Indie Roundup (XXX Valentine Edition) | 30-Plus Songs For Your Romantic Evening

Let the Grahams, Ayla Brook, Joi Noir, Kreator, Selci & more set the musical mood.

4368

The Grahams search the skies, Ayla Brook reaches his limit, Brandon Wolfe Scott thinks young, Joi Noir commit love crimes and more on a typically overstuffed Friday Roundup. As an added bonus, there are plenty of Valentine-themed offerings sprinkled throughout this one, so if you still haven’t bought a present … well, you’re screwed. But you could try to distract that special someone with music while you scramble to score the last bouquet and chocolate box in your neck of the woods. Good luck with that.


1 | The Grahams | Searching The Milky Way

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Cinematic rock group The Grahams are channeling a classic vintage ’50s nostalgia in their latest music video for a live-in-AbbeyRoad-studio version of Searching The Milky Way. The track is the latest off their upcoming record Kids Like Us (set for release on March 27). It features uplifting glittering piano and eruptions of sharp, fuzzy, toned guitars that highlight the strong vocals of Alyssa and Doug Graham. In the band’s own exploration of the Milky Way, they found a bright star in their friend and producer Richard Swift, who passed away in 2018. The Grahams add, “We started writing the music at Richard’s studio, National Freedom, in Cottage Grove, OR. We finished it just a short time before he passed away. He never got to hear the lyrics. ‘Baby, you’re so high, you’re the brightest in the sky, you’re the lonely sun that ends my day. But you only dance at night, I saw you once or twice, searching stars along the milky way.’ We were lucky to know and love him.”


2 | Ayla Brook & The Sound Men | (I Think I) Hit My Limit

THE PRESS RELEASE: “As the date approaches for Edmonton roots rockers Ayla Brook & The Sound Men’s highly anticipated new album Desolation Sounds (March 13), the band has released the second single (I Think I) Hit My Limit, accompanied by a video. The song displays Brook’s classic melodicism, while the video shows the band playfully letting off some steam, and is sure to appeal to anyone who enjoys seeing things get smashed in slow motion. Ayla Brook (pronounced Ey–Lah) makes music as raw and vast as the Canadian Prairies. From his beginnings in Lily Plain, Saskatchewan, to successful records recorded with AA Sound System, to now his solo work, Ayla has never wavered from his original vision of honest roots rock. That vision is brilliantly captured on Desolation Sounds, produced by Terra Lightfoot and mixed by Jon Auer of The Posies and Big Star fame. It’s a collection of songs and stories about friends and family, bursting with rock and soul and the western charm that has become the band’s trademark.”


3 | Brandon Wolfe Scott | Razor Love

THE PRESS RELEASE:Brandon Wolfe Scott is sharing his version of Neil Young’s Razor Love, featuring vocals from Stacey. “When Silver & Gold came out in 2000, I was still in senior high, working at a small record shop at the time,” says Scott. “The best part of working there was getting shipments on new release day and listening to them in the store. I can remember hearing Razor Love and thinking, ‘Neil’s still got the goods!’ It’s a timeless writing style that stops you in your tracks. I ended up recording this version almost 2 years ago. I would revisit the session from time to time but the vocal never felt right. After revisiting it again this past year, I ended up singing a low harmony under the entire main vocal and that’s what sparked the idea that this would make a great duet if the right voice was on it. I knew I had to reach out to Stacey, I didn’t know her well at the time but was a big fan of her songwriting style and loved her voice. After sending her the session to see if she’d be into taking a crack at it, a day later she sent the session back with two vocal passes. I ended up keeping her first take, her laid back delivery was exactly what the song needed and everything fell into place.”


4 | Joi Noir | Love Crimes

THE PRESS RELEASE:Olga Gallo and Igor Plotnikov are Russian, formed their band Joi Noir in the Republic of Congo, recorded their album in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and live in Barcelona, Spain. But as soon as you start listening to their album Celeste you are in the UK. In 1980. The post-punk, proto-goth sound of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Joy Division permeates Joi Noir’s work in the angular guitars, in Gallo’s powerful voice and in the production of Stephen Hague. Love Crimes is their latest single, just in time for Valentine’s Day.”


5 | Kreator | Enemy Of God

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018: The cold fingers of winter have already reached out for the British capital but there is one place in London that is set on fire as Kreator thrill their fans with an extensive live show and once again take their breathtaking performance to another level. The band’s new live album London Apocalypticon – Live At The Roundhouse is out now. To celebrate the release, Kreator have unveiled the live video for Enemy Of God recorded from the band’s set at Masters Of Rock 2017. Mille Petrozza comments on the newly released video “Hordes! We present you Enemy of God from Masters of Rock – the 3rd show featured on our live release London Apocalypticon. One of my favourite shows from our 2017 festival season and a staple in Kreator’s setlist!”


6 | Selci | Strangers

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Calgary alt-pop artist Selci is sharing a new video for Strangers, an anti-Valentine’s Day track about a love that’s faded and gone, off her debut Effervescence EP. The song recalls a run-in with an ex-lover, and the painful realization that after knowing someone so intimately you, hardly know them at all. The video is framed around the deterioration of a relationship, juxtaposing Selci’s own memories in a surreal, subconscious world. A series of hazy vignettes spiral through memory, romance, dissociation and the loss of self. Blending high-definition and 8 mm film, home video and stop motion animation, analog textures are used to imply nostalgia and the timeless nature of broken relationships, while flickers of animation enhance the surrealist vibe. “As the video progresses, I become cloaked in layers of fabric,” says Selci. “Happy memories are overcome by recollections of anger and violence, and I become engulfed by tulle. As the intensity increases, the boundary between reality and the subconscious world is blurred. This veiling is meant to signify the loss of self in a relationship. It mirrors the sensation of distance from the self and the distance from a lover as the relationship falls apart.”


7 | DSTRK | Yes Man

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Kansas City native, DSTRK (District) has dropped a brand music video for Yes Man. In the Reel Wolf Productions-directed video, DSTRK guides us through a neon psychedelic neon otherworld of sensual temptations as the bass thunders from the speakers and the drip-filled rhymes will get stuck in your head. The track is a taste of new music from DSTRK’s upcoming debut EP, which will surface this Spring. You may not have known who DSTRK is but it’s quite possible that he’s already apart of your life musically in one way or another. Rather it’s performing at the Grammys with such heavy hitters as DJ Khaled, Meek Mill or John Legend or working behind the boards with the likes of Dani Leigh or Janelle Monae, DSTRK is that artist you never knew you needed until you heard him and now you can’t live without him. He has a unique way of identifying with everyone without committing to one style. He is one of the few artists that never tries to fit a specific mode, yet has the unique ability to incorporate every mood.”


8 | Amaranthe | Do Or Die (feat. Angela Gossow)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Sweden’s hottest metal exports are ready to present a very special Valentine’s Day gift: Amaranthe spice up the day with a brand-new song featuring Angela Gossow, the former singer of Arch Enemy! Do Or Die shows Amaranthe’s heavier side and comes with a dystopian horror video filmed in Spain, featuring Fardou Keuning’s stunning creatures. Angela Gossow about the breathtaking collaboration: “It was thrilling to join Amaranthe for a more extreme track and shooting a cutting edge video for it! This is no cozy studio performance, but real ice cold winds, sewages, cadavers and pouring rain – the reality we live in, the devastating legacy we leave to our future generations. Time to wake up, turn – and bang – some heads! Watch out for these guys and killer lady, they are going to crush you this year!!!”


9 | J. Vague | Jungle of Confusion

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here comes this ballad by mysterious singer J. Vague. When bathing in melancholic pleasures turns into healing, J. Vague returns from being lost in a jungle of heartbreak confusion. “I found a way out of a maze of emotional dead ends by shifting the act of indulging in sentiment towards myself,” the singer says. Instead of falling for an idea of love, now the transformative possibilities of the self are romanticized. J. Vague appears out of nowhere — clandestinely — with a soft but yet powerful song that turns a bitter taste of an ending love affair into sweet red lips.”


10 | Luna Li | Trying

THE PRESS RELEASE: “A strong female presence in the indie rock music world, Luna Li is unabashedly herself. With over 14 years of classical piano and violin training, Luna has a unique musical sensibility. The last year has seen Luna Li support Born Ruffians and Hollerado on their Ontario tour dates, as well as sets at many festivals. Kicking off 2020, Luna Li has released a brand new single/accompanying music video for Trying. “Writing this song was an exercise in vulnerability. I had been listening to the podcast Song Exploder and noticed that the episodes I connected with most were the ones where the artists really opened up. I made a conscious decision to write something vulnerable as a way to combat my shyness and to better connect with others. Trying is about anxiety and the feeling of desperation and sense of unreality that can happen when everything gets to be too overwhelming. The dynamics and dreamy feel of the music reflect the feeling of being dazed and restless.”


11+12 | Pia Fraus | Love Sports + Mr. Land Freezer

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Dreampop royalty Pia Fraus have released two new videos in support of their new album Empty Parks — for the songs Love Sports and Mr. Land Freezer. Both videos were shot by Estonian Public Broadcasting for the TV station’s morning program. Hailing from Estonia, Pia Fraus is Eve Komp, Kärt Ojavee, Rein Fuks, Reijo Tagapere and Joosep Volk. Formed in 1998 between six art school students, Pia Fraus have released five studio albums and a handful of EPs on various record labels. They boast a sublime mixture of dreampop, subtle shoegaze and beautiful electronica, blissfully topped off with shimmering layered male-female vocals in tandem. “This is the poppiest album we’ve ever made. It’s melancholy and happy at the same time – definitely happier than our latest Field Ceremony album,” says frontman Rein Fuks.”


13 | Strike Master | Cosmic Owl Ritual

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Mexican thrash veterans Strike Master have released the fourth video from their new EP Death Based Illusions. For the last video of the saga, Strike Master deliver the Cosmic Owl Ritual lyric video, the most experimental song of the EP. SM goes slow and dense with a groovy riff at chorus moment and then releases a mystical melodic passage to make us fly through the thoughts and inspiration that made this song possible — an Owl, a soul in space, a mysterious form, the eyes in the sky watching us move every second and a beloved spirit that’s no more around with us. Don’t forget to feed the flame!!!!”


14 | Korpiklaani | Birra Birra (feat. Emilio Souto)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Finnish Folk Metal Superstars Korpiklaani are starting the new year properly in a musical way! Today, Korpiklaani are pleased to release another adaption of their hit song Beer Beer. The newly launched lyric video for Birra Birra features Skiltron vocalist Emilio Souto. Emilio states: “I was visiting the guys from Korpiklaani at Petrax studios during the recording sessions of Kulkija and Jonne told me about the idea of making many versions of Beer Beer in different languages and asked me if I could help with the lyrics for the Spanish version. I suggested a more “Argentinian-slang” version and they loved the idea!. Then a few minutes later after writing them, all of a sudden, I found myself recording the vocals! Maybe there was too much Birra that day for coming up with such a crazy version;) Disfruten, escabien y a rockear!”


15 | Handsome Jack | In The Midnight Hour

THE PRESS RELEASE:Handsome Jack are kicking down the doors of 2020 with their brand new single In The Midnight Hour. This raucous cover of Wilson Pickett’s signature ‘65 hit retains all the soul and swing of the original, but this scruffy Lockport, NY rock trio adds an element of danger to the track as it struts, swaggers and pounds, turning this beloved classic into a modern, muscular slice of rock-n-roll for the new decade. Handsome Jack plays a powerful and emotional fusion of boogie soul rock-n-roll that has earned the admiration of fellow rock travelers such as Chris Robinson (CRB, Black Crowes), Zachary Gabbard (Buffalo Killers) and Ben McLeod (All Them Witches). The trio consists of Jamison Passuite (guitar/vocals), Joey Verdonselli (bass/vocals) and Bennie Hayes (drums/vocals).”


16 | William Wild | Holy Ghost (Where Did My Life Go?)

THE PRESS RELEASE:William Wild announces the release of Push Ups, his sophomore full-length due out March 20. The 11-track collection combines subtle folk textures with gripping electronic and alternative elements in a sonic and thematic contemplation of identity and morality. The album marks a pivotal moment in the career of Tennessee-based artist Garrett Sale, the singer-songwriter, producer and engineer behind William Wild, as he journeys from crisis to reconstruction. His latest offering, Holy Ghost (where did my life go?) was born out of a songwriting experiment between Sale and his co-producer, resulting in the song’s opening lyric “I need more time.” What began as an entirely literal plea, however, became one of the album’s most vulnerable moments, eventually evolving into a moment of clarity for Sale, who explains of the track, “I really connected with the easy-going nature of the melody and found solace in a more light-hearted picture of self-doubt.”


17 | Rayne | The Low (Feat. Milli Beatz)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Rayne released her new single The Low. The song features production by Milli Beatz, whose includes producer credits on Bryson Tiller’s Platinum-certified single Sorry Not Sorry, and works with artists such as Migos, Kehlani, 2 Chainz, Pusha T and more. “I’m so excited to finally share The Low with the world! I had a lot of fun listening to the beats Milli sent me and trying to pick just one,” commented Rayne. “Writing lyrics and creating a story to the vibe of a track is probably one of my favourite things to do and this was such a cool experience I hope everyone loves the song as much as I do!” Vancouver native Rayne showcases powerhouse vocals as an instrument that perfectly captures the intensity of her vivid and relatable lyrics. At just 17, Rayne is already a veteran performer with multiple marquee gigs on the CV.”


18 | Virginia To Vegas | betterman

THE PRESS RELEASE:Virginia To Vegas release a brand new single called betterman, a catchy pop song. “betterman is a song about personal growth and reflection;” shares Virginia to Vegas (aka Derik Baker). “In my personal life and career, I’ve experienced many ups and downs, but ultimately the one thing I’ve found to calm anxiety and doubt is putting in work on myself. This song touches on the idea of growing up following a breakup and the journey home.” The new single is from Virginia To Vegas’ upcoming EP, a constant state of improvement, due out Feb. 28.”


19 | Nykki | Lost My Mind (Leon Lour Remix)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Pop darling on the rise Nykki turns her most recent bop Lost My Mind into a dance anthem with the help of producer/DJ/songwriter Leon Lour. The Valentine’s Day treat takes the original moodier, simmering pop into a synth-wave, EDM-laced anthem. Keeping the focus on Nykki’s honeyed vocals, Leon Lour pitches them down and high, adding his signature big drops, propulsive progressions and stomping beats. “If you have a broken heart or you just got over someone and you are at a party, this is the song for you”, said Nykki, “I couldn’t image this song being remixed but I was happily surprised how Leon turned it into an empowering dance anthem. I would be so happy to hear this remix in a club.”


20 | Tim & The Glory Boys | When You Know You Know

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Multiple Juno Award winners Tim & the Glory Boys are pleased to announce the release of When You Know You Know, the latest single from the Abbotsford four-piece. Highlighting imaginative storytelling and a collective of unique musical talents, When You Know You Know shines with rich instrumentation, a dynamic chorus and an energetic tempo that’s impossible to resist. “True love! What could be better than true love? There ain’t nothing in the world like it,” says lead singer Tim Neufeld of the track. “Knowing that you know, for better or for worse that you’re in love, might just be the single greatest human emotion there is. That’s what When You Know You Know is all about.”


21 | Otira | Hardcore Sound

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In a brilliant flash of energy, Otira brings us back to the days of unrestrained raves on Hardcore Sound. Rolling breaks, anthemic synths and happy hardcore elements take charge as Otira steamrolls over the status-quo and clears the way for his brave new snythnesization of dance music. Hardcore Sound will be title track off Otira’s forthcoming sophomore EP of the same name. Hardcore Sound sees Otira continue to spread the gospel of rave around the world, setting off 2020 with a vigorous track worthy of old-school acclaim.”


22 | Ellen Starski | Pure Intention

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Nashville artist and songwriter Ellen Starski readies her sophomore album Sara’s Half Finished Love Affair (May 8), an eclectic, indie/pop album that showcases her songwriting range in an exceptional collection of beat-driven, imaginative, and narrative songs. Today, the first single Pure Intention is released. One of Ellen’s personal favorites from the album, the song is influenced lyrically and melodically by Billie Holiday. “I’ve been entranced by her music since I was a young girl hanging on to every word and phrasing, and I’ve never heard a better description of her voice than when Kerouac said, ‘she had rocks in her heart.’ ”


23 | Witchkiss | Foy Porter

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Hudson Valley metal trio Witchkiss are set to release a special new track for Valentine’s Day! Foy Porter, a once-forgotten-about song that was actually written last Valentine’s Day, has been given the attention it deserves and brought to life as a gift from Witchkiss to their fans. “Unearthed from the dark depths of an external hard drive, we recently rediscovered a jam we recorded a year ago. After the addition of some freestyleee scream yells and a wee bit of EQ tweakage, we are pleased to present you with this Heavy Metal Love Ballad. Happy Valentine’s Day!”


24 | Unconditional Arms | You’re Just As Desperate

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Oakland post-rock band Unconditional Arms is debuting a new track (You’re Just As Desperate) off the upcoming album Formation out April 3. Unconditional Arms is a brainchild of musician Jeff Wright (The American Scene, Compltr). The band also consists of drummer Ross Traver of Wavves, Randy Staat, former Prawn member Corey Reily and Max Senna of Oakland noise outfit Facet. “Formation is the culmination of many things, but more so a reflection of my flawed ideation of compassion. An auditory exploration of my constant grapple with time, relationships and responsibility. It is a gift that I have wanted but did not have the knowledge to receive. A love letter to my growth.”


25 | Dom Flemons | ’Til The Seas Run Dry (Alternate Version)

THE PRESS RELEASE:Dom Flemons is known as “The American Songster.” He’s a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, actor, music scholar, historian, and record collector. He is considered an expert player on the banjo, fife, guitar, harmonica, jug, percussion, quills, and rhythm bones. A co-founder of the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, Flemons was a member of the group from their inception in 2005 through 2013. His third solo album, Prospect Hill, was released in 2014 after Flemons spent many years learning and playing with tradition bearers such as Marty Stuart, Taj Mahal, Guy Davis, Mike Seeger, and James “Boot” Hanks, among many others. In 2020, this seminal release returns in an amazing expanded edition. Out Feb. 28, Prospect Hill: The American Songster Omnibus is a three-part journey with the original Prospect Hill album; the 2015 Record Store Day nine-track EP What Got Over; and The Drum Major Instinct, a set of 12 previously unissued instrumental tracks that focus on moods, rhythm experimentations, and “the beats.”


26 | Ritual Dictates | Terror of Time

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ritual Dictates — a new metal band formed by Justin Hagberg (3 Inches of Blood) and Ash Pearson (Revocation) ready to crush skulls in 2020 — reveal their new single Terror of Time. The track is the second to be revealed from their forthcoming debut album, Give in to Despair, set for international release on April 3. Ritual Dictates are inspired by a wide array of styles and instruments. The music itself has straightforward elements of metal and grind, with detours into anything from black metal to good-time rock ‘n’ roll.”


27 | Skott | Kodak & Codeine

THE PRESS RELEASE: “With early support from massive artists like Lorde and Katy Perry and tastemakers including Annie Mac and Zane Lowe, Skott is regarded as one of the most interesting artists in the alt-pop genre. Mesmerizing fans in all corners of the world. Today she’s back with more new material. Kodak & Codeine is a song about the struggle to get out of a destructive relationship, and how your history of sweet memories and a special connection keeps pulling you back in. Skott about the song: “You meet someone that seems to understand you in a way that no one else does, and together you create this bubble – it’s almost like you have this parallel galaxy where only the two of you exist. But then you realize it’s actually a one-man kingdom, and you’re not the one with the power. Kodak & Codeine is being released on Valentines Day, a day full of expectations and disappointments. According to statistics, February 14th is one of the most common days of the year for breakups.”


28 | Set It Off | One Single Second

THE PRESS RELEASE: “For this song, I brought myself back to one of my worst memories of relationships I can remember — the first time I got cheated on by my first love,” says singer Cody Carson. “The entire song is basically telling the story of how I felt the connection fade and started putting the pieces together. It’s got that angst, that aggression, that mysterious feeling of ‘Do I know for sure?’ ‘Do I not know at all?’ I think a lot of you have been betrayed like this before and this is the song you can hold onto to let it all out.” Set It Off released Midnight in 2019 to much acclaim. Midnight was produced by Mike Green, with additional production by Brandon Paddock. The album demonstrates a depth and breadth of musicianship, as the band incorporated live strings, live horns, and a live gospel choir into the album. Midnight also includes intricate, instrumental features by Reel Big Fish’s Matt Appleton and IssuesSkyler Accord, as well as a vocal feature by Wayfarers.”


29 | Josh Kumra | I Dare You

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Songwriter Josh Kumra teases more new music from his forthcoming EP with the timeless single I Dare You. Co-written with Amy Winehouse’s and Professor Green’s collaborator Fink, alongside Brit Awards-winning collaborator Blair MacKichan, I Dare You yet again showcases Josh’s soulful-inflected vocals. Backed by a grand piano, skilfully plucked acoustic guitar and gently brushed drums, it enhances Josh’s poetic lyricism and penchant for storytelling immediately drawing the listener’s attention. Shading further light on the song, Josh explains; “I Dare You was the first song I wrote after releasing my debut album, it just felt so different to anything I had done before. It touches on the teasing aspect of having a taste of success without feeling completely content.”


30 | Dante Palminteri | I Don’t Even Know You

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Growing up between the East and West coasts, American singer-songwriter and actor Dante Palminteri matured his musical styling at an early age, drawing inspiration from John Mayer’s poetic mastery of the human psyche and Ed Sheeran’s genre-defying melodies. His lyrics narrate complex compilations about unrequited love, soul mates lost and found, and the growing pains of adulthood. Struck by the lyrical prowess of Americana muses Jason Isbell and The Tallest Man On Earth, Palminteri explores his own roots, weaving personal narratives on the intricacies of falling in love with whimsical acoustic melodies.”


31 | Pink Roses | Dreamin’

THE PRESS RELEASE: “LA-based Pink Roses consists of Dave Fontenot and Nate Tepper, two former Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs who left it all behind to pursue their passion for music. With only three singles out, the duo reached 500,000+ streams in half a year and sold out three shows. Their new song Dreamin’ is an uplifting, floating electro-pop track meant to inspire listeners to work hard and get out of that wrong place, town, job, etc. they might be stuck in.”