Indie Roundup | 28 Tracks To Make the Most of Your Midweek

Fast Friends, I Like Trains, Drew Davies, Saint Nickel and more bring the goodness.

Fast Friends reach the breaking point, I Like Trains tell the truth, Drew Davies plays by the letter, Saint Nickel share their doubts, Melody is a teacher’s pet and more in today’s Roundup. Now that Elon Musk and Grimes have raised the ridiculous baby name bar, it’s surely only a matter of time until some other attention-addicted celebutard calls their kid #, * or @ (although the last one is strictly for girls, obviously).

1 | Fast Friends | We Broke The World

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Los Angeles-based trio Fast Friends unveil their bold and timely new single titled We Broke The World. The band wrote the spirited tune in mid-2018, attesting that they have “been on this whole ‘everything is crumbling, probably best to hole up’ vibe for a long ass time.” FF’s debut EP HI T LO IQ will be released on July 10. Says FF, “We’ve all been making a mess for so goddamn long that we don’t even see the actual mess we’re making anymore. There’s got to be a breaking point, right? A peak oil moment. A Sting jumping around in tights moment. A Chris Paul and Blake Griffin’s whining is just getting to be too much moment.”

2 | I Like Trains | The Truth

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Leeds trailblazers I Like Trains present The Truth, an eye-opening lead track that forebodes their potent, hard-hitting new album Kompromat, written as an instinctive gut reaction to a world that has changed beyond all recognition. This is a record that digs beneath populism’s rise, from the divide and conquer tactics that caused Brexit in the UK, to Trump’s ascent in America and the subsequent reign of lies and misinformation, to discover the grubby hands that have engineered it all. “I’d been writing this list on my phone for a couple of months, adding a couple of lines to it every so often. I’d read a news article or a tweet and I’d make reference to it. I decided to dig out this list in the last couple of days in the studio [for this track]. It’s pretty much the order I wrote it in – it came together on the fifth take and it was a pretty cathartic process,” says the group’s vocalist and lyricist David Martin.”

3 | Drew Davies | X and Y

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Rock soloist hailing from London, Drew Davies has created the music video for his latest single, X and Y. The single is lifted from his upcoming self-titled album, which will be released on May 15. Pulling from a wide array of influences, Drew Davies is inspired by everything from ’50s rock ’n’ roll to electronica, citing acts such as The National, Scott Walker, Vangelis and Tom Petty. From this palette of familiar reference points, he has created a genre-bending and timeless sound that bears semblance to the likes of Sam Fender, Future Islands, David Bowie and The War On Drugs. Speaking of the strange circumstances surrounding the video, Davies tells us, “The video for X and Y acts as a waypoint in time, given that the lockdown was announced hours after we finished shooting. There was a strange atmosphere in the air and London was pretty much like a ghost town; I think because of this and the work of (director) Henry Croston, the video acts as a time capsule for what’s been a very unusual period in our lives.”

4 | Satin Nickel | Shadow of Doubt

THE PRESS RELEASE: “This is the title track of our new album, which was released on April 10. Before lockdown, we had the great pleasure of making this music video with Nick Snow, who took this song to a whole new level, just like he did with Just Keep Running last summer. Thank you all so, so much for your love and support for our new album! We look forward to playing these songs live for you in person again, but until then, we hope this music video about finding your own truth gives you a little boost in these strange times.”

5 | Melody | Teacher’s Pet

THE PRESS RELEASE:Melody Caudill is a 16 year old singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, California. Coming from a musical family, and learning how to play piano at the ripe age of four, she’s been immersed in the creative world of songwriting since before she was in kindergarten. After picking up the ukulele at 13, learning guitar became the natural next step. With inspirations from artists like Priscilla Ahn, Phoebe Bridgers, and Elliott Smith, Caudill writes with a certain sense of vulnerability and confidence. “Like the album title, the song Teacher’s Pet is about feeling trapped in a certain identity and feeling unsure of how to break out of your shell,” Melody says of the first single, adding “It’s about self confidence and finding friends that make you feel like yourself; people who lift you up no matter what your identity is.”

6 | I Break Horses | Death Engine

THE PRESS RELEASE: “With their new album Warnings due for release this Friday, I Break Horses today share a live session recording of lead track Death Engine. The recording is accompanied by a beautifully-shot outdoor video. Death Engines’ dark-wave dream-pop provides an epic centerpiece of sorts, before the vocoder hymnal of closer Depression Tourist arrives like an epiphany, the clouds parting after a long, absorbing journey.”

7 | Buscabulla | Nydia

THE PRESS RELEASE:Buscabulla have released their new single Nydia, accompanied by an official music video which was self-directed and filmed entirely in their home on an iPhone 11. Nydia is inspired by Nydia Caro, a renowned 1970s Puerto Rican actress and singer who was born in New York but moved home to the island at the age of 19 and had tremendous success across Latin America. Caro makes a spiritual and prophetic appearance on the song. “The song was written during an uneasy time when I was struggling with feelings of self doubt and writer’s block after leaving New York and adjusting to being back in the Island,” Buscabulla’s Raquel Berrios explains. “One day we had a chance meeting with Nydia, whom I have always admired. We ended up visiting her a couple of times, each time having really amazing conversations about womanhood and beauty in the music biz, parenthood and living in Puerto Rico. She became a type of mentor that helped me shift my perspective on my new life and home.”

8 | Bazarian | Sight Lines

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto artist Bazarian has shared the video for his single Sight Lines, the title track of his upcoming debut EP due out June 12. Restricted by the COVID-19 quarantine, Bazarian used his limited resources to direct and edit the video, which features a cameo from co-vocalist Carmen Elle and help from cinematographer Adam Crosby (July Talk, Born Ruffians). Bazarian, aka Armen Bazarian, has spent the past decade working as a composer, scoring ads for Amazon and Volkswagen as well as multiple films. He’s also accomplished in the field of sound design, where he’s contributed to projects like Drake and Future’s recent Life Is Good music video.”

9 | McStine & Minnemann | Program

THE PRESS RELEASE:McStine & Minnemann is a new band consisting of Randy McStine (Lo-Fi Resistance) and Marco Minnemann (Aristocrats). Their self-titled debut, McStine & Minnemann, is a high-energy collection of 10 compact, yet expansive Rock songs that sit well next to the likes of XTC, Mr. Bungle, The Knack, Queen and Frank Zappa. The first single Program explores the impact of technology in the modern world, and the duo worked closely with videographer Christian Rios (who has also directed videos for Flying Colors and Sons of Apollo) to create an unique music video to represent the concept. Randy remembers: “I sent the song to Christian to gauge his interest in doing a music video for it, and he came back with a concept to have the whole thing feel as if our phones are communicating and directing us. The lyrics are somewhat abstract, but he picked up on a theme of tech addiction, which is something I think about often.”

10 | MOMO. | Till the End of Summer Time

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Arriving with the cold weather in MOMO.’s home country of Brazil, Till the End of Summer Time is a story of disillusioned love marked by the change of seasons. And though it doesn’t quite align with the season here in the States (or in Lisbon, where the artist now resides), the song is timely in that it speaks to the disillusionment and feeling of isolation we’ve all experienced in recent months and weeks. “Till the End of Summer Time is musically inspired by jazz standards from composers such as Gershwin and Irving Berlin, and from bossa nova composers like Tom Jobim,” MOMO. says. “The lyrics tell a disillusioned love story from the first encounter to the last goodbye.” The title harkens back to the 1945 pop song Till the End of Time, which was recorded by Perry Como, Doris Day, and many other artists of the time and eventually inspired a film of the same name.”

11 | Mars Red Sky | Crazy Hearth

THE PRESS RELEASE: “French heavy psych frontrunners Mars Red Sky present their liberating new video Crazy Hearth. The video was directed by the band’s emblematic video maker Seb Antoine. Crazy Hearth is not only a dive into the wild, it also delivers a strong message about our suffocating planet and how much we need to let go the superficial and plant the seed for brighter days. Mars Red Sky offer a breathe of fresh air in these troubled times, with a song that is both dense and ethereal. Frontman Julien Pras recalls the shooting: “In our previous videos, we were only performing live or making background appearances. This is the first time we are playing the main characters. Seb Antoine had this idea of filming us in the woods and on a lake, which wasn’t an easy task for us at first! Beyond the central ecological aspect of the video, some more personal references have tinged the story. Playback scenes were shot at the end of the day to get that warm light, wrapping up two intense, fun and emotional days. Some random walkers even applauded the performance!”

12 | Basement Torture Killings | Armchair Psycho

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Basement Torture Killings murder wagon began rattling along the highways and byways back in 2007, carving out a legend based on terrifying live shows, albums of sickening savagery and rumours of nefarious activities conducted in the shadows. Now they are ready to reveal their most musically accomplished and most unflinchingly brutal album to date. Out May 22, Lessons In Murder looks deep into your head, scraping at your cerebral cortex with its dirty, ragged nails. What draws you to the BTK dungeon, to their tableaus of terror? Are you fantasist or monster? Killer or prey?”

13 | Blitzen Trapper | Magical Thinking

THE PRESS RELEASE:Blitzen Trapper will release their 10th studio album Holy Smokes Future Jokes on Sept. 11. Today, they premiered the first single from the album, Magical Thinking. Led by existential questions about life and death, Holy Smokes Future Jokes finds frontman Eric Earley ruminating on the intermediate period between a person’s separate lives on earth, “and what it means to escape the cycle of birth and rebirth,” he explains. Holy Smokes Future Jokes takes the listener on a wild and dramatic journey through the Bardo, that transitional state between death and rebirth. With an inherent otherworldliness in the lyrics and imagery, the album’s 10 songs take inspiration from several works, notably George Saunders’ 2017 Lincoln in the Bardo, which led to Bardo Thodol, more commonly known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. “I became obsessed with it, “Earley notes. “All the ideas contained in that book were speaking to me in a lot of different ways. The main theme that kept drawing me in when I was writing was what I call ‘cosmic humility,’ he adds. “It’s the idea that humanity is not the center of the universe or even the center of our own universe here on earth. We’re not the most important thing.”

14 | Ensiferum | Rum, Women, Victory

THE PRESS RELEASE: “On July 10, Ensiferum will release their new album Thalassic. A lyric video for the first single, Rum, Women, Victory, can be viewed right now. Ensiferum are a true powerhouse when it comes to folk-inspired melodic death metal, something they hammer home more resolutely than ever with eighth full-length The title translating from ancient Greek as “of or relating to seas”, it’s a suitably huge and wide-ranging collection that incorporates orchestrations and traditional folk instrumentation alongside the roaring guitars, bass, and drums. “I think we managed to take another step ahead musically and we also utilized the best parts of our old sound,” states bassist/vocalist Sami Hinkka. “There are lots of Ensiferum’s trademarks: beautiful folkish melodies, ass-kicking riffs, a nice mix of different vocals and great singalong choruses.”

15 | The Midnight | Deep Blue

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Midnight announce Monsters, their new album to be released July 10. Monsters finds the duo of Tyler Lyle and Tim McEwan creating a sweeping sound that fuses Americana archetypes with an evocative electronic palette referencing synth-driven film scores, deep house, pop, and rock. Lead single Deep Blue is a thrilling synth-romance epic that climaxes with its narrator losing control amid a whiskey-fueled tryst and a cavernous saxophone solo. “Monsters is the story of being a teenager,” says the band. “Adolescence is messy, tragic, brutal, wistful, and beautiful. Monsters is all of that.”

16 | Satori Vs. Dr. Echo | Nowhere

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Anyone searching for a song to lift them up during these chaotic times need look no further than Nowhere by Satori vs. Dr. Echo. The newest single from the upcoming Dub Defender Sessions LP is an airy reggae track that basks you in all of its warmth. “Nowhere was written when I was waiting on an unreliable person for an answer regarding something that was important to me. It had me thinking about how many times I had possibly done that to other people and how I needed to be careful in those kind of situations in the future,” said Steven Jess Borth II.”

17 | Dan Drohan | Strength

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Like so many of us surviving in the gig economy, Dan Drohan has to be nimble, flexible and adaptable in his musical life. He moves between worlds with ease, lending his drum and percussion skills to such varied projects as psych rock outfit Olden Yolk, the heartfelt folk of Maggie RogersBlood Ballet (an album on which he also served as co-producer), and the most recent recordings by future pop project Dreamaway. So it should come as no surprise that Drohan’s new album is as slippery and hard to pin down as anything he has lent his name to over the past decade. You’re A Crusher / drocan! presents the best of his varied talents and serves as a kind of musical marker to represent the changes his life has gone through recently. He says first single Strength “is an experience more than anything else. Like most work of mine, it’s a combination of certain drum recordings and experiments with recording and other sounds, guitars, vocals, synths that were from all different time periods and combined… “

18 | Heaps | Hazy Shores

THE PRESS RELEASE:Heaps have announced their upcoming full-length debut LP titled What Is Heaps (out Aug. 7), and are sharing the first new single from the album, Hazy Shores. “This song is a grappling with uncertainty through the comfort of uncertainties past,” the band states. “How often have we been through different stages in our lives that feel so severe, so daunting, only to look back and realize that these hardships seem so trivial through the perspective of time? Hazy Shores was written to push ourselves through these periods when we can’t know what’s next, to urge us to move forward as long as we can see one step further.”

19 | Jehnny Beth | Heroine

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Songwriter, singer, and multi-disciplinary artist Jehnny Beth has released a new single titled Heroine, produced by acclaimed producer Flood, from her forthcoming album, To Love Is To Live, out June 12. Says Jehnny Beth, “When I think of this song, I think of Romy from the xx strangling my neck with her hands in the studio. She was trying to get me out of my shell lyrically, and there was so much resistance in me she lost her patience. The song was originally called Heroism, but I wasn’t happy because it was too generic. Flood was the first one to suggest to say Heroine instead of Heroism. Then I remember Johnny Hostile late at night in my hotel room in London saying ‘I don’t understand who you are singing about. Who is the heroine? You ARE the heroine. The next morning, I arrived early in the studio and recorded my vocals adding ‘to be’ to the chorus line: ‘all I want is TO BE a heroine’. Flood entered the studio at that moment and jumped in the air giving me the thumbs up through the window. I guess I’m telling this story because sometimes we look around for role models, and examples to follow, without realising that the answer can be hidden inside of us. I was afraid to be the heroine of the song, but it took all the people around me to get me there.”

20 | Unburnt | The Veil

THE PRESS RELEASE: “About two years after the official release of their EP Æthereal, French post-metallers Unburnt just shared a brand new single called The Veil. The song will featured on Procession, the band’s debut full-length album coming out on May 15.”

21 | Marin Patenaude | Gone Blind

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Folksinger Marin Patenaude’s second album Sight Unseen (out on 5/29) was produced at Afterlife Studios in Vancouver, mixed by Karl Bareham and mastered by Joao Carvalho. Patenaude took the reins on production, and enlisted the help of dedicated players she feels very connected to, musically and emotionally. They kept their hearts and the doors open for magical studio surprises, and the finished album reflects that open minded approach to sound. Gone Blind, the latest single to be lifted from Sight Unseen, takes inspiration from Patenaude’s diagnosis with pigment dispersion syndrome – an eye condition that causes glaucoma. On the oddly joyful Gone Blind, there is no place to hide. It’s honest and raw, chaotic and loud with a repetitive theme influenced by The Beatles I Want You (She’s So Heavy).”

22 | Becky Bowe | Getting Older

THE PRESS RELEASE: “UK singer-songwriter Becky Bowe has released her single Getting Older. Bowe takes a pragmatic approach to both the single and life: “Getting Older is about the point in your life where you are so focused on what you want to do but you lose focus in your social life. It’s a song describing that journey of growing up and how it feels really bizarre and that everything sometimes becomes an excuse but eventually you get the hang of it. You might lose touch with people on the way but then become close again. It’s about not allowing yourself to get worked up about it. It’s just the process of growing up.”

23 | Re.decay | Sun In The Morning

THE PRESS RELEASE: ” Noteworthy Hip Hop duo Re.decay have released their debut single, Sun In The Morning (feat. ADH, Mawcom X, Sedric Perry). The single is lifted from their upcoming EP Down Long Enough, which will be released to the public on June 19. Re.decay share some insight into the spirit of the single, “From the beginning, this song has been an expression of overcoming adversity. Mawcom X was almost unable to get us his verse because of power outages in Ghana but he made it happen. This is symbolic of the spirit of this song. The message is clear and true.”

24 | Clap! Clap! | Liquid Portraits

THE PRESS RELEASE:Clap! Clap!’s music is a unique blend of global dance and timeless sounds drawing from nature, traditional music, field recordings, and the electronic savvy of modern centres like Chicago and London. At its core are the inspiration of everyday life, what Cristiano Crisci calls “the search for new flavours,” and a unifying narrative approach. His third album Liquid Portraits feaures a new compositional approach that puts a stronger focus on field recording and sound design to achieve clarity without diminishing the energy and enthusiasm of the music. As the name hints at, the album is a collection of sonic paintings, an attempt at capturing furtive, subconscious memories through sound. Liquid Portraits is a major new step in Crisci’s evolution as an artist.”

25 | Tresque | Souke

THE PRESS RELEASE:Tresque continues his Ereignisse (Incidents) series May 29 with the 3-track Ereignisse (part.2) EP. The Geneva-based artist — who is also known for his experimental work as D’Incise, and as part of the conceptual trio La Tène — merges his interests in radicalism, reduction and repetition, envisaging a pure form of Techno. His core ingredients are sonic force, repetition & progression. Souke picks up a mood and transforms it into a fast-paced piece of Techno.”

26 | Zkeletonz | Don’t Be Lonely Now

THE PRESS RELEASE: “We’re the pioneers of #POSTPOP, a new music movement; 100% DIY music inspired by postpunk and disco. Enthusiastically embracing the 21st century (especially the synthesizers). Performing live and producing our own music with positivity and playfulness. We also create official remixes for artists like Jazz Mino, Femme and Youth Club. We seek an international existence as contemporary Renaissance men bathed in beautiful psychedelic street art.”

27 | Nick Black | I.R.L.

THE PRESS RELEASE:Nick Black is a fun, optimistic and authentic young artist from Memphis. Influenced by the feel-good music of Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars and the musicality of legacy acts such as Al Green and Sting, Black has created his music to sound modern and unique, yet familiar and nostalgic. Striving to bring his optimistic life-vision to his music, Black’s songwriting encompasses his beliefs in human nature and the Universe, creating true, honest, perceptive and passionate releases. Black’s new single I.R.L. is a sexy pop song disguising a poignant and timely message. Originally written as a love song when his wife wanted him to put down his phone and live in the moment, the track quickly took a turn during the current pandemic. Rather than being an ode to taking a social media break, I.R.L. is an infectious anthem declaring “I want to see you in real life.”

28 | Anthony Kalabretta | This Fire

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Deep house music producer Anthony Kalabretta has released his single This Fire on May 1. Speaking of his own production style, Kalabretta shares his thoughts: “I find myself moving backwards in time when it comes to production. I’m inspired by the simplicity and magic behind older analog synthesizers and letting them leave their nostalgic imprint on my music. I feel it’s an obvious element on my releases, including the latest one. Sometimes I’ll find inspiration in the way a sound makes me feel. The way it brings me back to a specific moment in time. I love experimenting with older analog synthesizers because they have a magical way of drawing that nostalgic feeling. This Fire is the result of that, mixed with a wave of memories that flood in when you find the right combination between oscillation and notation. I’ve always been inspired by unique encounters and this track reflects the feeling that ignites when you stumble across that unexplainable connection.”