Home Read Reviews Indie Roundup (Two-Bit Edition) | 25 Songs To Change Up Your Midweek

Indie Roundup (Two-Bit Edition) | 25 Songs To Change Up Your Midweek

Get over the hump with help from Micah Erenberg, Crossed Keys and plenty more.

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Micah Erenberg plays outside, Dearly Beloved come of age, Crossed Keys can’t catch a break, Kadavar and The Cosmic Riders of the Black Sun bring out the best in each other and more in today’s Roundup. Hey, federal political candidates: Please tell your dipshit volunteers that the No Junk Mail sign on my mailbox applies to your handouts.


1 We prairie folk are hardy stock. Look no further than singer-songwriter and fellow Manitoban Micah Erenberg, who shot his video for Love is Gonna Find You — the title track from his Oct. 4 full-length — on a frozen lake in the middle of winter, sans gloves, parka or other winter gear. Last time I was in California, they were all bundled up in down vests because the temperature went below 70°F at night. Just saying. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Micah and I shot this video twice, once at sunset, and the following day at sunrise,” says Colin Medley. “It was blisteringly cold. In between the two shoots, some ice fishers found the piano and it caused quite the buzz on some local Facebook groups, with a lot of speculation as to how it ended up in the middle of a frozen lake. Hopefully now that the video is out, the unsolved mystery of the piano on the lake will finally be put to rest.”


2 If you’re going to be inspired by someone, you might as well be inspired by the best. Toronto indie-rock outfit Dearly Beloved took that to heart when they were crafting their latest disc Times Square Discount. Get a taste of what’s ahead — and who they’re taking cues from — with the hormonal video for Close Encounters. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Times Square Discount is, as Higgins puts it, “a rabbit-hole record,” and one partially born of “bingeing on (Stanley) Kubrick and drugs” and ruminating upon such fancies as “How do we make Kubrick an album?” and “How do you make an album version of The Shining?” in the van long enough for it to set in that the band’s thirst for weird and/or forbidden knowledge and collective capacity for conducting on-site empirical research could be put to far better use in each of the cities that it visits than simply bingeing on Kubrick and drugs in a van.”


3 Nothing lasts forever. Philadelphia pop-punks Crossed Keys learned that the hard way — and the comedic way — in the video for their new single Everything Breaks, a preview of their Oct. 4 EP Saviors. Don’t try this at home, kids. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The band created a playful music video based on the song title. The video features singer Josh Alvarez slugging through his day as everything around him is breaking. “Set fire to all that you hold dear, so you don’t have to face your fears,” sings Alvarez in reflection of moving past the things that hold us back.”


4 As double-barrelled band names go, Kadavar and The Cosmic Riders of the Black Sun is definitely a good one. Good enough to make you peep this live video for their collaborative track You Found the Best in Me, which will be included in a bonus DVD from the former’s new album For The Dead Travel Fast. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Commented singer/guitarist Lupus: “The thought of performing our songs with more musicians had been in the back of my head for a long time. A lot of the songs we’ve written over the years just needed a second guitar or an organ. Together with our friends we worked on this concert over 10 months. It’s not your normal Kadavar gig, but it shows our songs can be interpreted in new ways and can also get that new twist. One of my highlights was the duet with Laura Carbone and her incredible voice. That’s exactly how I had always envisioned this song to sound. “


5 You can’t go wrong with a short, sharp shot of classic rhythm and blues. Especially not when it comes from a guy who has spent more than a decade playing behind Charlie Musselwhite. Meet guitarist Matthew Stubbs, who leads the guitar-driven trio GA-20 with fellow fretboard master Pat Faherty. Their Lonely Soul album arrives Oct. 18, but you can get up on what they’re putting down by tuning into their song Lonely Soul, a 111-second hit of old-school twang, thump ’n’ wail. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The project was born out of their mutual love of heavy traditional Blues, R&B, and Rock & Roll of the late ’50s and early ’60s. Faherty and Stubbs bonded over legendary artists like Lazy Lester, J.B. Lenoir, Earl Hooker, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and Junior Wells. Feeling a void in current music, the duo have set out to write, record and perform a modern version of this beloved art form.”


6 I don’t know how you feel about silent movies, but I’m a fan. And it’s seems I’m not alone, based on singer-songwriter Shotgun Jimmie’s new video for the song Fountain, from his recently released Transistor Sister 2 album. Grab the popcorn and enjoy the show. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The black and white clip follows Jimmie and his band – By Divine Right’s José Contreras, Ladyhawk’s Ryan Peters, and Do Make Say Think’s Jay Baird – as they prepare to play an album release show at SappyFest in Sackville, NB. As one might expect, both from this gaggle of affable jokesters and the surrounding aura of Sappy at large, “laughter and merriment amongst friends ensues.”


7 Many people say a rose is a rose. Others say a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. I say Hey Rose is the new video from L.A. singer-songwriter and one-man band Son Little, and a preview of his Oct. 11 EP Invisible. What do you say? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “While Little plays nearly every instrument on the EP himself, he put his songs in the hands of an outside producer for the first time here, collaborating to create his boldest, most self-assured statement yet. Equal parts vintage and modern, the collection blends classic soul, old-school R&B, and adventurous indie sensibilities into a timeless swirl fueled by gritty instrumental virtuosity and raw, raspy vocals. Opener Hey Rose marries distorted, jittery guitar with smooth, sinuous vocals.”


8 Some parties take a while to get going. Like, for instance, the weird mingler depicted in the video for Heloise, the new single from Swiss noisemakers Køde. Turns out you can pick your friends — and their noses. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “You may feel desire and you’d like to be true. You don’t want to have sex as you were taught by TV, Hollywood movies and society, but as a person, as a child who’s never been taught about all this shit. Let’s get rid of what is expected from us. This is what this video is about.”


9 Any band that claims Frank Zappa as an influence is OK in my book. Even if they have a name as awful as 10-piece Brussels ensemble Captain Cheesebeard. I shared a cut from their recently reissued debut Symphony For Auto-Horns a while back; now they’re following up with the brand-new Oct. 18 EP Deadwood, preceded by a black-and-white live-in-the-studio video for the single Pan’s Redemption. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The Deadwood EP is the first release by Captain Cheesebeard to feature new vocalist and local legend Alain Louie. A collection of four tracks, bold as brass and as adventurous as anything else you’re likely to hear this year.”


10 Love comes. Love goes. And when it goes, all you do sometimes is watch helplessly as it slowly vanishes. Well, I guess you could also write a song about it. Which is pretty much what Danish singer-songwriter Sunx — aka Morten Winther Nielsen — did with his new single and video Heartbreaker Bye, from his debut disc Caress. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It is a song about the feeling of drifting apart from your partner. The sense that they are slipping away to some unknown place where you can’t reach them. I wrote the song during a stay in L.A. It was the first time I traveled alone for a long time without my girlfriend. We were drifting apart but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. The lyrics came with the melody I improvised, but it took me months to realize what I was actually singing about.”


11 Say what you will about U.K. indie outfit Field Music, you can’t say they lack ambition: Their Jan. 10 album Making A New World is a 19-track song cycle about the aftereffects of the First World War — and covers everything from air traffic control and gender reassignment surgery to Tiananmen Square, ultrasound, Becontree Housing Estate and sanitary towels. Get a taste of what you’re in for with the first single Only In a Man’s World. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I found myself researching the development of sanitary pads – not a statement I’ve ever imagined myself making – and was surprised at how little the advertising material has changed in a hundred years. It’s still, Hey Ladies! Let’s not mention it too loudly but here is the perfect product to keep you feeling normal WHILE THE DISGUSTING, DIRTY THING HAPPENS. And you realise that it’s a kind of madness that a monthly occurrence for billions of women – something absolutely necessary for the survival of humanity – is seen as shameful or dirty – and is taxed MORE than razor blades?! At every stage of making this song, I had to ask myself, am I allowed to do this? Is it okay to do this?”


12 It’s deja vu all over again in the video for Baltimore singer-songwriter Julien Chang’s new single Memory Loss, a preview of his Oct. 11 album Jules. And don’t forget: It’s deja vu all over again in the video for Baltimore singer-songwriter Julien Chang’s new single Memory Loss, a preview of his Oct. 11 album Jules. And don’t forget. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “A worsening memory is something I’ve always been worried about. The song was made with a kind of structural rigidity in mind, and about memory’s natural lack of it when having trouble putting faces to names, for example. It’s easy to be frustrated by that feeling, but being left with a sudden emotional reaction sparked by some stimulus for an unclear reason can be as lovely as it is disorienting.”


13 Simple Minds, Simple Pleasures would be a great title for a tribute disc to the Scottish rockers who sang Don’t You (Forget About Me). In fact, however, it is the title of Brooklyn synth-pop duo The Mystic Underground’s Sept 27 EP. The downside: It seems to contain no Simple Minds songs. The upside: It has songs like Tempted By the Sound of Violence, illustrated with this stylish video. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “These three songs we’re humbly presenting to the world offer a bit of a taste of where we are at the moment. Each song is a tale we felt we had to tell and we hope the ears of every discerning listener out there perk up with abundant curiosity and take full notice. In the case of our new single, Tempted By the Sound of Violence, we wrote it especially as a bit of an anthem to those who still dream and live out there on the periphery of it all.”


14 As I recall, he who laughs last laughs loudest. Does that mean that he who apologizes last apologizes the loudest? Find out for yourself in the video for Last Apology, the latest single from Toronto power trio Hundred Suns’ debut album The Prestaliis. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Last Apology is “one of those songs that just fell into place for us. Writing it felt seamless, but the subject is just the opposite – it’s the part of the story where things fall apart and that chaos pushes us to abandon them. For the video we wanted something with a lot of energy that gave the same feeling of rejection, so we built multiple locations and slapped the camera into them. We filmed this a couple years ago, so we’re excited to finally put this out.”


15 Despite their handle, you won’t catch Wintersleep lying down on the job. The prolific Halifax indie churn out singles and videos with such regularity I could practically give them their category. Here’s the latest entry: Free Fall, one half of their new single with Fading Out. You can hear both songs at your favourite streaming haunt, or you can watch the Free Fall video here. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “For me, this song is the sound of the wind if you’re in a forever fall through a bright and colourful sky. If you were falling into infinity, it seems likely that, at some point, the world around you would become abstract, and you might imagine people falling around you, or the shapes of their bodies absorbed into clouds that would then shift and evaporate into even more abstract shapes.”


16 What’s in a name? Go ask Gerhard Potuznik. The Austrian electronica artist used to record under the alias GD Luxxe. But after spending some quality time listening to early Cure, Wire, Hüsker Dü, Joy Division and Sisters Of Mercy, he has retooled his sound — and rechristened himself The Happy Sun. Talk about finding light in the darkness. Please allow him to reintroduce himself with his new single Alien Girl, from his Sept. 27 self-titled album. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “In his rare spare time Gerhard explored his roots and discovered the music he had recorded in the late 70’s and early 80’s with two cassette players, cheap electric guitars and even cheaper drum machines. This inspired him to write new material that could capture the same spirit, songs that stood for a new style.”


17 The S. in Harry S. Truman famously stood for nothing. I wonder if the same is true of the T. in T. Thomason, since the Toronto singer-songwriter’s first name used to be Molly. Whatever the case, Thomason is keeping that info private — unlike the new single Birdsong. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “His new single Birdsong is a powerful, anthemic electro-pop track about embracing change and the unknown despite fear, hatred, and misinformation.”


18 As you might expect, Roman sludge instrumentalists Juggernaut do things at their own sluggish pace. Their Oct. 11 album Neuroteque took them five years to complete. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait a moment longer to hear their first single Orbitalia. I’m starting to suspect they spend a lot of time coming up with titles. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “On their upcoming third album, Juggernaut deliver seven tracks as the seven different doors to enter Neuroteque: A lisergic menu of cinematic progressive, metallic psychedelia, mellow and disturbing atmospheres. This record holds seven stories of harmonic and emotional transformation, seven winding paths towards Neuroteque.”


19 How many songs are there titled Domino? There’s the Van Morrison classic, of course. And the KISS song. The Jessie J track. The Roy Orbison number. And about 1,000 more, according to one source. Make that 1,001 — Montreal’s Corridor just released their new single and animated video of the same name, from their Oct. 18 album Junior. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Singer/guitarist Jonathan Robert said: “People are often glorifying what being an Artist or a musician can mean. Art doesn’t necessarily make you a better person. There can be angst, stress and so on. It can have a negative, direct impact on the people closest to you. Domino is about navigating just that. It is the first song out of Junior that we’ve composed and we’ve played it live quite a few times already.”


20+21 In the mood for some cover tunes? Of course you are. And here are two choice selections: Singer-songwriter Ben Lee’s renditions of The BreedersDivine Hammer and the late great Daniel Johnston’s Speeding Motorcycle, taken from his Nov. 22 album Quarter Century Classix. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s been powerful this past week to see so many people sharing how Daniel’s music touched them so deeply. It’s one of those bittersweet elements when a beloved artist dies – we are given the opportunity to say out loud what we’ve thought privately so many times. It’s strange timing for me personally, as I had recorded my cover of Speeding Motorcycle earlier this year, after performing it with Daniel on KCRW and at the LA show that night, which was one of the high points of my musical life.”


22 Why debut one song when you can debut two? That’s apparently the philosophy of Brooklyn electronica artist Broox, who just released her new two-song EP Over Easy. Where I’m from, a two-song EP is called a single, but hey, whatever floats your boat. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I was very present while making this EP,” she says, “which I think is why it’s some of my best stuff yet. I was trying to channel my inner-self and creativity within this area in music I haven’t touched before. It was challenging but also exciting and made me curious to see what I can make of this.”


23 In sewing, notions are small objects like buttons, snaps, and collar stays that are stitched onto a finished article — and the small tools used in sewing, such as needles, thread, pins, marking pens, and seam rippers. This is not what Irish future-soul quintet Shookrah’s new single Notions is about, but hey, fun fact, right? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Notions is an ode to and lament of the energy and time we’ve all wasted at one point or another staying in dysfunctional relationships. It’s a recognition of faults committed to the other and yourself in seeking out traits other than those presented to you, which disqualifies the question of who was right or wrong and bares the reality of how hollow we become when we want something so bad that a tarnished version of it will do.’’


24 They say you are what you eat. New York indie-psychedelicists Camp Saint Helene are where they live — read below to see what I mean. But based on their new single Milk and Honey, maybe they’re also what they drink. Though nobody could accuse them of being too sweet on this number. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The principals of the band, Elizabeth Ibarra and Dylan Nowik, literally live on the property of an old Christian summer camp in the Catskills that became the name of the band; their cabin is surrounded by overgrown religious iconography; the setting has informed their artistic process. Their sound lies somewhere within a shimmer of hope and a hint of doom.”


25 You can fight the current or go with the flow. Singer-songwriter and guitarist Sam Weber clearly embraces the latter — and uses it to fuel the song It’s All Happening, the first cut from his Oct. 25 album Everything Comes True. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “ ‘It’s all happening’ is a mantra Terra Lightfoot and I started saying to each other all the time as a joke,” says Weber. “It sort of means everything, all of it, is unfolding as it should. The lyrics in the song refer to the narrator persevering in the face of adversity and accepting that everything is it motion and happening as it should.”