that awaits them. Love is, and sometimes makes you, blind. We’ve all been in a relationship that felt tumultuous and difficult. But those tend to be the most exciting ones don’t they? Deceptive feelings and inviting glances masquerading as interest and excitement are tantalizingly deceitful as you feel the sharp sting of the Matador’s embrace. There is no better thrill than to hopefully rage at taming the Matador. Matador is a celebration of love, even love that will hurt you in the end.” No pain, no gain:


5 If Julia Shapiro’s upcoming album Perfect Version doesn’t turn out, well, perfect, she has only herself to blame. The Chastity Belt singer-songwriter recorded her solo debut virtually by herself. Naturally, that goes for her latest preview, the dreamy, drifting single Shape. And in keeping with that DIY approach, the Seattle musician also shot the video the for song during a recent Australian tour. Seems perfectly reasonable. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Shapiro has a knack for turning simple images into something profound, drawing influence from songwriters like Elliott Smith to capture complicated moods. The everyday act of circling the block trying to find a parking spot becomes a metaphor for trying and feeling like you can’t quite get anything done. “All my problems feel like paper/I can finally rip them up,” she sings on the title track, describing a moment of lightness in hanging out with friends who can find humor in your failure “at least I have my friends to laugh at what I’ve done.” Shape up:


6 The name of Windsor blues-rock duo The Blue Stones might remind you a little of The Black Keys. And that’s OK. So will their song Be My Fire, the latest single from their album Black Holes — as in keyholes, one can only presume. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “We like to think of Be My Fire as a metaphor for love and lust,” says frontman Tarek Jafar. “We wanted a video that would capture fun, flirting and pursuit. Be My Fire is that song you hear when toggling between fantasy and reality.” Fire when ready:


7 Absolutely Free is the name of a very fine album by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. It also happens to be the name of a very fine band from Toronto who don’t seem to have much to do with FZ and MOI — beyond the invention, of course. That’s obvious from one spin of their warmly glowing, exotically groovy single Geneva Freeport, the Talking Heads-like title track from their June 20 EP. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Geneva Freeport is retro-synthetic new-wave with a rhythmic, melodic urgency that nods to Talking Heads, The Clash, Terry Riley, and William Onyeabor. An exercise in tension, from its rumbling slow build-up to its blistering chorus – which subverts the lyric popularized by Louis Armstrong, “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world” – Geneva Freeport details an absurd fantasy about taking a holiday to one of the world’s most notorious high security art storage facilities.” Free your mind:


8 Great pop music can be simple. And often is. But it can also be smart. As Denver singer-songwriter Jett Kwong’s Cream is. Sure, it sounds like a shimmery, supple song suitable for relaxing by the water. And it definitely is. But it also comes with undercurrents that go way deeper, only rising to the top if you’re smart enough to pay attention. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “New single Cream the single is an ode to summer, a time passed, to lusting over someone and ultimately lusting over an idealized version of a persona and the past. Kwong reveals, “I was inspired by the realization that we all, including myself, fall prey to the romanticization of history, and the exoticism of Asia and Asian people. This to me is a legacy of colonialism, and that lens is particularly interesting when I apply them to my own family’s stories of surviving war, flourishing in post WWII Hong Kong, and immigrating to the U.S.” Enjoy the water:


9 Sometimes I wonder how electronica artists come up with song titles. Case in point: Ecocline Patterns, the new cut from Erol Engintalay, who records under the name Monomotion. The instrumental song — the first taste of his upcoming EP Fujisan — is a radiant, gently pumping treat. But I honestly can’t hear anything in the notes and rhythm that makes me thing about landscape ecology and boundaries. Guess that’s why I’m not an electronica artist. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Written and recorded over a year and a half, the seven-track Fujisan is a reflection on the positive aspects of life — a sense of breaking through and moving forward that imbues the project as a whole, from the evocative thump of Ecocline Patterns to the squishy, effervescent sway of closing track Luck of the Mountains.” Give it a name: