Indie Roundup | 35 Songs That Will Make Monday Seem Less Horrible

You won't know whether to bang your head or shake your butt. And you won't mind.

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Slift mine some space gold, Live Skull cast an eye upon our dystopian world, Obsidian Kingdom are here to (clap) pump you up, Lotus Titan have deja vu all over again — and by the end of your Monday Roundup, you won’t know whether to bang your head or shake your butt. Here’s one thing not to do: Slip into your favourite hoodie and scarf an edible before you have to accept a Golden Globe. That’s nuts.

 


1 | Slift | Thousand Helmets Of Gold

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Post-psychedelic space rockers Slift celebrate the anniversary of their dazzling LP Ummon by releasing an astonishing sci-fi video for the track Thousand Helmets Of Gold. The French trio have created an outstanding astral adventure blending acid krautrock, cosmic jazz and powerful heavy saturated guitars. With Thousand Helmets Of Gold, Slift treat us to a real space fiction, enhanced by this smart, progressive, fuzz-charged and colorful sound of theirs, on the edge of kraut and stoner rock.”


2 | Live Skull | In A Perfect World

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Hey there! Enjoy a new Live Skull video for In A Perfect World: A modern post-punk dystopian anthem. It’s the first single from Dangerous Visions, fraught with the tension of our times. Sirens wail, then a bass crashes through. Live Skull’s Mark C says: “The twin pandemics, the spread of Covid 19 and the growing empowerment of violent far Right groups, provided the backdrop for our writing In A Perfect World. The siren at the start of the song was recorded from my fire escape. Reflecting the isolation experienced under lockdown, the video is limited to the four band members and their partners. As a contrast to the heaviness of the times, we opted for some simple role playing, while poking fun at themes of identity, fear, and our own mortality; and noting that our time spent alone/together has altered us in ways we might not be aware of.”


3 | Obsidian Kingdom | The Pump

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Ever wondered what Obsidian Kingdom’s Meat Machine will feel like onstage? Find out in the video for The Pump. They say: “We’ve given our all to reflect the sheer rawness and gloomy intensity of the song. The video was shot live last December in Barcelona at AMFest, which we were lucky enough to headline in spite of the current situation. It was freezing cold and everybody was sitting down and masked up, so bear with us — we obviously expect it to be way sweatier once you’re in the pit.”


4 | Lotus Titan | Déjà-Vu

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Lotus Titan break the codes of rock by borrowing from improvised, progressive and urban music. Carried by an intense poetic art and a powerful sound, the quartet explores new sound territories, ventures into daring musical forms and accompanies the listener-rice through a narrative. Their new album Odyssées arrives March 19, but you can watch their new video for Déjà-Vu now. The writing, exclusively in French, evokes a life journey, a spiritual impulse. Words are deployed as sound matter. The confrontation between text and music creates images, sensations and atmospheres specific to each title. In this setting, David Lynch has an appointment with Meshuggah while Pink Floyd, Rimbaud and Patti Smith count the stars…”


5 | Angstskríg | Skyggespil

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Danish black metallers Angstskríg will release their full-length debut Skyggespil on May 28. The record includes a variety of guest appearances from members of Soilwork, Finntroll, Kreator, Hypocrisy, DragonForce and more. Angstskríg are a secretive duo, shrouded in mystery, protecting their anonymity fiercely, but they are already able to boast a number of powerful allies from already established metal legends. After opening the door into their bleak world late last year, Angstskríg return with another slice of epic, dark brutality via the record’s title track. As Angstskríg continue to prepare the world for their upcoming debut album, Skyggespil will leave those brave enough to listen with little doubt that a new, dark, and brooding force is coming…”


6 | Kyle McKearney | Devil Water

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Kyle McKearney is an artist & songwriter with a modern-vintage Americana sound. After high school, Kyle moved to Nashville, where he was immersed in classic country and rockabilly. He eventually made his way back to Canada and settled in Calgary. He’s now releasing original solo music, starting with debut single Devil Water. The track is blues-inspired Americana that’s tragic and liberating all at the same time.”


7 | Pearls & Bones | 400 Sq. Ft.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Pearls & Bones are an alternative hip-hop band based in Toronto and Montreal. Vocalist Jake, producer Harry and guitarist Keenan write and perform music inspired by discordant influences, from metalcore and PC music to backpack rap and pop-punk. Since forming in 2012, they have released five EPs and two albums. Their latest LP Cool Uncles drops later this year. 400 Sq. Ft., the first single, is about finding beauty in the coldest of spaces, and being with the person who lights it up; an ode to filling a cramped and shoddy subterranean living situation with life.”


8 | Daunè Winterz | Not Another Love Song

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Daunte Winterz first gained attention when he released his remix to Chris Brown’s Poppin in 2020. Now the Chicago singer is back with a dope new visual for Not Another Love Song, displaying that he is a for-sure hidden gem in the city of Chicago. Even getting arrested mid-video shoot couldn’t stop the shine from this star in the making.”


9 | Stevieray Lathum | Dionysus Blues

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “A journey of profound philosophical thought and warped musical exploration, Dionysus Blues is the new single from Stevieray Lathum. Landing somewhere between the daydreams of Neutral Milk Hotel and the nightmares of Nick Cave, Dionysus Blues is a sprawling eight-minute epic of gothic Americana and grizzled alternative rock ’n’ roll. Reading The Birth of Tragedy by Nietzsche at art school some years back, Latham found himself drawn to the tension that unfolds between the two Greek gods: Dionysus and Apollo. “Apollo is this god that seemed to represent a lot of Western society’s ideals to me — progress, logic, order and individuation — and then you’ve got Dionysus on the other hand, who represents intoxication, disorder, emotion, ecstasy and unity. I was up late one night after reading the book and this song just came to me fully formed.”


10 | Friedemann | Le Coiffeur

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Germany singer-songwriter and storyteller Friedemann has released his new album In Der Gegenwart Der Vergangenheit (In The Presence Of The Past) track-by-track sequentially over the past twelve months and will finally get a proper release in April. A lighthearted video for a new song Le Coiffeur has just arrived. With three studio albums and two live albums under his belt, Friedemann remains one of the most truly independent figures in the German music underground. Just recently called, “the German Ian MacKaye,” by none other than Scott “Wino” Weinrich because of his DIY ethics and no-compromise attitude, Friedemann has earned merits for being outspoken and a true honest voice of reason in today’s modern chaos and self-centered society.”


11 | Graduation Speech | Small Apartment

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In 2019, Kevin Day released his second solo EP under the moniker Graduation Speech. The project has been a vehicle to explore more acoustic and indie-rock soundscapes as opposed to the punk leanings of his band Aspiga. Small Apartment might be the best example of this exploration. The chorus pulses with pounding toms and glinting accents, but each verse creates open space for acoustic chords and harmonic notes to breathe and bend into infinity.”


12 | Plastic Tears | Communication

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Communication is a track taken from Plastic Tears’ upcoming album Anthems For Misfits, due for release on March 26. The band comment: “Communication was originally released as the B-side of the Look of Lies single … On this re-released version the audio featured is the new album version of Communication, which has been remixed. The video includes scenes shot in Finland, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium whilst on tour. The video fits these times well, when traveling is just a beautiful memory, and touring can’t be done. Faithful to their style, the video is a fast punk rock ’n’ roller, and you might want to watch it a few times to notice all the details.”


13 | Immortal Wound | Left My Mind

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Immortal Wound are a collaboration between Brooklyn producers Til Will and Paz Mallea. The duo fuse sound collage and song on a cosmic ride through the arc of romance — a chance encounter, love, wonder, confusion, heartbreak. Left My Mind delivers a lover’s lament bathed in pulsing psychedelia. Immortal Wound gives a layered vocal performance aching the loneliness of separation, wishing to disappear. This is track six on the EP, recorded and mixed by Will and Mallea in their apartment in 2020.”


14 | Paperdeer | Fortress (ft. Böbe)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Fortress is the second single from the upcoming album of the Hungarian electronic music band Paperdeer. This video carries on with the carefully constructed yet cool electronic beats now accompanied by a female voice. Complex lyricism, inventive visuals, and compassionate storytelling are all parts of this next piece of art. “The lyrics of Fortress can be interpreted in many ways,” says vocalist Böbe Szécsi, a long-time collaborator of the band. “In my opinion, it is a cry for help. It is enough if you look around: climate change, COVID-19, and political tension are the things that we are faced with and also the burden of uncertainty that it suggests. In the middle of this chaos, I would just want to shout at the top of my lungs to make it stop and to seek meaningful changes otherwise, the consequences will be fatal.”


15 | Myles Sanko | Blackbird Sing

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Myles Sanko has released Blackbird Sing, the fourth single from his forthcoming album Memories Of Love, which will be out on March 12. “This song is about the song of the common blackbird (Turdus merula). Anytime I hear the melodic song of the blackbird it stops me in my tracks and opens up a flood gate of happy, nostalgic memories of love. After the song is over, I go on about my day and look forward to my next encounter.”


16 | Dan Croll | So Dark (Live At Spacebomb)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Following on from the announcement for the live version of his critically acclaimed third album Grand Plan, which lands on April 1, Dan Croll has now delivered the new video for the lead offering So Dark (Live At Spacebomb). Reconnecting with his live band for the visuals, this new rendition of So Dark is the closest we have come to a live performance from Dan since the pandemic began. Shot and recorded in a safe and socially-distanced manner, the Spacebomb session gives us an extra layer of levity and texture to the wonderfully uplifting single.”


17 | Angry Blackmen | Headshots!

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Angry Blackmen just dropped a new music video for the title track from Headshots! — enjoy and spread the word!!”


18 | Flyght Club | Those American Eyes

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “L.A.’s Flyght Club, Shauvik Sharan’s contemporary music project, have released their video for Those American Eyes. The song showcases Shauvik’s signature embrace of prog, psychedelic rock, world music and indie pop, all guided by a chill-soaked melodic lead vocal. As sweet as the song sounds, its underlying themes are heady and genuine. “Those American Eyes is a very special song to me. Contrary to popular first impressions about it being about love or a girl, the song talks about the struggles of staying in the country of opportunities — the United States of America — as an immigrant music artist. The song uses heavy personification and metaphors and is essentially me singing to America personified as a woman with all her enticing charms and opportunities as I try to hold onto my dream of achieving the American dream of making it big in the global music scene … I sing to America as I try my best to hang around and court her.”


19 | Boy Danger | Blissful Ruin

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “My name is Boy Danger and I’m a 21-year-old hip-hop artist from Oakland. Through my music, I blend elements of industrial hip-hop, horrorcore, emo, and trap all into one visceral sound. The purpose of my music is to help others find power and confidence within themselves. Or maybe you’re just here to casually listen and have a good time — that’s fine too! Either way, I’m grateful to have you here.”


20 | Starpainter | Cemetery

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Starpainter exists in the neatly carved-out spaces between rock and country and pop. They are distantly familiar, like a newly met cousin, but distinctly shiny and new. They wear their influences on their sleeves, with pride, showcasing strong songwriting and an affinity for classic folk and rock. They’ve created a record that is representative of a modern, new era of alt-country: a two-step here, a ballad there, a radio-worthy chorus in between. On this debut release, they have constructed a narrative of beauty, love, fear, and loss without seeming either too sweet or sorrowful. The songs are steeped in the tradition of prairie-born artistry with a pop sensibility that defies their youth. What it all comes down to is a carefully curated collection of fine songs that set them up for regular rotation for years to come.”


21 | Ebony Buckle | The Planet Who Believed

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “This year, Australian-born, London-based dream-pop singer-songwriter Ebony Buckle is set to release her debut album Disco Lasers, a collection of audio-visual stories that will be shared monthly as singles. The album celebrates the wonders of our universe and how we as human beings make sense of our existence through folklore legends, science and our imagination. Her first single Wonder was released on Feb. 1 and her second, The Planet Who Believed, arrived today. The song tells the story of the planet who believed she was a star, only to find out that she was actually trapped in an orbit not of her making. The song was written after Ebony read an article about gas clouds in space that were behaving like stars. The idea that these clouds believed they were something else immediately inspired Buckle. She writes: “I think so many of us find ourselves in a situation we thought we had understood, only to find out it is vastly different and very much out of our control.”


22 | Carnage & Gordo | KTM

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Carnage’s new release is the house cut KTM, his first release under his Gordo house moniker. Even during the pandemic, Carnage was one of the busiest artists out there. As Gordo, he sold out recently in Miami and performed Super Bowl Weekend in Tampa. Carnage grew up in Guatemala but became an American citizen at 10 years old. Carnage has produced records for the G-Eazy and worked with Migos, Mac Miller, Rick Ross, Avicii, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Pump, Steve Aoki, A$AP Ferg, Timmy Trumpet, The Martinez Brothers and many more.”


23 | Brandon Hilton | Love Again

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “After a 10-year hiatus from the music industry, independent pop artist Brandon Hilton is back with the new dance album Reborn and the single Love Again. Hilton directed, filmed and edited the video himself in his home, as North Carolina is still under strict stay-at-home orders and he wanted to create a visual for his fans. The video has received praise from fans who felt very “nostalgic” to see new visuals from Hilton after such a long break.”


24 | Stephen Fretwell | Oval

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Stephen Fretwell returns with new single Oval, a sparse, urgent love song heady with sensuous images. But, as in so many of the songs on his upcoming album, all is not well. There is a deep sense of unease, tropical heat at twilight. Beyond the innocent curves of Oval, images of opposites clash and collide, celebration sours to disappointment. The longed-for sun can be a thing that burns. The birthday becomes a sultry disco. “I think it is a song about marriage, the actuality of it, the responsibility of it, and the gamble,” says Fretwell. “When my girlfriend was pregnant with our first son, we moved to a flat near the Oval in London. As our marriage fell apart a few years ago, it was this simple song that was the only thing I had to stick in the ground and push on with making some new music. I wrote the song about watching my wife look out of the window in that flat in Oval, looking at her new life as a mother, our new life as parents, and I was trying to show that in some way the beauty that we are gifted by becoming parents is often haunted by the loss of something, too.”


25 | James | All The Colours of You

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The celebrated U.K. alternative band Jamesannounced the release of their new album All The Colours Of You for June 4. Produced by Grammy-winning producer Jacknife Lee (Taylor Swift, U2, REM, Snow Patrol, The Killers) the album finds the band exploring new, surprising sounds even as they approach their fortieth year of music, and lyrically reckoning with the state of the world. Today they have shared the album’s prescient title track. Singer Tim Booth describes the track as “A polaroid of Covid lockdown during a civil rights revolution in America … I wrote the ‘coup coup coup coup’ lyric six months before the coup attempt.”


26 | The Crooks | Frankie

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Chesterfield band The Crooks have released their single Frankie. Dabbling in their own Brit-pop sound, they are taking a turn and are set to release their most liberating song to date but also shines a light on their melodic wall of sound that everyone has grown to love. Frankie is built around a fiery guitar solo, and a cacophony of sounds but begins with a hint of mystery. The carefulness and alluring licks of the guitar create an atmospheric pulse before being pelted into a whirlwind of rock ‘n’ roll swagger. The smooth but endearing vocals wrap around the haunting riffs and it’s by far the most interesting track by The Crooks yet.”


27 | Bakin Bits | I Can Feel What You Believe

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:I Can Feel What You Believe, the latest single from Denver artist Bakin Bits, is more than a funky EDM dance beat—it’s an exploration of feeling yourself, feeling through others, and finding those shared beliefs along the way. Starting off with a rogue mix of vocals that harken to Area 51 on top of classical piano, the shift in tone occurs before the first verse, where a streamlined bass riff sure to make you bust a dance move at the home office takes over and leads the way. “It’s really a message of empowerment — I feel things in myself, and I can feel that you believe in these things and want to achieve these things as well. But, I also feel your other desires and goals. It’s about wanting to find someone that you can achieve something beautiful with together.”


28 | R3hab x Fafaq x DNF | Ringtone

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:R3HAB teams up with Polish startup producers Fafaq and DNF for a booty-shaking house track: Ringtone. The trio of talented producers pull out the stops for the new single, which features a trifecta of dirty basslines, rhythmic kick drums, and a catchy vocal hook to remind all electronic fans that sometimes, you just have to put your phone away and dance. “I’ve been working on this record for so long, and I’m so happy it’s finally seeing daylight,” says R3hab. “Ringtone has all the pieces to be an actual banger with its compelling melody, bassline, and modern tech influences, which combine to create an escape into a virtual reality.”


29 | Bang Bang Jet Away | Long For This World

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “San Diego rock duo Bang Bang Jet Away’s single Long for this World resonates with timeless rock nostalgia. “Is there a secret that you can share?” the vocals open with inviting allure, amidst twangy guitars and lushly melodic backing vocal adornments. A bouncy hook emerges just prior to the one-minute mark, lyrically embracing themes of grappling with growing up.”


30 | Extinguish | Unconquered

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Sacramento hardcore outfit Extinguish will release their eponymous debut EP on April 23. The lead single Unconquered is out today. Extinguish attempt to achieve the darkest/hardest sound they can, merging elements of death metal with the classic ’90s hardcore sound. With a style somewhere between the output of death metal greats Obituary and Grave, and hardcore icons Next Step Up and Gut instinct, the three-year-old band deliver a punishing, metallic attack akin to peers Sunami, Hands Of God, Field Of Flames and more. In their short time as a band, they’ve played throughout the Sacramento and Bay Area scenes, and now present their debut recorded output.”


31 | Sunday State | White Pine County

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sunday State — an indie supgroup featuring members of Mudhoney, Mission Spotlight and The Pynnacles — will release their self-titled album on April 2, but you can listen to lead single White Pine County now. It speaks to battling with the conflicting desire to run from the darkness, or fight it and bury it. It was one of a handful of tracks from the album recorded with Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, Big Star), who also played bass on the single.”


32 | Alto Key | Sink

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Alto Key is a London singer-songwriter with a unique offering. Finding the balance between lo-fi and alt-pop, this is an emotive, pop-oriented and soulful song, calling out to people who are struggling with their insecurities. Key explains: “I wrote this song to essentially capture aspects around my lack of confidence and anxiety. I want to experiment a little with the musical style in 2021 and that’s a scary feeling — what if people don’t resonate with it or I let people down? Maybe it’s just been the last couple of years that have been tough and really got me thinking, but I’m really committed to letting go of my insecurities. It’s hard to let go and there will always be an inner voice begging me to not change.”


33+34 | Metro-Ongen | Wrong World + Strangers

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Metro-Ongen were formed in Tokyo in 2002. Combining lullaby melodies and lush harmonies with a new-wave sound that has been compared to Blondie and Television, Metro-Ongen have steady gained a devoted fanbase across Japan. One show at Osaka’s Minami Wheel Festival (the Japanese answer to SXSW) was so overcrowded fans had to be turned away, and they also played at Summer Sonic. Moreover, with a poster design that won a 2010 New York Design Award, the band are evolving into an art collective under the banner Team M-O.”


35 | David Jane | Velvet Queen

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:David Jane is a new indie/alternative singer-songwriter from Toronto. He recently released hi first EP Welcome to Today, featuring the single Velvet Queen. The song is a riveting reflection into the nature of human connection and trust, channelling all of the emotions, beautiful and terrifying, that come with giving yourself up to someone, if even for a single moment. It is produced by award-winning Canadian producer Rob Wells. The song begins immensely intimate before building into an indie pop/rock banger!”