Indie Roundup | 36 Tracks From A Surprisingly Poppy Thursday

La Chica, Thegan, Idles, Minutian, Averted, Scarred & more names you need to know.

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La Chica is hungry like the wolf, Thetan get it all out of their system, Idles throw a cartoon party, Minutian play Russian roulette, Averted make a major sacrifice, Scarred present a powerful mirage — and that’s barely scratching the surface of your Thursday Roundup. For some reason, there’s an inordinate amount of pop in today’s collection. Of course, there’s also some Run The Jewels, Royal Blood and Titus Andronicus, so it all balances out in the end, you know?

 


ON REPEAT

1 | La Chica | La Loba

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:La Loba (Wolf) is the hard-hitting and incendiary single from French/Venezuelan composer, singer and pianist La Chica, who will release the full La Loba project on Jan. 29. “This is a song for my women out here,” she says. “Inspired by the legend of La Loba, it’s a story about recreating life and rekindling a woman’s spirit, fighting against patriarchal forces. We are powerful. Let’s stay connected to our wild nature. The witches’ awakening is real. In this video I am La Loba, I’m the witch, but I’m also the essence of women.”


2 | Thetan | Frustration/Focused Hatred

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Frustration/Focused Hatred is the new video from Nashville powerviolence duo Thetan, the bulldozing duo of bassist/vocalist Dan Emery and drummer Chad L’Eplattenier. Emery writes, “Frustration is a song about being in a manic state of mind. The lyrics are all over the place and based out of confusion and desperation, the last line in this song alludes to caving in to impulses. Focused Hatred is a song about a person from my childhood. One of only a few people that I can honestly say that I truly hated. Her death brought me relief and happiness in a way that I am not proud of, but as part of my own personal reckoning, I have to acknowledge. Not every person in your life is worthy of forgiveness, and that is OK.”


3 | Idles | Kill Them With Kindness

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Idles have shared an animated video for Kill Them With Kindness, a highlight from their recent album Ultra Mono. The video was directed and designed by James Carbutt and animated by Pip Williamson, who says, “The dingy pub setting in the film is based on the Working Men’s Clubs of my hometown (Barnsley). It was nice to imagine Idles bursting in and spreading a message of love. During our research we discovered that no two Wetherspoons carpets are the same, they are all unique like snowflakes, so yeah making this film was a wild ride.”


4 | Minutian | Alien Reflection

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Helsinki prog group Minutian share Alien Reflection, the second single off Magical Thinking, their album due for release in early 2021. Alien Reflection represents the upcoming album’s more metallic side. Driven by a robust beat, the song features interesting variation created by alternating vocals by singer Mikko Heino and guitarist Pekka loponen. Lyrically, Alien Reflection covers the situation when one’s lizard brain triggers a fight-or-flight response without an apparent reason.”


5 | Averted | Sacrifice

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “U.K. metal outfit Averted will share their debut EP Silenced on Dec. 18. Emotional, powerful and compelling, Averted’s debut is a storytelling experience which is heavy and foreboding, but also conveys a message of hope, defiance and resilience. Singer Syhem Angel explores different vocal techniques, alternating from intricate melodies to relentless screams, giving a voice to the different characters that are explored throughout this first release.”


6 | Scarred | Mirage

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Luxembourg death-metal group Scarred are back with their self-titled third album, the first to feature singer Yann Dalscheid. Set to be released on Jan. 22, the album was recorded by the band and Patrick Damiani at Tidalwave Studio in Karlsruhe, Germany, mixed by Patrick Damiani and mastered by Robin Schmidt at 24-96 Mastering, Karlsruhe. Today, Scarred premiere a video for the track Mirage.”


7 | Kaamos Warriors | Askeleet

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Finnish dark metal band Kaamos Warriors just released their third album Kirous, along with a video for Askeleet.  Guitarist Jani Moilanen comments: “Kirous is our third album representing the growing atmosphere of sounds and versatility of the band while maintaining the essence of our unique style. The album starts with the opening track Askeleet introducing the atmosphere of the record.”


8 | Joshua Henry | Hold Me

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Joshua Henry will release his debut EP Guarantee on Feb. 12, showcasing his immaculately powerful voice and his intelligent storytelling background. Today, he shared the gorgeous video for Hold Me. It reflects the immense emotional depth and love that comes from opening oneself up to intimacy. An exploration of balancing the relentless pursuit of a dream while needing to ask for love and support, the track pairs Henry’s regal falsetto with a rippling and kinetic neo-soul production.”


9 | La Femme | Disconnexion

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Parisian psyche-pop band La Femme just released their video for Disconnexion, the third single from their upcoming third album. Like their first two singles Paradigme and Cool Colorado, the Disconnexion video takes place in a mysterious universe that La Femme have created. Parodying an intellectual TV debate, the video features a philosophic speech given by a strange orator, a psychedelic cantatrice singing over a disco beat, and a wild banjo solo played by a clown in the middle of a phantasmagorical orgy.”


10 | Sylvan Esso | Numb

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sylvan Esso have been on a remarkable run this fall, and the surprises continue. Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn just released With Love, an EP that finds them reimagining six songs from Free Love with a 10-piece dream team band of players from their tight-knit artistic community, including musicians who perform with Bon Iver, Wye Oak, Hiss Golden Messenger, Mr. Twin Sister, Hand Habits, and Mountain Man. The band say: “Getting the band back together a year after our original tour (and in most cases, the last shows any of us played) was such an unexpected joy in a year where all other plans fell through.”


ALSO ON THE PLAYLIST

11 | Caspian Pool | B.I.T.U.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Caspian Pool, the French synth-pop outfit, present B.I.T.U., the first single of a full LP expected in spring. Made with French producer Julien Galner (Chateau Marmont, Exotica), the playful cut focuses on a simpler way of track composition. As Low Bird (vocals) explains, “Back Into The Universe is an ode to our space fantasy, going back to where come from, a real thirst for universality. I’ve always been fascinated about space walks, the origins of the matter that makes us … and ultimately time travel.”


12 | Krief | The Light Between Your Eyes

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Krief shares the video for The Light Between Your Eyes, from his recent album Chemical Trance. Director Maia Davies explains, “I chose to explore the nature of choice, and its parallel realities. The idea that one person exists in a multitude of timelines … The song goes through a rollercoaster of emotions and realizations both lyrically and musically, and Krief the songwriter is often being pulled in many directions too. I chose what I thought was the most extreme visual exposition of this feeling to show that perceptions of who we are is what traps us. I opened with two Kriefs singing to other, facing each other for this reason. And then it gets … crazy.”


13 | Corvair | Sailor Down

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On Feb 19, Portland indie-rock band Corvair will release their self-titled debut album. Today the husband / wife duo of Brian Naubert and Heather Larimer present Sailor Down, the second single. Larimer says: “Sailor Down is a he said/she said turbulent relationship story. It contains male/female voices and two guitars (acoustic and electric) each telling their own competing version of things. The song was built around a nylon-string acoustic guitar track, which is an odd choice as the “lead” instrument. Many of the lyrics were inspired by the deadly intersection of the Pacific Ocean and Columbia River, just off a place called Cape Disappointment. The dangerous waters seemed like a good metaphor for the risk that people take in love, knowing that the odds are probably against them.”


14 | Nothing | Catch A Fade

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Nothing share a video for Catch A Fade, taken from their latest album The Great Dismal. The visual, directed by the band’s Aaron Heard, is a subtle celebration of the touring and live shows that haven’t existed this year, culling some of the band’s most memorable moments doing those things over the course of its career. Heard says, “Catch A Fade is bright on the outside, but a little dark when you look inward. The video is just a compilation of collected footage from our last tour of Asia a few months before COVID hit. We’ve been sharing these the past year internally to keep each other sane, but they have the same kind of vibe as the track. It’s nice reliving those moments but also it’s heavy considering where we’re at now.”


15 | Boy Destroy | As Time Goes By

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Swedish artist Boy Destroy has shared his latest single As Time Goes By, with a video directed by Jesper Johansson. Boy Destroy embraces raw vulnerability, laying it all out in this emo-pop song that continues to build with each intimate confession. He states, “As Time Goes By is a temporary break from a life on the run. Away from upbringing, rules, religion and drugs. To cease movement and resign to the perfection of the present moment — give of oneself and get back. To look into someone’s eyes when the car drives off the road but has not yet cracked the water surface. Total weightlessness. A safe embrace.”


16 | Grabyourface | Shore

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “French artist Grabyourface will release her album Sea on Dec. 18. Sea is about mental illness, or how anxiety and depression can push someone to the edge of life. It talks about abuse, PTSD and moral violence in very implicit and indirect ways, always sober, always modest and bashful. It includes Shore, which features a rapid beat and intense synths.”


17 | XNilo | Badman

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Badman is the new single from rising Anglo-Spanish R&B sensation XNilo. Blending influences drawn from the R&B and AfroBeat worlds, XNilo teams up with Ghanaian artist Modulo Thegabwoy to deliver a smooth yet bouncy single with underlying pulses of rhythm.”


18 | Slow Leaves | Sink Full Of Dishes

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Slow Leaves (Grant Davidson) is sharing the new live video for Sink Full Of Dishes from his latest album Shelf Life. “This video was shot after a couple months of initial lockdown at The Forks in Winnipeg for Canada Day,” says Davidson. “I remember the feeling of unexpected catharsis from performing, if only for a skeleton film crew. Here it is for the first time since that broadcast.”


19 | Airports | Loser

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Aaron Lee aka Airports defines DIY alt-pop — singing, writing, producing & engineering the majority of his songs as well as taking design & brand vision into his own hands. His latest single Loser leans into his ever-evolving and often sarcastic social perspective. Taking sonic inspiration from his pop-punk roots but adding a modern electro-pop flare, Loser details the love bombing stage of a hollow relationship that leaves him feeling less than impressed. Airports shares, “It’s when you look back and realise how bad a person made you feel for trying to love them, a fun & sarcastic take on the drama of it all.”


20 | Sabrina Bellaouel | Float

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Alongside the release of her new EP Libra, Sabrina Bellaouel unveils the smoky, captivating video for her latest single Float. The French-Algerian singer and producer has teamed up with director Aelred Nils to produce an aesthetic fresco, a living painting that evokes and mixes her different universes and spiritual influences. In the video, Sabrina is accompanied by a woman who seems to be a representation of her spirituality. Says Nils: “This echoes the theme of the piece, which touches on the subtlety of love relationships, feelings and the often recurring difficulty in understanding and expressing them.”


21 | Eighty Ninety | Better As Friends

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Eighty Ninety — the N.Y.C. alt-pop project of brothers Abner James (vocals, production) and Harper James (guitar, production) — release the video for Better As Friends. In keeping with the band’s musical style, the video is both cinematic and minimalist, juxtaposing the picturesque New York skyline with intimate studio shots. Better as Friends is a dreamy mix of contemporary pop and hazy chillwave production propelled by a driving pulse that culminates in a yearning, widescreen chorus complete with soaring melodies, lush arrangements and the band’s distinctive guitar work.”


22 | Merv Pinny | Amazing

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Merv Pinny’s upbeat and joyful new single acknowledges the challenges of 2020, while celebrating and giving thanks for the gift that these wonderful folks give to the world. Pinny’s young musical ambitions only ignited fully after his older brother gave him a $10 guitar when he was 10 years old … the least he could do after accidentally running him over with a truck. The mercurial Merv also overcame a broken back incurred in a motorcycle crash shortly after being nominated for best country rock album in the New Zealand Vodafone Music Awards.”


23 | Tika | Soothing Love

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Canadian artist Tika has released the video for Soothing Love, the second single from her forthcoming album Anywhere But Here, due Feb. 26. Soothing Love is an ode to Black fantasy, Black femininity, and Black sensuality – themes that are not common. “For us to really accept ourselves, we need to be seen, otherwise our dreams of being included in these spaces remain just that: a fantasy. And where else can we be most free than in Africa, where we are most seen? To me, that’s the destination outside of the fantasy.”


24 | Molly Annelle | Never Better (ft. Young Friend)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Vancouver’s Molly Annelle shares the video for Never Better (ft. Young Friend). The song is from her forthcoming debut album Elevator Music, due in early 2021. “Feeling ‘never better’ is like the holy grail of existence,” says Molly, “achievable if you work through bad times. Although worries might still exist, they subside, and all those troubles you’ve experienced serve to make you feel more powerful and more accepting of all former versions of yourself.”


25 | James Burt | Dance In The Rain 

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:James Burt has been writing songs all his life. This winter marks a steady ascent from passionate fan to musician and songwriter, thanks to his debut single Dance In The Rain. James explains, “Dance In The Rain speaks about the ability we have to embrace the negativity that rains down in life sometimes and how we can choose to dance through the bad times rather than shelter from them. For me, Dance In The Rain is all about that one person who helps you stay positive when times are hard. Everyone has that one person or thing that helps you get through the bad times and this song is a celebration of that person or thing.”


26 | Ola Englund | Stars & Ponies

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Swedish guitarist and producer Ola Englund, renowned for his work with Six Feet Under, The Haunted and Feared, will release his second solo album titled Starzinger in early 2021. Starzinger sees Englund merging influences of prog, ’80s rock and metal. “Compared to the previous album Master of The Universe, Starzinger will just be way more heavy, more of the chunky metal that people are more used to when they see and hear about me. Prog elements are still there though. But emphasis is still about making car-riding music fit for any type of journey.”


27 | Summer Heart | Black Jeans

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Swedish troubadour David Alexander aka Summer Heart has now returned with Black Jeans, from his latest EP. He said, “Black Jeans is episode two in the animated series about Summer Heart. It takes place in Summer Heart’s hometown Los Angeles. Still in his white suit and on his red motorbike he continues helping people conquer their negative thoughts. At the same time the protagonist struggles on a personal level as he is falling back into bad habits and bad relationships.”


28 | Run The Jewels x Royal Blood | The Ground Below (Royal Jewels Mix)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Run The Jewels have teamed up with Royal Blood for a speaker-shredding new version of The Ground Below, from their acclaimed album RTJ4. “We’re big fans of each other’s bands”, explains El-P of Run The Jewels. “A while back, we hung out and played each other songs we love. One of mine was Gang Of Four’s Ether, which I later sampled for The Ground Below. We sent it off to them and they f*cking killed it.” Adds Royal Blood, “Royal Jewels is the ultimate dream come true scenario. It’s an alliance we wish long continues.”


29 | Long Beach Dub Allstars | Easy

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Rock-reggae pioneers Long Beach Dub Allstars are back with a video for Easy. The track appears on Long Beach Dub Allstars recently released self-titled album, which was recorded with producer Cameron Webb (NOFX, Mad Caddies) at his Maple Studios in Santa Ana, CA. It’s been 15 years since Long Beach Dub Allstars disbanded, but in 2016 the group continued their path of musical evolution and the legacy they started with Sublime. Now, after this lengthy hiatus, the Allstars have returned with their first new music in nearly two decades.”


30 | Jules Shear | Feels Like Fall

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Slower finds Jules Shear trying to enjoy the present moment between past and future, yesterday and tomorrow, living and dying, Hell and Hello,” whether he’s touting the joys of eating sugar all day or pondering the onset of autumn in Feels Like Fall. Slower is a personal album, offering an inadvertent glimpse into the fertile mind of Jules Shear.”


31 | Anna Von Hausswolff | Dolore di Orsini

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Following the release of her album All Thoughts Fly in September, Swedish composer Anna Von Hausswolff presents an immersive new video for Dolore di Orsini. She writes, “Dolore di Orsini is a song about profound sadness and finding freedom in grief. It’s inspired by the idea that Pier Orsini, a wealthy patron of arts, created the garden Sacro Bosco as a way to cope with grief and loss after losing his wife, Giulia Farnese. I look at the park as a symbol for love where love is an incitement for chaos and harmony. The video depicts Mr. Orsini burying his wife, the passing of time in nature, and sculptures taking shape and being set up by the help of a spirit.”


32 | Kandle | Christmas Mourn

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Kandle has released the new original holiday song Christmas Mourn. “I wrote Christmas Mourn with my pal Debra-Jean Creelman (founding member of Mother Mother) over a couple of Zoom dates in November and we tracked it with one mic in the living room with sleigh bells (surprisingly hard to play) and a couple glasses of wine … We share eerily similar sensibilities, that include a love for quintessential Christmas ballads by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley etc. The only thing that can help folks like us to deal with the loneliness of a COVID Christmas is to attempt to write our very own Christmas classic.”


33 | Pretty | By The Beach

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Pretty has been a project of singer Torin Craig for a number of years, and has evolved into what it is now. Going through several lineup changes in the process while playing many shows around Ontario, the band finally settled into a more mature and focused sound without losing any of the madness psychedelic music reflects.”


34 | Titus Andronicus | Closer To Fine

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Merge Records will release the fund-raising compilation Going To Georgia tomorrow for the latest Bandcamp Friday. It features a host of Merge artists covering tunes by various artists from the Peach State. Here’s a preview: Titus Andronicus strumming and stomping through Indigo Girls’ Closer to Fine. From the label: “The Merge artists on this comp came together quickly, recording in various quarantine situations, to pay tribute to their favorite artists from Georgia, or maybe just record their favorite songs with “Georgia” in the title, and to support those working hard in Georgia to make sure everyone’s voice is heard. The voters who turned Georgia blue in November can now elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, take back power in the Senate, and make true progress possible.”


35 | Juliana & Izzy Pollak | Santa Tell Me

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Rising pop singer and songwriter Juliana has collaborated with performance artist Izzy Pollak for a reimagined version of Ariana Grande’s Santa Tell Me. The pair stripped down the upbeat pop song to create an emotive R&B-influenced duet. Santa Tell Me marks the lead single off Pollak’s debut release, a holiday EP titled It’s Never Too Early dropping Dec. 18. “I couldn’t be more excited to release my first Christmas song, especially during a time like this when I think everyone could use a bit more holiday cheer than normal,” shares Juliana.”


36 | Madison Olds | All The Small Things

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Kamloops pop singer Madison Olds has released a cover of the iconic Blink-182 single All The Small Things. She explains, “I was never a bad kid, but whenever I heard this song, it brings back nostalgic youth rebellion. I associated it with every character I idolized and wished I had the courage to be like. To me, this song represented invincibility. I think the song creates a feeling of being transported back in time regardless of knowing it.”