How's everybody doing? The year might be winding down, but the flow of good music isn't. It just keeps coming.
-If you don't already know, I bet you can't guess what TKTTSM stands for off the top of your head. I'll leave that to you to google, but I will say that this Brooklyn-based duo has a cool sound. This song "Eyeyeye" is one I'm digging. It's from their self-titled album and it highlights their sound which is clearly guitar driven, but has an atmospheric, almost electronic, element as well. The vocals of Johanna Stahley are sort of icy – in a distant way – yet captivating.
-You might be excused from thinking Dead Amble, with a rambunctious country sound and a song like "Tennessee Honey" hailed from Southern parts. While it's true that some of the members have lived all over the country, this band is New York City-based. It sounds like a tune for a saloon. Or maybe a campfire. Either way, I love how it sounds like there's a whole crowd singing along. It's definitely upbeat, energetic, and music for drinkin' and dancin'. Check out recently released Ills Within Thrills (cool title) for more.
-A good way to describe "Sweet On Me" by Brooklyn singer Aly Tadros is just that: sweet. It's an elegant song that isn't rushed or histrionic. It may not be totally as sweet lyrically, there is some question as to whether the relationship is more than a one-sided affair. But it's a real pleasure to hear. Aly's voice is lovely. The stringed instrument you are hearing is a vihuela, which is six-stringed, but not a guitar. Cursory research compares it to a lute, maybe even a ukulele. Interesting. Look for the album The Fits January 15th.
–Hey Anna is a five-piece band that includes three-sisters who swap lead vocal duties and instruments, plus two other guys. Well-balanced, right? That carries into the music as well. When you listen to a song like "Blackout," you get something that rocks and has a strong pop sensibility and also feels folky. It's not loud but it's not soft. It is probably a faster tempo, but it doesn't feel like it speeds by too quickly. Maybe I'm taking the balance thing too far, but it's just all-around great. Their self-titled EP is definitely worth picking up.
-I really am digging this video for "The Black Bird" by Rachel Brooke. Its hand-drawn animation may not be too sophisticated but it is incredibly creative and fitting for the track with its spooky and haunting imagery. The black-and-white makes a lot of sense too. Great song.
-If I were to say to you "Beastie Boys plus bluegrass," would you want to hear more? I hope so, because this cover of "Sabotage" by Uncle Daddy is quite awesome and beyond what I have ever imagined. It manages to be true to the original but completely its own thing. Fun Dig fact, Dave and I used to play this song in the band we had in high school. Having some issues with the embed; until I can fix them, go here to watch.
-Based on the 50,000+ plays on Soundcloud, there's a good chance you've heard "Gold" by Wake Owl already. Either way, it's a really good song and I wanted to share it here. I really enjoy the hook on this one and how the song builds up through the verses. Very catchy. Their debut EP drops January 29th.
–Haley Bonar might be a name the Andrew Bird diehards recognize, but for those who don't know her, it seems like a good time to get acquainted. Last month, she released a 7" featuring this track, "Bad Reputation." It's a staggering track, very assured musically and sophisticated lyrically.
–The Atelier is an international band. As in, not just from outside the US, but spanning the UK, France, and Russia. As such, they seem to welcome a variety of inspirations to hone their sound and visual style in "The Gypsy Song." There's smoky jazz, cabaret, film noir, Latin American jamming, Day of the Dead face paint, and more in this very solid pop song.
-Closing things out with some previously featured on the Dig artists, we have the latest from the supremely creative Metal Mother aka Tara Tati. Ionika is due early next year, and the lead single is "Mind_Off." It's got the same engrossing mix of electronic and tribal, plus the cool, eclectic melodic sensibility of Tara. What sophomore slump?
-In the first Roundup of 2012, we had "Wings Won't Behave" from Whistle Peak. It's fitting then, that in what is close to the last Roundup of the year, we now have the video for that track. I think the colorful, hand-drawn hummingbird that is superimposed over performance and other footage is just the right detail for this jangly track.
-One last video from a band that is no stranger to making cool music videos that are also perhaps just a little bit creepy: Cemeteries. The latest effort for "Young Blood" is striking visually and the song might be the most immersive one I've yet heard from them. This guy is doing some very cool things.