Indie Roundup | 33 Tunes For An Eclectic Tuesday

Fray-Check, Happy Fits, Zolas, 645AR, FKA Twigs and more make a day of it.

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Fray-Chek gets crushed, The Happy Fits go west, The Zolas continue down the wong path, 645AR sums up FKA twigs and more in your Tuesday Roundup. Tuesday turned out to be a pretty interesting day around here. Hope yours was the same.

 


PICKS OF THE DAY

1 | Fray-Chek | Crushed

THE PRESS RELEASE:Crushed, the second single from Fray-Chek’s new album No More Shadows, was written as a response to the opioid crisis currently facing the United States and the world. After reading about the tragic accidental overdoses of two teenagers in the span of a week, Fray-Chek felt compelled to write a song that tries to capture the struggle of addiction. Ultimately, the song is meant to be hopeful, with a haunting and somber intro leading to a guitar solo that crescendos at the, hopeful, ending. Although we all may feel “crushed” at some point in our lives, there is beauty in the world that can uplift us and inspire. The video depicts a person in the desert, depressed and searching for answers. That person is lost, sad and confused. However, their mood is broken by the simplest of things … a butterfly that happens to fly past. Perhaps, that one little beautiful moment can be enough to inspire hope. Such is life.”


2 | The Happy Fits | No Instructions

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Happy Fits have released their latest single No Instructions, having a go as ranch hands in the tracks new video. No Instructions is the third single from the New Jersey trio’s upcoming sophomore LP What Could Be Better, due out Aug. 28. Discussing the single, cellist, vocalist and principal songwriter Calvin Langman stated, “One of my friends, Taylor, who I met while waitering, has a horse farm and invited us over to try riding them. When I actually got close to one, I realized I’d never really seen a horse up-close. I was in total awe. They are unbelievably majestic. We decided the ranch vibe fit really nicely with No Instructions. The song is all about realizing the disconnect between things I grew up believing in and their failure to apply to the world around me. We thought it would be quite funny to play ranch hands since in reality we really have no idea about ranch life but grew up all around it.”


3 | The Zolas | Ultramarine

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ultramarine is The Zolas’ third in a series of Wong Kar-Wai-inspired lyric vignettes — a collection of apocalyptic songs that the band will be releasing each month during their Summer of Z Days. “Ultramarine is a psychedelic fantasy about throwing our phones off a bridge and going out to look for real connection. In 2020 we’ve all been feeling the aches of internet addiction more than ever. It’s like an abusive marriage we can’t quite quit. Our brains aren’t evolved to process the knowledge of every human rights injustice happening on earth at this moment. Or that 16 people we know are having the perfect summer weekend while we’re here scrolling. Who can sleep after staring into a hot blue beam of pure information right before we close our eyes? Google Maps makes it impossible to get lost and yet we’re feeling more lost now than ever. Time to pull the plug on all that and find our own way back.”


4 | 645AR | Sum Bout U ft. FKA twigs

THE PRESS RELEASE:Rapper 645AR releases his new track, Sum Bout U with FKA twigs. Sum Bout U is more R&B leaning than his previous tracks Yoga and In Love With A Stripper and features high pitched vocal interplay between 645AR, affectionately dubbed the squeak rapper, and FKA twigs. Sum Bout U is produced by SenseiATL with co-production by El Guincho. Says 645AR, “I’m bringing real R&B back. Shout out to FKA twigs.” As both 645AR and FKA twigs are visual artists, unsurprisingly, they released the official music video for Sum Bout U in addition to the audio. Watch the video, directed by Aidan Zamiri, with concept by FKA twigs, here.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

5 | Stephen | Delilah

THE PRESS RELEASE:Delilah is the new video from LA’s indie-electronic artist Stephen. The track explores Jungian Psychology and the “shadow.” It represents a turning point on his album and is by far the most bold and vulnerable piece of music he has written to date. Stephen was inspired to write the song through his experience with drugs, sexuality, and his expanding sense of self. “Delilah is the name I’ve given my shadow — my repressed, unrecognized potentials and desires,” says Stephen. “She is temptation. She is seduction. The process of getting to know her has been scary and exciting, a deep sense of self-acceptance and power reached through self-annihilation.”


6 | Gorgatron | Pathogenic Automation

THE PRESS RELEASE: “North Dakota’s favorite death metal/grind unit Gorgatron have unveiled a new lyric video for Pathogenic Automation, the title track off the band’s imminent new full-length. Comments vocalist Karl Schmidt of the track, “Whenever I write lyrics, I focus on the rhythmic aspect first and then try to fit a theme into what I’m doing. Pathogenic Automation is no exception. There are usually multiple meanings to the words that end up being lyrics. The title track is about a disease that spreads quickly from host to host that turns biological beings into fully mechanized robots with a desire to slaughter. I also threw in a story about a mad scientist who starts all of this. This would make a terrible sci-fi action movie that went straight to DVD.”


7 | Michael C. Duguay | Summer Fights

THE PRESS RELEASE:Michael C. Duguay shares the video for the first single, Summer Fights, to be taken from his forthcoming album The Winter of Our Discotheque. Filmed in the midst of Covid 19 pandemic the video offers an idyllic possible vision of a surreal post-apocalyptic future. Summer Fights was penned during an impulsive cross-Canada relocation to the west coast’s Gulf Islands in 2014, as Duguay’s personal life began to descend into the chaotic grip of addiction and mental illness. In the song he challenges the notion that serenity can be found somewhere else rather than in the present, and explores how what we carry with us from the past shapes the present moment. When he sings, along with Guelph’s Alanna Gurr, that “there’s a time and there’s a place for all variety of grace; I think that we’ve found one,” he draws attention to the often overlooked abundance of plain beauty in the minutiae of daily life, and states “I’m here, you’re here, this is tough, let’s make the best of it.”


8 | Sizzy Rocket | Rollerskating

THE PRESS RELEASE:Sizzy Rocket is releasing an acoustic rendition of her latest single Rollerskating. The acoustic video is a tribute to Laurel Canyon, where Rollerskating was first written and recorded. “[Laurel Canyon] is really magical and you can hear it in the song. The nighttime view in the beginning of the video is my best secret — you can see the whole city, it’s my absolute favorite.”


9 | Bangladeafy | Bloom

THE PRESS RELEASE: “New York City-based duo Bangladeafy have deployed a new single from their impending Housefly full-length. The whack attack of Bloom has been delivered through a tripped-out roller-coaster-style visualizer video. Offers Bangladeafy’s Jon Ehlers, “There’s an instrumental lead in Bloom that became an important motif on Housefly and can be heard in multiple points throughout the album if listened to attentively. Lyrically, the song is an expression of apathy, which is referred to in the form of a ‘tar pit wormhole.’ While going through the portfolio of the animator, Joey Carlino, I became inspired by what I felt could be a fun, visual interpretation of such tar pit wormholes. In the process of reviewing drafts for this visualizer, Joey had no problem meeting my demands of ‘more grossness.’ ”


10 | Kate Bollinger | I Feel Like Doing Nothing

THE PRESS RELEASE: “This song began as a beat that my producer John made. I wrote a vocal part, we took out the main synth, our friend Chris added some reverse guitar and bass, John played grand piano, we added some more guitars … I’m very excited to be putting out the video too. I hatched the idea for it all at once months and months ago and I hurriedly scratched it all down in my calendar. I ended up working with two friends, Phineas and Graham (and many other people who really made it happen) and helped me develop the idea. We added the evil plumber character to the mix, borrowed my dad’s old fencing gear, and found the most beautiful location for the shoot. The meaning of the video is meant to be ambiguous, I think whatever significance you find in it for yourselves will probably the most interesting, but originally I wanted it to be about fear and being trapped. The characters holding the damsel hostage are simultaneously protecting her from further danger that might find her. They’re meant to represent some kind of safety that exists inside the circle — they all help to ward off evil, in spite of being evil themselves.”


11 | Illuminated Minerva | Sightings

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Canada’s Illuminated Minerva have a spacey full-length album Enigma Adamantine dropping on Sept. 25, and a music video for the first single Sightings. Enigma Adamantine is an instrumental progressive metal album based around conspiracy, UFOs, and abductions. A musical examination of modern mythology laid out with hard-hitting bass grooves, technical guitar lines, soaring leads, and complex drumming matched with audio from years past present an auditory mirror reflecting our deepest fears and questions yet to be answered. An album experience as unique as the stories within.”


12 | Ian Wayne | Gimme Something

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ian Wayne — the Brooklyn (by way of Portland) based singer-songwriter and guitarist — has released the second single from his upcoming new album Risking Illness, out Sept. 18. Wayne wrote Gimme Something during the aftermath of his three-year-old nephew’s tragic death. “It’s about being destructive,” he says, “and about oblivion-seeking behavior — about needing help. I think the pain we’re trying to escape boomerangs back no matter how hard we throw it. This song is about how pain returns, sometimes in perfect detail, when we want to be farthest from it.”


13 | Primitive Man | Entity

THE PRESS RELEASE:Primitive Man unveil a video for Entity. Directed by Neil C. Barrett, the track comes off the band’s terrifying and confrontational new album, Immersion, set for release Aug. 14. Elaborates Primitive Man frontman Ethan McCarthy, “The inspiration for this video/song is a part personal experience, part Robert Johnson acknowledgment as the originator of taking the left-hand path of music, and part from a story out of Malachi Martin’s book Hostage To The Devil called The Smiler … The lyrical content of the song places emphasis on mania and depression and how, when mixed, they can feel as though they are an entity that lives inside of you, influencing your decisions, and you are forced to watch. When you lose control and are unable to reel it back in, you reluctantly lean into the chaos. Mix this in with being a touring musician and you get the old ‘hellhound on my trail’ nod. But for us, it’s ‘Demon is catching up.’ ”


14 | The Webstirs | Fiction

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Chicago indie-pop band The Webstirs have released five albums of catchy, clever songs in collaboration with longtime producer Matt Allison (Lawrence Arms/Split Single/Alkaline Trio). This fall they will release their sixth album, self-titled The Webstirs, and just released their new single and music video Fiction. “Yeah, most bands self title their debut album,” said guitarist/vocalist Preston Pisellini, “but not us. The truth is we’ve evolved our lineup and sound over the years and this is a unique opportunity to re-introduce the band to the world.”


15 | Nyssa | The Swans

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto singer/songwriter/producer Nyssa has premiered her latest single The Swans. To celebrate, Nyssa has shared a video for the track. The Swans is featured on Nyssa’s debut album, Girls Like Me, out August 21. Nyssa states, “The Swans is a present-day, apocalypse-era reply to Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark or Bowie’s Modern Love. I wrote it before the pandemic, but in anticipation of the need to live above and against the fire and brimstone, to forever fall in love with the natural world. The forsaking of matrimony in The Swans is just another chain-cutting metaphor, another way of saying no to the trappings of the past and committing to a freer future. It’s an anti-property love song directed at the entire experience of living.”


16 | Ben Shorr & Krazy Drayz | Mad Flava

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ben Shorr drops Mad Flava from the forthcoming album Spiritual Dysmorphia. It features Krazy Drayz, one half of legendary platinum recording duo Das EFX. The song will be and part of Shorr’s first release since his critically praised Pyrokinesis LP (2017).”


17 | Bendrix Littleton | Smoke

THE PRESS RELEASE:Bendrix Littleton shared his music video for Smoke, the second single from his upcoming solo debut, Deep Dark South, releasing Sept. 25. The video was directed and shot by Hovvdy’s Will Taylor at and around his family’s farm in Gustine, TX. Inspired by a mortician he held a conversation with at a bar in Dallas, Smoke is a nostalgic meditation on appreciating a relationship only after it’s gone. And on the themes and sensibility of the album itself, Littlejohn says: “Throughout the record I deal with the common tropes of alcohol/drug abuse, malaise, ennui, regional junk, and the dissolution of relationships. It’s well-trod ground, but I’d rather write what feels genuine rather than something foreign for the sake of novelty. It feels ridiculous enough to put out something in 2020…so much noise to break through. But I feel like these are common enough things. I wouldn’t say these things are universal, but they’re not far from it.”


18 | Kris Delmhorst | Horses In The Sky

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The songs of Kris Delmhorst transform like breath turning to mist on a cold, clear night; the inner made visible. The veteran Americana artist will release Long Day in the Milky Way, her eighth album, next week. Today Delmhorst released the video for Horses In The Sky. The song is a much-needed encouragement to see the beauty and wonder in this sad and frightening world. Not too long after writing it, a friend of hers took his own life, and the next time she sang it on stage she realized it’s about hope — finding hope in hopelessness. “I didn’t have a personal moment of hopelessness that sparked the song but I think it was a reaction to the darkness of the general world vibe,” she says. “Darkness creeps up on you, on us all. Life is pain and we have to love it anyway. It’s a commiseration, a hand on the shoulder, a plea.”


19 | Mike Block | Ifrah Web-Tisem ft. Amal Waqar

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Pioneering cello player, composer, singer and educator Mike Block premiered his latest single Ifrah Web-Tisem. The track, part of Block’s upcoming world music album, Guzo, set for an Aug. 21 release, features Omani musician Amal Waqar on oud and vocals. Discussing the track, Block stated, “I met Amal when she was a participant in Silkroad’s Global Musician Workshop, which I direct. I was so excited to collaborate with a Khaliji musician for the first time. Amal helped guide my listening and gave me some lessons on what made Khaliji music special, in order to inform my composing of this melody. Amal created lyrics that were repetitive enough that I could learn to sing them in Arabic, a language I do not speak…”


20 | Phoenix da Icefire & Husky Brown | The Humans are Coming

THE PRESS RELEASE: “London rapper & producer duo Phoenix da Icefire and Husky Brown released their groundbreaking new album Panacea on May 5. Husky’s rare fusion of hip hop, electro, bass, dub, soul and r&b is the soundtrack for Phoenix’s highly creative narrative addressing many of today’s most pressing issues including climate change, racism, well being, mental health, knife crime and social aspiration, all delivered with a refreshing and optimistic counterpoint of hope, healing and reconciliation. The first video from the album, The Humans are Coming, is out today. Filmed by Global Faction and UKHH, the spectacular visuals edited by Sovereign Comics represent the environmental theme portrayed as a metaphorical letter of contrition to the mythical Gaia for the damage done to her realm.”


21 | Arjuna’s Eye | Cortexiphan

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Technical prog troupe Arjuna’s Eye unveil another slice from their Amalgam LP with Cortexiphan, a gripping, groove-drenched brain-hacking single, loaded with enough twists and turns that would cause any self-confessed heavy-prog fan to gravitate towards their bright light. Guitarist Conor Nagle commented “Cortexiphan as it is now has been with us as a song for around 3 or 4 years. About 75% of the guitar parts have been with me for more than 10 years! The opening melody and the chorus are the newest arrangements, which really make it more thematic and catchy. The lyrical ideas are directly inspired from the television series Fringe. We took some salient elements of the show (that spoke to us) and made our own mythos/philosophy from it. If anybody has not seen Fringe and Walter Bishop in action, you can still enjoy the song’s meaning apart from being a fanboy, like myself.”


22 | All We Are | Heart Of Mine

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Liverpool trio All We Are will release their third album Providence on Aug. 14, and today, the trio are pleased to share a new, luminous track from the record, Heart Of Mine. All We Are say of the track, “Heart of Mine is one of our most honest and candid love songs. It’s about loss and not being afraid of showing your fragile side — and the freedom that comes from expressing those feelings.” Ireland’s Richard O’Flynn (drums), Norway’s Guro Gikling (bass) and Brazil’s Luis Santos (guitar) have released two albums previously: their self-titled debut in 2015, exploring sublime late-night grooves, and the psychedelia, krautrock and post-punk-informed Sunny Hills in 2017.”


23 | PXPRS | Coup de grâce

THE PRESS RELEASE:PXPRS .. part x part r section present their debut single Coup de grâce. This is 3:22 of scathing vocals, searing guitar noise, overdriven organs and a supersonic rhythm section. “This is a kinda voodoo spell cast on idiots. A rock n roll howl of rage and despair, kicking against the pricks of disloyalty, duplicity, dilettantism, amateur hedonism and blatant treachery, all the while refreshingly unencumbered by politeness. They know who they are,” says singer Nikki Thomas, also front woman for the band Client. “While working on the new Client album, this just fell out but it didn’t quite fit stylistically with the record we are making, so we did some extra remote recording with Angelo Bruschini from Massive Attack (guitar), Dayna Fischer (bass) and Aaron Forbes (guitar) and the racket that is .. part x part r section was born.”


24 | Cloverdale | Back To That

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Canadian duo Cloverdale arrive with the squelchy tech house party starter Back To That. Cloverdale continue to prove why they are leaders in a new wave of modern house music. Their unrivaled creativity, big basslines and funky grooves have earned the up and comers support from industry heavy hitters such as Martin Garrix, David Guetta and Dillon Francis. Most recently, the duo have dropped a flurry of big house records this year, including Tombz collaboration Hell Yeah, Talkin’ To Ya and a VIP mix of their single Talk To Me.”


25 | Dana Gavanski | Never Too Far

THE PRESS RELEASE: “As fierce as the inclement weather itself, the ethereal tones of Serbian-Canadian musician Dana Gavanski can stir a breeze and destroy like a storm. With her new covers EP Wind Songs, Dana serendipitously teases her debut album from her new home in London across both sides of enforced isolation, to show an artist making the best of an unfortunate circumstance and seeking comfort in the familiar strangers of her musical heroes. Today, Dana has shared Never Too Far, originally by Tim Hardin, and shared a few words on why she chose this particular track to cover: “I got into Tim Hardin 1 in the last year and something about Never Too Far struck me. It’s cheeky, and upbeat but also quite melancholic. There’s a strangeness to it I can’t put my finger on, a tension of intent. On my last tour, before lockdown, James and I played this song in most of the sets with an old analogue Roland drum machine so it was great to get into the studio and explore it a bit more…”


26 | Kelly Lee Owens | Corner Of My Sky ft. John Cale

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Producer/musician Kelly Lee Owens collaborates with John Cale on a foreboding new single, Corner Of My Sky, from her forthcoming album Inner Song, out Aug. 28. The two Welsh artists first met in London while working on a song for Cale. In Corner Of My Sky, Cale sings in both English and Welsh over Owens’ droning, psychedelic lullaby. Owens elaborates, “I knew with this album I needed to connect with my roots and therefore having the Welsh language featured on the record felt very important to me. Once the music for the track was written and the sounds were formed, I sent the track straight to John and asked if he could perhaps delve into his Welsh heritage and tell the story of the land via spoken-word, poetry and song. What he sent back was nothing short of phenomenal. The arrangement was done during the mixing process and once I’d finished the track, I cried — firstly feeling incredibly lucky to have collaborated with John and his eternal talent and secondly for both of us to have been able to connect to our homeland in this way.”


27 | Jesse Roper | Right Now

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Recorded and produced by Gus Van Go and Werner F (Arkells, Hollerado, The Trews), Right Now is the first single from B.C. singer-songwriter Jesse Roper’s forthcoming new album Horizons. A social commentary about the division between the masses currently facing our world, Roper wrote Right Now from an observational standpoint. The news is blown up with stories of right vs left, rich vs poor, and the division in the people which is becoming more apparent as the months go past. Maybe he’s just getting older and paying more attention. Roper doesn’t expect this song to change the world. He does, however, want to rock the fuck out, sing things into a microphone that he believes, and crush guitar riffs.”


28 | Zeb Samuels | Positive Spirit

THE PRESS RELEASE:Zeb Samuels shares his latest single Positive Spirit. A self-confessed music fanatic, Samuels grew up in London. This allowed for an abundance of music at his doorstep which would ultimately develop his appreciation for a wide variety of sounds and eventually lead to the self-taught pianist operating as a songwriter, producer and vocalist. His own sound draws strong parallels to the likes of Yussef Dayes, Alfa Mist, Mansur Brown and Portico Quartet  while at the same time, maintaining its own unique integrity. Speaking of Positive Spirit, Samuels tells us: “I feel like this is a track that is an unveiling of a new light and embodies positivity amongst the dark times that we have encountered recently.”


29 | Kat Saul | Monsters

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Alt-pop darling Kat Saul is releasing her intoxicating new single Monsters. Co-written by Kat, Alex Venegas and Alex Koste, and produced by Max Weinik, Monsters sees Kat diving deep into her psyche and confronting the fears and unknowns of life. “When you’re a little kid, you’re afraid of things like the boogie man, Dracula and zombies. To be real, I think I’m still afraid of zombies, but in my experience, growing up shifts your fears. Now instead of vampires and aliens, it’s the fear of failure, mental health issues, broken relationships, childhood trauma, and all the other shit that goes in a messed-up-baggage-cocktail. All that to say, it turns out real life is way more terrifying than the dark. I wanted to write a song that brought that uneasiness to light because It’s a transition we don’t really talk about.”


30 | Werner Niedermeier & Gareth Whitehead | Nineteen 92 ft Jack Endino

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Prolific producers Werner Niedermeier and Gareth Whitehead release Nineteen92, an innovative, sophisticated slice of spaced out electronica featuring legendary Seattle producer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Soundgarden). They say: “We are both excited about this release. Again, it’s another change in direction for us, which is nice as it has given us a sense of musical freedom. It was especially exciting to work with Jack Endino, whose production and mixing skills have influenced us.”


31 | Kandle | Spell

THE PRESS RELEASE: “After years battling through the infamously cold and stark music industry, finally escaping the shackles of sour recording contracts, B.C.-born singer-songwriter Kandle is now in full control of her music. While her new Stick Around and Find Out EP was recorded under extraordinary circumstances (homeless and waiting out her legal troubles), Kandle streamlined her focus and vision. She steps into her self-worth with the confidence of a true veteran who is capable of taking any situation and finding an opportunity for a deeper emotional connection. If her past has provided catharsis, her future is all about empowerment.”


32+33 | Casely | Never Be Alone + Rude Boy Summer

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Singer, songwriter and producer Casely has released two tracks. On opposite sides of the spectrum, Never Be Alone is filled with rhythmatic instrumentation and sultry lyricism while Rude Boy Summer enlists international artist Braveboy and conveys a tune more reminiscent of your favorite old-school dancehall summer jam. Casely is Miami-born and the son of Trinidadian and Panamanian parents. He’s recognized for his suave vocals, unique production and collaborations with Pitbull, Flo Rida and Lil Jon.”