Indie Roundup | 16 Songs For An Easy Monday

Kick off your week with Cucumaras, Bethany Thomas, King Bull, PSSR & more.

Cucamaras cool it, Raye Zaragoza questions it, Devon Kay & The Solutions celebrate it, King Bull drive it and more in today’s casual Monday Roundup. You’ll notice there are not one but two singer-songwriters sharing songs titled Gold today. Read whatever you like into that. But don’t skip that PSSR track. It’s definitely got it.


1 | Cucamaras | Keep It Cool

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Just as things are heating up this July, Cucamaras make their return with a refreshing new single: Keep It Cool. A song that finds Cucamaras refusing to break a sweat amid a Summer like no other, Keep it Cool is laid-back of vibe and languorous of delivery; a fuzzed-up cocktail of surfing guitar riffs, laconic vocals and heatwave-hot solos that all add-up to track knowingly true to its title. A tale as old as time, with a twist, Keep it Cool finds Cucamaras hung up on a girl, trapped in a love triangle and out-muscled by another guy — and his considerable A.C. unit. It’s written by the band’s Olly Bowley, who says: “It’s about liking a girl who has a boring boyfriend with a very well air-conditioned room … ” Taking the mic for a track packed with razor quips and dead-pan delivery, Bowley sings calculated words of caution: “Are you really considering? It wouldn’t be sensible, you’re only dispensable, to him”; in the slim hope of getting one over his refrigerated rival.”

2 | Raye Zaragoza | The It Girl

THE PRESS RELEASE:Raye Zaragoza is an award-winning singer-songwriter who carries an acoustic guitar and a message. The It Girl, the Tucker Martine-produced track, details Zaragoza’s personal struggles with love and acceptance as a multicultural brown woman due to society’s western expectations of women. The funk fueled indie rock tune is her outcry for diverse representation in the media. Zaragoza confides “Growing up, all I ever wanted to be was the it girl. I thought that meant I needed to be a pretty blonde princess Barbie who met her Prince Charming and rode off into the sunset. This fantasy left me with immense inner turmoil and self-hatred. In high school, I would even lighten my skin with lemon juice, dye my hair lighter, and wear blue contacts. I truly thought that in order to be beautiful, you had to be white. The It Girl is my outcry for diverse representation in media, a plea to throw out the old rule book of western expectations of women. I am proud to be a multicultural brown woman with insecurities and a vibrant intersectional identity that I continue to grapple with.”

3 | Devon Kay & The Solutions | 252 Brighton Ave.

THE PRESS RELEASE:Devon Kay and the Solutions are here to provide you with the soundtrack to this unique summer. The band has a knack for penning lyrics covering anxiety, grief, and being genuinely sad and setting them against incredibly energetic and fun pop songs. Their new single, 252 Brighton Ave., is a bouncy pop-punk ode to Boston that is amplified by the addition of a brass section. The accompanying music video will surely help you pass your time daydreaming about when we’ll be able to enjoy live music again. 252 Brighton Ave. is a step in a much larger direction for The Solutions. With the addition of Jacob Horn (Trombone), Jake Levinson (Bass), Ian Terry (Trumpet), & Joram Zbichorski (Keyboards), the band can now dip into a whole new world of sounds. Pulling inspiration from a love of pop punk and ska to new wave influence to big band horn lines, The Solutions are open to expanding the “ska-punk” genre to something you don’t need to apologize for liking… modern ska fans get it.”

4 | King Bull | The Depender

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Proving that rock truly lives, The Depender encompasses ’70s rock and punk with an angsty vibe and some earthy streetwise riffs. Canada’s King Bull are ready to tell their story to audiences around the world, who are sure to get caught up in the infectious songwriting and uplifting delivery. King Bull are powered by a punk-tinged, rock-ignited fuel, and fired up by intricate licks, buzz-cutter guitar tones and uniquely edgy vocals.”

5 | Vaya Futuro | El Abuelo

THE PRESS RELEASE:Vaya Futuro will release El Peso Del Mundo on Sept. 4. Their fourth full-length LP (The Weight of the World in English) includes themes of isolation and trauma; a diary of what happens when a person becomes shaped by hate while reaching into the darkest feelings of humanity. Today, they share the video for album opener El Abuelo — a tale about the relationship between humans and nature. “I always wanted to start a record with just vocals because you don’t exactly know where it’s headed,” says the band’s Luis Aguillar. “The lyrics start with the teachings of a grandfather to his grandson told in a fantastic way, when they get a glimpse of a mythological creature and the moral implications of catching such a creature or any other type of life to the benefit of humanity. The video expands on that idea and depicts images of exploitation of natural resources and contrasts between modern life and nature. It also starts with an interview with the now-deceased grandfather of Sergio Valdez, director of the video.”

6 | Leanne Tennant | Record Stores

THE PRESS RELEASE: “U.K.-born alternative-pop singer-songwriter Leanne Tennant has shared the video for Record Stores, taken from her recently released album, Happiness Is… Taking its time and revealing a delicate balance of tenderness and the modernity surrounding alternative pop, Happiness Is draws the listener on an emotional journey alongside the songstress. Record Stores stands as a triumphant sonnet against all metaphorical “bad days”, encouraging self-care and taking joy in the simple aspects of life. The songstress elaborates: “Record Stores is about the power of music and how it has the ability to change someone’s mindset, and make friends with the black dog. We play it at our weddings, we play it at our funerals and it’s the soundtrack to nearly every important milestone in our lives. Music is necessary and important.”

7 | Sergeant Thunderhoof | Muramasa

THE PRESS RELEASE: “To celebrate the upcoming release of Howling Giant and Sergeant Thunderhoof’s progressive split album Turned To Stone Chapter II: Masamune & Muramasa on Aug. 7, Sergeant Thunderhoof share a mind-blowing 21-minute long animated movie for the track Muramasa. Enter the Japanese swordsmith’s legend now! Instead of the typical approach with two bands contributing stand-alone sides of a record, Howling Giant and Sergeant Thunderhoof wanted to write an album that was thematically and sonically cohesive. The result is a 40-minute piece of ambitious songcraft created by two riff-prog legends leaving another impressive mark on the heavy rock landscape.”

8 | PSSR | Last Time

THE PRESS RELEASE:Last Time is the brand new, full-force rock ’n’ party song from New York’s PSSR. Last Time is an all-out party song, with a strut totally exuding the energy of the NYC rock club scene. 2020 has had its share of ups and downs but PSSR are more than happy to show you the biggest party of your lifetime! “When was the last time you had a good time? For some it could have been yesterday. For others it may seem like forever… Hopefully for all of you the answer will be, right now when you hear Last Time.’’

9 | Hillbilly Herald | Born To Be Wild

THE PRESS RELEASE:Hillbilly Herald is all about blue collar rock ‘n’ roll for the working man. From the Southern rock influence of Lynyrd Skynyrd to the streetwise rock sound of Guns N’ Roses, Hillbilly Herald has you covered. Born To Be Wild, the latest single from L.A.’s Hillbilly Herald, is a cover of the Steppenwolf rock classic. It features blazing guitar, an energetic tempo and adds a raw swagger and new life to the track.”

10 | Gypsy Pistoleros | The Crazy Loco Loquito

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Crazy Loco Loquito is the new single from UK’s Gypsy Pistoleros. The Crazy Loco Loquito is taken from their upcoming album The Greatest Flamenco Sleaze Glam Band Ever: The 18 Track Anthology. Gypsy Pistoleros are still something truly unique and interesting in today’s predictable musical landscape. A sound and style that mixes sleazy glam punk rock with flamenco influences with a shout out to Mexican folklore and Spanish tendencies. The sound is flamenco in a head-on collision with punk/rock riffs, pounding bass and thrashing drums. The songs span madly in the best rock ‘n’ roll tradition with big hooks, attitude, and sleaze. This hybrid rocks.”

11 | E.M.M.A. | Gold

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Seven years on from her celebrated debut Blue Gardens, acclaimed U.K. composer and producer E.M.M.A. returns with her second album Indigo Dream. On Indigo Dream, some of which dates back to demos made in 2015, E.M.M.A. pushes the synth-led melodies that have characterised her work since the start to their emotional extremes, exploring “the fluid nature of a dream” across nine beautiful tracks. “Dreams help us understand our personal truths and reveal our real worries and wants”, E.M.M.A. explains, “but they also flip reality on its head. I wanted to explore many intertwined streams of unconsciousness, which swirl in and out across the album’s ‘tracks’. It is a form of escape but also non-fiction.”

12 | Jenny Banai | Gold

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Vancouver songwriter Jenny Banai has announced her sophomore album Couchwalker will arrive Sept. 17. Banai has now shared the song Gold. Discussing the inspiration behind Gold, Banai states, “One day, driving around Vancouver, I had this image pop into my head of golden streets above our own. An existence that is unseen, but somehow covers our reality (to use the limitations of language). That there is a reality existing at the same time as our own, where peace and truth come from, where ancient and ageless hands are working, ‘softening, moving, molding.’ So often our human hands hurt; they ache and they inflict, they pull and they pound. At the end of the song, I share the metaphor of a clay vessel shattering: ‘where the stiff clay shatters and the world grasps its heart’. I ask these ancient hands, ‘will we find you there, with hands in layers old, will you lift us? Our forms inlaid with gold?’ ”

13 | Henry Fong & Knock2 | What’s the Move

THE PRESS RELEASE:Henry Fong and Knock2 encourage listeners to bop with the groove on their high-energy collaboration What’s the Move, featuring spitfire verses from DJ General Degree. Says Fong: “I really love what Knock2 and I were able to create together on this one. It’s a super fun mix of UK Bassline with SoCal Vibes and Dancehall elements that I hope people are going to love!” Fong continues to evolve dance music with a forward-thinking fusion of global sounds. What’s The Move is his second collaboration with Jamaican dancehall artist General Degree, following last year’s single Jump In The Line.”

14 | Aborted Fetus | Invasion of Bloodsucking Insects

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The world may seem to be in a permanent state of change and uncertainty at the moment, but there are still some things that you can trust. When the primal roar of Aborted Fetus shakes the Ural Mountains, then you know that an album of monstrous death metal is about to be unleashed. The passing years become the passing decades but these Russian beasts just get heavier and heavier with the passage of time and no-one is going to be disappointed by their latest invocation of evil. Pyramids Of Damnation is the seventh full length album from Aborted Fetus and it demonstrates an unflinching dedication to the art of death. Featuring some of the heaviest songs that the band have ever recorded, steeped in the rites and rituals of ancient Egypt and the flesh ravaging curses of vengeful gods, it captures an atmosphere and intensity that goes beyond anything the band have released before. For a first taste of Pyramids Of Damnation, here’s the track Invasion Of Bloodsucking Insects!”

15 | Crawford Mack | Depends On Where You Stand

THE PRESS RELEASE:Crawford Mack reads between the lines on the melodious Depends On Where You Stand. Ahead of his debut solo album set to drop in the fall, the Glaswegian singer-songwriter teases listeners with new offering. With his music and lyrics drawing from a voracious appetite for reading of literature, Depends on Where You Stand weaves a string-led melody of guitars around the tale of two individuals struggling to find a middle ground of communication. It is simple, effective and affecting.”

16 | Bethany Thomas | I’m Not Sorry and I’m Not Scared

THE PRESS RELEASE: “You may have heard Chicago singer/actor/songwriter Bethany Thomas somewhere … but was it on college rock radio or the classical music station? Was she singing with Robbie Fulks or The Mekons? Was it in a Gershwin opera? Was she fronting a Lou Reed tribute band? Or maybe some drag show you ended up at one night. Yes. These are all correct. Thomas is a motherf**king shapeshifter and she’s ready to unleash some sounds that only she can make on her debut album ​BT/SHE/HER​, out Aug. 28. The scorching, screlting opener, I’m Not Sorry And I’m Not Scared, kinda says it all. “I no longer feel beholden to apologize for my body,” BT expounds. “My color, my size, the places I go or the space I occupy. If there’s a problem, it is surely yours.”