Indie Roundup (Plump It Up Edition) | 27 Numbers To Try This Thursday

Rich Aucoin, Hala, Whirlings & Orlando Weeks top today's massive playlist.

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Rich Aucoin pumps his breaks, Hala get by somehow, The Whirlings run the vacuum, Orlando Weeks tests his blood sugar, Faye Webster cries in a good way and more in another surprisingly plump Roundup. Based on the vast number of submissions this week, I’m starting to get the sense that a) there are too many musicians with too much time on their hands out there, and b) tomorrow’s entry might end up being the longest Roundup yet. Come back to find out whether I make it out alive.


VIDEO OF THE DAY

1 | Rich Aucoin | How It Breaks

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Celebrated artist Rich Aucoin shares the video for new single How It Breaks. Written in Arizona while Aucoin was cycling across the United States on a tour for mental health charities, How It Breaks is a call to action and references several classic songs of protest. “After listening to David Bowie’s Young Americans, I got into the idea about referencing a song which is also referencing a song as that song’s bridge references The BeatlesA Day In The Life,” says Aucoin. The song references Aretha Franklin, Rage Against The Machine, Funkadelic, Rolling Stones and the production of Rihanna. “I thought this would be a great track to re-purpose the beat from Umbrella as I weaved other ideas of the familiar. I was thinking about the connection between the past and present on this song. I thought the referential spirit would be an interesting thing to play off while attempting to write a protest song in the lineage of protest songs.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

2 | Hala | Somehow

THE PRESS RELEASE:Hala — project of Detroit-based musician Ian Ruhala — shares the new single/video Somehow. The track is from his forthcoming album, Red Herring, out May 1. Somehow is a guitar-forward indie rocker with a scorching solo. It details Ruhala’s West Side Story-ish desperation to love someone, despite having hardly a dime to his name. Its accompanying video, directed by coool (Jake Nokovic + John TerEick), was shot at Timber Lanes in Chicago and features Ruhala and friends. “Somehow was the first song written for this record. It was written in its most primitive state in my dorm room, during my college days in mid-Michigan,” says Ruhala. “Somehow took shape out of some of the financial troubles I was having as a young person transitioning into adulthood. In my naive mind, I thought that nobody was going to want to be in a relationship with me if I was broke. By this point I had already made my decision to drop out of school, so I was feeling quite pessimistic about my love life and my future.”


3 | The Whirlings | Vacuum

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Italy’s progressive post-rockers The Whirlings unveil the mystical new video Vacuum off their recent album Earthshine. Exception that proves the rules, Vaccum features vocalist Vera Claps. The ’90s-infused alt rock side of the usually instrumental combo is beautifully highlighted by a natural scenography and bewitching characters. The video was realised by Diego La Chioma, with Luisa Vivio, production Hey Doc Video. “The waiting is finally over. Here’s to you the third chapter of our psychedelic trip. Earthshine is an unpredictable and fluid magma. We invite you to join us, out of your comfort zone. Let yourself flow toward unknown horizons.”


4 | Orlando Weeks | Blood Sugar

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Former Maccabees front man Orlando Weeks has shared new track Blood Sugar from his forthcoming debut solo album A Quickening that will be released on June 12. As the birth of Weeks’ son drew near, he wanted to try to make sense of an experience that is both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. The result is A Quickening, an album that tells the story from the point of view of a prospective father-to-be, a figure both vital to the story and yet also somewhat removed, in awe of what the mother goes through and often helpless to do anything about it. “I was trying to find a course through something that happens all the time, but still feels exceptional,” Weeks says. “A baby is born every minute, and yet the experience of becoming a parent — and the way it promises to change your life — is unprecedented.”


5 | Faye Webster | In a Good Way

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Atlanta-based musician Faye Webster shares a new standalone single/video, In a Good Way. The track follows 2019’s acclaimed Atlanta Millionaires Club, which appeared on many year-end lists. In a Good Way leans into a universe of willowy R&B. Guitar flourishes and the swell of a string quartet float above a sparse rhythm section, evolving into a deep-grooving jam. Its video was directed by Faye and Hunter Airheart, who she previously collaborated with for the Kingston and Room Temperature videos. Faye’s effortless songwriting and near-whisper delivery highlight the extraordinary detail and beauty in her arrangements. After writing at her home, she and her band head to her favorite Athens studio and lay down the track live, recording with minimal overdubs. For Faye, it’s imperative to capture the song in a studio while still fresh; an exercise in preserving a vibe. This is why Faye’s recordings have an ephemeral quality, a fleeting moment captured in the studio.”


6 | Naeem | Simulation

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Baltimore-born/Los Angeles-based artist Naeem (full name Naeem Juwan) announces his debut album, Startisha, out June 1, alongside lead single, Simulation (Feat. Swamp Dogg & Justin Vernon). Startisha introduces Naeem as a restlessly creative artist. Impressionistic and genre-bending, Startisha exemplifies artistic, daring and emotional intelligence while exploring new ideas and sounds, and philosophically excavating the artist’s histories. Lead single Simulation offers a kind of treatise of creative resistance on art and culture. “I had been reading a few books, such as Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art, and they helped me solidify feelings I’ve had all of my life about surviving a society of institutions that presents fictions as fact, and often use these fictions to diminish my worth, or to convince me to join their gangs,” says Juwan. “I wrote this song to remind myself, and hopefully everyone that hears it, that nothing is real, and our greatest defense in this life is our own creativity, and finding great faith in whatever sigils and icons we choose to guide us.”


7 | Sorry | Perfect

THE PRESS RELEASE: “North London’s Sorry have shared their new video for Perfect, taken from their critically acclaimed debut record 925, out now. The Perfect video was directed and produced by the band’s Asha Lorenz and Flo Webb — aka flasha.prod. — whilst in isolation. Together with co-producer James Dring (Gorillaz, Jamie T, Nilüfer Yanya), best friends and Sorry co-conspirators Asha Lorenz and Louis O’Bryen have woven 925 like a dreamscape in which idyllic and hellish scenes intermingle, forcing the question of what is real and what is make believe. Inspired by everything from Hermann Hesse to Aphex Twin, their precocious approach — an open-mindedness towards genre, self-producing the music, and directing accompanying videos — marks them out as a thoroughly 21st century band.”


8 | Stacc Styles | Raw is War

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Tucson rapper Stacc Styles has released his new video for Raw Is War. The cinematic video is based in the year 2036, as Stacc Styles tries to survive in a post-apocalyptic setting and trying to escape from an unknown threat. The track is the lead single from his upcoming new album entitled Mr. Purple, which will be released later this year. Driven, passionate, and focused, 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 hurls himself into his music to create 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.”


9 | The Dirty Clergy | Homesick

THE PRESS RELEASE: “With 2020 marking a decade into their musical careers The Dirty Clergy vacillates between shoegaze-esque ruminations on love and struggle and more straightforward garage numbers that surge into ecstatic cacophony all accented by eerily laconic vocals, The Alabama-based trio (featuring vocalist/guitarist Brian Manasco, bassist Ky Carter and drummer Cody Moorehead) are looking to expand their already respectable discography with their upcoming full-length, the aptly titled In Waves. The synth-heavy and dreamlike Homesick focuses on the prevalence of school violence in today’s society. “The shooting at Parkland High School is one that I really focused on for that song,” Manasco said. “I was just trying to put myself in their shoes. We recorded it a few months after it occurred.”


10 | Fleshgod Apocalypse | Lacrimosa

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Italian orchestral-death metal giants Fleshgod Apocalypse reveal a very special gem for their fans today: The band recorded a stunning video with their interpretation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Lacrimosa, taken from his masterpiece Requiem In D Minor. The band states, “Even if the whole world is in lockdown, we still feel the need to stay connected with our fans all around the world. That’s why from now on we’ll be constantly releasing new playthrough videos, for all instruments. The first one is an excerpt from the magnificent Requiem In D Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by Veronica Bordacchini and Francesco Ferrini.”


11 | Harry Stafford | Black Rain

THE PRESS RELEASE:Harry Stafford is best known as founder, guitarist and vocalist of post-punk gothic rockers Inca Babies. His band Guitar Shaped Hammers includes drummer Rob Haynes, trumpeter Kevin Davy, guitarist Nick Brown and Vincent O’Brien on Weisseborn slide guitar. The new album Gothic Urban Blues reflects a multitude of ideas around a driving yet lilting punk-piano blues. The idea was for Stafford to leave his noisy electric guitar behind — abandoning everything he held and cherished — to make some new music with a piano and a head full of ideas. “It was important to reassemble these musicians again as there was a lot of ground we hadn’t covered. I had about fourteen songs and selected ten to be on the record. They were songs I had been playing around the bars of Manchester in order to hone into a neat arrangement.”


12 | Joshua Van Tassel | Their Love Was Alive Before They Were Dead

THE PRESS RELEASE: “There’s a lot of really ugly shit happening in the world,” says Joshua Van Tassel, “and I wanted to make a really beautiful album.” Like the instrument that inspired it, the Ondes Martenot, Van Tassel’s Dance Music: Volume 2 is elegant and expressive, the score to a movie inside your head. Their Love Was Alive Before They Were Dead is the first single from Van Tassel’s forthcoming sixth album. It is the score to a love that crosses multiple reality and life time boundaries, and continues on in its individualistic beauty and strangeness. Every day we are exposed to scenes of despair, ugliness, and struggle. Our minds and hearts need some form of replenishment, and what better way to get then to look into the eyes of someone we love. Who is the last person you looked at, without speaking, without glancing at a phone, for more than a few seconds? Beautiful things are sometimes simple and directly in front of you.”


13 | Austra | Mountain Baby

THE PRESS RELEASE: “As the release of Austra’s fourth album Hirudin (out May 1) moves closer, Austra (aka Katie Austra Stelmanis) shares new song Mountain Baby feat. Cecile Believe. Oddball pop masterpiece Mountain Baby is the third song to be shared from Austra’s new LP, following Risk It and Anywayz. Alongside Cecile Believe (LA/Montreal artist and the “voice” and co-writer on Sophie’s Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides), Mountain Baby also features a kid’s choir of students from Wilkinson Public School in Toronto where Katie’s mother is a teacher. The dichotomy of the choir and Cecile’s vocals reflect the song’s intentions. Katie explains further: “Mountain Baby explores the different stages of a breakup. Surrounded by a feeling of unknown and grounded only by a hidden sense to move forward (the choir), we’re also reminded through flashbacks of both the uncertainty and resistance we experienced in the relationship (katie), as well as the pure, unbridled joy (cecile).”


14 | Courtney Marie Andrews | Burlap String

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Acclaimed singer, songwriter and musician Courtney Marie Andrews’ new song Burlap String is debuting today. Burlap String is the latest song unveiled from Andrews’ highly anticipated new album, Old Flowers, which will be released June 5. Created in the aftermath of a long-term relationship, Old Flowers features Andrews’ most vulnerable writing to date on ten new songs that chronicle her journey through heartbreak, loneliness and finding herself again after it all. “Old Flowers is about heartbreak. There are a million records and songs about that, but I did not lie when writing these songs. This album is about loving and caring for the person you know you can’t be with. It’s about being afraid to be vulnerable after you’ve been hurt. It’s about a woman who is alone, but okay with that, if it means truth. This was my truth this year — my nine-year relationship ended and I’m a woman alone in the world, but happy to know herself.”


15 | Forever | Devotion

THE PRESS RELEASE:Forever — the recording project of June Moon — shares the video for Devotion from her new EP, Close to the Flame. Devotion is dark and sultry, opening with simplistic keys before livening with jockeying percussion. Directed by Matt Power, the video is aesthetically driven, featuring Moon dancing while surrounded by glowing lights. “Matt and I talked about our love for improvisation, and movement,” says Moon. “I wanted to explore filming my body language without using traditional music video structures. We really trusted each other, and we made something supremely intimate together.”


16 | Gentihaa | Into The Unknown

THE PRESS RELEASE: “A new unreleased track has just been released by Gentihaa entitled Into The Unknown, which they present it through an official live video! The video was shot last November in Athens, under the production of Headbangers and TheVault9, where our Athenian band had presented their entire debut album entitled Reverse Entropy. In the last months of 2019 Gentihaa made a dynamic debut at the live stages, performing as a special guest in Athens and Thessaloniki for Dimmu Borgir. It was followed by the live performance at Temple of Athens where they performed their entire debut album Reverse Entropy on stage as headliners.”


17 | The Aquabats | Pajamazon

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Coronavirus outbreak quarantine got you down? Finding yourself a little stir crazy from being at home? Put your pajamaz-on and turn on Amazon! You’ll never have to go outside again! Check out this new release from The Aquabats! It’s the second single from our upcoming album, Kooky Spooky… in Stereo! available for streaming and download on June 20. Times are strange, but we can get through this pandemic together with a little positivity!”


18 | Lindy Vopnfjörd | State of the Heart

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Folk singer-songwriter Lindy Vopnfjörd has announced his eighth studio full-length album State of the Heart, due out May 22, and released its title-track single. State of the Heart reflects not only Lindy’s personal evolution toward a new love and revolution to being a more dedicated songwriter, but also his fledgling partnership with producer Danny Michel, who breathes new life into Lindy’s style by imbuing his signature folk sound with a modern feel. The opening moments on the single State of the Heart carry the audience in this new direction, as he sings: “This was meant to be a protest song, but the politics were wrong / Not a time to be sublime / let’s leave the politics behind.”


19 | -(16)- | Candy In Spanish

THE PRESS RELEASE:-(16)- return with their new album Dream Squasher on June 5. Dream Squasher is a testament to the power of loss, its every moment casting the San Diego outfit into deeper, darker depths. The tragic, violent intent in this expression won’t be lost on listeners either; at any given moment of Dream Squasher, -(16)-’s bouldering guitars crash into each another, set atop equally pulverizing bass and drums. Thunderous riffs express equal parts melancholy and fury. For the first time in the band’s 29-year career, Dream Squasher sees Bobby Ferry stepping forward and taking the helm on lead vocals, rounding out the band with both monumental moments of singing and pained screams of pure vitriol. Guitarist/lead vocalist Ferry comments: “A conscious effort was made to inject positivity into the lyrical themes. The best we could come up with is loving your dog so much, you’d end up killing yourself if the dog dies.”


20 | Nation Of Language | Friend Machine

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Brooklyn-based synth-pop trio Nation of Language have released Friend Machine, the latest single from their upcoming debut album Introduction, Presence, which is due out May 22. “Friend Machine is about my own unhealthy relationship with technology,” said songwriter-vocalist Ian Devaney. “Like many people, I just spend too much time with it. There’s a struggle that forms as I attempt to balance my social media content to keep me both informed about the world and inspired to create. Connectivity often feels like it keeps me chained or absent, but simultaneously it can also drive me to go make new things. Perhaps it’s just an excuse I make for myself, but in my head there really is a push/pull that exists, and so I’m left trying to find a way to develop some kind of reasonable symmetry within the tension of my tech habits.”


21 | Datura4 | Rule My World

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Hot on the heels of their critically acclaimed third album Blessed is the Boogie, Australian rockers Datura4 have hit the motorway running for another sonic journey through burning boogie, dirty blues and rock & roll soundscapes on their follow-up opus West Coast Highway Cosmic. The title was inspired by the highways that the band has traveled to get to the recording studios they’ve been using over the four albums they’ve done so far. The two studios are 200 kilometres [124 miles] apart and situated along the southwest coast of Western Australia. The long and sometimes lonely drives back and forth along these routes have definitely played its part in the band’s creative process, and whether it be new ideas or just listening back to what they’ve done in a previous session the West Coast Highway Cosmic, as they like to call it, has been a constant spirit over all of Datura4’s studio recordings.”


22 | The Janitors | Through The Storm Into Chaos

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Janitors were supposed to head into the studio to record the follow-up to 2017´s Horn ur Marken in the end of March. But a global pandemic happened so everything got cancelled. But being locked in has gotten our creative nerve buzzing and we have found a new way to work. The album will still be recorded this summer but until then we will try to release a new song every second week. The rules are simple, one riff, one night of recording and a couple of days of mixing and mastering. Basically all ideas get a chance. Now we present Through The Storm Into Chaos. A menacing churning darkness that blasts out into the dreamfuzzspace stratosphere.”


23 | Maya Killtron | The Middle

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Multi-facetted artist Maya Killtron has returned with a new EP, Fired Up, her follow up to 2019’s Never Dance Alone. The Toronto based singer now finds herself at home in the modern boogie and funk genres with the new EP full of lush strings, horns and big vocals. Recorded at Palace Sound in Toronto, Fired Up is a result of a partnership between Maya and producer Gil Masuda. The EP features a long list of live musicians with arrangements all done by Killtron. The music is every bit as joyful as Never Dance Alone but rings out with more confidence and maturity.”


24 | Alluvial Fans | Cult Of Paradise

THE PRESS RELEASE:Alluvial Fans is an indie-rock band based out of Detroit. It is the brainchild of Drew Bartosik (guitar, vocals), but the band’s second album, Earth to Astronaut, can be viewed as a debut album for the band as a unit. Cult of Paradise is the first single off Earth to Astronaut. The song captures the indie, pop and rock elements of the band inside the frame of an atypical song structure, a compositional theme found throughout the album. The original idea for the song goes back a couple years, but the composition was finalized when the band started rehearsing it together.”


25 | Scott Goodwin | Dirty

THE PRESS RELEASE:Scott Goodwin is a multidisciplinary artist and producer born and raised in Toronto. Having developed a reputation as a blues rock mainstay, Goodwin plans to supersede his reputation and introduce fans to another side of himself — the experimental, late-night-tinkering producer. Fans of his live show may not recognize the artist they’re hearing — which is exactly how Goodwin likes it. The lack of confines in his music-making process allows for a new fusion of his influences to take shape with every song. Spanning a wide array of genres, influences include the blues-rock of Bahamas to the DIY R&B and Hip-Hop of Anderson .Paak. The result is a brooding, lovelorn collection of songs that put up a magnifying glass to the mind of the young upstart. He is equally deft at capturing both the hopefulness of new love, and the whiskey glass-on-the-dash abandon of love lost.”


26 | Cappa | Change My Mind (ft. Yuppycult)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Electro-pop darling Cappa is serving up her new single, Change My Mind (ft. Yuppycult), a collaborative effort with the new electronic project of Timeflies member Rob ‘Rez’ Resnick. Change My Mind is the first glimpse of Cappa’s upcoming EP, set for release later this year. Driven by a bouncing beat, a pulsating guitar riff, and Cappa’s signature breathy vocals, Change My Mind is an instantly hypnotizing listen. As is always the case with Cappa’s songwriting, the song is also deeply relatable on a lyrical level. She pokes fun at the back-and-forth power struggle that arises at the start of new relationships. “Sometimes it feels like someone in the relationship is always trying to have the upper hand and I’ve definitely been guilty of being a passive-aggressive dater in the past,” she writes. “This song is a light-hearted look at the “on and off” that can be a part of a new relationship.”


27 | Bedouine | The Hum

THE PRESS RELEASE: “When Margo Guryan wrote The Hum about President Nixon’s tape machine during the Watergate scandal, she may not have realized it would be just as pertinent in 2020 as it was in 1972. “It’s poignant how much of it feels topical,” Bedouine’s Azniv Korkejian says, “like it could have been written today.” Bedouine’s new version of the song honors the original while placing it squarely in today’s zeitgeist, featuring an incompetent administration, a crumbling economy, and an environmental crisis. “I’ve been a fan of Margo Guryan for a while, but it was only recently that I truly absorbed the lyrics to The Hum,” says Korkejian. “Margo’s nonchalant cutting wit is something to admire.” Case in point, the too-true gem that is verse four: “The rich save money and the poor save gas / Vote for an elephant and get an ass / He hires and he fires, he appoints and sacks / But he can’t figure out his income tax.”