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Indie Roundup | 14 Songs You Need To Hear This Wednesday

Slayer, Headstones, Harry Nilsson and plenty more maximize your midweek.

The Hussy go bowling, Slayer repent (not!), Headstones leave it, Deaf Radio go animal and more in today’s Roundup. Insert your own sardonic quip here; I’m all out today.

1 What’s your favourite breakfast cereal? One of those sugar-coated, cartoon-character creations that cause everything from cavities to cancer? Or one of those healthy, grain-and-rock concoctions that have all the appeal of chewing on wet cardboard? Madison garage-pop sibling duo The Hussy would like to offer you a third option — gold old Cornflakes — as you can hear and see in their latest video to promote their looming album, which is fittingly titled, um, Looming. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Looming takes the band in a decidedly dismal and defiantly dark direction. It tackles topics such as death, sudden loss, divorce, addiction and these politically depressing times we live in.” Dig in:

2 Like any old metalhead, I have seen Slayer a few times over the decades. And the California thrashers are responsible for two of the most memorable lines I have ever heard at concerts. The first came from frontman Tom Araya himself, who asked a crowd of young fans: “How many of you kids out there have ever skull-fucked a corpse?” (Naturally, about 100 cheered in the affirmative.) The second came from a fan who was getting impatient for them to take the stage and screamed, “Slaaaaayyyyerrrrr! Come onnnn! I got work tomorrow!” None of that has anything to do with this video for Repentless, the intro to their upcoming Relentless Killogy concert film and Live at the Forum CD/DVD out Nov. 8. But hey, good times. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Throughout Slayer‘s history, the band has never faltered in unleashing its extreme and focused sonic assault, and, unlike many of its contemporaries who commercialized their sound, Slayer has remained crushing and brutal, steadfastly refusing to cater to the mainstream.” In case the whole skull-fucking thing didn’t make that clear:

3 Hugh Dillon sure got it right when he called his band Headstones — it definitely seems like the Canadian rockers are still going to be standing long after the rest of us are dead and buried. Just to emphasize that point, they’re rising again in time for Halloween with their Oct. 25 album Peopleskills. Which gives you a month to listen to the first single Leave it All Behind. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The visuals perfectly bring the song to life. Directed by Gord Hawkins, the video was shot at the Kingston Penitentiary, the decommissioned former maximum security prison, serves as the ideal location to capture the claustrophobic quality of being trapped – both metaphorically and physically – and the instinctive drive to persevere.” Rest in peace:

4 For some reason, I get a lot of submissions from Greece. Not sure why. Unless it has something to do with my beard and longtime love of their national salad. Anyway, here’s the latest — and one of the darkest: Hard rock crew Deaf Radio’s video for their new single Animals, the second single from their Nov. 15 sophomore album Modern Panic. Try to remain calm. And don’t strain your eyes. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s a record through which we redefine the band’s identity. Composing it felt like looking at a mirror, suddenly noticing something is changed and then embracing it. Musically there are moments where raw and powerful elements come to surface and others in which we our reveal darker shades. Written between London, New York, Athens and Crete, the changes in the mood of the record are ferocious, while lyrically it reflects on modern society’s issues such as lonerism, homophobia, racism, drug use and social media addiction.” But sadly, not the issue of underlit cinematography:

5 I am Facebook friends with Vancouver singer-songwriter, accordionist, writer and political activist Geoff Berner. But I had to stop following his posts because he spends too much time talking politics even for me (and I totally agree with him 99% of the time). So if he posted anything about his Nov. 1 album Grand Hotel Cosmopolis, I missed it. Good thing I got a press release announcing it — along with the video for his single What Kind of Bear Am I? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I am told that when the Polish Empire ran Belarus a long time ago, there were many restrictions for Jews and Roma people, but there was a special license granted to them alone. They were the only ones allowed to train and keep dancing bears. In the town of Smorgon, Belarus, there was a Bear Academy. They say that the whole town was devoted to the cruel work of the training of dancing bears. They say that when you arrived at Smorgon Station, a bear porter would take your luggage for you. That bears cleaned the streets with brooms. That bears served also in the hotel. All through the town.” Bear with him:

6 Everybody tries to come up with the song of the summer. Songwriter and producer Vonavi — spoiler alert: It’s just Andrei Ivanov’s last name backwards — is one of the few who seems to be trying to create the album of the fall. And with his Nov. 8 release Reflection, he might just succeed, based on the single and video Fear For You. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Fear For You features vocalist Lorna Rose floating a diaphanous, graceful melody over a dub-inspired bass, and deep sighs of abyssal synths and strings. “I almost gave up on this song because it was really hard to find the right singer,” says Ivanov. “I tried different vocalists, and it didn’t work… Something was off. I remember I sent this demo to Chris [James of electronic band Run Rivers] and he got me in touch with his friend Lorna Rose. She liked the track and recorded some vocals in Chris’s studio. I received the vocals and it was amazing! Lorna just nailed it!” Cool:

7 Does a music video have to have a plot, characters and visual continuity. Or could you just string together a bunch of different sections and shots — bits where a big chunk of the screen is half-blocked by something opaque and orange, a hunk shot through some sort of yellow filter, and a chunk featuring bits of coloured transparencies on an overhead projector? The promo clip for Daniel Martin Moore’s Lay a Wreath — a track from his Oct. 4 disc Never Look Away — has the answer. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE:Never Look Away, the 9th album from Daniel Martin Moore, finds the artist expanding, experimenting, and having fun in the studio. Co-produced by multi-instrumentalist Seth Kauffman, the recordings are candid, unfussed-over, and full of energy and light. “Seth is a wonder. I’ve admired his work for years, and it was a joy to bring this batch of songs to life with him.” Look here:

8 Sometimes everything is black and white. And you just have to connect the dots to understand what’s going on. The animated, Braille-inspired lyric video for White LiesHurt My Heart single, is one of those times. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “One of a couple of tracks the band recently recorded with producer Andrew Wells (5 Seconds Of Summer, Fall Out Boy), Hurt My Heart sits neatly amongst the other songs on Five – which reached top 15 status on release in the U.K. this year along with an array of international playlisting.” Um, who exactly is a Braille video for?

9 We all have dreams. Singer-songwriter Big Wild — the alter-ego of Jackson Stell — has a Superdream, according to the title of his latest album. Of course, dreams tend to fade away once you wake up — so fittingly, Stell is stripping down his creations on the Oct. 4 acoustic EP Superdream: Analog Sessions. Get a sample with the first single No Words (Analog Sessions). SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I worked on peeling away the production from my favorite songs off the album so that what remained was intimate and raw.” Big Wild states, “I’ve always imagined No Words as a vocals, guitar, open mic night type of song and the Analog Sessions captures that intimacy. This version is a balancing act between rawness and refinement, which to me, is at the core of the song.” No need for the snooze button:

10 Pretty much every single, video, EP and album press release I get includes complimentary blurbs from assorted media and fellow artists. For the most part, I ignore them. But when a guy like Tom Russell weighs in to call a fellow artist “damn good” and say “he’s got a little bit of George Jones in him” — as Russell does for U.K. singer-songwriter Ags Connolly — even I take notice. Perhaps you should take notice of Say It Out Loud, a sneak peek at his Nov. 1 release Wrong Again. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Whilst perhaps not a concept album in the accepted sense, Wrong Again does feature recurring themes: miles covered in cars and planes, the lone existence of the protagonist, the spectre of Austin, Texas – all gathered in the unforgiving shadow of lost love. These undercurrents tie the songs to each other and ultimately form a very personal record of the period in which they were written.” My compliments:

11 British retro-rock power tro and regular contributors Tremendous are out for blood with Copycat Killer, the fourth single from their upcoming album Relentless, due early next year. Crank it up. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s a good honest, hard thumping glam-rock track heavily influenced by T. Rex and Slade.” You can run, but you can’t hide:

12+13 You don’t need me to tell you that Harry Nilsson was a great songwriter. And you probably don’t need me to tell you that his final album Losst and Found (see what they did there?) is being released on Nov. 22, more than 25 years after his death, since everybody’s talkin’ about it right now (see what I did there?). In fact, you probably don’t even need me to include these two sneak previews from the disc — but I’m going to anyway. Because as I mentioned, great songwriter. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Produced by Mark Hudson (Ringo Starr, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne), the album features nine Nilsson originals as well as covers by Jimmy Webb and Yoko Ono. With musical contributions from an all-star cast of musicians, including Van Dyke Parks, Jim Keltner, Webb, and Harry’s son, Kiefo, the album features classic Nilsson melodies that have been his trademark for over 50 years.” Hear what he did there:

14 Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t. And sometimes you feel like a diatribe against populist hate-mongering that straddles the troubled border between the spiky and the smooth. In that case, Brighton rock outfit Fragile Creatures’ Oct. 4 full-length Punk Yacht might be up your alley, since those are the words their publicist used to describe it to me in an email. Check out the single A New Low and decide for yourself. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Combining rock, grunge, pop and catchy melodies, Fragile Creatures evoke the spirit of great musical innovators of the past, from Bowie to Blur and beyond. Resistant to the formulaic, going wherever their musical muse takes them.” All aboard:

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