Indie Roundup | 44 Songs To Pop Your Cork This Thursday (Part 1)

Ghost Woman, Island, Chubby and the Gang and more artists on first base.

Ghost Woman wrestles with his demons, Islands put the synths on autopilot, Chubby And The Gang deliver a bolt from the blue, Black River Delta soak up the rays, Autogramm repeat themselves — but fear not; your Thursday Roundup is chock full of all-new goodies for your ears. Ready, player one?


1 | Ghost Woman | Demons

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Time to wake up to the sounds of Ghost Woman. Out in August on very limited edition 7” vinyl, Lost Echo’s features three tracks which sound like they’ve been beamed in from the grungiest sound bunker in the desert. Ghost Woman’s Evan Uschenko stumbled across Lost Echo’s while based in Arizona, sitting out the pandemic, helping his mechanic brother at his hot rod shop. He decided to use the title to pay tribute to his location and the rich history held within the land. Having grown up in the small town of Three Hills, Alberta, Uschenko cut his teeth as a multi-instrumentalist and part of fellow Canadian Michael Rault’s band, touring with the likes of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. Retreating from the road and hiding out in southern Alberta, Uschenko booked two months in an abandoned farmhouse, converted into a studio, and in a fog of smoke and whiskey recorded songs as quickly as he could write them.”

2 | Islands | Set The Fairlight

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Last month, Islands returned from retirement with a bang to announce their first new album in five years, Islomania (out June 11). Today, they share the single Set The Fairlight. A shining example of Nick Thorburn’s penchant for bright, expertly crafted pop songs that hint at something darker, Set The Fairlight sees him grappling with uncertainty. “This was the last song made for the album, written and recorded during the pandemic,” he explains. “I suppose it’s vaguely about the feeling of anxiety and fear brought on by COVID. There’s separation (by a cemetery wall — grim!), isolation and the desire to reach out and touch someone. None of these themes were calculated or laboured over, though. Like most of my songwriting, I kind of let the subconscious take the wheel. I find I get to more interesting places when I’m not trying to steer the metaphors.”

3 | Chubby And The Gang | Lightning Don’t Strike Twice

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “London punk quintet Chubby And the Gang have shared a new song and video. Lightning Don’t Strike Twice — part of a 7″ out on May 28 — is a three-minute ride through the band’s entire moodboard, opening with lap slide noodling before steering into anthemic pub rock with snarling lyrics. Charlie ‘Chubby’ Manning offers: “I wrote this song about social inequality. Not mine but the people I saw around me. I feel like the whole premise of poverty is presented like this game in which if you play your cards right you can escape. In reality it’s more like playing a game of dice when they’re loaded against your favour. Constantly being struck by lightning and being told that it will never happen again.”

4 | Black River Delta | California Sun

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Black River Delta just released the video for their latest single California Sun. This hard-driving track is the third single from the Swedish band’s forthcoming album Shakin’ this June. The band’s gritty blues-rock sound draws from legends like Robert Johnson and R. L. Burnside, along with modern artists such as The Black Keys, Gary Clark Jr. and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Their ability to combine age-old blues with modern rock has taken them on several tours across Europe and North America, and has caught the attention of artists like blues legend Joe Bonamassa, who invited the band to perform on his annual cruise festival.”

5 | Autogramm | Mantra

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Autogramm, the synth-driven power-pop trio from Vancouver, premiered a video for their single Mantra, created by award-winning director Shayne Ehman. The track is featured on the band’s sophomore album No Rules, out tomorrow. Singer-guitarist Jiffy Marx noted: “On our first tour to Mexico, we flew in on a red-eye flight, then partied all night every night for a week. It was super-fun, but my internal clock never really adjusted — I’d be up until 3 or 4 a.m. every night and then waking at 7 a.m., which is when I usually get up at home. The lyrics for Mantra are literally a mantra I made up to help clear my mind on those mornings when every part of me except my stupid brain knew that I needed more than 3 or 4 hours sleep!”

6 | Methyl Ethel | Neon Cheap

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Methyl Ethel mark their return with the single Neon Cheap, alongside visual directed by Tay Kaka. Hatched at the end of a very creative period that produced the new body of work Neon Cheap — an undoubted career highlight — was written when touring for their Hurts To Laugh EP was cancelled due to the pandemic. Poetic as ever, musical polymath and Methyl Ethel centrepiece Jake Webb transports us from faces in phones to his world, where Neon Cheap was born: “Picture yourself scrolling, mind-numbingly at 3 a.m. Now, instead of scrolling, you’re traipsing some Vegas-like strip. All the events and people you’d normally read about are there as you walk around, inoculated, casually observing. For me, this is Neon Cheap.”

7 | Ven | Sorry

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Ven is the new project from Circa Waves frontman Kieran Shudall, who shared the single and video for Sorry alongside the announcement of his debut self-titled EP, to be released May 28. The new project offers a unique and intimate insight into the more personal inner workings of Shudall’s creative mind, offering a fresh space for an unfettered musical output to explore a more experimental and electronic-leaning sound. “Sorry is a cinematic experience,” explains Shudall. “Treating an acoustic guitar like a synth. It’s a folk-space hip-hop drum ballad!”

8 | Foxing | Go Down Together

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Foxing have released the new song and video Go Down Together, and as only they can, they tackle a massive subject in an extraordinary way. The St. Louis group takes a bold turn towards Passion Pit / Phoenix / MGMT / ’00s indie on the track, as vocalist Conor Murphy muses on being a young adult in debt (“ever since I got going, I’ve been going for broke”). A nod to The Trail’s End by Bonnie Parker, Go Down Together is a song about devotion and desperation. It is about financial ruin, hopeless grief, and the resilience of love. The video for Go Down Together was co-directed and partially animated by Conor himself in a process called rotoscoping. First, everything is shot live-action and then each frame is drawn over individually to bring the footage to life in a totally different way.”

9 | Julian Skiboat | My Room

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “When you hear Julian Skiboat, you stop and listen. Hailing from San Antonio, the 24-year-old multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter evokes emotions out of each and every lyric and guitar strum. His latest single My Room was written as a reflection of how the artist has been feeling during the pandemic. He confides, “It’s about feeling bored, lonely, and stagnant. I have such a love for this song because I think it really represents me well. Having this upbeat happy instrumental with slightly somber lyrics really embodies me as a whole.” Sonically the track features laid-back tropical infused guitars, warm hazy vocals and Skiboat’s signature quirky soundscapes creating an enthralling juxtaposition.”

10 | Simone Istwa | So Sure

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Indie avant-garde artist Simone Istwa just announced the Heartweb EP — a mix of dreamy shoegaze and noisy indie-rock out June 4. The video for first single So Sure stars James Duval (Donnie Darko, Independence Day) and was directed by Nina Ljeti. When your parents are Sam Phillips and T Bone Burnett, life revolves around the masterful creation of pop records with a pre-digital approach. But starting at a young age, Istwa mined for their own left-of-center sounds, mixing warped dissonance and sonic beauty. With influences from Nina Simone to The Velvet Underground, The Cocteau Twins to Harold Budd & Deftones, Simone explains: “I thought Nico, Lou and John were the same frontman playing different cool, androgynous characters — it was exhilarating. I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do, I want to play characters in music.’ ”

11 | Bizou | Tragic Lover

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On June 4, L.A. band Bizou will release their debut album Tragic Lover. Today the band share the video for the title track. The video, which was directed by Bizou, Thomas Nelson and Brandon Pierce, premiered today. Bizou features current and former members of Light FM, The Smashing Pumpkins, Wax Idols and Glaare. Combining propulsive darkwave rhythms, shifting synth scales, haunting vocals and a wall of shivering shoegaze guitars, Bizou craft a sound entirely their own. Formed in 2017, Bizou have shared stages with Drab Majesty, Ötzi, Hunny and many others — spinning their gossamer web of dark and bright sonic waves around goth and pop fans alike.”

12 | Julian Lamadrid | 15 Minutes

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “23-year-old Mexican singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Julian Lamadrid, debuts his newest single and video 15 Minutes. 15 Minutes is a hypnotizing dance track co-produced with Paul Meany. Shares Julian: “In these dark times of distrust and limited social interaction, 15 Minutes acts as a catalyst for change, a joyful reminder that through dance and movement we might be able to rediscover the thrill of life.”

13 | Les Louanges | Pigeons

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Two and a half years after the release of his landmark album La Nuit Est Une Panthère, Les Louanges returns with Pigeons, a single and a lush video showcasing Vincent Roberge’s musical and spiritual evolution since his 2016 debut. Pigeons may be his catchiest track yet — but despite its seductive melody and latin-inspired rhythms that conjure images of sunny days ahead, it is not a love song. Through clear and lively vocals, the multi-instrumentalist explores the idea of returning home and coming down from the exhilaration of being on tour. On this new single, Roberge confidently reflects on the struggles of maintaining relationships, the smooth flow of the lyrics mimic a conversation with himself.”

14 | No Joy | Kidder (From Heaven)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:No Joy has revisited and reinvented some of her favorite tracks from her 2020 album Motherhood for the new EP Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven? It sees principal songwriter Jasamine White-Gluz mining and exploring fresh avenues, bringing you an orchestral interpretation of choice tracks. Once again pulling sonically from every corner she’s mastered before — including nu metal, trip hop, and shoegaze — the five-song EP shows White-Gluz settling into a strange and confident harmony. Highlighting the urgency of Motherhood while continuing to find formidable shapes of reinvention, the EP defies expectation and genre, cementing No Joy as something rare: A band without a category.”

15 | Rich Aucoin | Eulogy Of Regret

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On April 23, Rich Aucoin releases the deluxe version of his acclaimed album United States. Today, he shares the video for Eulogy Of Regret. “I’m excited to share this video and finally release this track as a single, says Aucoin. “This was the last track written for United States and was the only one not conceived somewhere while on the bicycle. I wrote it for director / musician / multi-disciplinary artist Dustin Harvey. Dustin hired me to write a seven-minute version of the song for a short film/theatre piece he was working on called How Quickly Things Change. I liked the song and ended up cutting a track for United States so Eulogy Of Regret could take its place. Now, full circle, Dustin and his team have made a shorter piece which also doubles an appropriate music video for the song.”