Indie Roundup | 16 Songs To Maximize Your Midweek

Widen your Wednesday with the help of Real Estate, Twin Peaks, Okay Kaya & more.

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Real Estate are in their cups, Twin Peaks see double, Okay Kaya visits the psych ward, Torres dresses America and more in today’s Roundup. How come nobody ever tells you to beware the Ides of January? It’s deadly cold out there!


VIDEO OF THE DAY

1 | Real Estate | Paper Cup

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Today, Real Estate announce The Main Thing, out Feb. 28. The brand new album delivers the band’s most inspired and self-aware set of songs to date, created over the course of a year at upstate New York’s Marcata Sound. Following his work on 2011’s Days, engineer Kevin McMahon returns as producer, and, for the first time ever, Real Estate have brought in outside instrumentalists and special guests like Sylvan Esso, whose vocalist Amelia Meath features on first single Paper Cup, alongside a Nick Roney-directed music video chronicling the final performance in the life of a giant animatronic squirrel named Chipper. “Paper Cup is a song about getting older and realizing that this thing that I fell into doing over ten years ago – being a musician, writing songs, being a guy in a band – this may end up being my life’s work. Watching the people around me change and evolve, take on new challenges, and feeling sort of stuck in a rut, in a way. Feeling uncertain of the validity of being an artist in an age of climate change and general political and social unrest around the world. It’s a song about questioning your chosen path in life and searching for meaning in what you do. Those questions don’t really get resolved in this song, but ironically, the process of making this record – really diving deep and trying to make it the best thing we’ve ever made – reaffirmed in me, and I think in all of us in this band, why we are doing this.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

2+3 | Twin Peaks | Cawfee / St. Vulgar St.

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Preceding their North American tour later this spring, Twin Peaks present two new singles/lyric videos, Cawfee and St. Vulgar St. Following their most recent album, Lookout Low, the two tracks are available digitally today and as a limited 7” on Feb. 14. All profits from the 7” purchased from the band’s webstore will be donated to support rescue efforts for wildlife impacted by the Australian bush fires. The band recorded the tracks in their studio with Andrew Humphrey at Treehouse Records in Chicago. St. Vulgar St. opens with dulcet guitar and staccato percussion, and “is inspired a bit by the Martin Bell movie Streetwise,” says Clay Frankel. Cawfee is introspective, and features bright keyboard and anthemic guitar. “For Cawfee, I’d like to shout out my good buddy Andre Baptista, who helped with lyrics in a little backstage room in Milwaukee. Enjoy.” Both accompanying lyric videos feature James Swanberg.”


4 | Okay Kaya | Psych Ward

THE PRESS RELEASE:Okay Kaya — the project of Norwegian-born, New York-based Kaya Wilkins — shares the new single/video Psych Ward from Watch This Liquid Pour Itself, her forthcoming album out Jan. 24. Psych Ward, produced by Kaya with co-production from Christoph Andersson (Cautious Clay), follows previously released singles/videos Asexual Wellbeing, Baby Little Tween, and Ascend and Try Again. On Psych Ward, Kaya’s scene of nurses making rounds is based on her personal experience of time spent in a hospital. Kaya describes the track and the video in her own words: “This is basically a Hospital Evaluation Form. The last few days I was in a hospital a nurse unlocked one of the cabinets and let me use the rec room guitar, to play outside of art therapy class. I wrote what I saw to understand how I felt. It turned into this funny bop, I wanted it to feel like a Ramones song or something. I wrote the lyrics in a very literal way as I often tend to do. When it was time for a music video I took the words ‘do the rounds’ even more literally by making Kaya pole dance in her daydream during her morning fitness routine. The fitness routines were always to an ABBA greatest hits CD, it felt much too ecstatic compared to the heavily drugged hospital bodies, barely out of bed, barely moving. I wanted the video to show that effort, because I am scared to forget. This whole album is filled with moments I am scared to forget, coming right at you projectile style.”


5 | Torres | Dressing America

THE PRESS RELEASE:Torres, the project of New York-based musician Mackenzie Scott, presents Dressing America, a final pre-release single and first video for Silver Tongue, out Jan. 31. Following previously released singles Gracious Day and Good Scare, Dressing America combines New Wave glitter with hovering frustration. Scott’s striking vocal hooks punctuate sparkling instrumentation as she sings “You think that I don’t know you don’t want to be alone? / Come on / You’re always telling me I don’t know who you are / Come on, woman / I tend to sleep with my boots on should I need to gallop over dark water / To you on short notice.” The accompanying video was directed by Ashley Connor and features Scott. “An ode to every sacrificial act of love,” says Connor. “Starring our hero Cowboy Mackenzie, who will gladly carry any lover through the snow. A few friends made the video during the December squall.”


6 | LA Priest | What Moves

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Emerging from an all-too-long nomadic hibernation, LA Priest has returned with news of Gene, his forthcoming second album, due for release on April 24. Along with the news of Gene, LA Priest has shared the first track from the album, What Moves, which arrives with a video directed by LA Priest himself. Gene, the album, is named after a brand-new analogue drum machine Sam dreamt up and built alone. Working in isolation for more than two years in California, Wales and England’s south coast, soldering iron in hand, Sam developed the inners of Gene using dozens of electrical circuits he made up himself. The creation came after a search for an alternative to the structure and rigor of standard drum machines. Its unique rhythmic patterns are the focal point for the album, which is coloured by lush, pastoral tones, paired with the influence of his environmental changes. The product of clear-eyed focus, the record offers a one-way ticket into a dimension entirely of Sam’s own making.”


7 | Mechanimal | Stolen Flesh

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Greece’s “synth punk” act Mechanimal (Giannis Papaioanou, Freddie Faulkenberry) unveil the first taste from their forthcoming album, Crux. Stolen Flesh arrives with an emotional clip shot and directed by Christos Karalias. Stolen Flesh follows the single Holy Punk, which was a teaser for what’s to come Jan. 27. Giannis P. says about the song: “Stolen Flesh is dedicated to the loving memory of a dear friend we lost. It’s about how it feels when you lose a dear person: all the love unveils in its magnitude in a very painful procedure. But we remain here to keep this love and all memories alive by beautifying every little crack and detail in our everyday life.”


8 | Mute Duo | Red-Winged Blackbirds

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Today ambient two-piece Mute Duo unleashes a haunting new single titled Red-Winged Blackbirds, equipped with a music video directed by Ryan Hart; a truly fitting companion to Mute Duo’s raw, unrelenting and whirling soundscape. “In a dark tunnel underground, a nameless laborer tries to move an immovable burden.” That’s how director Ryan Hart describes the imagery in the video he made for Mute Duo’s twangy bruiser Red-Winged Blackbirds. A meditation on grief, trauma, and perseverance, Hart’s video considers the Sisyphus myth, mutating the fatalist cynicism into something open-ended, if not overtly hopeful, backgrounded by sun-soaked, droning pedal steel and propulsive, sublime rhythms. Chicago’s Mute Duo is Skyler Rowe (drums/percussion) and Sam Wagster (pedal steel). Building on simple composed melodies, Mute Duo explores an ambient atmosphere ranging from sparse chimes to pummeling drone with a free, rhythmic fluidity. In 2017, they released their debut album featuring artwork by local artist/writer Dmitry Samarov, and in 2018, they released the Axially Grasp EP. Their second LP Lapse in Passage will be released on March 20.”


9 | Lost Dog Street Band | Fightin’ Like Hell To Be Free

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Kentucky’s dark country act Lost Dog Street Band is preparing to embark on their latest tour in support of their acclaimed fifth album, Weight Of A Trigger. With the new trek just days away, the band has also posted a video for a new song. Lost Dog Street Band is the creation of guitarist, vocalist, and primary songwriter, Benjamin Tod, typically alongside his wife Ashley Mae on violin and vocals, as well as touring upright bassist/vocalist Jeff Loops as seen in the new video for Fightin’ Like Hell To Be Free. The video was filmed by the band’s longtime ally Anthony Simpkins of the GemsOnVHS collective. Here, the band treads through their early stomping grounds in downtown Nashville and performs the new song together live at Acme Feed & Seed.”


10 | SectaS | Walls of Deception

THE PRESS RELEASE:SectaS are a high-energy metal trio based out of Phoenix, with a hard-driving sound where Megadeth meets Rush, yet is melodic with a positive message behind every lyric. Today, they release of their new video Walls of Deception off the upcoming album Life is a Game which is schedule to be released in March 2020. “The song Walls of Deception can be considered a personal song with personal inspired lyrics that can fit everyone. It’s about how we keep creating walls or obstacles in our lives made of deception — walls that don’t let us go through life, when at the end these are walls created by us. Basically, life can be easy but we choose to make it hard.”


11 | For I Am | P.I.G.O.T.R.Y.

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Belgian fast melodic pop-punks For I Am released their second full album Late Bloomers in November 2019. After having released videos for singles The Armistice and Die Hard, the band has now uploaded a clip for P.I.G.O.T.R.Y., a song with a slightly more political undertone. The title is a wordplay on George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm and an indictment against the current political views of a large part of the world’s inhabitants. Lead singer Hanne: “It’s sad to have to acknowledge the fact that we’re headed towards a right-wing, conservative world, led by people who make the masses believe they’ll save the world by shouting the loudest of all. So many people blame others for their own misfortune and so many people cannot fathom that diversity is the exact thing that’ll save us. We need differences, we need as many views on the world, on what’s wrong and what’s right as possible, we all need each other. We’re not “us” versus “them”. We’re the human race. George Orwell was way ahead of his time when he wrote Animal Farm. Even back then, he got it completely right. But I and — fortunately — many others refuse to live in such a dystopia where “we’re all equal, but some of us are more equal than the others”… Let’s make a stand. Let’s speak out. Let’s put a stop to bigotry, misogyny, racism, etc. Let’s be there for those who need it most and discard our own privileged problems for just one second.”


12 | Son Little | neve give up

THE PRESS RELEASE:Son Little, the moniker of Los Angeles-based musician Aaron Earl Livingston, will release his new album, aloha, on Jan. Today, he premieres the video for the new single, neve give up. Following previously released singles hey rose, suffer, and mahalia, neve give up is a gorgeous track about perseverance. “Hallelujah,” Little sings, “though I’m battered and blue / feel like I’m born to lose…Never will I give up.” It is a potent reminder that letting go doesn’t mean giving in; it can be an act of defiance, of growth, of empowerment. The accompanying animated video was created by Piotr Kabat.”


13 | Daniel Johnston | Worried Shoes

THE PRESS RELEASE: “On Jan. 31, dBpm Records will release Chicago 2017, an album composed of songs from Daniel Johnston’s final Chicago performance at The Vic Theatre in 2017, as well as a session recorded at The Loft, backed by Tweedy (Jeff & Spencer Tweedy, James Elkington, Liam Kazar, and Darin Gray). Today, they offer a preview of this limited release, Johnston’s timeless song Worried Shoes, performed live at The Vic. “Jeff Tweedy and Wilco have been incredible ambassadors of Daniel’s music for years,” says Tom Gimbel, Daniel’s longtime manager. “So many fans have discovered Daniel’s work through covers and interviews by notable artists such as Jeff and Wilco – and we are certainly grateful. I think this album captures the perfect Daniel Johnston setlist and does so with Jeff and the band’s expert musicianship and thoughtful arrangements. I’m so glad that this show from Daniel’s last tour was recorded with such care. It’s something fans will be able to enjoy forever.” Jeff Tweedy adds: “There is and was only one Daniel and to be able to work with him and help present his music was a huge honor for me and the band, one for which we are all very thankful.”


14 | Thundercat | Black Qualls (feat. Steve Lacy & Steve Arrington)

THE PRESS RELEASE:Thundercat is set to release his new album It Is What It Is on April 3 and shares the first music: Black Qualls (feat. Steve Lacy & Steve Arrington). The album, produced by Flying Lotus and Thundercat, features musical contributions from Ty Dolla $ign, Childish Gambino, Lil B, Kamasi Washington, Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington, BADBADNOTGOOD, Louis Cole and Zack Fox. The unruly bounce of new single Black Qualls is classic Thundercat, teaming up with Steve Lacy (The Internet) and Funk icon Steve Arrington (Slave). It’s another example of Stephen Lee Bruner’s desire to highlight the lineage of his music and pay his respects to the musicians who inspired him. Discovering Arrington’s output in his late teens, Bruner says he fell in love with his music immediately: “The tone of the bass, the way his stuff feels and moves, it resonated through my whole body.” Black Qualls emerged from writing sessions with Lacy, whom Thundercat describes as “the physical incarnate of the Ohio Players in one person – he genuinely is a funky ass dude”. It references what it means to be a black American with a young mindset: “What it feels like to be in this position right now… the weird ins and outs, we’re talking about those feelings… Part of me knew this [track] was where Steve [Arrington] left us.”


15 | Mr. T Experience | More Than Toast

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Let the Mr. T Experience help you improve your love life with a Valentine’s Day package that will show your friend, lover, or future frenemy how you feel about themthrough the majesty of song! For Valentine’s Day, Sounds Rad has assembled a package that includes limited full-color 5”x7” flexiaudible valentine featuring the song, More Than Toast, and a three-color t-shirt for a special price of $20. This flexi postcard includes version of More Than Toast that has been remastered from the original tapes as a part of the Mr. T Experience’s forthcoming best-of double LP, Mtx forever, a collection of 24 songs spanning the thirty-year discography of the Mr. T Experience, which will be released on March 13.


16 | Pure Wrath | When A Great Man Dies

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Indonesian atmospheric/symphonic black metal unit Pure Wrath will unleash The Forlorn Soldier EP on March 6. The poignant offering serves as the band’s Debemur Morti debut as well as a teaser to the band’s third full-length. Forged in 2014 in West Java, Pure Wrath is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Januaryo Hardy, who presents here an emotive three-track, near-half-hour exploration of events behind a brutal incident during the ’60s genocide in Indonesia where male members of a family were kidnapped and “vanished” by a tyrannical army in the name of “so-called nationalism.” Far darker and more immersive, expansive, and organic than previous works, The Forlorn Soldier — with its powerful, melodic cascades, impassioned vocals, skilled guest drum work by Yurii Kononov (ex-White Ward), and piano contributions by Dice Midyanti (Victorian) — journeys to an all-encompassing realm where mythic dreamscapes meet bloody thematic realism.”