Indie Roundup | 60 Songs That Will Blow Your Gaskets This Wednesday (Part 1)

Cutthroats & Watt, Black Midi, Baby Strange and more acts throw open the doors.

The Cutthroat Brothers and Mike Watt give you the royal treatment, Black Midi take it slow but not easy, Baby Strange are beyond redemption, Wings Of Desire take their time — which is precisely what you should do with today’s wildly eclectic Midweek Roundup. Ready when you are:


1 | The Cutthroat Brothers & Mike Watt | The King Is Dead

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The King is Dead, the new album by The Cutthroat Brothers and Mike Watt, arrives June 12. The venomous blues-punk, swamp-rock sounds of The Cutthroat Brothers and Mike Watt conjure bands like The Gun Club, The Cramps, The Stooges and The Hives. This collaboration began when Watt interviewed Jason and Donny (aka Donny Paycheque, former drummer of punk legends Zeke) on The Watt from Pedro Show. When the real-life barbers casually asked Watt to play bass on their next album, they didn’t expect him to say yes. The King is Dead is a spooky blues burner that slips into the room like a night stalker, then slashes everything into a brash, bluesy bloodbath. The rest of the album pummels forward in the gritty, grimy, grinning fashion that leaves the listener sliced, shaking and twisting on the barbershop floor wanting more.”

2 | Black Midi | Slow

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Black Midi present the new single/video Slow, from their forthcoming album Cavalcade, out May 28. Slow is one of two Cavalcade songs fronted by bassist Cameron Picton. The music for Slow was written just before Black Midi’s February 2020 U.K. tour, with the lyrics finalised when demos were recorded in June 2020. They tell the story of a young and idealistic revolutionary dreaming of a better world who ends up being shot in the national stadium after a coup d’état. “The Slow video was made to fit the oscillating dynamics of the song. Going from calm to chaos over and over again,” says director and animator Gustaf Holtenäs. “The video tells the story of a character who creates AI-generated worlds. To emphasize this, I let real AI’s generate a lot of the backgrounds in these worlds.”

3 | Baby Strange | I Want To Believe

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Glasgow trio Baby Strange have released an iconography-filled video to aptly accompany current single I Want To Believe. The track features on their new EP Land of Nothing, which is out this Friday. “I Want To Believe is about wanting to be accepted by God but feeling you’re sinning too much in life to be fully accepted. It’s about paranoia and the need for redemption, as without redemption you have no validation,” says vocalist and guitarist Johnny Madden. The pure melodic hook is paired with driven guitar, bass and pummelling drums.”

4 | Wings Of Desire | Better Late Than Never

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On their debut EP End Of An Age, Wings Of Desire held a mirror up to the intensity of modern life, questioned our well-worn paths of existence, and asked the important questions on subjects of conformity and living in the present. Today they share the video for Better Late Than Never. The idea was to portray a multitude of days lived, and to reflect the various edges of our individual personalities through the mundane. It was shot on 8mm film and is meant to give the viewer a Rear Window insight into the human experience. “In the West, we are ingrained to think getting older is a bad thing. In the East aging is championed and seen as an opportunity to gain great insight and wisdom. The song is about letting go and allowing time to take you on a grand journey of self discovery, and finding empowerment in all the life experience one has gained. We need to find the transcendent in a world rooted in constant change and destruction. Otherwise we risk being washed ashore.”

5 | Safety Club | Juice

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Genre-blurring rap/production duo Safety Club have developed their own “secret sauce,” bringing an unforgettable new flavor to the realm of hip-hop. The self-described down-to-earth guys approach everything with a sense of humor; it really is their modus operandi. This carefree attitude is the foundation of their debut single Juice, an ode to “feeling yourself.” Over a pulsating trap beat, vocalist Ronnie Sinclair oozes charisma with a flow that’s as smooth as it is punchy. Producer Shan creates a perfect canvas, weaving unique textures and sounds to create a futuristic feel that’s layered with eclectic twists and turns. The duo describe the upbeat track as the “the perfect soundtrack for driving a Toyota Prius at barely legal speeds to your divorce court hearing.”

6 | Hawel/McPhail | Minor Commotion

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Now that their debut single Pause Play has settled into the subconscious, Hawel/McPhail furiously follow up with their Minor Commotion! It is almost a small miracle that the two Hamburg musicians Frehn Hawel (vocals, guitar) and Rick McPhail (drums, vocals), finally decided to team up after 20 years of friendship. But in this case, one can’t help but state that it was definitely worth the wait.”

7 | Sectlinefor | The Saddest Face In All Of Existence

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sectlinefor’s third album is an explosion of colour, a barrage of sparkling fireworks — utterly unrestrained and uncontrollable. Riffs and melodies collide and burst in a shower of wild rhythms while a broken, exuberant voice pleads with you. Their album Kissing Strangers During An Outbreak isn’t easy listening and it sure as hell isn’t meant for everyone; but for those who persist through that initial onslaught of delirium the seemingly random shapes and shades will suddenly begin to coalesce into a perfect picture of joy and release. It will be set free on May 28, and once out of its cage it’ll never be recaptured. The magic men are back — madder, sicker and more beautiful than ever before — and it’s time to lose yourself in the strangest dream you’ve never had.”

8 | Royal Canoe | Butterfalls

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Anthemic and uplifting, Butterfalls is the first single off Winnipeg indie-pop all-stars Royal Canoe’s just-announced album Sidelining, out July 9. Royal Canoe are known for loving a challenge, whether it’s playing instruments made of ice in the dead of winter or writing polyrhythmic pop hits. Sidelining is no exception; with this most recent effort, the band threw their usual, highly calculated approach to the wind. “We booked studio time, set up and mic’d all of our gear and then just pressed record and tried to let things happen,” says singer Matt Peters. “This is pretty much the complete opposite approach to how we made our previous three albums, where everything was very planned ahead of time. I think at first it felt like this arbitrary test of limitations that might go disastrously, but then we learned to trust ourselves, and follow the ideas as they came, whether it was a drum part, or a chord progression, or a recorder solo. It was really refreshing to capture these ideas in real time as we were discovering them, and watch these songs start to materialize.”

9 | Devora | Body Bag

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Following the widespread acclaim of her rambunctiously alluring debut track Dead Yet, outlaw pop-rocker Devora returns with rollicking new track Body Bag and its video, directed by Bowie Sims. Devora comments: “This song is a front-row seat to watching me lose my mind. I snapped after going through some messed up situations and as always, I let my frustrations and anger take shape in song form. This song is my visceral reaction to some crazy shit that went down and writing it was as cathartic as it was liberating. There’s something so beautiful and poignant about not mincing words and just outright saying, ‘I am enraged. I want to put you in a body bag. That is all.’ Sometimes there’s really no other words or poetry to describe what you’re feeling and this was one of those instances. This song evokes an ironclad shade of fearlessness that can’t be fucked with. Its raw, its real, it’s untouchable.”

10 | Status/Non-Status | Find A Home

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Status/Non-Status is the new name for the ongoing musical work of Anishinaabe community worker Adam Sturgeon (Nme’) and his longtime collaborators (fka Whoop-Szo). The band spent a decade carving a path through Canada’s DIY scene before leveling up thanks to 2019’s acclaimed long player Warrior Down. Today, the band emerges renewed, with more stories to share. Adam is ‘non-status’ as defined by the Canadian government. His grandfather Ralph made the difficult decision to enfranchise in order to support himself and his family by joining the Armed Forces. Enfranchisement was the government’s term for the legal process of turning in one’s Status Card, terminating one’s Indian Status and becoming instead a Canadian citizen. It was a pillar of the government’s assimilation policy and a requirement for any Indigenous person who wished to enlist. Says Sturgeon: “When we tell stories, we have a responsibility to tell the truth. Do the necessary work to earn trust. Share your experience as one voice within a greater circle … and find a home.”

11 | Free Throw | Down & Out

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Nashville’s Free Throw share Down & Out, the latest single to be released from their new album Piecing It Together, produced by Will Yip (Bartees Strange, Menzingers) and out June 25. Lead vocalist Cory Castro explains “is a song about the in-between of depression and recovery — that point where it’s hard to get out of bed, but you know you are working your way towards it.” The visual in the video manifests a similar feeling of being on the brink of a breakthrough, letting go of the past as the growing flames building to the inevitable dawn will bring the light of the sun. Say the band: “This was also a new project for us stylistically, as the bulk of the video was a continuous shot that we only got to attempt two times.”

12 | Sunset Lines | Season Of The Witch

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On May 15, Bay Area band Sunset Lines will release their EP Home Anywhere. In anticipation, they shared the video for Season Of The Witch, the second single from the EP. Singer Liz Brooks says: “One of the themes of Home Anywhere was developing lyrics that sound like they are telling one obvious story but allude to another, more obscure narrative. Season Of The Witch was the first song I wrote for this EP that invoked that concept. I’m a huge fan of classic and modern horror movies. Specifically, the song pays homage to works like Rosemary’s Baby and The Haunting of Hill House, while at the same time recognizing the narrative of the Final Girl. This also got me thinking about how akin this storyline is to that of a controlling or abusive relationship — drawing upon my own experiences and those so many have gone through — a haunting experience of its own.”

13 | daysormay | The Trend

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Vancouver trio daysormay continue to follow the beat of their own drum by making The Trend their own in a new single and video. The song highlights the group’s innovative songwriting and production process, while the video captures a contrast between the noise of being out on tour and the stillness of arriving home, offering a sense of reflection through the spaces in between. The song began to take shape as daysormay returned from being on tour in the U.S. “The Trend came together pretty quickly compared to a lot of other songs. I usually write my best immediately after doing something big or being away from home for a long time,” says lead vocalist Aidan Andrews. “One of my favourite things about touring is the contrast between the loudness/chaos of the shows, and the stillness of getting home, I tend to find a lot of good ideas in that in-between period.”

14 | Conclave | Twice

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Conclave is by definition a gathering, a coming together. Conclave, linguistically, is an amalgamation: con (with) + clave (a unifying rhythm that holds the key to unlock dances both ancestral and contemporary). Conclave is a live musical gathering of rotating musicians headed by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Cesar Toribio, in which alchemy is evident in the ebb and flow of its compositions, and seductive juxtapositions of the delicate and powerful are inextricably woven around the living, breathing rhythm. Raised in Tampa with familial roots in the Dominican Republic, Toribio spent his adolescence playing drums in church, laying a spiritual and musical foundation that would carry him through a myriad of invaluable life chapters: formal jazz studies at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music; an epiphanous summer working in Ibiza that sparked his interest in the sounds of Parrish and Osunlade; and countless gigs as a working musician and DJ in N.Y.C. over the past near-decade. Each experience has helped shape the concept of Conclave. Yet at its root is a life-long appreciation of Cesar’s Afro-Latin heritage, and that heritage’s inherent modern musical universality.”

15 | Daniel Davies | Beasts Of L.A.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Musical mastermind and frequent John Carpenter collaborator Daniel Davies will release his EP Spies on May 28. Davies composed the five tracks in the fall and winter of 2020 while in the depths of pandemic lockdown. With no collaborators to bounce ideas off his gaze turned inward, resulting in a batch of material that feels at once intense and intimate, while also his most sonically expansive solo material yet. His trademark guitar and synthesizer lines are bolstered by double bass, cello, viola, and violin, adding a new depth to the music.”

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