Aruba Red moves the earth, Une Misere rise again, Corlyx get twisted, Hirie send a message and plenty more in another massive Friday Roundup. Do you hear that? It’s a beer calling my name.
1 Singer-songwriter and Friend of Tinnitist Aruba Red returns with her latest piece of compelling audio and video: A deep, dark and deliciously soulful live rendition of the Dinah Washington classic This Bitter Earth, filmed at London’s Vortex Club with inspired accompaniment from Nathan “Flutebox” Lee and bassist Renell Shaw. Speaking of bassists, her dad Jack Bruce would surely love it. As will you, I expect. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I was struck by the melancholy, sombre nature of the song. But one line shone a reassuring light, “I’m sure someone may answer my call, and this bitter earth may not be so bitter after all”. To me, this plea represents connection, promise for the future and urges us to never lose hope.” Come down to earth:
2 Misery loves company. Even when you convert it to Une Misere like the name of this Icelandic wrecking crew. Come to think, that doesn’t sound very Icelandic. Then again, neither does the title track from their Nov. 1 album Sermon — not to mention the creepy video that goes with. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “We’re extremely excited to release Sermon upon the world as it is the first single off our upcoming album. The song is about the inner struggle that a person can have within themself. In a sentence it’s about being ready to go to the end of the world just to destroy yourself. We hope that people are as up for it as we are.” Dig it:
3 Corlyx want you to start twisting. But not like Chubby Checker used to do it. The U.K. electro-rock duo want you to Twist Like an Animal. And they’ll show you just what they mean in their kinky, slightly NSFW video that goes with the single from their just-released sophomore album In2 The Skin. Why am I not surprised to learn that it was filmed in Berlin? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “In2 The Skin is a conceptual album at its core. A 10 song journey into the flesh. Everything that can happen to our body, the mental repercussions of abuse, negative self image, deformity, the web our sexuality spins as a result of our trauma, our fears and the journey we take to heal the mind and accept our skin.” Does that line really work?
4 Truth is a great songwriter. Tragedy doesn’t do too badly either. Put them both together and you have Message in a Bottle, the latest preview of San Diego outfit Hirie’s Sept. 13 album Dreamer. And no, this Message has nothing to do with a castaway lost at sea. Though it is the tale of a woman dangerously adrift. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “One of the most personal songs on the album, it depicted a time in my life where I was literally drowning in my emotions and bad habits. It was easier to pour the next drink than to face the reason why I needed another. I’m hoping that anyone going through a similar addiction can realize the power they have to turn around no matter how far off the deep end you’ve gone.” Sending out an SOS:
5 Lots of artists are outstanding in their field. B.C. Indigenous hip-hop duo Mob Bounce at out rhyming in the woods in the video for Keys to the Forest, the latest single and video from their brand-new EP Transformation. Hope they left a trail of breadcrumbs. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Rooted in their cultures, ceremonies, and connections to place, Mob Bounce brings lyricism and power to hip-hop culture from a contemporary Indigenous perspective on their new album Transformation.” Bang the drum:
6 Prog-metal supergroup Sons of Apollo — featuring former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big) and Jeff Scott Soto (Journey) — are making you wait another two weeks for their album Live With The Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony, which arrives Aug. 30. That’s the bad news. The good: You can scope a live video for the track Labyrinth right now. Phew. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Mike Portnoy comments: “When we decided to do an entire 2nd set of cover songs with an orchestra and choir, we knew we HAD to take advantage of the opportunity to do at least one Sons Of Apollo song with the additional musicians in the set as well. Labyrinth was the perfect song to do with this musical embellishment as it’s a pretty epic piece with little bit of everything that makes SOA who we are.” Does that include the smoke?
7 I’ve never been the kind of person who shoots video when I’m travelling. Good thing the members of Neon Bloom aren’t like me — they would have missed out on the chance to make this exotic DIY video for their new single Lighten Up. Hey, it’s easy to lighten up when you get to go rock out in Taiwan. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “We were travelling on a shoestring budget, and I brought one of my cameras along” said Fred Yurichuk, who is a video producer and media arts teacher by day. “We shot everything: when we were on the train, when we hired a driver, when we were in our backpackers’ hostel the camera was rolling all the time. At shows, we would find someone to hold the camera or put it on a tripod. When we got home, we had this whole mountain of footage and just sifted through it and thought it was a great idea.” Go into the light:
8 You can save your work. You can save your money. You can even save your breath. But Ottawa electro-popsters Paragon Cause make a more personal request on their single and video Save Me, the second preview from their Sept. 13 EP Lies Between Us. Don’t save it for a rainy day. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s about people exerting control because they think they’re better, that they’re superior to someone else. It’s two ideas: the religious side of things says you can save them all but at the same time we look at it saying you actually cannot save them all, meaning you cannot save them from themselves.” Keep it between us:
9 Scandinavian adventure-metal masters Twilight Force — yes, you read that right; adventure-metal is apparently a thing — celebrate the release of their third album Dawn Of The Dragonstar by unveiling a lyric video for the track Queen Of Eternity. Presumably it’s their crowning glory. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Keyboard wizard Blackwald states, “It is with great mirth and much delight that we present to you the third and final single before Dawn Of The Dragonstar is unveiled in its entirety to the world of the living!” As opposed to the world of the dead? Because that would be quite the adventure:
10 How’s your Swedish? A little rusty? No worries. Allow me to help out by informing you that the title of Svekets Prins, the latest single from progressive metal vets Opeth, apparently translates to Prince of Betrayal. I’m not sure how accurate that might or might not be, but hey, it can’t hurt to know that as you watch their animated video for the tune — and wait patiently for their Sept. 27th album In Cauda Venerum. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: Vid ett årsskifte så upplever många en känsla av vemod vid tanke på det som aldrig mer återkommer. För andra är det ett ögonblick av förväntan inför möjligheten att erövra det nya. Andra åter känner oro inför en förändring som innebär ovisshet och kanske försämring. Alla dessa stämningar är var för sig förklarliga. Någon sa här om dagen att vi lever i det stora uppbrottets tid…” Can’t argue with that:
11 You’d think a band named Wednesday 13 would be smart enough to release their latest horror-rock video — for the track Bring Your Own Blood, from their Sept. 27 album Necrophaze — on a Wednesday when it could get some decent attention instead of stuffing it into the Friday onslaught, where it gets buried. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. Spooky, right kids? No? Oh well. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “BYOB is one of my favorites off the new album. It’s what I like to call the “party scene” in this audio-horror movie that is Necrophaze. Like in a lot of my favorite 80s horror films there was a party scene, and usually a rock ‘n’ roll track to back it up…this is that track. This is the fun song on the album before everything gets dark and weird.” Too late:
12 Chris Lee has friends in high places: The indie-rock singer-guitarist’s Oct. 13 album Protest Songs and Party Anthems arrives endorsed by everyone from Peaches and Danko Jones to Greg Dulli and Kristin Hersh. But based on the title of his preview single Hail to the Strongman, the former member of New Orleans rockers Supagroup, Geddy Lee soundalike and husband of former White Zombie bassist Sean Yseault might not be too popular with one prominent individual. See if you can guess who. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I just started hollering into the microphone, and pretty much the words just came out,” says Lee. “I was at the time in a big fight with my father, a two time Republican Businessman Of The Year from Alaska. He has become so steeped in the Fox News/Rush Limbaugh circle jerk of lies and hate that it resulted in him becoming an Aggrieved White Man. But the tip off on how powerful this brainwashing is actually is the fact that my dad is a fucking Chinese man who emigrated from Hong Kong.” Welcome to Hail:
13 Drew Thomson is clearly making up for lost time. The Hamilton singer-songwriter and member of the band Single Mothers says he recently snapped out of a decade-long alcoholic spiral. Since then, he’s been churning out the tracks like a man possessed. The fittingly sharp and pointed pop-rocker Barb Wire, the latest single from his upcoming first solo LP as The Drew Thomson Foundation, is at least the fifth tune he’s sent me in as many months. Take a breath, man. We’ll all be here tomorrow. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Thomson’s lyrics tell the tales of troubled narrators who may or may not be himself. Returning to the theme of sobriety, Barbed Wire brings him and an unnamed partner in crime to a place “a long way from wasted” though he barely wastes a breath before admitting his own fallibility: “growing up’s got you down/well, you and me both.” One day at a time, dude:
14 Dance-music DJs and vocalists seldom use their real names. So to find two of them spurning aliases — and joining forces on the same track — is something special. Hopefully, that’s not all that’s unique about Tell Me Why, a track from Bay Area producer Krane (first name: Zachary) and singer Malika (formerly known as Meleka, for some reason). SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Encompassing his mastery of emotive soundscapes, classically trained Krane delivers a dreamy slow burner … the first track off of Krane’s forthcoming sophomore album, due out later this year.” Give it a name:
15 This has been a busy week for Stella Emmett. It’s only been a few days since the singer-songwriter and actress shared the video for DayDream to preview her Aug. 23 album Admirer. Now she’s back with the final sneak peek — the fittingly positioned (and aptly titled) single Final Fantasy, featuring guest vocals from New York’s Half Waif aka Nandi Rose Plunkett. Enjoy — but make it last. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Admirer thrives on a relaxed kind of energy, the kind that kicks in from lounging around in the late afternoon and remembering you’ve got plans in a few hours. Optimism is dripping from every surface like cave stalactites during a heatwave.” I don’t think that’s really a thing:
16 Wherever you go, that’s where you are. And that’s apparently everywhere that California EDM whiz kid Max Styler wants to be, going by his latest track Let Me Take You There. London vocalist Laura White is happy to come along for the ride too. Guess three doesn’t have to be a crowd. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Highlighting his dynamic palette of upbeat tones and soulful melodies, Styler lays down one of the freshest songs of the summer (and) gracing fans with another house cut full of infectious energy.” Take it away:
17 For plenty of folks, change is a good thing. For others, not so much. For Toronto indie-rockers Shallow Waves, it’s a noisy thing, as showcased on their psychedelic-garage workout Dust, the solar-flared followup to their previous single Shapes and the latest preview of the Sept. 13 EP Parallel States of Consciousness. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “We started as an alternative/60s garage rock band, but in 2017, we started to move toward our current sonic identity taking cues from Toronto’s local psychedelic scene as well as contemporary bands like Wand, Flying Colours, and The Black Angels. The result is a massive sounding album that represents our progression as a band.” Enter Planet Dust:
18 Mountain Head are two-for-two. In more ways than one. The top-hatted, golden-choppered duo introduced themselves here back in June with the mindblowing track Gaslight. Now they double down with their new electro-rock hypno-groover Soul Stain. Try not to get any on ya. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Soul Stain started out very simple, we had the main groove and vocal melody in mind and we wanted to make it into a kaleidoscope. Different rhythms, and patterns working together to create a greater whole. The lyrics are pretty direct, a Soul Stain is something you don’t want, It can be avoided by paying attention and not pushing the script, and of course carrying on through the storm.” Ride it out:
19 Some days are bright. Some days are bleak. Some days are mean and some days are helpful. Those last ones are the days singer-songwriter John Calvin Abney writes about in Kind Days, a single from his Sept. 27 release Safe Passage. Guess it’s just your lucky day. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Kind Days, touches on 1950s and ‘60s beach folk instrumentation as Abney sings a sweet, swaying lesson in patience and powering through hard times: “Bad days are leaving / No use in grieving / Here come those kind days.” Better late than never: