Indie Roundup | 19 Songs For A Weird Monday

Giants Chair, Fuck Your Birthday, Helvetia, Gordi and more kick open the new week.

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Giants Chair celebrate a birthday, Fuck Your Birthday clearly have other plans, Helvetia act and react, Gordi is not ready, Lufeh edge forward and more in a decidedly eccentric Monday Roundup. Don’t sleep on the Crushed Velvet — and I defy you to tell me Unborn Suffer haven’t made the most useful lyric video ever.

 


1 | Giants Chair | The Streets

THE PRESS RELEASE:Spartan Records has announced the release of a 2 song EP from influential midwestern emo greats Giants Chair. The two tracks The Streets and Featureless Horizon were originally recorded in 2017. Vocalist Scott Hobart says, “The Streets and Featureless Horizon were the first two songs we wrote after our previous 23-year self-quarantine. Recorded a couple of years before the Prefabylon sessions, some of you may recall that they were briefly available via digital streaming-only, as teasers toward the eventual full-length. We even made videos for them! Both tunes were almost included on Prefabylon but we decided to save them for a more special occasion… like today for our bass player Byron’s 50th birthday! Geez, that’s old!”


2 | Fuck Your Birthday | The Plan

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Wenzhou, China-based alt/grunge rock duo Fuck Your Birthday have issued a video for The Plan. The debut of the video is adjoined by an exclusive interview and photo feature with the American-by-way-of-China-based band, who has lived at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic since it began late last year. Fuck Your Birthday is drummer Roman Meisenberg and guitarist/bassist/vocalist Christopher Henry (Humans Etcetera). Last year, the band released a split EP with fellow China-based act Space Monkey, on which The Plan is found. While on tour/vacation in Mexico before the Coronavirus outbreak, the band, along with their friends Josh Szwed and Montserat Torres, self-directed/filmed a darkly comedic video for the track. The band write, “We had a killer time in Mexico last summer, and we offer this video as proof.”


3 | Helvetia | Reaktor

THE PRESS RELEASE:Helvetia was formed in Seattle in 2005 by Jason Albertini. Since the band’s inception, he’s employed a rotating cast of band members and collaborators, which now includes Steve Gere and Samantha Stidham. Albertini is 1/3 of the group Duster, who spent 2019 releasing a new album and playing shows for the first time in 20 years. Naturally, Helvetia share a lot of the same sensibilities, pushing Duster’s boundary-bending ideals even further out with a mix of odd pop and eccentric oddities. Their new album This Devastating Map comes out Aug. 7, but first up is the single Reaktor.”


4 | Gordi | Unready

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Australian musician Gordi shares a new single/video, Unready, from her new album, Our Two Skins, out June 26. Unready appears like a blast of pop optimism, a song about being caught off-guard by your life while you stand in the middle of it. “For me it sits quite separately to the rest of the record — it’s the only song whose lyrics predate the period of my life described by the rest of the songs on Our Two Skins,” says Gordi. “When it came time to record the song we tracked every guitar we could find for the big strum sound in the chorus. Singing it proved a challenge because it sits a little higher than my comfortable register. We had tried to do the vocal takes in the cottage but it wasn’t working so one night we ventured over to my parent’s house for a change of scene. Chris asked me (as a joke) if we had any strobe lights in the house to set the mood. We always joke that you could request any object from my Mum and she’d have it to you in minutes from some treasure trove of stuff in the house. Surely enough, we found a strobe light in the wardrobe of my brother’s childhood bedroom. We turned the lights off and hit the strobe, setting the perfect conditions to finally execute the vocal take for Unready.”


5 | Lufeh | The Edge

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Sophisticated, progressive, and refined, Los Angeles based progressive metallers Lufeh (a band of both Brazilian and American musicians) creates an enjoyable experience, meandering through jazz styles, heavy metal foundations, and rhythmic Brazilian influences. The mind expanded sonic journey is something new and interesting to listen to. Released in April of 2020, Luggage Falling Down was a trying, yet successful first recording for these recently banded musicians who lived together for two weeks throughout the process. Having lost the original singer a month before recording began, the intrepid bunch found hope with Dennis Atlas who fell in step with the rest of the band immediately. This bond between the members can be seen in their videos along with their high energy and knack for performing. Luggage Falling Down is a unique melodic story that is finalized with the single The Edge. Drummer Lufeh Batera shares their thoughts on the track: “The Edge could really just as well be called Living by the Edge of Desire. As the album’s final statement, it leaves the listener in a state of trust and bravery to go out on the edge and take the leap into living life to the fullest.”


6 | Watertank | Suffogaze

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Taken from the upcoming album Silent Running, out on Sept. 4, Suffogaze is the first single from the new album by French post hardcore and shoegaze infused heavy rockers Watertank. The band notes: “The initial idea behind Suffogaze was to depict a tragic event through a peaceful/almost ASMR setting. But that Covid ruined our plans, so instead we’ve decided to re-edit the John Badham movie Wargames to match the lyrics and the overall theme of the album, inspired by the front cover glass-tardigrade survival features and resilience, yet still about to implode, fitting the band ultimately.”


7 | Burning Witches | Corona Acoustic Session

THE PRESS RELEASE: “It was an evening too beautiful to be gone with just the blink of an eye: Today, Burning Witches release their sublime live stream concert! Last Friday, the Swiss metal heroines presented their Corona Live Acoustic Jam From The Studio, accompanied by guests Courtney Cox (Iron Maidens), Larissa Ernst (Pater Iltis) and Noelle Dos Anjos (Nungara, Alkoholika). The band says, “With great joy we present to you our recent acoustic session that we performed with some friends, spontaneously a few days ago. As some of you missed the live stream, we are happy to be able to present a video of the jam!” The band released their latest album Dance With The Devil back in March.”


8 | Jobs | Brian

THE PRESS RELEASE:Jobs’ third album, endless birthdays, is the distinctive product of four headstrong individuals — guitarist/vocalist Dave Scanlon, drummer Max Jaffe, violist Jessica Pavone, and bassist Robert Lundberg — with guest appearances from underground music luminaries John Dieterich (Deerhoof), Matt Mehlan (Skeletons), Cyrus Pireh (Skeletons), and Steven Lugerner. endless birthdays is a bold record in which minimalist composition, mutant techno, rock pyrotechnics, electro-pop, and art song jostle for supremacy. Throughout these nine songs runs a tension between order and artful freaking out. About Brian (quote from vid. director and drummer Jaffe): The video concept for Brian came to me … a few months ago, before everyone was already living in a Zoom meeting. But the concept of a video made inside a document took on an added resonance and almost urgency after social distancing mandates became the norm. Lyrically and vocally, the song already has a surrealistic energy to it … These are the times we are living in, expressed in live Google Doc form.”


9 | Ebony Buckle | Ghost

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ebony Buckle is a London-based singer/songwriter, originally from the tropical seaside town of Townsville, Australia. Taking listeners on a whimsical leftfield-pop journey with her complex harmonies and imaginative storytelling lyricism, Buckle sings about universal themes of romance and broken hearts to more poetic themes of disgruntled mermaids, lonely whales and joyous, hypothetical alien invasions. Her latest single Ghost details the heart-wrenching experience that Buckle and her English husband Nick endured during their fight to renew her visa after their marriage. Despite her specific experience, Ghost is a universal song of love, loss, commitment and pain of feeling utterly helpless. Ghost was written over Skype between her and her newly-wed husband, as they were kept apart for nearly two years. It was a time in their lives when normality was turned upside down, and they were put in limbo.”


10 | Unborn Suffer | Degradation Of Evolution

THE PRESS RELEASE:Commit(ment To) Suicide is the new album from Polish trio Unborn Suffer. As the album is confirmed for North American release June 26, a lyric video for the lead single Degradation Of Evolution has been issued. Commit(ment To) Suicide encapsulates some of the band’s most ferocious material to date through a twenty-five-song assault, with two additional exclusive bonus tracks added to the CD version. The album was recorded during the Spring of 2019.”


11 | Birdmask | Set Me On Fire

THE PRESS RELEASE:Birdmask, aka Zeal and Ardor’s Manuel Gagneux, has released his powerful new single Set Me On Fire. A fire-and-brimstone testament to emotional and romantic torment, Set Me On Fire sets Birdmask’s impassioned soul vocals to church organ, choral harmonies and portentous drums. “I’ve had this song ready for a couple of years now but being preoccupied with other projects kind of forced me to leave it on the back burner. I feel like it’s about time to let it out,” says Gagneux. “In the time between then and now I was lucky enough to tour the world with a different project, score plays and start a secretive anonymous project as well, but Birdmask will always be the name that I identify most with. It sort of feels like coming back home in a sense. I’ve tasted a great many fruits and licked my wounds all around the globe and it just might be time to head back home. Greet old faces and maybe even sculpt new ones that might find comfort in this place.”


12 | Terminal Nation | Holocene Extinction

THE PRESS RELEASE: “America is a tinderbox. Lockdowns, pandemic, police brutality, kleptocracy, the orange menace. The injustice system is alive and well. Since Day 1 Terminal Nation has been shining a light on it all through their crushing music, point blank lyrics, merch and media, lashing out at institutional corruption and racist power structures. And not from a liberal coastal enclave where it’s a generally welcome message but from Deep Red Arkansas. Now with the new album, Holocene Extinction, at hand, Terminal Nation returns at a pivotal moment, where lines are being drawn and the possibilities of compromise are going up in smoke. Like fuel to the fires of dissent the band’s brutally heavy amalgam of metallic hardcore, death metal and powerviolence eviscerates with unforgiving sincerity the recognizable and the insidious forces propping up the White Supremacy machine. Events are moving fast now, the dominoes are falling, and everyday it’s more apparent a reckoning is at hand. War is upon us and a Holocene Extinction is a likely outcome, because you cannot save a world that refuses to be saved… ”


13 | Atavist | Lost

THE PRESS RELEASE: “UK doom quartet Atavist have released Loss, the second single taken from their new album, III: Absolution, out June 19. Reformed in 2017 after a ten year hiatus, the UK’s most devastating death/doom stalwarts Atavist triumphantly return in 2020 with the band’s third full length, coming almost 13 years after their highly acclaimed 2007 release, II: Ruined. III: Absolution comprises four mammoth new tracks of heavy, emotive and atmospheric death/doom metal reminiscent of the Atavist’s early history, but also incorporating the progression of a band who have grown as musicians and writers over the last decade; in a variety of other extreme metal projects. Guitarist C. Naughton commented: “This is a soundtrack that travels through the depths of human emotion, from losing everything, mourning loss, realising your own mind, right through to finding your way again. Ultimately finding Absolution at the end of that journey. There is no joy here, only relief at the end of an arduous voyage.”


14 | Callum Easter | Pop Goes The Weasel

THE PRESS RELEASE: “No one really encouraged me to take up music,” says Callum Easter. “It’s just been in my gut for a long time.” The original rumblings of music came from childhood growing up on the east coast of Scotland but it was the discovery of an accordion that led to the biggest shift in Easter’s musical life to date “It’s not an instrument I considered playing until I picked one up in a charity shop,” he says. By the time 2019 arrived, Easter had transformed his live show and sound from his early days, so it made sense to go back into the studio and re- record tracks from his first two EPs and debut album Here or Nowhere. “The premise was to record the versions of the songs I’d been performing live using mainly accordion, drum machine and drone,” he says. “One take, no overdubs, straight to tape. All done in Glasgow’s Green Door Studios.” The result is the Green Door Sessions, out Aug. 21. Hear Pop Goes The Weasel now.”


15 | Crushed Velvet & the Velveteers | Good Thang feat. Kim Dawson

THE PRESS RELEASE:Good Thang feat. Kim Dawson is the new single by Crushed Velvet & the Velveteers, the alter ego of Alan Evans. You might know him as a founding member of Soulive, as 1/3 of The Alan Evans Trio, as half of The 7 Day Weekend or just as Alan Evans, but when this multi-instrumentalist/songwriter/studio engineer & producer lets the guitar player in him take the lead, his alter ego is Crushed Velvet & the Velveteers and he’s back with new single. Good Thang is a three-minute head-bopping funk cut that will definitely get you on the dance floor wherever you are!!The single features vocal powerhouse Kim Dawson (known for her work with bands such as Matador Soul Sounds and Pimps of Joytime) and Evans on bass, drums & guitar. Additional instruments are played by Evans’ musical cohorts, Darby Wolf on organ, Pete Aleksi playing second guitar, Brian “BT” Thomas on trombone, Alex Lee-Clark on trumpet, Tucker Antell on alto and tenor saxophone and Jared Sims on baritone saxophone.”


16 | The Zolas | Energy Czar

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Vancouver’s The Zolas have declared a summer of Z Days, dropping a new track every month. Energy Czar is the apocalyptic first official Z Day track and video is out now. Zach Gray explains: “We were meant to release the first single from our new album as we speak but our mutual friend the virus pushed things back till the fall. There’s this separate little batch of apocalyptic songs, though, that feel perfect for the moment so instead of wanking off all summer we’re dropping 1 tune every Znd of the month. June Z, July Z, August Z, Sept Z and then in October be release to the world the first single from our new album.” Energy Czar is the band’s first release since their 2016 Swooner. Zach says, “The name Energy Czar came before the song itself. I knew I wanted to write something about our delusions of domination over nature. How with climate change the planet is starting to remind us that we’re not in charge here and never were.”


17 | Kat Meoz | Back For More

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Los Angeles-based Venezuelan-American singer-songwriter, composer, producer Kat Meoz returns with her gritty new single titled Back For More. In-your-face stadium-sized noise, mixed with an irresistible touch of gritty pop is exactly what you can expect from the majestic self-titled rockstar, Kat Meoz. Talking about her latest single Back For More, Meoz explains: “I wrote this song with producers Jake Bowman and Teddy Roxpin. We actually reworked the entire song after sitting on the first version for about a year. It was my idea to get back in and gut it down to just the lyrics. They feed the concept that I’m always working on some new project and that I’ll be back to show an audience more if they can keep tuned in. I knew I loved these lyrics from our first version but that version wasn’t the swagger rock sound that I wanted yet. It’s a great feeling when you can reach out to producers a year later, throw out a completely new idea to redo the melody and instrumentation, and be met with excitement to get back together.”


18 | Marcus James | Honest

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Celebrated producer Marcus James has released his latest single, Honest (with RYYZN). The producer is well-known for his collaborative works, having worked with the likes of multi-platinum selling artist Trevor Guthrie, and remixed Khalid’s Talk as well as Warped Tour bands such as Anarbor and Courage My Love. Speaking of Honest, Marcus James tells us, “When I wrote the lyrics to Honest I was a little obsessed with capturing the image of the space in between two people as they drift apart from one another. When that space begins to hollow out it feels as if there’s a silent conversation happening, made of everything not being said out loud. There are some autobiographical lines, especially the portrayal of a night spent watching the snowfall and hearing nothing but the sounds of trains and cars. If you listen closely throughout the song you’ll hear some sounds from the train station in the distance that I recorded on my iPhone by sticking my arm out the apartment window.”


19 | Harrison Storm | Breathe Again

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Australian singer-songwriter Harrison Storm unveils Breathe Again, the latest single to be lifted from his upcoming EP due for release later in the year. “Last year was a bit of a challenging one for me in my personal life”, says Storm about Breathe Again, “I’d come out the other side of a break up with a few metaphorical bruises but found myself in a position where I felt a sense of clarity. This song came about in response to a very revealing poem I’d received around it all that was a bit of a shock to the system, but something I definitely needed and highlighted a lot of truths to me”. With Breathe Again, Harrison Storm has crafted a folk-infused haunting indie-pop anthem, one that is both filled with urgency and exhilarating calm.”