Indie Roundup | 13 Songs You Should Hear This Monday

Enjoy some new tracks from Tami Neilson, Freezing Cols, Sons of Apollo and more.

Tami Nelson gets sleepy, Freezing Cold offer teenage insights, Sons of Apollo asphyxiate, Ezra Furman has all the feels and more in today’s Roundup. Did anybody else save last night’s Better Call Saul so they could watch it back-to-back with tonight’s episode? No? Just me? Yeah, that sounds about right.

1 | Tami Neilson | Sleep

THE PRESS RELEASE: “This song was written by my dear friend and co-producer Delaney Davidson. He wrote it about keeping the Big Black Dog at bay, my two little boys think it’s a lullaby Mama sings only for them. My brother Jay and I wander into the audience at the end of the night with just a guitar and no amplification to sing this to the hush and send our audience gently home. It becomes what you want it to mean, like every song. But, it’s like a warm blanket, a soft pillow. This video was created by my other brother Todd Neilson of Valiant Creative Agency. You would never know the chaos behind the scenes! It is one shot and begins with Jay and I singing at the other end of the studio. As the camera pulls out, it reveals we are on the television set in the darkness of a living room where a family has gathered to watch before bed. However, the camera dolly had to roll straight through the living room and the entire thing had to be assembled within seconds in its wake. So, as we were peacefully singing, there was shouting and crashing and banging as the rug, plants and furniture were frantically placed by a team of 6, the actors rolled the couch in (it was on skateboards!), sat down and had to look relaxed and calm as my little niece, River Neilson, fell asleep. The result is magical and I can almost feel my Dad’s arms around me, carrying me to bed when I watch it.”

2 | Freezing Cold | Teenage Insights

THE PRESS RELEASE: “New York based indie/punk rock band Freezing Cold recently released Glimmer, their debut full-length LP. Now the band is back with a new video for Teenage Insights. Freezing Cold came together in early 2017 as friends. Having spent time growing up together in the New York DIY music community in bands like Bridge and Tunnel, Weed Hounds, and Aye Nako, members Jeff Cunningham (guitar & vocals), Angie Boylan (drums and vocals — and also the touring drummer for Sleater Kinney) — and Nick Rice (bass) have all known each other for years. Leanne Butkovic from the band Never is a new addition to the band, replacing Rice on bass. The band’s debut album combines lush sounds with earnest storytelling, creating music that is reminiscent of Lemonheads, Throwing Muses, Sebadoh, Archers of Loaf, Ride, with a dash of punk, rounding out select tracks with keyboards and a few with a string section.”

3 | Sons of Apollo | Asphyxiation

THE PRESS RELEASE:Sons of Apollo — former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force) — recently released their second studio album MMXX to much acclaim, before undertaking a successful North American headline tour. The band are about to embark on a European headlining run, beginning February 28 in Germany, and to celebrate they have launched a video for the track Asphyxiation. “Stylistically, we have followed the same path as the debut,” outlines drummer Mike Portnoy. “But we feel that it has come out stronger, simply because we know one another better … We can draw on having the experience not only of recording that album, but also of touring together a lot. And now there is clearly a lot more obvious chemistry going on.”

4 | Ezra Furman | Every Feeling

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ezra Furman presents a video for Every Feeling, a standout track from Sex Education OST, released digitally last month. Every Feeling was inspired by a bad bout of depression and has an up-all-night, emotionally exhausted feel to it. The video, created by Sivan Kidron, is brightly colored and entirely animated. “Kidron and I talked about that all-nighter feeling and the feeling like you’re already gone. That’s why we wanted the video to be full of empty hotel rooms, cigarettes still burning, like you’ve just left leaving everything unfinished because you just need to keep moving,” says Furman. “Our dancing blowing flailing inflatable tube man is sort of the avatar for me at my most emotionally vulnerable. I love these images and the way Sivan brings them across, like we’re almost dreaming, like how the world feels when you’re really exhausted, like there are no people left in it, like you’re at the mercy of the wild wind.”

5 | Ritual Dictates | Given to Despair

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ritual Dictates will release their debut album Give In To Despair on April 3. Today, Ritual Dictates — a new metal band formed by Justin Hagberg (3 Inches of Blood) and Ash Pearson (Revocation) — reveals the lyric video for Given to Despair. The video was made by Toronto musician and designer Nick Sewell, who hit the nail on the head with the bands “aged, dusty and primitive karaoke video” idea that they had. 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. Picking up on inspiration from their respective previous bands Allfather and Angel Grinder, ex-3 Inches of Blood members Justin Hagberg and Ash Pearson (drummer of Revocation) are continuing down the heavy metal path while fusing their eclectic influences of black, grind, death metal, and classic rock into interesting new places.”

6 | Real Estate | The Main Thing

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Like lead single Paper Cup, which featured a music video that captured the final performance in the career of a life size, guitar-spinning squirrel, The Main Thing backs “the crushing weight” of existential concern with a rollicking hook, ripping guitar lead, and tireless groove. As the second preview of a 13-song collection rooted in anxieties both political and environmental, universal and closely familial, its chorus nods to the central, self-affirming tenet that pushed the band to work longer, harder, and more collaboratively than they have on any album before. Singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter Martin Courtney explains: “The Main Thing is my attempt at writing an inspirational anthem for anyone who’s ever been in an existential crisis…specifically, me. The lyrics in this song are sort of tongue in cheek, but the sentiment is very real. Basically…when life gets tough, when the stresses start piling up, when you start second guessing every decision you’ve made, what do you do? You double down on the thing that makes you happy, the thing that feeds your soul. It might be corny to say, but it really is important to be true to who you are and do what you believe in, whatever that may be.”

7 | Ono | I Dream of Sodomy

THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s been Red Summer for over a hundred years. While the term Red Summer typically refers to the race-driven violence in the Summer of 1919 across the United States, its repercussions, its vocabulary can be felt or heard on every corner of every street. In Chicago, it has a special significance, as Chicago was one of two catalysts for that era’s violence, exploded by invisible racial borders along the South Side, a phenomenon that exists today, constantly considered by long-running gospel industrial band Ono. They began Red Summer in 2015 and finished three years later. It is a record about Chicago, racial violence, and the long arm of history, starting with events as distant — and relevant — as 1619, the year the Dutch ship Pearl filled with African slaves appeared on the American East Coast. Groovy funk track I Dream of Sodomy has been a live staple for years.”

8 | Zach Brandon | Top of the Hill

THE PRESS RELEASE: “With the resurgence of vinyl and the rise of local indie-rock scenes that prioritize artistic proficiency over radio-friendliness, the 2020s are sure to be the decade of rock ’n’ roll’s resurrection. Zach Brandon is an LA-based singer-songwriter at the forefront of that wave, and he calls his sound “neo-vintage”. The 23-year-old writes with a guitar-led musical spontaneity and an unfiltered emotional honesty, with lyrics that touch on love, loss, and the bittersweet terrain of life. Zach is a fresh face and a clear voice bringing organic instrumentation and personal connection to a music world suffocated by the synthetic. Zach Brandon released Top of the Hill, the lead single from his forthcoming Sand & Stone LP. “I wanted to write a song that would be a reminder to just keep going in times of self-doubt. It’s about not getting caught up in the ‘impossibility’ of reaching your goals, and not giving in to the pressure of what others consider ‘safe choices’. As long as I’m going for my dreams, I know I’ll be able to look back one day and feel successful for not quitting.”

9 | Danny Liles | Take A Break

THE PRESS RELEASE: “I wrote the song when I would watch people in London rushing around and think, ‘Why do people rush around? Why don’t they take a break just for a moment and enjoy life?’ I wrote the song about 10 years ago when I lived at home with my mum and dad. I wrote it on my acoustic, as I do most of my songs, I recorded it on my dad’s Boss 16 track studio in West London, I played guitar bass and did the singing on the track.”

10 | Samuel Jack | Gonna Be Alright

THE PRESS RELEASE: “London born Samuel Jack brings a fresh and distinct sound through his passionate, storytelling lyrics and velvet vocals, resulting in a completely compelling delivery. Growing up in Johannesburg with his film director father, Jack spent much of his time soaking in the vibrant tones of Blues, Motown, soul and roots music, which to this date play a big role in his songwriting. Jack is now unveiling his highly anticipated debut album, Empty Pockets, Crowded Heart. Leading single Gonna Be Alright is a celebration of recovery — a song that stands as a reminder that we have to keep telling ourselves we can overcome anything and that all is going to be alright.”

11 | Kiki Kudo & Brian Close | Kitchen Song Remix

THE PRESS RELEASE:Kitchen Song by 21 year old Japanese Ssnger-songwriter Ayane Yamazaki is played by DJs from Chillout/Electro around the world. It’s a song that takes you from the bedroom to the dance floor in town. It expresses what you experience for the first time with sound. Ayane Yamazaki’s native language, Japanese, takes the form of sounds and expresses her curiosity. he lives alone in Tokyo. She thinks of her ex-boyfriend in the kitchen of an apartment. A second ago will be in the past. The time to pass by takes everything away, leaving only the warmth of a lover. New lounge music from Tokyo. Music suitable for a quiet night. In a bedroom, in a hotel room, on a train or a bus as sparse as an air pocket, night music lights up young people only. Night music for young people. Someone is still thinking of someone tonight.”

12 | Whim | Oh Society

THE PRESS RELEASE:Oh Society is the second single from Whim’s forthcoming LP, Abuzz in the Abyss. In October of 2013, 17-year old Sarah Isabella DiMuzio walked into a studio, armed with an acoustic guitar, a banjolele, and a wistful voice that was impossible to ignore. She was there to record tracks for her first independent EP called Small Infinity, released under her stage moniker, Whim. The songwriting was mature beyond her years, the hooks were unshakeable, and Sarah’s voice was singular. Abuzz in the Abyss is an album of impossibly catchy indie-pop gems, shoulder bopping singalongs, and tender indie folk ballads.”

13 | Harrow Fair | Dark Gets Close

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Americana duo Harrow Fair (Miranda Mulholland & Andrew Penner) release Dark Gets Close, the second single from their sophomore album, Sins We Made, due out April 17. “After the spontaneity of the first record, we had to take a pause and figure out who we are to each other – as band mates, friends, and co-writers;” shares Mulholland and Penner. “The song is a recognition of the difficult work any relationship can be but what can happen when you take that leap. Even when the future isn’t clear. Hope starts here. No courage without fear.”