Home Hear Indie Roundup (Freaky Friday Edition) | 18 Tracks To Start Your Weekend

Indie Roundup (Freaky Friday Edition) | 18 Tracks To Start Your Weekend

Sample a slate of strange, spooky, surreal and shocking selections.

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Another Friday afternoon, another giant whack of videos and tracks dumped into my email by publicists trying to get ahead of the weekend. But this week, something decidedly odd is afoot: For some reason, there are a whole whack of strange, surreal, spooky and even shocking clips in the lineup. Coincidence? Well, yeah. But hey, I’ll take it. So will you — and you’ll like it! On with the weirdness:


1 As horror buffs and bookworms already know, the subtitle of Mary Shelley’s classic tale Frankenstein was The Modern Prometheus. English electro-rockers Editors have literally taken that to a new level, updating the timeless tale to today’s world with their latest single — and even adding some dance steps to the gory accompanying video. It’s a bloody monster. In more ways than one. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The kinetically crackling track, described by frontman Tom Smith as “a song of joy and escapism – a cartoon song for the freaks, the different and for the night,” is a suitably uncanny, modern take on Frankenstein. It follows a policeman through his daily routine of mundanity and ultra violence. Breaking this cycle is his passion for the dance routines of a recently deceased pop star. He makes the decision to bring her back to life, exhuming her body and uploading her old dance routines into her cadaver. He lives happily with his zombie bride for a giddily happy period, their dance routines weaving into his daily existence. Heartbreakingly, she gains sentience and he is forced to make the toughest decision of his life.” The horror, the horror:


2 Speaking of horrorshows, what’s a Friday afternoon without a slice of colourfully animated blood and gore from a metal supergroup? This week, it comes via the animated video for Something Good, the playground-infused single from The Damned Things — the unholy union of Fall Out Boy’s Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley, Scott Ian of Anthrax, Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die, and Dan Andriano of Alkaline Trio. ’Toon in. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Fresh off the release of their critically praised new album, High Crimes, heavy rock powerhouse The Damned Things has released a brand new animated video for their fan-favorite single Something Good.” Missing, my ass:


3 You wouldn’t think static shot of a guy sitting in a car on the waterfront — as a lyric video unspools at the bottom of the screen — would make for compelling viewing. But that’s only because you haven’t seen the clip for New York singer-songwriter Zuli’s smooth, supple and wistfully soulful number ur mistaken. Of course, you can rectify that oversight right now. As you should. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I wrote ur mistaken with two points of view in mind,” he explains. “How I viewed myself at the time and from the point of view of my loved ones. Self-conscious about my position as an artist and how that affects my relationships. A reflection on the constant teetering between what I love and those I love most.” Don’t jump, dude!


4 Countless artists have come up with countless metaphors for the pain of a romantic breakup. But to the best of my recollection, the video for Guelph singer-songwriter Innes Wilson’s slow-burner Of Love and Lost is the first to liken it to the dead, cold, limitless expanse of outer space. And certainly the first to make that point with the help of toys. Play along. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This song is really about the vastness of love and also the emptiness of loss, which was important to communicate in the music video. I’ve always loved old movies and TV shows that would use miniatures instead of CGI, and my good friend Ross Millar has been making brilliantly detailed sci-fi dioramas which I’ve marvelled at for years.” No wonder:


5 There are two sides to every story. Including the one Canadian alt pop singer-songwriter Adaline is telling in her brand new single Part of You — not to mention its colourfully eccentric video. Put down your pillow hat and check it out for yourself. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Part Of You (is) a bright feel-good offering on the surface, with a dark lyrical theme stemming from the tension of being irrevocably tied to someone. Accompanying the single is an abstract music video with a playful take on lovesick depression while illustrating an inner state of limbo. In it, Adaline enacts this battle by embodying two characters representing different sides of the mind: one yearning to break free and the other that resides in sadness. Sometimes, getting out of bed is a struggle, portrayed through bedding attaching itself to Adaline.” Remember kids, yarn is not your friend:


6 Once upon a time there was a superb Irish indie-rock band called Little Green Cars. Sadly, they broke up. But happily, their members have reconvened under the name Soda Blonde. And they’re equally superb in a different way, based on the rich melodies and weirdly watchable video of their single Swimming Through the Night. Which is definitely a better title than Vaping in Bed. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Adam O’Regan from the band who directed it cites Sigmund Freud as an influence in its creation when Freud said…. “Dreams tell us many an unpleasant biological truth about ourselves and only very free minds can thrive on such a diet. Self-deception is a plant which withers fast in the pellucid atmosphere of dream investigation.” Well, it beats digging your own grave:


7 Hailing from Austin, Tex., the psychedelic soul merchants of Black Pumas are generating plenty of buzz these days. I’ve only taken a quick spin through the duo’s just-released album, but so far I’m not totally sold. Maybe the horror-movie video for their single Black Moon Rising will help tip the scales for me — and you. Fingers crossed. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “A collaboration between 28-year-old busker-turned-frontman Eric Burton and Grammy-winning guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada, the album marks a landmark year for the burgeoning group, who’ve gone from local phenomenon to a tour-de-force that’s winning over fans on both sides of the Atlantic.” If the shoe fits:


8 It’s always a good day when hardworking Canadian indie icon Hawksley Workman unveils a new video. Especially when it’s something as enjoyable and life-affirming as this easygoing clip for Italy, one of the breezier cuts from his recent album Median Age Wasteland. Get on your bike and ride. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Says Steve Bays, who has produced several videos with Workman over the years, “I wanted this video to be about the beauty of those rare moments when we allow ourselves to be truly present. I feel like Hawksley’s lyrics have somehow, over the years, seeped into my subconscious and taught me to see the beauty in the minutia of the day to day…family, nature, love…the important things that somehow get pushed to the back of our priority list in the modern age.” Live in the moment:


9 You have nothing to fear from Alexa Dirks. Especially not the Winnipeg indie-pop singer-songwriter’s upcoming album Fear, which arrives Sept. 13. She’s already shared three cuts to ease you into it; now she steps out with her fourth sweet treat Hanging on a Line. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Hanging on a Line is a song about “seriously falling in love in the club,” says Dirks. “Sometimes anything seems possible when you’re slightly intoxicated and there’s a sub bass vibrating through your body. Amidst all this there are two extra underlying messages ; try to be a good person and remember to stay hydrated.” Well, I guess you can always fear dry mouth:


10 Some bands don’t put a lot of thought into their lyrics. Clearly, Swedish upstarts Follow the Cipher are not like those bands. Case in point: The plotline of their slamming,synth-laced single The Pioneer and accompanying lyric video. Take note. No, really. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Guitarist Ken Kängström states, “The Pioneer is the story of a soldier waking up in a dark desert, bound to a journey seeking the bright light of the sun. The only way for him to redeem his sins is to find the rising star. This is a metaphor for learning from your own mistakes and faults in life, and learning to be a better person – a story that I think every single person can relate to.” If you say so:


11 Sleep Token are going all out to promote their new album Sundowning: The anonymous, ever-changing London musical entity will release every track from the disc in sequence at two-week intervals over the next several months — starting with the atmospheric and melodic post-rock lushness of The Night Does Not Belong to God. That’s very true: As I recall, it belongs to Michelob. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Sundowning, or sundown syndrome, is a neurological phenomenon associated with increased confusion and restlessness in patients with delirium or some form of dementia. The term ‘sundowning’ was coined due to the timing of the patient’s confusion. For patients with sundowning syndrome, a multitude of behavioral problems begin to occur in the evening or while the sun is setting…” See you in 14 days:


12 This week’s dose of electronic dance music from the fine folks at superstar DJ Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak label is an international affair featuring U.K. producer Tisoki and American singer Karra, joining forces on the skittery, jittery Don’t Lie. And I’m not. I swear. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Refreshing breakbeats dripped in unique percussive elements and tight subs provide the backbone to Tisoki’s single Don’t Lie, (which) harnesses emotion, as Karra’s honeyed voice mesmerizes over the opulent production.” Truer words were never spoken:


13 Australian singer-songwriters Stand Atlantic and Alex Lahey team up for the pop-punk number Skinny Dipping — and to raise funds for The It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit organization with a mission to uplift, empower, and connect members of the LGBTQ community. What more do you need to know? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I’m so excited to be involved in this release with Stand Atlantic to celebrate Pride Month and support It Gets Better states, Lahey. “As a member of both the music and queer community, I know how important it is to support one another in order to make a greater difference. There is no better time than now to be your true self, exercise compassion, and stand up for what is right.” Jump in:


14 What is L.A. bubble-grunge singer-songwriter Girl Wilde doing on a Friday night? Well, according to her latest single, Probably Crying. That’s a shame — she should be pleased with herself for crafting this catchy, smartly crafted slice of youthful angst. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Probably Crying is about owning my emotional tendencies and trying to figure out where they come from … Growing up I was deemed ‘overemotional’ (I can be). Like everyone else I have my own unique traumas, and working through them has been pretty painful. There was a certain time in my life when I could only muster the energy to cry. My expectations for what life should be didn’t leave room for me to experience reality, and when I did, it almost seemed to hurt worse. I didn’t have the patience, or distance from my own emotions.” Dry those tears:


15 Full confession: I have never heard of Swedish art-pop singer-songwriter Be The Bear before today. Which of course means that I have not heard her recent single Mermaid. Nor, I admit, am I familiar with Chicago electronic producer Goldhouse. So I have no idea how his remix contrasts and complements her original. Thankfully, none of that needs to interfere with your enjoyment of this vibrantly upbeat electro-pop gem. That’s good to hear. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Goldhouse infuses the heartfelt indie-pop track with snappy percussion and vibrant synths in order to bring the song to club-ready perfection.” Hear them make a splash:


16 Kris Kelly has a lot on his plate. The Brooklyn singer-songwriter is putting the finishing touches on his upcoming album Runaways, which arrives in August. And he’s already dropped a few singles to whet your appetite. Here’s the latest and last: The gentle folk-pop serenade Cracked Porcelain. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Kelly sings of finding equilibrium between the sacred and the profane, carnal desire and true love, within the freedom of an open relationship. He explains, “I think the LGBTQ+ community has a unique opportunity to redefine our relationships between sex and healthy partnerships, but it also comes with a great responsibility, and I think we often fail. I failed at least. And that’s ok, because I realized that if I wanted to be happy, I had to make a change.” Food for thought:


17 Nashville singer-songwriter and New York native Jillian Steele shares her new single No Expectations — which is not to be confused with the Rolling Stones classic. Her No Expectations is a slice of modern pop flecked with acoustic guitars, thereby making it clear where she’s from, where she lives — and where she’s headed. It just might exceed your expectations. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Life was happening around me and I was just in it without any control and through this song I gained insight that I do deserve things and I should have expectations of what I want”. Sonically the single features silky vocals which glide gently atop the warm acoustic guitar. Protective yet freeing, No Expectations showcases vibrant melodies and glowing tones.” Expect it:


18 Not all lo-fi indie duos are created equal. Case in point: Northern California’s Junaco, the collaboration of singer Shahana Jaffer and guitarist Joey LaRosa. Setting her dulcet vocals and melancholy melodies against his edgy guitar work helps separate them from the pack — and smoulderingly intense songs like In Between don’t hurt either. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Born in the unincorporated mountain town on the outskirts coastal Northern California, the duo found an escape from musical conventions. Fleeing the rituals of rushing through songs, away from the nonsense of worrying, a budding partnership was found based equally on half-parts progression and melody. Mellow bursts of epiphany and pleas of gentle seduction give way to driving grooves in Junaco’s music, leaving the immediate fan with a delicate, instantly familiar and completely unassailable batch of songs.” There’s no middle ground here: