Indie Roundup | 30 Cuts To Liven Up A Quiet Wednesday

Put some pep in your midweek with Naked Giants, Cold Beaches, Gas Pops & more.

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Naked Giants school you, Cold Beaches ride with somebody, Gasoline Lollipops share the misery, The Oracle steps up, Night Laser power up and more in your Wednesday Roundup. There are some real gems in here today, if I do say so myself. Just don’t watch that Oracle clip before bed.

 


PICKS OF THE DAY

1 | Naked Giants | High School (Don’t Like Them)

THE PRESS RELEASE:Naked Giants are set to release The Shadow on Aug. 21. The 11-song set was produced by Chris Funk of The Decemberists and follows the Seattle trio’s Green Fuzz EP (2019) and debut album Sluff (2018). Today, they premiere the video for the single High School (Don’t Like Them). The band say The Shadow “is a much more honest album — we’ve come to realize that the path to becoming a better person and bringing positivity into the world isn’t always linear, and there’s a lot of growth in taking an honest look at the ‘shadow-y’ parts of life. Whether it’s personal anxiety and depression or collective guilt and trauma, there’s always a part of yourself that’s hard to confront and understand. But The Shadow is all about facing that darkness and having the strength to bring it into the light.”


2+3 | Cold Beaches | Somebody + Ride

THE PRESS RELEASE:Cold Beaches is the psychedelic rock ’n’ roll brainchild of Sophia Nadia. The project began in 2015 when Nadia moved from the suburbs of Washington DC to Richmond, Va. Cold Beaches’ album Drifter arrives July 31, but releasing two singles arrive today! The first one is a music video for their single Somebody and the second is an audio track for their single Ride. Sophia has this to say about Somebody: “Somebody is definitely the music video I am most proud of. I worked extremely hard on it, and it almost exactly reflects my feelings regarding the nonconsensual objectification and reduction I deal with as a woman (of color) in the music industry. Sometimes, you don’t feel safe. Sometimes you want to barricade that metaphorical door and watch it, so no one comes in. This song is me thrashing on my guitar with a ton of fuzz, basically projecting that through my work.”


4 | Gasoline Lollipops | All the Misery Money Can Buy

THE PRESS RELEASE:Gasoline Lollipops slot themselves among the alt-country crowd, the rock crowd AND the Americana crowd. The songs on their new album, All the Misery Money Can Buy (due out Sept. 11) back it up. In sturdy, hard-bitten, no-nonsense elegies, frontman/songwriter/visionary Clay Rose takes snapshots of dusty wanderlust. It’s all masterfully concise, with 11 songs populated by restless souls who live entire lives in three minutes, mining triumph out of desperation, chasing the American Dream, and “choking on a pot of gold.” “What I took from Leonard Cohen was the value of a word,” Rose says. “If it’s not needed, it doesn’t go on the page. You whittle a lyric down to its essence, say it once, and that’s enough.”


5 | The Oracle | An Ascension

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Worcester, Mass.-based avant electronics project The Oracle unveils the video accompaniment to An Ascension. The track comes by way of the project’s debut Hypogeum, set for release this August. Inspired at once by the grandiosity of film scores and classical music, the bleakness of black metal, and minimalist ambient music, Hypogeum is dark and at times ritualistic with its themes and complimentary visuals touching upon the rise, betrayal, and ultimate fall of messiah-like figures and cult leaders. The video for An Ascension serves as the third of a six-part series that will ultimately culminate into one short film bridging together the record’s mysterious theme. Comments The Oracle, “An Ascension was filmed in one of Worcester’s many old repurposed mill buildings. The story continues as more layers of betrayal, paranoia, and multiple personalities begin to unfold.”


6 | Night Laser | Power To Power

THE PRESS RELEASE:Night Laser release their second video single Power To Power from their new eponymous album. “Power to Power immediately sets off the fire alarm — even though it was shot on a cold November evening. This might be due to the 30 kg gas that were blasted during the shooting of the video. But it’s more likely that the raw energy of this red-hot power metal anthem is responsible. The song tells about the injustice in the world: The rich guys grow richer by the minute, but for me everything always goes wrong. Or as Jesus would have said: The devil always takes a dump on the biggest turd. Time to fight back!” states Robert, the bass player of Night Laser.”


7 | The Bros. Landreth x RWB | Where We Are

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and The Bros. Landreth have once again joined forces to create an all-new video performance. The video for the Landreths’ Where Were We, from their 2015 Juno-winning debut album Let It Lie, features new choreography exploring feelings of loneliness and isolation brought on by social distancing guidelines brought on to reduce the spread of COVID-19. “As dancers, we express ourselves through movement,” says RWB Second Soloist Liam Caines. “We tried to capture what it was like for us in that moment and empathize with those who were going through the same thing. It’s easy to forget we don’t fight this by ourselves, and this video is our way of reaching out to say we are there with you.” Adds Dave Landreth: “The choreography speaks through these really simple, everyday movements. Each dancer’s ability to bridge the space between them is a real testament to their spirit. It was incredible to see.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

8 | Fast Romantics | Hallelujah, What’s It To Ya?

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Acclaimed indie-rock band Fast Romantics have released new single Hallelujah, What’s It To Ya?, the third track from the band’s highly anticipated new album Pick It Up, set for release on Aug. 7. Thematically, the track sees lead songwriter Matthew Angus reflecting on his religious upbringing as the son of a preacher. Although no longer religious, Angus had this to say about the meaning behind the track, “I feel like we’re all wired to believe and worship something. To aspire to something greater than ourselves. If we don’t believe in “god,” we most certainly believe in aliens, or ghosts, or at the very least, some universal law that governs the universe. Especially lately, with all of this unrest and division bubbling to the surface in the culture, I’ve been thinking a lot about how important it is to believe in something good, and to fight for those things.”


9 | Sarah Walk | Unravel

THE PRESS RELEASE:Sarah Walk will be dropping her Another Me album produced by Leo Abrahams (Regina Spektor, Belle and Sebastian, Paul Simon, Pulp, David Byrne, Brian Eno) on Aug 28. She just released the second single below, which like the record tackles her experience as a queer woman, learning to set boundaries and the institutionalized entitlement of men. She’s also in good company as a graduate of Berklee College of Music (St Vincent, Aimee Mann, Melissa Ethridge, etc).”


10 | The Sylvia Platters | Invisible Ink

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Have you ever met someone who left an inscrutable, yet indelible impression on you? Invisible Ink embodies that turbulence and ecstasy in a hook-filled, jangle pop guise. Recorded in February and March with Abbotsford producer Simon Bridgefoot, the new single finds the Vancouver band in all-out power pop mode. Invisible Ink features an at-turns taut and lush vocal delivery backed up by a jangly 12-string lead and lock-step drum and bass groove reminiscent of The Stone Roses. These elements fit snugly alongside subtle overdub flourishes like ceramic cups clanging in reverse during the third verse breakdown. “Working on this track with Simon was a lot of fun,” says The Sylvia Platters vocalist and guitarist Nick Ubels. “He has a unique, off-kilter pop sensibility and a really open-minded approach to creativity. I think this song really benefited from that approach and pushed us into some interesting new territory.”


11 | Hymn | Exit Through Fire

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Norwegian sludge metal duo Hymn have just unleashed a music video for Exit Through Fire, the leading single from their forthcoming second album Breach Us, which is set for release on Aug. 28. Hymn features singer/guitarist Ole Ulvik Rokseth and drummer Markus Støle. The pair have been working together for 13 years, with projects like Buckaduzz, Tombstones and more recently Sâver. They have also served as session musicians for a diverse range of Norwegian artists like Okay Kaya and Gundelach.”


12 | Video Age | Aerostar

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Restlessness is the first step towards pleasure. We make comfort out of discomfort, pleasure out of pain. That journey isn’t always a straight line, but at least we’re going somewhere real. “I had to move, Lord I couldn’t be still” is the unsettled way that Video Age’s new album and title track, Pleasure Line, begin. Pleasure Line is a salve that protects against cynicism — listening to this album, you can’t help but feel the world around you is full of romantic potential. In the hands of Video Age, even the mundanities of touring are transformed into a mood-lifting ode to their 1995 white Aerostar. When asked how he manages to stay so positive on the road, Ray says, “Playing music is a joy and a privilege.”


13 | Thunder Jackson | Led Astray

THE PRESS RELEASE: “L.A.-based Thunder Jackson releases his new single Led Astray with a vibrant, neon pink video. Led Astray follows last month’s release Find Yourself, both tasters of Thunder Jackson’s upcoming debut album, due for release later this year. A song centred around self-destruction and choosing to follow a darker path against your own better judgement, Led Astray spirals energetically, fusing erratic drum samples, warbling bass lines and a punchy horn section, with Jackson’s unmistakable falsetto — the light amidst the darkness. This is pop music at its most inventive and exuberant. Thunder says: “Led Astray is about a path that once sparkled and shined. A path you thought was the right one but is now the path leading you into destruction; leading you to places that are taking you further from the self you’ve worked so hard to discover. You pray, you call home, but nobody seems to pick up. Nothing seems to point towards the sun you once saw.”


14 | Jen Janet | Possession

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Alternative rock/metal vocalist Jen Janet has released her new single Possession. Released with a corresponding music video, Possession shows a return to her natural goth-rock roots. Possession is an eerie, heavy, and ethereal track all wrapped up in one — perfectly representative of Jen’s multi-faceted artistry. About the track, Jen states: “For Possession, this song and video illustrates the idea of belonging to someone, but through the idea of demonic possession. For example, you can “belong to” or be controlled by someone with more authority than yourself, and resent the person as a result. That was originally what the song was written about, and I decided that a fun way to visually represent this was with a demonic possession. I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural and I watch many horror movies, so this was a fun way to explore the horror genre through music and video.”


15 | Armand Hammer | Solarium/The Eucharist

THE PRESS RELEASE:Armand Hammer’s Shrines has only been out for one month and is deservedly being hailed as one of the best albums of the year. We dropped the amazing Charms video on the first day, and that’s a hard act to follow, so we decided to do a joint video for two of our favorite tracks on the LP and recruited two different artists to bring them to life. So here it is, animated by Shane Ingersoll and Myra Musgrove respectively, and featuring brief guest appearances by some of our peers who have also dropped great stuff this year.”


16 | Suicide Silence | Disengage

THE PRESS RELEASE: “California-based extreme metal titans Suicide Silence are proud to share the official live music video for Disengage from the July 6 London show of their Virtual World Tour, which runs until July 30. Each geo-gated stream will be approximately 90 min in length and will include a full production multi-camera live performance with full chat integration, market-specific mixed media & an extensive post-performance video Q&A.”


17 | Dominique Fils-Aimé | Old Love

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Montreal-based Dominique Fils-Aimé shares her video and single Old Love. Fils-Aimé won the Juno for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year 2020 last week for her album Stay Tuned! Speaking on the track, Fils-Aimé describes Old Love as a song about “accepting that the only constant in life is change. Letting go of the old to make space for the new.” Fils-Aimé’s latest album, Stay Tuned!, is the second album in a trilogy through which she explores the roots of African-American musical culture. Stay Tuned! delves into the civil rights movement of the ’60s” through jazz.”


18 | Pat Keen | All Along

THE PRESS RELEASE: “From Eau Claire, and now based in Minneapolis, Pat Keen has lived a few lives as a hired gun in bands such as Guerilla Toss, Ryan Power, Wei Zhongle, Ian Sweet and Humbird after cutting his teeth as a bassist and improviser at New England Conservatory. His solo album Cells Remain comes out on Aug. 21. Here’s what Pat says about the song All Along: “I look at All Along as a competition between my heart and brain for calmness. The song follows the path of one emotionally reflective day. This particular day pertains to the lyrics quite literally in that, yes, my sister called me because she heard that I was existentially stressed out through the family grapevine. She calmed me down and we had a really nice chat, which hasn’t always been easy for us. The song reflects the sense of accomplishment I feel in that relationship as well as a reconciliation between myself and my previous romantic relationship.”


19 Dehd | Month

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Chicago-based band Dehd release a new single and video for Month, from their new album Flower Of Devotion, out July 17. Month is a melodic, drifting track that fittingly sounds exactly like the end of summer. In the accompanying video, directed by Cal Fish and made entirely in quarantine, animated drawings appear over ambiguous video clips. “Month explores the cyclical nature of memory and how our relationship with a particular time changes through the years” says Jason Balla. “I’m fixed on summer and its inevitable return. Carefree and sun-kissed, there’s a shadow of loss, guilt and grief coming back round ’n’ round each calendar year.“


20 | The Bobby Lees | Wendy

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Bobby Lees are a young bone-shaking garage -rock band out of Woodstock, NY. In the past year they’ve played with The Chats, Future Islands, Boss Hog, Daddy Long Legs, Shannon & The Clams and Murphy’s Law. Their sound mixes classic garage-punk hits with raw and emotive storytelling. The Bobby Lees’ new record Skin Suit was produced by underground punk legend Jon Spencer of the Blues Explosion and will be released on July 17. Today they drop their new single Wendy.”


21 | Ian Wayne | Baby

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ian Wayne, the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and guitarist from Oregon, has shared Baby — the lead single from his new album Risking Illness, out Sept. 18. Of the song, Wayne says: “Baby is about an imagined longview of life in love. I think love can make us blind to our loneliness, and at other times, in our loneliness, we miss one another by inches. I believe that love is guided by optimism, which makes the gnashing of teeth along the way even sadder. I think this will be true for all of us, in some respect, at least once. Baby is written from this perspective.”


22 | Kris Delmhorst | The Horses

THE PRESS RELEASE:Kris Delmhorst recently announced the Aug. 14 release of Long Day in the Milky Way. Lush with layered vocals and immersive instrumentation, it finds the gifted lyricist at the height of her craft and working with a strong sense of purpose. This week, Delmhorst releases her cover of The Horses by Rickie Lee Jones. “For me, Rickie Lee Jones represents artistic fearlessness and uncompromising freedom,” Delmhorst says. “I don’t generally include covers on my albums, but while we were in the studio for this one we caught a version of The Horses and it ended up feeling like it belonged. I love how it resonates with the record’s themes, persistence, struggle, and hope. And I love the idea of RLJ’s presence gracing the proceedings like an honored guest, a patron saint.”


23 | Sleepmakeswaves | Zelda

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Australian instrumental post-rockers sleepmakeswaves have announced new music for 2020, three years since their 2017 release Made of Breath Only. The new project, titled These Are Not Your Dreams, will be released on July 17. “Every song from this series has been an experiment in how far we can push ourselves creatively and sonically… because what else is there? There’s so much going on all the time, why do people need more? We’ve set ourselves the challenge of answering that question every day we’ve worked on our material. And we wanted to work harder than ever to justify it in an age of limitless novelty.”


24 | Phantom Isle | Mar V

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Consisting of hypnotic synth lines, goosebump-inducing rhythm and a hint of dark and mysterious atmosphere, Mar V sees Phantom Isle stray from their art-pop roots with great success; highlighting their effortless capability to blend genres and moods for maximum effect — think LCD Soundsystem/Hot Chip-style indie-house. Keyboard player Joshua Pullen, who took the lead with writing the music says: “The song started as a remix of our previous single I Am Urs but became a very different beast when I was messing about with a new drum machine I bought. I was listening to a lot of Soulwax and Simian Mobile Disco at the time and loved how they would produce songs with a pounding single-note loop throughout.”


25 | Dark Rites | Goliath The Coward

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In the album The Dark Hymns (out Sept. 11, Dark Rites shape their music with the highest proficiency in unrelenting-intensity phrasal-riff death metal that vary its texture and pauses inertia long enough to ram a militant and uncompromising aesthetic down the throats of their listeners. Rippling textures of chords thrust home like a battlefield execution form the raw skin from which this band twist phrases that contort, transform and rediscover their origins as they mutate over the course of a song. The gavel-beat of fuzzblasted vocals pulses alongside a loping bass and rigidly sliding speeding guitar tremolo, forming a seething mass of impenetrable diatribe which alights above the head of a listener like a killing mood. While this band is most impressive on this album, and when excellent bring out the ferocity of Death metal with an unrelenting barrage of old school death metal technique, this music even at its most inflected is nearly monochromatic in its continuous rage.”


26 | Chris Stamey | A Brand-New Shade of Blue

THE PRESS RELEASE:Chris Stamey is best known for his work in the indie-rock idiom with The dB’s, Alex Chilton/Big Star’s Third and Chris Bell, but his last album was a jazz album (with guests like Branford Marsalis, Bill Frisell and Nels Cline). His new album A Brand New Shade Of Blue shifts gears to small-ensemble jazz vocals, as Stamey continues to re-invent himself. Today he shares the title track, featuring vocals by Brett Harris. “It all started late one night, when I tried to write a song called A Brand-New Shade of Blue. And failed. I had an idea where it should go but just couldn’t find it. Like a ball of yarn, it just kept unraveling. In the meantime, though, I was left sitting there at the piano … and guess what? Song after song, night after night, the tunes walked in and I tried to keep up. When I stopped, November was at an end, and yet I still had not gotten to the idée fixe here, the elusive sonic Sasquatch: the title song. It was only after I gave up on it pretty much altogether, however — after I turned my back on it — that Blue finally came out of hiding and tapped me on the shoulder.”


27 | The Mighty Orchid King | I Woke Early To Dial In To Some Sacred Frequency

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Like the ever-turning Wheel of Life, The Mighty Orchid King is in constant flux; it has welcomed nearly 20 members through its doors since inception and has materialized both as a ’60s-inspired jam collective and a bedroom project for poly-rhythmic explorations. Their debut LP, The Doctrine of Infinite Kindness, weaves the various aspects of the band’s history together; jam inspired tracks drift and sharpen into more meticulously developed solo creations. The album’s main theme is eco-anxiety, combining Kerouac-esque spontaneous prose with more direct protest songs about the destruction of our living Earth.”


28 | Cavern | Dove

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Maryland-based atmospheric post-rock trio Cavern will release their fourth full-length Powdered on Aug. 28. In advance of the record’s release, Cavern is pleased to unveil first single, Dove. Notes singer-bassist Rose Heater of the track, “Dove was one of the last songs I wrote lyrics for on the record. The words that kept popping up created images of my own experience with anxiety. The song ended up being my representation of a panic attack.”


29 | Lontalius | I’ll Be The Rain

THE PRESS RELEASE: “A delicate ballad from the onset, I’ll Be The Rain is built on the pureness of the guitar, piano melody and ultimately Lontalius’ soft vocals filling the atmosphere. An emotionally moving number that gracefully rises and falls, there is a beautifully redemptive aura that is present, deep between layers of pensiveness. A multi-disciplinary musician known for his lush, atmospheric pop songs, Lontalius built his status early but really became a statement artist following his debut album, I’ll Forget 17, recipient of the 2017 Taite Music Prize. Moving to L.A. has only taken him further; building a cult following and working with the likes of Ryan Hemsworth, Troye Sivan and now Eden on his latest venture.”


30 | Hush Forte | Dominicana

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Hush Fortehas returned with his euphonious new single Dominicana feat. Aaron, Myquale. It’s the latest track from the genre-defying artist ahead of a forthcoming compilation Look Closely, due later this year. Sharing the sentiment behind the track, Hush says: “When I made the beat, I was reflecting on my most recent relationship. Remembering some of the earlier moments, this song feels like the uncomfortable moment in a new relationship where I finally admit to myself that this girl has the power to make me feel really good, but also really crazy.”