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Indie Roundup | 14 Tracks That Will Take Your Thursday Up a Notch

Mars Red Sky, Durand Jones, Chastity, Rapport and more deliver the goodness.

Mars Red Sky go to ground, Durand Jones & The Indications take a cruise, Chastity party, Rapport go dark, Sasami self-destructs and more in today’s Roundup. Dear restaurant where I had lunch: When I pay $3 for a side order of cole slaw, I expect something better than absurdly long strands of red cabbage that have been barely drizzled with oil and a few molecules of apple-cider vinegar. That is all.

1 When a French stoner-rock band named Mars Red Sky makes a video for a song called The Proving Grounds, you might expect it to be inspired by some tripped-out sci-fi shit. You would probably not expect it to be based on a book by American mystery writer Michael Connelly — but that’s exactly what’s going on here. Well, until the spaceship arrives, anyway. Once a stoner-rocker, always a stoner-rocker, I guess. Anyway, see for yourself. And hear more when their album The Task Eternal lands Sept. 27. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:The Proving Grounds is where Michael Connelly’s character Mickey Haller makes his case before The Gods Of Guilt. In this song we are alternately the jury and the accused, overwhelmed by a torrent of alarming news feed, desperate to seek justice and anxious to escape a looming disaster. Hence the temptation of reaching out to the skies, board a spacecraft and take off, or travel in time to fix what can be fixed.”

2 Depending on where you live, soul outfit Durand Jones & The Indications’ latest single and video Cruisin’ To The Park could be the soundtrack to your midweek summertime outing — or a way to alleviate the boredom of being trapped at the office or stuck in the house on a rainy day. Either way, it’s a pretty sweet ride. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “We put together our first record in our basement, messing around with different styles of soul music. But it was our sweet-soul tunes that got an overwhelming response from people who introduced us to the world of Chicano soul and lowrider car culture. We’ve gotten so much support from lowriders who love bumping our music in their cars, so we wanted to record a song in celebration of those people who enjoy cruising with friends and loved ones in ranflas across the world.”

3 There ain’t no party like a Chastity party — ’cause a Chastity party features a kid in a red devil-donkey suit watching as grownups try to act civil and sophisticated, but end up revealing themselves as seedy sleazebags. At least, that seems to be the point of Flames, the Whitby band’s latest preview of their Home Made Satan album out Sept. 13. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Flames is the prequel to visuals for The Girls I Know Don’t Think So and Sun Poisoning, shot from the perspective of a young boy taking in the world around him. This scene takes place in the midst of a bourgeoisie dinner party where he watches a man’s infidelity unfold.”

4 There are times when life is like a bad soap opera. And times when it’s like a Greek tragedy. Thankfully, there are also times when it’s like a sitcom — which is where we find ourselves with In the Dark, the title track from Toronto indie-pop trio Rapport’s upcoming EP. Cue the laugh track. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Rapport is the offshoot of Maddy Wilde’s longstanding belief she was unable to be the main songwriter of any music project. The humour of this broken belief lies in the boldness of uncertainty, a feeling that follows Wilde throughout her debut EP In The Dark. Written and produced in Toronto by Maddy Wilde, Kurt Marble and Mike Pereira, In The Dark is a true expression of Toronto’s unending output of genre bending pop music.”

5 Row, row, row your boat — unless you would prefer to beat the crap out of a car with a baseball bat or torch a pile of stuff in the desert. Either way, we’ve all been there. Including L.A. indie singer-songwriter Sasami, who covers those bases and more with her video for the new single Take Care. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Everyone has a destructive, reckless side — however much they choose or allow the world to see it. The video for Take Care is about embracing that destructive side of you and forgiving yourself. Even when you are lost and want to give up.”

6 Calgary alt-pop artist Selci has a reason to feel bubbly right now — she just released debut EP Effervescence. To celebrate, she’s also dropped an intimate live video for the third single We Could Be Together. Speaking of together, the video — filmed in her apartment — also features Timothonius on keyboard, Egypt on beat pad and young singer Heidi Shanklies. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Doing this video was the start of getting a band together,” Selci says. “I’ve collaborated with Timonthonius in the past, but it was my first time playing live in this configuration. All of the songs on the EP are drenched in harmonies, so I’d love to add more singers and continue experimenting with different musicians.”

7 You have to crawl before you walk. Unless you’re Jom Comyn. Then you have to take the bus first. To record his upcoming eighth album Crawl, the Edmonton singer-songwriter rode the Greyhound to and from Calgary several times over the span of a year — all so he could work with Chris Dadge, the Juno-Award winning drummer for Alvvays. Good thing he didn’t change his mind midstream. But he did write a tune called Change Your Mind — and you can check it out below. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The single showcases Jom’s unique ability to combine unconventional song structure, counter-intuitive chord shapes, steady rhythms, gloomy basslines, and baritone vocals, while creating a listenable indie rock track.”

8 John Calvin Abney’s music has taken an unexpected turn on his Sept. 27 album Safe Passage. Especially for him. The meanings of the new songs changed drastically when the singer-songwriter’s father unexpectedly passed away on the day he announced the disc. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “For the longest time, I really thought this record was autobiographical,” Abney explains. “But since the stark reality of what has taken place recently, I’ve realized that these songs are as much about those around me, including the aspects of life that keep us all from wanting to make connections with others or live intentional lives: loneliness, addiction, fear, worry. My dad was really troubled by these things but optimistic to a fault. I believe he wanted the same for the world, for everyone to have safe passage from these struggles and now, these words mean something much deeper to me than they once did.”

9 Can’t wait until next month to hear some new music from Bros. Landreth? Good news: You don’t have to. Although the Winnipeg duo’s ’87 disc doesn’t arrive until Sept. 27, they’re sharing the second single Good Love right here and right now. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “When we wrote this song we were doing our best to channel a John Hiatt vibe. We started from there and a story began to unfold. Initially it was written as a fairly classic love-gone-wrong… two people coming to the realization that they both want the same thing, but that they won’t find it together. It’s bitter-sweet, just the resignation that they did their best and now it’s time to chase some good love with someone else. However, once it was done and we had a bit of a distance from it, we started to hear it as a hopeful song instead. Rather than two people turning away from each other it started to sound like maybe it’s a call to arms within a relationship… ‘Hey, let’s put our heads together and work this thing out. Don’t you think it’s worth it? Don’t you want some good love?’ ”

10 As Ronnie James Dio and Black Sabbath taught us so long ago: If you listen to fools, the mob rules. And these days, there are more fools than ever talking — and sadly, even more fools listening to them. So it seems the perfect time for Raymond WattsPIG to unleash a new EP titled Mobocracy — and share the lyric video fro the disc, which will only be available at their live shows. Clearly he’s no fool when it comes to selling tickets. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The song decries the meltdown of morality and the rise of mobocracy, which is fueled and whipped up by the poison that pours from the perma-tanned reality stars running the asylum, who cheer and steer the frenzy of bitterness, bile and hatred that is in turn fed by their own fear.”

11 Planet of Zeus are cooking with gas. The Greek hard rockers will drop their fifth studio album Faith in Physics on Sept. 27 — but first they put the pedal to the metal with the single Gasoline. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Addiction is a major refuge from modern living’s bullshit and this is song is all about it. Dont let the “artistic” intro fool you, this tune is fierce and raw, just like addiction.”

12 I don’t know about you, but my garden has been hit-and-miss this year. The onions are going like gangbusters, the tomatoes and potatoes are doing OK, but the cucumbers were a bust. But French modern-metal outfit Mann’n Sin have it even worse, based on the title of their Sept. 14 debut album: Garden of Starvation. Get a taste of the bitter harvest with first single Riot. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Founded in 2015 around the area of Rennes (France), Man’n Sin quickly found its own musical path between metal to thrash passing through hardcore, even progressive metal/rock.”

13 I don’t speak Danish. But I’m pretty sure the title of Chorus Grant’s latest single No Word For the Word — which comes from his Sept. 27 album Vernacular Music — can’t be literally true. Because if there really were no word for the word, you wouldn’t even have a word to express the fact that there was no word for word. Word? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Equally fragile and strong, cinematic and real the song makes an effort to make the strange familiar and the familiar strange through minimalistic repetitiveness reminiscent of nursery rhymes and lullabies. The lyrics deal with breaking the bubble from the inside, getting out of your head and into your body by acknowledging that not all things should be picked apart and investigated on an intellectual level.”

14 It is not with a heavy heart that I present to you Shadows Will, the latest single from former Pentagram and Internal Void guitarist Kelly Carmichael’s upcoming third album Heavy Heart, due Oct. 11. Though obviously, it’s heavy and comes from the heart. So it all makes sense in the end. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I hope the listener can appreciate the more colourful aspects throughout this record, but mostly I hope they’ll find it pleasingly heavy,” notes Carmichael. “The inception of Heavy Heart began with the ‘dream-inspired’ song Shadows Will. After this dream while still in bed I had the intro and the first verse written. While not at all fitting with the current batch of songs I was working on, I decided to write an entire album around it.”