Indie Roundup | 37 Cool Cuts For a Sweltering Wednesday

Beat the heat with Electric Hydra, Foxy Shazam, Naked Giants, Will Butler & more.

1588

Electric Hydra come to life, Foxy Shazam dream on, Naked Giants see their shadow, Will Butler row, row, rows his boat, Summersets pick fake flowers and more in your Midweek Roundup. It’s too hot to think today. Good thing I gave that up years ago.

 


PICKS OF THE DAY

1 | Electric Hydra | It Comes Alive

THE PRESS RELEASE:Electric Hydra’s self-titled debut album will be released Nov. 27. Watch the video for It Comes Alive ahead of the single’s release on Friday. “It Comes Alive was one of the first songs written for the album,” explains bassist Ellinor Andersson. “After a lot of coffee and some serious talk regarding guitar gear, Dennis started to play a riff and we continued to mess around with it while Sanne drafted lyrics. The song is about how your mind takes you to the darkest parts of your imagination.”


2 | Foxy Shazam | Dreamer

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Earlier this year, Foxy Shazam delighted fans by returning from their extended hiatus with Burn and Dreamer: Two dynamic anthems worthy of the beloved catalog that has left fans clamoring for more music over the past five years. Today, the band proves that they’re still capable of the incredible visuals to match the music with the debut of the official video for Dreamer. Despite its portrayal of peace in the midst of chaos, Dreamer still manages to rock out in an undoubtedly Foxy way that is sure to make it a highlight of the band’s famously epic live show for years to come. In the words of enigmatic frontman Eric Nally: “Nature is a quiet truth that lies within everything. Dreamer is about learning that.”


3 | Naked Giants | The Shadow

THE PRESS RELEASE:Naked Giants are set to release The Shadow this Friday. 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). Today they share the title track from the record. The band says, “The Shadow is a musical continuation of the multi-part rock and roll journeys we’ve explored with our songs Green Fuzz and TV, but with lyrics that serve as an abstraction of the rest of the album. Throughout, we explore our interactions with individual ‘shady’ parts of life — media overstimulation, dissociation, privilege and responsibility — and The Shadow wraps them all up by saying that these parts of life are necessary, they’re within me and they need to be faced and explored in order to grow and develop. When we say ‘I want to see The Shadow,’ we’re saying we want to bring all of these elements that are bringing us trouble and anxiety, and bring them into the light.”


4 | Will Butler | Close My Eyes

THE PRESS RELEASE: “On his new solo record Generations, out Sept. 25, Arcade Fire’s Will Butler digs beneath the recent chaos of the world and finds only more chaos. The songs are conversations that cycle back on themselves. All answers are refuted; all truths are contingent. And yet, there’s a powerful, almost hopeful, sense of forward movement pulsing through the record. Close My Eyes is a song that searches for comfort and almost finds it. It arrives today with a video (beautifully shot by Butler in a rowboat built by his grandfather) that highlights the song’s longing for escape. As Butler explains: “I tried to make the lyrics a straightforward and honest description of an emotion I feel often — a drive for change coupled with despair: “I’m tired of waiting for a better day. But I’m scared and I’m lazy and nothing’s gonna change.” Kind of a sad song. Trying to tap into some Smokey Robinson/Motown feeling—“I’ve got to dance to keep from crying.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

5 | KnightressM1 | Lock & Key

THE PRESS RELEASE: “San Francisco Bay power trio KnightressM1 have released Lock & Key, the first single from their debut LP, along with a stunning cinematic video. This is the second taster of the band’s debut album Dreams and Devastation. KnightressM1 is a rock / metal power trio based in Oakland and the brainchild of violinist, vocalist, pianist and composer Emily Palen. Lock & Key is inspired by the current planetary battle for human souls to break free from oppression waged down upon us by the hidden power structures. Ironically, this song became a personal anthem as Palen struggled to break free from domestic violence during the time of the album’s recording, ultimately illuminating that art/music is an unbreakable exit plan from the lethality of relational abuse.”


6 | Summersets | Fake Flowers

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In a few short days, Summersets, the new duo of Kalle Mattson and Andrew Sowka, will release their debut EP Small Town Saturday. Today, they share the new video for opener Fake Flowers. “When we started this project we had no idea we would be releasing this EP under so many bizarre circumstances,” says Mattson. “Quarantine shaped a lot of our creative decisions in the rollout of Small Town Saturday, and one of those that I think turned out for the better was the music video series we’ve done using found super 8 footage from the late ’60s/early ’70s. We wanted the videos to feel like the era of music that we were influenced by for Summersets, but to also have them be loosely intertwined with the narrative that runs throughout the EP.”


7 | No Joy | Dream Rats

THE PRESS RELEASE:No Joy release the official music video for Dream Rats from their album Motherhood, which is out this Friday. The video and track features front person and principal songwriter Jasamine White-Gluz’s sister Alissa, of deathcore supergroup Arch Enemy. Jasamine White-Gluz says, “I’ve never collaborated musically with my sister before. When we were kids we would sing and play music together but as we’ve both become adults and touring musicians we’ve never had a chance to work together. This is the heaviest song on this record so it felt fitting to have her on there. There is something special about her being on this album, specifically because it’s an exploration of family and motherhood.”


8 | Dizzy | Beatrice

THE PRESS RELEASE:Dizzy are pleased to share their new video for Beatrice, taken from their latest album, The Sun and Her Scorch. “The Beatrice video was unique to do because we were actually playing our instruments. In most music videos you’re meant to only pretend like you’re playing but Ryan was really keen on making the performance feel genuine — and after being apart for so long due to COVID we were stoked to be able to just hang out together and jam for a few hours. Having our gear plugged in for hours made the mirror room extremely hot and by the last take we were sweaty and tired and a little buzzed — so basically, we got our tour fix despite the looming pandemic outside the studio,” notes frontwoman Katie Munshaw.”


9 | Tommy Marz | Stuck In The Middle With You

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Singer/songwriter Tommy Marz has released a quarantine version of the Stealers Wheel classic Stuck In The Middle With You and announced his new solo independent EP Chasing Light will be released on Sept. 23. Marz recorded and filmed the song in quarantine after feeling a sense of shock watching what’s going on in the world, specifically with cyber-bullying. As he explains, “I recorded this song at a time when I was spending much more time on social media and I was disappointed, and in some cases appalled, at the way people were treating each other. Many people are passionate about the issues they believe in and they absolutely should be. But to wish death upon others or people’s loved ones crosses the line and at some point, checking our morality may need to become a priority before it’s too late to turn back. So, I observed from afar and truly felt stuck in the middle of what was occurring online. I’ve always been a fan of the song, but it seemed to speak to me in a different way.”


10 | Dirty Projectors | Holy Mackerel

THE PRESS RELEASE: “On Sept. 4, Dirty Projectors will release Super João, a four-song collection written, produced, and performed by Dave Longstreth. Super João marks the third in a cycle of five EPs that Dirty Projectors are releasing throughout 2020. Longstreth wrote and produced the music, collaborating on lyrics with each of the featured vocalists from the band — Maia Friedman on Windows Open, Felicia Douglass on Flight Tower, and Kristin Slipp on a forthcoming EP. On Super João, Longstreth wrote lyrics with Kyle Field and recorded straight to tape with his Los Angeles neighbor Kyle Thomas (King Tuff). Using a nylon-string acoustic guitar as his guiding instrument, Super João shows Longstreth pairing longform melodies with surprising chord progressions to create a mood reminiscent of Arthur Russell, Chet Baker, and (of course) João Gilberto, the Brazilian bossa nova pioneer who died last year. “Super João is a feeling,” Longstreth says.”


11 | Emma Acs | Live in Copenhagen, May 2020

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Due to the pandemic, Emma Acs, like so many other bands had to cancel all upcoming shows and tours. But one May morning, in a very early post-lockdown Copenhagen she got the band together at their rehearsal space and recorded four tracks live from her most recent work to date, the EP While I Shoot from My Fortress of Delusions, released in the old world aka January 2020.”


12 | Attic Salt! | Mud

THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s time for everyone to get a proper introduction to Attic Salt. Hailing from Springfield, IL, the band are a bit of pop-punk, a bit of power-pop, and a pinch of alt-rock. The recipe works in the best way and one might think that they have been doing this for decades. However, Attic Salt have only been kicking around since 2017, but have made quite the splash since their formation. Mud is the lead single from their sophomore release, Get Wise. Acoustic guitars fade into a full-blown power-pop anthem about bad habits and disillusion. The band took it upon themselves to make their own music video and it’s pretty damn tight!”


13 | Nightshifts | Kicks

THE PRESS RELEASE:Nightshifts is the recording project of Toronto-based songwriter Andrew Oliver. Oliver works magic across vintage synths, groovy guitars, and drum machines during late-night recording sessions to create soulful and cosmic pop tunes. Nightshifts delivers slow-building progressions of phased synthesizers and delay-coated guitars to create powerful atmospheres that feel close-at-home. The project is both exciting and complex with a fast-growing reputation for kaleidoscopic production and soulful songwriting. Nightshifts has a debut album coming next year. Hear the first taste with the breezy summer jam Kicks.”


14 | Sorry Ghost | Nosedive

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Baton Rouge pop-punk trio Sorry Ghost successfully crowd-sourced a music video from the safety of quarantine and discovered that their fans made something better than they could have ever imagined. The band says, “Narrowing the many submissions down to just over 60 clips, we were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response from our fans. From handmade signs to pet cameos, the creativity of our fans never ceases to amaze us.”


15 | Katie Pruitt | Normal

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Adolescence can be one of the most complicated and confusing times in a person’s life. For young people struggling to come to terms with their sexuality, that time can feel even more challenging. Katie Pruitt’s Normal, which appears on her acclaimed debut album Expectations, beautifully and succinctly gives voice to that youthful longing and confusion. “Normal was always a concept I fought against,” Pruitt reflects. “I hated dresses, played with action figures instead of Barbies, I even cut my hair short. Kids aren’t afraid to be themselves, which is something we lose sight of as adults. We all feel this pressure to conform when the truth is … there is no mold we need to fit, no script we have to read from, & no such thing as ‘normal.’ ”


16 | Mors Subita | Into Eternity

THE PRESS RELEASE:Mors Subita, the modern melodic death metal band hailing from Oulu in Finland’s North, just released their second video single Into Eternity, taken off their upcoming album Extinction Era (out Oct. 30). Into Eternity shows the Finnish soul in Mors Subita due to its melancholic character and is flanked by a music video made by the production team of the successful metal comedy Heavy Trip.Into Eternity is a song about family and bonds that last forever. A tribute to the one’s dearest to us. Musically it’s a perfect opposite to our last single Sick and the best song to showcase the melodic side of our upcoming album.”


17 | Pynkie | Personality

THE PRESS RELEASE:Pynkie — the project of Lindsey Radice — announces her new album #37, out Oct. 16, and presents its lead single/video, Personality. The track is an ode to divorce — specifically, her parents’ divorce when she was young. As Radice sings “Furniture, oh Furniture, Over my dead body,” she references specifically to fights over material objects, and how they would often talk negatively about each other to her. The accompanying video, directed and edited by Kelli McGuire, is heavily stylized with eclectic colors and settings. It features Radice dressed in various, eccentric costumes, washed in colorful lighting.”


18 | Le Couleur | Silhouette

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Disco synth-pop band Le Couleur will release Concorde on Sept. 11. Inspired by the famed Concorde and its tragic end, this new album is filled with vintage influences that take root in psychedelia, disco, yéyé and French chanson. Here, macabre sensuality flirts with ’70s erotica for a ride you won’t soon forget! On the album is the bold and outright fun song Silhouette, for which the band have recently recorded a video live from their respective homes.”


19 | Pram of Dogs | Teeth

THE PRESS RELEASE:Pram of Dogs is a project born from an obsession with forgotten film scores and cult cinema. Working with vintage synths and overdubbing reel to reel tape, the London-based artist collected sounds over a number of years and pieced together his debut release Matter – Anti, a score to a film that doesn’t exist. The album, embellished with the gentle wow and flutter of tape, possesses a tremendous breadth of vintage, cinematic sounds across its nine tracks. The lead single Teeth is perhaps the most striking piece on the album though, with its masterfully layered analogue synths, rising and falling like a massive tidal wave.”


20 | Arlo Parks | Hurt

THE PRESS RELEASE:Arlo Parks is sharing a new song and video for Hurt. The song is a beautifully spun track that fills the room with emotion in the way only Parks can, her soft vocals are amplified by a powerful spoken word interlude as the song progresses. Parks shares about the track: “Hurt surrounds the possibility of healing from pain and the temporary nature of suffering. It is supposed to uplift and comfort those going through hard times.”


21 | Restive Nation | Descent

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Ireland’s Restive Nation release their hypnotic new video for the single Descent. Taken from their critically acclaimed Lucidum EP, the seven-piece have crafted a sensational experience both in sound and vision with their latest offering. Commenting on the track: “The song was written about an acid trip taken with friends and watching people’s appearance change as they descend into their inner consciousnesses on a journey of self-exploration. The song begins as the effects slowly take place with an initial fear and trepidation that gives way to a chorus of warmth and safety with the desire to trust in the experience and explore even deeper. The story progresses as the traveller realises that there is nothing to fear and to take insight from what is happening. The finale is full acceptance and crossing over, a willingness to abandon old trains of thought for something more profound. The song ends in a rapture of euphoria as the traveller has gained a new, insightful perspective.”


22 | Billy Raffoul | What Makes A Man

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Singer/songwriter Billy Raffoul shares his powerful new song What Makes a Man and its accompanying video. What Makes a Man is the first single from Raffoul’s upcoming album International Hotel, due out Aug. 28. Sparsely arranged but full of raw feeling, What Makes a Man is a profoundly moving protest song that speaks out against systemic racism in policing. As Raffoul explains, What Makes a Man was the final song written and recorded for International Hotel. “I knew I wanted another song, and with so many important things going on in the world I was finding it hard to write another love song,” says Raffoul. “I thought about how since the quarantine started in March I had been driving my car around with expired plates for three months. I couldn’t get down to Nashville to get new tags, yet still I didn’t think twice about it. I can’t help but feel like that is a confidence that only privilege can give you.”


23 | Nation Of Language | Gouge Away

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Hot on the heels of their acclaimed debut album Introduction, Presence, Brooklyn-based synth-pop trio Nation of Language offer their take on the Pixies classic Gouge Away. Songwriter/vocalist Ian Devaney states, “When Aidan suggested Gouge Away I was immediately struck by how badly I wanted to rework it in our style, and the whole song mapped itself out in my head right away. I didn’t let myself listen to the original from then until it was fully recorded so I might forget certain details about it, leaving only my impression of its foundational elements — the way the quiet, unsettling verses give way to the savage choruses, the way the big transitional guitar line overwhelms you every time it happens. What we ended up with felt like an honest reimagining so we’re proud to present it to everyone and shed light on our favorite song by a band we really love.”


24 | Barbarossa | Recliner

THE PRESS RELEASE:Barbarossa shared his new single Recliner, recorded with producer Ghost Culture. The song is a typically ethereal release from the artist, drawing on tender electronic soundscapes akin to Zola Blood, Klangstof and Otzeki — thematically, it mirrors some of these woozy soundscapes tackling anxiety and the ability to give in to your own and other’s expectations of you. This new batch of music from Barbarossa — real name James Mathé — trails his tipped 2018 record Lier.”


25 | Terouz | Burn

THE PRESS RELEASE:Terouz is the guise of Cairo born illustrator/singer songwriter Karim Terouz, who moved to Montreal in 2008. Before transforming his band into an electro-pop act, Karim fronted and managed his award winning, brassy, folk/rock quintet The Rising Few. New single Burn came from a place of despair and the lyric some things are foul, but no one deserves to burn. Upon hearing it, Terouz’s then-girlfriend reminded him that people want passion — they want to be reminded of love, and they want to dance.”


26 | Maxwell Stern | Left In The Living Room ft. Laura Stevenson

THE PRESS RELEASE:Maxwell Stern unveils a new track from his debut solo album, Impossible Sum. The track features Laura Stevenson and is titled Left In The Living Room. It’s a song about past and present partnerships, and what it means to show gratitude to someone. Some days it’s effortless and other days you get so bogged down by the day-to-day that you forget to be thankful. As evidenced by the Weakerthans-influenced twang of Left In The Living Room, Impossible Sum really is different than anything Max has done before. It’s a departure from his emo and pop-punk roots; a collection of songs that exist outside of genre, as if he were contributing to the Great American Songbook.”


27 | Krigarè x Unsecret | End of the End

THE PRESS RELEASE: “22-year-old pop singer-songwriter Krigarè and mysterious mega producer Unsecret share their new song End of the End. Krigarè will also announce her upcoming EP later this year. “End of the End was actually written in the first week of the world wide quarantine lockdown,” says Krigarè. “Unsecret, hit songwriter Lindsey Lee, and myself were all talking about how it was feeling like the end of the world, but we hoped that while things come to an end, new beginnings will start rising. We hope people will feel empowered to pick up the broken pieces of our current reality, and create something beautiful and unifying with it.”


28 | Tempesst | High On My Own

THE PRESS RELEASE: “London-via-Australia folk/psych rockers Tempesst release the third single from their upcoming debut album Must Be A Dream, out Sept. 30. Exploring the band’s humble beginnings in a small coastal town in Queensland Australia, High On My Own juxtaposes their comparatively “grown up” peers versus their own lives, with the track’s nuanced lyrics touching upon the search for meaning in life, ageing and ultimately finding your own way. Singer Toma Banjanin said: “I grew up near Noosa, a small beach town in Australia. In my town, a 30-year-old man was typically a family man, with a normal job, a mortgage etc. The kind of guy who had a balanced life and what seemed to be contentment as a byproduct. These guys had beliefs, they lived by a code that guided each decision with a brand of certainty that I envy and in my subconscious, this archetype framed the kind of firm identity one should expect to acquire by age 30. A couple of decades on, here I am, 30, still wandering, without the beliefs or certainty I expected to have.”


29 | James Alphonse | What Are We Doing Here

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In his final year of high school in Hamilton, James Alphonse received a diagnosis for a chronic illness that he thought would end his ability to perform. He disengaged from a lot of the activities that gave him pleasure until the community from his university and music scene encouraged him to return. Their kind efforts to help him return have inspired him to make and perform music to foster those same community values that brought him back to songwriting. Departing from previous rock, folk, and jazz projects, James immersed himself in sounds more reminiscent of Pop/R&B, although soul and rock remain inspirations. After a three-year writing hiatus, James has released his new song What Are We Doing Here, with ’80s video-game synths, punchy chord progressions, and catchy guitar riffs.”


30 | S.K. Wellington | Like a Ghost

THE PRESS RELEASE:S.K. Wellington is a Calgary-based singer/songwriter that has been writing and performing music for over a decade. After leading the band The Wellington Folk for eight years, S.K. took a departure in 2018 and decided to move forward as a solo act. Sitting in the “perfect pocket of folk, pop, indie, and rock”, S.K.’s song offerings are reflective, poignant, poetic, and hopeful. S.K.’s new track is Like A Ghost. The mood of the song aims to capture the balance of the softness and intensity experienced following a breakup and adjusting to a new normal. The song is about processing hurt and the grief while unexpectedly finding a well of compassion for the situation.”


31 | Cidny Bullens | Little Pieces

THE PRESS RELEASE:Cidny Bullens will release the album Walkin’ Through this World on Aug. 21. Although this is the first album by Cidny Bullens, you may remember him from his previous name, Cindy Bullens. Cindy recorded many albums ranging from rock albums in the ’70s and ’80s to more singer-songwriterly albums in the ’90s and aughts. This is his first album as a transgender man. Little Pieces is the latest preview. “How many lifetimes do we live in one? I know I have lived many. In each one I’ve played a different role. And each time it seems, pieces of the prior life get slowly torn away like scraps of a paper that tells that particular story — ‘little pieces falling away.’ Our new lives don’t always appear right away. Questions and doubts emerge. The rub is that it’s usually we, ourselves that make these choices to move into the unknown to begin with.”


32 | Treasure | Isolation

THE PRESS RELEASE:Treasure’s laidback production and genre-merging tendencies provide a nostalgia based backdrop for his lush soulful harmonies. Treasure wears his emotions on his sleeve. He transverses his musical world with this heightened sense of vulnerability, creating a space where he and the listener can rest at ease with no fear of judgement. Isolation ushers in a new era of Treasure’s singing and songwriting. An era that simultaneously draws on both feelings of nostalgia and of present times. Produced and engineered entirely by Treasure in his London bedroom during lockdown, Isolation clearly portrays the uneasiness felt by most during self-isolation, touching on the sense of duty felt by the world in giving up freedom for a just cause.”


33 | Andrée Burelli | De Sidera

THE PRESS RELEASE: “This is the first time I have lived in Italy since I was fifteen,” says experimental electronic musician Andrée Burelli — who previously performed as Bodyverse. She’s musing on the inspirations of her patient, nurturing new album De Sidera — “and I am overwhelmed by the beauty of its nature, landscapes, and cultural roots.” Having moved from Berlin to Sardinia in her native Italy, the Mediterranean has taken on renewed significance. De Sidera is Burelli’s first album with Italian titles, written and recorded in Italy, inspired by the land she inhabits. Though any and all vocals on De Sidera are wordless, language is central to the album. “I try to make my vocalisms sound like words,” she explains, “but it is a kind of invented language. Somehow the form, the signifier, is enough to express meaning, sense, emotion.”


34 | Juanita Stein | Snapshot

THE PRESS RELEASE:Juanita Stein has released a new song, The Mavericks, from her upcoming third album Snapshot, set for release Oct. 2. As Juanita explains: “The Mavericks is a song that came together over a few years. The first half I’d already had written, the lyrics came in one blessed burst of lyrical expression, then I stashed it away, not knowing quite what to do with it. I was later able to complete it, whilst writing the songs for Snapshot. With the razor-edged perspective loss can bring, finding the right words became a lot easier for me. Sonically and lyrically, I wanted the song to rise and fall, swell and intensify, mirroring the cyclical nature of life.”


35 | Denise Valle | Circles

THE PRESS RELEASE: “A soulful songstress with love as her subject and soul as her sound, Denise Valle’s music fuses the hypnotic warmth of R&B with the insatiable rhythm of pop. Her lyrical narratives are met by her raw vocal wave embodying passion and enlightenment. An exploration of the common struggle of overthinking yourself into anxiety, Valle’s new track Circles sonically creates the feeling of a sleepless night where 3 a.m. has come and gone and the sun has begun to rise.”


36 | Mr. Bison | Seaward

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Italian heavy psych and blues rock trio Mr. Bison just confirmed an Oct. 16 release for their upcoming album Seaward. Check out invigorating first single and title track. The band gives a deep insight about their new record: “It’s a concept album that draws inspiration from the sea and from the legend of the seven pearls of the Tyrrhenian Sea and as an imaginary horizon. It’s developed in seven songs as a reference to the seven pearls of the Tyrrhenian, narrating myths closely related to the sea, from the magic of the Sirens and the sacrifice of Andromeda to the heroic adventures of Ulysses and the ruthless curse of Scylla. seven like Aphrodite’s pearls and the number of days in each moon phase, which affects the tides and the mood of each individual who, during magical moments of solitude and reflection, finds refuge in the horizon and in the wonderful echo of the vibrations of this majestic expanse of water.”


37 | Manchester Collective | Prologue

THE PRESS RELEASE:Prologue is a first foray into the varied sound worlds we explore in our debut EP (out Sept. 4). It opens with a manipulated, produced performance of a Bach chorale, Du großer Schmerzensmann, sung by the 12 string players of the Collective. The original four-part choral work is all about symmetry, beauty, and immaculate musical construction.”