Indie Roundup | 42 Ways To Keep Wednesday Weird (Part 1)

Strange but true: New gems from Gyze, Skegs, Tune-Yards, Xiu Xiu & plenty more.

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Gyze play samurai with axes, Skegs pay a visit to Valhalla, Tune-Yards gets ahold of themselves, Xiu Xiu share a bottle Liz Harris, Josie Proto has a good bad idea — and that’s just the beginning of your double-strength Midweek Roundup. Things seems a little weird today, doncha think?

 


1 | Gyze | Samurai Metal

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Lauded as pioneers of Japanese folk metal, Gyze once again entwine traditional Japanese instruments with modern metal power on Metal Samurai. The song was written on a Shamisen (Japanese traditional string instrument) and performed in both English and Japanese. Aruta, the bass player of Gyze, takes on lead vocal duties in Samurai Metal. The video sees Gyze performing in traditional Japanese robes and features prominent guests including Marc J Hudson from Dragonforce, Juuso / Joona / Eero from Battle Beast, Nils Courbaron from Sirenia, Felipe Munoz from Frosttide, Mika Lammassaari from Mors Subita and more.”


2 | Skegs | Valhalla

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Rising Australian band Skegss — Ben Reed (vocals, guitar), Toby Cregan (bass, guitar, vocals) and Jonny Lani (drums) — just announced their new album Rehearsal will be released on March 26. An adrenaline shot straight to the heart, the album’s exhilarating single Valhalla is out now alongside a madcap video in which the viking trio enjoy a gluttonous feast before their own massacre. Says Reed: “I learnt more about Valhalla through watching The Last Kingdom and it got me brainstorming about the ideology of it, and thought how sometimes in our life we have moments that are pretty perfect – as perfect as what you’d want the idea of your own nirvana to be.”


3 | Tune-Yards | Hold Yourself

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Tune-Yards have revealed details of their fifth studio album Sketchy. The 11-track record, which includes last year’s single Nowhere, Man, will be released on March 26. Today, Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner release another preview: The grounding single Hold Yourself and its animated video. Beneath the layered sounds lie Garbus’s most explicit lyrics; a clear-eyed moment of grief and simmering rage that builds from the song’s calming introduction to its explosive culmination. She explains: “This song is about feeling really betrayed by my parents’ generation, and at the same time, really seeing how we are betraying the future.”


4 | Xiu Xiu | A Bottle Of Rum

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Xiu Xiu will return with their 12th studio album Oh No, a collection of duets out March 26. To herald the announcement, the two-piece share A Bottle of Rum, featuring Liz Harris, and a video by bandmember Angela Seo. A Bottle of Rum is arguably more melodic than many Xiu Xiu songs, exuding dreamy qualities mashed together with Jamie Stewart’s trademark ambiguous lyricism. According to Stewart: “About a year ago I bought a cheap bajo quinto, which is a 10-string, low-register guitar-like instrument used in Tejano, conjunto and norteño musics. As it is a cheap one, only certain chords sound good on it. One of them, annoyingly, is the open ‘cowboy’ voicing of D major. When we started Xiu Xiu, founding member Cory McCulloch had a lot of rules for the band. One of them was we could never use this chord. It has become a creative game in the last few years to try and break some of these rules but in a way that respects that Cory had very good reasons for imposing them in the first place, so in this voicing, D major is an insipid chord.”


5 | Josie Proto | Terrible Idea

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Brit-Pop newcomer Josie Proto’s EP Oh What A Godawful Stupid Idea came out today. She also dropped a video for the playful lead single Terrible Idea. Surfacing with flirtatious guitar chords and deliciously self-depricating lyricism, Terrible Idea jovially sets the tone for the EP. Showcasing her intrinsic story-telling abilities, the disc colourfully encapsulates Josie’s innermost thoughts, whilst simultaneously acting as an alluring example of sleek bedroom pop.”


6 | Gary Lover | Wearing The Wrong Clothes

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Gary Lover is the solo project and guise of London singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gareth Hoskins. Gareth uses an array of instrumentation and songwriting capabilities not to mention his brash, evocative lyrics all serving to create a sound somewhere outlandishly wedged between soft rock, electronic, acoustic, post-punk, country and blues. In words of Lover: “Definitely one of the least so serious songs that I managed to put across on the album, Wearing The Wrong Clothes is ultimately a song about never knowing what to wear half the time and all that goes with it, sided with a theme of trying to find something but not dressed in the right way. At least I think that’s what it’s about. It’s just a bit of fun.”


7 | Moral Collapse | Suspension of Belief

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Moral Collapse are the brainchild of Arun Natarajan, Sudarshan Mankad and the inimitable Hannes Grossman. The project came about during the early days of the pandemic-induced lockdown, with a dead-set intention of writing forward-thinking death metal music that perfectly blended the ferocity of the old-school sound with the eccentricity of modern jazz and free-wheeling, avant-garde music. Moral Collapse are now set to unleash their debut full-length album on April 2. Watch the terrifying video for Suspension Of Belief, featuring world-renowned French painter, sculptor and performer Olivier de Sagazan.”


8 | Whispering Sons | Surface

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Belgian five-piece Whispering Sons return with their single Surface and its video. The track will be released as a limited single in March. The band say: “The theme of isolation in a cyclical and circling world was used by combining images of a woman singing in bright white light alongside flashing sceneries of destruction, a lost city, stone formations and rough structured landscapes. It’s the result of an instinctive search by photographer Sybren Vanoverberghe and filmmaker Jonas Hollevoet for images in which no humanity can be found.”


9 | of1000faces | Anaira

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Chicago artist of1000faces presents the single Anaira from his album The Infinity Line. The accompanying space-inspired video was based on film footage from vintage 1960s-era Russian sci-fi films. of1000faces is the solo project of Matt Walker, a renowned drummer and producer who has worked with some of alternative music’s most iconic artists. Explains Walker: “Anaira is inspired in part by epic science-fiction poem called Aniara by Harry Martinson, which is about humans turning to space for refuge from a ravaged Earth. The piece is meant to convey a sense of determination and tenuous hope.”


10 | Prospertine | Home

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Prospertine‘s Arden Leigh and Jeremy Bastard create darkwave industrial dance-pop. Arden and Jeremy met in New York City many years ago and now live on opposite coasts, but decided to create a music project together as a way of celebrating their shared birthday on Jan. 27.Their single Home is out now.”


11 | Arlo Parks | Hope

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Arlo Parks shares a final preview of her debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams, which comes out Friday. Hope is a beguiling yet timely reminder of the importance of friendship and kindness in times of loneliness. The accompanying video showcases the intimacy and significance of friendship. Arlo says: “I think there’s something so powerful about the saturated, filmic textures, the human portraits and depictions of euphoria. The song surrounds isolation, being present in your pain and knowing that you’re not the only one on the planet feeling low. I think especially in times like these it’s important to focus on the inevitability that things will get better.”


12 | p-rallel & Lauren Faith | Blue Denim Jeans

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “West London producer p-rallel teams up with vocalist Lauren Faith on Blue Denim Jeans. With p-rallel’s laid-back R&B beats providing the perfect backdrop to Lauren’s soulful and melodic vocals, the synergy between the two is palpable. Although lyrically it’s a melancholic track, the sonics feel like a warm hug during a bleak time, one that will have you daydreaming of carefree times. “When the first lockdown happened I got really down for a while. I felt really lonely and I guess we have all at some point in our lives wanted to escape,” Lauren recalls. “This song is about me battling with those feelings, over-indulging in red wine, and letting it temporarily defeat me.”


13 | Anni Pohto | Closure

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Helsinki pop singer-songwriter Anni Pohto has released the raw, confessional Closure, the second single from her concept album The Rising, due in late summer. Pohto elaborates: “The song tells a story about guilt and how you seem to be unable to let go of your past mistakes. It was made this way by recording an old ’80s analog keyboard and then chopping it on a computer to make it sound like it’s stuck on an endless loop without ever resolving. On top of that lo-fi, electronic foundation I invited my dear friends from New York and Helsinki to play guitar (Andre Vasconcelos) and Finnish national instrument kantele (Maija Kauhanen). These soft, fragile, acoustic elements bring a hint of rawness to the mix and balance it beautifully.”


14 | Merk | God

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Merk is the musical moniker of Auckland, New Zealand artist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Mark Perkins. Today he unveils the utopic God, strapped with a disco-indebted synth line, skittering percussion, bouncing bass and repetitive mantra-esque lyrics that promise much more to come. “Songwriting has a sneaky way of revealing to me my feelings long before I am aware of them,” shares Merk. “God is an example of a song that did just that. When writing God I thought I was in full irony mode, I was trying to make a cool song out of potentially the least cool thing one could sing about. It’s kinda weird, but in my head I had this image of an anthropological A.I. or something looking at the whole history of mankind and wondering what God was. It wasn’t until well into the songwriting process I realised that as tongue in cheek as I was being, I was also being entirely earnest.”


15 | Palm Ghosts | Blind

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On March 19, Nashvile’s Palm Ghosts will release their full-length album Lifeboat Candidate. Today the band present first single Blind and a video created by band member Ben Douglas. With equal hints of Gang of Four and Peter Gabriel, Blind demonstrates the tribal rhythm that permeates the entire record. Lifeboat Candidate is a dark and dystopian effort, filled with confusion and dread, albeit with a bit of humor and hope. The album is a relentless statement, not giving you time between tracks to breathe, yet remaining as suave as Dean Stockwell in Blue Velvet.”


16 | Immortal Guardian | Clocks

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Immortal Guardian have unveiled Clocks, the third single from their forthcoming concept album Psychosomatic. “No matter how hard we try to control our futures, history constantly repeats itself,” guitarist/keyboardist Gabriel Guardian says. “Clocks is a song about trying to break out of cycles that seem to inevitably repeat themselves.” Clocks also features a dizzying dual guitar/keyboard solo from Gabriel, and  captures the soaring vocal performance of Zema, alongw with the power brought to the table by new members.”


17 | Son Little | Phantom Killer

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Son Little has shared his latest single Phantom Killer, along with a dusky lyric video. Auto-tuned vocals, acoustic guitar and lo-fi percussion show his progress in a new musical direction. While creating his 2020 album aloha, Little’s hard drive fried, forcing him to begin again with a blank slate. The entire project became an exercise in letting go, in ceding control, in surrendering to fate. “Losing all that material felt like a nightmare at the time, but I’ve since learned to see it as an opportunity,” he reflects. “If I hadn’t lost all those songs, I never would have written all the new stuff that became aloha. Letting go can be a scary prospect. But there’s beauty in it, too. Everything you leave behind opens up space for something new in your life.”


18 | Edwin Raphael | Time To Sink

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Singer-songwriter Edwin Raphael shares Time To Sink off his EP Staring At Ceilings, due out Feb. 26. Time to Sink embraces stillness even when life continues to shift back and forth with light. Edwin shares: “It’s probably one of the darkest but honest songs I’ve written. This came from a place of hopelessness and bitterness at oneself. However the song also reflects an openness to see it for what it is. It’s a void you’ve been avoiding, it’s an answer you always knew but were scared to dive into. Time to Sink is really a tipping point of finally looking under the veil that was most obvious.”


19 | Sara Watkins | Pure Imagination

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sara Watkins’ forthcoming release Under the Pepper Tree is an album of family-suited classic material that runs the gamut from the Disney catalog to vintage cowboy songs to Rodgers & Hammerstein and Harry Nilsson. The album reunites her Nickel Creek and I’m With Her bandmates & features guest appearances by Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, David Garza, and Watkins’ three-year-old daughter. Sample her version of the Willy Wonka number Pure Imagination now.”


20 | Elizabeth & The Catapult | Together, Alone

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Brooklyn mainstay Elizabeth and the Catapult share the video for single Together, Alone. The solemn song serves as the north star of the album contemplating the relationship we have with our phones, especially during the pandemic. Elizabeth says: “This year, especially, I used my phone so often it felt like an extension of my body. Experiencing dreams of having phones for hands, now, seems like an obvious consequence of constant online connection — though, all worth it to be in touch with loved ones; it was better than nothing. Better than feeling alone.”


21 | Louis-Étienne Santais | Berlin, Ontario

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “His debut album Reflection I was released late last year. Now Louis-Étienne Santais unveils Berlin, Ontario, filmed at his home this summer on the piano he inherited from his grandfather. “This song was composed on this same piano, and ended up on the album in honor of my late grandfather, a musician who was a great inspiration to me. The brand name of the piano is ‘Berlin, Ontario’ which may seem a little strange at first glance … It is actually where it was made.”