Indie Roundup | 17 Songs You Want To Hear This Thursday

Call it a day with help from Flat Worms, PHNTMS, Forces, Sick Sad World & more.

Flat Worms remember the aughts, PHNTMS fire up the back burner, Forces have their say, Sick Sad World bring destruction, Mike Casey berns one and more in today’s Roundup. If you’re not already familiar with movies like Canadian Bacon and Wag The Dog, now would probably be a good time. Just saying.

1 | Flat Worms | The Aughts

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Los Angeles-based band Flat Worms will release their new album Antarctica on April 10. Today, they present a rousing new song. The Aughts embodies Flat Worms’ bleak, yet earnest, social commentary, and buzzes with taught percussion and blistering guitar. The Aughts, which was recorded in one take with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio, was written while guitarist/vocalist Will Ivy was visiting the Tombs of the Kings archaeological site in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. “It is the ruins of what used to be very elaborate and luxurious tombs for the wealthy during the Hellenistic and Roman periods,” says Ivy. “It seemed to represent the mood of our new century: growing apocalyptic tension, fallen empires, our anxiety laid bare.” Its accompanying video, directed and produced by Ava Warbrick and Monroe Robertson, was filmed in the band’s rehearsal space and throughout downtown Los Angeles.”

2 | PHNTMS | Back Burner

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Sitting somewhere between arena rock and the classic sound of 1960’s soul singers, Philadelphia based band PHNTMS create music bursting with vast soundscapes and colliding instrumentation. Together, Alyssa Gambino, Adam Jessamine, Mikal Smith and Gene Murphy are bringing back rock music while simultaneously putting their own unique stamp on it. PHNTMS’ highly anticipated six-track self titled EP soaks up the band’s amalgam of influences, ranging from movie soundtracks and bands such as U2, Biffy Clyro, Kings of Leon and Deaf Havana, to powerhouse soul singers such as Amy Winehouse. Leading single Back Burner narrates two people dealing with bad timing and not being ready to take the next step into a relationship, despite there being a strong attraction. Vocalist Alyssa Gambino shares, “I’ve always kept a safe distance when having feelings for someone new and the ‘flame’ represents just that. For me, being placed on the back burner is a lingering reminder that I will be here waiting.” Featuring gritty guitars, a driving rhythm section and velvety vocals, Back Burner builds into a compelling and energetic release.”

3 | Forces | Say It Now

THE PRESS RELEASE:Forces became a band in 2017 after the duo closed the book on a whirlwind decade of recording and touring with their former band The Golden Dogs. That trip took them all over the world to support great artists such as Sloan, Feist, Bloc Party, Libertines, Kaiser Chiefs, Thurston Moore and more. The duo just released a new single, Say It Now, that opens with dissonant chords and builds to a bombastic, anthemic chorus contrasted by intimate lyrics.”

4 | Sick Sad World | Destroy

THE PRESS RELEASE: “About one year after the official release of their second full-length album Imago Clipeata, French post-metal quintet Sick Sad World just premiered a brand new music video illustrating the song Destroy and available right now. Sick Sad World have always enjoyed combining genres to provide a personalised musical style in which atmospheric post-rock blends with the intensity of post-hardcore and where sludge breeds gently with black-metal. In some ways the offspring of a great orgy between Agalloch, Amen Ra, Cult Of Luna, Mono, Solstafir, The Ocean … ”

5 | Mike Casey | Feel the Bern

THE PRESS RELEASE:Mike Casey is a melody poet. The New York based story-telling songwriter, producer, and sonic alchemist is a multi-talented force whose soul stirring saxophone sound and creative use of phrasing reaches out with love and embraces your musical desires, one note at a time. A longtime Bernie Sanders fan, Mike originally composed Feel The Bern in early 2017, as an homage to Sanders’ unrelenting progressive spirit. Written in rare 15/8 funk time, the chopping off the 8th note of a 4/4 measure — or “anticipating” the downbeat of 1 — was a deliberate compositional choice, an ode to Bernie’s progressive outlook. After his third album (a remix project, working with producers like Emmy-winning Apple Juice Kid to re-imagine cuts from his first two albums that were recorded live at The Side Door in a variety of hip hop styles, tracing back to his own childhood DJing roots), recent single Venus (a musical prayer for peace inspired by The Venus Project), Mike continues his Law of Attraction album drip release with Feel the Bern (the second single after Unforgettable).”

6 | Cyhra | Dreams Gone Wrong

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In November, modern melodic metallers Cyhra released their critically acclaimed new album No Halos In Hell. Loaded with melodic vocal hooks and heavy yet dynamic guitars that stay nailed to the brain for days, this sophomore full-length release proves Jake E (ex-Amaranthe), Jesper Strömblad (ex-In Flames), Euge Valovirta (ex-Shining) and Alex Landenburg (Kamelot) are a band ready to take the world by storm! Today, Cyhra present the brand new official video for their song Dreams Gone Wrong. Vocalist Jake E comments: “Sometimes it’s interesting to see what happens when you let the unexpected happen. Dreams Gone Wrong was the last song we wrote for our new album No Halos In Hell. We actually wrote it in the studio at the very last moment — when the album was more or less already done. The song sticks out lyric-wise as we were short on time, so I was inspired by a documentary I had just seen some months earlier about sleep paralysis. Sometimes the best songs are the easiest to write.”

7 | Braids | Snow Angel

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Montreal-based indie trio Braids will release their new album Shadow Offering on June 19. Produced by Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie), the new album finds the band at their most personal, unabashedly flexing a new sense of confidence through songs that reach a higher level of artistry and collaboration. Today they shared a brand new video for the song Snow Angel, a powerful opus that features singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s most visceral performance to date as she leans passionately into her anger, diving deeper into frustrations and anxieties about her internal and external worlds. Of the track, Braids said: “Snow Angel was written in the immediate wake of the 2016 US election, as our collective conscience took a sharp inhale. It’s a diary entry of sorts — a snapshot of the mind grappling with our era’s endless barrage of content and destruction, continents away and close to home. *This* moment, with our world in the midst of a pandemic, is admittedly a new context. But I can’t help but sense the song speaks to feelings many of us are experiencing — uncertainty, angst and a desperate desire to make sense of it all. For me, it was deeply therapeutic to write and sing this song; saying things out loud can help us to not feel so alone, can help validate our natural fears about the future of our world, and can bring to light some of the hard questions that many of us are asking ourselves. I believe that art can change our relationship to fear. We hope this song can offer you a moment of catharsis and relief, in the same way writing and performing it has for us.”

8 | Harrow Fair | Rules of Engagement

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Americana duo Harrow Fair (Miranda Mulholland & Andrew Penner) release their brand-new single Rules of Engagement from their forthcoming sophomore album, Sins We Made, due out April 17. “This is a song about the power of confronting a bully with allies;” the band shares. “We have seen throughout history that real change can be made when allies unite in a common cause. This has never been more true than right now.” The band is encouraging everyone to get up and dust off those dancing shoes with the accompanying new video.”

9 | Flax | Dear B

THE PRESS RELEASE: “After releasing his self-titled, debut EP last month, singer-songwriter and guitarist Flax returns with a live acoustic performance of his unreleased track Dear B. The video is part of a series of live studio performances that came together at The Ice Plant in New York City in collaboration with album producer Zack Feinberg. Dear B finds Flax reminiscing over a past relationship, thinking about what might have been and how his perception keeps changing every time he looks back. “Dear B is an audio love letter to a girl I’m not sure I ever knew,” says Flax. “I’m aware of its Lolita undertones, but I promise we were age-appropriate. My producer Zack Feinberg and I went to The Ice Plant in Queens to record live versions of tracks off our recently released EP and decided to lay this one down as well for a more tender vibe.”

10 | Jaunt | All In One

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto-based six-piece Jaunt are set to release their debut album All In One on April 16 and today they are sharing the video for the title track. Directed by Pia Perez and Sylvain Chaussée and shot on 16mm film, the video features lead singer Tom Helliwell in solitude painting his self-portrait. This is the second video in a series of six, depicting the members of Jaunt at home within a moment of time; caught, slowed down, under a microscope, on repeat, and in reverse. “The song is an optimistic ballad about what it means to be present,” says the band. “We hope it can spark a bit of joy and encouragement for those who listen in these strange times that we are collectively experiencing. In a way, the song feels mysteriously prescient for the moment. Hope everyone is staying safe, connecting with their loved ones, and keeping their head up.”

11 | Old Blood | Blacklights

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Halifax heavy rockers Old Blood share new music for the first time in nearly six years, offering up single Blacklights and a companion animated video. The song hails from long-awaited new album, Reckless Calm, their first release since 2014 EP, Black Budget Science. Reckless Calm is out May 11. A groove-heavy head-banger, Blacklights is bolstered by its propulsive rhythm section and a wall of guitars. “When we wrote and recorded this song, it was very much with the mindset of summertime, windows-down road trips and big groups of sweaty people rocking out at festivals and shows — long before words like social distancing and self-isolation had entered the global lexicon,” said Old Blood’s Josh White. “Clearly, much has changed these last few weeks.”

12 | Mikano | Fuego

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Rising French-Cameroonian hip hop artist Mikano drops grainy phone camera visuals for Fuego, the bonus track of his recently released debut mixtape Melting Balloons. For the DIY footage, Mikano enlists the help of a group of friends wearing masks and director Martin Bouffange to create a street-themed video which perfectly depicts the hardest cut on Melting Balloons. Imagination and emotions are at the centre of Melting Balloons, a body of work which reflects the artist’s creative mind and aesthetic.”

13 | Wild Tales | Electric Smiles

THE PRESS RELEASE:Wild Tales get meta in their latest video for Electric Smiles. The new song is a tasty concoction of poppy, indie math rock, with a healthy dose of magical, twiddly guitar work. Electric Smiles draws influence from the Big Scary Monsters Records bands we love, with a heavy lean towards Tubelord who have always been a big influence on our writing style. The subject matter recognises and questions our addiction to the use of mobile devices and how this new form of digital socialising is forcing us away from actual physical social activities. Singer Adam says, “We’re all guilty of it, and it’s easy to foresee a future alike to a Black Mirror episode where our existence is solely on a digital platform, which is a scary thing, so this song ponders that.” Electric Smiles is the second single in a series of three, before the band announce their upcoming album plan. Wild Tales are a fresh four-piece rock band from Guildford, Surrey. The band fuse math-rock and indie influences with pop sensibilities and big choruses, to create refreshing sound that’s both accessible and musically interesting.”

14 | Day Wave | Potions

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Critically acclaimed one-man indie band Day Wave (aka Jackson Phillips) announces his new EP Crush (out April 24) and shares the second single/video Potions. The new song showcases mesmerizing arrangements that have long been a trademark of the Day Wave sound. Crush reveals a newfound vocal dynamism from Phillips, whose steady growth as a performer lends an understated weight to EP’s emotional soul searching. Phillips explains, “I was really just trying to make sense of things for myself with this EP. It’s easy to feel isolated, like your thoughts don’t matter or that you’ll never be good enough, but writing these songs was my way of trying to rid myself of those toxic ideas and open myself up to a better way of living. It was my way of trying to figure out who I really was.”

15 | Woodhawk | Heartstopper

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Calgary’s riff wizards Woodhawk are very excited to share their new music video Heartstopper. The band adds: “This video was a lot of fun to make and all of our first time “acting” in anything. Kevin Keegan and Rob Thespian were a pleasure to work with. It was a lot of work in a short amount of time to do this video, but everyone busted their ass off to make it all come together. The video tells the story of a creepy kidnapper who is obsessed with the band, so he kidnaps them and holds them captive in his home. It’s dark, it’s funny, it’s musical. We loved it, and are happy to share it with everyone finally.” Woodhawk’s sophomore full length Violent Nature steps away from the science fiction themes evident on their previous release 2017’s Beyond The Sun and takes a more therapeutic turn. Putting a lot of time and production into the new album with producer Jesse Gander, Woodhawk has worked really hard to capture energy and emotion.”

16 | August Burns Red | Paramount

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Two-time Grammy Award-nominated Pennsylvania quintet August Burns RedJB Brubaker [lead guitar], Brent Rambler [rhythm guitar], Matt Greiner [drums], Jake Luhrs [lead vocals], and Dustin Davidson [bass]— have just shared the new song Paramount. The track appears on ABR’s upcoming eighth full length Guardians, out April 3. “Paramount is one of my favorite songs from Guardians,” says Brubaker. “It has that classic ABR sound with a bunch of tempo changes and different time signatures. But there’s a recurring melody that glues the whole song together. I think this is a song that longtime fans of the band are going to love.” Greiner further explains, “At times over the last several years, I felt indifferent and uninterested towards the things that used to fuel me. I learned there is actually meaning in suffering. It’s not random and without purpose. I found that the more I faced the fire, the more empathetic I became towards other people who are also hurting. I found meaning in the pain and stopped running from it. That’s what Paramount is about.”

17 | Nation Of Language | September Again

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Brooklyn-based synth trio Nation of Language have released September Again, the latest single from their upcoming debut album Introduction, Presence. Discussing the band’s latest single, songwriter-vocalist Ian Devaney stated, “September Again is about struggling with the feeling that with each passing year you’re only becoming a worse version of yourself — less capable of wonder or grand ambition, less sure of your footing in your own life. I used to just pick up a book like Crime and Punishment or a detailed history of the Italian campaign in WWII. Those kinds of artistic/academic adventures now feel so much more daunting for some reason. There is a grit that is required to relentlessly pursue these things like I used to, and I can feel that part of me slipping. I tell myself it’s simply because I’ve picked a lane in life and I only have so much time, but there is always the nagging suspicion that I have, in reality, deteriorated in some meaningful way. The song comes out of this war within myself where one part of me is desperately wanting to get back there, while another part is only looking to what lies ahead in the life I’ve made for myself.”