Indie Roundup | 28 Tracks For Your Thursday Playlist

Jaga Jazzist, Ric Wilson, Terrace Martin, Be Well, Zheani & more of today's treats.

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Jaga Jazzist get animated, Ric Wilson & Terrace Martin do the wave, Be Well go into the light, Zheani flows like lava, The Oracle walks a hard road and more in your Thursday Roundup. Scroll down to sample new goodies from Nils Lofgren, Andy Shauf and more. And don’t sleep on that Era Bleak cut.

 


PICKS OF THE DAY

1 | Jaga Jazzist | Tomita

THE PRESS RELEASE:Jaga Jazzist unveil their new single Tomita (an edit of the epic 13 mins 47 secs album version) and an accompanying video directed and animated by Jengo. True to form, the track itself pays homage to Japanese composer and pioneering synth player Isao Tomita, evolving and unravelling across multiple movements embodying the Norwegian octet’s rich, expansive sonic signature. Jengo’s animations are the perfect foil, documenting the epic journey of a mysterious cloaked figure. “The upbeat pace of the song felt fitting to have the character run the whole time, tearing through the desert barely stopping to appreciate the view, with the warm hues of the desert echoing the strong red color of the album cover. Stylistically I knew it had to feel epic and grand yet very minimal and clean, so I was looking at video games for inspiration, mostly Zelda and Journey, some anime and some ’70s sci-fi book covers for the scale and the surrealist feel.” Jaga Jazzist will release their new album Pyramid on Aug. 7.”


2 | Ric Wilson & Terrace Martin | Don’t Kill The Wave

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Chicago-based musician, activist, and organizer Ric Wilson and Grammy-nominated producer Terrace Martin are thrilled to share their new video for Don’t Kill The Wave, a standout track off the pair’s collaborative EP, They Call Me Disco. Don’t Kill The Wave is joyful and motivating. Its accompanying video, directed by A Solo Vision, is reflective of its energetic spirit as Wilson and his friends have a living room dance party. “I made this song for the dance floors at the block party, the cookout, the weddings, the rallies, the covid19 living room clubbbbbbbbs,” says Wilson.”


3 | Be Well | Morning Light

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The relative newcomers formed from hardcore and metal veterans, Be Well, shared their blistering new single Morning Light with an accompanying lyric video. Clocking in just under the two-minute mark, Morning Light reflects on past failures and the urge to feel truly alive tying into the album’s deeply personal themes of anxiety, depression, and moving forward for your loved ones. The fervid new track is taken from Be Well’s debut full-length album, The Weight and The Cost, due out on Aug. 21.”


4 | Zheani | Lava

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Australian rapper, songwriter, and artist Zheani shared a whimsical look into her mind with the release of a music video for single Lava. The clip, created in collaboration with artist, Mik Shida, finds Zheani in her own fantasy world split through states of Zen and bursts of animated colour, as she summons a friend to cure her loneliness. Serving as the opener of The Zheani Sparkes EP, the song showcases a uniquely Zheani sound often described as Fairy Trap, combining trap motifs with elements of art-pop. The quirky beat found on Lava is sprinkled with autotuned affirmational lyrics painting a picture filled with tropical vibes and beautiful creatures. Zheani states: “Lava represents happiness. It is an anthem for going on a holiday in your mind. At this point in my life I am happy in my heart but with the current state of the world, expressing it outwardly feels performative. For me it’s comical watching myself trying to express “happiness” as a convincing performance for the camera. Lava itself was very much “fake happiness until you make happiness” and I hope like a placebo it has that effect on others during a time it’s probably needed the most.”


5 | The Oracle | V. The Road To Heaven

THE PRESS RELEASE:Hypogeum is the impending new full-length from avant electronics project The Oracle. 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 paranoia and the rise and fall of messiah-like figures and cult leaders. In advance of Hypogeum, the mysterious outfit is pleased to unveil the visual companion to The Road To Heaven. The clip serves as the fifth of a six-part video series that will ultimately culminate into one short film bridging together the record’s shadowy theme. Comments The Oracle, “In the penultimate part of Hypogeum’s short film, we follow The Oracle as he struggles along the path to find his true destiny that has eluded him until this point.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

6 | Swagger Rite | Like That

THE PRESS RELEASE:Swagger Rite releases the official video for his new track Like That. The video, directed and edited by Rodzilla, with creative direction by Rodzilla, Alex Snow and Troy Crossfield was filmed in Toronto and features Swagger ballin’ in a white Rolls Royce Phantom convertible, passionately calling out his adversaries and pumping his own tires. The video for Like That was produced by Troy Crossfield from Crossfield House Productions, with additional artwork by James Stamler. Lyrically, Like That sees Swagger switching lanes with his lyrical cadence. Veering from his trademark authoritative presence to a more indifferent and nonchalant approach, Swagger still maintains the braggadocio demeanor to which we have grown familiar. Like That is calling out people that consistently put out negative energy, show hate, and focus on other people’s lives instead of working on their own craft.”


7 | Hauler | The Widow’s Vow

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Seamlessly blending and bending roots, rock, and traditional Cape Breton Celtic music together into a hearty homemade soup that can dynamically have you hanging off every lyric — or knock you flat on your arse — Cape Breton’s contemporary Celtic trio Hauler have been simmering on the stove and are now ready to serve themselves up with the release of their debut album. Familiar faces from saltwater funk trio Slowcoaster Steve MacDougall and Mike Lelievre have been sharing stages since long before they had any to play on, bringing hard-hitting pop-rock to the masses between Cheticamp and China for almost 20 years, and this represents a timely and natural return to their acoustic roots. Teaming up with fiddler Colin Grant, the trio weave traditional Irish and Scottish ballads, indie folk originals, and traditional and contemporary tune instrumentals with a modern acoustic approach that proves Cape Breton music can reassuringly re-invent itself.”


8 | Crushed Velvet & the Velveteers | As Far As We Know

THE PRESS RELEASE:Alan Evans’ latest musical project, Crushed Velvet and the Velveteers, release the powerful new single As Far As We Know, featuring the vocal stylings of D.C.-based musician Brother GoodLove, as well as pianist Darby Wolf, Alex Lee-Clark and Brian Thomas of BT ALC Big Band, baritone guitarist Ryan Hommel, and string player Cynthia Tolson. “I originally wrote the music for As Far As We Know back in May 2019 with another VLM project in mind,” shares Evans on the collaborative project. “I knew that I wanted to have Stephane (Brother GoodLove) singing on this song from the beginning. I didn’t realize that Stephane would turn that working title into such beautiful and powerful lyrics — I was really blown away when he sent me the first demo of the vocal and couldn’t wait to get it into full production but for whatever reason, it wasn’t the right time. But once I had the idea for the new Crushed Velvet and the Velveteers album, As Far As You Know being included was a no brainer. So during quarantine, Stephane cut the vocals and I called on my Vintage League Music family of musicians to fill out the song and the rest is history. Without a doubt, it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written.”


9 | Venus Furs | Chaos and Confusion

THE PRESS RELEASE:Venus Furs is the moniker of Montreal’s Paul Kasner, a multi-instrumentalist, writer, and producer. In preceding years the act has taken many forms, supporting the likes of The Horrors and The Twilight Sad as he worked on refining and determining exactly what Venus Furs was meant to be. Now, Kasner is on the verge of releasing Venus Furs, a rigorously crafted set of songs that voyage through sonic and mental terrain. Says Kasner: “Chaos and Confusion is the opening track of the debut Venus Furs album. It’s about a woman who loses everything in a game of cards narrated by the dealer who cheats her while taking advantage of her inability to stop playing. At the end of the song, the dealer nearly shows his humanity, turning away to hide the guilt of his actions. The video attempts to tap into the emotions the dealer attempts to hide — guilt, regret and consequent turmoil.”


10 | ARA | Tell You Why // Down

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Mixed Mexican-Italian-American artist ARA just shared a defiant art pop video for Tell You Why // Down, off her newly announced The Desert EP, out Aug. 14. Once a student-athlete with interest from major labels, ARA ended up in the psych ward at SF General and wandering the California desert, confronting the cognitive dissonance as a mixed woman in America and disassociation in the wake of physical & emotional abuse. Inspired by everyone from Santigold and Kanye West to Courtney Love, the project sees ARA’s spiritual crisis become personal empowerment.”


11 | Layla Kaylif | Lovers Don’t Meet

THE PRESS RELEASE:Layla Kaylif is pleased to present the official video for Lovers Don’t Meet, the title track of her new album out Aug. 7. Inspired by the 13th Century Persian poet Rumi, Lovers Don’t Meet is a spiritual and soul-searching track with a radiant Americana sound representative of her upcoming record. For its official video, the London-based singer-songwriter and filmmaker pairs the track with elegant visuals with overarching themes of pilgrimage. “What people don’t realise is that Rumi was a Muslim mystic, and is in the same spiritual stream as people like Teresa of Avila, and even Wordsworth. They have transcended their own particular religions and achieved as sort of union with the God.”


12 | Rarity | Worn Down

THE PRESS RELEASE: “After a tough couple of years, armed with lessons learned, a newly-cemented lineup and an explosive second LP The Longest Lonesome, heralded post-harcore quintet Rarity has a fresh lease on life. Since its release last August, The Longest Lonesome has been streamed over 1.2 million times. Rarity’s latest single, “Worn Down is about humanity. It’s about relationships between humans. Relationships with harsh edges. The kind you maybe don’t want to think about, but I find myself writing about nonetheless. Two people with mental instabilities passionately trying to make a life with each other. They come to terms with how to treat and support one another all while pushing through their own mental health problems. It’s about the aggressive and problem-ridden push and pull of an otherwise loving relationship. About how mental insecurity and illness can wear a relationship down and damage their sense of togetherness and empathy — something you’ll regret absolutely in retrospect, but ignore in the moment. You can look at the other person and swear you feel nothing at all, even though you know you love them.”


13 | Black Royal | Gods of War

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Following on from the success of their 2018 debut album Lightbringer, Scandinavian sludge savants Black Royal return with their crushing new song Gods of War. Formed in 2013 in Tampere, Finland, the quartet revisited their highly infectious brew of metal with Firebride, as they ushered in a devastating foray into the fields of Wicca. Gods of War takes clear influence from black metal and modern sludge. “Gods of War started out as a guitar jam but eventually turned into a worthy song,” explains Black Royal vocalist Riku. “We heard that one can find echoes of Mastodon and Kvelertak in this song and it suits us just fine as both are fantastic bands! The lyrics are inspired by the Vikings TV series and a war between paganism and Christianity. Without the clergymen nobody would talk about the Devil. The Devil as we know it exists only in Christianity. Pagans do not have a Devil — they have Spirits which were good or bad according to how one lived and got along with them. In the middle part of the song there’s an old Finnish witch song which suits perfectly with the mood and honours the Finnish pagan cultural heritage.”


14+15 | Market Junction | Western Coast + A Stone Will Sink

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Houston’s Market Junction released new single A Stone Will Sink, from their forthcoming album Burning Bridges, due out Aug. 7. The band also shared a new video for album track Western Coast. “If a heart has loved, it has been broken,” says frontman Matt Parrish of A Stone Will Sink. “This is old news, yet we speak of love with a romantic grandeur that implies we are oblivious to the inevitable. Just as we expect a stone to sink, we should expect a heart to break. It’s what hearts do.” The electrifying combination of golden-voiced frontman Parrish and fretboard wizard Justin Lofton are a rock-solid foundation for the band, their folk-infused alt-country style has resulted in some of the most beautiful music in the current landscape. Burning Bridges was forged in the midst of the members’ personal tribulations — changing direction in the middle of recording, a trip to the emergency room, a divorce, the births of children, a hard drive crash costing weeks worth of work, releasing a record in the middle of a global pandemic. The band was still able to create magic in the midst of the struggle.”


16 | Re.decay | Down Long Enough

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Rising production duo Re.decay have released their latest EP, Down Long Enough. Re.decay is the brainchild of Owen Ross and Emanuel Bender, each an established musician in his own right. Ross performs as a solo artist and as a guitarist and musical director for a number of groups and artists. He has toured extensively sharing bills with big names such as The Roots, Big Boi, Gym Class Heroes, OK Go!, Biz Markie and Afroman. He currently works as a producer and songwriter with a wide range of up-and-coming artists. Bender has an impressive list of production credits including notable artists such as Alle Farben, Dillistone, Moli, Fhat and others. His work has received over 1.6 million plays across streaming platforms.”


17 | Maxwell Stern | Born At The End Of The Year

THE PRESS RELEASE:Maxwell Stern has announced his debut solo album Impossible Sum will be released on Sept. 25, and unveiled the first single from the LP. “This song is about relocating for the purpose of reinventing yourself and, upon settling into that new place, concluding that you’re still mostly the same person” says Stern of the single. “I feel like everyone’s done something like that to a certain extent. Now that I’ve been in a new city for a couple years, I’ve found that many of the things I was trying to run away from are actually things I like most about myself, my hometown, and my support network. It continues to surprise me, which is how I got the line, “There are rooms in this house that I’m still finding.”’


18 | Heaps | You Were There

THE PRESS RELEASE:Heaps are sharing another new track from their upcoming LP, What Is Heaps, out Aug. 28. You Were There is an attempt to “understand and process fear,” says vocalist Warren Frank. “Can we ever move past our insecurities if we won’t first acknowledge them? The song works to navigate the dynamic that creating and performing music can bring about. Can one be authentically vulnerable when they know an audience will be receiving their work? How can one prepare themselves to handle the flippant negativity that can so easily come from those who care so much less than you? It’s a rally for ourselves. A reminder to abandon self-consciousness and care deeply, whether people are looking or not.”


19 | Eli Winter | Maroon

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The lone single from Unbecoming, Maroon is out today. It features a band of good friends from Chicago and Houston: Tyler “Dogginator” Damon on percussion, Cameron “Floordragger” Knowler on acoustic guitar, and Sam “Actually Fred from Scooby Doo” Wagster on pedal steel. There’s a wonderful animated music video to accompany it courtesy of Haylie Jimenez, featuring all sorts of squiggles and circles and curved lines, plus some forms, vaguely resembling skateboards, timed to Cameron’s entrance. (This was intentional.)”


20 | Tanzos | How Do You Want Me?

THE PRESS RELEASE:How Do You Want Me? is the new music video by Austrian indie-rocker Tanzos. Bursting with squalling guitar harmonics, glitches and intense facial expressions, the new monochromatic visuals for How Do You Want Me? sees Tanzos explore the emotions and pressures felt when striving for the acceptance of others.”


21 | Nils Lofgren | Too Many Miles

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Between E Street Band and Crazy Horse work, master rock singer songwriter-guitarist Nils Lofgren fit in his first tour with a full band in over 15 years. Inspired by writing with the great Lou Reed on his last studio album, Nils knew it was time. Audience and band alike sharing their souls, gifts, spirit and energy on the tour made for a fresh, new live sound for Nils. The result is in an earthy, rockin’ album that breathes life into a world temporarily void of the excitement, energy, tenderness, and spontaneity of live music during COVID-19. The 16-track collection, entitled Weathered, and issued on Lofgren’s own label, was produced by the musician and his wife Amy, and is due out on Aug. 21.”


22 | Another Sky | All Ends

THE PRESS RELEASE:Another Sky have announced the release of their debut album I Slept On The Floor, due for release on Aug. 7. They have also released their brand new single All Ends. The quartet have spent the past seven years tackling subjects as complex as mental health, toxic masculinity and climate change with an impressive deftness of touch, thereby establishing themselves as a vital voice on the UK’s alternative-rock scene. Catrin explains of her lyrical bluntness, “growing up, my family always spoke about politics. I feel like it’s in my blood. I didn’t realise how much silence plays into society, and how much people are indoctrinated to believe that they shouldn’t talk about anything difficult. But we’re all affected by what’s going on so we have to talk about these issues, because if we don’t, we can’t understand why we feel so desperate, let alone solve it.”


23+24 | Andy Shauf | Judy + Jeremy’s Wedding

THE PRESS RELEASE:Andy Shauf presents Judy b/w Jeremy’s Wedding, two B-sides from his album The Neon Skyline. Upon its release, The Neon Skyline was beloved by fans and critics alike. Judy and Jeremy’s Wedding continue the vignette of love interest Judy, who much of The Neon Skyline centers around. The tracks continue to champion Shauf’s attention to detail, presenting narrative lyrics over his signature fusion of folk, jazz, and chamber-pop. “Judy and Jeremy’s Wedding were outliers to the narrative of the album,” says Shauf. “They fit a little bit outside the timeline, as I was trying to keep everything to a single night. They were also slightly different arrangement wise, so I decided that they might be best released together, apart from the album.”


25 | Foonyap | Free And Easy Wandering

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In a time of social isolation and uncertainty, one’s physicality may be constrained, but one’s awareness may be free. This discovery of letting go and embracing the present moment is told in Foonyap’s latest single Free and Easy Wandering. It slowly awakens in a spontaneous flutter of violin trills before drawing into a quiet folk accompaniment of mandolin and wistful vocals. As the melody meanders through planes of the unknown, transformation takes shape in a swell of orchestral strings travelling along a ’60s retro shuffle. The crest eventually melts into waves of mandolin plucks and cymbal rolls, unveiling a new state — “now is all there is” — as whispers of violin are soon carried off into silence.”


26 | Era Bleak | Robot

THE PRESS RELEASE: “As manifestos go, it’s difficult to argue with a statement as darkly straightforward as: ‘Things get shittier every week / No hope for the future in this era bleak’. That’s from the opening verse to Era Bleak’s theme song, which also happens to open up their debut album — it’s as accurate a summary of 2020 as you’re likely to find, made all the more emphatic by a frantic spasm of nervy guitar jerks and a 100mph rhythm section that knows the best way to get you there. Whether you’re looking for a soundtrack or antidote to – or even simply a distraction from — the horrors of the age, this record has most assuredly got your back.”


27 | Decoration Day | Sadness in Disguise

THE PRESS RELEASE:Decoration Day share their latest single Sadness in Disguise, taken from the Toronto folk band’s debut album Makeshift Future, out Sept. 18. “I began writing Sadness in Disguise during a period of depression, and finished it in the midst of deep grief for a loved one dying,” explains multi-instrumentalist Tiffany Wu. “During that time, I found myself intellectually sorting through these complex emotions and measuring my progress within the stages of grief. Since then, I’ve learned that while there is a time for clarity and quantifiability, there is also a time for feelings to simply be felt all the way through. A time to inquire and unmask all the ways sadness presents itself, to trust the process and feel our way forward.”


28 | Marsupial Lion | Solar Glare

THE PRESS RELEASE:Solar Glare is the new track from Marsupial Lion, the Ithaca, NY-based project of Travis Jonathan. Describing the track’s overarching sound as “riffwave,” Jonathan emits a carpe diem croon over chiming synths and crackling bass, culminating in a thunderous swell of guitars integrating nu-disco and chillwave. Solar Glare’s opening salvo — and the album’s opening track — meets listeners in their anxious 2020 enclaves, diffusing our collective tension with undulating synth arpeggios, a relentless drum groove, and quixotic hopefulness. Like previous Marsupial Lion singles, Solar Glare defies easy classification — a nu-disco/chillwave late-aughts throwback banger, blended with a layered lyricism typical of far more cerebral genres.”