It’s Friday afternoon, and you know what that means: Some publicists who have been asleep at the switch all week suddenly woke up and started heaving multiple press releases for new singles and videos at me — I got seven from one person alone today — before scurrying back into the shadows. Faced with that level of goofballery, I have but one option: To haphazardly cobble as much as I can together into another lean and mean Friday Roundup. First person to sit through them all wins something truly special: My undying admiration.
1 Toronto rocker Skye Wallace dropped her self-titled album today — and the singer-guitarist accompanied it with this live video for the tune Death of Me, filmed at the Dakota Tavern. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This album is the sound I’ve been after, actualized. As an artist I hope to always be growing, but the sound that Devon Lougheed and I found on this record is something that I am deeply proud of and excited to share. The decision to have a self-titled album was a testament to that excitement and sense of achievement. This album is loud and charged and emotional. The stories that inspired the album were given life; their presence behind each song breathed heart and soul and fire into the album as a whole. I’m thrilled to let this little baby out into the world.” A toast:
2 Canada’s own DJ Felix Cartal enlists fellow Canuck Lights for the addictively catchy single and video Love Me. That seems easy enough — albeit slightly needy. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Taking the lyrics to heart, Love Me explores the complex emotions of a diverse cast with one thing in common: their love interests will not return the feeling. The feeling of being rejected or ignored by one’s partner is something most all listeners — regardless of age, race, or gender — can relate to, adding to the appeal of the crowd-favorite track.” Lights on:
3 Indie quintet Toebow — everybody’s favourite “Cartoon Psych” outfit from New York — soak up some sun, sand, surf and silliness in the video for their latest single Key Song. Get on your bikes and ride! SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s beach time. A thick rhythm section splashes you in the face with warm Atlantic salt water. You look down, waist-deep in the ocean, and realize you’re playing a guitar solo.” Nice headband, Mike Reno:
4 There’s a first time for everything. And everyone. Today melodic California punks Craig’s Brother get their turn by releasing their debut video for the tune Meilynn’s Song, a touching tune about dads and daughters that arrives just in time for Father’s Day. Awwwwww. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The clip captures Ted playing the song he wrote for her for the very first time and reflects that special relationship between a father and daughter.” Double awwwwwww.
5 American Authors are keeping it real in the video for their single Before I Go: The clip features stunning romantic video footage filmed at drummer Matt Sanchez’s wedding last October. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The biggest thing is the change American Authors went through to get here,” Zac Barnett exclaims. “We had to go through all of these experiences and moments of experimentation to reach this body of work, which is the most genuine and pure thing we’ve ever done. It encompasses every season of our music: the ups, the downs, the highs, the lows, and everything in between. We let go of where we started, fell into the place of writing from the heart, and captured what came out naturally.”
Do you take this band?
6 The San Diego metal outfit Carnifex just announced that their seventh album World War X will arrive Aug. 2. Meanwhile, savour the excellently titled first single and sweeping video No Light Shall Save Us, featuring Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Carnifex’s frontman Scott Ian Lewis comments, “Collaborating with Alissa on No Light Shall Save Us was a joy from the start. Alissa was able to elevate the song with a dynamic that’s completely new for Carnifex. There is a melody and depth on No Light Shall Save Us unlike any previous Carnifex song. It’s the perfect start to your journey through World War X.” X marks the plot:
7 To celebrate the release of their self-titled debut album, Toronto improv collective Badge Époque Ensemble offer you the freaky, multi-faceted new video for the track Undressed In Solitude. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Featuring guest vocalist James Baley, the track defies the contemporary fixations of automated music to convincingly combine sensual and cerebral textures.” Don’t forget the vintage film footage:
8 Chicago skate-punks Much The Same are much busier right now: They’re putting the finishing touches on Everything is Fine, their first album in 13 years, which comes out July 26. But first, check out the first single Snake in the Grass. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The first single Snake In The Grass deals with the songwriter’s experience of being treated as an unwanted intruder when living under his in-laws’ roof while his marriage was coming to an end. “This song was an eye opener for me,” says guitarist Dan O’Gorman. “The original idea was to write about a shitty person I was living with and how they made my life miserable, then after looking at the situation retrospectively, I realised I was the bad guy; I was the villain living among them, the snake in the grass.” Well, that’s honest:
9 Wisconsin singer-songwriter Devon Welsh unveils the video for Faces, his newest track since 2018’s acclaimed Dream Songs LP. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I feel that there’s a bittersweetness to life,” Welsh says, describing this meditation on love and mortality. “There’s suffering and we know it has to end, but there’s so much tenderness in it nonetheless.” Set in the Wisconsin woods, the black-and-white video for Faces highlights the piercing emotionality and deep humanness that remains Welsh’s signature.” Look into his eyes:
10 Killing is not their business. But business still seems pretty good for Australian heavyweights Thy Art is Murder, who unveil the grim music video to go with their brutally hard-hitting track Death Squad Anthem, another preview of their July 26 full-length Human Target. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Guitarist Andy Marsh comments, “Death Squad Anthem is a blazing examination of the current state of politics riddled with hyperactive virtue signaling extremism and disenfranchisement. The despondency of Death Squad Anthem is brought to life with stark socio-political traumatic scenes of warfare, genocide, police states, brutality famine and riots interspersed with those at the helm of the atrocities.” All rise:
11 The metal supergroup Turilli / Lione Rhapsody present the lyric video for D.N.A. (Demon And Angel), the second single from their July 5 release Zero Gravity. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Singer Fabio Lione says, “While our first single Phoenix Rising mainly represented a bridge connecting our artistic past and future, with D.N.A. (Demon And Angel) we intend to show the modern side of our new band, presenting a song based on heavy guitars, electronic synths and featuring as special guest Elize Ryd of Amaranthe. We all love Elize’s wonderful voice and we immediately thought of her for the duet of this song!” How nice for you:
12 Irish indie-rockers Little Green Cars have traded in their name for a new one: Soda Blonde. And along with the handle, they’ve also picked up a whole new sound, showcased in their new video and single Swimming Through the Night. So much for having more fun. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The new collection of songs were written by Faye O’Rourke throughout her early 20s, where she honed in on her unique lyrical style of gritty kitchen-sink realism, that evokes the tragic beauty of Karen Carpenter and the pop sensibilities of Annie Lennox.” Go for soda:
13 Fløre lives on the dark side. The German popster is inspired by the sadness of growing up, feeling alienated and being too soft for this world — as you can probably tell from her latest video for the track Little Dancing Demons. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The song is about living with depression – described as ‘little dancing demons’ whose cute appearance make it bearable to cope with and even helps facing them. It’s about embracing the deep sadness and accepting the world as a permanent dark place. The day I wrote Little Dancing Demons was the darkest I ever had. I seriously wanted to die and felt so misunderstood by the whole world. I’m naturally more melancholic, but I had major depression at this point. It’s the most honest and hurting song I’ve written so far. But it makes me embrace that deep sadness and even makes me love that darker part about me. This song probably saved my life.” May she have this dance?
14 Raw, expressive, and strange, the music of London trio Lonesome Shack is equal parts hill country blues and urban folk rock, owing as much to Canned Heat as it does to Junior Kimbrough. Hear and see for yourself on their latest track and video No Way Back, from their recent release Desert Dreams. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Desert Dreams is a singular and poetic album of modern American music written at the tail end of a long, challenging winter in London. The result sounds like rock city meets backwoods boogie, desert blues meets jungle grooves.” Onward and upward:
15 I’ve always been a night owl. That seems to be something I have in common with Toronto singer-songwriter Taylor Knox. That and our boyish good looks, of course. Two things I don’t have: A brand-new album titled Here Tonight and a single called Little Creature. You win this round, foxy Knoxy. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “There has always been something magical about nighttime. For Taylor Knox, this epiphany was especially true and present on his sophomore album, Here Tonight. Forever a creature of the night, Knox’s preference for night became thematically important on his second LP. Here, he thought precisely what he was thinking about—and what he wanted to do or say with it. To use this time for reflection purposely and deliberately, not wasting the gift of insight that nighttime stillness provides.” Featured the creature:
16 Swedish adventure metallers Twilight Force present the lyric video for Night of the Winterlight, a taste of their Aug. 16 opus Dawn Of The Dragonstar. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Keyboard summoner Blackwald states, “Mighty wizards and warriors of the human realms! We proudly present to you the first song from our third creation: Night Of Winterlight. This is an ancient tale of a primordial and endlessly mighty mage with the power to control life and light itself. The unmaker of darkness and the healer of stars. He returns on the Night of Winterlight to bring order and a new dawn to the world of the living. The third album Dawn Of The Dragonstar, consists of 10 musical journeys throughout the Twilight Kingdoms, traversing both time and space, bringing you all closer to the stories, legends, and prophecies permeating the mythical world of the Twilight Force. We tell tales of heroes, queens and kings, magical artifacts, legendary places, and ancient beasts; all engulfed by a fast paced and sparkling soundscape teeming with vivid content for the keen eared adventurer. So join us, partake in the adventure once again, and may the Power of the Dragon guide you!” Seriously?
17 To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Steve Aoki’s infamous collaboration with The Bloody Beetroots on the track Warp, the superstar DJ and label owner has called on Houston-born producer Kayzo to help reinvent the track into Warp 2.019. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The best of both worlds collide as Aoki and Kayzo bring new school rave energy to the revered classic.” Try not to get vertigo from the animated video.
18 Uffie and Feadz — two French dance-music producers who used to collabotate offstage as well as on — have reunited for the first time in nearly a decade for a special remix of the former’s cut No Take Me Backs. I presume the feeling is mutual. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The release of No Take Me Backs (Feadz Remix) is a special moment for all longtime Ed Banger Records fans, bringing back the magical energy of two of bloghouse’s most treasured collaborators and once-couple.” Careful: You know what that dancing leads to:
19+20 Pennsylvania production duo Black Caviar and vocalist G.L.A.M. team up for a pair of new singles: Alright Alright, Okay and Zonin’ — their second collaboration after 2018’s Killa Shit Funk, which you undoubtedly remember. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “With its bouncy yet elegant beat, Alright Alright, Okay kicks off proceedings and allows G.L.A.M.’s confident rapping to take center stage. Zonin’ is even more energetic, with its thumping bassline complemented by G.L.A.M.’s scintillating flow.” OK yourself:
21 Avant-garde Afro-futurist improvisers Spaza cirlce back with another hit of their experimental South African jazz: The elaborately named Five Rand Airtime nama-eveready: 4000 degrees, the next preview of the self-titled June 21 album. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Initially mournful, with levitating violin, belching trombone and the pained, throbbing interplay of sorrowful voices, Five Rand Airtime nama-everready: 4000 degrees is a sort of funeral procession, documenting the journey of material bodies leaving the firmament. Starting off in the dark it morphs into a balmy, percussion-driven incantatory celebration.” Easy for you to say:
22 New York duo Little Slugger step up to the plate again with Impossible, the latest track to their July 19 album I Want Live Here Forever. Well, who doesn’t? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Trapped in limbo after she leaves, you’re a transient in the cold. Time moves, but the seasons don’t change. You hope that some distance will lead to reconciliation and domestic bliss, but in the back of your mind lies the gnawing suspicion that domestic bliss will ultimately be impossible.” Take a swing:
23 DIY HIFI, the musical project of Vancouver producer and former Bear Mountain member Ian Bevis, offers up his confidently groovy Half Hearted, from his self-titled debut EP. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Half Hearted is a rolling, drum driven dance tune with a dusty floor of bass and drums, and a shiny top of melodic disco strings and guitar supporting a chorus of stacked vocals urging to say what you want, and do what you feel. While reminiscent of records by Miike Snow or Peter Bjorn and John, Half Hearted sounds like a living room dance party.” No half measures:
24 The Brooklyn brothers of indie-pop duo Eighty Ninety are back with their first single of the year, 10K Summer Nights. Though I’m sure they won’t mind if you listen while the sun is still up. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Fusing their minimalist production with intimate lyricism and laidback melodies, the new single is a delicate yet striking record about young, hopelessly romantic love.” Is there any other kind?
25 Hirsute heroes Mountain Head don their top hats and polish up their golden choppers once more for the new single Gaslight. Unless it’s all an elaborate ruse to drive us crazy. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: About the track: “This song originally came about while writing a bridge for a completely different song. As we got further into writing the bridge we stopped and said “This should be a song, it’s too cool to just be a bridge.” So we opened up a new session at the studio and we started tracking Gaslight. It came together fairly easily, the melodies and chorus showed up rather quickly. We kind of contrasted the upbeat “happy” sound with darker/heavier lyrics.” Hats off:
26 Hamilton singer-songwriter Drew Thomson — you might know him from the band Single Mothers — is gearing up to release his first solo LP as The Drew Thomson Foundation later this year. Get on board with his latest single L.A. Lately. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Tripping over substance abuse and retreating from responsibility isn’t a new theme, but it’s relatable. I spent half my life sweeping up the night before and avoiding what caused the mess, determined it was the place I was living, not the life I was living that was the true problem. It’s a fight most of us go through it sometime in our 20’s. This song is just about a punch in that fight, not the knock out or the beginning – but a snippet somewhere between yelling at the bouncer and hearing the sirens getting closer down the street.” One day at a time, dude: