Indie Roundup | 22 Tunes To Make Tuesday Too Good To Be True

The Beths, The Grahams, The Rentals & the best of the rest of the day's treats.

The Beths do not share your excitement, The Grahams are just like you, The Rentals impart some information, Chicano Batman start with a blank slate, Rebel Priest sleep like the dead and more in today’s Roundup. Dear summer festivals: You can officially stop putting out press releases informing us of your cancellation. We’re not completely stupid, you know.

1 | The Beths | I’m Not Getting Excited

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Beths share a fervent new single/video, I’m Not Getting Excited, from their second album Jump Rope Gazers, out July 10. I’m Not Getting Excited is an urgent track about imposter syndrome. The track opens with driving guitar and a jockeying melody before bursting with a crashing rhythm section. “People always ask ‘are you excited!?’ and it’s a fair question, because exciting things do happen to us sometimes,” says Elizabeth Stokes. “Support slots, overseas tours, music releases. Stuff we’ve dreamed about for years. So the correct answer is always ‘yes.’ But the truth is that deep down there’s a tiny Liz saying, ‘don’t get excited.’ She is certain that anything good that could happen will most likely not happen, because of a freak accident. Or because somebody finally realises that we aren’t worthy, shouts ‘phony!’ and takes everything away. I wrote I’m Not Getting Excited last year, well before everything really did get taken away. From everyone. It feels like the song has a new context, but we don’t know what it is yet. And now we all share a blurry, uncertain future.”

2 | The Grahams | Kids Like Us

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Like a snapshot kaleidoscope of the human experience, the spellbinding Kids Like Us music video for alt-pop band The Grahams flashes by in a whirlwind of colors, emotions, and locales. The shoot for the video came together in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the caveat that some of the scenes would need to be shot by the band, Alyssa and Doug Graham, while quarantined. They then teamed up with local Nashville director Preston Leatherman (The 254 Collective) who interlaced their videos with some cinematic found footage, providing a sense of connection amid the chaos of these isolating times. “Kids Like Us explores growing up and living in towns that are now simultaneously confronting climate crisis and environmental damage, opioid epidemics, underemployment, and an entire country on the brink of madness.” Adding, “Overall, we were experiencing a need to break free from politics, from the hatred, from adulthood, from the constant clamor and disappointment, from the Nashville scene, from preconceived notions of who we were, and from the artistic constraints we felt in the past.”

3 | The Rentals | Information (And The Island In The Sky)

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Rentals release their new single and ‘50s science fiction-inspired music video Information (And The Island In The Sky). The 13th release from the group’s upcoming 16-track majestic double album Q36 shows that Matt Sharp & company have saved some of their best and most universal music for the final four singles of The Rentals’ outer space opus. Without the urging of Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, Information might have never seen the light of day, or the darkness of space, for that matter. Sharp, the group’s founding member and musical director, explains, “When Nick and I started collaborating on Q36, I had only two rules that I wanted us to abide by. The first was that all of the music that we were going to work on needed to be bound together by the common themes of science fiction and outer space. The second rule was that it was 100% his responsibility to choose which songs we worked on. I knew that his artistic leanings often made him favor either more abstract or aggressive music and I wanted to be sure whatever we were creating together would be something that he could feel connected to naturally.”

4 | Chicano Batman | Blank Slate

THE PRESS RELEASE: “L.A.’s beloved psych-soul four-piece Chicano Batman recently released their highly-anticipated new album Invisible People. The four-piece also debuted their music video for Blank Slate, filmed at Hollywood’s legendary Barefoot Studios. The visual sees Chicano Batman’s Bardo Martinez grooving around the studio that was home to Stevie Wonder, interspersed with empty shots of the City of Angels. “Blank Slate is a progressive musical aesthetic for the band,” bassist Eduardo Arenas says. “The music video superimposes forward moving streetscapes over our studio performance which say less about who the band is but where we are headed. The video offers a glimpse into our band chemistry and shows the ambitious crafting of a future sound.”

5 | Rebel Priest | Sleeping Like A Hangman

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Vancouver rock n’ roll tribe Rebel Priest have a new music video out for their hit Sleeping Like A Hangman. According to the band, the song is about “addiction to the thing that can’t be controlled, relinquishing that control and understanding that we are in the noose” set with powerful guitar riffs and smooth bass lines making a heavy and raw tune that will get fists raised in the air. Sleeping Like A Hangman comes from the November 2019 album R’lyeh Heavy that can best be described as “a visceral vision of a call to a past secular-religious god with many different facets of an ancient pantheon”. With utmost confidence, Rebel Priest quotes about the album: “We’re excited about this one; it’s a culmination of what we’ve been doing since the beginning. Doing our sound, our way; it was quite an in-depth recording process for us this time ‘round and we think the fans will take notice! This is a step above the rest!!”

6 | Jade Hairpins | Dolly Dream

THE PRESS RELEASE:Jade Hairpins move in and out of reverie in the rose-colored video for new song Dolly Dream, bringing you into their world of joyful movement, wide-open spaces, and sunny yesterdays and tomorrows. This piece of musical clockwork is laden with Fender Rhodes keyboard, analog synths, layered strings, and soaring harmonies which all set the stage for the reveal of their debut full-length Harmony Avenue on May 29. The music video, featuring nostalgic footage of Jade Hairpins across three continents, was co-directed by the Jade Hairpins masterminds Mike Haliechuk and Jonah Falco. As Falco explains, “Dolly Dream is a song about searching — not necessarily something you lack and have to ‘find,’ but grabbing hold of that ‘something’ you’ve always had. This search finds a connection within solitude, and within the crowd.”

7 | Ellis | Pringle Creek

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ellis — Hamilton, Ontario’s Linnea Siggelkow — released her stunning debut album Born Again last month, and today she shares a gorgeous music video for the album opener Pringle Creek. “I had previously recorded another version of this song and was nearly about to release it along with this video as a random single last summer but at the last minute, I changed my mind,” Ellis explains. “I was in the process of writing the record and realized I wanted this track to be included on the album instead. I loved the song but we had sort of recorded it in a hurry and I wanted to give it the proper energy and attention I thought it deserved.”

8 | Killswitch Engage | We Carry On

THE PRESS RELEASE:Killswitch EngageAdam Dutkiewicz [guitar], Joel Stroetzel [guitar], Mike D’Antonio [bass], Justin Foley [drums], and Jesse Leach [vocals] — have released a live performance video of an acoustic version of the song We Carry On. The track was recorded while the members were in quarantine. The original appears on the band’s 2016-released album Incarnate. “This song is a deep one for me,” explains Leach. “When I wrote the lyrics, it was originally based off of struggles in a tumultuous, abusive relationship. Little did I know how significant it would eventually be as it has relevance during this strange time of quarantine and uncertainty. For me, it has turned into an anthem, of sorts, about perseverance. While working on this version, it really struck me how much I felt the lyrics in a different light. As dark and difficult as things can get, we all have this inner power to persevere and pull through. I feel that the desperation and the melancholy of this song are balanced by a ray of hope that runs through it all.”

9 | Enter Shikari | The Great Unknown

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Following the release of Enter Shikari’s critically acclaimed album Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible last week, the band premiere the video for The Great Unknown. Frontman Rou Reynolds said: “The Great Unknown is a song about existential dread. A song about the need for new ideas and new beginnings. I’m so glad we were able to still make a video for this song, what with the current state of affairs, and I’m glad we were able to convey the emotions intrinsic to the song with this video — our state of isolation and desolation but also determination and connection. Yet again it was a great pleasure to work with Polygon, albeit remotely this time! I won’t forget taking directions from him on Skype, as I recorded my scenes in front of a homemade green-screen in my bedroom!”

10 | Beans on Toast | Human Contact

THE PRESS RELEASE: “I’ve always had a thing for Human Contact… And I miss that…” Isolated from those we love and yearning to be with friends again, Human Contact is a tender new song released by Beans on Toast that will strike a chord with millions in lockdown right now. Featuring just Beans and an acoustic guitar, the songwriter opens-up a universal conversation with his frank and endearing social commentary. From missing those tactile trademarks like hugs and high-fives that we once exchanged so freely, to dreaming of the massive get-togethers to be had when the world begins to turn again; Human Contact is a touching epiphany from the times we live in.”

11 | Luke De-Sciscio | Human Heart

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Last month, English folk artist Luke De-Sciscio released Eucharist, his second album of 2020. Today, Luke has premiered a video for a single off the record, Human Heart, inspired by a Hawaiian practice of ritualised forgiveness called Ho’oponopono. Discussing the single, Luke said, “Traditionally, Ho’oponopono is a mantra-based meditation wherein the practitioner recites, ‘I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you,’ while internalizing and accepting responsibility for external transgressions. Ultimately, it’s the recognition that the line between self and other is a fundamentally blurry partition. Saying how can I blame you?… when if I were born you, I would have done to me as you have?… Let us start from there and mend.” For the video, Luke reached out to fans to submit videos of themselves saying “I’m sorry” and asking for forgiveness.”

12 | Goat Necropsy | Anal Vomit

THE PRESS RELEASE: “One of the heaviest, most putrefying and promising bands in extreme metal, Goat Necropsy, today releases their debut EP, Bloody and Fresh. While labeled as deathgrind, the band’s style is pleasantly extreme, yet also digestible, incorporating slick deathcore characteristics to even out the intensity. The Brazilian duo also released the single Anal Vomit.

13 | Jeffrey James | Aftermath

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Nashville-based musician Jeffrey James shares the official music video for his new single, Aftermath. Working within the creative confines of lockdown, Jeffrey pieced together home footage of himself and his wife in Trouville-sur-Mer in Normandy, France. A sweet, authentic glimpse into James’ own love story, the Aftermath video brings the romance of the piano-driven ballad to new heights.”

14+15 | Gaspard Eden | Soft Power + Pancakes

THE PRESS RELEASE:Gaspard Eden shares the video for the title track of his forthcoming album Soft Power. Along with the video Eden also releases a double A side single featuring album tracks Soft Power and Pancakes. Speaking on the double release Eden says, “Soft Power and Pancakes are connected by the fact they’re both talking about some kind of desire to share affection. The music videos of both songs have been made by animation artists. I wanted that playful look to balance the more intimate and emotionally charged subjects of the songs.” Soft Power is the first of the animated videos to be released. In this song, Eden manages to combine a stripped honesty with symbolist figures of speech. He emphasizes our inability to embody some of our deepest feelings. His dreamy bass lines, motoric chords progressions and ethereal vocal melodies serve as a canvas where our repressed fantasies are evoked.”

16 | Saint Mars | Pacific State

THE PRESS RELEASE:Saint Mars have released their latest single, Pacific State. Receiving inspiration from artists such as Panic! At the Disco, Twenty One Pilots, Massive Attack, Empire of the Sun, M83 and Groove Armada, the band ensures that they present a unique sound. Dreaming of an open road and endless horizon, Pacific State is a majestic rap/edm/pop trifecta. Speaking of the track, Saint Mars tell us, “With Pacific State, we wanted to fuse pop and trip-hop with obsessive tribal beats and draw a line between Massive Attack, Empire of the Sun and Tears for Fears. The song takes you back to the glorious magic of the 80’s… “Pacific State delivers a message of hope, carried by the ongoing faith in a better world after a tragic fall, and the necessary perseverance in adversity.”

17 | Pottery | Hot Heater

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Montreal’s Pottery are back today with a new track — Hot Heater, the latest from their much-anticipated debut album Welcome To Bobby’s Motel, out on June 26. Hot Heater more than lives up to its incendiary billing: all chugging low-end, blasts of disco beats and tribal chants from the Pottery crew. Discussing the track’s genesis, the band say: “While there are hints of environmental themes on this one, we mainly wanted to make a disco song with a robotic feeling, something that could be easily chanted. Austin was originally really interested in heat as a musical concept/feeling — some of the early album titles we threw around were Hot Hot Hot and Sun Fever — and there are a bunch of other heat references on the album. In the studio he’d be joking around and yelling stuff at us like ‘let’s make it hot!’ right before a take. A lot of that didn’t end up totally sinking in, but some did…like on this song.”

18 | Vasti Jackson | Healing Angel

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Touched by the stories behind today’s headlines about caregivers and their sacrifices to help the afflicted during the mounting coronavirus crisis, masterful songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Vasti Jackson has completed a two-year creative journey with his new single, Healing Angel. The song celebrates the heroism and compassion of caregivers faced with the challenges of the largest pandemic in modern history. The song was birthed when Jackson was asked to be artist-in-residence at a week-long conference held by the Boca Raton, Florida-based Anne Boykin Institute for the Advancement of Caring in Nursing in 2018. Hearing the ideas and experiences of caregivers and policy makers during that conference, Jackson was inspired again — this time, to write and perform a song praising and thanking nurses for their devoted and often selfless service to humanity.”

19 | Hypression | What’s Going On

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Young producer Hypression scatters tension-building stabs and sparse melodies over shuffling house grooves on What’s Going On. Since breaking out in 2017 with Not About You alongside Ameria, the Russian up-and-comer has flourished with his unique multilayered approach to electronic music. Hypression continues to forge ahead, bringing his cacophony of bass-heavy soundscapes along for the ride.”

20 | Ohmme | Selling Candy

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ohmme — the Chicago-based duo of Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart — share a new single, Selling Candy, the third they’ve released from their new album Fantasize Your Ghost, out June 5. Selling Candy is riveting. The track, which has only six lines, is filled with Cunningham and Stewart’s harmonies, which soar over heavy, sludgy guitar and pummeling percussion. Eventually, the song ends in a noisey freakout. “Selling Candy was pieced together from little snapshots of my childhood growing up on my block in Chicago,” says Cunningham. “It felt like its own tiny world where I could explore my imagination, enjoy independence from my parents, and meet all kinds of people, including the pissed off hot dog vendor from whom I bought a boiled hot dog from as often as I could get my hands on a buck.”

21 | Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters | Automatic

THE PRESS RELEASE:Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters release their cover of The Go-Go’s song Automatic. “We feel like it represents the album as a whole and it’s very sonically interesting,” says Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and founding member of three of the most influential and successful bands of the post-punk era Tanya Donelly (Belly, Throwing Muses, Breeders). “It can be a brave and foolish move to cover a song that you already consider perfect in its original form, and The Go Go’s Automatic is just that.”

22 | Inventions | Continuous Portrait

THE PRESS RELEASE: “On new album Continuous Portrait — set for a May 29 digital release — Inventions further their creative curiosities first touched on in 2015’s Maze of Woods. The duo of Eluvium’s Matthew Cooper and Explosions In The Sky guitar player Mark Smith follow the spry rhythms of opening singles Outlook For The Future and Calico with the gentle, woozy, introspective title track of the album Continuous Portrait. The track opens with samples of wood doves and slowly unfolds with soft chord waves and flickering guitar melodies into a warm, heartening embrace.”