Home Hear Indie Roundup (Immortality Edition) | 15 Tracks To Liven Up Your Midweek

Indie Roundup (Immortality Edition) | 15 Tracks To Liven Up Your Midweek

Get over the hump with tuns from Alice Gray, Frank Iero, Micah Erenberg and more.

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Alice Gray is bedeviled, Sixteen Scandals are all thumbs, Calcedon sees the future, Micah Erenberg drops the chicken and more in today’s Roundup. I had lunch today with an 85-year-old man who has more energy than I do. The secret to his immortality? Drink dark beer and never under any circumstances eat vegetables. Clearly, I’ve been doing it all wrong.


1 California indie-popster Alice Gray finds the heart of darkness beating beneath the sun-dappled exterior of her existence in the video for her latest single Hell With You — reportedly shot on actual 16mm film. So apparently that’s still a thing. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I’ve been wanting to do a full narrative that incorporates styles that really reflect my taste,” Alice explains of the Hell With You video. “I was inspired by the adventure of Turbo Kid, which is like an R-rated Stranger Things, and by Phantom Thread’s storyline which really characterized the concept of ‘I kind of like living in Hell With You.” The devil you say:


2 Toronto punks Sixteen Scandals give a new meaning to group therapy — and to Fight Club — with their video for their latest cut Middle C, the first single from their second album Nothing to C Here. C what they did there? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Imagine if life was just work, social media scrolling, and re-runs of X Factor? Fucking kill me. Middle C is all about getting stuck in a job or relationship that makes you miserable, but feels too comfortable to leave. Most of us are so busy just trying to make rent, or staring at our phones all night to realize that our lives are caught in this cycle of suck. The drive to find purpose or some sort of meaning within our current socio-economic climate is a recurring theme in our music.” Meet them in the middle:


3 If you think the present sucks, just wait until you see the future. Or at least the future imagined by Canadian electro-pop artist Calcedon in her video for the tribal, futuristic and unsettling track Ice In The Desert, the latest single from her album Echo In. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Ice in the Desert is a lament. It is a song of doubt and perhaps even horror. What if our own capacity for change and discomfort is not great enough to soldier through and face the challenges that are ahead? Will we listen to the voices that call out in warning? Will we be hypnotized by our own vices until it is too late?” One guess:


4 Fellow Manitoba homeboy Micah Erenberg is no fool. He knows how to take advantage of a trend — and how to make the most of a delayed flight. He combines both those attributes in the ASMR-inspired, hotel-shot video for his new single Just Who I Am, a sneak peek at his just-announced Oct. 4 sophomore album Love Is Gonna Find You. Drop the chicken! SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This tune is pretty much verbatim quotes from a text conversation I had with my friend Ellen. We were talking about our lives as artists and about how it’s hard not constantly reconsider everything that you’re doing. I hope this song can speak to folks who are struggling with self worth or worth of their work. It’s important to know that you’re never alone. We’re all struggling and we’re all making it work, together.” Chew on that:


5 If you were putting together a split album featuring two stoner-rock outfits, it’s hard to imagine a better pairing than Devil’s Witches and Saint Karloff — if only based on the band names. Well, you’ll have to wait until Sept. 6 for that album, the fittingly titled Coven of the Ultra-Riff. But you can whet your appetite right now with the suitably dark and creepy video for Saint Karloff’s monumental epic At the Mountains of Loudness. You might think it’s an instrumental at first; it’s not. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Hard-hitting power trio Saint Karloff have been making their mark on the international heavy music scene since the release of their debut album, All Heed the Black God, in 2018. Featuring Mads Melvold on guitar and vocals, Ole Sletner on bass, and Adam Suleiman on drums, this Norwegian band is influenced by the music of yesterday and the world of today.” And Satan, presumably:


6 As I’ve said before, youth is not always wasted on the young. Today’s case in point: Julien Chang. The 19-year-old Baltimore university student just signed his first record deal. And the multi-instrumentalist, producer, and singer-songwriter marks the occasion with the release of his funky debut single Of the Past — and a weird video to match. Hope you like the colour red. And epic keyboard solos. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Of The Past (is) a high-octane disco-funk track that highlights his extraordinary talents. Self-recorded and self-produced in his home studio, Of The Past is the perfect introduction to Julien, his remarkable vision and breathtaking instrumental chops.” Get down:


7 You know what they say about people who don’t learn from history. Well, singer-songwriter Little Scream (real name: Laurel Sprengelmeyer) has a few choice words for them in her politically potent and lushly layered Dear Leader, a preview of her Oct. 25 album Speed Queen. And she’s not alone: The accompanying video features cameos by The National, Arcade Fire, Superchunk, Holly Miranda, Leif Vollebekk, Mélissa Laveaux, and more. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This is a lyric video made up largely from crowd-sourced submissions from friends around the world, from São Paulo, Paris, and Barcelona to Des Moines, all shot on a phone,” says Sprengelmeyer. “Many artists are pictured, but many are people I encountered while working on the video with documentary filmmaker Shannon Walsh.” Lead on:


8 I wouldn’t even dream of trying to pronounce the name of Swedish stoner-rock shamans Besvärjelsen. But I can say this: Their handle means ‘conjuring,’ and the female-fronted quintet’s new single When We Fall — from their Aug. 9 EP Frost — is fittingly bewitching. So don’t be surprised if you fall under their spell. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The song is about searching for good when it feels hopeless, The difficulty in finding good people and not just surrounding yourself with stuff that drags you down. It doesn’t really tie in with the video though. The video came out of an idea to make a simple video where all band members where present, since only two appeared in the previous videos from the last album.” That says it all:


9 How would you define a great party? Whatever it is, I can predict with virtual certainly that it bears little resemblance to the Great Party depicted in the latest video from My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero and his band Future Violents. And if by some chance the punk vets’ bash resembles one you actually have attended, seek help immediately. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I knew immediately when we finished writing Great Party that it needed to be a single off the record and that we needed to make a video for that song. when I wrote the treatment for it I could see the whole thing playing out in my head, and I knew that our friends needed to be cast in it! I saw this weird gathering that you couldn’t tell if it was an AA meeting or the worlds bleakest birthday, and I knew our friend Dani from Surfbort had to be the one to light the fuse that would turn everything on it’s head. I really love this video, it may have turned out even better than I first imagined it.” Party on:


10 I don’t know about you, but I find it hard enough to deal with life up close. Clearly, Shannon Lay is a braver woman than I — the folk-pop singer-songwriter’s latest song tackles Death Up Close in suitably stark and bleak terms. Thankfully, the colourful Simpsons-fuelled video that goes with leavens the proceedings quite nicely. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “With that song, I wanted to recognize that everyone else is going through something and reflect on that. Don’t be so close-minded to think you’re the only one who’s got issues, in fact, find comfort in the thought that everyone is on their own journey” Lay explains. What starts as an Eastern-influenced song morphs into an avant-garde sound bath. “I had this idea of the violin ascending. Then Mikal Cronin came in with the saxophone and just blew me away. I love the idea of building a song like that, take people by surprise.” Why, you little:


11 Some daydreams are more, well, dreamy than others. Brooklyn singer-songwriter Nicole Rodriguez — who works under the handle Pearla — takes that to the max with the swirling beauty, hazy textures and ethereal overtones of Daydream, a cut from her Sept. 6 EP Quilting & Other Activities. Lie back and enjoy. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Her vocal performance is dynamic at least, manic at most — a celestial whisper into howling emotional hemorrhage into cartoonish melody into gauzy lullaby. She fills the songs with life forms — a yellow bird, a gray flower, a souvenir starfish — transforming every emotion into a living creature. Stray noises collected from all corners of the world — Tibetan sheep bells, screaming baboons, lap steels, synths — wriggle around her creations with unpredictable ease. The result is more texture than genre, something listeners can truly feel.” It’s a dream come true:


12 If you commute to work, you know how it is: You sit there wishing your were anywhere else. Like, maybe, a Caribbean island. Well, Venezuelan-born, London-based duo Intaya can help you out with that: Their debut single Guaguancó (pronounced Wah-wahn-co) is billed as “a commute to an electric Latin Caribbean Island in a London Tube train.” Quite a trip. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Guaguancó is a homage to a traditional style of music that we love from Cuba that involves powerful interlocking drums, voice and dance. Having experienced it up close in Havana and studied it ever since, I wanted to use it as an influence but not replicate it as such. We built the song with this inspiration as well as the beach of Choroní, this brings a certain vibe, and the music is a nod of appreciation to this style of music and to Paola’s memories of the Venezuelan Caribbean coasts.” No standing:


13 Victoria folksinger Dylan Perkons has one of those shivery voices that grab you right away. Good thing he has songwriting skills to match — as you’ll hear on his latest single Desert Island. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Desert Island comes from my own tendency to go inward and seek isolation in times of emotional distress, partnered with the need to be seen and heard and share this life with people I love. It touches on the struggle between these two things – both the immense capacity of vulnerability, and the shame that’s often felt when we isolate ourselves.” Room for one more:


14 “I can’t take anymore,” bellow Twin Cities punks Off With Their Heads on the hard-hitting and propulsive Be Good, the title track from their fifth album, due Aug. 16. That’s a shame — though given the state of the world today, we can all understand how he feels. On the plus side, I can guarantee you won’t feel the same about the cathartic cut in question. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The title is an answer to that question of what you’re supposed to do now that the world is so awful and the climate of this stupid country is so shitty,” says frontman Ryan Young. “Be good, be loud — that’s sometimes all you can do, I guess, as cheesy as that sounds.” Good enough:


15 Borders are meant to divide us and define. But they are also meant to be crossed. That’s what French electronic musician Monomotion (real name: Erol Engintalay) is all about once again on his latest single Bolders, the latest appetizer for his July 26 EP Fujisan. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Borders was first made with the intention of symbolising Hope and to focus on the simple idea of reaching a certain freedom. It ended up being a therapeutic track that I wanted to sound like something light, dreamy, full of hope,” says Engintalay. “If I think about it, it makes me think that somehow this track is really a representation of my mood when I realised that I was granted a second chance and I had to take it. I finally had a source of hope and freedom to start doing what I loved the most, again.” Cross over: