Indie Roundup | 22 Tunes To Choose This Tuesday

Kendell Marvel, Owen Guns, Dirty Nil, Matt Berry and more make a day of it.

Kendall Marvel gets cooking, The Owen Guns run out the clock, The Dirty Nil are done with drugs (again), Skofee has phantom pains and more in your Tuesday Roundup. Yes, 13 is the same Matt Berry from What We Do In The Shadows, Toast of London, Mighty Boosh, IT Crowd and more. And no, he doesn’t sound anything like you expect.


1 | Kendell Marvel | Houston

THE PRESS RELEASE: “While in the studio recording his critically acclaimed Solid Gold Sounds, beloved Nashville singer-songwriter Kendell Marvel was hipped to the songs of Lee Hazlewood. During those sessions, co-producer Dave Ferguson introduced Marvel to one particular Hazlewood tune, Houston, that the team — along with Easy Eye Sound founder and co-producer Dan Auerbach — went on to record right then and there. While it didn’t make Solid Gold Sounds, Marvel knew that this recording was special, and decided to hold onto it for a later release. “I listened a few times and was intrigued by his phrasing of the song. So I listened to some more Lee Hazlewood stuff and instantly became a fan of his writing,” Marvel says. “Hazlewood was a melting pot of styles and gave zero shits about anything. He was a psychedelic outlaw way ahead of his time.” The “psychedelic outlaw” bit still comes across in Marvel’s version of Houston, albeit with a little more Nashville and maybe a little more psychedelic; the swirly phase-shifted guitar sound on Houston has long been a staple from the likes of Waylon Jennings to Pink Floyd. “This is the first time we’ve had an artist cover Lee Hazlewood at Easy Eye…it was long overdue,” says Auerbach.”

2 | The Owen Guns | It’s Too Late

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Australian hardcore punk act The Owen Guns are back with a new single It’s Too Late, a furious and frenzied two-minute punk anthem delivered with a true ’70s punk attitude. The Owen Guns are relentless, they exude the intensity of genuine punk rock and they are not going to let anyone forget about where the true roots of the genre came from. Although they’re a reasonably new band, The Owen Guns is made up of veterans of the live music scene — the members have paid their dues playing not only in Australian bands, but also in the case of the vocalist and drummer, in Canada and China respectively.  Unlike most of the current crop of punk bands, there no fake American accents or fear of offending people here. They don’t take themselves (or anyone else) too seriously and aren’t afraid to call it how they see it. The Owen Guns are heading to the studio soon to record an EP of hardcore punk tunes that will bring the riffs and the laughs. Keep an ear out.”

3 | The Dirty Nil | Done With Drugs

THE PRESS RELEASE: “It used to be that The Dirty Nil’s advantage over all other rock ‘n’ roll bands was that they had punchier riffs, sharper hooks, and snazzier collared shirts. But now that the world is in isolation mode, the Hamilton, ON trio can exploit yet another unique asset — the fact that singer/guitarist Luke Bentham, bassist Ross Miller, and drummer Kyle Fisher all live together in the same house. As a result, the Nil have been able to regularly convene and put the finishing touches on their next album — the follow-up to their 2018 Juno Award-nominated crusher Master Volume — without having to worry about social distancing, face masks, or their 40-minute Zoom time limit running out.” NOTE: If this song seems familiar, it’s because Bentham shared a clip recorded in his van a little while back. This is the full-band version.

4 | Skofee | Fantomlimb

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Los Angeles pop artist Skofee has announced the release of her EP Polished, due Sept. 21. Today, she shares the first single and visual that she filmed for Fantomlimb. In discussing the song, Skofee said “It details the feeling of longing for someone who isn’t there for you in the way they once were emotionally. Reliving the best parts of a relationship which no longer exist, while catering to the needs of someone who has fallen out of love with you.” The five-track Polished EP explores uncomfortable situations that lead to growth, painful self-awareness and forgiveness with poetic lyrics. “The EP title is sort of ironic, because the songs have been polished and produced but the lyrical content shows a lot of dysfunction. It’s also about learning to love your shortcomings and go easy on yourself as you make mistakes and discover the ugly sides of yourself,” said Skofee.”

5 | Thousand Below | 171 xo

THE PRESS RELEASE:Thousand Below, described as a “post-hardcore slamdown band” by their hometown San Diego paper, have shared the video for the song 171 xo. The track lives on the band’s sophomore effort, Gone In Your Wake, out now. “171 xo has been a personal favorite of ours since we finished recording Gone In Your Wake and it has grown into one of our favorite songs to play live,” says singer James Deberg. “This song is about the stage in a relationship that sometimes happens after you split up — where it seems things have finally ended once and for all, but you still occasionally see one another. It’s about the hopeless phase of denial that this stage ultimately becomes in which other people have come in between you and the person you love, but you both still have feelings you are trying to suppress from one another. I wanted to capture the frustration of having someone surface back into your life as only a fraction of the part of your world they used to be, and the frustration that comes from someone you love only making you a priority when other people in their life have hurt them and they wish to feel something safe again.”

6 | Ellis | Lover

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ellis — Ontario, Canada’s Linnea Siggelkow — shares a new collection of covers recorded in her bedroom, following the release of her debut album Born Again in April. For her Bedroom Covers collection, Ellis has taken on Taylor Swift’s Lover, Dinosaur Jr.’s I Got Lost and The Used’s Buried Myself Alive. Her Lover cover is accompanied by a lo-fi video which takes us on sunset walks through dreamy cityscapes. About the covers, Ellis says: “I haven’t been feeling very inspired to write lately. The world is feeling equally chaotic and slow, my mind feels very strange, so I have focused on learning other people’s songs and it’s been sort of a nice break. I wanted to cover songs by artists that have influenced me musically and as a songwriter.”

7 | Alex Izenberg | Lady

THE PRESS RELEASE: “On July 31, Alex Izenberg will release his enthralling 11-track opus Caravan Château. A followup to 2016’s Harlequin, Caravan Château finds Izenberg looking inward, longing for connection, and testing his boundaries. Today, Izenberg offers a new glimpse at his forthcoming record with Lady, a peppy piano-and-string shuffle led by Izenberg’s crooning voice; “The devil is alive in America.” Lady is accompanied by an animated video done by Bráulio Amado. Says Izenberg: “Lady was an instrumental song Ari Balouzian made for an upcoming film produced by Darren Aronofsky. He FaceTimed me and showed it to me and I was really into it and he let me sing on it and have my own version called Lady.”

8 | Vita and the Woolf | Confetti

THE PRESS RELEASE:Vita and the Woolf, also known as Jen Pague, is sharing the song and video for Confetti, the third single from her upcoming album Anna Ohio, due out Aug. 21. Pague says, “The downfall. Anna, waking up, fucking up, partying too much, going on a bender. Staying up till 4 in the morning, drunk texting her ex, working a job she hates. It’s also the realization that if she leaves this life she’s created for herself, she will miss her friends, family, everything she has ever known. Anna, the partier, the drunk, the loud mouth — is ready for a change.”

9 | Bendrix Littleton | Deep Dark South

THE PRESS RELEASE:Bendrix Littleton announced his debut album Deep Dark South (releasing Sept. 25) and shared a video for the contemplative lead single and title track which is a compilation of iPhone clips shot around the time of the record’s creation and edited together by Will Taylor (from rock duo Hovvdy, whose latest album Heavy Lifter was produced by Littleton). On Deep Dark South, Littleton conjures the feeling of looking up at the Southern night sky “and realizing how big and full of wonder it is down here.” Built on a foundation of steady, elegant piano chords, Bendrix’s gently picked guitar loops create a lush soundscape, making space for his hazy, solitary voice to ponder solitude and time.”

10 | Doug Locke | Why?

THE PRESS RELEASE: “I went to the studio with the intention of writing a dance song, but after receiving news of yet another vicious attack, I broke down in tears,” says independent alternative artist Doug Locke about the title single from his recent EP Why? (released May 26). “On the heels on what feels like a never ending barrage of ongoing police brutality, murder at the hands of law enforcement and rising hate crimes, I felt broken.” With this year’s seemingly continual news cycle of violence, racism, and, in far too many cases, senseless death of Black men and women arising from the volatile environment and socio-political atmosphere, Locke felt the pressure, the tension and the oppression that he as a Black man was confronted with not only in recent time but his whole life. “When I heard the news of the George Floyd murder on the heels of the murders of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and the Christian Cooper incident in Central Park, I knew I had to release the song. It is my response to the feelings that have been rising in me ever since my heart broke in 2012 with the murder of Trayvon Martin.”

11 | Owen Barney | Thank Her For That

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Rising country artist Owen Barney releases his debut video for his hit single Thank Her For That. “This is my FIRST music video so when we were putting together the concept, I was kind of nervous because I didn’t know what to expect or how it would turn out;” shares Owen. “But as soon as we started the shoot, I was completely into it and had a lot of fun. All it took was having a couple of drinks, hanging by the pool, picking some guitar and humming a few bars. Having to stay home while making this video ended up being the best part about it. I don’t think it gets much better than that.” Born and raised in Toronto, Barney has been strumming the guitar since he was just 7 years old, influenced by country heavy-hitters Eric Church, Dean Brody, and Jason Aldean. He has played shows around Toronto from the age of 14, and has spent the last few years honing his skills as a performer.”

12 | Native Harrow | Shake

THE PRESS RELEASE:Native Harrow — the Pennsylvania duo of Devin Tuel and Stephen Harms — announce their new album Closeness, out Sept. 4. Featuring 10 new songs written and produced by the band, Closeness is a reflection on time’s inexorable churn and the fragility of life, a stirring collection that imbues impeccably crafted Laurel Canyon folk, baroque pop, and rootsy psychedelia with radical empathy and open-hearted solidarity. Watch the video for Shake, a buzzing, fuzzing rocker that explores the loneliness of anxiety and the sting of absence. Conceived, directed and shot by the band while in quarantine — with no previous filmmaking experience to their credit — it captures Native Harrow singer Devin Tuel awaiting dinner guests who never arrive, in the shine of an immaculately captured golden hour. “I dug myself out from the well to make Closeness, a record about love,” professes Tuel. “When I sat down to begin what would become Closeness I felt that above all, I wanted to make it clear that, while the clock is moving, we can hold onto one another and maybe there will be tears but there will also be laughter.”

13 | Matt Berry | Something In My Eye

THE PRESS RELEASE:Matt Berry has shared Something In My Eye, the first track from his forthcoming album Phantom Birds, due on Sept. 18. Phantom Birds is an extraordinary album that not only see Berry on vocal duties but for the most part playing most of the instrumentation, aided and abetted by legendary pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole and like-minded drummer Craig Blundell (Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett). Talking about the album opener Something In My Eye, Berry explains: “it’s a song about putting a brave face on. telling everyone you’re fine, when in reality you’re really not at all. Not necessarily something you always hear from a male perspective.”

14 | The Loft Club | True Love

THE PRESS RELEASE:Dreaming The Impossible, the debut album from British psychedelic indie band The Loft Club, will be released worldwide on Aug. 7. In anticipation of the new release, the band are very pleased to share one of its featured tracks, the stately True Love, glowing with sun-kissed harmonies and acid-washed guitars. “This is an album for the purists,” says The Loft Club frontman/songwriter Daniel Schamroth. “I’m one of those old school romantics who still practices the dying art of donning the headphones and consuming an album from start to finish via candle light, with sleeve in hand. I don’t know if anyone listens to albums like that anymore, but I certainly do.”

15 | JC Ordonez | Soleil

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Offering a fresh spin on piano house with buoyant beats and soulful vocal chops, Miami-based JC Ordonez releases Soleil. JC Ordonez is an up-and-coming name that should not be overlooked in the world of house music. After establishing himself last year with his debut EP, Girls Dance Dirty, Ordonez has continued to push compelling new music this year. Ordonez’s new single Soleil keeps the beat going with refreshing summer sounds, showcasing that the young producer is poised for a breakout year.”

16 | Emmy The Great | Dandelions / Liminal

THE PRESS RELEASE:Emmy The Great has announced news of her new solo album April / 月音 due Oct. 9. First single Dandelions / Liminal is a song about being OK with uncertainty, and learning to co-exist with your own sorrow, and the sorrows of the world. “The album was recorded over two weeks in February 2018 in the Creamery in Greenpoint. It’s the fastest record I’ve ever made, which is ironic because its release was later delayed to accommodate a year’s maternity leave. I produced it with Bea Artola and Dani Markham, who was in my US band and also played drums. Jeffrey Fettig, our guitarist, also engineered, and the rest of the players were mostly friends as well as musical collaborators. These sessions became a kind of goodbye, and I left New York for Hong Kong permanently a few weeks after they finished.”

17 | Hot Nuns | Got What You Wanted

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Norwegian power punk rock duo Hot Nuns, featuring members of Blood Command, shared a brand new song titled Got What You Wanted just a few months following the release of their critically acclaimed new EP Rude, Dumb & Anxious. The Bergen-based bass and drums duo comprised of Yngve Andersen (bass/vocals) and Sigurd Haakaas (drums/vocals) have released two EPs to date, Wrong Again in 2019 and Rude, Dumb & Anxious, and both met with great critical acclaim.”

18 | Mike Block | Expression Of Concern

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Pioneering cello player, composer, singer and educator Mike Block has announced his latest album, Guzo, will be out Aug. 21. Guzo, which combines elements of North African, Middle Eastern and Persian musical traditions, will be Block’s third album, in three different genres, in less than one year. In conjunction, Block has released the record’s first single, Expression of Concern, featuring Syrian oud virtuoso Kinan Adnawi. Guzo means “journey” in the Amharic language. The record features eight original compositions, each inspired by a different culture and style of music: Malian, Levantine Arabic, Indian, Nigerian, Persian, Gulf Arabic (Khaliji), Ethiopian, and Chinese. Inspired by the idea that different parts of our personality manifest when interacting with different types of people (i.e. you act differently around your boss than with your friends), or when you are in different environments (you act differently at home than at church), Block “wanted to see what kind of composer I might become within different musical environments and languages.”

19 | Ghoul | The Nectarnomicon

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Everyone’s favorite masked mutants, Ghoul, are back with The Nectarnomicon, a slime-drenched single slab of atonal protoplasm straight from the stygian bowels of Creepsylvania. When roused from a jenkem-induced slumber for comment, guitarist and vocalist Digestor said, “Huh? We recorded that like four years ago. It’s just coming out now?!” Expect more missives from the depths of Creepsylvania in the weeks to come.”

20 | Isaacjacuzzi | Ooh Lord

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Seattle-based songwriter, producer, rapper and singer Isaacjacuzzi pursues a moody and atmospheric fusion of reggae with a modern blend of trap music. Influenced by his upbringing among his West Indian family, Isaac creates a unique sound while staying true to his roots. Isaacjacuzzi seamlessly displays his musical range on his new album Till It’s Over. It’s a testament to Jacuzzi’s new wave singer/songwriter talents and gives us a peak of what’s yet to come from the emerging artist.”

21 | Bone Acre | Hands To The Sky

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Los Angeles desert rockers Bone Acre have been hard at work on their second album, the followup to 2018’s Oll Korrect. Now they deliver a brand-new single Hands To The Sky, giving us a sonic preview into what to expect! Hands To The Sky is taken from the self-proclaimed desert rockers, upcoming sophomore album Taciturnity. Hands To The Sky is a refreshing glimpse into the versatility of this dynamic indie rock act. Driving rhythms, soulful and soaring vocals all delivered with smouldering intensity that matches the heat of the desert sun.”

22 | Zenith Moon | Gypsy

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Do you ever wonder what would happen if Led Zeppelin went home with the Baby Animals and Aretha Franklin after a wine mixer? That beautiful night would surely bring into existence a delicious love child named Zenith Moon. Hailing from Melbourne, Zenith Moon bring a retro and classic rock fusion that draws in the best influences from that glory era, delivering raunchy female fronted rock that harks the sound of European counterparts Blues Pills, Pristine and Forever Still. Their latest single  Gypsy continues the band’s history of producing smooth, soulful indie rock. A perfect blend of charming vocal melodies and raw, energetic performances, Gypsy captures Zenith Moon’s artistic range through emotional intensity and skilful musicianship.”