Indie Roundup | 20 Tracks To Complete Your Thursday

Ease into Friday with Royal Canoe, Rich Aucoin, Keleketia and more sweet treats.


Royal Canoe play it cool, Rich Aucoin cocks the hammer, Keleketia! groove into the future, Rhye feels Beautiful, Thunder Jackson finds himself and more in today’s Roundup. Where I live, people can get together outdoors in socially distanced groups of 50 as of Friday. Great; now I just have to find 49 people I want to stand six feet away from in a field.


1 | Royal Canoe | Living A Lie

THE PRESS RELEASE: “This January, Royal Canoe decided to embrace their hometown of Winnipeg as one of the coldest cities on Earth. They concocted what on the surface seems like an insane idea, particularly in the dead of winter: to play a free outdoor show at The Forks for a few thousand people. Since it was understandably too cold to play traditional guitars or drums the band used a combination of instruments and triggers carved from blocks of ice pulled the waters to create completely reimagined and deconstructed versions of their material. There were ice drums and percussion, an ice sample kit/light-machine, some pitched ‘ice-struments’ and an ice horn, in addition to the usual keyboards and synthetic textures the band is well known for. The group wanted the tone and mood of the performance to compliment the stark yet fierce environment around them. Their attitude was: “Winnipeg is our weird, cold home – let’s get long-johns on and freeze our asses off together!” The stunning and breathtaking results of that concert forms the new Glacial EP, out May 29.”

2 | Rich Aucoin | Reset

THE PRESS RELEASE:Rich Aucoin shares the new single and video for Reset and announces his fourth album entitled United States. Aucoin wrote the album, observing the America from the ground level, while cycling across it for Mental Health America (as well as the Canadian Mental Health Association). Reset, the second single is another protest song from Aucoin — an anti-gun anthem. “I started the ride across America just after the events of the Parkland shootings so it was very much in the news and I wanted to write something immediately that spoke to their frustration with the gun laws in their country.”


3 | Keleketia! | Future Toyi Toyi

THE PRESS RELEASE:Keleketla! is an expansive collaborative project, reaching outward from Johannesburg to London, Lagos, L.A. and West Papua. Keleketla! started as a musical meeting ground between Coldcut and a cadre of South African musicians (introduced by the charity In Place Of War), including the raw, South African-accented jazz styles of Sibusile Xaba, and rapper Yugen Blakrok (Black Panther OST). From those initial sessions, the record grew to encompass a wider web of musical luminaries, including Afrobeat architects, the late pioneer Tony Allen and Dele Sosimi, legendary L.A. spoken word pioneers The Watts Prophets, and West Papuan activist Benny Wenda. The final product is a future-facing assemblage of influences, drawing connections between different points in a jazz-tipped, soulfully-minded spectrum; it builds outwards, from the solid musical foundations of those first sessions.”


4 | Rhye | Beautiful

THE PRESS RELEASE:Rhye — the project of LA-based musician Michael Milosh — presents a new video for Beautiful. The video was directed and produced by Milosh and filmed using telephoto lenses to ensure social distancing, with each dancer shot individually. Featuring intertwining clips of people moving throughout a vibrant desert landscape, it evokes the song’s message — finding beauty in everyday life. As with the single art created by Milosh, the Beautiful video, awashed in a gauzy filter, maintains Rhye’s distinctive, dreamlike aesthetic.”

5 | Thunder Jackson | Find Yourself

THE PRESS RELEASE: “L.A.-based Thunder Jackson releases his new single Find Yourself. The track release arrives alongside a stunning neon-lit music video, directed by MTV Music Video Award-nominated director Dano Cerney. “As humans, we all seek to define our identity. It’s a lifelong journey. Some days we feel we know exactly who we are. Others, we don’t recognise the person in the mirror. And that’s what Find Yourself is all about,” says Thunder Jackson. “It’s a song for the lost, a song for the found, and a reminder that we are not alone in our struggles to find ourselves.”

6 | The Academy of Sun | Rose Devoid of Form

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Among Brighton’s finest, four-piece melodic alt-pop outfit The Academy of Sun present their new single Rose Devoid of Form, a rich textured taster of The Quiet Earth, the band’s expansive new album of breathtaking ambition, set for release on June 19. “This track had been through so many iterations before landing squarely in this current arrangement – from a harmonium-led demo with extra NSFW verses, via a Radiohead-esque lilting waltz, to the present distillation of irradiated, grinding synths and throbbing, ominous bass. It’s a compoundedly sad tale but one hopefully made less so by the vocalised fortitude of hindsight,” says Nick Hudson. “I wrote it as time capsule with each verse a scene in the real-life narrative of my relationship with a beautiful but immensely damaged young man. It plays out like a film, bookended by scenes from differently-distanced vantage points of reflection – the latter indeed sees the narrator surveying this poignant tale from the surface of a far-off planet, at last swept from the churning eye of the storm, armoured in scar tissue and galvanised by the maturation of insights gleaned in the shadows.”

7 | High Command | Merciless Steel

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Worcester, Massachusetts-based High Command has just issued an official video for Merciless Steel, one of the most searing tracks from the band’s debut LP Beyond The Wall Of Desolation. Released in the Summer of 2019, Beyond The Wall Of Desolation delivers an onslaught of searing thrash/hardcore aggression. Writes Ryan McCardle, “We had been planning on doing a big production metal video with swords and the like before the pandemic hit, but then we started going through all the footage we had collected from our first couple tours supporting Beyond The Wall Of Desolation and we realized we had all this great video of a time that seems almost alien and long ago considering the current state of affairs. Meticulously edited and directed by visual madman Chris O’Coin, the Merciless Steel video is our ode to a community that was of the utmost importance to us and we hope returns someday soon.”

8 | Sparxsea | Little Wooden Boat

THE PRESS RELEASE:Little Wooden Boat is the first single on Sparxsea’s upcoming debut full-length album, On The Sea. The song is co-produced by Will Holland (Pixies, Fall Out Boy) and Will Bradford (SeepeopleS), and the rest of the album is currently being recorded/mixed/mastered at Chillhouse Studios in Boston, MA. Sparxsea blends acoustics, soulful vocals and electronic beats with an adroit lyricism and modern folk sensibility to create a sound entirely her own. Sparxsea‘s music weaves between intimate anthems and inspiriting psalms that deal with hard-hitting topics as it captures the power of healing and salvation.”

9 | The Lacs | Left of Me

THE PRESS RELEASE: “With musicians taking a massive hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia-based country rap duo The Lacs continue to release new content and record stripped-down acoustic versions of classic tracks from their catalog. The latest release is an acoustic version of Left of Me from their breakout album Country Boy’s Paradise. The song features a powerful melody and a breezy acoustic lick as The Lacs somberly reflect on an unhealthy relationship and trying to come to terms with the inevitable finale.”

10 | Mulatto | He Say She Say

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Rising Atlanta rapper Mulatto releases her new track He Say She Say. Produced by Bankhead & RTJ, the track once again proves Mulatto is one to watch in the rap space delivering slick verses and cheeky lyrics over a hypnotic beat. Raised in Atlanta, GA, 21-year-old rising rapper Mulatto has been making a name for herself since she was 10 years old. Along with writing all her own lyrics, her witty, sexual verses are unmatched.”

11 | Crown The Empire | Blurry (Out of Place)

THE PRESS RELEASE:Crown The Empire have dropped the epic video for their latest single Blurry (Out of Place). The band has also launched an augmented reality hologram experience via an app that allows fans to enjoy the unique experience of performing with their favorite artists by choosing from a library of photorealistic holograms of different musicians. Users can scan their surroundings and place the hologram in their space using AR, then get into the frame with their favorite artist, and record a video as they perform with the hologram. The resulting video can be saved to their device and shared on any social media platform. It truly allows fans to live the rock ‘n’ roll dream.”

12 | Down Again | Actions & Their Consequences

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Northern California post hardcore outfit Down Again have announced a June 12 release date for their debut full-length The Devil Is A Gentleman. The 13 track LP features the single Actions and Their Consequences, which saw a music video for the effort premiere this week. The Devil Is A Gentleman was written as an outlet for vocalist/guitarist Lenny Costa to tell a story of inner struggle and coming to grips with those closest to him slowly drifting away. With lyrical themes ranging from losing faith, depression, hope and relationships, each track is also left to the listener to interpret as their own. The trio also includes Alex Wechter (bass) and Lucas Garcia who handles guitar for live shows and also played drums, keys, backing vocals and co-wrote lyrics with Costa. “We have an incredible synergy amongst the three of us,” says the band. “This is the sort of thing that is a total trip to look back at, how a few friends can take a bunch of ideas, candid stories and put it all together in one full album to share.”

13 | Dizzy | The Magician (LA Priest Remix)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Canadian four-piece Dizzy release a new version of their single The Magician remixed by LA Priest, the pseudonym of Late of the Pier founder Sam Eastgate. Its dark, glitchy electronic production turns the track on its head, chopping and skewering the vocals to create an ominous but compelling new sound and mirroring the disjointedness of grief. The Magician sees singer Katie Munshaw grapple with grief over the death of a close friend. “To me, The Magician reeks of naivety and innocence in a way that really hurts my heart,” she explains. “Hoping she’ll walk into my gig at the local pub, hoping to see her mom at Sobey’s just to remember how similar their laughs were. Hoping for magic.”

14 | Denai Moore | Motherless Child

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Convention-defying singer/songwriter Denai Moore shares new single Motherless Child from her highly anticipated forthcoming album Modern Dread, out July 3. Moore digs deeper than ever before on this track and the result is some of her most nuanced song writing to date. She says, “Motherless Child was a song that I wrote years ago that didn’t work for other projects. Alex [Robertshaw] and I decided to revisit it and start completely from scratch, and then it suddenly felt much more fresh and exciting. This song is about detachment, loneliness & feeling really isolated from the world around me, which feels crazy releasing it in isolation during a pandemic. The track comes accompanied by a 3D CG animated visualiser by George Jasper Stone – a piece that as Moore explains represents “a warped shell of a human dancing on their own in a big space.”

15 | ILS | Curse

THE PRESS RELEASE:ILS recently announced their debut LP and now they are back with a new single entitled White Meat. (Pronounced ilz) ILS is a four-piece disaster chic band from Portland, OR. ILS consists of Tom Glose (Black Elk) on vocals. Nate Abner (The Days, The Nights) on guitar. Tim Steiner (Passerby) on drums and Adam Pike (White Orange) on bass. Curse will be released on July 4.”

16 | Solaris | Voce

THE PRESS RELEASE:Voce is the second single taken from noisy post-rockers Solaris’ forthcoming album Un Paese di Musichette mentre fuori c’è la Morte, out on June 19. “Music and lyrics are deeply interconnected, sharing the same atmosphere, which has different interpretations. The main characters are memories, recent or not, that emerge and cross the listener’s mind. The instrumental part swings from calm moments to more anxious others. In this song Martin Bisi’s experience was of great help, adding noises and percussion in the instrumental part. It’s a post metal industrial landscape.”

17 | Maxwell Stern | Tying Airplanes To The Ground

THE PRESS RELEASE:Maxwell Stern has teamed up with members of Ratboys, Modern Baseball, Into it. Over It., Mother Evergreen, and Slaughter Beach Dog to record a track inspired by John Prine, with Bandcamp proceeds going to NIVA. None of the instruments or vocals were recorded in the same place, creating a true quarantine collaboration with a lot of really talented folks. “I wrote this song on April 8th, 2020, the day after John Prine died. I spent the whole day doing nothing but listening to his music,” says Stern of the track, adding “There’s such incredible beauty and humor in his songs but there’s also a definite darkness, a somber quality that can exist in that same space. I was wondering about what he might write for these current times, and then I tried to write my own personal version of that song.”

18 | Greg Owens | Shouldn’t Be This Hard

THE PRESS RELEASE:Greg Owens premieres his new anthem Shouldn’t Be This Hard. Speaking about the song he says: “Shouldn’t Be This Hard is a song about the struggles of finding (and keeping) love in a time where many relationships start with the swipe of a finger under the blur of a neon sign. When I was a younger man, I was a denizen of Nashville’s bustling bar scene. I witnessed many relationships start and end there. I also made a plethora of poor decisions regarding my love life during that time as well. This song is a ‘good riddance’ to that life and a prayer for all of those still living it.”

19 | Mt. Joy | Witness

THE PRESS RELEASE:Mt. Joy is going to be releasing their new album, Rearrange Us, on June 5 and today the band shared the last taste of the record before it drops, with the track Witness. The song builds from a ponderous, staring-out-the-window folk meditation, to a symphonic, piano-leg coda that reflects on hopeless devotion and deteriorating relationships. The band’s frontman, Matt Quinn, explains: “The second half of the song came together after watching a band member go through a bad experience. It just seemed like a perfect dark twist to a song that wanted to go somewhere dark. The real power of loving someone is that no matter how much they hurt you your love for them is still inside your body and there’s really no way to change that.”

20 | Rushden & Diamonds | Purple Spotted Caddy ft. Kool Keith + LP

THE PRESS RELEASE:Rushden & Diamonds first got their start writing rhymes and making beats while digging in the crates of 1980’s R&B and royal orchestral music. 2020 (Redux) is a fully remixed / remastered official sequel to the duo’s critically acclaimed conceptual hip-hop album 2010. Purple Spotted Caddy ft. Kool Keith is Rushden & Diamonds’ latest track from 2020. More from Rushden & Diamonds: “We hope at this time 2020 (Redux) provides some much needed escapism during these uncertain times. Although conscious in it’s creation, we set out to create a record that was smooth, slick, mature and confident, with also few subtle laughs tucked in the mix. Rushden & Diamonds music is what you should add to your playlist and get sucked into whenever you’re looking for a pick me up.”