Indie Roundup | 12 Songs For A Better Wednesday

Maximize your midweek with music from RJD2, Arthur, Pornohelmut, Ada Lea & more.

RJD2 pull up, Pornohelmut ride the night, Arthur proves some men really are islands, Spinning Coin get high and more in today’s Roundup. Anybody heard any good jokes lately?

1 | RJD2 | Pull Up On Love

THE PRESS RELEASE:RJD2 is pleased to announce his return with new album, The Fun Ones, out April 17, alongside lead single, Pull Up On Love, and its accompanying video. His first album since 2016’s Dame Fortune, The Fun Ones is the seventh solo album in the constantly expanding RJD2 catalog. Assembled as a mixtape using samples taken from a number of conversations with his contemporaries, including Phonte Coleman, J-Zone, Kid Koala, Mr. Lif, and Son Little, The Fun Ones draws largely from the basic DNA of hip-hop and funk music, with heavy brass, plenty of thump, and slick chord changes. Longtime RJD2 collaborators, STS and Khari Mateen, reconvene on lead single, Pull Up On Love, to bring the spirit of James Brown to the quintessential Atlanta rib shack. Jordan Brown steps in to bring a falsetto lilt over a cacophonous drum break that would leave Ginger Baker scratching his chin. “This tune started with some Zigaboo-inspired drums, a nice little sweeping guitar lick, and a bass line that left plenty of space for wherever Slim (aka STS) was gonna take the track,” says RJ. “I purposely left some room to fill out the track once the vocals were in place. So when Slim sent it back to me, and Khari had did his thing on it, it had such a great vibe to it that I didn’t want to drench the track in production tricks and overdubs. I wanted the vocal performances to shine, so I basically cleaned up the mix, did a few breakdowns, and left it as is. It was great for the three of us to link up once again, since it had been years since we did See You Leave.”

2 | Pornohelmut | Night Rider

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Texas-based audiovisual solo outfit Pornohelmut — aka percussionist/creator Neil Barrett — released its writhing Bang Lord debut last week. While the album continues to baffle and haunt all who endure its peculiar madness, a lascivious new video for the hook-laden Night Rider jam has been premiered. Bang Lord marks Pornohelmut‘s first studio full-length; 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. Fans of Fantômas, Lightning Bolt, Death Grips, Boredoms, Igorrr, Ruins, and other noncompliant musical explosiveness, this is not to be missed.”

3 | Arthur | William Penn

THE PRESS RELEASE:Arthur will release his second album, Hair of the Dog, on May 15. It’s the follow-up to Woof Woof, his debut album written in solitude in the woods of Delaware County, Pa. While both were self-produced, Hair of the Dog is a stranger chapter, recorded in his apartment in West Philadelphia. A ferry ride into the liminal depths of his own personal hell, Hair of the Dog is driven by dystopian musings and Arthur’s wonky pop sensibilities that leap between universes but somehow return home in one piece. New single William Penn was written with the help of bandmate and childhood friend, Kieran Ferris, and invites you to Arthur’s private William Penn Island, where there are horns aplenty and enough soaring melodies to help cope with very real heartbreak and loss in a carnivalesque way. “I started William Penn four years ago with my friend Kieran in my living room in South Philly. I remember hearing a ghost go up and down the stairs in the basement so I closed my laptop and took a walk. It took a few years for the song to pop back up and it probably makes more sense to me now then it did before. Something about mortality and waiting forever. Right now, the song feels like the beginning and the end, waiting for something that never comes with big smiles on our faces and a bag of popcorn.”

4 | Spinning Coin | Get High

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Ahead of the release of their second album, Hyacinth, out this on Friday, Spinning Coin share new song Get High. Jack Mellin, one of Spinning Coin’s three songwriters, on the track: “Get High is about the absurdity of life, and the contradictions we often make. When I notice how different I feel from moment to moment and realize I don’t really know what I’m doing, I might be constantly looking for amusement and contentment, but what could provide that keeps changing. Not realizing the good feeling till it’s gone, or enjoying something in the moment then regretting it later. Trying to act on instinct and intuition but being unable to trust it. Being high is different for everyone but we all try to get high!”

5 | Beauty in Chaos | A Kind Cruelty (feat. Curse Mackey)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “American alt-rock supergroup Beauty in Chaos presents their new single, A Kind Cruelty ft. Curse Mackey. This is the first taste of Beauty in Chaos’ forthcoming full length album The Storm Before The Calm, to be released on May. Beauty in Chaos is the brainchild of guitarist Michael Ciravolo. Originally from New Orleans and now based in Los Angeles, he is best known as President of Schecter Guitar Research. He also played guitar in Human Drama for 30 years, in addition to playing live and recording with Michael Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel since 1998. “I finished this music track, I was a bit of a loss for who I should approach about singing this one. Two different friends, Mark Thwaite (Peter Murphy/The Mission) and Steven Seibold (Hate Dept.) both suggested Curse Mackey. I didn’t think I knew him, but it turns out our paths had crossed in our ‘other lives’ in the musical instrument world. I thought his voice would be a great fit, and I especially liked his lyrical sense. We hit it off well and I really enjoyed working with him on this song and video, and I do look forward to evolving him in future BIC.”

6 | Ada Lea | Women, Here

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ada Lea, the project of Montreal-based artist and musician Alexandra Levy, today announced her new EP woman, here will be released on March 27. Perhaps her most direct work to-date, the new song offers a beautiful glimpse into the bold new chapter of Ada Lea. “I went to LA and recorded the song in a day and a half,” Levy says of the song. “The writing and recording of this song happened like magic.” Aside from the title-track, the EP also offers two previously-unheard recordings from the what we say in private sessions, in the form of the reflective and melancholy “perfect world” and the sparse and dream-like jade, which was inspired by a John Updike short story. A fascinating glimpse behind the curtain, Levy says that the new EP should be seen as being “like a second cousin” to What We Say In Private. “We included the songs that we still felt close to,” she explains, “but didn’t seem to have a place on the album.”

7 | Whoop-Szo | Amaruq

THE PRESS RELEASE: “On March 5, Whoop-Szo will take their acclaimed new album, Warrior Down, on the road for a run of tour dates. Today, the band shares the new video for Amaruq which songwriter Adam Sturgeon describes as “a visual summation of the themes conveyed on Warrior Down. It presents a vision of an Indigenous Future, one that defies being molded into the usual narrative of Indigenous identity. The ‘Noble Indian’ looks into the mirror of his past and/or present.” Video director, editor, and set builder Ross Millar says the song “has a lot of energy, and it immediately gave us the impression that there was an adventurous story to be told visually. The challenge with miniatures is making small characters, structures and landscapes appear much bigger than they are. A lot of it comes down to tricky camera angles, lighting, and various scales to achieve depth and create an interesting cinematic environment for the viewer. This video is a product of friends getting together on a small budget and using their combined skills and camaraderie to make something special.”

8 | The Third Mind | The Dolphins

THE PRESS RELEASE: “CA-based supergroup The Third Mind’s debut is out now. And so is the video for The Dolphins, the only track on the album with vocals by Dave Alvin. Led by Alvin (guitar, vocals), the album features Victor Krummenacher (bass, vocals), David Immergluck (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Michael Jerome (drums, percussion), with special guest Jesse Sykes (guitar, vocals), and DJ Bonebrake (vibes) and Jack Rudy (harmonica). Recorded, “using the Miles Davis technique, there were no rehearsals or written musical arrangements. Just decide on a key, start recording and see what happens,” says Alvin. “I’ve been longing to do an experimental album like The Third Mind and to do a tour with such eclectic musicians like the ones in this group since I first saw Jimi Hendrix in concert when I was 12 years old. This should be some interesting fun.”

9 | Trivial Shields | Rejection Therapy

THE PRESS RELEASE:Trivial Shields is the moniker for the songwriting and sonic explorations of multi-instrumentalist Christian Carpenter — a long tenured touring and session bassist for a gamut of musicians, including Renata Zeiguer, Luke Winslow-King, Kent Odessa, and more. Today, Carpenter has announced the next Trivial Shields release — a new EP featuring collaborations with a cast of stellar musicians: Sandu Ndu and Geneva Harrison (Bells Atlas), Angelica Bess (Body Language), and Sarah K. Pedinotti (LIP TALK). Recorded in a subterranean studio on the Lower East Side, the Levity EP presents three different vignettes of the surprising clarity that punctures through the haze of a post-breakup malaise. The EP will be released to all streaming platforms on April 10. The first single, Rejection Therapy, is a collaboration with vocalist Ndu and drummer Harrison, half of the celebrated Bay Area band Bells Atlas. Built over a murky Casio drum beat and Harrison’s buoyant, melodic rhythms, Rejection Therapy contrasts the unexpected clarity and lightness that often accompanies the aftermath of a break-up with the desire to return to a broken past.”

10 | Scott Hardware | Blu Again

THE PRESS RELEASE:Blu Again, the new single from Scott Hardware’s upcoming LP, Engle, “is about feeling ‘elsewhere’ ” says Hardware. “It’s the fear and confusion of life’s beauty floating in front of you while your brain takes hold, but your heart does not. The narrator says ‘a mid-day sky over beach, I’ll never see that blue again’, already regretting a moment slipping by.” Engel, his second full-length album, is out on April 3. It will mark the end of a three-year process of writing, recording and letting down his guard (for better or worse).”

11 | Destroyed in Seconds | Divide And Devour

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Los Angeles hardcore punk brigade Destroyed in Seconds will release their third full-length, Divide And Devour, this April. Centered on pushing back against the growing wave of far-right populism, authoritarianism, the growing police state, and the rise of neo-nazi/alt-right/Proud Boys and the like, Divide And Devour spews forth 11 tracks of punishing, unrelenting d-beat ferocity. The record includes the addition of bassist Kyle Hertz (Temple Of Dagon, State Of Defiance) and lead guitarist Christian La Rocca (Ruin, Gravehill, Cobra Venom) writing a new chapter of rage and fury for the band.”

12 | The Weight | Almost Gone

THE PRESS RELEASE:Almost Gone. The fateful moment when we realize that someone, as reassuringly present as our own self, is fading out of our lives. Thoughts that, for years were lurking in our subconscious, now rise from the shadows, breaking free to trample our mind underfoot. He or she is already almost gone. No longer can it be denied, leastwise not to ourselves. To this limbo, oscillating between desperate last hope and inevitability, The Weight have dedicated their latest musical jewel, Almost Gone. Commencing with the organ, reminiscent of a Sixties era soul ballad, a sacred anointment. One feels that this might end badly. Misgivings are confirmed by the band in the subsequent refrain, played in a nowadays too seldom heard six-eight time. Stylistically reduced and subdued. It’s not musical excess that draws our listener’s attention. But the song itself – a rarity in today’s rock arena. Such restraint in favour of the whole provides the space to tell the heart-breaking story of Almost Gone, directly and believably.”