Indie Roundup (Bizarro Edition) | 16 Songs To Keep Monday Weird

Altostratus, Dehd and Bend For Eleven help start your week on a strange note.

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Altostratus dip into lunacy, Dehd tear a strip off reality, Bend For Eleven go amok with a duck, Jonny Polonsky looks for signs, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down stay pure and more in today’s Roundup. Warning: The first three videos below include some of the craziest shit you’ll see today.


VIDEOS OF THE DAY

1 | Altostratus | Persea Americana

THE PRESS RELEASE:Persea Americana (titled after the Latin name for avocado) is the latest release from UK instrumental proggers Altostratus. The seven-minute prog-metal masterpiece explores the emotional rollercoaster of an “avocado man” coming to terms with his inevitable death. Speaking about video, bassist Andrew Smith says: “Persea Americana and the preceding short film, Holy Guacamole (The Consummation) tell the story of the conception, birth, life and death of the aptly named, Avocado Man. The original story for the video was originally intended as a framework to match the dynamics of the track but as we started creating the video and the ideas started flowing, themes of death and acceptance started weaving their way into it. The short film shows the power of will and love, and what lengths we’ll go to for the people we love. The music video, on the other hand, is about the inevitability of death, and the anxiety that comes with realizing your own mortality. Avocado Man was never meant to be, and once he and the people he loves come to terms with this, only then can they find peace. Ultimately though, it’s about an avocado that works in the fast food industry and the spooky spells that were conjured to bring him to life.”


2 | Dehd | Loner

THE PRESS RELEASE:Dehd, the Chicago-based trio of Emily Kempf (vocals/bass), Jason Balla (vocals/guitar), and Eric McGrady (drums), announce their sophomore album, Flower of Devotion, on July 17, and today present its lead single/video, Loner. The follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2019 debut, Water, Flower of Devotion is a major step forward — and a major statement, period — for Dehd. While they were writing the album, Kempf says, “we both went through hell, literally, and the world seems to be going through hell, too.” Balla experienced profound loss and all that comes with it: For him, the album is about “all the fixes you try to put on your problems,” he says, “struggling with bad impulses.” Kempf, for her part, cultivated the sense of self-sufficiency she craved, which forced her to confront her own need for attachment. “I’m obsessed with being with people, or I’ll have my identity attached to a partnership, whether it’s romantic or in the band,” she says. “How can I be utterly alone and chill?”


3 | Bend For Eleven | My Inner Sight

THE PRESS RELEASE:Bend For Eleven formed in 2014 in Thessaloniki, Greece. In 2016 they released the album Aggressive Illusions, and in March, the band released the album Rebel Day. The recordings of the album took place at Quantum Studio in Thessaloniki under the direction and mix of John Vee, while mastering was edited by Yiannis Mavridis at Cue Studio. The album included the song My Inner Sight, whose official video feaures an edited version of the short film durckness.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

4 | Jonny Polonsky | Sign In The Window

THE PRESS RELEASE: “NYC-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jonny Polonsky presents Sign in The Window, an upbeat and sanguine offering from his new Kingdom of Sleep LP with video directed by photography legend Paul Elledge and edited by Neal Ostrovsky. “The song itself was originally written several years ago when I was living in LA. It’s a nocturnal number, a small, moody epic in the vein of Arcade Fire or the Pixies. It reminds me of what it felt like to be going down Mulholland Drive late at night in the summer with the windows rolled down, smelling the jasmine,” says Polonsky. “Some songs take a lot of coaxing and utilization of craft, even some (gasp!) planning or forethought. For this one though, I was playing guitar in bed one night and it just appeared. The song is a kind of yearning for transcendence, that feeling of knowing you’re on the threshold of new beginnings or a new way of being. It’s a thrilling and terrifying place to be. The world you were familiar with is no longer and the new one has yet to appear. You’re floating in space, feeling rootless and vulnerable, but you know deep in your core that everything will be OK if you can just relax and surrender to what’s happening.”


5 | Thao & The Get Down Stay Down | Pure Cinema

THE PRESS RELEASE:Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, the Oakland-based band fronted by singer and songwriter Thao Nguyen, debut the new video for Pure Cinema today, taken from their upcoming album Temple due this coming Friday, May 15. Directed by Justin Mitchell (Death Cab For Cutie, The Postal Service, Phoebe Bridgers, Jenny Lewis), the video finds frontwoman Nguyen and her bandmates performing in their respective homes during California’s Stay At Home order. “Pure Cinema is about taking stock of how adrift I’ve been, in every sense of the word. It’s very easy to feel lost and alone even as you are surrounded by people. I’ve had a very compromised relationship to touring over the years. if you’re not right with yourself it is only going to be exaggerated as you cast yourself out into the world. I’ve floated above my life for a long time; I’ve landed now. It makes me so happy to see my bandmates settled and happy in their own homes and lives, as I am in mine. Pure Cinema is a cautionary tale and also an encouragement to keep faith and keep building home and family.”


6 | No Joy | Birthmark

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Montreal’s No Joy announced details of their first full length album in five years. Motherhood, which will be released on Aug. 21. No Joy also shared the video for their lead single Birthmark. Combining the ‘90s dance rock of Republica with phasing fuzz à la Deftones’ brand of loud-quiet-loud, Birthmark is available now on all music services. Speaking on the track No Joy’s frontperson and principal songwriter Jasamine White-Gluz says, “I wrote the song loosely based around my time visiting an elderly loved one in a senior’s residence years ago. There’s currently a devastating crisis happening in these homes across Canada and it makes me feel incredibly helpless not being able to do anything. It’s important to check in/write letters to seniors who might be in isolation right now.” The video for Birthmark was filmed while White-Gluz was in quarantine. “I filmed myself at home and asked my very talented friend Jordan to help build a world around the footage,” explains White-Gulz. “Diavion had been dancing to No Joy on his Instagram and I was a huge fan so reached out and asked him to choreograph a routine for this song.”


7 | Peter Katz | Like We Used To Be

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto’s Peter Katz announces the release of his forthcoming album, his first full-length in more than four years, City of our Lives, on Sept. 18. Katz also shares the album’s single Like We Used To Be, which was co-written with Grammy-Award winning producer/songwriter Rich Jacques. “Like We Used To Be is about hitting that definitive end moment in a relationship;” shares Katz. “Somehow that person still holds this ability to make your heart pound and your palms sweat, but you reach a point where you’re able to feel the nostalgia of it all, without feeling like you need to go back. You can see a way to finally begin to move on.”


8 | Nation Of Language | The Wall & I

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The Brooklyn-based synth-pop trio Nation of Language have shared a video for their latest single The Wall & I, stating: “Fuck it… even if we could make the video we want to make right now, this is probably the video we should be making.” Nation of Language will release their debut album, Introduction, Presence, on May 22.”


9 | Smoove & Turrell | It Ain’t Working

THE PRESS RELEASE:Smoove & Turrell have been scene leaders both in the UK and internationally for well over a decade, and their distinctive brand of gritty northern soul and analogue electronica has set them aside in their own lane for five albums now. Consistently prolific as recording and touring artists, new track It Ain’t Working is the latest in line from an exciting string of releases that builds towards their show-stopping Stratos Bleu album. It’s a piece that combines Chicago house rhythms, warm analog basslines, and John Turrell’s introspective and thoughtful lyrical content. His soulful vocal lines glide over Smoove’s accomplished, floor-filling production making the perfect pairing, and the drum heavy nature of this track acts as the perfect sonic throwback to their halcyon days of youth. It’s a sound that takes a rose tinted glance backwards to the glory days of ’90s clubbing but put in a modern context with impactful lyrical content in a way that only Smoove & Turrell could do…”


10 | As I Lay Dying | Torn Between

THE PRESS RELEASE: “San Diego quintet As I Lay Dying unleashed their seventh full-length album Shaped By Fire on to the world. Today, the band released the music video for the single, Torn Between. Shaped By Fire was produced by As I Lay Dying and was mixed by Joseph McQueen at Sparrow Sound in Los Angeles, CA while mastering was completed by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound in Nashville, TN.”


11 | Foetal Juice | Metamorphosis

THE PRESS RELEASE:Foetal Juice are proud to announce their latest lyric video, which accompanies the second single from their forthcoming album, Gluttony. Metamorphosis is a fiercely focussed assault that captures the astounding levels of power and speed that Foetal Juice have harnessed on their new album. As the band have said Gluttony is “a lot faster, heavier and much more aggressive, both musically and lyrically, than anything we have previously written” and nowhere is that more apparent than in the wake of the savage riffs of Metamorphosis. For fifteen years Foetal Juice have been carving their path through the underground, armed with black humour and sonic intensity, a death metal machine grinding the opposition into the mud, blood and bile — and they show no signs of stopping yet!”


12 | Skeleton | Catacombs

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Ripping forth like a dagger from the flesh of Austin, Texas comes the self-titled debut LP from the Lone Star State’s new wreckers of civilization, Skeleton. Though some might be prone to lazily apply simplistic genre tags to Skeleton’s style, the reality is far more sweeping as the debut LP immediately reveals an excessively sharp metallic-charged juggernaut of severe force and high plains mayhem. War-like hymns for the soldiers of a scorched apocalypse to come, from which a bleak alternate future will emerge. Probably the most savage and intelligent dark punk/metal hybrid in years, the 11 tracks comprising Skeleton signal the black dawn of a new breed, and when the final somber strains of Catacombs close out the album, an eerie sense of the end as the beginning lingers like a morbid premonition.”


13 | TALsounds | Else

THE PRESS RELEASE:TALsounds, the solo project of Chicago-based Lebanese-American electronic artist Natalie Chami, has shared a new track titled Else from her upcoming full-length Acquiesce releasing May 22. “When I recorded Else,” Chami explains, “I was attempting to slow down my thinking, my reaction time, the layering, the melodic lines. I wanted to drone out without worrying about keeping some sort of momentum or worrying about the next part that needed to happen. I often feel that maybe I am moving away from drone music, but I love to lock into stillness of long tones. I can’t remember exactly why I sang the lyrics I did, but it might have been because I actually did lock in to that stillness. I sang ‘there’s so much more than I can even say’ because I wasn’t trying to cater the moment to lyrics. I didn’t want to get stuck on words just because I wanted to use my voice. This is also why I let myself sing a more operatic line at the end, as well. We mixed it far back in the distance, but I also naturally pulled my mic away. I was physically creating that separation. Creating space for the stillness.”


14 | Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards | From the Ashes

THE PRESS RELEASE:Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards are premiering their song From the Ashes, from their July 17 album Bitter Better. The album finds the group drawing on their extensive string music background and knowledge of folk and roots music, incorporating dance-worthy foundational grooves, synth, and loops to push the boundaries of the genre. Inspired by the resilience of friends in California who lost their homes following the 2018 wildfires, San Francisco native Laura Cortese wrote this autobiographical song. “From the Ashes came from me thinking about all the ways things are torn down and rebuilt, including ourselves, in a lifetime.”


15 | Mike Ruby | Unapologetic

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Born in Toronto, Mike Ruby moved to NYC at 18 to pursue a career as a jazz musician, then signed to a subsidiary of Universal Music. After a breakup in college, he picked up a guitar and fell in love with writing songs. Mike began playing with synth-pop band St Lucia and while opening for Ellie Goulding realized he wanted to be a pop frontman. His first release in the summer of 2019 broke top 40 radio in Canada, and his original music now has over one million streams. Mike’s newest single Unapologeti, is an upbeat, pulsing electro-pop track featuring layered saxophone in the chorus.”


16 | Seer Believer | So Much Like Perfect

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nick Manske also known as alternative rock band Seer Believer, will release his debut album Bent on May 29. “It’s just me laying it all out on the table,” vows Manske. In addition, his mesmerizing new single So Much Like Perfect is now available. “Bent can be a lot of things,” explains Manske. “To be upset ‘bent out of shape’ or to ‘bend the truth’ but to me it’s kind of like how you feel after a bender.” From the smooth and jangly guitars to the soothing and velvety vocals to the buttery bass tone to the well-rounded and cohesive drumming — Bent contains the elements that make timeless, essential, and memorable alt-rock gems.”