Indie Roundup | 13 Songs To Improve Your Midweek Luck

You can't lose with these winners from Pokey LaFarge, Claudettes and more.

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Pokey LaFarge is fucked, The Claudettes go bad, Deadnotes seek perfection and more in today’s Roundup. Have you heard that new Pearl Jam single? I didn’t realize David Byrne had joined the band.


VIDEO OF THE DAY

1 | Pokey LaFarge | Fuck Me Up

THE PRESS RELEASE:Pokey LaFarge is set to release Rock Bottom Rhapsody on April 10. The 13-song set is LaFarge’s first album in over three years and follows 2017’s acclaimed Manic Revelations. “The man singing these songs isn’t exactly the same man that wrote them,” says LaFarge. “This album is about the story of who I used to be.” In early 2018 he relocated from his longtime home base of St. Louis to Los Angeles. New songs came quickly to LaFarge in his new environment, but new temptations soon found him, as well. He admits that he experienced a significant “fall from grace” during the last months of 2018. “Things started to unravel in my mind. I was letting evil spirits and demons rule me, and I came into certain agreements with them, and it took me down. I was giving too much power to darkness, and I got in too deep, and I made some bad decisions. The reality of the situation is that I hit the closet to rock bottom that I ever had, and I’ve definitely had some hardships in my life.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

2 | The Claudettes | Bad Babe, Losin’ Touch

THE PRESS RELEASE:Johnny Iguana’s piano is still at the center of The Claudettes’ rockin’ roots music, but the sublime singing of Berit Ulseth steals the spotlight on the band’s fifth release, High Times in the Dark, due April 3. Produced by Grammy winner Ted Hutt (Violent Femmes, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Devil Makes Three, Lucero), this richly atmospheric album conjures images of Julie London and Allen Toussaint fronting a ’60s hot-rod band. It’s a 13-song smorgasbord of vintage yet vital sounds the band calls “garage cabaret.” Claudettes co-founder Michael Caskey is back, bringing dazzling drum skills to the studio and an ebullient personality to the stage. In the wake of a series of sudden tragedies and deaths in the band’s realm — and amidst a countrywide mood of pessimism and contention — Johnny and Michael locked arms with Berit and bassist/guitarist Zach Verdoorn to create an album wearing its heart on its sleeve and, like the band’s much-talked-about live shows, overflowing with humor, love and a lust for fun.”


3 | The Deadnotes | Never Perfect

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Freiburg, Germany-based indie-punks The Deadnotes are pleased to share the latest single from their forthcoming album Courage which is out Feb. 14. The latest single Never Perfect, released today, is a candid and revealing song in which mental health plays a key theme. “Mental health has always been an important topic for us personally and as a band in the last few years. With Never Perfect we decided to explicitly talk about the numerous situations we have come across, where either we ourselves, befriended bands or people we are in contact with working in the music industry have struggled with mental health. We sadly have to admit, that we find more and more people not being able to cope with these situations”, singer and guitarist Darius Lohmüller of the band says. “I believe it‘s still something that‘s not talked about enough yet. It‘s very important to listen to each other, take care of each other, be attentive and also consider getting help from professionals if you‘re affected.”


4 | The Delay In The Universal Loop | Inner Capitalism

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Delay In The Universal Loop is the solo project of Italian producer Dylan Iuliano. Despite the four year span between albums, this February’s Inner Capitalism took shape quickly last year as Iuliano realized he wanted to make an album that simulated the dopamine-fueled, fantastical escape that internet culture provides from everyday life. “The album title refers to internalized forms of capitalism and the ways they affect mental health,” says Iuliano. “It’s like an inner parasite that makes you feel unworthy for believing the things you believe in, for being who you are beyond superstructures… the album is about exorcising all that anxiety in a way that was fun for me.”


5 | Tops | I Feel Alive

THE PRESS RELEASE: “After launching their own record label last year, Montreal four-piece Tops enter the new decade by announcing a new album. I Feel Alive is out April 3 and is their fourth full-length, following 2017’s Sugar At The Gate. Tops is also sharing the album’s title-track and video. I Feel Alive is directed by Mashie Alam and documents the band at a photoshoot, with no shortage of looks and playful bunnies present. I Feel Alive is a bracing pop gem with darker undertones. An ode to new love, Penny sings “I feel alive looking in your eyes” with the exuberance that comes with the early stages of romance, the discovery of a deep love. But love is complicated, and within the joy and happiness is the pain of leaving someone else behind. “When I saw you wanted to spend the night with someone else at home,” she sings, “I knew it wasn’t right.” This honest admission that happiness can come at the expense of others adds another dimension to the song’s ecstatic energy. True love defies us to overcome others expectations, and that’s a good thing. People may be watching, but why should you care.”


6 | Amanda Rheaume | The Best

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Juno-nominated Métis artist Amanda Rheaume shares a powerful brand new single, all about feeling a sense of empowerment, called The Best. Produced by Robyn Dell’Unto, the track features the incredible Kinnie Starr. Dell’Unto and Starr also co-wrote the song with Rheaume. The single is complemented with a visually compelling video directed by Stephano Barberis. “This song is for anyone that has ever felt less than. Anyone that has ever had an intuitive feeling and gone against it because they were scared or manipulated or not believed;” shares Rheaume. “Too often we allow others to take our power. We feel we have to apologize for being ourselves… messy, empowered, insecure, confident or not. Forget that. We are human, we can work on ourselves. I want to try my best to find compassion, understanding, and forgiveness… slowly and mindfully shed any and all ideas of who or what anyone else thinks we should be doing or how we should be acting. I am still practicing this every day. Fighting those demons.”


7 | (Sandy) Alex G | Bad Man

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Last September, (Sandy) Alex G released his new album, House of Sugar, to critical acclaim. Today, he shares a new video for Bad Man directed by Zev Magasis (who previously directed videos for Gretel and In My Arms). It features an alternate version of the track, exclusive to the video.”


8 | Wednesday 13 | Monster

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Just days away from kicking off their North American tour, Wednesday 13 and his boo crew have debuted a new lyric video for the latest single, Monster (Feat. Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil) from their recently released album Necrophaze.Monster is the 1st Wednesday 13 song recorded to feature guest vocals. I wanted something different than I had ever tried before and I wanted a female vocalist. Cristina was the perfect choice for this song. I gave her the lyrics and some minor details, and she came back with what you hear. She totally floored us with her amazing vocal range and adding a new element never heard on one of our songs before.”


9 | Dana Gavanski | Good Instead of Bad

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Serbian-Canadian musician Dana Gavanski announces Yesterday Is Gone, her debut album out March 27. Following recently released singles/videos Catch and One By One, she presents a new single, Good Instead of Bad, a song about “the desire to make up for everything that wasn’t done or wasn’t done right. The muddiness of breaking up, and not knowing if it’s the right decision. Not saying the right things, not being able to express the complexity of what we’re feeling.” By turns break-up album, project of curiosity, and, as Dana puts it, “a reckoning with myself,” Yesterday Is Gone is an album of longing and devotion to longing, and of the uncertainty that arises from learning about oneself, of pushing boundaries, falling hard, and getting back up. Moments of beguilement splinter a backdrop of tenderly picked guitar, bass, synth, and poppier elements, which commune to produce her own kind of wall of sound. Each component is meticulously placed, yielding a deeply sincere response to the chaos of human emotion.”


10 | Leif Vollebekk | Apalachee Plain

THE PRESS RELEASE:Leif Vollebekk wrote his song Apalachee Plain in one sitting but it took many different forms until he nailed the perfect feel – a shimmering country song. The stunning New Ways album closer now has a video, unveiled today. It captures Leif, glazed with rain, and a sprawling Icelandic landscape in black and white. Apalachee Plain was recorded at Capitol Studios in Hollywood and includes vocals from Australian singer-songwriter Angie McMahon and legendary pedal steel player Cindy Cashdollar. “A few years ago I was driving through the painted desert and saw a lone mustang running alongside the road. He looked so free. And he seemed to know everything. That image came back to me when I wrote it,” says Leif. “I wanted to create a photographic video for this track which used mixed media, Icelandic landscapes and portrait photography to give an other-worldy vibe to the track putting Leif and his voice at the centre of the visuals,” video director Joe Connor says.”


11 | Ellis | Fall Apart

THE PRESS RELEASE: “To celebrate the announcement of her upcoming album Born Again, Ellis shares the album’s first single. On the sweetly hazy Fall Apart, Ellis takes on a heart-crushing vulnerability, laying bare her longtime struggle with anxiety and its impact on her most precious relationships. She says of the song: “This is really just an honest reflection of my struggle with anxiety and how I can’t hide it from the people closest to me. It’s about the feeling the first time someone you admire sees you in your most vulnerable state, about putting in the work to get better but still having moments of weakness. My anxiety comes over me like a tidal wave, and it feels like I am spiralling out of control. I am finding better and healthier ways to cope, to talk myself down when I can feel myself starting to fall, but it still happens sometimes even though I wish that it didn’t.”


12 | Leya | Wave

THE PRESS RELEASE:Leya, the project of Marilu Donovan (Eartheater, Aerial East, Julie Byrne) and Adam Markiewicz (PC Worship, The Dreebs), today shared a self-directed video for Wave, the second single from their forthcoming sophomore album Flood Dream. “The video features our two friends,” explain Leya on their enveloping track, “disciples of 34th generation Shaolin warrior monk and activist Shi Yan Ming, founder of the luminous USA Shaolin Temple in Manhattan, where RZA, Rosie Perez, Wesley Snipes, Jim Jarmusch, and Tricky have all trained. They are part of the wave.”


13 | Radian | Hearts Of Metropolis

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Akron, Ohio-based doom/sludge metal merchants Radian — featuring former members of Fistula, Rue, and Sofa King Killer — will unleash their devastating debut full-length, Chapters, next month. Like matter in space knows no gravity; like the thunder above that shakes the Earth below, Radian exists unbound. At once gargantuan sounding and unsettling, Chapters delivers five heaving tracks of relentless hardcore-infused, doom sludge. “We just wanted to experiment with different tones and take listeners on a journey,” issues the band. “From heavy vibes to emotional vibes. They are chapters. Stories. Musical voyages as well as songs.”