Home Hear Indie Roundup (Holiday Edition) | Six Tracks For Your Monday Afternoon

Indie Roundup (Holiday Edition) | Six Tracks For Your Monday Afternoon

Bad Flamingo, Atom Age, Spiritbox and more close the long weekend in style.

Bad Flamingo light a fire, The Atom Age look sharp, Spiritbox go canniballistic, David Sweetlow lets it flow and more in today’s Long Weekend Roundup. And now, time for a holiday Monday beverage, methinks:

1 A little mystery is a good thing. Far too many artists fail to grasp that notion in our age of oversharing, constant social media bombardment and endless hype. Thankfully, rising stars Bad Flamingo have not only avoided those pitfalls — they’ve somehow managed to remain refreshingly and impressively anonymous. Their website and social media accounts don’t even reveal their hometown or true identities (their bio refers to them as The One On the Left and The One on The Right), never mind the story behind their Zorro-masked look and noirish, twangy balladry. And near as I can tell, they don’t perform live and haven’t done any interviews yet. So far, their output consists of the 2018 album I Said a Prayer Twice For Both My Faces and a handful of YouTube videos — including this one for their sultry and seductive new track Fire. Good thing that one peep at that will tell you everything you need to know: They’re fantastic. SAY THE PRESS RELEASE:Bad Flamingo is an alternative western duo. Sounds like: Singing Cowboys with a drum machine. Fire is a single off an upcoming album and is in Yellowstone Season 2. Fire was shot on expired Super 8 film. ‘Give a man a mask, and he will tell you the truth.’ — Oscar Wilde.” Enjoy the slow burn:

2 The good news: Never Looking, the new single and video from Oakland punks The Atom Age, is a barnburning blast of swaggering R&B-fuelled punk (or punk-fuelled R&B, depending on your perspective) that will goose your spirits, raise your blood pressure, cure what ails you — and maybe, just maybe, renew your faith in humanity (or at least the healing powers of a great rock ’n’ roll song). The better news: It comes from their Aug. 23 album Cry Til’ You Die — and the rest of the album is every bit as mighty and magnificent, based on what I’ve sampled. The best news: It’s their fourth album, so there’s apparently plenty more where this came from. And if you’re new to their boogaloo, you’ve got some catching up to do. Get started right here, right now. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “A rocket propelled ode to the unhinged power of ‘60s punk and R&B, the Age are more Sonics than Hives, and more Link Wray than Jack White.” Have you heard the news? There’s good rockin’ tonight:

3 I introduced you to Dutch quintet Spiritbox in March when they sent me their sophisticated and cinematic video for the bleakly romantic single Doris, a tune that also earned adjectives like menacing, evocative, funereal and haunted. Well, their dark-rock followup Cannibal Days may also deserve a few of those accolades — but for completely different reasons, as their Pythonesque animated video makes horrifically and humourously clear. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Their debut album Milk offers 10 self penned harrowing songs with cinematic atmospheres. Ghosts, cannibals, Western outlaws, femmes fatales and flying squids are inhabiting Spiritbox’s lyrical imagery, embedded in haunting melodies and darkness.” Don’t lose your head:

4 Melancholy British balladeers are all the rage these days. And you won’t find a better example of the genre than the gracefully flowing, stylishly layered and tenderly evocative I Cry, the latest single from veteran singer-songwriter and oustanding guitarist David Sweetlow’s just-released album The Times We Live In. Speaking of which, he’s lived in plenty: His career dates back to ’70s U.K. power-pop outfit Tonight. Even more interesting, though, is the place he lives in now: Sapporo, Japan. It’s like they say: You can take the balladeer out of Britain, but … SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:David Sweetlow brings together a gentle folk sound with a modern production style and a well-traveled perspective to both his lyrics and guitar playing. It’s an easy kind of ambiance to embrace and be simultaneously embraced by. There’s a poetic aura to many of the songs, as well as, in equal parts, personal intimacy, so his songs feel both accessible and truthful to the artist behind them.” Look into his eyes:


5 Pop quiz: What do Homer’s Odyssey, Cat Power and the song Sexus Plexus Nexus by Pierre Kwenders have in common? They were the inspiration behind Toronto indie-pop trio Silver Pools’ ethereally trippy, melodically glistening charmer A Kiss For the Swimmer. OK, maybe that wasn’t exactly an obvious one. But the question of whether to watch the accompanying video is a no-brainer. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:A Kiss for the Swimmer blows a kiss goodbye to friends or lovers who seem so giving and warm but become manipulative and abusive once they have gained your trust. The song started with a backwards and slowed down sample of a synth part from our first album, Memoirs of an Oblong Sphere. For the recording of A Kiss for the Swimmer we ran Miranda’s vocals through a mid-1930’s bubble machine, mic’d Adrienne’s bass amp with a fleece mitten and I strummed my trusty electric mandolin while our drum machine played along.” Everybody into the pool:

6 Usually, when singer-songwriters say they’ve been nominated for an award, it’s a Grammy, a Juno or some other music prize. Not Axel Mansoor — he was up for a Daytime Emmy once after writing a song for General Hospital. That’s a new one. Here’s another new one: His latest pop single London Grey, which is far sunnier than you might expect. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The track emits a melancholy tone through mellow guitars and yearning lyricism, narrating the feeling of wanting to run back home and escape to somewhere where you don’t have to try so hard to be someone or something.” Just what the doctor ordered: