Indie Roundup | 68 Songs To Make You Work For It This Wednesday (Part 4)

Rachel Eckroth, Joseph Spence, Paper Birch and more artists delivering the goods.

Rachel Eckroth looks down the road not taken, Joseph Spence visits the holy land, Paper Birch appreciate what’s not there, World’s First Cinema scare up some trouble, Von Boyáge are blasé about things — but there’s still plenty for you to get excited about at the tail end of your Midweek Roundup. See? I told you it was a good one.


52 | Rachel Eckroth | Cooped Up And Bored Blues

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Singer-songwriter and keyboardist Rachel Eckroth shared the single and visual for Cooped Up & Bored Blues, the final single from her David Garza-produced EP out this Friday. Eckroth says: “This one is sort of a play on the fact that at a certain age you start to realize that the little things in life and family are what really matters. I’m directly referencing myself though, having spent my whole life making music and being an artist and not going the kids and family route. I realized that the dreams I chased mattered less than my family and relationships, but at the same time, being OK with the fact that I never wanted to start a family when I still loved making music most of the time.”

53 | Joseph Spence | Run Come See Jerusalem

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence was first recorded in the late 1950s and went on to influence everyone from Richard Thompson to The Grateful Dead. Encore: Unheard Recordings of Bahamian Guitar and Singing (out July 16) features never-before-heard recordings, including Run Come See Jerusalem. One of the most powerful songs on the album, it recounts the harrowing story of the sinking of the Pretoria in 1929 in the Bahamas. Though written by Bahamian singer John Roberts, Spence was actually there during the sinking of the ship, pulling bodies from the water. The haunting memory still fresh in his mind even all those years later, his first and only recording of this Bahamian ballad, made famous in the ’60s by The Weavers and Odetta, brings shivers to the spine.”

54 | Paper Birch | Love For The Things Yr Not

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Paper Birch are an experimental noise-rock duo formed by Fergus Lawrie and Dee Sada in May 2020. United by mutual feelings of despair, fragility and hope, they passed ideas and sounds between London and Glasgow in lockdown. The resulting nine-track debut LP Morninghairwater is set to be released on July 30. On lead single Love For The Things Yr Not, scratchy chords unfurl through a circuit-bent delay pedal like a glitchy take on a Velvet Underground track. Says Sada: “I’ve always loved male and female vocals from ’60s pop to Bollywood songs to Shane McGowan and Sinead O’ Connor’s Haunted, so it was amazing that Fergus was up for both of us singing the majority of songs on this album.”

55 | World’s First Cinema | Make Me A Monster

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Following the release of their single Make Me A Monster last Friday, World’s First Cinema are back with an errie video. Continuing more of that narrative-driven aesthetic they have shown on previous releases, Make Me A Monster finds them dabbling in the more haunted and atmospheric realms of the alt-pop world. They said, “Make Me A Monster is the beginning of a dark new chapter of World’s First Cinema. It’s the first intimate look into this epic fantasy world that we’re building, brick by brick. The video especially highlights this.”

56 | Von Boyáge | Laissez Faire

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Von Boyáge are the L.A. music duo of frontman and founder Christopher Hocker and drummer Stevie Noah. The name Von Boyáge  refers to a boy’s journey through life. Their latest single Laissez Faire is about letting go of a long-term relationship that started to struggle after becoming long-distance. Christopher shares: “Sometimes in life it is best to adopt a laissez-faire approach and stop trying to control everything. Letting nature take its course is sometimes the best policy.”

57 | Nox Holloway | Separate Ways

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Alt-pop duo Nox Holloway share the video for their latest released single Separate Ways. It’s the ultimate summer soundtrack with a bouncy drone loop that they wrote and sat on for six months. It was only thanks to an unexpected change of circumstances in their living arrangements during Covid-19 that they returned to it. That became the motivation for them to commit to forming a band and pushing themselves to get in the studio. For Separate Ways, that meant making a song that was a journey.”

58 | Holly Humberstone | The Walls Are Way Too Thin

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Holly Humberstone is an artist with a deep understanding of storytelling, and her single The Walls Are Way Too Thin was written during an intense period of feeling claustrophobic and lost in a new flat, in a new city. Exploring new territory sonically, with brooding, heavy production, The Walls Are Way Too Thin represents a landmark single for Holly, both in her remarkable songwriting and phenomenal visuals. “I wrote The Walls Are Way Too Thin about a time in my life when I felt like I’d lost control of where I was heading and struggling to find my place in the world. I’d just moved to a small London flat and felt claustrophobic and alone. To avoid confronting how I was feeling I’d sneak out the flat and go on train journeys to see my mates, get drunk, then come back hungover through the night and early hours. I wrote most of The Walls and the songs that come next on those trains. It was my place of therapy, in the middle of nowhere, constantly moving with no destination.”

59 | Alex Van Pelt | Broken Heart

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Alex Van Pelt writes songs for ghosts and broken hearts. While still a teenager, Alex took his first musical steps within the folk-rock collective Coming Soon, then the electro-kraut duo Mont Analogue — but it is today as a solo artist that he reveals himself. Written in the solitude of a Parisian apartment and then recorded between lake and mountains, Broken Heart is a track that evokes the weight of the absence of a loved one on a melancholic and solar synth-pop tune. It starts with a departure (“Let the music play when you leave the room”) and ends with a loop, (“I sing another lie: true love is always on your side”), like a fish in an aquarium that goes in circles and always returns to the same point.”

60 | Maya Malkin | Congratulations

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto-via-Montreal artist and preeminent pop creator Maya Malkin has just released her single Congratulations. A melodic, lush pop tune, it is a testament to her growth as an artist and musician. “It’s a proverbial eye roll aimed at the never-ending popularity contest that is everyday existence,” says Malkin. “It was written in the aftermath of an abusive relationship and illustrates the moment in which our narrator finally stands up for herself.”

61 | Yulia | Virgin Mary

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Yulia (Julia Czub) is a Warsaw-born artist set to electrify the European alt-pop scene. Her sound channels the raw dark ambience of the post-Eastern Bloc underground, supported by fresh and naturalistic vocals. Yulia arrives with her most personal and political song to date, Virgin Mary, taken from her debut EP Warsaw Mule. She says: “While writing Virgin Mary I was determined to grasp the essence of my identity crisis and a struggle of living a double life in Warsaw and London, while still being authentic. It’s about trying to be true to myself despite the stereotypical attitude of some people I’ve met while living in London and despite the many challenges that progressive young people have to face in recent years in Poland.”

62 | Shem Thomas | Miracle

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Miracle is a statement and an attempt to express what is hidden within us: The wonder of the miracle of life. Shem Thomas sings about the beauty and diversity of life. He tells of the little wonders that are right in front of us: The sparkle of a lake, the smell of the forest in the early morning, being together with friends, feeling understood, walking, writing, laughing — all the simple self-evident things that change into miracles when we manage to put our preconceived notions aside and bring out the unspoiled sight of our inner child.”

63 | Arionce | Haunted By Illusions

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Arionce visit Berlin concert venues in the video for Hunted By Illusions. They say: “In the video you can see footage from venues that are important to us. Places where we were allowed to play great concerts. Moments we like to think back to, especially in these difficult times for the cultural industry. That’s a topic that’s on our minds a lot right now and that’s also what this song is about on a meta-level. All that remains now is the hope that we will soon be able to let ourselves fall together again in places like this.”

64 | Hannah Slavin | I Don’t Have A Clue

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Taking cues from R&B, soul and modern pop, Scottish newcomer Hannah Slavin shares I Don’t Have A Clue. She says: “I Don’t Have A Clue was written during the height of lockdown where every day felt like Groundhog Day and I was questioning what I was doing with my life. I think when you spend a huge amount of time alone and in your own head, you can very quickly start to question everything about yourself and suddenly you’re trapped in this negative spiral. I guess this song just explores those different emotions I went through throughout lockdown, but to be honest I think the truth is that everybody else doesn’t have a clue either.”

65 | Flawes | Higher Than Before (Sondr Remix ft. Mali Koa)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Consistently using their enthusiastic alt-pop to deliver a message of pure positivity, Flawes are a liberating experience at a time when it’s easy to be overwhelmed. The dynamic trio set the foundations for bigger things in 2021 by sharing the new Sondr remix of their outstanding tune Higher Than Before. Their combination of organic, analogue and live approaches to their work make them creators of some of the most unique dance music around. The distinctive spin they have cast upon this track has made it a dance hit for the masses. Flawes say: “There’s something really special about passing over creative control to an artist from a totally different genre and hearing where they take your song.”

66 | Brazn | Blue Raspberry (ft. Danny Scerbo)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Brazn is a queer electro-pop singer-songwriter and producer in Philadelphia. He makes music that empowers the listener to embrace their differences through his personal & metaphoric lyricism. He has a variety of musical inspirations he draws from which include Josh Groban, Troye Sivan, Conan Gray, Jhart, Ryan Tedder and Isaac Dunbar. Blue Raspberry is his secnd single.”

67 | James Alphonse | What You Really Want

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Aided by mentors Nick Blagona and Mark Daum, James Alphonse is gearing up to release his debut solo EP produced by Andre Kaden Black and Tal Vaisman. Ranging from electro-pop, pop-rock and chill R&B, it’s tough to pin his music down. His latest single What You Really Want is a response to the naysayers he faced when starting out in his career. The message for fellow creatives is to keep a positive outlook and focus on the fans. There is freedom in being true to oneself.”

68 | Paul Babe | Poley Bonepart (Your Feeling)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With an American alt-pop sound that’s unique from start to finish, this is the year of the Babe. The design of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Seth Evans, he draws inspiration from his Great Lakes upbringing — perhaps most notably so by deriving the name Paul Babe from the giant, superhuman lumberjack of Northwood’s lore. The music is based on ambition, raw feelings, natural occurrences; moments big and small that were always meant to happen. His sound is both genuine and rich in spirit, as his upcoming music is truly a labor of love. He makes beautiful sounds and then butchers them, obsesses over spaces but is not entirely minimal. The finished product often depicts a deceptively dense greenhouse of sound.”