5 Eclectic Indie Singles You Have to Hear

by Carly Schorman

Sure Sure

Giants

That mild chill in the air has me thinking wistful springtime thoughts and this new single from Sure Sure isn’t helping matters in the least. The airy feel of this buoyant new track has me thinking about ditching the boots and sweaters for some popsicles and sunglasses decorated with plastic flamingos. “Giants” will bolster your energy level and zap those winter blues. Sure Sure released “Giants” in prelude to their s/t album which came out this month (available here). You can catch the band live at the Van Buren this week (1/27).

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Lauren Ruth Ward

“Sideways”

Lauren Ruth Ward is the sassy chanteuse who secured our eternal fandom last year with singles like “Well, Hell” and “Blue Collar Sex Kitten”. Next month marks the release of Ward’s much anticipated debut LP. The songwriter said “Sideways” is “an anthem for those who get lost while acclimating to a new life.” But, I consider it a rallying cry for all late-bloomers (like myself) and everyone else who decided to carve out their own goddamn path, even if it might look sideways to most folks.

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Foresteater

“Avalanche”

Forester is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Mikey Pro; a project sprung from his mind after dreaming of a “band playing on an island in outer space, surrounded by electric rainbows”. Once you hear the candy-coated grunge of Foresteater, that last sentence might be a bit easier to digest. There’s something playful and melodic to the song, no matter how serious the lyrical subject. That’s a counterbalance I definitely love.

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 s//p

“head on backwards”

This indie-electro act known as s//p (pronounced “slip”) just had their debut performance in November but they’re already generating quite a buzz around their sound. Just out the gate and s//p debuted “head on backwards” with buzzbands.la. S//p applies a postmodern industrial spin to the soundscape while the lyrics on “head on backwards” address dilemmas we’re all facing in this posthuman era.

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Haley Green

“Pretty Boy”

That local sultry songbird, Haley Green, is back with a new single. “Pretty Boy” came out last Fall but it somehow flew past our radar unnoticed… until now. This new track features the members of Scattered Melodies on the rhythm section and a few other Zonies including Laura Hamlin, KC Barras, and Jesse Morrison. If you haven’t spent time with the smooth but sizzling voice of Haley Green (who formerly performed under the moniker Ruca), you are missing out. Big time. Fix that with “Pretty Boy”.

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5 Rad Rock Singles from Alt to Indie

rock singles 500Lauren Ruth Ward

“Well, Hell”

If you’re a regular reader, then you probably already know I’m quite vocal for the music of Lauren Ruth Ward. And, if you’re not, then you’ve been missing out BIG TIME. The L.A. transplant has a voice that will break your heart, but she has no problem amping it up to unleash the fury of seven hells. “Well, Hell” falls somewhere in between the two. LRW kicks up the energy for a single that’s aggressive, confessional, and (most importantly) fun. It’s a complex combination, but as Ward says in the song, “I have a lot to say,” and she’s ready to pour it out into her music. And we’re listening. Check out “Well, Hell” below…

Pistoleros

“Did You Wake Up All Alone”

The first rockstars I was ever party to requesting an autograph from were Mark and Lawrence Zubia of Pistoleros fame. True story. Right in front of Long Wong’s (on Mill) when I was still not quite old enough to make it through the front doors. So, I was pretty stoked to see the Tempe rockers were getting ready to release a brand-spanking-new album later this month. “Did You Wake Up All Alone” is a little taste of what’s to come with a BIG sound. For a band that helped define the “Tempe Sound”, they certainly know how to throw down. From Lawrence’s gravelly voice to the wall of guitars that could fill a bar or an arena with equal force, this new single will delight Pistoleros’ fans new and old alike. Check out the new track and then head here for more information about the release show for the band’s new album, Silver.

Broken Bellows

“Misery”

The alt-rock duo known as Broken Bellows combines the talents of Cory Brent and Will Prinzi who joined forces while both were members of the pop-punk band, Reckless Serenade. Never underestimate the musical bonding power of extended time in a tour van, right? Some of those pop-punk elements might have spilled over into the band’s sound. Broken Bellows released their debut record in August through Phoenix’s Fervor Records and, along with it, their single, “Misery”. The song starts in a mellow mood before turning up the energy. Way up. The track oscillates between these two modes to the very end: pensive and calm to amped and aggressive. Love does strange things to a person. Check out “Misery” below or head over to Spotify to check out the complete debut EP from Broken Bells.

The Bittersweet Way

“Already Over” 

The Phoenix trio known as The Bittersweet Way is gearing up to release their new album, Presents, next month and they dropped this fresh single as an early sampling of what’s to come. “Already Over” offers up the hazy alt-rock stylings that has helped define the Bittersweet sound even though the track kicks off with some playful indie-electro permutations in the soundscape that carry through the track as it descends into some shoegaze-y heaviness on the textural end.  Definitely give “Already Over” from The Bittersweet Way a listen below and join us in the wait for the November release of Presents (just in time for the holidays).

Pacifico

“Go Alone”

Baton Rouge-based singer-songwriter Matthew Schwartz performs under the moniker Pacifico (and without all the hyphens). The indie-rock artist released “Go Alone” a couple weeks back in prelude to Pacifico’s forthcoming album, Everest, which comes out later this month. The new single has a radio-ready sound that can easily get tangled in the workings of your brain and stuck on repeat for days. Consider that your warning. Thankfully, given its catchiness, “Go Alone” has a positive message of perseverance so maybe it’s a good song to get trapped in your head. Listen to the single below or head here to check out the lyric video for “Go Alone” from Pacifico. And don’t forget to watch for Everest from Pacifico which drops on October 20th!

7 Rad Music Videos: The Eclectic Indie Edition

Lauren Ruth Ward
“Did I Offend You”

The Cold Seas
“Where is My Head”

Cotillon
“I Like People”

Carroll
“Red Giant”

The Brevet
“Upholder”

Malory
“Rapture”

John Dylan
“Get Beyond”

 

7 Rowdy Singles from Around the World

Lauren Ruth Ward

“Blue Collar Sex Kitten”

Usually it’s Lauren Ruth Ward’s sultry Americana swagger that has us all wound up, but this week it looks like Ward is ready for rowdy and rocking. “Blue Collar Sex Kitten” is the latest hit to come out the songwriting partnership between L.A.-based musicians LRW and guitarist Eduardo Rivera. There’s so much sass on this single, you’re going to want to skip it on the drive to work and save it for that cruise home… unless, of course, you want to arrive at your job ready to burn the whole fucking place down. Consider that your warning.

The Great Malarkey

“Gaffa”

London-based band The Great Malarkey dares to ask the question, “Why did the Irish artist, the Canadian surfer, the Portuguese London tour guide, the Gloucestershire gardener, two UK Guild Hall students, a Latvian paralegal and an androgynous cockney, walk into a bar?” Apparently, the answer is create some riotous folk punk of orchestral proportions. Of course, with eight members listed as part of The Great Malarkey, I would imagine this band brings the party every time they show up to perform. If you dig “Gaffa” (and you will), I suggest checking out more of the online musical offerings The Great Malarkey released last month (here).

Sturdy Ladies

“Secret Weapon”

This garage rock trio from PHX adds some colorful kitsch to their punk rock punch bowl. Yes, Sturdy Ladies throw out the feisty fun on “Secret Weapon” that will have you shouting along so you might want to consider your location before you smash that play button. Luckily you’ll get your chance not once but twice. Not only are the Sturdy Ladies playing this Saturday, May 13, at the Yucca Tap they’re also opening for Shonen Knife (from Osaka, Japan) on May 24 with Shovel and The Pübes! More on that event here. Until then, spend some time with “Secret Weapon” and also their campy classic, “Cat Olympics“, available online as well. Both singles comes to us from the Sturdy Ladies’ debut EP, Brut Force, which you should pick up at a one of the previously mentioned shows because, so far, that’s the only place you can get ’em. Enjoy.

Dolly Spartans

“It’s Not Easy”

Okay, so when “It’s Not Easy” kicks off, you’re probably going to worry that I might be confused about what the word “rowdy” means, but give it a minute. The NYNY quartet known as the Dolly Spartans turn up the energy and the angst for this indie rock single. The vocals call to mind club scene kids like The Strokes while the accompanying instrumentation has an emo tinge that reminds me a bit of Jimmy Eat World. This single comes to us from the band’s latest EP, Time Sides with No One, which came out last month. Give “It’s Not Easy” by the Dolly Spartans a spin below…

Round Eye

“Billy”

Shanghai-based act Round Eye is comprised of “American ex-pats and Italians” which might seem like a bit of a metropolitan muddle, but rocknroll is a transcendent language that cold-crushes culture divides. “Billy” has a feisty punk energy and catchy hook that might just lodge into your brainspace and never leave again. Twenty years from now, a routine traffic stop could result in you screaming “Billy was a cop! Billy was a cop! Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy!” if you let the music of Round Eye take hold. And you definitely want to.

Annabel Allum

“Eat Greens”

Britain’s Annabel Allum first landed on our radar with her single, “Rich Backgrounds”, and this new single proves Allum is more than a one-trick pony. She has some chops. “Eat Greens” rips into that impetus toward better health that hits many of us as we move toward full-time adulting, but the song is more about finding balance than just clever witticisms. Allum has a gritty sound and a dry tongue that reminds me of Courtney Barnett. “Eat Greens” came out on April 28 through Killing Moon Records. Give the new single a spin below and, if you haven’t already, check out “Rich Backgrounds” from Annabel Allum as well.

Otherkin

“Bad Advice”

The Irish rockers known as Otherkin have some “Bad Advice” to offer up to fans. The four-piece describes their sound rather accurately as “Grunge Pop” so I could easily seeing them sharing a bill with Phoenix favorites like Fairy Bones or maybe Harper and the Moths.  This single comes to us from the band’s forthcoming debut album. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get our grubby mitts on that release in the not-too-distant future. Until then, enjoy “Bad Advice” from Otherkin…

Artist Spotlight: Lauren Ruth Ward

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

I have a thing for Lauren Ruth Ward. It’s not like a sexual thing; it’s definitely a music thing. However, the feeling is so intense that the previous statement might not make it any less uncomfortable at this point.

Now, the first time I heard Lauren Ruth Ward perform “Did I Offend You” on Sofar Sounds, I was stunted into an ineffable state which, as a writer, is a terrible condition to be in. Nevertheless, when I heard that she would be releasing the track as a single in prelude to her forthcoming album, I jumped at the chance to tackle the block and find the right words to express my newfound music obsession.

I had the opportunity to chat with Ward after she returned home to Los Angeles after SXSW about her new single, life in Los Feliz, and the new LP that looms on the horizon.

But, before I get too carried away, why don’t you check out “Did I Offend You” so it can play while we continue our discussion…

So I had to seriously examine this burgeoning love I feel for the music of LRW. I mean, is it her voice? Ward possesses this stunning voice capable of breaking your heart in one verse and then sending you soaring with the very next. In fact, the emotive power of her vocal delivery had me wondering if this wasn’t some theatrical training secretly shining through in her musical performances.

So, during out chitchat, I made sure to ask about the performative aspects of her work. Much to my own surprise, Ward seemed surprised herself by the question and, in the conversation that followed, I realized that emotional charge that hits the listener when they hit PLAY is not the result of some crafted stage show. Her music is raw and real and intensely revealing. Therein lies the power.

Photos by Matt Sternberg

While this is certainly a focal point of my affection, it’s not just Ward’s voice that really stands out for me. That’s just the bright red cherry on top of the swirled and sprinkled sundae. There are some serious style choices being made here that really make the music compelling.

Lately, we (at YabYum) have been noticing a revivalist push brewing for that earthy folk rock of the 70s. Ward’s introduction to music, like many Millennials, came from her parents’ record players. That meant classic rock, Motown, and disco. I had a similar musical introduction myself.  I remember fierce femmes of the era, like Linda Rondstadt and Bonnie Raitt and Heart, blaring from those tube amplifiers while my mom did her dance-and-clean routine around the living room. A routine, I might add, that I continue to this day in my own home.

The music of Lauren Ruth Ward brings the best parts of 70s folk rock into the present. Her songs are revitalized rock; merging vintage and modern elements into one fresh sound.

And, Lauren Ruth Ward’s stylistic sensibility extends well beyond her music to just about everything else she touches. Take, for example, her music video for her last single, “Make Love to Myself”. Ward directed the production herself and even costumed her friends to play their assigned parts. For the setting, she selected the ultra hip Harvard & Stone where both shiny shirts and flipflops (amongst other faux pas fashion choices) are discouraged. Ward’s sharp eye for smart style choices comes through in everything from the cinematography to the shine of her silver boots and those soon-to-be iconic bangs.

“Make Love to Myself” was my first introduction to Lauren Ruth Ward, but “Did I Offend You” was the single that took our relationship from it’s-complicated to fully committedI was totally taken aback to discover that this was the first song she penned with her songwriting partner, and “right-hand man,”  Eduardo Rivera.

Over the course of the three minute track, Lauren Ruth Ward moves from an unnerving vulnerability to showing her mettle of steel and sand. “Did I Offend You” is the second single from LRW’s new album which, rumor has it, is due to be released later this summer. Hopefully, Ward has another single (or maybe a music video) to help tide fans over until they can secure their copy of the full release.

And I certainly plan on being at that release show. Los Angeles is just a short desert-filled hop from Phoenix and Lauren already filled me in on every place I need to stop while I’m in town starting with Gracias Madre in West Hollywood for, and I quote, “The best, spiciest margaritas you ever put in your mouth.”

Afterward, she suggested a hike to Griffith Observatory or maybe some thrift shopping in the Los Feliz neighborhood of L.A. at SquaresVille. And, in case you  haven’t yet checked out her music videos yet, a thrift store recommendation from Lauren Ruth Ward is worth its weight in gold.

If you love “Did I Offend You” like I love the song, you’ll want to be at that release show too. We’ll keep you posted on that development as we learn more. Until then, make sure you spend some time with the music of Lauren Ruth Ward. I might be totally obsessed, but I’m not the jealous type. I’m willing to share.

~

 

7 Rad Music Videos: Singer-Songwriter Edition

Emily Afton
“Golden Mountain”

Lauren Ruth Ward
“Heart in the States”

Upsahl
“Digital Papers”

Steve Benjamins
“Silence”

Danielle Durack
“Monster”

German Error Message
“2017”

Yankie
“When the Earth Starts to Dance”

 

7 Awesome (and Eclectic) Music Videos

Lauren Ruth Ward
“Burden”

Strange Lot
“Born”

High Waisted
“Trust”

Hypoluxo
“Fronts”

Nick Flessa
“Michigan”

Livingmore
“Really Mean It”

The Cats Never Sleep
“Wide Open”