Indie Roundup | 26 Tracks To Make Tuesday Sound Better

French Cassettes, Rachel Brooke, Scott Seed and more of today's super sounds.

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French Cassettes hit the road to Utah, Rachel Brooke shares her loneliness, Scotty Seed gets a head start on Halloween, Steven Wilson shows his sleazy side and more in your Tuesday Roundup. If you miss Talking Heads — and really, who doesn’t? — 21 is your lucky number today.

 


1 | French Cassettes | Utah

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:French Cassettes singer and songwriter Scott Huerta was living beneath a stairwell in San Francisco (cramped, but only $200 a month) when he wrote what would become his band’s sophomore LP Rolodex. “I adopted the mentality, which was probably unhealthy, that every song I wrote needed to be my favorite song,” he remembers. “I lost my mind so many times in the middle of the night.” French Cassettes will release Rolodex on Dec. 11 and today shared the video for Utah to announce the album that’s been eight years in the making. “I watched a video of Bill Withers sweating out a tune in a turtleneck and that image just stayed in my mind,” says Huerta. “So this song is what I imagined a young Bill would sing to himself on a solo road trip to Utah in a Fiat Spider with nothing packed but a backup turtleneck. All we know about this guy is he just ‘needs to go fast’. Where to? No one knows… maybe Utah.”


2 | Rachel Brooke | The Loneliness In Me

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Rachel Brooke returns on The Loneliness In Me, her newest solo album with a sound reminiscent of Nashville’s golden era with a decidedly 21st-century sensibility. The 12 songs are meditations on the wild strangeness of loss: losing love and the familiar, as well as old selves, direction, and dreams. The collection has the beauty and charm of a shape-shifter: part classic country songwriting, anchored in the tradition of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, part post-millennium mysticism, echoing forth from the Northern Michigan woods about the why and wherefores of where she’s been. Brooke’s voice lands somewhere between Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette, with an authenticity and directness that catches the ear like the truth of an unexpected confession or hard-won revelation. It has the quixotic sound of what happens when we stop casting our shadows and they start casting us. It’s the deep combination of country bluegrass meeting gothic blues sung through a sage’s smile that Brooke has been perfecting since her first self-titled release in 2008.”


3 | Scotty Seed | Hallows Eve

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “One of N.Y.C.’s most rebellious creatives, Scotty Seed releases Hallows Eve, the spooky lead single and title track off his forthcoming sophomore album that’s guaranteed to leave listeners with goosebumps. Hallows Eve features elements of pop, rock, and dubstep, which when combined form a haunting listening experience. Wanting to depict himself as a villain while establishing his place in music, with this song, Seed immediately captures the listener’s attention, employing eerie vocals and a vile bassline. “The overall message is that I’m a force to be reckoned with.”


4 | Steven Wilson | Eminent Sleaze

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Following a delay caused by the initial onset of COVID 19 and after a subsequent revision, Steven Wilson’s sixth album The Future Bites will finally be released Jan. 29. A second track is out online today. Eminent Sleaze is a wholly unethical life lesson strapped to a piece of grimy, low-slung funk, and as much a departure from Steven’s previous records as its immediate predecessor. The single is accompanied by Miles Skarin’s end-times video for the track.”


5 | Sylvan Esso | Free

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sylvan Esso’s intimate new song Free begins with a jarring conversational, “I love you”, before Amelia Meath begins to sing. “People always ask me / what it’s like to love everybody / what it’s like to love everybody, they ask me / I tell them don’t be crazy, there’s too many people around me / If I loved them all they’d break me, you see”. Today, the duo of Amelia and Nick Sanborn share the video for Free — the final preview of their new album Free Love, out Friday. “Free was written all in one go,” says Amelia. “One of those magical moments of songwriting that happens once every hundred songs. Nick knew it was the centerpiece of the record the minute I showed it to him. ‘We should call the record Free Love.’ It’s the center of the record — a song about being obscured by someone’s loving impression. A mirror on a mirror.”


6 | Abby J Hall | All I Wanted

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Singer-songwriter Abby J Hall has spent the past year in the studio, and is excited to continue sharing her stories with the world. Her new single All I Wanted is an emotional plea to go deep and be vulnerable with someone you care about. It’s about not staying at the surface in your relationships but rolling your sleeves up and getting to the heart of past issues to rectify a relationship that you feel is worth rectifying. Tough conversations can lead to deeper friendship.”


7 | Jimkata | Bonfires

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Jimkata are a three-piece anthemic, synth-washed, electro-rock band based out of Ithaca and Los Angeles. After taking a two-year hiatus following the release of six studio albums and the successful building of a vibrant, grassroots fanbase, Jimkata are preparing to release their next album, Bonfires. The title-track Bonfires is about the vulnerability you feel when facing uncertain times and the reflexive tendency to seek out the comfort of nostalgia that happens as a result. “The past few years under this presidency have felt like dropping off into a deep, dark, and ugly abyss from which there may be no return. It is easy to long for simpler times where you felt more sure of things. Though the idea that times were ever simpler may be an illusion unto itself. And so we find ourselves having to find the courage to face the flames, move through the ugliness, and hope it’s just a painful transition towards a better world.”


8 | Gab De La Vega | I Still Believe

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Gab De La Vega presents I Still Believe, his third video from his latest album Beyond Space And Time, released earlier this year. His third full length sees the definitive opening to a collaboration with a supporting band, with which he was able to play some shows to promote his new album before the COVID emergency, in addition to the debut full band show as an opening act to Frank Turner last year. Gab comments: “I Still Believe is probably the most intimate song on Beyond Space And Time. It comes at the end of a full band album and it takes it all back to the core: vocals and acoustic guitar … It’s a song of hope, a song about the faith in the future, the need to keep making the world a bit better day by day and the trust in the power of the young to rise to the occasion when it comes to do the right thing and take back their own future, not only ours.”


9 | Ben Rogers | Steady Going Nowhere

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Ben Rogers shares a music video filmed in his hometown of Vancouver, where the recent pandemic has put increased strain on an already critical overdose crisis. “This is a video we shot a while back with the help of a dear old friend of mine,” says Rogers. “During this pandemic that has affected us all, we can’t forget those hardest hit. Since the public health emergency there has been an increase in overdoses in Vancouver. This song is dedicated to the people of the streets of East Van who have lost their lives and those who are struggling to survive. They cannot be forgotten or abandoned.”


10 | Michael C. Duguay | One Million More

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Michael C. Duguay releases One Million More, the final single and opening track off of his long-awaited sophomore LP, The Winter of our Discotheque. One Million More is a sprawling and powerful seven-and-a-half minute long testimony of forgiveness, and a humble and compelling commitment to personal accountability, sobriety, and his craft. The Winter of our Discotheque is out Sept. 24. One Million More was the first song that Michael wrote and completed after a six-year hiatus from writing and performing music. The song was inspired during a session with his therapist, who encouraged Michael to start formally writing about his lived experience of mental illness, addiction, poverty, and homelessness in order to both process his trauma and overcome his fear and anxiety of returning to his career as a musician. It worked.”


11 | Vanilla Fudge | Immigrant Song

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Vanilla Fudge have released a remastered version of their cover of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song and accompanying video. Says Mark Stein: “Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin is one of the monster tracks of all time. How do you top that? Well, you can’t but we decided to just have fun with it. I came up with this On Green Dolphin Street kinda chord progression as the intro on the synth with a heavy-duty brass sound that worked pretty well. The guys fell into it right quick and it rocks the house. Carmine did a great job with the drum track and Tim and Vince killed it. I did the vocals in Florida and sent it back to Carmine in  Los Angeles and he mixed it. Hope you dig it.”


12 | Paul Alexander Low | Hell Yeah

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “My second single Hell Yeah from the forthcoming EP of the same name is a proposal song. I was inspired to write it by my own efforts at proposing to my fiancée and how I imagined her reaction. Fortunately, she said yes; admittedly she didn’t say hell yeah … but it amounted the same thing. My forthcoming EP Titled Hell Yeah is due out on Nov. 7, followed by an album release in mid-2021.”


13 | Hen Ogledd | Space Golf

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In anticipation of their new album Free Humans, about to land this Friday, Sept. 25, Hen Ogledd have shared new track Space Golf. On the track, the band — comprised of Richard Dawson, Rhodri Davies, Sally Pilkington and Dawn Bothwell — make use of their wit to lyrically skewer Trump, denouncing the obscenity of the ruling elite and catastrophic capitalism. Much like the album as a whole, Space Golf manages to hold both the tragedy of the wrongs happening in the world, whilst retaining a sense of hope and liberation at the same time.”


14 | King Parrot | Nor Is Yours

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Australian grind faction King Parrot are pleased to unveil Nor Is Yours, featuring guest vocals by Philip H. Anselmo. The track serves as the second instalment from the band’s forthcoming EP, Holed Up In The Lair. Comments vocalist Matt “Youngy” Young, “When we came up with this song, it was distinctly different to anything we had written previously on any of our records. It has an up-tempo groove that reminded me of an AC/DC riff if it was played by a grind or hardcore band. My head was busy trying to write lyrics for the other tracks, and this one through me a curve-ball. Luckily, we had our ol’ mate and one of the most prolific heavy metal vocalists of all time, Phil Anselmo, lounging around in the studio. He accepted the challenge to write and direct the lyrics and also added some vocals in for good measure. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did writing and recording it.”


15 | Jordan Reyes | Sand Like Stardust

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “I envisioned the record as a journey through human expression over the course of one day,” says Chicago composer and ONO member Jordan Reyes, musing on his sophomore album Sand Like Stardust. When planning the album, Reyes wanted to consider the trajectory of American music, drawing a throughline from the oral traditions enmeshed in blues, country, folk to contemporary underground music, splicing together acoustic instrumentation with an experimental, electronic sensibility. “High Noon began as a 25-minute piece with a Moog Modular System & lap-steel guitar, and was supposed to be one side of the album originally, but after recording, I began whittling and whittling it down.”


16 | Steep Canyon Rangers | Sunny Days

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Grammy-winning band North Carolina-based Steep Canyon Rangers share Sunny Days, the fourth track unveiled from their 13th album Arm In Arm, out Oct. 16. Helmed by Graham Sharp’s banjo, Sunny Days is a gorgeous manifestation of several members’ virtuosity. “It’s got a driving pulse at the top of it, like a rock anthem, but it changes at the line, “What I wouldn’t give to be with you in the sunshine,” says Mike Guggino. “We knew the song had to change there, so we bring it down, and there’s a group solo with the banjo, fiddle, and mandolin all playing at once with each instrument occupying a different space. The music releases as the speaker releases that wish to be in the sunshine.”


17 | Better Person | Close To You

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Better Person — aka Adam Byczkowski, the silent prince of Berlin’s late-night underground pop scene — has shared his latest single Close To You, taken from his upcoming debut album Something To Lose, due Oct. 23. Adam says: “While I was writing this song in Berlin, I started feeling tormented by never ending obligations to go out and socialize every night. I would force myself out, get way too drunk and waste a lot of time talking to random people. What I was really longing for was a quieter night with someone I truly care about.”


18 | Ellyn Woods | Tangerine

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Ellyn Woods is a multi-disciplinary artist currently based in Montréal. In 2019, she travelled to northern Québec to record her debut album with Sterling Grove, scheduled for release later this year. Tangerine, the first new track to be shared from those sessions, started as a poem that Ellyn wrote while waiting to record vocals for a different project, seated on a vintage couch under the odd glow of an orange light. The vocals were done in one take, one afternoon and were not re-recorded.”


19 | Grace Gillespie | Hoppers

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Grace Gillespie is a London-based artist and producer originally from Devon, who spent much of 2017 touring as part of the live line-up for Pixx. In 2019 Grace released her debut EP Pretending. She is now following with a new EP slated to release this Nov. 27. Grace just released a new single from the EP, Hoppers. The track takes influences from the folk, alternative and dream-pop traditions capturing the frantic energy of life and contrasting it with the stillness of death, providing a backdrop to her intriguing vocal melodies.”


20 | Amelie Patterson | Let Your Trouble Go

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Inaugural poet-laureate of Banff, Amelie Patterson is the kind of songwriter who can leverage her confident alt-folk songwriting into transfixing musical mechanica. Her new project is the Playlist, a series of diverse rolling singles, each centred on a thematic through-line, playing with genre and mood throughout, experimenting in writing and pushing herself and her collaborators to darken the corners of her moody pop sound-space. Kicking off the Playlist is Let Your Trouble Go, is about wishing you could hold the grief or burdens of your loved ones for them; allowing them to take the afternoon off and access their memories without fear of being overrun by the sometimes scary and out of control expressions of grief.”


21 | Turkuaz | Ophidiophobia

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Nine-piece funk outfit Turkuaz explores the space between beauty and poison with their new single, Ophidiophobia (pronounced oh•fid•e•oh•fo•bia), featuring Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew of Talking Heads. What began as an instrumental groove originally titled Dr. Jones with a sinister, dark tinge turned into an Indiana Jones-inspired track, as recalled by Turkuaz bari-saxophonist and vocalist Josh Schwartz. Another working title that Dave added was Akar Saga, but upon looking up the phrase and discovering it was a beautiful, tropical vine, Schwartz knew he was onto something. “A poisonous but beautiful tropical vine with red and black features reminded me of snakes, of which Indiana Jones is famously afraid, so I realized I could combine imagery and words from both placeholder titles to write a song involving snakes,” Schwartz illuminates. “When I found out that the fear of snakes is a word as beautiful and strange as ophidiophobia, I knew this song had to be written.”


22 | Madelline | Late Night Text

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Originally hailing from Connecticut, Madelline is based out of Montreal. Ahead of her upcoming EP Noise Complaint, Madelline has shared a single about deserving more than the minimum effort from someone. Late Night Text starts out somber and builds to a catchy electro-pop bop about not waiting around.”


23 | Preventer | We Were Here But Now We’re Not

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Touting post-punk guitars and swift synth work, We Were Here But Now We’re Not is a new track from York, U.K. act Preventer, from the project’s new album The Club Downstairs. Preventer is the project of multi-instrumentalist Deedee Ashlee. Previously delving into metal music for the past 15 years, Ashlee’s recent work pursues an indie-rock direction with a post-punk allure. “I wanted to make something with the atmosphere of Joy Division or early Cure, but that also has an aggression and tempo like you’d find on Silent Alarm-era Bloc Party or early Arctic Monkeys stuff,” Ashlee says. “It started off as me wondering if two different styles could be mixed together to make something that was quite dark and ambient but also that had powerful drums and a faster rhythm.”


24 | Creeptones | Soul Fire

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Soul Fire comes from Creeptones’ new album Hell + Ice. “The track was written during, and on the cusp of, the band winning/losing Hard Rock Cafe’s 2013 Global Battle of the Bands,” says band member Carmine Stoppiello. “The song basically summed up how it felt to know we were so close to winning something that had a chance to dramatically alter our trajectory as a band, but with the sinking feeling that things might not go our way. It was a lesson in learning how to lose without feeling like a loser.”


25 | Josh Johnson | Nerf Day

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Josh Johnson — the Los Angeles-via-Chicago multi-instrumentalist and composer who has toured and recorded with Jeff Parker, Makaya McCraven, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Leon Bridges — is sharing his new single Nerf Day from his debut album Freedom Exercise, releasing Oct. 9. With its unusual tempo changes, Johnson’s Nerf Day is an auditory illusion. The surreal, vivid dream world begins with Gregory Uhlmann’s off-kilter guitar and Aaron Sttele’s breezy drumming before Anna Butterss’ sparse but sparkling bass and Josh’s unclouded, blossoming horn lines materialize. The perfect piece of music to soundtrack a late summer hang.”


26 | Novarupta | Broken Blue Cascades

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Named after one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century, Novarupta is about to release Marine Snow on Nov. 13. It’s the second instalment in a series of four albums that conceptually focuses on the elemental forces of Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Emerging from a passage of fire onto the ocean floor below, Marine Snow immerses listeners in a sea of blackened sludge, progressive metal and monochromatic psychedelia. As best exemplified on latest single, Broken Blue Cascades, which pressurises the senses with bottomless riffs and sublime vocals from former Red Sparowes/A Storm of Light vocalist Josh Graham.”