Indie Roundup | 28 Songs For A Fairly Reasonable Friday

Ease into your weekend with gems from Mellah, Divine Astronaut & plenty more.

Mellah gets in the habit, Divine Astronaut hear voices, Kyle Taylor remembers, Releaser hit their Marx, Grace Gillespie feels empty and more in a fairly reasonable Friday Roundup for a change. Whether it’s a long one, a normal one, a hot one or a cold one, a loud one or a quiet one, enjoy your weekend. I know I will.


1 | Mellah | Habit

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Earlier this spring, South Londoner Mellah returned with a fizzing, oddball pop song in Family Fun. As we welcome summer in the most unusual of circumstances, he now introduces Habit, another telling, timely step in this clever artist’s ongoing journey. The video showcases our protagonist and his doppelgangers unwittingly but willingly causing self-pain despite themselves. The video takes place in Mellah’s own home, which has been a hive of creativity throughout lockdown and may already be familiar to fans from a series of live performances streamed on Facebook, which have been viewed in their thousands. Mellah: “Funnily enough, Habit is about habits. Falling into the same, often harmful, cycles and vices despite knowing that the outcome will be no different from before. Einstein, of all people, said, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results’. Habits breed internal conflict, instinctively knowing what is good for you but still doing the opposite. The song is about that conflict and trying to find the courage and insight to not fear change. I don’t quite know why I know all of Einstein’s quotes but he also said ’The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.’ There’s nothing permanent except change.”

2 | Divine Astronaut | Voices

THE PRESS RELEASE:Divine Astronaut are an electronic group featuring singer Livvy Holland and producer/multi-instrumentalist Moonhead. The duo describe their sound as night-time music that is downtempo, alternative electronica with trip hop and industrial elements. Their debut album, Made Not In Berlin, is due for release in 2020, but first they unveil the single for Voices. Narrating the opposing voices we have in our head, going on all at once, the song touches on how these voices can pull us in all sorts of directions and impact our growth, sense of self-worth and life. Holland confides, “The source of these voices can be from any challenging situation, upbringing, or beliefs, resulting in a lot of noise in the brain! And regardless of how dark our own inner voices can be, this song is an affirmation that we can keep our hope and love for existence intact amid all the external and internal naysaying.” The stunning visuals for Voices were shot at Dracula’s Bran Castle in Transylvania, Romania. The video perfectly captures the haunting nature of Dracula’s mythology and how haunting our own voices and inner demons can be.”

3 | Kyle Taylor | Still Memories

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Although it seems like a lifetime ago, it was only last year that Kyle Taylor, the singer/songwriter behind Waterloo, Ontario-based power pop band Death Party Playground, was in Los Angeles taking a break from putting the finishing touches on the group’s full-length album Little Joy. While there, he performed a solo acoustic set at The Mint, including many of the songs that comprise Little Joy. As the pandemic has forced artists to showcase themselves in acoustic settings, it’s prompted Kyle to release a gripping performance of the Little Joy track Still Memories captured on film at The Mint, and possibly a sign of things to come in terms of further acoustic music from him. “I had the video in the vault, saving it for a rainy day, and we’ve had a few of them now,” Taylor says. “I hadn’t seen the performance since it was made, and the fresh eyes on it made me nostalgic for my time in L.A. and all the good things that have happened to me since then. Still Memories is, among a few things, about appreciating what you had, and we’re all feeling a bit of that right now. I just thought it was time.”

4 | Releaser | Should’ve Known Better

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Chicago’s Releaser have just released a modernized cover of Richard Marx’s lite-rock classic Should’ve Known Better. The track was mixed by Nick Rad (ex-Acceptance). The video was directed by Alex Zarek and features musician/actress Valla Di. The song was given the stamp of approval from Marx himself, who took to social media to sing its praises. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Richard Marx. In my early days in bands, my friends would call me the punk rock Richard Marx because my voice kinda sounded like his and I sang songs about girls. Since he’s always been an influence on my songwriting, I thought a great way to pay respect to that influence would be to do a cover of one of his songs. Should’ve Known Better is a perfect choice in my eyes for Releaser to cover. It’s upbeat, catchy as hell, and just an overall great song.”

5 | Grace Gillespie | Empty In The Capital

THE PRESS RELEASE:Grace Gillespie is a London-based artist and producer originally from Devon. Grace’s sound takes influence from the folk, psych and dream-pop traditions, providing a backdrop to her intriguing vocal melodies, shifting harmonies and introspective lyricism, as heard on her new single Empty In The Capital. “I wrote my new song, Empty In The Capital, just before lockdown about themes that were coming up in my own life. Then suddenly, Covid is here and we are all sharing in my isolation, fear and frustrations. I don’t like London at the best of times and the idea of being stuck here was almost scary to me. The track very much follows the pattern of a day for me. Much of my time is spent trying to reassure myself through rationalizing and acceptance, heard in the song’s verses, coupled with outbursts of inward frustration that I express in the choruses. I think it’s a pattern we have all been through throughout lockdown. We are trying with all our hearts to make the most of this gift of time and be ‘grateful for the day’ but then realizing that we are sipping coffee and trying to create (or just get on with work) while ambulances are filing past.”

6 | Prototypes | Enter The Warrior ft. B3ndu

THE PRESS RELEASE: “British D&B stars The Prototypes tease more new music with Enter The Warrior feat. B3ndu on vocals, the third offering from their upcoming album, Ten Thousand Feet & Rising set for release on Oct. 23. “Enter The Warrior is where we are at in 2020”, explain The Prototypes, “it’s dark, aggressive but still has the ultimate dancefloor swag and B3ndu incredible vocals keep it pure party. We know many of our influences are represented in this track and when you will listen to our upcoming album, this is the first ruffneck riddim you will be graced with.” Talking about the powerful video accompanying the track, directed by Daniel Broadley (You Me At Six, Lower Than Atlantis), the band explain, “The idea was to create a fast-paced motion dance piece with the amazing dancer Aggie Nonsizi that captured the intensity of the song whilst she moved around her native Bristol. Dan the director let her lead the video with her movements as he captured her energy without any real direction.”

7 | Elm | Whole Year Inn

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Italian noise rock unit Elm are pleased to unveil their video for Whole Year Inn. Notes the band of the Sin City-inspired clip, “Whole Year Inn is a quote from a book we love: Leaving Las Vegas by John O’Brien. It’s the name of an imaginary hotel, where the strange, moving love story between Sera, Ben and self-destruction is consumed. Such a perfect story: a kind of bright nightmare, in which even the sunlight is cold. There is no escape, and you chose to embrace it.”

8 | Bahama Soul Club & Arema Arega | Mango

THE PRESS RELEASE: “As anticipation builds around the release of their upcoming album Bohemia After Dawn on July 17, German Latin / nu-jazz outfit Bahama Soul Club gives another sneak peek into what to expect on the new full-length with Mango EP, a three-track teaser centered around the track Mango, featuring Cuban singer Arema Arega. Arega is one of the most exciting voices in the Bahama Soul Club family and has been somewhat of a permanent feature throughout their albums. In Mango she once more confirms this love match with her unique take on this sweet yellow-green part of a god, waxing lyrical over a laidback tropical groove.”

9 | Destruction | Born To Perish

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Today is the day! Destruction end their absence from the stage and tear down the legendary Z7 in Pratteln with two murderous shows today and tomorrow. To celebrate this occasion, the German thrash titans release a new live video for Born To Perish, from their live album Born To Thrash: Live In Germany today. Destruction released the digital version of Born To Thrash: Live In Germany on May 8. The physical version arrives July 17.”

10 | Nick Sumner & The Assistance | Look Out Below

THE PRESS RELEASE: “New York-based rock trio Nick Sumner and The Assistance have released their new single Look Out Below. Despite delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the band is excited to share the single, and offer a refreshing, modernized version of their genre. The powerful rock track makes for an incredibly passionate release; containing elements of ’90s rock and influence from their home city, Look Out Below solidifies the trio’s collective identity. Written in the vein of a mantra to be repeated, Look Out Below is sure to be a summer rock powerhouse. About the single, the band states: This song is about someone realizing they’ve had something they were seeking and actively deciding to devote themselves to it. The lyrics feel hopeful, and positively move toward something. Despite chord changes that typically fall outside the mainstream, the masterful mix and production from Eric Oulundsen create a fully accessible, in your face rock song with strong drum and guitar sounds. The vocal performance is intimate, hitting with an open, melodic chorus hook, sure to be stuck in your head for days.”

11 | Twin Peaks | Whistle In The Wind (End Of Everything)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Chicago-based band Twin Peaks release their Side A EP and share a video for one of its tracks, Whistle in the Wind (End of Everything). Throughout the track, Jack Dolan’s hazy voice glides over drifting, melancholy guitar and slow tempoed percussion. Dolan further explains the track: “I came to writing this song around the same time my girlfriend had tested positive for the antibody test, meaning we had seemingly both contracted the virus early in quarantine. I remember having a false sense of security because of that, hopeful in what it meant for us. Are we safe now? Did we really just live through and survive something like this? Is life normal for us now? That brief moment ended up preceding so much more than we could’ve expected and this ‘impenetrable’ feeling I had then has since faded. It’s about coming to terms with a ‘new’ normal. The vulnerability it takes to stand up for the people around us, the soul searching and perspective it takes to honestly make sense of the current moment that will continue to evolve with or without you. It’s about breaking free from the safety of your own comfort zone and being honest with yourself about where you stand right now. We all need to take care of ourselves and each other more than ever, just don’t give up on the moment.”

12 | Jána | Buds

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Stockholm-based artist Jána released her new single Buds, alongside her stunning debut EP Flowerworks. Buds swings into focus with a lush, lilting guitar movement, backed by spiralling electronics and soft percussion, but it’s Jána’s sultry, emotive vocals which take centre stage. Co-written with Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano and co-produced by her Little Dragon drummer Erik Bodin, Buds stands as another hugely impressive and exciting release from Jána. Speaking on the release, Jána said: “Buds is a song about growth, but more specifically about growing apart from someone you love. Feeling a friction within a relationship without being able to change it. Perhaps at first the differences were what made the relationship stronger, but once the thing holding the relationship together is no longer there, those differences don’t match anymore.”

13 | Ekko Park | All Eyes On Me ft. Grant Nicholas

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ekko Park, one of New Zealand’s finest rock exports will release their new album, Horizon on Aug. 21. The first single from the album, All Eyes On Me, is out today and features guest vocalist Grant Nicholas of Welsh indie rock giants Feeder. Vocalist Joe Walsh says of the track; “All Eyes On Me was a reaction to me sitting in an airport bar and watching the very same news story being played out on four very different networks … four different TV screens … four different truths … and every eye in the bar transfixed … I felt like an extra in Black Mirror or a living breathing Orwell novel …”

14 | Balance Breach | Aurora

THE PRESS RELEASE:Balance Breach steps into the light of the metalcore world with the release of their debut album Dead End Diaries and a new lyric video for the song Aurora. The latter presents the more fragile and etheric side of Balance Breach. This powerful song, almost a ballad, has a perfect chorus to sing along and a bunch of melodies that will stick into the listener’s mind. Aurora also has some elements of modern rock in it, until the smashing breakdown kicks in reminding that this serenity won’t last forever. The lyrics share a story about the situation when you find that all of a sudden the universe has decided to collide you with a person, that can bring the light in the middle of the darkness you thought would never end. “When we were writing Aurora, we had only a few chords and an old clean melody. We knew that we have all the ingredients to write a perfect ballad, but months later I decided that the song has to be done somehow and I wrote it with my keyboard and laptop so that song got its frames. It supposed to be a perfect three-and-a-half-minute hit ballad but as always emotions take control and lead it to the way it should be. Aurora has an ethereal atmosphere that fits perfectly with the lyrics. Those two elements carry listeners through clouds, storm, and towards the most beautiful sunrise.”

15 | Mayflower Madame | Sacred Core

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Norwegian psychedelic post-punk outfit Mayflower Madame present the third single Sacred Core off their new second album Prepared for a Nightmare. “Sacred Core is a song about getting lost, drifting away and trying to find the way back to your safe haven — guided by swirling, hypnotic guitars and an insistent, heavy beat. Compared to the shoegazey post-punk of the album’s previous singles Vultures and Swallow, this track digs deeper into haunting, psychedelic territories, yet still maintaining our trademark dark and atmospheric sound,” says frontman Trond Fagernes.”

16 | Bear Grillz | Fire

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Trance-inducing moments of serenity turn chaotic as Bear Grillz lets the bass rip on his jittery single Fire. It’s the first single to be revealed off of his next EP, due out later this summer. “When quarantine first started, I reached out on Twitter to any rappers who could come up with some good pre-drop vocals. Well, an artist named Atarii from Salt Lake City reached out and had recorded several for me. I ended up using them all for this upcoming EP and he even sings + raps on 2 of the tracks. Fire is the first single with his pre-drop vocal.” Since exploding on the EDM scene in 2013, Bear Grillz has become a staple of the live music circuit. He’s toured the world over many times, with sell out shows across 14 countries and performances at major festivals. When he’s not on the road, he can be seen holding it down locally within the Colorado community.”

17 | All Them Witches | The Children Of Coyote Woman

THE PRESS RELEASE:All Them Witches will return with Nothing As The Ideal on Sept. 4. Unremittingly forward-looking, the new album is their most experimental work to date. Tape loops coincide with unplugged minimalism. It’s their heaviest album marked by their broadest atmospheres, intimate and pummeling. Nothing As The Ideal is also their first full-length album as a pared-down trio, their smallest iteration as a band. Today, they share the album track The Children of Coyote Woman.”

18+19 | James Elkington | Beachwood Park + Corridor Country

THE PRESS RELEASE: “After releasing his new album Ever-Roving Eye earlier this year, Chicago songwriter and guitarist James Elkington returns today with new digital single Beechwood Park b/w Corridor Country. The A-side is a warm, winding cover of The Zombies’ original. “I’m not really a nostalgic person, but I write about the past a lot as if it happened in a dream and I’m merely reporting on it. Beechwood Park by The Zombies has that same feel to me. On the face of it, it seems to be an idealized view of the past that’s almost trite in its remembrance of ‘summer rain’ and ‘country lanes,’ but the winding chord sequence and spidery guitar tone makes it feel like it’s happening in a different dimension, and I’m always drawn to music that does that. I worked up this version last year when I was sitting in a studio in upstate New York, waiting for a cab. The band I’d been working with had already left that morning, and the studio engineer was elsewhere, so I was on my own for some time. I can’t remember what prompted me to start working on it, but I do know that the studio was on a country lane, and it was raining, late summer.”

20 | Lord Orots | Conquering The Infinite Void

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In one night we can cross continents, wander through time, grow old, grow young, love, die, remember and forget. Broken hearts can mend or break again anew. Such is the world of dreams. So what wonders could be found in a dream that lasts 10,000 years? Surely we could see everything that has ever been and a million things that never were … and if that dream were part of a cycle that lasted for eternity? There would be no possibility that was unknown to us, nothing we had not experienced. This is the existence of Lord Orots, who sleeps upon his throne for 10,000 years, guarded by the dragon Nefaxion, before awakening to survey his realm, Latzine. Then, with his duties discharged, he returns once more to his dreams for another hundred centuries … With Conquering The Infinite Void, Lord Orots invites us into his dreams and we accompany him as he wanders an endless world of hope, promise, fear and danger.”

21 | Keaton Dekker | ITYK

THE PRESS RELEASE:Keaton Dekker releases his next single ‘ITYK’, a dreamy call-back to ’80s R&B-pop. On ‘ITYK’, Keaton’’s stunning vocals take centre stage underneath some of 2020s most intricate pop production, mixed by Tim Rowkins (Rina Sawayama). Melding the ’80s sensibilities of Lionel Richie with the modern synth-pop that wouldn’t be amiss from the ‘Drive’ soundtrack, Keaton’’s second single is an instant earworm that shows off the songwriting ability of the East London based visual artist and model. Keaton explains, ““I made ‘ITYK’ in my room whilst honestly wanting to be dancing by the tide at sunset. I wanted to create pure warmth with sound, like when sun rays hit the surface of your face. The song addresses miscommunication, and how it can create a huge misjudgement of character. The twists and turns of being in a friendship that isn’t 100% open and honest.””

22 | Binny | Deep End

THE PRESS RELEASE:Binny is the moniker of this Maryland-born and bred musician. His name derives from the Vietnamese Trị Bình, which means peace. Having sung before he could even talk, Binny’s musicality runs deep in his veins. Growing up in a family of musicians, the artist learnt piano from the early age of six, before self-teaching the guitar and eventually onto songwriting. Binny is unveiling Deep End. Narrating connecting with someone on a deeper level beyond the shallow aspects, the song touches on unintentionally falling for someone, acting as an anthem for f– boys with feelings. Binny reveals, “Personally, I’m afraid of expressing intimate emotions but this song talks about letting go of any fears and diving into all of those romantic feelings and enjoying it.”

23 | Ben Hobbs | Own Arms

THE PRESS RELEASE: “London multi-instrumentalist Ben Hobbs combines punchy riffs and vocal harmonies with elements of electronica on new single Own Arms. Own Arms explores the art of saying farewell to things that are holding you back.”

24 | The Trusted | The Innocent

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Trusted are Southend-on-Sea natives Dave Batchelor, Dale Holt-Mead, Fin Cunningham and Tom Cunningham. Initially starting out in secondary school, the band bonded over their mutual appreciation of a strong melody and atmospheric, edgy pop. Sharing an enthusiasm for 21st century Brit-rock led by the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen and The 1975, as well as classic late ‘70s new-wave icons such as The Clash and Elvis Costello, The Trusted thrive off their unique fusion of post-punk energy and storytelling. Today the band unveil The Innocent. Jangly guitars, upbeat drums and rich vocals emit a potent and feel-good sound, bursting with vibrancy and charisma. The Innocent is essentially a reaction to the band’s own naivety and inexperience. Evoking a mini indie, cinematic melodrama about wanting to deconstruct and reassemble the world, the song is a playful reaction to American ideals of believing you can do anything.”

25 | Guerrilla Ghost | The Immigrant Song

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Milwaukee hip-hop duo Guerrilla Ghost are preparing for the release of their second album We Get What We Deserve. The Immigrant Song is the second single from the album. While the song title may make people wonder if this is the group’s love letter to Led Zeppelin, this is hardly a classic rock homage, as is made very apparent from the get go. “This is for the land of the free, this is for the land of the brave” snarls Bad Graphics Ghost at the song’s opening. “This song is one of my personal favorites on the record and possibly one of the better songs we’ve written and recorded. Our dear friend and frequent collaborator Commakazee blessed us with her signature brand of harmony and melody to help drive the urgency of the song’s message home. I wrote this after watching a video of a young girl crying for her father after he was wrongfully arrested and sent to ICE concentration camps along the southern border. Being a father of two daughters myself, this moved me to the deepest pits of my heart and soul. I was moved to say something and to speak it loudly.”

26+27 | Micko & The Mellotronics | Noisy Neighbours + You Killed My Father ft. Neil Innes

THE PRESS RELEASE:Micko & The Mellotronics released their double A side single Noisy Neighbours / You Killed My Father. The two tracks that flank either side of the single are riotous examples of the lean, spiky guitar-driven sound that has seen the four-piece earn a dedicated base of fans already. Noisy Neighbours is given an explosive production fizz by ex-Banshee Jon Klein as frontman Micko Westmoreland delivers a deluge of dark thoughts and strange goings on – possibly imagined, possibly not – all bubbling away behind the closed doors and apparent calm of suburbia. Micko says: “I used to live in a housing co-op with a number of serial complainers. It never ceased to amaze me the amount of endless energy certain individuals would have for complaint. There was one particular woman nicknamed The Dragon, her histrionics were noteworthy — rich source material for a budding songsmith.” Backed by the intriguingly titled You Killed My Father, the track is blessed by the presence of another legend of music: Neil Innes. In what would prove to be one of his very last recording sessions before his passing in 2019, the much-loved songwriter behind The Rutles/Monty Python/Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band offered a final flourish of genius heard on the piano touches and string arrangements here.”

28 | In Earnest | Come Upstairs

THE PRESS RELEASE:Come Upstairs is an account of mental health from the perspective of a sufferer’s partner, aiming to encourage conversation around the topic. In Earnest are an alt/indie trio from Southend-on-Sea, U.K., fuelled by the songwriting of front-couple Sarah and Thomas. The single is written from Thomas’s perspective, as he urges Sarah not to give up hope. “In the wake of my partner’s mental health struggles, it feels like I spend every waking moment trying to keep a brave or positive face on and there are times when I find it difficult to maintain my own identity. We’re gradually learning how to combat negative thinking, but I’m usually the one who takes the weight and pulls her out of waves of depression.” Thomas’s emotive vocals are the centre-point to a song of desperation, a response to the band’s debut track Put Me Under. The intensity found in Come Upstairs will resonate with fans of Noah Gundersen, Bright Eyes and Julien Baker.”