Indie Roundup | 17 Songs To Enhance Your Tuesday

Pornohelmut, Dboy, Tré Burt, Skye Wallace, Alexisonfire & more deliver the goods.

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Pornohelmut give you seizures, Dboy power up, Tré Burt gets real, Skye Wallace lights it up and more in today’s Roundup. Insert your own snappy/snippy/snarky line here. I got nothin’.


SONGS OF THE DAY

1 | Pornohelmut | Astroglide

THE PRESS RELEASE: “As Texas audiovisual guerrilla Pornohelmut prepares to unload his pummeling Bang Lord debut full-length in the coming weeks, the record’s first single and lead track has been issued. The slamming sounds of Astroglide can now be experienced through a perplexing video for the song. Bang Lord marks Pornohelmut’s first studio album release, a multifaceted crystallization of industrial noise, punk rock, metal, experimental electronics, and violently enigmatic percussion that tests the boundaries and proclivities of underground music at large. The album was engineered by Pornohelmut’s creator Neil Barrett at Hell’s Kitchen, mastered by James Plotkin, and features artwork by Josh Paul. “All the musical pieces on the record were actually performed totally live, with the exception of a vocal overdub here and there,” Barrett offers. “A lot of times people will come away from a show thinking I play along to pre-arranged tracks and video, but that’s not the case at all. I’m actually creating everything as I play.” Barrett, responsible for video work with Today Is The Day, Primitive Man, Cave Bastard, and more, also created the track’s bizarre video, noting, “It starts with two robots screaming at each other and ends with people in trances taking up serpents. There’s some vampires and outer space and dancing girls in there. Pretty basic stuff.”


2 | Dboy | Red Ultra Glide

THE PRESS RELEASE:Dboy are sharing news of their new album, New Records In Human Power, along with a new single, Red Ultra Glide. The new record from the gimp-masked and satin-clad punks will be out on Feb. 14. Clocking in at just over 17 minutes, New Records In Human Power is a relentless, rollicking assault, a brief but bright manifesto from one of Canada’s most unique bands. Spurred on by the international and collective arm of the ever-expanding Order of Dboy Scouts, and in reaction to the steady and systematic degradation of aestheticism and inauthenticity, Dboy continue to deny the boredom and light of the four minute song. Instead, the collective opts to present short plays for the pace age. As has become the norm, Dboy’s aesthetic existentialism is at the centre of all, bringing flavour to bleak climes and texture to broken canvases. However, this is not to push towards any need for explanation. Instead, New Records in Human Power holds the non-sequitor high above all else, and leaves nothing on the table. In twelve songs, and under twenty minutes, Dboy accomplish what so few bands can: the end of creative comatose, and a new, necessary standard.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

3 | Tré Burt | Real You

THE PRESS RELEASE:Tré Burt, who announced the re-release of his debut record on John Prine’s Oh Boy Records, is back with a new video for Real You. Burt explains: “My partner at the time was the reason I found myself living in Melbourne for the past year or so, her being from there and all. When we split up it’s safe to say I was on a bit of a free fall yet the reasons it wasn’t working out had never been more clear. We were never able to see each other for who we really were, despite our incredible magnetism towards each other. It left me mourning what could have been and why it wasn’t.”


4 | Skye Wallace | Body Lights the Way

THE PRESS RELEASE:Skye Wallace is what happens when a trained singer with east coast roots discovers punk rock in their youth and writes music that makes you feel excited. Skye’s recent self-titled album embodies Canadiana. From living on BC’s west coast to spending time at residencies in Norris Point, Newfoundland and Dawson City, Yukon, the Toronto-based artist has been inspired by every corner of the country. The new album combines her folk songwriting roots with influences of 90’s riot girls and grunge, resulting in songs that jump from somber reflections to rowdy highs. Today, she’s sharing the official music video for the LP’s Body Lights The Way – a carefree, groove-driven song conveying a sense of empowerment. The video reflects the fun energy of the track and combines Skye’s love of curling and music.”


5 | Alice Boman | Everybody Hurts

THE PRESS RELEASE: “With her mesmerising and long-awaited debut album Dream On coming out this Friday, Swedish songwriter Alice Boman shares her new single, and the video for Everybody Hurts, saying: “This song is about being rejected and turned down and how that can make you question yourself and your worth, regardless of the circumstances. Especially when it happens again and again. I guess rejection is one of the things we all fear the most. But I also wanted this song to feel a bit encouraging despite the theme. A reminder to not take it to personally. All of us get hurt. And it’s ok. You’re ok. When me and Tom recorded the demo for this song, we listened to Cindy Lauper’s Time After Time and we were inspired by that sound and wanted this song to feel like that. Warm and comforting. Like an embrace. And that idea has remained. The recording of the song started with Fabian in London, where we recorded the drums, vocals, synth and bass live. It was such a good feeling to play it together like that. And then me and Patrik carried on working on it in Stockholm later on.”


6 | Sunny Jain | Wild Wild East

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Brooklyn-based musician, composer, and Red Baraat bandleader Sunny Jain presents the title track and its accompanying video from Wild Wild East, his new album out Feb. 21. Wild Wild East “is about migration,” Jain says. “A story that everyone has in their family, whether it be 100 years old or in recent times. This song is about my lineage from Osian, Rajasthan to Sialkot, Punjab to the 1947 partition of India, and then the eventual move to America. The courageousness of all immigrants to leave their family and home in search of opportunity in a foreign land is a wild and bold move. One that truly embodies the romanticized ideas the cowboy has always professed to be.” The accompanying video was directed by Adeel Ahmed and was filmed throughout Manhattan, Queens, Hawaii, Los Angeles, New Delhi, Old Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.”


7 | Jess Knights | Leave Me For The Last Time

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Calgary soul-roots dynamo Jess Knights is unveiling the video for Leave Me For The Last Time, the first single off her forthcoming debut full-length album, Best Kind of Light, which arrives independently on May 20. At the forefront of the ballad are glorious vintage organ tones and Knights’ golden, simmering hot pipes — an early indicator of the sort of blow-the-roof-off-the-church throwback soul that’s to come on the full record. “Sacrifice is a virtue of love we don’t talk about as much” said Knights. “The decision to sacrifice your love or your life is not an easy choice. It’s my opinion that no love is worth letting go of your life, your dreams, or your plans. Sometimes you just have to let someone leave for the last time, so that you can create something meaningful for yourself. It’s the one love that will last a lifetime, if you let it.”


8 | Kevin Krauter | Green Eyes

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Indiana-based songwriter Kevin Krauter shares Green Eyes, the second single from Full Hand, his forthcoming album out Feb. 28. Following the lead single Surprise, Green Eyes is mellow and synth-heavy. “The lyrics for this song loosely represent a difficult but inevitable situation in my life toward which I held on to a lot of guilt and confusion for a long time,” says Krauter. “I was dealing with the question of how much of myself I still owe to it and how to find compassion for myself even when the thought of closure seems unlikely.”


9 | Jerry Leger | Read Between The Lines

THE PRESS RELEASE:Jerry Leger has a thing for ghosts. The Toronto singer/songwriter confirmed it a couple of years ago when he went on a personal journey to explore many of Ontario’s largely unknown ghost towns, having been inspired by the writings of historian Ron Brown. Leger has immortalized one of those towns, Burchell Lake, on his new album Time Out For Tomorrow, containing 10 portraits of the impermanence of life, love, or simply catching a glimpse of a shooting star. Yet, other ghosts reside much deeper in Leger’s songs. Whether they’re the voices of Roy Orbison, Lou Reed, Gene Clark, Rick Danko or Ronnie Laine, they naturally complement the universal truths at the core of Jerry Leger’s music, along with his undying faith in rock ‘n roll as a way for all people to find common ground.”


10 | Laughing In The Face Of | Helldweller

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Almost a decade after their debut album, Birmingham’s skate-punks Laughing In the Face Of will release Here Lies Ordinary on Feb. 7. Laughing In The Face Of excel in tight melodic hardcore, riddled with hooks, riffs, and head-banging breaks. These Brummie boys take influence from 90’s punk bands like Ten Foot Pole, Lagwagon and Descendents, and inject it with technical prowess borrowed from metal bands like Municipal Waste, Misery Signals and Shai Hulud. On the new record, LITFO deliver a commentary on the labours of adult life, being trodden down in uninspiring day jobs, working through broken relationships and dealing with the mental health strain that they create. Vocalist and guitarist Steve Lowry elaborates, “It’s about the awareness of how we live and how we treat each other in this seemingly short amount of time, and the petty things we squabble over – which really don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. Some songs were written during anger or anxiety and there’s some written retrospectively whilst in a better frame of mind, which was quite refreshing and cathartic.”


11 | Brenner & Molenaar | Burial Delirium

THE PRESS RELEASE:Nefarious Industries’ first release of 2020 will be delivered in the form of Brenner & Molenaar’s Uninvited Savior, a massive droning collaboration between Christian Molenaar, the primary fulcrum of San Diego’s intense free-jazz/noise collective Those Darn Gnomes, and David Brenner, hostile alchemist of New York City-area harsh experiment Gridfailure. On Uninvited Savior, these two experimentalists take a sidecar to their usual outlets to collaborate on a spacious vortex of imploding spiritual psychosis. Infusing vocals, electric/acoustic/bass/pedal steel guitars, keyboards, synthesizers, organs, xylophone, harmonica, 1970s cult field recordings, resynthesis, tape manipulation, contact mic and power electronics effects, and other instrumentation tactics embodied in a vaporous haze, the three lumbering movements range between twenty and thirty-five minutes in length. All said, Uninvited Savior suspends the listener within its abyssal vacuum for more than 81 minutes.”


12 | Mute Choir | Shadowboxing

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto-based rock trio Mute Choir releases second single Shadowboxing today, told from the perspective of someone who compromised ambitions in the face of fear and is now looking back on life, contemplating the what ifs. Their debut album Silent Conversations is due out Feb. 28. The album tells a coming of age tale through an anxious millennial lens; exploring themes of freedom, entrapment, and the self-reflection of inner conflicts that can pile up as one asks “who am I?” Shadowboxing is about letting the weight of fear and negativity break one’s spirit over time. The character has given up and distanced themselves from their passions, realizing a little too late how misguided they were. The verses muse over the unfulfilled mundanity of their day-to-day, while the choruses offer a bleak retrospect. Producer and songwriter Sam Arion was inspired by a point in life where he was starting anew and feeling the tremendous pressure of uncertainty. “The character was written as a reminder to myself. I would rather fail doing what I love than know I never tried. When the future is wide open, it can be easy to overthink your present decisions in the face of who you might become. You can never know for sure if life will turn out the way you hope; in following your gut instinct there is always a possibility for failure, and fear of it can be overwhelming enough to drive you to the wrong kinds of compromises.”


13 | Andy Shauf | Living Room

THE PRESS RELEASE: “On Friday, Jan. 24, Andy Shauf will release The Neon Skyline. Today he releases a new single Living Room, which follows the previously released lead single Things I Do and track/video Try Again. On top of heartbreak, friendship, and the mundane moments of humanity that define his songwriting, Shauf makes music that explores how easy it is to repeat the same mistakes of your past. This is immediate in the foreboding Living Room, during which a character falls into the same, disheartening pattern her father was once in and later asks herself, “How hard is it to give a shit?” The Neon Skyline’s interconnected songs are all written, performed, arranged and produced by Shauf, and follow a simple plot: the narrator goes to his neighborhood dive, finds out his ex is back in town, and she eventually shows up. His characters are all sympathetic here, people who share countless inside jokes, shots, and life-or-death musings when the night gets hazy. The songs on The Neon Skyline ultimately take solace in accepting that life goes on and things will be okay.”


14 | Boniface | Oh My God

THE PRESS RELEASE:Boniface is very excited to share a new single ahead of their self-titled debut album release on Feb. 14. Oh My God is streaming now, and is another intoxicating, melody-rich example of why this introductory full-length debut could become the first great sleeper album of the decade. Boniface — who uses they/them pronouns — is the brainchild and primary creative outlet for Winnipeg’s Micah Visser. Oh My God is Boniface’s ode to taking a deep breath and telling somebody special how you feel about them. Unashamedly. It’s the racing heartbeat, the uncertainty of the response and the fear of derision, but also the hope, the longing and that bold step into the unknown. It harbours all those positive things that Boniface’s music has a habit of doing in the soaring synths, the micro choruses that exist outside of the song’s primary chorus, and the unrelenting insistence that every single they drop has to sound huge. Visser explains: “Oh My God is about letting someone know how you feel emphatically but without expectation. Love can feel big and scary and complicated but mostly I think it’s just about speaking your truth and letting it lie. With Oh My God, I’m speaking my truth and letting it lie.”


15 | Khruangbin & Leon Bridges | C-Side

THE PRESS RELEASE:Khruangbin & Leon Bridges will release Texas Sun, their forthcoming collaborative EP, on Feb. 7. Following the EP’s title track, a slow rolling song about the pull of the unique Texas landscape, they today offer its second single C-Side, a shimmering track comprised of wah-wah guitar lines, burbling Latin polyrhythms, and soft vibraphone. Their first time writing with a vocalist, Texas Sun finds Khruangbin — comprised of Laura Lee (bass), Mark Speer (guitar), and Donald “DJ” Johnson (drums) — tailoring their exotic funk to Bridges’ soulful melodies. On the EP, these Texas natives meet up somewhere in the mythical nexus of the state’s past, present, and future — a dreamy badlands where genres blur as seamlessly as the terrain. The state’s music is as varied and wild as its geography, producing Southern rap pioneers Geto Boys and UGK, lysergic trailblazers The 13th Floor Elevators, and genres-unto-themselves like St. Vincent, Gary Clark Jr., and Beyoncé. Texas Sun lives here too, a record that calls equally to the chopped-and-screwed hip-hop fans rattling slabs on the southside of Houston, to those who grew up on listening to both mariachi and post-hardcore out on the Mexican borders of El Paso, to the Austin acid-dropping art school kids.”


16 | Scott Hardware | Joy

THE PRESS RELEASE: “On April 3, Toronto’s Scott Hardware will be releasing Engel, his second full-length album. It will mark the end of a three-year process of writing, recording and letting down his guard (for better or worse.) The first new track off the LP, Joy is “a song not about experiencing joy but a promise to myself to keep looking for it,” says Hardware. “Reading the lyrics back revealed to me that I consider this pretty hard work; I’d have to keep pushing the boundaries of my own spirituality, sexuality and relationships to find it. By the end of the song I’m begging no one and nothing in particular to ‘give me to my joy’.”


17 | Alexisonfire | Season Of The Flood

THE PRESS RELEASE:Alexisonfire is starting 2020 with a bang. The band has just released a new song, Season Of The Flood, a seductive, hypnotic, 7-minute slow-burner anchored by haunting 3-part harmonies and heavy reverb-filled guitars. The song notably features AOF’s George Pettit singing off the top for the first time. The track comes on the heels of Familiar Drugs and Complicit released last year, marking the first time the band released new music in almost 10 years. “I’m very proud of this new song,” says Pettit. “There were some first time attempts for us and we all really came together in the studio to make this song what it is. This was also my first time singing with Dallas on a song. I know I’ve been playing in a band with Dal for almost 20 years, but damn, that guy’s voice could melt an angel.”