Weekly Roundup: Feb 5 – 11, 2012

And we're back! That's right, it's time for another Weekly Roundup. Dig in for six new songs & videos.

-Bob Dylan songs can be tricky terrain to navigate when it comes to covers. For every great one, there are plenty of misfires. I find when you have an icon who made a habit of pushing himself musically, the most interesting takes are often the ones that try and push even further, or at least in completely different directions. Thus, I am really digging this fuzzed-out take on "If Not For You" from New Morning by Bay Area duo Tashaki Miyaki. It's hazy and dreamy; the melody is a little blanketed but still shines out. Also, It's the current favorite to be used in the trailer for the newest Sofia Coppola movie. The duo will have a 7-inch record of Everly Brothers covers out on February 20th.

-Perhaps not quite as Jesus and Mary Chain-ish, this next track is also an 80s drone & groove-dominated cut. It's called "Atom," by British band Inca Gold. I find this kind of music just about perfect for this time of year, which is probably why it's appeared often in recent Roundups. It's cold and gray out, we feel a little dormant. "Atom" does crackle with energy, especially as it nears the finish, but mostly it is content to keep things locked in and more meditative than motion-inducing. That suits me just fine. Look for their new EP, Inca Gold III, on February 20th.

Iroquois Falls is an experimental artist from Toronto with a new video for a track called "Hey Annie (Twice Born Once From A Gun)." The music comes across like a fusion of tribal drumming with Surrealist poetry. The track is mostly sparse, highlighting the vocal performance of Iroquois (not sure if that's her real name or stage name), which has a theatricality in the vein of Patti Smith. For those who follow this blog regularly, you should know I really like EMA and Cheyenne Marie Mize. I feel like why I like this involves mixing a little of what I like about both those artists' most recent releases: the artful doomscapes populating EMA's Past Life Martyred Saints meets the sparse yet impassioned adventurousness of Cheyenne's "Wishing Well." The new EP will be out March 13th.

Hey Annie (Twice Born Once From a Gun) from iroquois falls on Vimeo.

-Let's return to the late 1980s/early 1990s with this cut called "Dirty White" by Sisterland. I situate us then because of all the great indie bands I am reminded of when listening to this group. The Pixies jump to mind most readily. The vocals are not as frenetic as that of Black Francis, but that bass lines in the verses and guitar lines in the chorus make the band a good comparison point. Regardless, it's hard not to dig this. The EP is also named Dirty White and it is due out February 27th. It's going to be a limited cassette release, but you can check it out online. I've done that and I really dig it. The Pixies are merely one of the lovely shades and hues on its palette.

-It's a good week for bands who explore throwback sounds, isn't it? Well, you ain't heard nothing yet, because we are about to take things back even farther with the sweet stylings of Petunia & the Vipers. They have a lovely old jazz & blues sound steeped in vintage cool, with nods to a variety of other genres. I'm particularly enjoying the easy strut of "Yes Baby Yes," which has a huge hook of a chorus and some really nice guitar and horn work. Their latest album is a self-titled release and the band will be touring this month. I bet they put on a great live show.

Petunia & the Vipers – Yes Baby Yes

-We briefly featured Montreal's The City Streets a few weeks ago, and I was hoping for another chance to give them a little more attention. With the release of this video "For All The (Doomed) Lovers," I have it. Fittingly timed with Valentine's Day coming up – or is it? I am really into this song. It's a great performance video, simple and efficient with it's black-and-white look at the three-piece. The song is also fairly straightforward, but by no means trifling. It's a cut of pure power pop that is over all too soon. The vocal melody is sharp and perfectly accented by the guitar chords, and I dig how it goes out strong, assisted by an appearance by Colin Stetson. It's from the album Winter Lightning, and the band also has another coming called Sawdust & Rum. You can sample its title track here.