Indie Roundup | 27 Tracks For A Very Creative Thursday

Naked Giants, Flatbush Zombies, Bad Religion and more ways to make your day.

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Naked Giants am what they am, Aidan Knight does something constructive, Devon Kay and his Solutions reach glorious heights, Spiral Heads have nothing new to share, Flatbush Zombies look beyond this world and more in your Thursday Roundup. There’s a lot of creativity on display today. See for yourself:

 


PICKS OF THE DAY

1 | Naked Giants | (God Damn!) What I Am

THE PRESS RELEASE:Naked Giants are set to release their album The Shadow on Aug. 21. The 11-song set was produced by Chris Funk of The Decemberists and follows the Seattle, WA-based trio’s Green Fuzz EP (2019) and debut album SLUFF (2018). Steadily building up their reputation as a tremendous live act, Naked Giants spent most of the past two years pulling double duty as both members of the Car Seat Headrest live band and also supporting each Car Seat Headrest performance with their own set as Naked Giants as well. Today, they premiere the video for the single (God Damn!) What I Am, which was directed and edited by the band.”


2 | Aidan Knight | Veni Vidi Vici

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Vancouver Island artist Aidan Knight has shared his new video and single Veni Vidi Vici, the latest track to be taken from his forthcoming self-titled record, due for release Aug. 28. Knight says: “This was an instrumental demo I made for a band, but I never showed anyone because we stopped playing shows. I wrote the lyrics over the demo in between pouring a new cement floor in the basement and was thinking about how sweet and wonderful trans and non-binary people are, and how shittily they get treated by conservative losers who sell brain pills online. Actually, not just them, but by the government and sports and media portrayals and comedians and JK Rowling — The list goes on. Just… let people express their gender how they want? Is that so hard?”


3 | Devon Kay & the Solutions | Oh Glorious Nothing

THE PRESS RELEASE:Devon Kay has used the term “Solutions” to describe the members of his band his entire life. “The problem is,” Devon says, “my songs are only really good as the people in the band.” This is noticeable on the band’s most recent single Oh Glorious Nothing. What was mainly a three-piece band, where Devon would experiment with his songwriting, became a full six-piece rock spectacle on the band’s latest effort. Longtime members/songwriters Devon Kay & Ryan Scottie (drums) perfected a remote platform of recording after the best friends moved to different coasts. “As we continue to trudge through this summer, it’s good to take a few moments to appreciate the little things that make it bearable. Today, that would be a brand new single. “Oh Glorious Nothing is that summertime ballad that politely reminds you that we don’t know where we go when we die. It takes that information and delivers it to you with such a bright and positive sound that it almost feels like a metaphor for how we walk around each day, scared… but humming a tune to drown out the anxiety.”


4 | Spiral Heads | Nothing New

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Brooklyn/Boston-based punk trio Spiral Heads, featuring within their ranks members of MGMT, American Nightmare and Doomriders, are pleased to unveil their official new video for Nothing New. The track comes by way of a special Nothing New / What’s Going On In Your Head two-song EP, set for release Friday. Spiral Heads channel the energy of seminal bands like The Damned and Buzzcocks and combine it with the melody of The Wipers and early Nirvana. Spiral Heads’ sound would fit in perfectly with the early ’80s SST Records catalog. Bassist/vocalist Simon Doom explains, “The video/song was made entirely in our rehearsal space(s). Everything was shot on an iPhone with just a bed sheet and strobe light for effects. Jim and I shot our parts in Brooklyn, then mailed the bed sheet and strobe light to Q to shoot his parts in Boston.”


5 | Flatbush Zombies | Afterlife

THE PRESS RELEASE:Flatbush Zombies dropped a new song Afterlife, produced by luminary hitmaker James Blake. Erick the Architect initially connected with Blake via Twitter after hearing he was a fan of their music. They all met in person after a Flatbush Zombies show in Los Angeles in 2018 and started collaborating on music shortly after. Afterlife is the first material to be released to the public from those sessions. The video was shot in pre-pandemic Paris and was directed by Arnaud Bresson. He speaks to the technology used to film the video: “Today, there is no technology that X-ray films a living being without endangering it, so we worked hand in hand with a post-production company to develop a technical device that would allow us to achieve a similar effect. We used multi-camera tracking, recorded the positions and movements of our characters to extract and apply to our 3D compositions. It took four months of work to find the perfect style.”


6 | Thunder Jackson | Institution

THE PRESS RELEASE:Thunder Jackson announces his much-anticipated self-titled debut album, due for release Oct. 1. Along with the announcement he releases new single Institution.Institution is one of the most personal songs on the record,” Jackson explains. “It’s about my adolescence, specifically the period during which I was mis-prescribed medication. The negative effects of the pills left me questioning my reality. My brain felt like it was entirely mechanical and my everyday life felt incredibly systematic in a way I felt no control over — I was trapped in a mode of what I can best describe as “synthetic thinking”, as opposed to healthy, “organic thinking”. My mental health was deteriorating and I felt like I had nowhere to turn and no one to help. Through a great deal of trial and error, I eventually found the end of the tunnel but it took until I did to fully understand where I had been. This song is a reminder to myself, and to anyone who battles mental illness of any kind, that we are not alone in our struggle to find health, happiness, and self-love. And a further reminder that the struggle may be lifelong, but worth the fight.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

7 | Sima | Runaways

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Israeli/American hard rock solo artist Sima (Sima Galanti) has released a stripped-down, piano-driven acoustic version of her latest single Runaways, along with a hauntingly beautiful, black and white music video. “I decided to create an acoustic, stripped-down version of Runaways because I wanted to truly focus on the inspiring and empowering lyrics and allow the message of the song to penetrate people’s hearts,” shares Sima. “I knew that Runaways is a great song and can stand on its own with only piano and vocals. I want listeners to hear and feel me, my heart and my soul, without any distractions. Runaways is a powerful song that you can’t miss or ignore, and I think with this raw version, it leaves you without any doubts. I hope with this version you will feel inspired, empowered, elevated, and also connected to something bigger, something that you can reflect on, relate to and draw strength from.”


8 | Lutharo | Blood Lightning

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Canada’s Lutharö unleashed their sophomore EP Wings of Agony this past March. Today, the band are ready to share their latest music video for fan favourite Blood Lightning. They explain: “Blood Lightning is about having such an extreme passion for something so much so that it sets your soul on fire, for better or for worse. It is the endless struggle of putting your blood, sweat, and tears into something and receiving next to nothing in return. However, when you do catch a glimpse of your progress, it is enough to keep pushing forward even when you are constantly being beaten down and put to war. The music video for Blood Lightning showcases all of the physical, emotional, financial, etc. Hard work that is put into pursuing your dreams in music. The shots taken to look like the set of a video shoot are meant to resemble the business aspect/ behind the scenes work of being a musician, but also the high of performing live and seeing your visions come to life. While the single shots of each member in the middle of a storm are meant to display the emotional sacrifices and hardships that each individual goes through.”


9 | Sabaton | The Attack Of The Dead Men

THE PRESS RELEASE:Sabaton continue their global assault in support of their latest album The Great War with a new video clip of the album track The Attack Of The Dead Men. “The video features Sabaton wearing gas masks while performing The Attack Of The Dead Men during our latest European tour. Little could we imagine that today a huge amount of the world’s population would wear masks daily thanks to this f***ing virus that has paralyzed our beloved metal community. We miss doing this, we miss you… no livestream can ever replace the feeling of being in the audience for a metal concert,” comments Pär Sundström.”


10 | Next Life | Strength I

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Formed more than 20 years ago by Hai Nguyen Dinh, Norwegian group Next Life was one of the first bands in the world to incorporate 8-bit computer synthesizers or so called chiptunes into metal music. The group is now ready to release their fourth album Guru Meditation on Aug. 21. Recorded between 2019 and 2020 by Hai and Hans-Petter Lund Jørgensen, Guru Meditation includes the song Strength I.”


11 | Imogen Clark | Paper Boat

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Singer-songwriter Imogen Clark releases her forth single Paper Boat, from her forthcoming EP The Making Of Me, due for release on Aug. 21. Explains Imogen, “Paper Boat was written in Melbourne, Australia with stunningly talented singer/songwriter/visual artist Anita Lester. I met Anita last year at an awards show, and we had an instant connection. We got together to write soon after and were opening up to each other about toxic love affairs and the fear and burden that comes with them. That image of a paper boat, something that should be sturdy and protective against stormy seas, but is really thin and fragile — it seemed to encapsulate passionate but tumultuous relationships like that, where the feeling of happiness and stability could at any time give way to a terrible storm.”


12 | Said Sara | The Heart

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Heart is the first video from Said Sara, the newly unveiled solo venture of San Francisco singer-songwriter David C. Benson. Said Sara released its eponymous debut EP in recent weeks, and The Heart is the new visual accompaniment to the record’s lead song. With the video, Benson offers, “Said Sara opens the chest and extracts The Heart. Phantom pain, both corporeal and sentimental, is the object of The Heart — and the cost is unbearably high.”


13 | Elderseer | Bind Us As One

THE PRESS RELEASE:Elderseer present a new video for the title track of their latest EP, Bind Us As One. It encapsulates the essence of their ancient magic — the mournful, stately progress, the delicate, echoing guitar notes that provide a fragile counterpoint to the gargantuan riffs and thundering drums, the raw, grim vocals that perfectly enunciate the emotive lyrics, speaking with unbridled passion. Bind Us As One is an outstretched hand, an invitation to journey with Elderseer, to join their legions of the damned. It is an anguished plea, a cry from the bleeding heart of the land, a glimpse of the ancient powers that reside there. Combining live footage and evocative images of the natural world this video brings into the light the soul of Elderseer — captives of modern society yet yearning for the hillsides and forests.”


14 | Beyries | Over Me

THE PRESS RELEASE:Beyries unveils Over Me, the second track off her upcoming sophomore effort due out this fall. Over Me is a powerful song about being powerless, and her vocals are both vulnerable and confident. The lyrics implore the listener to acknowledge their true self, embrace their emotions, and take back control. The added rhythm guitar and the soaring harmonies make Over Me a dynamic singalong track. Over Me is accompanied by a music video directed by Raphaëlle Chovin, a French director, screenwriter and editor based in Paris. The video focuses on the undefined and heightened emotions of being a teenager in an in-between state. “It is a period full of doubts. Between two age groups, between two sexualities, between two moments of life. I decided to situate the action of the music video in the mid-’80s to refine the image, free teenagers from today’s means of communication and return to more frank, spontaneous and simple relationships,” explains the director.”


15 | Mike Shabb | Lonely

THE PRESS RELEASE: “After releasing his new album Life Is Short last Friday, Mike Shabb returns with a music video for Lonely. Produced by Danny Ill, the R&B-infused track addresses the universal feeling of emptiness, that feeling when you have everything you, except for that one special person with whom to share it. The airy synth loops and 808 drums, reminiscent of the early ’80s, give the single a melancholic feel and amplify the vulnerability that permeates Mike’s voice.”


16 | Nation Of Language | On Division St

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Brooklyn-based synth-pop trio Nation of Language has shared a video for current single On Division St, off their acclaimed debut album Introduction, Presence. Discussing the video, songwriter/vocalist Ian Devaney states, “I’ve been looking forward to releasing a video for On Division St for a long time. We were excited to team up with our friend James Thomson, who was able to shine a new kind of light on the song. I have this idea in my head that our music generally feels out of place against the backdrop of summer, but the dynamic of the city in its current condition really captured the solitude and confusion behind the song in a way that feels compelling.”


17+18 | Ziemba | True Romantic + If I’m Being Honest

THE PRESS RELEASE:Ziemba — project of songwriter René Kladzyk — announces her new album True Romantic, out Sept. 25, and presents its first two singles, True Romantic and If I’m Being Honest. If I’m Being Honest was written “after someone I was just beginning to develop feelings for ghosted me and disappeared off the face of the earth.” It’s followed by True Romantic, the album’s galloping title track, full of tension and anticipation where Kladzyk is making sense of it all still. “I must be a true romantic,” she realizes, in awe. “Or a fool… or delusional!” she belts. The video is perfectly melodramatic, starring Kladzyk up at night pouring over love notes, spliced with backlit, windblown portraits.”


19 | Gridfailure | Outlander Harvesters

THE PRESS RELEASE: “New York’s Gridfailure have created a video from the outfit’s new album, Sixth Mass-Extinction Skulduggery II — the second title in an ongoing five-album concept series. The video for Outlander Harvesters sees its premiere today. As resources are depleted, so are morals. This is the underlying theme of Gridfailure’s Sixth Mass-Extinction Skulduggery II. Marauding factions, societal collapse, revenge, organ harvesting, nuclear warfare, pandemic contagion, devastating weather events, dystopian rule, cannibalism for survival, and other grim topics poetically permeate this intense album which fully envisions the extreme, anti-genre, experimental vision more than any prior release from Gridfailure to date, and even infuses elements recorded outdoors and in extreme weather events.”


20 | Bad Religion | Faith Alone 2020

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Acclaimed Los Angeles band Bad Religion have just released a radically reimagined version of their 1990 humanist anthem Faith Alone. The re-recording uses an uncharacteristic orchestral arrangement to further accentuate the song’s remarkably relevant lyrics. While the original Faith Alone was delivered as a propulsive guitar fueled punk track on the band’s album Against The Grain, the new interpretation begins with singer and co-songwriter Greg Graffin’s plaintive vocals accompanied on acoustic piano, before building to an unabashedly symphonic crescendo complete with sophisticated string arrangement. As Graffin explains, “I have always written songs on piano. Some of our earliest songs were written on my mom’s piano. I’ve been home a lot and so I started recording a bunch of our songs that way. Brett (Gurewitz) thought Faith Alone was particularly relevant for this moment. For me, it exemplifies what’s special about the band, which is that we write songs that go to the spiritual and intellectual aspects of human existence.”


21 | Crafting The Conspiracy | Equilibrium (Earthbound II)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Texas melodic deathcore quartet Crafting The Conspiracy’s The Cosmic Key II arrives in late August. The middle story in their ongoing Cosmic Key trilogy, the disc delivers seven encompassing, dynamic tracks. Reveals bassist Marcus Denzel Williams of the Equilibrium (Earthbound II) single, “I wrote the lyrics to this song in a way that could both tell the story clearly as well as be relatable in a real-world sense! At this point in the story our two characters are coming to terms with accepting that the only way to defeat the villain Serenisis is that they both must sacrifice themselves to create a power strong enough to take him down. Their love for each other and the bond they created were keys needed to do just that. The main idea I wanted to get across in this song is that love truly does conquer all when it’s all said and done!”


22 | Jerry Leger & Don Stevenson | Halfway ’Til Gone

THE PRESS RELEASE: “There’s an almost 45-year age difference between music veteran Don Stevenson (of iconic ’60s west-coast American band Moby Grape) and critically acclaimed Canadian songwriter Jerry Leger. But they have more in common than one might think. Besides the remarkable resemblance between 35-year-old Leger and photos of Stevenson from his Moby Grape days, the two are accomplished songwriters and singers, passionate music fans — and now, a recording duo. Leger: “I had this heartbreak song floating around and I wanted to do it with a kind of Everly Brothers feel. I thought Don and I could sing it really nicely together, and thankfully he dug the tune and was into the idea. I thought it would be cool for him to play the drums with a consistent rumble all the way through as a foundation, like on a Roy Orbison record. It was also like something Jeff Tweedy and Wilco would do.”


23 | Expander | Cryptosteal

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Wasteland thrashers Expander strike with the shredding Cryptosteal. The single is the newest track to be issued in advance of the band’s impending second album, Neuropunk Boostergang, nearing release in the weeks ahead. The faction divulges of the Cryptosteal attack, “Hear the raucous of laboriously pilfered anti-coin mines, the new spawn point where Expander, with an elite lunkerhead unit in tow, jacks into the scandal-bank undersea network to zap Pythagor Corp of all their credits. Once depleted of funds, the WraithSect world-building over New Texas Post-War Zone 9 will be forced to halt and our neuropunk heroes will be one step closer to rescrambling the laws of power.”


24 | Austra | I Am Not Waiting (Claptone Remix)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Having unveiled the video for HiRUDiN album cut I Am Not Waiting last month, Austra (aka Katie Austra Stelmanis) is now pleased to share a remix of the track by German producer Claptone, who layer bouncing synths and driving beats to compliment her powerhouse vocals. Stelmanis says of the remix: “My relationship with Claptone has evolved from a no-contact collaboration to a bit of time spent getting to know each other, they’re really fun to work with as I love singing on Eurodance hits and I think their remix is fire.”


25 | JAS CRW | Report

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Rising trio JAS CRW have premiered their track Report from their upcoming EP Greetings From, which will be available on Aug. 28. The three initials “J-A-S” stand for the first letters of artists James, Aristoteles and Sandjay. JAS CRW tell us a bit about the song: “Having spent more than half a year on the hard disk before the project actually got finished, report had a little heavy birth. Although the framework for the beats and parts of the lyrics were mostly set with a heavy dancehall beat, there was still something missing to further work on it. After sending the demo to Jaime Rodigan it came back way different then expected. It’s mellow and hard but comes with a fresh and modern breeze. And that was the missing part to polish this track that talks about the troubles and thoughts that come with loneliness.”


26 | Dialogia | Metalurgia

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Maryland-based dark metal trio Dialogia will release their debut full-length Nostrum this fall. A stunning, conceptual sonic journey, the 10-track Nostrum unweaves a new collection of ciphers, gathering a disparate cast of musicians to urge you to cross the threshold of shadows into the ether. In advance of its release, the band has unveiled their first single, Metalurgia. Comments guitarist Bobby Tufino, “Metalurgia comes at a point in the album’s narrative where regret and howling shadows propel our protagonist into a swirling madness; we asked Jasper (Barendregt) to embody that sense of building insanity with a truly unhinged drum solo, and there is no question that he delivered. The song is menacing and appropriately riffy when called for, but never at the expense of the dark atmosphere that is fundamental to Nostrum as a whole.”


27 | Cali Rodi | God Save The Queen

THE PRESS RELEASE:Cali Rodi is an explosive young star poised to pioneer pop back to its feel-good roots. Today, the Los Angeles-based artist is serving up her new single, God Save The Queen, a punchy pop track created with an all-star team consisting of producer Lindgren (Dua Lipa, BTS) and vocal producer Emily Wright (Britney Spears, Katy Perry). The idea for God Save The Queen came to Cali after suffering a physical assault in broad daylight. No one helped her, no one wanted to get involved, and it got her thinking about how hard it is to be a woman existing in this world. “I wanted to create a song that gave me hope and strength because I felt powerless in the moment,” she writes. Resisting the ubiquitous ‘sad girl narrative,’ Cali has an uncanny ability to see the positive side of even the most jarring experiences, transforming her own struggles into empowering anthems. “It’s an understatement to say life is hard these days,” she quips, “but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have a little fun.”