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Indie Roundup | 106 Songs To Drive You (Or Maybe Just Me) Over The Edge This Weekend (Part 5)

Dave Alvin, Los Straitjackets, Chris Jones, ISQ, New Wales & more close it down.

Dave Alvin pays tribute to some old friends, Chris Jones & The Night Drives are ready to roam, ISQ mix it up with the one and only Arthur Baker, Olivia Morreale battles a case of Parasomnia, Los Straitjackets get rolling — and that brings us to the end of another corpulent Weekend Roundup. That oughta hold ya till Monday.


85+86 | Chris Gaffney with Dave Alvin and the Gene Taylor Blues Band | Those Lonely, Lonely Nights + Drunk

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “As a small memorial to the recent passing of my lifelong friend, mentor and fellow Blaster Gene Taylor, I wanted to share two songs by The Gene Taylor Blues Band,” Dave Alvin says. “This band was really The Blasters (minus my brother Phil) and we’d occasionally get together to play some shows up and down California just to play the blues we loved as well as showcase Gene’s monumental keyboard talent … One night we were honored when my best friend, the late Chris Gaffney, joined us and sang his heart out on the Earl King/Johnny Guitar Watson classic Those Lonely, Lonely Nights. The flipside of this record is Gene singing and pumping the piano on Jimmy Liggins’ heartfelt ode to inebriation, Drunk. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating Gene’s prodigious skills as a pianist, vocalist and bluesman par excellence.”

87 | Chris Jones & The Night Drivers | Whither You Roam

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Few bluegrass artists have spent as much time touring outside the United States as Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, so it should come as no surprise when travel — and the musical influences it can bring — emerges as a theme in his songs. Sure enough, that’s the case with their latest single Whither You Roam. “This is the first song I completed after the start of the pandemic,” notes Jones, “which may be why it’s a traveler’s love song during a time when we can’t travel. The word ‘whither’ has an old world feel to me, and though it’s musically pretty straight ahead bluegrass, there’s a little bit of old world influence in the song from the year I spent in Scotland a few years ago. In that case my wife ‘roamed’ there to study and I followed.”

88 | ISQ | Ode to Myself (Arthur Baker Remix)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Alt-jazz band ISQ share the Arthur Baker remix of their song Ode To Myself. The remix is taken from their upcoming album, Requiem For the Faithful 2.0: The Remixes, to be released on May 21. It’s rare when a remix blends so seamlessly with an original. Baker entwines his own electronically driven sound with Irene’s stunning vocals, creating a sound that is unmistakably unique. With an old-school intro of ’90s beats meeting jazzy scat singing, the remix of Ode To Myself quickly develops into something modern and new as the entrancing basslines keep listeners hooked. Ultimately, the single is an intimate gesture of self-care brought onto the dance floor.”

89 | Olivia Morreale | Parasomnia

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Olivia Morreale debuts her second single Parasomnia, from her forthcoming EP Space Dreams. Parasomnia is a dreamy wonderland of gauzy synths, infectious bass and intricately layered vocal chops. Inspired by the way in which subconscious thoughts and desires are unlocked through dreams, it was important to Olivia for the song to lyrically and sonically reflect the innermost psyche. “It sounds like a normal pop song until the breakdown/bridge, where it warps into a sort of nightmarish and dark space,” she writes. “We [Olivia and Eli Koskoff] let the idea of a nightmare and of the thoughts we can’t control be our guiding force during the production.”

90 | Los Straitjackets | Time Is on My Side

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Los Rolling Stones are the latest classic rock group to be covered by the mysterious masked surf-rockers Los Straitjackets, as the masked men put their spin on Time Is On My Side. Grab your surfboard and vibe along to the twang-friendly guitars of Los Straitjackets!”

91 | New Wales | Full Grown

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Two years into the life of New Wales, which started as a basement home studio catharsis, the band release their single Full Grown. Led by Sandy Taronno and David Pankratz, New Wales are made up of longtime stalwarts of the Winnipeg music scene. “We all grew up touring in different bands based out of Winnipeg, we’d crossed paths over the years and stayed in touch. We all had kids and changed gears around the same time, but the urge to create was still there,” says Taronno. “We’re all in similar places now and figured we should try combining forces. Dave and I got together to record purely for fun, but then the old sickness kicked in again and it spiraled out of control.”

92 | Vilivant | Losing My Religion

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Vilivant (Julia Gentile) is a Canadian hard rocker who was approached at age 14 to record a song for the Pan Am Games, and consequently started writing her own music. Drawing heavily from influences such as Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless and Three Days Grace, she created her first self-titled EP (with the help of producer Tal Vaisman & Andre Kaden Black). Her latest single — a cover of R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion — is out today.”

93 | Alan Doyle | Leave Her Johnny

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Alan Doyle will release the EP Back to the Harbour — a collection of songs to celebrate his love of folk music — on May 21. Back to the Harbour features three original songs plus unique spins on three classics: Back Home on the Island by Newfoundland’s own Wonderful Grand Band; Let It Be Me, popularized by The Everly Brothers; and the first single, the shanty Leave Her Johnny. “This shanty of a ship’s last day is one of the dozen or more songs I don’t remember learning,” Alan says. “I realize this may seem odd to some, as in most parts of the world people have one or two songs they don’t remember learning, like Happy Birthday or Silent Night. But in Newfoundland we have so many songs that are just part of our language. I doubt many from around here could tell you when they learned I’se The B’y or Lukey’s Boat. We just know them.”

94 | Mak | Inside My Head

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Brooklyn retro-pop artist Mak has dropped Inside My Head, the first single off of his upcoming EP Lucid Dream. With introspective melodies carried by dark synth, this single paints the picture of an edgy, retrospective story through a dark lucid dream. Inside My Head tells an eerily vivid story of how easy it is to get lost in your mind. “I’m at a point where I’m stuck inside my mind and in a spiral that I’m not sure I’ll pull out of,” says Mak. “The resulting story is a wild trip that blends dark ideas with bright sounds and highs and lows.”

95 | Nadia Vaeh | Spellbinding

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Pop artist Nadia Vaeh is kicking off 2021 with her mesmerizing and hard-hitting new single Spellbinding. The upbeat track talks about breaking free from toxic relationships and learning to find and love yourself. It delves into Vaeh’s past experiences with toxic relationships and building healthy relationships with yourself and with future partners. “I have always found myself in codependent relationships. This song was drawn from the place of really wanting to break free from the ‘love drug’ and learning to focus on loving myself and learning how to have healthy relationships with healthy boundaries,” explains Vaeh. “This song was almost my last hurrah in utilizing crappy relationships as escapism.”

96 | Aja | Red Button

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “At only 16 years of age, Toronto newcomer Aja Neinstein has quickly established herself as a force to watch this year. Today, she releases Red Button. She states: “When someone breaks your heart, I mean really breaks your heart, it’s easy to hit the Red Button and decline their call. I wrote Red Button with Jimmy McGormam, It was one of those collaborations that happened so organic yet so fitting. Jimmy already had the concept for the song but was looking for the right singer for it. We were introduced by a mutual friend Kurt. I’m guessing I was the right singer.”

97 | Ben Cosgrove | Templates For Limitless Fields Of Grass

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Pianist/composer Ben Cosgrove, who calls Boston and Portland, Maine home, has unveiled Templates For Limitless Fields Of Grass, the epic single from his forthcoming LP The Trouble With Wilderness, set for release on April 23. The song was inspired by a project by artist Gary Kachadourian who made many little booklets that featured detailed pen-and-ink drawings of grass. “The idea is that once you have this booklet, you’re supposed to Xerox each page as many times as you can and cover all the walls in a room — or many rooms — with it, creating this huge, disorienting, immersive environment just by replicating a couple of basic components,” Cosgrove explains. “Even though it should theoretically be a perfectly recursive pattern, the unavoidable little irregularities in how they line up end up creating ultimately make it look wild and organic rather than like wallpaper. And you end up noticing those little imperfections and unexpected patterns rather than the blades of grass themselves. This song, a sort of pseudo-improvisation based on little changes to one modular idea, is basically an attempt to do that — just with arpeggios on a piano.”

98 | Kanga | Home

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Kanga has released the single Home from her forthcoming album You And I Will Never Die. Based in Los Angeles, Kanga’s dark, danceable pop is marked by her commanding, ethereal vocals, and an undercurrent of industrial elements.”

99 | Brandyn Killz | Losin’ It

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Singer/songwriter and electro-soul pop artist Brandyn Killz returns with the release of his energetic new dance track. “Losin’ It is dedicated to the fighters and those in the trenches supporting them,” Brandyn explains. “Whether your fight is addiction, anxiety, cancer, Covid, depression, heartbreak, racism, sexism, etc … Whatever it is. As long as you keep fighting, I’m not gonna give up on you.”

100 | Rags & Riches | Crossfire

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Rags & Riches are an adrenalized American pop-rock band hailing from Lexington. Formed in 2017, the band features brothers Tanner & Peyton Whitt. Their latest single Crossfire is a mantra for staying mentally strong through life’s battles and anxieties. Written with fellow Kentucky musician Cody Morgan, the song gives two different views on this mantra, with Tanner explaining, “My verse was written from the perspective of how I let others’ words tear me down and Cody’s verse from the perspective of his internal voice tearing himself down through stress and anxiety.”

101 | Ali MacQueen | Loretto

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Embarking on a confident new path in 2021, Ali MacQueen returns with Loretto. A stately single that laces the alt-rock spirit of Radiohead or Gomez via the Americana thrum of Neil Young and widescreen ambition of Sea Change-era Beck; from its naturally laid-back undercurrent to its life-affirming choral hooks Loretto brims with the kind of assuredness it takes years to achieve. As MacQueen tells: “Loretto came about in one of those fleeting moments of life, walking down a backstreet just north of Oxford Street. At the end of this alleyway was some graffiti, which was tagged Loretto, and that was it. By the time I walked out from the backstreet and out back on to the street, I was humming the chorus … It’s properly amazing when melodies just appear out of nowhere like that, and totally captures the mysteries and magic of writing songs.”

102 | Centineo & Niles Mason | Fearless

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Centineo’s new single Fearless will inspire you to dance your face off all night, even if it’s in your living room with a few friends. Because the best thing we can do moving forward, is to live fearlessly.”

103 | Roseanne Reid | Fly High

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Scottish singer-songwriter Roseanne Reid shares the emotive Fly High, the third single taken from her upcoming EP Horticulture, set for release on April 10. Reid’s debut album Trails announced the official arrival of a singular voice in folk-roots and Americana music. Produced by Teddy Thompson and featuring Americana legend Steve Earle, it has seen the talented troubadour and eldest daughter of The ProclaimersCraig Reid praised for her authentic country-tinged folk.”

104 | Hanalei | Steep Ravine

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Steep Ravine by Hanalei is the last single from his album Black Snow, which arrives next Friday. The song draws parallels between the loss of love and the loss of the environment. It’s a beautiful slow-burn built on shimmering guitar work and vocal harmonies. Says Hanalei: “The record is a non-linear, fictional collage, set in the not-so-distant future, following the destruction of our climate and the subsequent disintegration of modern society. The songs are primarily narrated from varying first person perspectives: the last standing bristlecone pine, a virus unearthed by fracking (this one was written a year before Covid hit and obviously feels eerily relevant now), the collective voice of animals subjected to human wrath, an estranged lover in a drought-parched Northern Californian landscape, a post-apocalyptic traveler who unearths a working smartphone, the self-serving climate change denier, a father and son choosing optimism and action over apathy and surrender, and so forth. Consider this a warning.”

105 | My Son The Hurricane | Mississippi ’88

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:My Son the Hurricane release the funky new single Mississippi ’88, inspired by classic spy films, espionage, Get Smart, and the great Carmen Sandiego. The 12-piece brass beast spin some funk around this tale of a young female spy, code-named the Mississippi ’88. Says Danno O’Shea: “Musically the intro had been thrown around in practice for years, coupled with some new ideas it seemed the perfect base to tell a story of campy espionage! We understand that we aren’t writing Bridge over Troubled Water here, just having fun and we know this one will get the dance floors cooking.”

106 | Coral Palms | Echoes

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Coral Palms are a four-piece indie pop band in London. Their debut single Echoes is aptly named for a track that keeps coming back to you. It vibrates with upfront percussion and carries the kind of complex, old-school structuring that instantly feels like it’s been on your indie playlist since playlists began. Lyrically conversational, engaging and at times, confrontational, this is a love song of our times.”

BONUS TRACK 1: Belau | Breath (Ohxalá Remix)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Belau are one of the most promising electronica newcomers around the European music scene. Following on from their sophomore album Colourwave, they have released a tropical vibe remix with Portugal duo Ohxalá. Belau (Peter Kedves and Krisztian Buzas) try to provide shelter for the modern human through their music — representing the path to self-awareness through the depth of the individual — by making modern and elegant electronic beats with longing lyrics driven for the solace of the mind. Forever inspired by the fundamental elements of the nature, especially the infinite sea.”

BONUS TRACK 2: Dexter Francis Mason | J1

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The path leading to Dexter Francis Mason’s debut album I’m Sorry You Feel That Way has been a long one. After years of singing in New York City’s jazz clubs, he moved to Berlin to complete the songs that would eventually become the album. The album’s songs deal with interpersonal narratives and reflect on isolation, disillusionment and a sense of yearning. Memories, dreams and relationships serve as starting points before converging with a peculiar anecdote or banal observation. J1 is the first single. It’s a love song about wanting something from a person and knowing they can never give it to you.”