Indie Roundup | 46 Songs That Will Mess With Your Head This Wednesday (Part 2)

Hootenanny Freaks, Beastwood, Badlands & other acts keeping Wednesday weird.

Hootenanny Freaks set you up with a hot date, Annsofie Salomon and Nick Hudson share their dreams, Kaschalot gaze hopefully into the distance, Beastwood turn on the power — and there are still a few twists and turns on the rollercoaster ride of today’s Midweek Roundup. Remember to keep your hands inside the car:


24 | Hootenanny Freaks | Girl On Fire

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Girl On Fire is the second single from the Hootenanny Freaks’ upcoming album. The song is a hot hard-rock drive with heavy bass and thundering drums as well as catchy guitar riffs. In the music video there, is a spectacular fire show by Firelady. Hootenanny Freaks are a hard drivin’ band from Finland. They play traditional hard rock with a strong attitude and heartbeat. In October, they released their first single Isolation.”

25 | Annsofie Salomon | Soft Dreams

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Originally marked by swirling synths and rhythmic drumming, Danish artist Annsofie Salomon transforms her single Soft Dreams into a meditative, dark and moody acoustic re-invention in a live session. Accompanied by Christian Balvig on cello and Peter Sabroe on piano, Salomon takes center stage as the impressionistic arrangement lets her wavering, delicate vocals wistfully reimagine the song in intimate form. For her, change in a song is just as natural as change in life: “I don’t have an itinerary for the sound when I am writing songs — it is all about the feeling. Sometimes it feels right, even years later, to keep a song in its original form. Other times it feels right to let a song expand and evolve. This version of Soft Dreams, with a different arrangement, melody and instrumentation is a natural prolongation of my own timeline — from when I wrote and recorded the song up until now.”

26 | Nick Hudson | Surkov’s Dream

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Brighton singer-songwriter Nick Hudson presents the single Surkov’s Dream, offering a stark and melodic synth-based introduction to his new solo album Font Of Human Fractures.The album is a collection of neo-classical torch songs with electronic undertones, banishing rituals and searing ballads, scored for piano and two violins, underlined with gothic electronica, with dramatic cameos and curveballs. Musically, Hudson is influenced by Coil, Kate Bush, Laibach, Danny Elfman, Nico and Scott Walker.”

27 | Kaschalot | Distant Light

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Kaschalot started as a solo project in 2014 with the release of an eponymous EP. In 2016, it became a band. In 2018, Kaschalot released their first album Whale Songs, which earned the band a substantial following in Estonia and abroad. Despite the global challenges faced during 2020,the band still held a number of sold-out concerts, highlighting just how far they had come in just a few years. Mixing instrumental rock with progressive, metal, and screamo supported by a foundation of major chords that makes that music sound light, cheerful and memorable, Kaschalot’s style cannot be defined by any one genre.”

28 | Beastwood | Electric Gangbang

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Southern stoner metallers Beastwood have just dropped the single Electric Gangbang. Touted as chameleons, it’s fairly difficult to place them into one genre for an accurate description. They seamlessly fuse the upbeat catchiness of Clutch, the heaviness of Crowbar, the groove of Down, and many, many more to make their own personalized mix of old-school NOLA sludge, new-era stoner metal and straight-up Pantera-style groove metal.”

29+30 | Joseph Shabason | Escape From North York + 0-13

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Joseph Shabason’s new LP The Fellowship follows a chronological arc that spans three generations covering his parents’ early lives, his own spiritual and physical adolescence, and his subsequent struggle to eschew the problematic habituations of such a conflicted past. Today, the Toronto saxophonist is sharing two new tracks from the album, Escape From North York and 0-13. A first-person unpacking of his upbringing, 0-13 dispenses with both innocence and clarity, unraveling into aleatoric unease representing “the first chink in the armour,” as Joseph admits, “and the first time I really started to question everything I’d been taught.” The anxiously experimental Escape From North York jolts the cadence of The Fellowship by way of skittering jazz percussion as a nauseated synth melody balloons into full-on terror, all while the melodic elements are ambushed from below by a flash flood of air-rending texture.”

31 | Badlands | Lunatique

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Stereo Total are Berlin’s, multilingual, colorful electropunk band of dreams. This release — part of Kill Rock Stars’ 30-year anniversary cover series titled Stars Rock Kill (Rock Stars) — is a tribute to their vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Françoise Cactus, who passed away from breast cancer on Feb. 17. Badlands, aka Catharina Jaunviksna, is a Swedish producer, composer and sound designer. This cover is an electronic, lush blanket. Catharina says, “Françoise was an amazing musician, buzzer & paragon for awesomeness. For me, her and Stereo Total has worked as a reminder of why we (really) share music & what DIY (really) is about. And she never ever stopped, just kept going. So much joy that I’ll miss, for sure. Merci pour tout.”

32 | Emily Kinney | Omaha Hotel

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Actress and singer-songwriter Emily Kinney presents Omaha Hotel, the latest single from her album The Supporting Character, out April 9. Written after attending the funeral of her uncle in her home state of Nebraska, Omaha Hotel is an examination of her life and experiences, seen through the lens of a busy actor. “When I first moved to N.Y.C., I didn’t have the money to go back to Nebraska often. And when I started booking big acting jobs, I didn’t have the time,” Kinney says. “I felt drawn to be an artist, and spend time in big cities and live a more transient-type lifestyle — very different from the small-town farming communities in which I grew up. I don’t regret it, but I realize I do miss out on other things that are important.”

33 | Cosmic Reaper | Wasteland II

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “North Carolina’s stoned-out doom unit Cosmic Reaper present the second single from their rumbling, psychedelic self-titled debut due out March 19. They say: “Wasteland II is an anthemic tribute to long nights of vices and the liberating days of the road. With driving riffs, soaring vocals, and explosive solos, it thunders through with a familiar head banging groove of years past.”

34 | James Vickery | Come To Me (ft. Musiq Soulchild)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:James Vickery has returned to continue the support for his forthcoming debut album with his latest offering Come To Me ft. Musiq Soulchild, produced by Pomo. James said, “My goal for my debut album is to create a timeless body of work. In order to do that I need to pay homage to the greats. I would not be the singer or artist I am today had it not been for Musiq Soulchild. Having him help share my story of my own fleeting and desperate short-lived romance almost feels like a dream. I am honoured beyond words.”

35 | Hedonihil | Shattered Mindscapes

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Hedonihil is a nihilistic death-metal project lead by Juuso Raatikainen. Their 2019 debut album I introduced the band’s blackened death-metal sound in vein of Marduk, Craft and Morbid Angel. In spring, the followup II: Symptomatic will continue Hedonihil’s misanthropic saga and introduces the new vocalist Decay.”

36 | Faiyaz and The Wasted Chances | Dead Animals

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Faiyaz and The Wasted Chances are a raw Toronto garage-pop band with virtuosic proto-punk influences, cheekily modded for today’s listener. Says Faiyaz: “Dead Animals was written after a string of bad relationships ended: I was feeling a lot of regret and pain and basically went into rehearsal and came up with the riff as a way to deal with my exes/racial injustice/covid feelings.”

37 | Best Move | Forgotten Bloom

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Sacramento trio Best Move’s debut single Forgotten Bloom takes influence from movie soundtracks (Virgin Suicides, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and bands like Air, Beck, Elliot Smith, Jon Brion, etc.”

38 | Paul Bergmann | Oh, My Love

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On April 2, Paul Bergmann will release his latest album The Other Side. Today he presents the first single Oh, My Love. Bergmann says, “Oh, My Love is an old-world love song; grand mortal declarations professed alongside a pagan reckoning with the elements as beings. It was built with large slabs, in a blunt Romantic approach. It is the central figure of the album, and defines the ethos of The Other Side.”

39 | Starlight Cleaning Co. | Don’t Take It Away

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Mojave Desert Americana duo Starlight Cleaning Co. announced the May 21 release of the band’s self-titled debut album. Musicians Rachel Dean and Tim Paul Gray turned their respective solo acts into a band three years ago, resulting in a soulful and beautifully focused operation that sounds like they could have thrived in both the ’70s and ’80s. Starlight Cleaning Co. recall the great male-female duos such as Buckingham Nicks, Sonny & Cher, Gram & Emmylou and John Doe & Exene. The single Don’t Take It Away was initially inspired by the behavior of their beloved dog; it goes on to explore the very human themes of obsession, loss, and yearning, set to a lighthearted, sugar-coated pop melody.”

40 | Oxygyn | Mercy

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Abstractly focusing on the complex paradigms of humanity, Maltese indie-pop outfit Oxygyn unveil their new single Mercy. Formed of sibling vocal duo Katia and Kurt, with Zack on guitars and Funky Monkey on production, Oxygyn strive to leave their unique mark on the pop music scene; aiming to encourage their listeners to not only hear their music, but to also sit back and reflect. Propelled by an addictive electronic beat, Mercy is the band’s melancholic, yet punchy sixth single release since their 2015 inception, heavily led by Katia and Kurt’s captivating vocals.”

41 | Natalie McCool | A Sun Going Down

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Emerging alt-pop artist Natalie McCool is now ready to kick off her 2021 in style as she returns with her latest euphoric offering A Sun Going Down. She said: “Written & recorded just before lockdown, this song was birthed at a very tumultuous time for me personally, and as the rest of 2020 proved, professionally too. This song is not about the obvious things that happened last year, more about my personal mindset and feelings, it’s about the dawning of intuition, a slow but staggering realisation that you don’t need a person, and the finality of walking forward without them forever.”

42 | Russell Louder | Lavender

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Stunningly unconventional producer Russell Louder has announced the release of their debut album Humor on Feb. 26. Louder says: “I think of Humor as a collection of characters — or these personified versions of feelings, fears, grief, identity, memory … things I often want to reject in my every day. I wanted to make it so that the listener can be both a character and a witness throughout the album. I think the role of a title is to be the door that opens and invites people into the work.”

43 | Belvedere | Good Grief Retreat

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Long-running Calgary punk band Belvedere have released Good Grief Retreat, the first single off the upcoming LP Hindsight Is The Sixth Sense, set for May 14. Steve Rawles says: “This song speaks of the average worker and the system that benefits off their labour. While the rich can hide behind laws, regulations and a corporate veil that doesn’t hold them accountable for their actions, the worker never gets ahead and has no chance of closing the wage and lifestyle gap. The Retreat in the title refers to the general populace demanding better conditions.”

44 | Gyze | Voyage Of The Future

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Japanese metal pioneers Gyze just released their single Voyage Of The Future. Gyze have earned their cult status through festival appearances, a joint tour with Battle Beast, and the release of three albums, various EPs, and singles. Gyze combine traditional Japanese music with powerful metal to create their very own sound. Neck-breaking high-speed riffs, melodic guitar riffs, and crazy solos are complemented by epic orchestral arrangements, Japanese instruments, and a traditional folkloric style.”

45 | Claire Reneé | I’m Tired

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Claire Reneé is a classically trained dancer who sings from the soul. Her upcoming album Wings is inspired by relationships and how we cope with both the beautiful and challenging sides of it, touching on certain experiences that help us navigate though these situations. The single I’m Tired narrates letting go of friendships that don‘t serve you and saying goodbye to people who mistreat you or take your time and energy for granted. Claire’s soulful, sultry vocals float effortlessly atop the sleepy melodies and jazz-soaked instrumentation, making the slow-paced track both hypnotic and intoxicating.”

46 | Mesadorm | Numb

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Mesadorm’s cover of Sam Brookes’ song Numb was partly born of the introversion of the first 2020 Covid-19 lockdown but also of the inspiration and respect between Sam and Mesadorm, who have long been friends. “We chose to cover Numb after sitting with Sam’s excellent new album Black Feathers and enjoying the freeing nature of how the songs were captured. A good friend of the band, Sam’s original of Numb is stunning although I thought it would be interesting to cover it as a female voice and translate the rippling guitar part to piano.”