Indie Roundup | 119 Songs Good Enough To Make You Slap Your Mama (Part 1)

Hymns, Benjamin Belinska, Cannon, Matt Berry, Chet Faker and more early birds.

Hymns are ready to start again, Special Friend make a triple play, Cannon get misty, Matt Berry soaks up some rays, Chet Faker is not looking forward to what comes next — but you should be, since your immediate future includes another marathon edition of the Weekend Roundup. If you have to go to the bathroom, better do it now.


1 | Hymns | Reset

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Plucking from a wealth of genres and pop culture references, Hymns have been making epic and ethereal rock songs that exist to enlighten and energise all who bear witness. Announcing the details for their brand-new Reset EP, the band’s incoming lead single and title track picks up from where they left off by reinforcing their well-aimed social commentary with foreboding moments of theatrical guitar hero pageantry — all the while satisfying a convincing mission statement. Says frontman Oliver Hooper: “Written in a time of great political and social unrest, people continue to celebrate and prioritise capital gain and empty technological breakthroughs (colonizing Mars, etc) at the expense of humanity and our ‘own’ planet Earth. The song is a call to arms for change before it’s too late.”

2-4 | Special Friend | Hazard / Flaring Jean / Movement of The Planets

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Here’s a live session by Special Friend, filmed last month in a museum in Angers by Carpharnaum. These three tracks are from their debut album Ennemi commun, which came out last month ”

5 | Cannon | Light In The Fog

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Cannon give a glimpse of their longstanding, captivating live energy in the video for Light In The Fog. For the video, Cannon teamed up with filmmaker and director Andrew Watson of Semiconductor Media to capture a small taste of what’s to come when they finally get back on the stage. Seeing double, the epic band rehearsal video features psychedelic mirrored imagery, saturated lighting, riffs galore, and an abundance of smoke. The result is a perfect visual accompaniment to Light In The Fog’s infectious energy and non-stop rock rhythms.”

6 | Matt Berry | Summer Sun

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Matt Berry has shared Summer Sun, another new track from forthcoming album The Blue Elephant. In contrast to 2020’s stripped-back, Dylanesque and folk-inspired Phantom Birds, The Blue Elephant finds Matt in full-on psychedelic mode, enthralled to his love of the genre, and the associated production techniques of the time. Recorded during the summer of 2020, The Blue Elephant is testament to Matt’s exceptional musicianship, production skills and songwriting prowess. He plays every instrument, including guitars, bass, a variety of keyboards and synthesizers (piano, Wurlitzer, mellotron, Moog, Hammond, Vox and Farfisa organs), with the exception of drums — supplied by much-in-demand and admired neo-progressive and Phantom Birds drummer Craig Blundell — on arguably his best album to date.”

7 | Chet Faker | Whatever Tomorrow

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Nick Murphy announced the new album from his Chet Faker project, Hotel Surrender, will arrive on July 16. Additionally, Murphy unleashed a new Chet Faker single and video for Whatever Tomorrow. In a return to making music that simply felt good, Murphy revived his Chet Faker project after a six-year hiatus. The result is Hotel Surrender, a self-produced, self-written 10-track LP that reintroduces the swaggering bass lines and electrifying melodies that made fans fall in love with Chet Faker. Murphy says: “There were a lot of heavy perspective shifters for me. I really just thought of the music in a different light. I look at it as a mass therapy now. I think I used to see it as this plight, like I was on a crusade or this creative odyssey. Now I see that it’s more Shamanistic. You’ve got to find some light — or sometimes dark, whatever’s right — and share it. I realized that was the heart of the Chet Faker project. And I felt like the world was hurting, so I thought, ‘I can do a small something to give people some joy.’ ”

8 | Brett Newski | Lillian Road

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Milwaukee alternative songwriter, author, illustrator and podcaster Brett Newski has shared Lillian Road, the latest preview of the soundtrack to his first book, It’s Hard To Be A Person: defeating anxiety, surviving the world, and having more fun, out June 22. Lillian Road is a song about being young and hopelessly in love. The struggles accumulate into the building blocks of self-awareness and self-confidence. As those attributes build, life begins to take shape. As Newski says, “You struggle and struggle and struggle, blind to the fact that the struggle is the thing you need the most.”

9 | Gloo | Big Smoke

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Big Smoke was recorded with producer Jag Jago (Maccabees, Jamie T) across the summer of 2020, between local lockdowns, travel bans and COVID restrictions. Written by the band’s enigmatic drummer Mark Harfield, the track pokes holes in the pipe dream of the world, with the band’s tongues firmly in cheek. Mark says it best: “It’s so easy to romanticise life… daydreaming and thinking that moving to London, getting married or having a nice car can fix all your problems. From what I can see, these things are much more of a smokescreen than a remedy… So here’s 2 minutes and 25 seconds of me shouting about how much it annoys me.”

10 | Amos The Kid | Island Of Troubles

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Amos Nadlersmith has long been an enigmatic curiosity of the Winnipeg stage. For a time, the prolific songwriter seemed to be anywhere and everywhere; then, you couldn’t find him if you went looking. He also works as a wilderness guide, and was known for disappearing into the woods for months at a time. Taken from his EP No More New Ideas (out May 14), Island of Troubles is perhaps the angriest song in the Amos the Kid catalogue, although his sly delivery and the band’s explosive instrumentals don’t immediately betray those feelings. “This song takes place in a particularly hard summer long ago. Up till this point I felt like some light footed kid,” says Nadlersmith. “It’s a sort of coming of age story, a harsh reality that maybe the future could turn bleak. My choices actually could change my future? It’s an angry song but also a confused realization of mortality and morality.”

11 | Women Of The Night | Open All Night

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Brooklyn’s Women of the Night share Open All Night, a slice of raw, tuneful garage-rock and the first single from their upcoming sophomore album Sub Rosa, due in June. Women Of The Night are a New York rock ’n’ roll gang, playing songs that follow the pace of the street and the desperate voices of the unconsciousness mind. Open All Night was written at a bar in the Lower Eastside. Frontman and songwriter Jordan D’Arsie says he was “thinking about the long days and longer nights, the lengths people go to keep a something alive, make something work or just put the broken pieces back together. It’s a semi auto-biographical look back at the gas station days. Customers coming and going, the constant flow of questionable ways and means. Keep a straight face, treat ’em with love, we got what you need and we’re Open All Night.”

12 | Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra | Rocket Ship

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “As Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra, Lee has released 11 albums. His different styles have made it to several movies, series and computer games like Ocean’s 13, Malcolm in the Middle, CSI: Miami, Lost or Bully (just to mention a few). An incredible output of incredible music. Rocket Ship is a heavy drum break by the maestro of breaks that leads into a spaced out adventure of bass, synths, melodica, percussion and a vocal from out of this world.”

13 | Kasai Allstars | Kasai Munene

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In the second single off the upcoming album by legendary Kinshasa collective Kasai Allstars, lead vocal duties are shared between the band’s mainstays: Muambuyi, Mi Amor, Kabongo and Tandjolo, who each sing here their own language, respectively Lulua, Kisonge, Tshiluba and Kitetela, an apt illustration of the theme which runs through the album (‘Unity Is Strength’), and which is reflected in the album’s title: Black Ants Always Fly Together, One Bangle Makes No Sound.

14 | Hans Hjelm | Woods

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Factory Reset is the debut solo album by guitarist Hans Hjelm. Hans studied jazz guitar at the in the ’90s and has spent the last 10 years performing and releasing music with psych-rock bands Kungens Män and Automatism. The music could be described as Depeche Mode meets Michael Rother. Guitars and synthesizers trade off in playing the most prominent role throughout the album. Hans plays all instruments except drums, which are handled by Jesper Skarin (Gösta Berlings Saga, Vak).”

15 | Treasure | Plebeian

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Born in North West London, Treasure’s family relocated to the countryside in the early 2000s, trading the busy city life for the suburban serenity, a feeling present throughout his catalogue. His laid-back production and genre-merging tendencies provide a nostalgic backdrop for his lush soulful harmonies. Treasure, aka Kelvin Beyioku, wears his emotions on his sleeve. He transverses his musical world with this heightened sense of vulnerability, creating a space where he and the listener can rest at ease with no fear of judgement. His latest EP Plebeian is an expression of the colour in his mind, with trippy, calming elements dripping in style and originality. Treasure confides, “Self- produced over the last two years, these are tracks that haven’t found a place on any pending projects, but I feel like they deserved to see the light of day.”

16 | Gillian Stone | Shelf

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Gillian Stone is a Toronto multi-instrumentalist whose songwriting draws from post-rock, art-rock, folk, minimalism, and ambience. Born and raised on Vancouver Island with Icelandic heritage, Stone channels the influence of outer landscapes in her inner lyrical worlds and soundscapes. Her new single Shelf, co-produced with experimental cellist Michael Peter Olsen (Arcade Fire, Haim, The Hidden Cameras), is a droning lullaby that explores feelings of alienation and dissociation after a trauma. The video for Shelf is Stone’s directorial debut, filmed in collaboration with Toronto filmmaker John M. Hall.”

17 | Verónica Valerio & Van Dyke Parks | Vera Cruz

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In a North American musical summit, two musicians have collaborated to produce an extraordinary EP of four songs. Verónica Valerio is a singer, songwriter and harpist born in Mexico, while L.A.’s Van Dyke Parks is a sui generis musical polymath. One is young, one is not. One sings in Spanish, the other communicates in English. One plays the harp, while the other “plays” an orchestra in his role as arranger. They’ve come together with mutual respect and shared belief in the towering power of music to transcend the stifling gag of borders. Their collaboration, Van Dyke Parks Orchestrates Verónica Valerio: Only in America, is due out on June 11. Here’s a preview: Vera Cruz.”

18 | Alfa Mist | Teki

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Ahead of the release of his new album Bring Backs, out April 23, London producer, pianist, bandleader and MC Alfa Mist shares the single Teki. It is the opening track of Bring Backs and is the third single to be taken from the album. Bring Backs is also the most detailed exploration of his upbringing in musical form. The album’s nine tracks of groove-based intricacies, lyrical solipsism and meandering fragmentations are tied together by a remarkable poem written by Hilary Thomas expressing the sensuous realities of building community in a new country. Entirely written and produced by Alfa, the album was recorded in London with a core band of longtime collaborators including Jamie Leeming (guitar), Kaya Thomas-Dyke (bass and vocals) and Johnny Woodham (trumpet).”

19 | Bend The Future | Without Notice

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “French proggy jazz-rockers Bend The Future have revealed a video for the title track of their new album Without Notice, which was released today. Founded in January 2019, Bend The Future are a progressive rock band from Grenoble. They are most notable for their odd time signatures and melodies that incorporate elements of ’70s prog rock, jazz, funk and Eastern European music. Bend The Future were founded by Can Yıldırım (guitars/vocals), Rémi Pouchain (bass), Pierre-Jean Ménabé (saxophone) and Piel Pawlowski (drums). More recently, the band reached its final formation after Samy Chebre (keyboards) joined. At the end of 2019, Bend The Future released their debut album Pendellösung.”

20 | Francisco del Pino | Las Voces

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Francisco del Pino shares Las Voces, the second single and video from his debut album Decir, a seven-piece song cycle with timely lyrics of migration, displacement, and the rise of historically silenced voices. It’s due May 14. The video for Las Voces addresses the tactility of words, transitioning from the pixelated grain of text (the voice of the individual) to something that resembles a parade — a kind of army of words, a collective of voices.”

21 | Arooj Aftab | Diya Hai (ft. Badi Assad)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Diya Hai is a track from Arooj Aftab’s Vulture Prince, out next Friday. Featuring Badi Assad on guitar, the video is a sneak peek into how the piece was recorded. In addition to Assad’s guitar, the album version features a string arrangement for violin, viola, and cello.”