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Indie Roundup | Seven Songs To Spice Up Your Thursday

Amber Run, Tom Boy, Muffs and more will make your day.

Amber Run join the circus, Tom Boy get wasted, Aaron Lee Tasjan gets a do-over and more in today’s Roundup. There’s a new Vietnamese restaurant in my neighbourhood; one guess where I’m having dinner.

1 Neon Circus, as country fans out there may recall, is the title of a Brooks and Dunn song. It also happens to be the title of a new single and video from U.K. psychedelic indie-rockers Amber Run. And thankfully, the title is the only thing the two tracks have in common. Come one, come all — and come back for more when their album Philophobia arrives Sept. 27. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Amber Run frontman Joe Keough cuts straight to the point when speaking about the song’s meaning, explaining that Neon Circus is a song about getting the fuck off your phone. Nothing meaningful happens with your head tilted downwards towards your black mirror. It’s a song that is a call to action to be there with us.” Of course, if you’re reading this on your phone, he’s just kidding:

2 I don’t know about you, but when I get an email that begins with the words, “Wastecase is a somewhat self-prophetic song,” I’m gonna check it out. Even if the guy sending it to me referred to me as Tinnist. Guess he really wasn’t kidding with that title. But at least Tom Boy — a Toronto duo that includes former Cairo member Nate Daniels — have it together enough to pen a decent pop-rock number and shoot a watchable video to accompany it. Fair enough — though I believe I will refer to them as Toy Bom from now on. Hell, it’s a better name anyway. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “For some, Wastecase can serve as a breakup anthem or a song you crank up after quitting a job you’ve loathed for years – whatever it is, let it be cathartic!” Thanks, Toy Bom!

3 You know what they say: If something’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. Or, in the case of Aaron Lee Tasjan, doing over. Exactly a year after the release of his 2018 album Karma For Cheap, the veteran singer-songwriter will return with Karma For Cheap: Reincarnated, a totally reimagined and re-recorded version of the disc. For those who need something completely new, there’s the video for My Whole Life is Over (All Over Again), which seems thematically fitting, to say the least. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It seems like everything is getting a second look these days. In a time where everything from news cycles to songs come and go quickly, a second look at them in a new context offers us the opportunity to consider what there is we may have missed the first time around.” First things first:

4 What makes a good song even better? A good song in service of a good cause. Like the non-profit Rainey Day Fund’s new showcase of Rainey Day Recordings, a series of live videos featuring artists the Fund believes should be heard. The first instalment spotlights folksinger Amythyst Kiah, who shares Wild Turkey, a moving tale of pain, loss and despair. What, you were expecting a fund named for blues icon Ma Rainey to be showcasing bubblegum pop? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “In the current conversations regarding the rampant gender disparities at play in country music, rarely do other marginalized voices earn even a mention. However, if the system is to be disrupted or dismantled, change must be intersectional rather than incremental, including artists of color, artists with disabilities, artists within the LGBTQ+ community, and others who add to the rich fabric of roots music. For, to paraphrase Pete Seeger, we’re stronger when we rise together.” Get involved:

5 Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. Singer-songwriter Andrew Combs is living proof. Many of the songs that will appear on his Sept. 20 album Ideal Man were apparently inspired by his recent fascination with painting. And his latest preview, the straightforward pop-rocker Born Without a Clue, was inspired by the death of Tom Petty. Nobody would call that ideal. But you have to give him credit for following the muse, no matter where it leads. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This is a tune I wrote the day after Tom Petty passed away. I was thinking about his catalog of songs, and how simple and straight from the heart they were – no fluff. It seemed like he ignored the nuisance of blowing something out of proportion just for the glitz and the glam. It hit me how important that outlook was in life.” Get clued in:

6 When is a leftover not a leftover? When it’s something you never got a taste of in the first place. Like, say, the jangly number A Lovely Day Boo Hoo, one of 18 tracks that alt-rock vets The Muffs are dishing up on their Oct. 18 album No Holiday, a compilation of songs that didn’t make the cut on their previous albums. If they’re all as tasty as this, you might want to ask for seconds. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: Nothing. Guess that left that off too. Bon appetit!

7 Some people say one thing when they mean another. Case in point: Leah Voysey. The New York singer and actress just dropped a new single called Keep It To Yourself. But she (or her label) also hired a publicist to hype the song by comparing her to Halsey and Bishop Briggs, so I’m gonna go out on a limb and say she’d prefer if everybody spread the word. In any case, that’s not too hard, since it’s a decently catchy pop-rocker. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “With this song, I wanted to explore the allure of a secret romance. You see each other in a crowded room, but no one else knows what happens when you get each other alone. There’s a fire and intensity behind the vocals, as I describe the charm of this purely physical connection.” Share and share alike: