Indie Roundup | 114 Songs To Keep You On Your Toes This Weekend (Part 7)

Cory Stewart, Encore, Emmet Michael, Abby J Hall and other artists to wrap it up.

Cory Stewart offers you drugs, Encore can’t get you out of their mind, Emmet Michael has no problem with commitment, Abby J Hall doesn’t take the easy road — but it can’t be any longer than the one that leads to the end of another Weekend Roundup. Thanks for coming along.


96+97 | Cory Stewart | Perfect World (Red Pill + Blue Pill Edition)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Cory Stewart is back — and this time, he has his fans hearing double.Stewart released Perfect World, a dance-pop single interpreted in two distinct ways, defined as the Red Pill Edition and the Blue Pill Edition. Perfect World was conceptualized by Stewart and Slow Dance in mid 2020, after Stewart expressed his desire to “AutoTune the world” to his co-collaborators. The song quickly materialized in the hands of Jacob and Alex of Slow Dance, with lyrics eventually being finessed in followup Zoom sessions.”

98 | Encore | In My Head

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Winnipeg duo Encore released their first single of 2021: The euphoric genre-bending track In My Head. It showcases what the band are quickly becoming known for: Seamlessly blending genres like pop, rock, and hip-hop while using deft production and crafting out their own unique sound that is entirely their own. They say: “In My Head is about the reflection of memories and recognition of how certain things can remain with us for a long time. When you think back, it becomes clear that even though time goes on, that person or specific memory stays with you and continues to play a part in your mind.”

99 | Emmet Michael | Devotion

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “There is a lifetime’s worth of honesty and vulnerability encapsulated in I Hope You’re Home, the debut album from Edmonton transgender singer-songwriter Emmet Michael. Michael’s video for Devotion is an honest, startling examination of the impact of uncaring, absent, or indifferent parents, as seen through the eyes of those who have been impacted the most — their children. When set against the visuals featured in the video, the track’s vulnerability becomes even more poignant. “ I offered fans the opportunity to submit anonymous letters to their parents to be included in the music video,” explained Emmet. “Each photo expresses something they wish they could say to their parents. I’m really happy with how the video turned out. Being able to express these feelings with so many other people who feel the same way is extremely liberating.”

100 | Abby J Hall | Tough Love

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Canadian singer-songwriter Abby J Hall loves nothing more than to write her stories down and put them to music. Having spent the past year in the studio, she is excited to continue sharing new music with the world. As our world creeps more and more into a digital existence, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between what is real and what is not. Abby’s latest single Tough Love is a reflective pop track that exposes how alone many of us feel in the midst of a seemingly crowded space.”

101 | Olivia Penalva | Ex’s

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Continuing to prove why she’s Canada’s latest rising pop sensation, west coast artist Olivia Penalva returns with her steamy single Ex’s. With its sultry R&B vibe, Ex’s further displays Olivia’s on-going artistic evolution. Mixed by Josh Gudwin (Justin Bieber), Olivia co-wrote the track with Ryan Stewart and Tavish Crowe (Carly Rae Jepsen), intensifying its powerful pop prowess. Olivia shares, “I wrote Ex’s about how temptation can be exciting and thrilling but ultimately can lead us to make destructive decisions with serious consequences. The heart can lead us to places where we hurt others, even if we don’t mean to and the mind tells us otherwise. It is a cheeky and edgy song that sheds light on what it’s like to be the person hurting someone they care about while falling for someone they didn’t know they ever wanted.”

102 | Zyra | Hearts On Fire

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “London’s Zyra returns with Hearts On Fire, the title track of her new self-produced debut EP. She says: “I produced the track in Ableton and then wrote the song, cut the vocals and mixed and mastered it. There are plenty of male producers in their 50s, but female producers, especially in pop, are so much rarer. There need to be more girls inspired to create their own music and take control of the process, and hopefully I can be someone’s inspiration someday.”

103 | Glass Spells | Thrills

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Emerging from San Diego, the synth-pop band Glass Spells are releasing their album Shattered on Aug. 6. Inspired by nostalgic synth-driven classics, their latest album blends futuristic synth melodies and energetic beats with enchantingly bright female vocals. The lyrics take a dive into the inner thoughts of someone looking for the next rush as the song aims to keep you dancing through the night.”

104 | Ramson Badbonez | Lead by Example (ft. Recognize Ali, Skyzoo, Juxx Diamondz & DJ Jazz T)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Lead by Example is the title track from Ramson Badbonez’ new album out on Aug. 27. Driven by a soundtrack fuelled with soulful horns and smoky breaks, Ghana’s finest, Recognize Ali, jumps in the ring like his namesake to “fly like a butterfly and spit some heavy punches” with Brooklyn’s acclaimed lyrical marksmen Skyzoo and Juxx Diamondz, all taking it in turns to deliver a salvo of relentless rhymes that drop a bag full of jewels on the unsuspecting. The beat gets bodied as masters of their craft dispatch verses with precision engineering while the U.K. turntablist DJ Jazz T provides the scratch sorcery. A premium cut for the connoisseur.”

105 | Ellyn Woods | Wake Up

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Ellyn Woods is a singer-songwriter based in Montréal, writing indie-pop songs about complicated feelings. Since 2015, she has worked closely with Montréal duo Sterling Grove, releasing several singles. In 2019, Ellyn travelled to northern Québec to record the EP Cabin Days with them, which is set to be released on June 25. Wake Up is the lead single from the collaborative EP. The track delivers dreamy pop vocals over textured beats, finding a balance between organic and electronic sounds.”

106 | Holy Hive | Color It Easy

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Holy Hive’s latest single Color It Easy is a story of lost love and being overcome by the memories that the rain conjures up. Paul’s guitar intro meets Homer’s backbeat, creating a lush track to wax poetic over. In true Holy Hive fashion, there is something about even a sad song that comes across light and breezy. New full length due out in fall of 2021.”

107 | Jerry Folk | Dotted Red (ft. Fengsel)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Noteworthy electronic producer Jerry Folk is releasing his drum & bass single Dotted Red, featuring his side project Fengsel. Dotted Red dives into the flowing and distorted world of the bass-driven experimental, grasping at rhythmically rolling tones and vibing overlapping vocals. Folk tells us: “To me, the song captures a lot of energies I love from the U.K. music scene. From Arctic Monkeys to Jamie XX, Burial and the Jungle and drum n bass stuff. I love breaks and pitched R&B vocals and wanted to mix them with the same synth palette that I have been using from my Prophet 8 the past years.”

108+109 | Moonshine Collective | Onward + Lelo

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Montreal’s Moonshine Collective announce their upcoming album SMS For Location, Vol. 4 will be out June 18. To herald the launch, they share two tracks: Onward, featuring acclaimed producer Sango & Grammy-winning artist and producer Georgia Anne Muldrow; and Lelo, featuring Brooklyn/Toronto Moonshine favourite Uproot Andy, with vocals by Congolese artist Sarah Kalume.”

110 | Riit | Sail

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Riit voices her support for year-round mental health awareness with a new cover of Awolnation’s Sail. Distilled to sparse strums and whisper synths, Riit’s version peels away the mammoth drops and superhero-sized production of the original to reveal the stark, gutsy vulnerability of the message. From majestic Nunavut, Riit continues to make space for herself in the synth-pop world. With Inuktitut lyrics and deep rhythmic vocals layered over sticky, staticky electronic textures, her music emerges from very distinct circumstances of place, language and experience. Throughout ataataga, her debut album, Riit sings about the clarity of forgiveness, the imprint of the past on the present, and personal disconnection. Her songs explore family, life and love.”

111 | Ålesund | Pressure Point

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Pressure Point is the latest single from Bristol atmospheric alt-pop quartet Ålesund. “There’s been so much this year: Covid, BLM, Extinction Rebellion, the U.S. elections. Things were hard enough without summing it all up in song form.” Thus the four track EP A Thread In The Dark was created. “Making this kept us all moving. Trying to bring a bit of light into our lives was important. The experience of spending some time together and really focussing on something in detail was essential for us. If music is supposed to do anything it’s bring people together. We hope when people listen to our latest offering it brings some happiness and hope!”

112 | Anna Aarons | A Perfect Day

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “I’m walking way above Cloud 9, making my own sunshine” is the opening line of A Perfect Day, a feel-good song by London singer-songwriter Anna Aarons. Fusing lively cumbia with reggae beats and the most gorgeous ukulele sounds, Aarons delivers a pick-me-up that gently lifts everyone’s mood into a happier space and blows away the worries of the day to day. Her nonchalant vocal style appeals with her casual directness, coupled with sensual melodic finesse.”

113 | Alex Fasso | Northside

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Hong Kong-born / Melbourne-based singer and songwriter Alex Fasso returns with Northside, from his upcoming EP They All Look The Same. Northside is new territory for Fasso, who has grown from his previous indie-acoustic sound to a more sleek production featuring ’80s-inspired synths and a soulful vocal delivery. Says Fasso: “Northside is about this suburb in Melbourne (that I won’t name because I don’t want to offend too many people). It’s about how we’re in a world where everyone wants to stand out from societal norms but the people from the suburb just all look the same. They all dress the same, shop at the same stores, smoke the same cigarettes, go to the same bars … they are just the same as everyone else.”

114 | Iamrebelwill | Addicted

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Born and raised in bilingual Montreal, Toronto-based pop entertainer Iamrebelwill is influenced by the showmanship of Janet Jackson, the eclectic artistry of Andre 3000 and the vibes and feels of Kaytranada. Addicted is the first single from his upcoming project RebelFuturism. Rebel declares, “I spent a huge portion of my life afraid to be myself and this project allows me to finally be authentically Rebel!” The single is a sleek, exploration of love. Narrating the navigation of feelings, Addicted talks of looking back from an objective standpoint at a first time relationship, falling in love and trying to understand the experience.”