Weekly Roundup: Aug 21 – 27, 2011

Nothing like following up a Hurricane weekend with a bunch of songs and videos. The latest Weekly Roundup has plenty of great stuff for your enjoyment.

Jonathan Senna is a Washington, DC-based singer-songwriter with a new album called A Perfect Fish. The first track "Hmm…" has hooked me. I love the acoustic guitar line, the way the drums come in, the buzzing build, and Jonathan's voice, with its sort of hushed yet emphatic delivery. There are some good lyrics here, too; I can especially relate to having issues with a Ford Focus. Listen below and go to Bandcamp to buy it. Great cover art – a collage of a bunch of people making fish faces. Here's Jonathan's website.

-The music of A Lull will induce any number of feelings in a listener except those similar to the band's name. That is to say, they make some interesting, shape-shifting music, bursting with creativity. They're from Chicago and it's quite hard to put a finger on the best way to describe their sound. A track like "Weapons For War" from their album Confetti reminds of a rubber band ball: art assembled from various colorful elements into something bigger and an embodiment of intrinsic potential energy. I like the use of vocal sounds instead of words. Listen below, website here.

A Lull – Weapons For War by MushRecords

Did you know Brooklyn was a hotspot for indie rock bands? Wink-wink. The band overlord is about to release a new single called "What Do You Want Me For?" from their latest album In Soviet Russia, My Heart Breaks You. It's a tight, catchy song, all forward energy and big choruses. Drums, guitars, piano, and is that a slide whistle I hear?! Check it out. Here's the band's website.

01 – overlord – What Do You Want Me For? by overlord is not metal

Netherlands is a band from…England. Makes sense I guess. They are going to be releasing their debut EP in the near future and have a few songs from it available. I'm enjoying their tune "Something Or Nothing," particularly the texture of the xylophone / bells on the track. The band sounds self-assured with the confident pacing, and I like the harmonies. Lots of layers here musically and lyrically, and definitely a band to keep an ear on. Here's their website, track is below.

Netherlands – Something Or Nothing by Netherlands

-I'm pretty into this video from Kid Savant. It's for their song "4 Years," and it features a lot of sky-diving. I still am not sure if they actually dropped a piano from an airplane or not. Other flying objects include a bike, a lamp, a plant, a chair, and a TV. The bike and chair have people on them as they fall. The aesthetics of the people and things in free fall is transfixing and seems a good fit for the song. It's from an upcoming EP Drop It On the Stereo due 10/25. Website here.

-Some of you will recognize the name Tyler Ramsey, as he's a member of Band of Horses. He has a solo album – his third – out 9/27 on Fat Possum called The Valley Wind. The title track captures that end-of-summer feeling. It's relaxed and feels perfect for being outside, whether hanging on the porch or sitting around a fire. Fans of Band of Horses will find a lot to like – especially the hooks and high vocals – but they won't be the only ones. Stream the title track below. (Pre-order available from the Fat Possum link).

The Valley Wind by tylerramsey

Monarchs have recently released an album called The Rise and Fall, moved to New York City, and announced fall tour dates. I dig their tune "Business Casual" in a major way. It's insanely catchy, with great piano and drums, as well as incredible melodies courtesy of singer Celeste Griffin. Right from the opening lines – "Business casual, high heels and a pants suit, laying in an open casket" – it is also clearly vividly detailed and clever, part of the sardonic pop tune lineage that links to artists like Warren Zevon and Randy Newman. Have a listen and check out the band's website to see if they'll be playing in or near your city.

Rachael Yamagata is a very talented singer-songwriter, with an album entitled Chesapeake scheduled for release on 10/11. Her latest single from the forthcoming work is "Even If I Don't." I don't know exactly what instruments she plays, maybe all of them, but I am guessing she at least plays the piano, which I really like on the track. Her voice is also very good, inviting and strong. She uses it to excellent effect on this tale of the pain and confusion from ending a relationship that wasn't quite working but was still significant. Powerful. You can listen below and go to her website for more. She also has an extensive fall tour planned.

Rachael Yamagata "Even If I Don't" by bbgunpress

-This track "Orca" from Paranoid Castle is one of those hip-hop songs that just hits me perfectly. I dig the beat, and the flow of the MC (I think his name is Kirby Dominant) is great too, straddling that mix of rapping and singing pretty well. It reminds me at times of Biz Markie and Childish Gambino, something about the vocal style and the mix of playfulness and cleverness, but it feels pretty distinct on its own too. The use of the whale metaphor goes some interesting places, including allowing for some self-deprecation, which is a constant among a lot of my favorite rap songs. It's from Champagne Nightmares, available here. The video is the only way to hear the song, check it out below.

-My goodness, we still aren't done yet! Not before we can catch up with some previously featured artists. A few months ago, we shared the wonderful single "Say It" by the Australian band Lime Cordiale (we might have to try and do an all Australian roundup one of these weeks), and now they are back with another great tune. It's called "Bonne Nuit, Je Suis," and they've made a really cool video for it. The imagery combined with the music makes me think the band may have invented a new genre, "bistro-pop." There's a lot of humor and cleverness to this song bilingual song. Watch it below and be sure to check out the band's website. Excited to see what they do next!

-Finally, I wanted to make sure you all knew about James Vincent McMorrow's Tiny Desk Concert. We are all big fans of this wonderful web series from NPR music, and it's no surprise that JVM puts on a great performance. He plays 3 songs from his album Early In The Morning, plus a new tune called "Red Dust" that hasn't been released. Go here to check it out, and here's James' website.