Indie Roundup | 16 Songs To Start Your Week Off Right

You survived Monday. Celebrate with Mojo Nixon, Willie Nile, Jordan Klassen & more.

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Jordan Klassen takes an identivacation (whatever the hell that is), Pleasure Craft work it out, Stacc Styles throws shade, Mojo Nixon gets free, Willie Nile rocks New York and more in today’s Roundup. Congratulations, you made it through another Monday.


VIDEO OF THE DAY

1 | Jordan Klassen | Identivacation

THE PRESS RELEASE: “B.C.songwriter Jordan Klassen is sharing the new video for his latest single, Identivacation. Directed by John Voth, the video explores both “the playfulness of the song and the frenetic identity crisis described in the lyrics,” says Klassen. “Jumping from one character to the next, wearing as many different hats as possible. These are the central themes of the video, and I think John really pulled it off beautifully.” Identivacation is a preview of Klassen’s upcoming album, due in the Spring of 2020. “I wrote the song thinking a lot about the unique perspective on identity that we’re given by our culture,” says Klassen. “On the one hand we believe that we all have an essence that is objective and transcendent, written in time and space. But on the other hand we’re also compelled to create an identity, to decide what kind of person we want to be based on our endeavors and expression and self-representation. Identivacation is poking fun at this idea and reflecting on how confusing and exhausting it can be to try to create a self. My aim wasn’t to pass judgement on ‘being fake’ per se, but rather to just acknowledge that as we try to decide who we are we will inevitably look to outside influences to guide us.”


SONG OF THE DAY

2 | Pleasure Craft | Work It Out (Feat. Mingjia)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “On the heels of his recent EP2 release, Sam Lewis, the man behind the moniker Pleasure Craft, releases his new video. Work It Out begins with a whirring noise and sinister synth bass, that can easily fool a listener into thinking it’s a 90s industrial track. By the time the chorus hits, Work It Out is a full on pop song sounding somewhere between LCD Soundsystem and Gary Numan. “This song is about the anxiety and mental health problems I associate with my inability to express genuine emotions in relationships. A lot of men struggle with this due to our culture teaching us a version of masculinity that is very damaging to ourselves and the people who have to live with us. ” says Lewis. “The video relates to this theme by contrasting the light beige and dark red strobe lighting. The light symbolizing strained, aggressive presentation of self and the dark symbolizing the suppressed inner conflict trying to escape.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

3 | Stacc Styles | 50 Shades

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Tucson rapper Stacc Styles has released his new video for 50 Shades. Driven, passionate, and focused, Stacc Styles has been on the grind and constantly looking to elevate the sound of hip-hop since he first picked up a mic. Like every truly original lyricist and songwriter, Stacc Styles creates an emotional, hard-hitting, fast-paced sound. His rapid-fire machine gun mouth spits rhymes in a chopper-style that is clear and methodically precise. His explosive stage presence has afforded him the opportunity to share stages with Yelawolf, Rittz, Tech N9ne, Nas, Ice Cube and many more. Stacc is now preparing for his first national release entitled Mr. Purple. Together the only path is forward and up.”


4 | Jenny Jam | Better Than You

THE PRESS RELEASE:Jenny Jam is a London born, Los Angeles based soul-pop singer/songwriter whose music aims to encourage others to always believe in yourself even when times get tough. Her thought-provoking and sincere songwriting allows listeners to connect to her music, delivering an authentic message that has been captivating audiences across the globe. With a background in musical theatre, acting and modelling, Jenny utilizes her dynamic singing talents and experiences to craft her own unique and genuine music. Inspired to write after a series of traumatic events, Jenny used writing as a form of release, wanting others to hear her story and learn from her experiences and mistakes. The overall theme of her music highlights turning negatives into positives. The musician explains, “You can always take the positive out of the worst of experiences, as there is always a lesson – no matter how big the price to pay is”. New single Better Than You narrates being trapped in a controlling, abusive relationship and finding the strength to break out of it and find someone who you truly deserve. Featuring a strong, determined rhythm, sassy lyrics and bold brass the single emanates independence and the importance of standing up for what you want.”


5 | Elm | Golden

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Emerging queer pop band Elm have shared the aesthetically pleasing visuals for their new single Golden – a glittering and soul-baring banger. About the track, Elm explain: “Golden represents much more than a colour. It has become our mantra to remind ourselves to unapologetically love each and every part of our body. In a world that constantly tries to define what way we should look and present ourselves, Golden promotes the power and beauty of individualism.” Elm is made up of Dylan Walsh (vocals), Aidan Clancy (piano and synths), Gary Molloy (cello) and Ca Ahearne (drums). The Irish band matches vocal androgyny with unforgettable cello lines, creating a unique sense of originality within the constraints of the pop realm. Each member of the band brings a unique element to Elm that is then shared, spliced, perfected and polished with the other members until a carefully constructed, multi-layered and shimmering piece of pop is born.”


6 | Sarah Siskind | In The Mountains

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Critically acclaimed North Carolina-based singer/songwriter Sarah Siskind will release Modern Appalachia, her first full-length album in nine years, on April 17. The video for the album’s first single, In The Mountains, debuts today. “This is the first song I wrote when I moved back East after 14 years in Nashville, originally to rural Virginia for three years before settling in North Carolina,” says Siskind. “When writing this song, I let go of all thought process and just channeled what I felt being back in an environment where mountains, water, and nature-based quality of life are paramount. This song has become an anthem for me, for my return to the Southeast, my faith, and my need to discover who I am as a complete human.”


7 | Lutharö | Wings of Agony

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Hamilton’s Lutharö will be unleashing their sophomore EP Wings of Agony on March 27 and this release promises to be more innovative and imaginative than the last one, 2018’s Unleash The Beast. Lutharö stepped out of their comfort zone for this recording and they anticipate a solid reception from current and new fans, especially those who enjoy Arch Enemy, Unleash The Archers, The Agonist, Amon Amarth. The EP was produced by the band with mixing done by Tyler Williams (Monolithic Productions) and mastering by Lasse Lammert. Lutharö adds: “Wings of Agony is a song about the never-ending struggle to pursue a passion. In one moment you are feeling like you are soaring on cloud nine, things are going your way and you exude confidence. Then by the flip of a switch, you enter a moment of darkness where you feel lost and hopeless never knowing when the light at the end of the tunnel will return. This is the never-ending cycle we embrace because we would rather be tortured in the process of pursuing our dreams than to give up on them.”


8 | The National Parks | Wildflower

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Folk-influenced indie pop band The National Parks have announced the details for their new studio album, Wildflower, due out April 17, and have released the lead single and title track off the album along with its official music video. Distorted electric guitar elevates the hypnotic hook on Wildflower as a steady arena-size beat reverberates underneath soaring vocals on the rock-influenced song. The old western-style video for Wildflower was directed by Jeremy Prusso and filmed near the band’s Southern Utah home. “We truly have never felt more excited to release anything as a band as we are with this song and the upcoming album,” shares lead vocalist/guitarist Brady Parks. “This song is about staying true to who you are and not letting negativity bring you down. In my mind, a wildflower is something so beautiful that grows and blooms in unexpected places and under the wide-open skies. It’s natural. It breaks free from any mold. That’s how we felt with this song and album – we see ourselves as wildflowers in this vast world of music. There can be a lot of negative forces that can bring you down, but you can take that and continue to grow and bloom and be authentically yourself through it all. That is what we did with Wildflower by staying as true and authentic to us as possible.”


9 | Roman Rouge | Darkness

THE PRESS RELEASE:Roman Rouge is a R&B pop singer/songwriter from El Paso, Texas. Born with music running through his veins, the musician was exposed to the industry from a young age and never looked back. Despite various struggles which he faced throughout his childhood, including his single mother trying to make ends meet, Roman took every obstacle in his stride, ultimately building his character and making him who he is today. Through every failure came strength and eventually the hardships paid off. The passionate and driven artist now not afraid of anything that may come his way, is ready for the next step of his journey. Inspired by personal events and poignant moments in life, the singer confides, “The message in my music overall is always relatable, something you’ve been through can and always affect the decisions you make in the future. My songs are linked to each other, I like to convey a story and be as honest and forthcoming as I can”.


10 | Diarchy | Kamal Hossen

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Formed in 2015, Diarchy is a two-piece band from Bangalore, India who in recent years have been celebrated across the stoner rock community for their explosive live performances and spirited approach to the creation of heavy music. Inspired by the likes of Clutch, Karma to Burn and Kyuss, the duo draws heavily on many styles to shape a sound that’s uniquely theirs; a sound that incorporates subtle shades of Eastern psychedelia with the cast-iron hammer blows of classic rock. Upon the release of their 2017 debut album, Here Lost We Lie, the pair quickly became fan-favourites amongst followers of multifaceted, underground rock. Exactly three years on and this March 27 will see the official release of their brand-new album, Splitfire, recorded and mixed by Sridhar Varadarajan at Studio 304 in Bangalore and mastered by James Plotkin (Sunn O))), Pelican, Earth). “Splitfire is more melodic,” explains guitarist/vocalist, Prakash Rawat. “I feel our first album was a lot rawer, closer to Stoner Rock than this one. We had the songs ready and it was just a matter of getting into a studio and recording them, whereas with this album we put a lot more time into the writing process, especially with us having to split our time between different cities.”


11 | Ulcerate | Stare Into Death And Be Still

THE PRESS RELEASE: “New Zealand-based death metal trio Ulcerate will unleash their anticipated sixth album, Stare Into Death And Be Still, on April 24. The unmistakeable sound of Ulcerate finds its emotional apex on Stare Into Death And Be Still, as the band emerges from the claustrophobia and dissonance of their recent past to present a next-level exploration of melody, harmony, and power. The band’s signature, ultra-atmospheric blend of unorthodox death metal with the textures of futurist black metal is here pared-down with the consummate hand of experience, giving stunning credence to the riff, the song, and the meaning. Thematically, the album explores the concept of “death reverence” – drawing on recent personal experience to confront the truism that death and tragedy aren’t always sudden or violent, that people are often passive observers trapped “in the silent horror of observing death calmly and cleanly”.


12 | Colpocleisis | Masturbational Burnout

THE PRESS RELEASE: “UK slam beasts Colpocleisis are back with the second in a triptych of single releases that chart the decline of humanity into degradation and decay. On Feb. 2 the journey began with Third Degree Gurns and now, on March 2, we venture deeper into the filth with Masturbational Burnout. Colpocleisis have just returned from playing a devastating set at the Coyote Brutal Fest in Moscow with the likes of Scordatura and Gutted. They are now preparing for their appearance at Southwest Heavyfest on May 3rd with Crepitation, Desert Storm, Agrona and many more.Today though it’s all about taking that next step down into hell, with Masturbational Burnout!”


13 | Willie Nile | New York At Night

THE PRESS RELEASE: “New York City has always inspired me,” states Willie Nile. “I’ve lived in Greenwich Village for many years now, and I love being there. The energy, the grit, and the mystery of it all fills my heart with wonder. Most of these songs were written in New York or were inspired by it in one way or another.” Nile is referring to New York at Night, his 13th studio album and the strongest manifestation to date of his deep affinity for his adopted hometown, due out May 15. The album’s 12 personally charged new originals exemplify the artist’s trademark mix of romance, idealism, humor, emotional urgency and a true believer’s passionate embrace of all things rock ’n’ roll. Nile’s abiding passion for his town animates such tunes as New York Is Rockin’.”


14 | Mojo Nixon | Free Man in the Morning

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In the history of popular music, few songwriters have shown a greater talent for naming their songs than Mojo Nixon. Jesus At McDonald’s, Stuffin” Martha’s Muffin, Elvis Is Everywhere, and Don Henley Must Die are just a few that come to mind. But Mojo Nixon is about much more than a snappy song title. He’s a singular talent who sprang out of the college rock explosion of the ’80s, kicked it in the head, stomped on it, and went on to pave his own path to glory. On March 27, he will release The Mojo Manifesto: The Original Album Collection. The remastered 10-CD collection features 147 songs representing the complete catalog of Mojo’s studio albums. It includes a DVD featuring seven of Mojo’s whacked-out music videos, including Burn Down the Malls, Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child, and Destroy All Lawyers. It also includes unreleased fare like Free Man in the Morning. “This one was borrowed from an Andy Griffith/Lonesome Rhodes song in the A Face in the Crowd movie. Some of these verses later turned up in my song Tie My Pecker to My Leg.”


15 | The Venomous Pinks | Hold On

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Tempe, AZ all-female punk rock trio The Venomous Pinks have released a new single and music video titled Hold On. The track appears on their upcoming album I Want You. Guitarist and vocalist Drea Doll calls the new song, “A coming of age punk anthem that gives a lifeline for those struggling to keep a dream alive.“ If members of Bikini Kill and TSOL musically collided in a Russ Myer movie, the soundtrack scoring the scene would be orchestrated by The Venomous Pinks. The three-piece trio creates an unapologetically, uniquely addictive, in-your-face punk sound, that instantly makes the soul hurt so good, you can’t help but yearn for more. Having formed in 2012, they have blasted their way from the garage and into the spotlight, shredding the stage with some of punk rock’s finest bands, such as: Bad Religion, Iggy Pop, Anti-Flag, The Bouncing Souls, just to name a few. Even though they have been touring all over the country, they have street cred to back them since their loyalty to their local roots runs deep.”


16 | Afraid of Ghosts | No Hero

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Everyone has ghosts they run from and internal struggles that haunt them, and pop newcomers Afraid Of Ghosts tell their own story about wrestling with their demons. With a fresh take on electro-pop, the mysterious supergroup take on love, loss, and the darker aspects of the human experience. The lyrics are heartfelt and raw against an undeniably catchy musical backdrop, but it’s not all gloom and doom; within their story lies a glimmer of hope. With members from diverse backgrounds and musical tastes, Afraid Of Ghosts explores different genres with an ease and fluency only possible from a collective of artists. You get the sense that this isn’t a traditional band or a pop group, but more of a gathering. It’s an amalgam of tastes and experiences and musical styles, and the result is highly listenable.”