Home Hear Indie Roundup (Blackjack Edition) | 21 Tracks For a Winning Friday

Indie Roundup (Blackjack Edition) | 21 Tracks For a Winning Friday

Mobina Galore, Those Pretty Wrongs, Bros. Landreth and more start the weekend.

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Welcome to Friday. If you’ve been paying attention, you already know the drill: Publicists stuff my email with songs and videos before fleeing into the night. I slap them together into the fast ’n’ furious Friday RounDUMP. And then I flee into the night. Or at least the other room. Let’s move it:


1 Mobina Galore must have their act together. Or at least they must know something the rest of us don’t. After all, why else would the Winnipeg punk duo title their Sept. 6 album Don’t Worry? Perhaps it has something to do with the Escape Plan behind their latest single. Or perhaps I’m just reading too much into random titles. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Singer and guitarist Jenna Priestner comments Escape Plan came together very quickly in my backyard on a hot summer day in 2018 when I was spending more time writing acoustic jams; stuff that I didn’t think would get the full Mobina vibe, but when I released an acoustic video on YouTube that winter I got so much good feedback people we’re requesting it at shows, so we made it a little pop-punk banger.” Get on your bikes and ride:


2 Singer-songwriter Eamon McGrath’s Tantramar was one of the best Canadian albums you probably didn’t hear last year. Don’t make that mistake again this year when his seventh album Guts arrives Sept. 6. To help you remember, make his acquaintance with the help of his new live performance video for the tune In Like a Lion. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This was filmed earlier this month with Welcome To The West when he stopped in Calgary as part of his Canadian summer tour. He’s joined by Darrek Anderson, his touring pedal steel player.” Enjoy the mane event:


3 Of the umpteen zillion albums coming out this fall, one I’m looking forward to is Zed for Zulu, the sophomore release from Those Pretty Wrongs, the duo of Big Star drummer Jody Stephens and singer-guitarist Luther Russell. Thankfully, I am lucky enough to get advance copies of these things. And you are lucky enough to get a taste of what’s in store, via the single Ain’t Nobody But Me. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It was actually a friend of Stephens’ named Robert who inspired both the jangly Ain’t Nobody But Me and, in its wake, the rest of Zed For Zulu’s diverse 10 tracks.”He calls from time to time and says, ‘Hey, ain’t nobody but me, Robert,'” Stephens explains. “It breaks my heart a little bit because he’s had struggles in his life, so the song has more to do with a relationship. That was the first one. That got us started again on that path for writing songs for this record, and here we are with another one.” Huzzah:


4 They say that breaking up is hard to do. Breaking Down isn’t necessarily a cakewalk either, as award-winning alternative-electronic artist iskwē illustrates in her powerful new single of the same name — a preview of her Nov. 8 album achakosuk. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Breaking Down is about me finding my way back to my clan, the butterfly clan, which represents my family in the spirit world. I wanted to show the emergence of self, by shedding layers of the past while discovering strength in being true to who I am. Our vision, director Jessica Lea Fleming and myself, was to be as inclusive as possible, with each of the dancers representing different communities – Indigenous, people of colour, LGBTQ, as a way to honour our various stages of emergence and growth in finding comfort in who we are.” Step right up:


5 For Matthew Chaim, this time it’s personal. Well, truth be told, it’s probably almost always personal for the Montreal singer-songwriter who now makes his home in L.A. But his latest single Sunflowers is even more personal: They were his late father’s favourite flower. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Sunflowers is a deeply personal ode to parental loss. Matthew explains that the song was written as a conversation between father and son; it’s a chance for him to be able to share “with him both the helpless sadness of missing him – of missing those days that are now so far gone – and also the anger I have towards him for leaving so early in life.” Stand tall:


6 D.C. electro masters (and Friends of Tinnitist) Color Palette are back — but not for long, based on the title of their latest single Marrakech to Bombay. Sounds like a helluva trip. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: Who has time to write a press release when you’re moving that far in less than four minutes? Hang on for dear life:


7 It’s a big day for Devarrow. The Canadian singer-songwriter (whose real name is Graham Ereaux) is celebrating a brand new record deal that will see the release of his as-yet-untitled sophomore album on Oct. 4. Join the celebration by checking out his new video for the track Heart Attack. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Inspired by artists such as Neil Young, Shakey Graves, and Fleet Foxes, Devarrow writes music which is lyrically and sonically inspired by the attempt to reconcile a wandering spirit with the demands of the modern world.” Sounds like he’s as serious as …well, you know:


8 Australian metacore dealers Thy Art is Murder clearly know a thing or two about life and death. For instance, they know the old gods are dead. And that they’ve been replaced by technology, drugs and social media. Don’t take my word for it: Check out New Gods, the latest single and video from their just-released fifth album Human Target. Or just keep reading. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:New Gods is interwoven in theme with the song Chemical Christ, discussing the idea of mental health and modern inventions’ intervention with a natural state of consciousness. The idea that social media is one of the major driving forces of increasing levels of depression in the western world was fascinating to us, and we thought what better way to use the platform ironically to discuss these ideas than by using an aspect ratio designed specifically for it. We hope you watch the clip and then put your phone down, life is better through the eye of the beholder than the lens of an algorithm.” Bull’s-eye:


9 Today, Icelandic folk-rockers Of Monsters & Men released their third album Fever Dream. So what better day for California metalcore brigade Of Mice & Men to announce the release of their sixth album Earth & Sky on Sept. 27 — and to share the new SF-flavoured video for the title cut. And if you think that’s a little confusion, just wait until we hear what the band Of Mice & Monsters have to say about all that? (Note: That last one is not a real band. I hope.) SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Earth & Sky is a song about resilience,” said singer/bassist Aaron Pauley. “It’s about understanding that you can rise above whatever it is that keeps trying to drag you down, no matter what. For me, a lot of the time, I’m writing about battling with my own mind. For you, it may be a person, or an obstacle, or a circumstance. Regardless of whatever it is that’s trying relentlessly to drag you down, I hope this song empowers you to rise above it with authority, like it does me every time I sing it.” Man up:


10 Vancouver’s all-queer, all-female alt-garage rockers Strange Breed have been called a “grittier B-52’s” — or what a collaboration between Veruca Salt, Paramore, Bikini Kill and Hole would sound like. If you can imagine that, great. If not, no sweat; you don’t have to. You just have to check out their new video for the song Closer below. That’s way easier. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Says lead vox Nicolle Dupas, “The song is about queer desire, or desire as a whole: to be loved, to be accepted for who you are. To be pushed away or taken advantage of, but to fight for who you are and what you want. To be learning and finding yourself through your identity.” They’re getting warmer:


11 Finnish rock vampires The 69 Eyes will rise again when their dozenth studio album West End arrives Sept. 13. If that doesn’t get you motor running, maybe this will: The roaring clip for the preview track Cheyenna. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Jyrki 69 reveals the following about his lyrics: “When I heard the demo of the song, I had the chorus for Cheyenna immediately in my mind. It was like a wind whispering or a canyon echoing her name from the past. Who was she? A Native American princess? As I googled the name, it turned out that a lot of American girls under that name have gone missing. A female ghost rider story was born! Cheyenna is freedom’s child – forever.” Hit the road, jack:


12 You know Mr. Green Jeans. Maybe you also know Mr. Green Thumb. But have you ever met Mr. Greenlight? No. This is your lucky day: Montreal singer-songwriter Hua Li is only too happy to introduce you via her song from her Sept. 20 album Dynasty — which is conveniently titled (yes) Mr. Greenlight. Of course, you may not really want to meet him. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Proclaimed a daddy issues anthem, Mr. Greenlight stitches together different musical moods to depict the conflict-ridden feelings of love and repulsion experienced by the daughters of philandering fathers. A desire for validation strikes against Hua Li’s condemning words, alternating longing melodies with quick-witted rap verses.” Punch it:


13 If at first you don’t succeed, pray, pray again. That seems to be the motto of veteran Canadian/American composer, performer and transgender activist Beverly Glenn-Copeland: Some 15 years after the release of his album Primal Prayer, he’s reissuing it on Aug. 9. But first, get a glimpse of the big picture with his single In the Image. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:In the Image takes the form of non-secular sermon, a glorious list of rules and affirmations for happiness and fulfilment. Glenn-Copeland’s astounding voice radiates light and positivity as he sings “Don’t let a little worry make you crazy, don’t let a little heartache make you cold…. you are beautiful, you are wonderful, you are marvellous”. In the Image features a typically audacious soundscape, a multi-layered backing of Latin and western percussion lays an unstoppable groove while slow moving synths and gospel-tinged backing vocals combine to create a stunning amalgamation of dance, gospel and meditative ambience.” Quite the scene:


14 Dearly beloved: We are gathered here today to get through this thing called a video. More specifically, the animated video for the “weird-ass love song” wandering eye from L.A.’s Astronots. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The single narrates the true story of a couple who despite their fairytale wedding, were living a complete lie. Sonically the single features 60’s soaked melodies, soaring harmonies and an infectious toe-tapping rhythm.” Speak now or forever hold your peace:


15 You gotta start somewhere. For Winnipeg duo The Bros. Landreth, it all started in 1987 — the year they became brothers. So no wonder ’87 serves as the title of their highly anticipated sophomore album due Sept. 27. Get an early start on the proceedings with the upbeat lead track Got to Be You. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The tune, co-written by Joey and Dave Landreth alongside longtime Zac Brown Band collaborator Wyatt Durette, is a light hearted earworm about being so over the moon in love with a knock-out human being. Love, however, is not a story often heard in the band’s musical catalogue of heartbreakers. Joey Landreth quotes, “Whenever ideas like this come around, I usually let them fall by the wayside. I found myself in a room writing with Wyatt he asked if I wanted to go for lunch or try another tune? We ended up with Got to Be You, and also going for lunch. I brought it home to Dave and he made a few Dave-esque songwriting tweaks, and what you get is what you got!” Your number’s up:


16 When you have no destination, any road will get you there. Even a road called Hugo Alley. Or a rock band from Kitchener called Hugo Alley, who have a new single called No Destination. See how it all ties together? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Close your eyes and allow yourself to be immediately transported to an ocean highway, pine trees lining the road on one side and endless ocean on the other. That’s just one version of the utopia we hope to create with No Destination.” Good luck with that:


17 Nobody wants to die. Everybody wants to live forever. But L.A. indie-pop singer-songwriter Alex Barnes — who operates under the handle Girl Wilde — has taken it one step further: She’s written a single called I Don’t Wanna Die about the topic. And she’s sharing it here. Live it up. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:I Don’t Wanna Die marries ecstatic electro-pop melodies with glam-rock stylings in order to create the ‘bubblegum grunge’ sound that Girl Wilde has become known for.” Is it to die for? Or something to live for? You decide:


18 Another week, another instalment in North Carolina indie-electronic artist Crywolf’s ongoing Oblivion [Reimagined] series. This time, L.A. producer Eliminate offers up his reimagined remake of the track Fallout. Is everybody in? Then we’ll begin. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Eliminate infuses Fallout with his signature wonky bass-lines and dubstep sensibilities, transforming Crywolf’s track into a pulsing, high-energy listen.”
Oblivion awaits:


19 We all know what girls want. No, not that. Get your mind out of the gutter. They want to have fun. Cyndi Lauper taught us that a generation ago. And Toronto alt-rockers Nikki’s Wives stylishly and subtly reinforce the message with their ultra-soft cover of the chart-topping classic. Who says we’re not the fortunate ones? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Ahead of their upcoming EP, their debut with AntiFragile Music a (expected to be out later this year), Nikki’s Wives have shared their original take on Cyndi Lauper’s classic Girls Just Want To Have Fun. A soft, lullaby feel, vocalist Nikki Whitehead loving coos barely go above a whisper.” Hey, what else you gonna do with your life?


20+21 Everybody loves a great cover tune. And what’s better than one cover tune? Two cover tunes. Which is why Hamilton rockers The Dirty Nil are dropping the third two-fer in their You’re Welcome series of summertime cover tunes. Up this afternoon: David Bowie’s Queen Bitch and The Who’s The Kids Are Alright. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It gives us great pleasure to reintroduce these songs to the world, at the volume they were meant to be heard.” Loud and proud, baby: