Weekly Roundup: Feb 26 – Mar 3, 2012

It's Weekly Roundup time. Six new songs & videos coming right up. Also, be sure to check out our latest pocast version of the Roundup. Dave and I picked out nine tracks of February digs. It's available here.

Shiloh is a seven piece Chicago band, but to me, they evoke some of the 90s Pacific Northwest greats: Built to Spill and Modest Mouse, most particularly. The lead track to their new debut album All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers, called "Sex and Resin" has that delightful, shambolic whimsy of the bands I mentioned. There's also a bit of a folk vibe too. The rest of the album is highly enjoyable and suggests this is a band to keep an ear on. I know I will.

-Stop me if you've heard this before, but the times are a changin' for the music industry. Yada yada, right? While stories on the shifting macro structure are usually reductive and boring, I do find the innovations that are happening on the ground level, done by the bands themselves, interesting and inspiring. Take Boston's Darlingside. They will release a new album Pilot Machines this summer. In the run-up, they are offering a special subscription service to issue 7-inches with album tracks and other music. Pretty cool. I am digging this catchy tune "Still," the first release in the series.

-Another innovation I can get behind is what Wooden Sky are doing with their five-part video series in advance of the release of new album Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun. This project is awesome because first, it's beautifully shot and highly watchable. Second, it has more of a narrative feel, like we are watching a film rather than just another band playing. Third, the music is amazing. Please take the seven and a half minutes to check out,  "Grace on a Hill Part One." It's like a classic rock / Americana epic, I can't get enough of it. Looking forward to the rest of these videos for sure.

-I was a huge fan of the brilliant but all too short-lived band The Unicorns, so I was pretty into Chocolate Robots and their song "Impossible Princess" almost immediately. It's got that same trebly guitar, sharp synth melodies, and pulsing drumming, though it might be a little cleaner sounding. Either way, it's adventurous indie pop that can barely rein in its wellspring of energy – not that it should. The manic playfulness is damn near impossible to resist, so why bother? This is quite literally a band of brothers, the tightness and interplay does hint at a deeper connection. "Impossible Princess" is the lead track off their album PiZzA fAcE, follow the link to Bandcamp for purchase.

-Sweden has gifted us with so much great indie pop, the kind that is sleek but spirited and sunny on the surface yet often filled with a wistful yearning. It's just so easy to listen to over and over again. Joining that grand tradition is Park Hotell (yes, 2 L's). In advance of their new album Layers, they have a video out for "Low on Resistance." Obviously it's a stunning song, one that gives you a nice summertime jolt in this early March haze. Handclaps, precise beat, angular dance-y guitar lines, the works. The video is a kind of a lo-fi travelogue, featuring a young woman. Not really sure what it means or is about exactly, but that's probably because I'm consumed by the song.

Low On Resistance by Park Hotell from The Syndicate on Vimeo.

-One more great tune to bring this edition of the Roundup to the close, and it comes to us from Nashville by way of Buffalo artist Marc Scibilia. The song is called "Better Man," and in this video, he does a live acoustic performance. This song is relatively simple, just Marc's words and guitar, but wow, it's a knockout. I like songs that tell fascinating stories but do so effortlessly, and this one fits that for sure. The other hidden beauty of this particular video is that it captures a real moment, with Marc starting to laugh and lose his composure a bit before getting it together again. Some artists might bury a flub like this, but I think it's a humanizing, connection-building moment and I'm glad this is the version they released.