Scattered Clouds slog, Ian Ferguson alienates, Wingtips pursue, Walrus cool it and more in today’s Roundup. For some weird reason, there are a lot of sci-fi, space and horror-themed clips and cuts today. Don’t ask me; I just work here.
1 Ever feel like your life is one long trudge? An endless slog of putting one foot in front of the other, even though you have no idea where you’re headed or why? You’re not alone. The protagonist of Scattered Clouds’ latest video for Days on End knows exactly how you feel — and the band’s grim indie-rock perfectly complements the darkly futuristic visuals. The track comes from their just-released disc Take Away Your Summer, which might be the scariest title I’ve heard all week. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Created by the duo of Huot+Vallentin, the video tells “a bleak futuristic lonesome cowboy tale about personal reinvention, and leaving the comforting oppression of familiarity behind,” says the band. Taking both sonic and visual cues from the canon of classic 80’s sci-fi films, we see the protagonist, played by frontman Philippe Charbonneau, trying to escape an unknown presence as blue electricity surges through his body, each jolt reorganizing his very fabric.” Feel the power:
2 Sad but true: Love often turns to alienation over time. Of course, it’s not usually the kind of alienation that Tennessee singer-guitarist Ian Ferguson is dealing with in the video for his lazy, hazy single Love Crime. But hey, as visual metaphors go, at least it’s fairly entertaining. And clearly within the special-effects budget of an indie musician. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Love Crime is a song I wrote as I watched my old friends break each other’s hearts. I wrote it at that period of time when a lot of old friends and high school sweethearts started going their separate ways. I think, as you grow up, you see some couples, who everyone assumes are going to be together for forever, start to feel that pressure. The idea that their whole lives have already been spoken for starts to weigh on them. And then, rather than dealing with things rationally, people do things like cheat and find ways out that don’t involve sitting down and handling the situation.” Have a close encounter:
3 You can run. And the hero in Chicago darkwave synth-duo Wingtips’ video for their Cure-inspired single Deaf Pursuit clearly does. But you can’t hide — because like all creepy pursuers, the gothy pair are always right behind you, no matter how fast or far you go. So you might as well give in and pre-order their Aug. 23 album Exposure Therapy now if you know what’s good for you. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The song came to us at a time we were both expelling a shared toxic energy present in our lives – one that lived in people we were close to. One of the most dominant themes on the album is renewal, so I felt it proper to begin the album’s course by quite literally stating ‘you’re dead to me.’ I feel as though I’m speaking to that which I’m moving on from in my life. You can’t get more to the point than that! Haha!” Head for the hills:
4 They are not eggmen. They are Walrus. And the Britpop-loving Halifax weirdos will release their new album Cool To Who on Oct. 18. But first, they will whet your appetite with the hazy, psychedelic pop of the disc’s title cut — accompanied by a video designed to appeal to that guy you know who loves taking pictures with cars just a little too much for everybody’s comfort. Goo goo g’joob. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Cool To Who (is) a song about “making plans in the night and not being able to keep them the morning,” says songwriter Justin Murphy. The video, produced by At Land (Nicole Cecile Holland and Sarah Greenwood) with the support of the StanceEast car club, stars Jackson Briggs, a Halifax based music producer and degenerate Instagram comedian. The video concept was born from Holland’s obsession with internet photos of squat poses in front of cars.” I’m crying:
5 After you do the same job for nearly 40 years, chances are you have it down to a fine art. This is exactly where Shonen Knife find themselves — and where we find the Japanese pop-punk legends on Sweet Candy Power, the typically kitschy-cool video to their latest in an infinite line of chunky power-chord nuggets. Hey, after four decades, you don’t expect them to reinvent themselves, do you? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Sweet Candy Power is like a bag of Pop Rocks … It starts out sweet and tangy but quickly explodes into an all-out punk fest, celebrating the energy boost of all types of confections.” Enjoy the buzz:
6 I can’t even begin to imagine how many bars in the world are named Club Soda. So I don’t know precisely where Swiss guitar-and-drums duo Bunkr recorded the live tunes they’re sharing in this 18-minute Club Soda Session (though I presume their Club Soda is somewhere in Europe). All I know is that their instrumental math-rock goes down pretty smooth — and makes me interested in hearing more of their recent debut album Schluss. Bonus points to the drummer for sporting a Metz shirt. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The style is quite difficult to define, but on this album we find a good math rock base, a more angular noise rock sound and the sweet purring of stoner with a touch of psychedelic rock. These guys embody a certain idea of eclecticism, since they confess to adore both techno and JAAAZZZZZ as well as d-beat hardcore…” Join the club:
7 San Jose groove-rockers Zed clearly don’t appreciate the joys of dance music. But they obviously love the hell out of Lego figures, based on the stop-motion video for Chingus, the latest preview of their July 26 album Volume. I guess they came to play — in more ways than one. See if you can count all the famous rockers who show up in toy form. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The idea for the video come from the fact that I have always wanted to do a stop motion video, so I decided to just do it myself. I wanted to make a video that was just batshit crazy, with all kinds of fun cameos and shenanigans. I mean, come on, where else can you see LEGOs twerking?” Let the games begin:
8 Until I started watching all those baking shows on TV, I never knew how many different kinds of meringue there are. There’s Italian, French, Swiss, and now, Canadian — in the form of Kingston pop-punk duo The Meringues. After gracing this space with their video for Tell Me Twice last year, they’re back with the spunky single Cold Nights, which is every bit as crunchy and sweet as at least of one those meringues is supposed to be. Hey, just cause I watch doesn’t mean I know what the hell I’m talking about. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The song is an ode to the band’s punk and ska influences and features an irrepressible rhythm, infectious melody and their signature, emotionally complex conversational lead vocal interplay between the band’s principals, Ted Evans and Amanda Pants.” On your marks, get set … wait, her last name is Pants?
9 Every mountain turns to dust eventually. So it is that Amber Webber and Josh Wells — former members of Vancouver psychedelic stoner-rockers Black Mountain — have turned their side-project Lightning Dust into their main focus. And they display that commitment on the spooky and unsettlingly focused cut Devoted To, the first glimpse of their upcoming fourth full-length Spectre, due Oct. 4. Guess that’s what you call giving up the ghost. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Webber wrote the moving and haunting songs on Spectre during a challenging, introspective time of self-discovery and rebirth that resulted in her rededication to music. Throughout, she sings of deeply personal, yet relatable matters including her resilience and determination to reestablish her creative independence, the human need for change, and how it feels to face the demons in one’s past.” Ashes to ashes:
10 Do you believe in auras? If not, you might want to reconsider — at least when it comes to the Ontario metal outfit Auras. But if you’re expecting some out-of-body energy field, think again: As their latest track The Demoness makes clear, these guys practise music as a contact sport. Get in the game when their album Binary Garden drops next month. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The Demoness is one of the heavier songs off of Binary Garden,” says guitarist Josh Ligaya. “The lyrics were written with a fictional sci-fi approach where I talk about Mother Nature letting go of herself as a person would. She’s tired of being mistreated by people and decides to stop taking care of herself; along with everyone who lives with her (human beings). Her toxic lifestyle of metaphorical substance abuse eventually leads to destroying humanity as a result.” Believe it:
11 Dance music has always been its own form of religion. But instead of holding service on Sunday morning, it happens on Saturday night. Finally, Canadian producer Jacques Greene and rapper Cadence Weapon join forces to pay tribute to the Night Service with their pulsing single. Hallelujah and Amen, brothers and sisters. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Rollie (Pemberton)and I have known each other for years,” says Greene. “Finally making music together for his last full length felt long overdue and ever since we’ve met up in Toronto and made a bunch of stuff. Night Service and a few others felt… different. To the point where there was a moment when we wondered whether we should fully form a band and pursue this ‘vibe’ we’d stumbled upon. It’s a pleasure to finally share them with the world. A love letter to the club.” Can they get a witness:
12 Once you’ve spent years on the Moon, it’s time to head for the stars. So it is that American psyche-rock astronauts Moon Duo take a shift into dance music on their upcoming seventh album Stars Are The Light. Get aboard with their spaciously groove and sparkling bleep-bloop of the title cut. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Stars Are The Light has a sonic physicality that is at once propulsive and undulating; it puts dance at the heart of an expansive nexus that connects the body to the stars. These are songs about embodied human experience — love, change, misunderstanding, internal struggle, joy, misery, alienation, discord, harmony, celebration — rendered as a kind of dance of the self, both in relation to other selves and to the eternal dance of the cosmos.” Twinkle, twinkle:
13 You know what they say: Life is what you make of it. And with their latest single Back To Life, the duo of Kyan Palmer and nicopop make it into a warm pop confection with a sunny disposition and a laid-back groove. Talk about a wonderful life. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Packed with nicopop’s signature futuristic-pop production and Kyan Palmer’s snappy melodies and silky vocals, Back To Life is another piece of pop-perfection to add to the duo’s quickly growing repertoire.” Welcome back:
14 To quote Douglas Coupland: “The act of endless motion itself is a substitute for any larger form of thought.” Guelph singer-songwriter Anna Wiebe says she took his words to heart to write her July 12 album All I Do Is Move, which she’s previewing with the shivery, subtle strummer I Felt It In the Wind. Slow down long enough to savour it. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “All I Do Is Move focuses on cycles; the mental growth and movement that comes with learning life’s lessons. I Felt It In The Wind was one of the first songs that we finished for the record. I remember being so excited about how quickly it was all coming together. Everything came really easily, and I think that comes through on the track.” Make your move: