Indie Roundup (Arsonist Edition) | 26 Tracks To Fire You Up This Thursday

Gear up for Friday with Figure Walking, Crown Lands, Mav Karlo, Godcaster & more.

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Figure Walking mark the spot, Crown Lands put the hammer down, Mav Karlo digs deep, Godcaster get sassy and more in your Thursday Roundup. Crime, lust and flames seem to be the themes of the day. So I guess this one goes out to all the pyromaniacs out there. Smoke ’em if you got ’em, chief.

 


PICKS OF THE DAY

1 | Figure Walking | Mr. X

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Winnipeg’s Figure Walking are sharing another new track from their upcoming album, Vertical/Horizontal, out Sept. 11. On the new song Mr. X, Greg MacPherson notes: “Arnold was a grizzled old man who worked odd jobs in West Broadway 10 or so years ago; shoveling snow, loading trucks, fixing lawn mowers — physical work for cash. He had an air of menace, a brooding impatience, his movements were deliberate and economical; his mental energy seemed focused elsewhere, perhaps on containing a part of himself that no longer fit in the world. I got to know Arnold editing a community newspaper that he contributed to. He wrote a series of crime stories, cautionary tales from his own life, terrible things he had done, shared with equal parts regret and amazement. He swore that every word was true, and wrote under the pseudonym Mr. X to avoid reprisal from law enforcement and former criminal associates. Arnold died in 2011, his obituary confirming many of his stories, and revealing that he was in fact much younger than we assumed. Years of hardship and hard living, years of being Mr. X.”


2 | Crown Lands | Leadfoot

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Following an unrelenting wave of new music this summer, powerhouse Canadian rock duo Crown Lands unveil their self-titled debut album. It arrives alongside the ferocious video for the album’s lead single Leadfoot. “Leadfoot started as a cautionary tale about speeding but quickly became some sort of song about interstellar love. Lots of space and nature imagery keep the song from touching down into reality but the music is quite rooted in blues and glam rock. Is it about aliens? Is it about cars? Is it about aliens driving cars? Maybe. Either way, it’s a lot of fun to play.”


3 | Mav Karlo | Dig A Hole

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto singer-songwriter Mav Karlo is excited to announce the forthcoming release of his debut album Strangers Like Us on Oct. 16. Mav Karlo is the project of Menno Versteeg. Today he reveals a new track off the LP, Dig A Hole, which unearths a bit of his family history involving the beloved Toronto landmark Honest Ed’s, a fantastically gaudy discount store recently torn down for the construction of condos. “When my dad was a teenager he lost his mom and went through a rough patch where it seemed like he was headed for jail, or worse,” says Versteeg. “During that time he got caught stealing at Honest Ed’s, but Honest Ed just gave him a stern talking-to and let him go. I’ve always wondered how his life might’ve taken a turn if it hadn’t worked out that way — if I’d even be here now if he’d ended up going to jail.”


4+5 | Godcaster | Sassy Stick Boy | Live

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Spit and jitter in a revelatory stance. Profundicate your masticators and whisper “so longs” into the deepest dearths. Out of the spout, out of the flash, out of the gnash and fleeting cry comes Godcaster. Rising from the underground river of primordial goo that runs between New York City and Philadelphia and ascending toward some unknown ethereal plane beyond our comprehension, comes to us the revelatory debut of music and mythos of their album Long Haired Locusts. Godcaster creates their own kind of protean piety based on the exaltation of movement and sound and Long Haired Locusts is the first of their sacred texts. It is a statement of purpose and acknowledgment of future growth beyond the limits of these sounds or any others. Whether you praise be or shutter in fear, we must all bear witness to the mythic rise of the music and the movement that is Godcaster. Today they share the single for Sassy Stick Boy and a live performance.”


6 | Sufjan Stevens | Video Game

THE PRESS RELEASE:Sufjan Stevens debuts Video Game, a new song from his forthcoming eighth studio album The Ascension. Watch the video, choreographed by and starring Jalaiah Harmon — the teenage creator of the massively viral Renegade dance — and directed by Nicole Ginelli. The Ascension is an indictment of a world crumbling around us — and a roadmap out of here. Sufjan says the foundations of the album are “a call for personal transformation and a refusal to play along with the systems around us. My objective for this album was simple: Interrogate the world around you. Question anything that doesn’t hold water. Exterminate all bullshit. Be part of the solution or get out of the way. Keep it real. Keep it true. Keep it simple. Keep it moving.”


7 | Buscabulla | Mio

THE PRESS RELEASE:Buscabulla share the official music video for Mio, taken off their debut album Regresa, released in May. Directed by the band and filmed across Puerto Rico, the opening scenes of the Mio video spotlight the Playuela coastline, which has been at the center of a 20-year battle between local conservation activists and encroaching tourism industry developers. “Mío is a look outside the tourist’s gaze in Puerto Rico, with recent natural disasters, an ongoing economic crisis and now a global pandemic accelerating gentrification and foreign development,” the band explains. “It depicts the island’s picturesque landscapes in contrast with the gritty aesthetic of notorious local festivities which themselves preserve and expand our culture while existing beyond the market forces trying to erase them. Despite our neocolonial reality it will always be our right to assert our own dignity and self-respect. What we are claiming as ours goes beyond what money can buy. Home is even more than land, it is our culture, our people and our history with all is lights and shadows.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

8 | theLINE | Metaphor For War

THE PRESS RELEASE:TheLINE has unveiled a new video for Metaphor For War from 2019’s The Mass Debate. Says Donald Horne from theLINE: “It’s a song about perseverance and finding your place in the world, defeating the awkwardness of growing up which I think is something all young people struggle with, all over the world. It’s a battle cry for the underdog!! Life in social situations when your young can feel like war. For the video, we were lucky enough to work with our longtime friends and artist Jamie Lynn and Scottie Daniels on the set design and our good friend Don Tyler directed the shoot.”


9 | Krief | I Love You Just the Same

THE PRESS RELEASE: “On Krief’s forthcoming album Chemical Trance, he has turned on, tuned in, dropped out and come out the other side with a psychedelic masterpiece of secular shamanistic humanism. Today, ahead of the album release this Friday, he shares his personal favourite track, I Love You Just the Same, accompanied by a lyric video directed by Maia Davies. “This is a farewell song,” explains Krief. “Letting go of things I loved so dearly, because the universe was insisting I do so. I don’t often write songs on a piano but this song was written on an old, abandoned and terribly tuned piano I came across one night. It took a long time to make all the pieces fit on this one. I had a lot of ideas I wanted to include in the cacophony. The main objective was to evoke a specific feeling when listening back. Just touching one fader made the song change dramatically. The song is so fragile, and likely my favourite on the record.”


10 | Jimkata | Wait For You

THE PRESS RELEASE:Jimkata are a three-piece anthemic, synth-washed, electro-rock band based out of Ithaca and Los Angeles. With a triumph of swirling analog synths, infectious pop hooks and candid lyrics, Jimkata have built a distinct sound which has been resonating with listeners across the country. Their latest single entitled Wait For You narrates the feeling of being in limbo — sitting around waiting and feeling restless while navigating uncertainty. Singer Evan Friedell shares, “I didn’t realize at the time I wrote it how prescient and universal that feeling would become as we experience a global pandemic and a world in chaos.” The video was created by animator Ben Clarkson, who brings further depth and dimension to the notion of waiting. While Wait For You is on one level a heartbreak inspired pop song, it is also a commentary on helplessly waiting and hoping for the world to get its shit together.”


11 | Valerie Lighthart | Love & Money

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Milwaukee-based art-pop artist Valerie Lighthart is debuting a new self-directed music video for her latest single Love & Money, which includes a featured spot from queer Latinx pop artist Solana. The video was directed by Lighthart herself and also features a cameo by drag-queen Melee Mcqueen. Says Valerie: “I yearned to create a gilded realm to escape inside. I sought and found safe spaces to unpack the difficult feelings I had about womanhood, femininity, sexuality, and autonomy. As a young teenager, a dance class I took with my older sister helped me begin to unravel the complicated web of internalized misogyny I learned. It taught me to connect to my body in a new way and learn to embrace my thoughts and desires in a group of supportive femmes. We would spin in circles, laughing and talking. We showered love on each other, and the tone of acceptance, body positivity, and optimism was freeing. Through this joyful space, I grew the stability of identity to unpack my ideas on femininity, and analyze the shame that had it in a stranglehold. Women and femmes don’t have a monopoly on shame, but I felt empowered to think about what I knew best: feminine performance in relation to a hyper-sexed and shame-based culture.”


12 | Garza | Deep Blue (Riviera Mix)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “While his band Thievery Corporation take an unexpected but much-needed break due to the COVID-19 pandemic from 25 consecutive years of touring, Rob Garza releases a special remix of his track Deep Blue (Riviera Mix) under his solo moniker Garza. The original track is taken from his successful debut EP Where The Moon Hides, which was released November 2019. “A perfect soundtrack to the imaginary summer we never had, Deep Blue (Riviera Mix) features a summertime housey, loungey vibe perfect for pools, beaches or summer mix tapes,” Garza says. “Featuring vocals by Seann Bowe, this mix encapsulates the sun, the water and summer nostalgia.”


13 | Moonchild Sanelly | Where De Dee Kat?

THE PRESS RELEASE:Moonchild Sanelly — South Africa’s Queen of Gqom — is announcing her forthcoming EP Nüdes, out Sept. 11. The project is set to position her as one of the year’s greatest breakout artists, with her electrifying music and unique style ready to take on a global audience. Alongside the announcement, Moonchild Sanelly is sharing a new song and video Where De Dee Kat. The track is an open display of Moonchild Sanelly’s love of sex. The combination of brazen rap lyrics and softer verses flirt with different sides of female desire, in an honest celebration of a woman’s desire for the anatomy of a man. The lyrics are as literal as they sound, but the song has a more powerful message — that women can be as open as we want to be about sexuality, that women aren’t always the submissive partner, and the much deeper reason that Moonchild notes, “unless we talk about female desire, rape culture exists.”


14 | Hard Target | Moonlight

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Florida rapper Hard Target has been singlehandedly killing the game as of late, releasing his banging new album Joyridin and then following that up by teaming with Struggle Jennings and DJ Winn to drop the monstrous single The River. Never one to rest, Hard Target is back with a brand new video for Moonlight. The video was directed by Breadwin and stars model Francheska Torres setting fire to the past, as she laughs maniacally while burning Hard Target at the stake. “Moonlight is very personal to me. It’s my attempt to confront my demons and face my past discretions. Now trying to juggle the person I once was with the person I’ve become,” commented Hard Target. “I thought it would be a cool concept for the video to show me unleashing blood-curdling screams as I’m burned alive. It was a unique way of showing me burning the past and in the ashes looking forward to the future.”


15 | Sacre | 01:00AM Pink Mamba

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Electro-pop duo Sacre have shared the music video for 01:00AM Pink Mamba, taken from their recently released album Love Revolution, which is part of Sacres exciting project that harnesses music, photography and storytelling. Exploring femininity, Pink Mamba is designed to strike pride amongst women. The animated video melds itself to the lyrics, highlighting the refusal to be constrained or defined and celebrating fluidity. Sacre elaborate: “01:00AM Pink Mamba is an ode to the independent and victorious woman. In this music video, the woman is naked, powerful and assumes her femininity as a vector of success. ‘I’m a chief, a shark, a champion and a warrior…. I’m a woman’.”


16+17 | Charlotte Day Wilson | Take Care Of You + Summertime

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Singer, songwriter, and producer Charlotte Day Wilson returns with two new tracks  — the velvety love song Take Care Of You featuring Syd and the effortlessly sunny Summertime. The Toronto native melds soul, jazz, and R&B to create atmospheric upbeat ballads that breathe warmth and intimacy into contemporary pop. Her first offerings of 2020 a prime example, Wilson’s latest continue to entice and expand her sound and catalog, setting the tone for more to come. Charlotte on the singles: “Take Care of You was one of those songs that came really naturally and quickly, the lyrics were impromptu & the music was simple. I just wanted to write the sort of lesbian love song that I would want to listen to. Syd was the best possible addition, we both felt it was a song that needed to be heard. I wrote Summertime at my cottage alone in the woods, I was just reflecting on some unrequited emotions that always seem to come back in the summer.”


18 | Dutch Schultz | Start Me

THE PRESS RELEASE:Start Me is the second single from Dutch Schultz, taken from their album Friends Like Brutus, due for release Sept. 18. Lyrically it touches on a dislike of consumerism in modern times and not having the interest or motivation for the latest ‘must have/must do’ things. The video, edited from animation-short A by Jan Lenica (1965) fits quite appropriately with the solitude many of us dealt with during the recent lockdowns. Dutch Schultz’s influences include Helmet and the Jesus Lizard, with melodic sensibilities inspired by vocalist Willy’s unhealthy obsession with The Beatles.”


19 | In Flames | Bullet Ride

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Swedish metal powerhouse In Flames have released a new lyric video for the new re-recorded version of Bullet Ride, featured on their upcoming Clayman 20th Anniversary Edition, out on Aug. 28. Celebrating the two-decade milestone of their critically acclaimed breakthrough, In Flames recently released the Clayman 2020 bonus tracks, which include four newly re-recorded tracks and a new instrumental that are available now on all digital and streaming services.”


20 | Trial | Colony Of Trial

THE PRESS RELEASE: “U.K. dystopian thrash/hardcore duo Trial unveil a new video from their debut EP, 1. The new visual accompaniment to the track Colony Of Trial is now playing. The band offers, “From a distance our view had now clarified: our assailants a limited force, their equipment aging, soon to expire, their supplies dwindling. The rhetoric they had used against us for so many years now seemed inverted and now applicable to only them: a spent force, their resources and tools now inept, prone to failure and redundancy. We saw their cohorts scoping the landscape for a better deal, soon to depart for good and vanish. Upon this awareness we offered thanks, forging forward and having sealed up their means of future escape: our colony.”


21 | Lindsey Sterling | What You’re Made Of

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Platinum-selling electronic artist, violinist, and multi-talented entertainer Lindsey Stirling surprised fans with the release of her new single What You’re Made Of featuring electro-pop artist Kiesza on vocals. “I’ve always loved anime art and I was ecstatic when I got to write a song for an anime game that revolved around female empowerment,” shares Stirling. “It was also perfect because I wrote this song at an all-female writing camp. It’s about how even when you feel broken, you are so incredibly powerful. It’s in the moments of near defeat that you chart your truest fate because the way you react when you’re at the bottom really shows what you’re made of.”


22 | Scenic Route To Alaska | Closer

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Substance and accessibility. They’re often considered opposing forces when it comes to pop music, making it all the more impressive when a band like Scenic Route to Alaska so effortlessly delivers ample doses of both. The Edmonton-based indie pop trio have dropped two acclaimed LPs that weave memorable melodies and catchy vocals through compelling, musically-rich arrangements. Their single Closer is the newest off their upcoming album Time For Yourself. This song revisits their roots with a more organic, unfiltered take on their now-signature sound.”


23 | Spook The Horses | Inheritance

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Wellington, New Zealand-based post-metal collective Spook The Horses are pleased to undrape their new visual accompaniment to Inheritance. Viewable in 180° VR, the track comes off the band’s forthcoming new full-length Empty Body, set for release Aug. 28. Issues the band: “Inheritance is the final song on and single off of Empty Body. Produced by Max and Felix Telfer, the clip recalls the surreal digital landscapes of past visual works; but what was once a flowing river of hues and sound now gives way to the jagged, kinetic rhythms of Empty Body’s frenetic conclusion. Pulsing and writhing to the stabs of bass and percussion, seething alongside guitars and screams, the prismatic topography of Inheritance grips your attention and refuses to relinquish it.”


24 | Lazer Beam | Take Me Home

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Raised under the scorching Arizona sun, Lazer Beam — the solo desert pop project of multi-instrumentalist, Lucust French — is heavy, somewhat demented but never anything less than original. Much like his work with former outfit Burn Thee Insects (formed by French and his father Mitch in 2015) Lazer Beam’s music is practically built on industry and ingenuity. Choosing to record his music outside and on the move, for his self-titled debut we’re treated to songs cut in the heart of Prescott National Forest, East Maricopa County, and countless other locations thanks to a generator, and close friend and producer, Chris Hughes. Whilst Lazer Beam might pull inspiration from past experiences with drug and alcohol abuse, thankfully he now rides high on autonomy and hope. Perhaps best exemplified here on his fuzz driven debut Take Me Home,; a raucous and raging boy-meets-girl tale captured at FiveThirteen Recording in Tempe, with French playing practically every instrument you hear.”


25 | King Mala | Sugarblind

THE PRESS RELEASE:King Mala is the moniker of El Paso-born, Los Angeles-based alternative soul artist Areli Castro. Touching on themes such as lust, recklessness and badass femininity, King Mala isn’t afraid to spill her guts. Setting out with the intention to create brave and unapologetic music, the bold and brazen artist is delivering her own distinct sound, just the way she wants it. Castro shares, “Thats really the inspiration for the name King Mala, king cuz fuck being someone’s queen, and mala literally means “bad bitch” in Spanish.” Sugarblind stays true to her fun and carefree ethos. Blending alternative rock and pop with metaphorical lyrics, Castro compares the ravenous hunger for something sweet, with the feeling of lust for someone. Showcasing soulful, raspy vocals, brooding melodies and muted tones, Sugarblind is a relatable anthem for twenty-somethings.”


26 | Komfortrauschen | Nemo

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Live techno act Komfortrauschen have announced the release of their new single Nemo. The single heralds the approach of their upcoming EP Expander, which will be released towards the end of the year. The men behind the mania are Tim Sarhan (drums), Laurenz Karsten (guitar) and Phillip Oertel (bass) — three precision-obsessed control freaks who have honed their craft of playing live techno on instruments with German perfection. All three have spent the better part of ten years as professional musicians, skillfully converting their mechanical energy into unrestrained, hedonistic techno. Speaking of the single, Komfortrauschen share some further insight: “Nemo is our opener track. This track is the beginning of all our live shows since one year and it is like an incantation for us: Here we come!”