Indie Roundup | 18 Cuts To Complete Your Thursday

Earth Below, Contortionist, Bart Budwig, Wank, Easy & more deliver today's goodness.

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The Earth Below surface, The Contortionist visit 1979, Bart Budwig rolls a live one, Wank shut it, Easy ride the waves and more in today’s Roundup. J. Geils, Walter Becker, Kurt Cobain and Rihanna were all born on this date. That would be one weird supergroup. But I’d still love to hear it.


SONG OF THE DAY

1 | The Earth Below | Abydos

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Originally established in 2010 as a creative outlet for multi-instrumentalist, Deepak Raghu – best known locally as serial drummer for the likes of Shepherd and Bevar SeaThe Earth Below is perhaps one of Bangalore’s most captivating solo projects. From his debut EP Aleph and resulting album, Window Lights for Wanderers, to 2018’s beautifully psychedelic Dreams of A Thousand Stillness, Raghu has traversed a cornucopia of musical styles and movements over the past decade, treating listeners to shades and sounds akin to CSNY, Slint, Leonard Cohen and Chris Bell. With Nothing Works Vol. 2: Hymns For Useless Gods, out April 10, Raghu explores jazz, post rock and the heavier side of a six string to pitch a weightier, more complex sound: “While this album maintains the intensity in mood of my previous releases, I think that is enhanced by a denser musical arrangement this time,” explains Raghu. “The blood runs thick with Black Sabbath but the heart needs a bit of Roy Orbison and this album covers more musical and lyrical landscapes than my earlier EPs.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

2 | The Contortionist | 1979

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Contortionist have released a music video for their spot-on cover song of The Smashing Pumpkins’ 1995 hit 1979. Directed by vocalist Michael Lessard, this is the second music video we see from the band’s Our Bones EP released last year. Lessard comments: “We’re very excited to release a video for our cover of The Smashing Pumpkins’ timeless song 1979. It’s a song that we all grew up with and hold dear to our hearts. It felt only fitting to use footage from the growing years of the band for this one.”


3 | Bart Budwig | Rolling Stoned

THE PRESS RELEASE: “For five days in November of 2018, Bart Budwig and his seven-piece band took over the historic OK Theatre (1919) in Enterprise, OR, to record his latest LP, Another Burn on the AstroTurf. The album would be record live, and would feature guest appearances by John Craigie, The Hackles and Rainbow Girls. In addition to the huge band and guests, Bart also had a video crew on hand to document the occasion. Filmed by Paper Street (Grady Rawls) & Luke Zwanziger, we are thrilled to present to you the live video for Rolling Stoned, featuring a 10-piece band that includes The Hackles. The track itself is a riff on the seminal Rolling Stones track Beast of Burden, with Bart’s own twist… Indeed, if we are “rich enough” and “tough enough”, then maybe we might deserve something a little better.”


4 | Wank | Shut You Down

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Long-running Orange County pop-punk band Wank release their album White Knuckle Ride on March 6. The long-awaited LP has previously only been available at the band’s shows. Here’s the first single Shut You Down. Guitarist Danny Walker says, “We are shamelessly pop-influenced, hook-driven, and radio-ready – and we’ll kick your ass, too.”


5 | Easy | Crystal Waves

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Sweden’s celebrated 90s indie rock darlings Easy have announced the impending release of their new album Radical Innocence. Ahead of this, they present the lead single Crystal Waves. The Radical Innocence LP is Easy’s first new album in a decade, following the Magic Seed LP reissue in 2017 and the 2018 release of A Heartbeat from Eternity, a user-friendly compilation of the two previous albums, along with the fresh new single Ask the Sky. Radical Innocence is an eight-track offering and their most ambitious album to date. Here, Easy is being easy. The songs are coherent and more refined than on previous albums.”


6 | Merk | H.N.Y.B.

THE PRESS RELEASE: “New Zealand-based artist and producer Merk (moniker for Mark Perkins) releases a new single, H.N.Y.B., and an accompanying video. The title is the acronym for the songs’ ear-worm chorus Happy New Year Baby. Reminiscent of artists like Phoenix and Porches, its stark minimalism and hypnotic, woozy synths provide the counterpoint to the sweetness in the reflective lyrics and vocals. “This track is an exercise in minimalism for me. I was wanting to see how long you could go with doing very little while keeping it interesting,” says Merk. “That’s why a lot of the song is just a very basic drumbeat, bass, and vocals with no reverb or anything to hide behind. I was very inspired by Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson when recording this track. His dry and minimal production makes him sound effortlessly cool, and it gives a feeling of suspense and rawness that keeps you hooked.”


7 | Dana Gavanski | Yesterday Is Gone

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Serbian-Canadian musician Dana Gavanski will release her debut album, Yesterday Is Gone, on March 27. Today, she shares the album’s title track, accompanied by a bright and playful video directed by Nina Vroemen in Montreal’s vibrant Metro underground. The song Yesterday Is Gone is “more of a straight pop song than the others on the album,” says Gavanski. “It’s about the intractability and muddiness of time passing. At the time I wrote the song, I was super into ’60s pop music and the idea of what makes a classic song classic. I was toying between being more obvious in my lyrics and progressions while still tending to feelings hard to describe.” In the subway, time and space are distorted; a constant state of arrivals and departures signalling a state of nostalgia and longing — married here with the playful, halting 7/4 meter of the song.”


8 | Dan Deacon | Fell Into the Ocean

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Last month, Dan Deacon released his new album, Mystic Familiar. Today, he presents a video for Mystic Familiar’s Fell Into the Ocean. The accompanying video, directed by Ariel Fish, features a guided meditation deck of cards created by Deacon, which ties together the concept of the Mystic Familiar through a three-stage guided meditation. “Dan and I originally connected over Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, which is a deck of cards used to help you creatively unblock yourself,” says director Fish. “In the video we wanted to do a sort of homage to Oblique Strategies by creating a deck of cards featuring Fell Into The Ocean lyrics which would encourage the characters to find answers to their dilemmas within.”


9 | Mike Taveira | Curious

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Today, Mike Taveira is revealing his new pansexual pop anthem, Curious. The single is being released alongside the official music video. The video stars notable queer icons such as RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Monét X Change and Sonique, trans model Arisce Wanzer, and George Todd McLachlan from Shameless, among other familiar faces, and offers a glimpse into what it means to identify as pansexual. Growing up without any openly pansexual figures to look up to, Taveira knew that his personal journey needed to be expressed through his own music. Curious is a celebration of queer identity, highlighting pansexuality and sensual connection between people of all genders. Taveira debuted his artist project late last year with the release of Heart.


10 | Bill Fay | In Human Hands

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Last month, British musician Bill Fay released his new album, Countless Branches. Today, he presents a video for one of its tracks, In Human Hands. The video, directed by Julia and Mike McCoy, is entirely animated. It paints a poignant backdrop to a song that deals with the detrimental and divisive effect human hands can have on the world. Sounding more sparse and succinct than his previous records, Countless Branches collects compositions drawn from the trove of material Fay has amassed over 40 years. Unfinished songs emerge with newly written words and melodies on Fay’s recurring themes — nature, the family of man, the cycle of life and the ineffable vastness of it all — as if they had been lying in wait to find their place in our current zeitgeist. The resulting 10 songs are as pointed and affected as anything he has ever recorded.”


11 | Asure Emote | Three Six Nine

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Avant death metal unit Azure Emote’s impending The Third Perspective full-length arrives in early March, but the new single comes to life through an entrancing lyric video. Three Six Nine features the first ever recorded trumpet by Kelly Conlon of Symbolic-era Death. Offers vocalist Mike Hrubovcak with the new single, “Three Six Nine is a violent celestial wormhole experiment of a song. Transcend through dimensions on this sonic journey of musical exploration. The song is influenced by Nikola Tesla’s ‘key to the universe’ theory and its relation to mathematical physics in Cosmology.”


12 | Gaylord | Borne From Inferno Winds

THE PRESS RELEASE:Richard Weeks has been part of a prolific number of musical projects in the metal underground over the years. He has also been a strong voice against the insidious growth of extremist political ideologies that have poisoned parts of that scene. Through his work with Sea Wolves Of The Atlantic, Olivia Neutered John and particularly Gaylord, Weeks has refused to tolerate the messages of hate and be complicit in their growth through silence. His new album Wings Of The Joyful a collection of fierce, powerful songs, strong enough to take on all comers on a purely musical battlefield. As Weeks himself has explained: “The vitriol is still there. The anger is still there. But both the music and the lyrics have been honed to a venomous spearhead.”


13 | Lettuce | Checker Wrecker

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Genre-defying funk-jazz-soul-hip-hop-psychedelic-jam-rock-experimental music titans Lettuce dropped their new single Checker Wrecker and announced their seventh studio album, Resonate, will be coming this spring. The funkified Checker Wrecker once again finds the acclaimed six-piece breaking rules, pushing boundaries and uplifting spirits. Drawing on a longstanding collective passion for Washington, DC go-go music, Lettuce welcomes scene legends Big Tony Fisher of Trouble Funk and Tyrone “Jungle Boogie” Williams of Rare Essence into their ecosystem on the new song, which features funk guitars and simmering horns dipping in and out of a percussive pocket before the track struts into swaggering chants, “Put some stank on it,” backed by warbling synths and spacey organ.”


14 | 2nd Generation Wu | New Generation

THE PRESS RELEASE: “When the birth of 2nd Generation Wu was announced in late 2019, the new legacy of Wu-Tang Clan got off to a huge start. Fronted by iNTeLL (son of U-God) and PXWER (son of Method Man), 2GWU woke up the Hip Hop world. Now with even more clarity, 2GWU is kicking off 2020 with a brand new single New Generation, released 2day – 2/20/20. A New Bap head banger with deep space overtones, the dark and eerie track recalls the atmospheric joints of Gravediggaz and even the spacey trip hop of Goldie and Tricky, while staying very close to Wu’s musical past. Produced by Yodi with the precision of an astronaut, the track features iNTeLL and PXWER winding verses around each other, making it clear that these two brothers have been doing this their whole lives and have immense lyrical chemistry.”


15 | Joyfultalk | Pixelated Skin

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Free-thinking Nova Scotia composer, musician and visual artist Jay Crocker (aka Joyfultalk) channels Minimalism, Japanese environmental music, Maghrebian rhythmic modes and other numinous folkways to create his most focused, vibrant work to date. Based on a monumental, kaleidoscopic graphic score, A Separation Of Being is translated from two-dimensional page to trans-dimensional aural life using an array of homemade instruments, crowned with a majestic string arrangement written by Crocker and performed by Juno winner Jesse Zubot.”


16 | Dom Flemons | Hot Chicken

THE PRESS RELEASE: “A co-founder of the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, Dom Flemons was a member of the group from their inception in 2005 through 2013. His third solo album, Prospect Hill, was released in 2014. Out Feb. 28, Prospect Hill: The American Songster Omnibus is a three-part journey with the original Prospect Hill album; the nine-track EP What Got Over; and The Drum Major Instinct. The latest preview is Hot Chicken. “In 2012, I was in Murfreesboro, TN doing a tin type photo session with photographer Bill Steber. Knowing that I was in the area for a few days, Bill recommended that I try one of the best known regional dishes, Hot Chicken. After the session, I made my way over to the strip mall in East Nashville, TN where Prince’s Hot Chicken, the original restaurant was located. I was fortunate to have my friend Bill prepare me for what I was about to encounter with this amazing dish. He explained that it would take me on a mystical journey if I ordered the extra hot. So, I decided to indulged in the medium hot flavor and I was instantly inspired to write this song.”


17 | Constrict | FSR50

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Storming out the LA scene, the ferocious metallic hardcore group Constrict announced their upcoming EP, No Eden, due out March 20. Formed from members of God’s Hate, Vamachara, Disgrace, Forced Order and more, Constrict deals in viciousness and sheer power, avoiding the banalities found throughout heavy music today. To mark the occasion, Constrict has shared the razing lead single Bleed For Me. Anthonie Gonzalez (vocals) says: “This song is about confronting anything and everything that stands in your way. No matter what or who it is. Its good to be paranoid about the world around you. Everyone is out to get you.”


18 | Shred Kelly | Dead Leaves

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Alternative folk rock band Shred Kelly share Dead Leaves, the lead single from their new album, Like A Rising Sun, due out May 15. “This song is about the online battles we have around political issues. We are all friends until someone has an opposing view online;” shares the band. “Then we tear each other apart from behind our screens.” Like A Rising Sun, produced by Nygel Asselin and mixed by Ben Kaplan, is the group’s fifth offering and their most raw autobiography. This album is an honest reflection of band members’ personal experiences of starting a family, losing a loved one, and coming out on the other side forever changed. With such upheaval comes an outpouring of explosive, fast-paced, and anthemic acoustic rock.”