Weekly Roundup: Jun 12 – 18, 2011

Weekly Roundup coming at you, read on for some freshly dug songs and videos.

-When I was first introduced to the Atolls and their song "Older Nazi Boyfriends," I was admittedly skeptical based on the song name. But just as one can't always judge a book by its cover, you can't always judge a song by its title. (And say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, at least it's an ethos). The song is a pure garage rock burner and I encourage you all to check it out. If the song puts its relentless hooks in you, which I suspect it will, look for more information on the band here and get the EP here

-The band Two States had just about the opposite effect on me as the Atolls: I was instantly curious to listen to a band named after a Pavement song. Again, a name is no guarantee of quality, but I am happy to say I was not disappointed by my initial positive associations. Now, I would not say the band sounds exactly like their namesake – which is fine of course – but they do have a nice indie rock sound. I dig the contrast between the more brisk verses and the chorus' slow bluesy crunch. You can get the self-titled EP here.

-Moving on to bands didn't spark doubts or excitement upon learning their names or song titles, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground have a delightful track "World's Entire" that I'm digging. The main two songwriters of this band were previously in Gatsby's American Dream (there's an evocative name) and are now focused on this rotating collective that can number up to 15 musicians at a given time. Listening to "World's Entire" makes it clear that this vast array of collaborators provides the music with a lot of diverse sonic touches. Their album Introducing Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground will be out July 26. Here's their website.

Grand & Noble is a band out of Chicago and they have released their self-titled debut album recently. It is hard to find ways to describe a song like "This Light" that do it justice. Saying something like "It's a great rock song," isn't going to cut it, even if it's true. It'll have to be good enough for me to say it has a very timeless feel, driven by clean guitar, piano, a shuffling drumbeat, and strong vocals. Overall, it's a really great listen, you can see what I mean by streaming the track below. The album is available here.

John Gold has an album out called A Flower In Your Head and I dig the opening track "Skyscraper." It reminds me of another singer-songwriter I really enjoy who mixes a pop sensibility with some alternative rock flourishes. That would be Pete Yorn. I am not the first to think or say this, but it really seems to be a fact that this sort of music just doesn't get made that much anymore; you know, songwriter-driven pop/rock that has crossover appeal but isn't too interested in sanding down all of its edges. So it's good we have John Gold. Here's his website.

Skyscraper by VagrantRecords

One of my favorite things about Weekly Roundup is that almost regularly, I am able to share a pretty awesome music video. This week we have a really stunning example. It's for the song "Holy Grail" by Tidelands, a San Francisco-based duo. The work was made by illustrator Ami Kutata. She spent four months making more than 1000 drawings and I think you'll agree with me that the work was worth it. It has a beautiful other-worldliness to it; I love the immersive details of the village in particular. Check it below and you can preorder the band's album (due 7/26) here.

-And now to catch up with some previously featured artists, we have received a link to a few preview tracks from the forthcoming EP by Two Suns. I have been digging "Five Months Gone By," it has that same dream-world vibe that so entranced me about Two Suns in the first place. You can sample it below and go here to hear the other preview before the EP drops July 11.

-You may recall our interview with Luke Manning of Mostar Records that included a look at some of that fine label's roster as well as a preview of forthcoming releases. (It's here). In it, Luke mentioned that the Future Shape of Sound would be releasing some music on Mostar this summer. I have had a chance to listen to the track "Thinking Bad Thoughts," and it is yet another fine addition to this great label's already impressive output. And it is completely unique from the other three already distinctive acts I featured before! This song has a great retro vibe, carried by some infectious organ and intertwining male-female vocals, and seems made for summer gatherings. Sample it below then go here to buy it.