Indie Roundup (Early Late Edition) | 21 Songs to Get You Through Wednesday

Get up to speed with new treats from Life, Thao, He Is Legend, Mark Olson & more.

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Life flip the switch, Thao visits the temple, He Is Legend get fired up, Bridget Kearney and Benjamin Lazar Davis fly and more in an early yet simultaneously late Roundup. Stay tuned for another blast of goodness later in the day.


HEAVY ROTATION

1 | Life | Switching On

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Hull’s Life continue their rapid upward trajectory with the announcement of their new single Switching On. Honing in on a more exploratory sound, Switching On sees Life incorporate future-facing elements of electronic instrumentation with more experimental and brooding guitar/bass work, while reflective lyrics look back over the band’s journey together and what is yet to come. Speaking on the single, frontman Mez Green says, “After completing A Picture of Good Health I felt like I belonged in the world, lyrically painting over the bone-eating demons, I wanted to express why this was. I wanted to scratch it out like people do on woodland trees or moorland rocks. It was love; I found love. Switching On is my lyrical attempt of charting that journey; the initial giddy, nervous and pinch-me moments, the wanting to be accepted, the lust and the incredible feeling of finding that person and falling in love. The band wanted to be open to all aspects of musicality so that the lyrics were given an aural heart. We wanted to be brave, bold and exciting as we evolve our sound and rhythms by bringing in elements of synths, pads, machines and pure bass and guitar experimentation. Switching On is a nod to where we want to be and where we are going; the future.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

2 | Thao & The Get Down Stay Down | Temple

THE PRESS RELEASE:Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, the Oakland-based band fronted by singer and songwriter Thao Nguyen, is set to release their fifth studio album Temple on May 15. In celebration of the upcoming album, the band is debuting the title track alongside a video directed by Jonny Look, featuring choreography by Erin S. Murray. The album is among Thao’s most open and honest work yet, finding her coming out in her public life after a long career in which she kept her queer identity quiet in an effort to avoid turmoil with and alienation from a family and culture she deeply loves. “But that shit will kill you,” Thao says.“I have divided myself into so many selves. I am nervous, but hopeful that in belonging to myself, I can still belong to my family, and my Vietnamese community, especially the elders.” She continues, “I believe that shame has made my work more general, when I’ve always wanted to be specific. This record is about me finally being specific. If you listen to my music, I want you to know who you are dealing with.”


3 | He Is Legend | Burn All Your Rock Records

THE PRESS RELEASE: “North Carolina’s He Is Legend have dropped a video for the track Burn All Your Rock Records. The song is taken from their 2019 Release White Bat. Once again frontman Schuylar Croom teamed up with Myles Erfurth to co-direct the video. Schuylar explains, “While working with Myles on these last two videos, we became fast friends. He came out to shoot a few shows on the road just for fun — and what better song to showcase that than Burn All Your Rock Records! I think it captures the energy of the live show fantastically.”


4 | Bridget Kearney & Benjamin Lazar Davis | Still Flying

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In February 2019, musician/songwriter Benjamin Lazar Davis and Lake Street Dive’s Bridget Kearney headed to West Africa to continue the life-changing musical exploration they’d begun five years before. Equipped with the most minimal of gear, the longtime friends soon struck up a collaboration with Stevo Atambire, a legendary Ghanian musician. Less than a month later, Kearney and Davis returned to the U.S. with an entire album’s worth of material: the 11 wildly imaginative yet insightfully crafted songs featured on Still Flying, the duo’s full-length debut out May 8.”


5 | Nap Eyes | Mystery Calling

THE PRESS RELEASE:Nap Eyes will release their new album, Snapshot of a Beginner, on March 27. Today, the band shares the third single/video, Mystery Calling. Mystery Calling opens with drifting guitar and meanders with gentle percussion. Frontman Nigel Chapman elaborates on the track below: “This is another improvised-origin song. On one level it’s basically a description of my homebody ways, and it’s also about the way our mundane routines can seem to pull us away from what I’m referring to as mystery in the song– that is, away from the discovery and creation that seem to be more valuable and important activities in themselves, despite being deemed superficially ‘non-practical.’ Now, this irritation and sense of being drawn away from what’s important is probably mostly illusory. This is because the cosmic mystery is probably accessible even in the midst of the most boring and stressful busywork. At the same time, as any good procrastinator should know, there is quite a lot of good that comes from letting the mind ignore apparently pressing worldly activities in order to let it roam, explore, discover and create.”


6 | Emily Rockarts | Stay

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Indie singer-songwriter Emily Rockarts shares her catchy new single Stay from her debut album Little Flower, due out on April 24. The song is accompanied by a new video directed by Brittany Farhat. “Stay is about the moments after a breakup,” shares Emily. “You wish that it could have worked out, maybe you still think it can, but it’s obvious that it won’t. It’s about being annoyed, perplexed, exasperated and gutted by a relationship that you knew wasn’t right from the beginning but you still hoped would work out in the end.” Says video director Brittany Farhat: “The video for Stay is definitely one of my favourite music videos that I have made to date! It was so much fun to make. When Emily showed me the song, I was immediately inspired, and I found that Emily’s music and my style of filmmaking would mesh super well together and we clicked immediately when we met. She was amazing to work with and crushed it at a long day on set!”


7 | The Lacs | Night Falls

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Georgia based country rap duo The Lacs are back from the mud with their brand new music video Night Falls, a country story of lost love and long nights. Directed by Crucifix and Hard Target, Night Falls is the group’s third video from their new album Rise and Shine. “The song came about because one of our good friends had this great relationship, the kind where you’re head over heels for each other.” said Brian King from The Lacs. “He was really into this girl, then one day everything went south. He acted cool around all of us, but there were a few nights when we would show up to the river and see him just falling apart. He was trying to hide his hurt from us during the day, then when everyone hung out at night, he would become distant and you could notice how bad he was hurting.”


8 | Yorkston/Thorne/Khan | Sukhe Phool

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Earlier this year, Yorkston/Thorne/Khan released their acclaimed third album Navarasa: Nine Emotions. At the heart of the album was the subcontinent’s navarasa; the nine (nava) emotions or sentiments (rasa) of the arts. This central unifying underpinning is a centuries-old organizing principle and on their upcoming record, YTK have paired each song to one of these emotions. Now the trio (James Yorkston, Jon Thorne and Suhail Khan) share the video for Sukhe Phool, the album’s opening track, which correlates to the emotion karuna (sorrow). Director Jack Barraclough says of the video: “James, Suhail and Jon’s collaboration is already so distinctive, and with the beautiful choreography added by Kali and Parbati, there is an intricate balance of all these performers coming together. So, I wanted to direct Sukhe Phool with a light touch and just let the dancers and musicians do their thing, and make sure the video reflected this delicate balance.”


9 | Bishop Nehru | Too Lost (Prod by DJ Premier)

THE PRESS RELEASE:Bishop Nehru has released Too Lost, a dark new cut from upcoming LP Nehruvia: My Disregarded Thoughts. On Too Lost, Bishop teams up with DJ Premier for one of his most lyrically mature tracks to date. One of the final tracks to be written for the LP, the track explores the multiple conversations taking place inside Bishop’s subconscious, the thoughts, fears, and insecurities of an artist with immense ambition. 23-year-old Bishop Nehru is one of hip-hop’s most intriguing and prolific wunderkinds in recent memory. He received praise from Nas, Kendrick Lamar, and DOOM as soon as he stepped onto the scene as a teenager. Now, with this career-defining new LP, Nehruvia: My Disregarded Thoughts, he is ready to take a seat next to the luminaries that have been championing him for so long. “I’ve become way more comfortable making music, more confident than ever before in how I present my music,” he says. “Now, nobody is better than me.”


10 | Anri-Flag | 20/20 Vision

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Political punk icons Anti-Flag have teamed up with Indecline to produce and film a video for the title track from their latest release 20/20 Vision. A thought once posed by philosopher Noam Chomsky — “The key element of social control is the strategy of distraction that is to divert public attention from important issues and changes decided by political and economic elites, through the technique of flood or flooding continuous distractions and insignificant information” — inspired what you see in the video. “This idea is something that was rattling around in our minds for a long time,” the band explains. “Taking the viewer through a history lesson of pop culture, dance moves, and the horrors of human rights atrocities and violations. The politics of distraction, the escapism of art, the crumbs of capitalism that make people apathetic instead of empathetic, all of it plays into our ability to turn a blind eye to the suffering of others. When we found the activist/artist commune of Indecline, we knew we had found the folks with the visual capacity to execute this idea and tell the story. We are all held prisoner. Forced to fake joy in the escape. While the environmental, racial, economic injustice unfolds behind us. Another world is possible.”


11 | Une Misere | Fallen Eyes

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Icelandic wrecking crew Une Misere have unleashed their debut full length album Sermon unto the world. Today, the band release the music video for the song Fallen Eyes. Une Misere have had quite a year with three nominations at the Icelandic Music Awards 2020 in the following categories: Performer of the Year, Rock Album Of The Year and Rock Song Of The Year as well as two nominations at the Icelandic Listeners Awards for Album of the Year and Rock Performer of the Year. The product of a modern age; the sonic nature of Une Misere cannot be easily defined. With an inherently heavy nature, the band sits somewhere on a vast spectrum of blackened hardcore and aggressive metal.”


12 | Born Ruffians | Wavy Haze

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto trio Born Ruffians have released Wavy Haze, the closing track from their forthcoming album Juice, which is scheduled for an April 3. Discussing the new track, guitarist/vocalist Luke Lalonde stated, “I moved to Toronto after high school. As a band we all lived together in one house — Mitch, Steve, and I, with our friend Joel. I remember stacks of beers (Brava, Sol, and Labatt’s 50), jamming in the basement, writing in my bedroom, with lots of anxiety and stuff going around me then too. I know I was mostly miserable at the time, but I remember it fondly. The song’s lyrics came from that juxtaposition — looking back with a mix of longing, loss, relief, regret, and growth through this wavy haze of memory.”


13 | Fenne Lily | Hypochondriac

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Bristol musician Fenne Lily presents her debut single Hypochondriac. In the world of her music, Fenne’s inveterate vulnerability transforms what-ifs into worse case scenarios, hypotheticals into heartache. This heart-on-sleeve ethos spawned her early songwriting and colored the emotional intensity of her already confessional work. Now, she’s facing this tendency towards emergency head on. Hypochondriac reflects on this struggle and her own role in solving it with urgent honesty. Over breezy guitar, Fenne’s voice is soft, but strong. “The song’s theme was realised immediately; pressure to feel enough but not too much in a time of hyper connectivity, plus a personal reminder to be accountable for and have agency over the part of me that gravitates towards meltdown,” says Fenne. “It’s the first in a collection of tracks addressing myself as both the cause of and solution to my anxieties, as well as a shift in attention from predominantly relationship-based writing to a more self-reflective dialogue.”


14 | Cayley Thomas | Two Minds

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Edmonton born, Toronto-based Cayley Thomas shares her brand new single Two Minds. “This is my favourite song on the record,” shares Thomas. “Two Minds is about all the negotiation and mental drama that the primitive part of my brain likes to produce when faced with a challenge.” The new song is from her forthcoming album How Else Can I Tell You? due out May 1. It’s a collection of songs that reflect upon a period of subconscious overwhelm and the subsequent shift into conscious thought and awareness. Recorded between Edmonton and Toronto, the album deliberately combining Hi-Fi studio production and Lo-Fi living room charm, How Else Can I Tell You? is fresh enough for modern indie rock ears to find familiar, with spells of synth and its modern production, all the while drawing on the fuzzy raw warmth of our favourite sounds from mid-century rock and soul.”


15 | Better Person | True Love

THE PRESS RELEASE:Better Person — the project of Berlin-based Polish singer and balladeer Adam Byczkowski — shares his new single, True Love. Informed by 80’s power ballads, gentle sophisti-pop and forgotten Euro-Pop hits, Better Person presents an introspective and personal mix of beautifully sincere vocals and timeless song craft. True Love is an effervescent ode to Byczkowski’s partner. Mixed and produced by MGMT’s Ben Goldwasser, the song presents a new sonic palette, entering a world of warm summer breezes and crystalline emotional clarity. “I originally wrote this song as a birthday present for my girlfriend Jane. A few months later, as I was working on music with Ben in LA, I thought of it again and decided to re-approach it,” says Byczkowski. “While adding extra parts, it slowly gained a bit of an 80’s reggae feel, which made me very excited! I remember having a cigarette outside the studio and staring at a big, red sun setting above palm trees and tall buildings while the song was blasting from the speakers. It was a beautiful moment. Even though I re-recorded this version of the track, the song itself still belongs to Jane, my true love.”


16 | Andre Comeau | Son Of A Gun

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Former Reigndance vocalist Andre Comeau, also known for his appearance as the “the rocker guy” on the original first season of MTV’s groundbreaking reality series The Real World, will release his new solo EP Wrong Within, March 27. Wrong Within is vie songs of straightforward, midwestern hard rock written and spear-headed by guitarist/vocalist Comeau. On Wrong Within, Comeau returns to his musical roots, fronting a heavy rock band with veteran session musician Darren Elpant on drums. Toeing the line between classic and cutting edge, Comeau proves that guitar-rock can still be vital, original, and relevant in 2020.”


17 | Soraia | Superman Is Gone

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Philadelphia rock quartet Soraia will release their new album Dig Your Roots on March 13. Soraia epitomizes raw power, unrelenting energy, chaos, and freedom. With a live show that is frenetic and intensely interactive, the band’s chemistry has been cemented through years of fierce, persistent touring from the dingiest dives to the most massive amphitheaters, helping them attract a worldwide fanbase. Superman Is Gone “was specifically about the idea of being high and feeling like Superman when you did that first line of anything. I’m a recovering person, so it was important to me that I also tell the story of the anger I had at my father over being absent when I was going through that. I have already forgiven him and me about that, but I wanted to tell the story honestly. And there’s a part of me that still questions where were a lot of different people in my life when I was busy getting high. That idea that you wonder where people were and what they were doing when you were hardcore in this addiction – with no feeling attached to it – just a human curiosity.”


18 | Luka Kuplowsky | Anew Day

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto’s Luka Kuplowsky will release Judee Justin Arthur Mary, an impeccable EP of covers from some of Kuplowsky’s deepest influences, on April 24. Kuplowsky is sharing the reimagining of Mary Margaret O’Hara’s Anew Day today. Backed by BahamasFelicity Williams, he pares the song down to a minimalist gospel-blues for guitar, bass and hand clap. Luka speaks to the song saying; “When I sing Mary Margaret O’Hara’s Anew Day, I feel directly channeled to the joy and sorrow embedded in the music and lyrics. The first time I covered the song was the closing night of the Holy Oak Cafe — a space in Toronto that is so deeply important to my songwriting. The song is forever tied to memories of change and rebirth. Singing Anew Day is always utterly present and moving for me.”


19 | Auroch | Coffin Nails

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Vancouver’s Auroch return with new music for the first time in nearly four years on April 24 with Stolen Angelic Tongues. Its five tracks draw upon the magical and spiritual traditions of South America and the Caribbean as their histories, past and present, represent a microcosm of the great spiritual rebellion that has been the band’s inspiration throughout its singular discography. An ever-evolving beast of the deep, Auroch conjures vicious black/death spells of occult necromancy and technical sorcery, making manifest a dark vision of obscure magic. Returning to the fold is original vocalist Culain who here summons spirits of the abyssic fire with savage equanimity. Eerie ambient recordings bookend the concept piece to dramatic effect.”


20 | Mark Olson & Ingunn Ringvold | April In Your Cloud Garden

THE PRESS RELEASE: “A roller coaster in a long-closed Lake Minnetonkaamusement park, walks through historic orthodox churches, a fossil-collecting canoe trip along the Niobrara River, and an isolated pizza place in South Africa. Old memories swirling in the warm Joshua Tree breezes provided Jayhawks founder Mark Olson and his wife, Norwegian singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ingunn Ringvold, with the inspiration for the set of intriguing, imagistic songs that lovingly fill their latest outing, Magdalen Accepts the Invitation, coming June 5. Today they share the single April In Your Cloud Garden. Says Olson: “I wrote the song on a 12-string in open A tuning. Lewis [Keller, drums & bass] and Ingunn followed the descending break part and helped make the song dance … I think overwhelming stuff can put a person in a cloud garden, where you escape the reality and start to live in your imagination, and watering and tending a place that seems better. This is important and it can work, but then someday you have to come down from the cloud, I guess. Hopefully it’s not to a desert full of expensive watering programs.”


21 | MTBT | Quiet

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Swiss/French indie/garage/psych-rock collective MTBT (Mumbling Thom + The Blue Tree) shared first audio excerpt from upcoming album with the song Quiet. The song will feature on the band’s debut full-length record Shadows & Dust, coming out April 24. Influenced by Native American philosophy or writers such as Charles Buwkoski or John Fante, comprising of members from alternative shaman-rock/hard-folk one-man-band Mumbling Thom and fusion-rock trio The Blue Tree, MTBT have played together since 2018.”