500 Miles to Memphis have their hands full, 18th & Addison are their own worst enemies, Jack West stages a revival, Temptress huff some Pam and more in today’s Roundup. I finally just watched Bohemian Rhapsody the other day. Gotta say, aside from some award-worthy achievements in cosmetic and prosthetic dentistry, I really don’t see what all the fuss was about.
1 Bands always promise you a bloody good time. But Cincinnati Americana-punks 500 Miles to Memphis deliver — and then some — in the gleefully gory and hilariously horrible video for their latest single Hold On Tight. You might not want to watch this one while you’re eating. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This concept started out as being inspired by one of those cutesy #followmeto Instagram pics,” explains director Casey Shelton. “You know, where it’s a guy’s POV of a girl leading him by the hand through some gorgeous landscape. We thought it would be funny to do one of those, except where the girl keeps leading him faster and faster until he can’t keep up, so then he is being dragged, and eventually he lifts off and has to ‘hold on tight’. (Because all of the best music videos are just literal interpretations of the song title).” Open wide:
2 Being in a group can often be exciting. Occasionally it can even be dangerous. But I think most bands would be glad that it’s seldom as dangerous at the perils encountered by New Jersey pop-punks 18th & Addison in their action-packed video for the single Leeches, the title track to their upcoming sophomore album. Of course, in the end, they have only themselves to blame. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “We really wanted to do something different then we usually do with our videos. We usually take a much more comedic approach but with this one we wanted to make it a bit more serious and tell a little bit of a darker story to drive home the vibe of the song.” Turn the corner:
3 Let’s be honest: Kids generally have lousy taste in music. It’s not always their fault; they just haven’t heard enough good stuff to know better. Thankfully, Jack West is something of an exception. He’s obviously spent some quality time soaking up the sounds of classic rock and pop — and on his Aug. 2 release For the Record, the 14-year-old singer-guitarist channels them into songs like his latest single and video Revival. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Revival is glam-rollicking and manages to channel the spirit of Ziggy Stardust and Mott the Hoople — as well as Foo Fighters and Jack — with whimsical flower power sentiments. The track proves that sometimes it takes youth to lead us to the next place, to revive rock ‘n’ roll by taking the old and putting a new spin on it.” No kidding:
4 I pride myself on having seen most of Pam Grier’s movies (I even interviewed her in person for Jackie Brown, which was a huge thrill). But even I have never managed to catch her 1974 sword-and-sandals gladiator pic The Arena. So I have to thank Dallas rock brigade Temptress for reworking some of its battle scenes into the mirror-image video for their hard-driving (and fittingly titled) cut Heavy Woman, the latest single from their recent EP. Bonus points for being able to go toe-to-toe with Pam — artistically speaking — and not get lost in the shuffle. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Kelsey Wilson (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Andi Cuba (Drums/Vocals), Erica Pipes (Rhythm Guitar/Vocals), and Christian Wright (Bass/Vocals) all decided to get together in mid-January 2019, for a simple afternoon of rocking out with the intent for nothing more than keeping their skills sharpened. They weren’t planning to be a band. It just worked.” Are you not entertained?
5 Some bands are outstanding in their fields. Winnipeg emo-popsters Alone I Walk are out roaming around in the forest in their latest video Get Up, a preview of the sibling duo’s upcoming single. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Get Up started out as this song Franky and myself (Pascal) started jamming about a year ago while rehearsing and writing. We had gotten most of the song worked out musically and then ended up sitting on it. After some extensive touring and trying to readjust to life at home we had found ourselves at a new low and weren’t sure what to do with ourselves or our music, it felt as though we were burnt out from the in between moments and life in general. There was no motivation or drive left in the tank for what felt like an eternity. Although frustrated and finding it hard to work, we decided to start/continue writing in a dull state of mind. We stumbled across this song we had worked on months prior and decided to completely rearrange it, but this time we had 6+ months of frustration, pent up thoughts and emotions to write about and get out of our systems, The Song is about questioning yourself and life as a whole at your lowest point. What came to be is Get Up.” And get out:
6 Looking for a hit of Chinese/Canadian art-punk to get through your Thursday afternoon? Well, the spiky, hypnotically chugging angularity of Notes Underground — the single from Gong Gong Gong’s Oct. 4 debut Phantom Rhythm 幽靈節奏 — is probably your best option. In every sense of the word. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The track provides a preview of the way the group unites musical cultures on the album, drawing on inspirations as wide-ranging as Bo Diddley, Cantonese opera, West African desert blues, drone, and electronic music. The band eschew traditional rock percussion, the locomotive chug of Ng’s guitar combines with Frank’s thumping, harmonics-laden bass lines to conjure an aura of ghostly snare hits and timpani overtones. Over Frank’s enigmatic melody, Ng sings in Cantonese, piecing together abstract tales of absurdity, doubt, desire, and lust.” Going, going:
7 Corb Lund knows a good song when he hears one. As he oughta. After all, he’s written enough of them over the years. So many, in fact, that the Alberta country-rocker has taken a break from his own material and recorded a collection of cover tunes. The appropriately titled Cover Your Tracks EP arrives Sept. 13, but you don’t have to wait until then to enjoy his denim-funk cover of the Shel Silverstein-penned Dr. Hook classic The Cover of the Rolling Stone, featuring an assist from fellow roots-rocker Hayes Carll. Buy five copies for your mother. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I’ve been playing this in bars for years because it’s always made a great honky tonk tune. And the subject matter all feels kinda familiar. Thanks to brother Hayes for jumping in.” Meanwhile Carll muses, “You mean I get to hang out with my bad-ass country singing, horse riding, guitar picking, longtime friend, Corb Lund, record a classic Shel Silverstein song, and then accept all of the glory, fame, money, and accolades that will surely follow? Count me in!” They never have to be alone:
8 If I had my way, Duluth slow-core heroes Low would release a new album every year. Sadly, nobody listens to me — so we probably will have to wait a while for a followup to the trio’s brilliant 2018 release Double Negative. Thankfully, Philadelphia producer and DJ King Britt is stepping in to fill the void the best way he knows how: By remixing the album track Fly into a gorgeous EDM gem that suitably soars, swoops and glides. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “As a longtime Low fan, a huge amount of respect went into the mix. I loved their new sonic direction, which spoke to my Fhloston Paradigm project. My mix was a response and continuation in a way of a magical space they already created. Mimi Parker’s vocals were some of her best. A true honor.” Take flight:
9 Even I get tired of words sometimes. Fortunately, Ikebe Shakedown are here to help. The 10-year-old New York instrumental ensemble are putting the finishing touches on their latest album Kings Left Behind, another Vulcan mind-meld of ’70s soul, raw psychedelic style, and cinematic Western soundtracks with powerful grooves and soaring melodies. Get a sample with their spacious, spaghetti-flavoured gem Horses. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Horses started as a little riff Robin was playing during the first sessions for The Way Home, way back in 2014,” recalls Ikebe Shakedown’s Dave Bourla. “I found the recording and sent it to Robin on his birthday a year later. Eventually, after some writing with the rest of guys and an epic over-the-phone session, the band ended up with a really different type of song for us. In many ways, it’s our most complete effort to tell a full story, from its production to its instrumentation. Having just the guitar at the start and then adding the whole band gradually, all bookended by the wind – hopefully people can let it wash over them and stir something deep in their imaginations.” Saddle up:
10 What goes around comes around. And Scott Hardware has been around. The Toronto musician — whose real name is Scott Harwood — used to make electro-pop under the handle Ken Park, and has worked with Hooded Fang and Ostrich Tuning. Now, after a stint in Berlin that generated his dance-oriented 2016 disc Mutate Repeat Infinity, he’s come around again. Hardware’s latest cut Bound Together finds him shifting towards quirky, meandering indie-pop laced with laid-back attitude and ramshackle majesty. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Hardware continues his quest to find the limit of what can be called ‘electronic music.’ Dusty pianos and heavy drums rub up against digital squeaks and squeals to dazzling effect, all anchored by a naked vocal performance.” He should come around more often:
11 Usually, reporters write books about their time in journalism. Not Area Resident. Instead, the multi-tasking Ottawa indie artist — whose real name is Doug Hempstead — says the songs on his upcoming fourth album Viscount draw heavily on his days writing crime stories for the Ottawa Sun. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from the lyrics to his first single Viscount I, a crunchy little garage-rock nugget that also features the talents of childhood pal and Blinker the Star majordomo Jordon Zadorozny. It would be a crime to skip it. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: Nothing. Hey, even writers know when to shut up (except me, of course).
12 Gifted singer-songwriters can transform painful experiences into beautiful art. Exhibit A: Montreal’s Frase. The multi-instrumentalist and beatmaker’s latest homemade single takes its name from a truly unpleasant experience — Paper Cuts — but ends up fashioning a lightly bouncing pop gem flecked with African rhythm and lilt. And nary a Band-Aid in sight. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Paper Cuts speaks to meeting somewhere in the middle with compassion and cooperation in order to move forward as humanity. The mood of the song is upbeat and feels like summer with an Afrobeat vibe, but the lyrical narrative is deep and analytical of our current socio-political system and culture of greed. The increasing unbalance within the Earth’s ecosystem is being directly affected by our overindulgent abundances and also by people being forced to live in scarcity.” Call it a slice of life: