Weekly Roundup Feb 24 – Mar 2, 2013

How was everyone's first weekend of March? Pretty good one for us at Dig HQ: basketball games and home brew competitions, and of course some great live music. Now it's time to wind it down with the latest Weekly Roundup.

I have alluded to having my computer die a few times and I am still committed to going through all the submissions that came then to find the gems I missed. I am going to start this week with one such example. It's a cover of the Cars' "Drive" by Young Unknowns. It is quite a departure from what you might imagine coming from Ric Ocasek and company, removing much of the sheen and bombast for something more minimal and imbued with space and fragility. It's a haunting delight. This was released as a digital 7" with Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire," check that here.

Computer Magic is an electronic dance project of the producer/composer/vocalist Danz. She's onto something good, check out her latest release "Another Science" here. It's guaranteed to get you moving, perhaps on a dance floor or maybe you'll just bounce around in your desk chair. Either way, it's quite a tune. It all starts with that synth bassline, which seems hardwired to our groove centers (a totally legit medical term, trust me). Then, it somehow tops itself when the drums kick in around the 1:00 mark. If you're digging it, you'll want to get the EP on iTunes.

Emily Danger has released their very first music video for the song "Shed My Skin," and it's quite interesting. Musically, this group has a cool sound which to me is most prominently distinguished by its an enveloping atmosphere. The music is driven by piano and stringed instruments, yet there is no denying that the band can rock. Lead singer Emily in particular has an incredibly powerful voice. In the video, the band plays with the darker imagery of their sound, literally getting dark with an abundance of oil. It's a little bit twisted, but in an artful way. Check out their EP Paintings here.

If you liked that Cars cover by Young Unknowns, you might also like this unadorned, dreamlike track from Belle Mare quite a bit. It's called "The Boat of the Fragile Mind," and it is the title track of an EP which is due out 4/9. This duo has crafted something that has me very curious to hear more. A gentle acoustic guitar, very minimal percussion, some artfully applied ambient noise are the ingredients here. Oh, and voice. That voice. I am very taken with how singer Amelia Bushell sounds. She comes along as if from another a time, a long ago, dusty age and just absolutely wrests you out of the present and all its distractions. Stunning.

Another gem I missed during my computerless phase is the latest from our friend Tim Kuhl and a trio he is part of called Little Worlds. This group of primarily drum, electric guitar, and trombone (with other instruments and effects in the mix) has put out a new work entitled Book Two, which is dedicated to Bela Bartok's Mikrokosmos piano music. Tim, Ryan Mackstaller, and Rich Parker blend avant-garde, classical, jazz, and rock into something very compelling. A song like "No. 113" shows how locked in these guys can be, how they create evocative soundscapes from passionate performance, and how they mix the familiar with the unexpected in exciting ways. Click through the bandcamp for the full EP.

We all know break-ups can suck when you are the one that gets dumped. Especially when you don't see it coming. It can be easy to wallow in misery and not move on. Usually it takes some good friends to shake us out of our funks. The latest video from Stone Cold Fox depicts exactly this situation, though it adds a lot of funny (man in baby suit) and cool (personal cheerleading team) details and completely rocks. "Seventeen" is a great song. Brisk and energetic with a big chorus, it's easy to play over and over. Or watch. This video is very well made. I like the transition to when the guy snaps out of it, and the last long shot starting around 2:45 is really awesome. There's a glitter explosion, and I really like how it looks when the singer joins the rest of the band on the truck and then they drive off.

We recently shared the song "Primacy" from Deb Oh & The Cavaliers, and now we have a video for it to share, too. It is a striking black-and-white clip with very sharp cinematography and dynamic lighting. Fitting for such a cinematic track. Oh, and there's fencing and a really cool globe. Check it out and remember, the Hieroglyphics EP arrives 4/2.

Deb Oh & the Cavaliers – "Primacy" (Official Video) from Deb Oh & the Cavaliers on Vimeo.

Green Is Good. It's not just a possible Gordon Gekko reference. It's the new album from The Sharp Things, which just came out this past week. You can listen to it and buy it here. The lead single is called "Lights." It's got a bit of a throwback vibe, though one that doesn't neatly tie to just one thing. Something about the smoothness and socially conscious message makes me think of a weird fusion of The Talking Heads, REM, and Midnight Oil. And yet it doesn't really sound anything like that either. Look, don't let my lack of coherence stop you from enjoying this album. It's worth checking out, I promise.

Chicago friends The Welcome are back with another EP, and it's another great one. The five track Bicentennial finds the band continuing to hone and tighten their indie rock power pop sound, one that is equal parts catchy and crunchy. They always have great melodies – often a mingling of male and female voice – the words are usually clever, too. Taken together, it really hits the spot for me, and I think many of you will dig it, too. Here's the lead track, "Amplifier Blues." Be sure to get the full work, all of it is great.

It is very exciting to have some new music from Small Houses, with the new album Exactly Where You Wanted To Be coming out this past Tuesday. It is some straight up excellent folk Americana, and I'm particularly digging the track "Oh, Hiding Out." Acoustic guitar, harmonica, piano, and a beautiful vocal performance, what more can you want? The video features Jeremy Quentin performing in a room with projected images of the road and country, an excellent paring for the imagery and world weariness of the music. Look for Small Houses at Union Hall 4/8 and get the album.

This might be a near 180 degree turn, but it is music that I love equally to the folk/Americana above. That's right, the super rough and rocking latest from one of my favorite garage bands The Dirty Nil. I feel like I'm always saying the same things about these guys, that I love how the songs are full blast  with thundering drums, rumbling bass, roaring guitar, full-throated vocals yet still laden with hooks, but they just keep doing it so well. Forget about ramblings, just crank their latest "Zombie Eyed," from a split 7" with Northern Primitive.

I liked Go Fly from Boy + Kite a lot. It had many great songs, including "Think In Stereo," which now has a video out. For one, it's great to be reminded of this song. For another, it's a cool video. Besides performing their song cleanly, there are clips of the band getting dirty with some lovely abstract painting. I remember seeing the Smashing Pumpkins do this with an ice cream truck in "Today" and ever since then, I've been incredibly into the idea of a group of people just going wild with paint. So yeah, it's awesome.

I've been enjoying the new music from The Zolas, and in particular, their live videos that strip down their songs to solo or minimalist performances. "Escape Artist" was wonderful (which now has a really great official video you can and should watch here) and now here's singer Zach Gray playing "Strange Girl." Just voice and electric guitar, but it's quite a magnetic performance from the emotion Zach puts into both his singing and playing. I like the roughness of it, you can really get in the moment, which is often the best way to experience music.

Strange Girl – Live – Southern Souls Session from Light Organ Records on Vimeo.

You've heard the phrase "Let's not get into semantics," right? When people don't know how to agree on defining something and try to cut off the debate ahead of time? You've made it this far so I'm going to draw on this concept for this new track from Adventure Galley called "Semantics." Let's not get into semantics about it, just believe me that it's good and that you should listen to it. We don't need to make a big thing here or pin down what it might sound like, we just need to press play and dig on its majesty. Because it's quite a nice tune.