Indie Roundup | 29 Tracks To Make Your Thursday Sound Way Better

Pretty much every number today is a certified winner. Dig in and tell me I'm wrong.

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Descendents play their trump card, Valleyheart share their thoughts, Tele Novella unveil their crowning achievement, Maxïmo Park go all in — and you should probably take off your tinfoil hat before digging into your Thursday Roundup. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like pretty much every track and/or video today is a winner. Judge for yourself:

 


1 | Descendents | That’s The Breaks

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Legendary punk band Descendents share their track That’s The Breaks. The track follows the politically charged single Suffrage, released ahead of the 2020 general election encouraging voting to take down the administration. In triumph, That’s The Breaks serves as a farewell to 45 ahead of the upcoming inauguration. “Loser. Big time loser. Delusional loser. SORE loser. The time has come. The time is now. Just go, go, GO. I don’t care how. D****d J. T***p, will you please go now!,” adds vocalist Milo Aukerman. “What’s it gonna take? A gazillion dollars? (Oh wait, you already grifted that from supporters) … A get out of jail free card? (Only if our judicial system totally fails us) … A wooden stake through the heart? Whatever we can do to make you go away, we need to do it. And I don’t mean just leave the White House, I mean crawl back into your hole of hate and live out the rest of your life as a nobody. A loser. Because that’s what you are. Worst. President. Ever.”


2 | Valleyheart | T.I.K.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Marked by introspective lyricism, mournful melodies, lush blankets of driving guitars and wistful vocal deliveries, Massachusetts’s Valleyheart are equal parts boldness and beauty. Led by singer/songwriter/producer Kevin Klein, the four-piece formed in 2016 with the idea of rearranging Klein’s haunting folk songs (written in his home closet studio) into dynamic rock statements. The single T.I.K. (an acronym for Thoughts I Keep) dives into the songwriters’ own mind and contemplates understanding paradoxical behaviors. Studying the contradictory nature of the psyche, T.I.K. is about how our opposing emotions and thoughts interact. Klein shares, “I wanted those tensions and weight paralleled in the instrumentation; hence this probably being the heaviest and hard-hitting track.”


3 | Tele Novella | Paper Crown

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The fourth single and video from Tele Novella’s upcoming album Merlynn Belle is out now. The record drops Feb 5. “I wrote the very first verse of this song about nine years ago when I was a cook at a Thai restaurant. I used to make up little ditties to sing while I would chop up lime leaves and chilies, and this just happened to be one that stayed in my head all these years.” Now it’s reached its final form with help from director Vanessa Pla, shot on super-8 film. It’s the story of Tele Novella’s journey with a tarot-card reading, acting out the cards.”


4 | Maxïmo Park | All Of Me

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Maxïmo Park are sharing the single All Of Me, from the upcoming album Nature Always Wins (Feb 26). All Of Me comes to exemplify the approach that Grammy-winning producer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deer Hunter) instilled into the recording process. Making use of the quiet and the space, it unfolds into an expansive offering to match their most widescreen outings. Lead singer Paul Smith details: “It’s a love song about the power of song itself, buoyed by the uplifting music in the chorus. It’s also about domesticity and family life being valid subject matter for a pop song. The more intimate verses are bits of advice to someone who has changed your perspective on life. Big themes!”


5 | Gold Record | Oh, Honeybee

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Albuquerque / Bay Area-based pop group Gold Record return for their seventh release of this quarantine season. Mixed by Matthew Neighbour (Matt Corby, The Avalanches), Party of the Century will be released Jan. 29. Today the band share Oh, Honeybee, the latest single from the forthcoming release. Bassist Evan Michalski says: “Oh, Honeybee was the return to our band roots using live drums and a rock feel. The whole song captured a cool, frenetic White Stripes Icky Thump-era sound mixed with Arctic Monkeys feel that we just rolled with. Once we added the intro sax over the synth guitar and heard it going into the opening drum fill the first time — we knew we had a monster on our hands.”


6 | Shamir | Diet

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Indie rock figurehead Shamir shared a new video for bold single Diet off his self-titled album. Shamir explains: “Diet is a song I never thought I’d make a video for — it wasn’t a single, nor was it planned to be one, but it’s a song that instantly resonated with everyone when the album came out. The origin of the song is pretty dark, taking inspiration from the film My Friend Dahmer, but the deeper meaning of the song is less about the gore or even Jeffrey Dahmer and more about the battle we all have with our darker urges and/or neurosis that tend to appear during our adolescence/pubescent years and how that plays a part in developing our moral compass. The video was filmed in different locations around Lake Tahoe in my home state of Nevada.”


7 | Alex Bent + the Emptiness | 2sides

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Alex Bent + the Emptiness is the solo recording project of Saskatoon artist Alex Bent, mixing his own twist of alt-rock nostalgia with the current trends of the hip-hop genre. Bent’s new single 2sides is the first taste from his upcoming sophomore album and acts as a bridge between his new sound and his 2019 debut Baby. Made in isolation, Bent wrote and recorded the song at The Store, a community-run underground recording studio kept at an undisclosed location.”


8 | P’tit Belliveau | Cool When Yer Old

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Acadian artist P’tit Belliveau returns with a video for Cool When Yer Old, as a tribute to the television of his youth. The song is from his debut album Greatest Hits Vol.1, released in March. A mix of nostalgia and irony, the Jeff Miller-directed video directed harkens back to the early 2000s, when boy bands ruled the world and flip phones were the pinnacle of technology. “As a kid, browsing TV channels, I was constantly flooded with examples of what it was like to be cool,” explains Jonah Guimond (aka P’tit Belliveau). Beyond the millennial references and teen idol choreography, Cool When Yer Old asks a very relevant question about consumerism and our relationship with fashionable things: Will you still care about being cool when you’re old?”


9 | Tika | I Would Die 4U

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Tika’s debut album Anywhere But Here will be released on Feb. 26. Her third singleis a cover of the Prince classic I Would Die 4U. Says Tika: “A reason I fell in love with Prince was his lyricism, which instantly captivates his audience. I wanted to pay homage to his legacy by doing a rendition of one of my favorite records by him, I Would Die 4U. This was the first record I recorded with Casey MQ when I started building my album. Not many people know this, but the original recording of IWD4U is Prince singing from the perspective of Christ. To embody the word of God while purposefully turning a record into a Pop hit is no easy task, and the song always brings me to tears when I hear it. Prince was a genius.”


10 | Lydia Luce | All the Time

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Nashville singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lydia Luce shares her latest song All The Time, accompanied by an eclectic stop-motion animated video by Sigmund Washington. A song about learning to trust your own voice and canceling out the negative noise, it was written in the beginning stages of the pandemic. Luce says: “This song is a conversation with myself. I have learned so many things about myself in my late 20s and one of those is that I struggle to hear and trust my voice. The world is so noisy and I am constantly working on drowning that noise out. This song is me calling myself into light and love. It’s dark in the spaces of uncertainty where you’re fishing around trying to determine how you feel based off of what others feel. There is no peace there, only restlessness. If I do the hard work to calm my thoughts and external noise, I can ascertain what is true for me.”


11 | The Cabaret Quicksand | Colours

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Formed by Southern Ontario bassist Craig Rewbury in 2016, The Cabaret Quicksand released their debut album The Company You Keep in 2018. In late 2019 Craig started working with Paul Gigliotti (formerly of the pop duo Wave). Their latest song Colours features the voice of Serena Pryne from The Mandevilles. Says Craig: “As you know, more than ever there is a tug of war between the left and right political spectrums and as a result the world has become divided. Each thinks their approach /methodology is superior and each are willing to throw the other under the bus to prove who is “right” and definitely blame who’s “wrong” … We are described by colours more than ever whether it be our appearance, political spectrum, occupation and so on. The song is really a play on all of these things.”


12 | Slow Leaves | Autumn Rain

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Slow Leaves (Grant Davidson) is sharing the video for Autumn Rain, from his recent album Shelf Life. Autumn Rain is about “not sweating the small stuff,” says Davidson. “Easier said than done. We shot the video on an old analog camera in homage to television performances from that era.” Known for his ability to breathe poetry into the ordinary, Slow Leaves continues his deep exploration of the self with Shelf Life. The 10-track LP leans into themes of romantic memory, domestic duty, artistic ambition, and dreams unfulfilled, underpinning the belief that there is indeed great strength in vulnerability.”


13 | Wild Pink | Oversharers Anonymous

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Wild Pink share the third single from their album A Billion Little Lights (out Feb. 19). With Oversharers Anonymous, John Ross and company deliver a sweeping heartland indie cut that features some of the more striking lyrics of Wild Pink’s career, and an ambitious violin and slide guitar arrangement courtesy of violinists Libby Weitnauer and Sarah Williams, and MVP steel guitar player Mike “Slo Mo” Brenner. Ross explains: “This is one of the first songs I wrote for A Billion Little Lights and was inspired, among many things, by Ken BurnsThe West and the book The Earth Is Weeping by Peter Cozzens. Also inspired by a drive on the Taconic Parkway … This song, in part, is loosely about the confusing nature of social media and also about how close the distant past actually is to us.”


14 | Middle Kids | Questions

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Middle Kids have announced their boldly titled second album Today We’re The Greatest, a vivid collection of courageous, personal and rattling songs, will be out on March 19. To celebrate, they share their monumental single Questions, a charged three-minute odyssey which sees singer Hannah Joy struggle poetically with concepts of honesty and intimacy. It also comes accompanied by a magical and chaotic one-shot video directed by W.A.M Bleakley. As Joy explains, Questions is about the fallacies of intimate relationships; “I used to drink a lot and most of my previous relationships revolved around this. I don’t think I ever really knew them or they me as a result. Questions is about people being around each other but not being close.”


15 | Aerial East | Katharine

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Brooklyn singer-songwriter Aerial East has shared a new song and music video from her upcoming album Try Harder (Feb 12). Katharine offers a touching reflection on a meaningful friendship now faded, and musically contrasts East’s unvarnished intimacy with brushes of the avant-garde. The accompanying video by Luca Venter follows Aerial blissfully suspended over the New York City skyline. East elaborates: “My friendship with Katharine was very important to me and changed my life. She is the reason I moved to New York. She was the first person I shared my songs with, and she insisted I share them with others. I wrote this song in a cab on my way to a staff holiday party at Hooters. I’m not sure why I was thinking about her in that moment but she is still an important figure in my life even though we haven’t seen each other in a while.”


16 | DVR | 16

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:DVR is Dillon van Rensburg, a 17-year-old songwriter and producer from North Berwick, Scotland. DVR starts 2021 with the new EP U Can Call Me Dillon, out now. The lead track is 16, a classic ode to love that exudes a uniquely confident songwriting flair that belies DVR’s age. Written and recorded when he was 16, the track was performed on his school piano and recorded to his phone. 16 is accompanied by an Aliyah Otchere-directed video, recorded live in one take.”


17 | Mordkaul | Dress Code: Blood

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Death-metal act Mordkaul release Dress Code: Blood, the third single taken from their album of the same name, due on Jan. 29. Mordkaul’s members come from bands such as Diablo Blvd, Hell City, Furia and Leng Tch’e.”


18 | Thorium | Where Do We Go

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Thorium release their video single Where Do We Go, off their upcoming second album Empires in the Sun. The video was directed and filmed by Sebastiaan Spijker, from a concept and story by Tom Tee. Both the song and the video muse on the question posed in the track’s title. Explains Tee: “The song ruminates on that arguably greatest of all life questions: which path to choose. Can you ever truly be certain that a given road, often picked among so many others, was the right one to travel by? Choices that not seldom seemed so right at the onset may just come back to haunt you, years or even decades after.”


19 | Minna Ora | Sea

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Finland’s Minna Ora is sending a shockwave across the indie realm with her new release Sea. Taking influence from some of the greats, Minna opens a new chapter for the genre, and she delves deep, returning with treasure. Boasting a crushing instrumental which hits with thunderous charm, the arrangement drives forward with vigour and the whirly guitar rhythm reaches out with bold colour. Vocally, Minna shines radiantly in the winter sky, and her laser-esque tone cuts through the potent mix.”


20 | JP Harris | Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Nashville outsider country artist JP Harris just dropped his new single Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat. It’s an indictment of our always-connected world on the Internet and a funny look at how conspiracy theories just keep spreading. This is definitely a song for the times! Here’s what JP had to say: “It seems as we become ever more connected, with an infinite wormhole of information at our fingertips, that as a species we are rapidly losing our ability to discern truth from fiction, our most valuable learned skill of critical thinking, at what could almost be called the genetic level.”


21 | Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs | Gates Of Heaven

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto powerhouse Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs debut a new track titled Gates of Heaven, from their upcoming third studio LP Real One. “This song is about letting go,” Coffey confesses of the seven-minute ballad. “I’m trying to pose less and be more genuine as I get older. I used to obsess over this band and constantly loop around how I felt I never received enough recognition for the little amount that I contributed. I even used to spin out and assume out of thin-air that my peers or other artists in my circle thought I was a joke. It’s more likely that my friends and peers support me or I just don’t cross their mind at all. But it’s a toxic view to have and I feel super fortunate to not dwell on it anymore. All it took was getting off my ass and going for it to give myself some peace of mind.”


22 | Logic1000 | Medium

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Sydney-born, Berlin-based producer Samantha Poulter aka Logic1000 announced in late 2020 that her new EP You’ve Got The Whole Night To Go will be released Jan. 22. Today she has followed up with Medium, a track imbued with so much movement and life it’s impossible to resist. Poulter says: “I made Medium for those of you who are in the car on the way to the club. It’s a pre party moment. I really feel like this track is reflective of my taste, in it’s truest sense. I’m all about groove and momentum in music and I feel like Medium has those things. The thing I remember most about making this track was the desire to be moving. It was peak lockdown and all I wanted was to have that feeling like I was going somewhere. I wanted to escape.”


23 | Alex Southey | Rosie

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto singer-songwriter Alex Southey’s unique blend of wandering lyricism, atmospheric strings, and emotive sense of melody makes for an engrossing, contemplative listen. His third full-length album …And the Country Stirred, set for release on Feb. 5, was produced by Juno winner John Critchley (Dan Mangan, Elliott BROOD). Rosie, the new single, evokes a mysterious attraction to his hometown of Vancouver. There’s this idea that the city sells itself well, but upon arrival, you realize there are a lot of pitfalls: rain all the time, darkness, basements, high price of living. For a long time, Southey felt like he was giving to something that never gave anything back.”


24 | No Year | What People Say

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:No Year recently announced their debut LP So Long, and today they are back with a new single What People Say. A Portland quartet comprised of veterans of the city’s underground music scene, No Year are poised to inflict gripping, visceral psychedelic post-hardcore on the listening public. Named well before the shit-showery of 2020, So Long has taken on all new meaning at the end of the longest year of our lives. With big themes dealing with the topics of loss, sadness, confusion and alienation, audiences will have no trouble feeling the deeper message while occasionally obtuse lyricism leaves room for personal interpretations. The record is as much looming and desperate as it is embracing of the power of a positive mental attitude to see things through. A big chorus never hurts either.”


25 | Tony Njoku | Zoro (ft. Zoro Jackson)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Tony Njoku returns with fierce new hip-hop single Zoro and the announcement of new EP KillTony, out Feb. 12. Taking influence from the trap-inspired hip-hop sound and combining it with a fresh and ethereal sound palette and production gives this new release a distinct and remarkable vision that sees him take his rich sound to a whole new level. Tony says: “This is a big, high-octane, quick-in-and-out track. Like a hot flash in the frying pan. It features a long guest rap verse by Zoro Jackson. A new direction for me for sure, though I’ve alluded to wanting to do rap collabs, so it’s a very welcomed change.”


26 | Dominique Fils-Aimé | While We Wait

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Dominique Fils-Aimé offers While We Wait, the latest preview of her album Three Little Words. Out Feb. 12, the album serves as the final chapter in Fils-Aimé’s trilogy exploring the roots of African American musical culture — from blues confronting historical silences & sorrows on Nameless (2018) to jazz exploring the civil rights movement of the 1960s on Stay Tuned! (2019). While We Wait was inspired by 1950s doo-wop and the beautiful yet confounding naivety of that era. As Fils-Aimé explains, the track touches on “the transition between two eras, filled with necessary growing pains. Leaving carelessness behind in order to embrace the mission that belongs to us all. The duality between becoming agents of change versus the powerlessness we may feel.”


27 | Spam Javelin | Herd Impunity

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Founded in North Wales in 2015, sub-hardcore punk trio Spam Javelin have been falling foul of America for quite some time. With a tour booked across the U.S. in support of their debut LP The Crack Whores of Betws Garmon, the Welsh band hit the headlines in August 2019 when they were refused entry into the Land of Liberty and deported on the next available plane outta Dodge. Which unfortunately for them, was a direct flight to Iceland. Back on home soil, raring for reprisal and with a new lineup, Spam Javelin began recording their followup in March, right before the pandemic. Sitting out the majority of the year to watch a rich, albeit idiotic pit of governmental ineptitude open up around them, the band had no problem mining inspiration for their new record, The Three Chords of The Apocalypse, which was eventually completed in October.”


28 | High Desert Queen | The Mountain vs the Quake

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Initially set for March 5, Austin’s up-and-coming stoner rock outfit High Desert Queen have postponed the release of their debut full-length Bury The Queen to June. To while the time, make sure to check out their new single The Mountain vs The Quake. Formed in 2019 to an eclectic backdrop of influences and styles, as avid adopters of alt-rock progenitors Kyuss and Alice In Chains, the band’s sole aim was to make the kind of music they could file away on their record shelves, alongside the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Elder, Tom Waits and The Allman Brothers.”


29 | Darzo | Single Cell

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Based in Charlottesville, Darzo have mesmerized audiences with metaphor, melody, and rhythm — music that emerges from a deeply interior space in which private meanings become shared experience. Their new track Single Cell is a song that has been best described in three words: vibrant, heavenly and bold. With leader and vocalist Adar Seligman-McComas showcasing her strong and prominent vocals, she helps to carry the song home with a little help from her friends.”