Weekly Roundup Jun 23 – 29, 2013

Been a few weeks since our last Weekly Roundup, so we are going to pad this one out with some extras we missed and kick off the second half of 2013 strong.

Here are all the posts we've had in between now and our last roundup: The biggest news of all is that Digster Dave is moving across the country from Baltimore to Portland, OR. He asked for your help in making a playlist for the journey. I reviewed the wonderful new EP Violet from our friends Oh! My Blackbird. There was a new installment of my Freaks and Geeks music series on episode two "Beers & Weirs," and I talked about the first time I ever drank. We shared the fantastic and worthy benefit for Will Stratton, new music from Red Tail Ring, an EP from The Melodic, and the latest from the Handsome Family. I rounded up some cool new videos and shared info about shows this past weekend. You can't go to those shows, but Beat Radio, Balto, Kyle Evans, and Oh! My Blackbird are all bands worth checking out.

Animal Years is a pretty new band. Their first single just came out, and a new album Sun Will Rise is due on September 17th. The debut song "Meet Me" is impressive. It's hard not to get swept up in its energy and forward drive. You can trace lineage in the impassioned delivery and folk touches to a band like the Avett Brothers, but mainly it feels timeless and classic.

MINKS is a band gearing up for the release of their second album Tides End on August 6th. I dig the track "Everything's Fine." When it's on, it really feels that way – that everything is fine. A literal read of the title may be off the mark with the hint of ache in the vocals, but nevertheless, the assured groove of a great drum beat and guitars and synths that hit like waves at all the right moments makes me feel relaxed and happy. The album release show is August 9th at Glasslands.

Here's a video from the act Peculiar Gentlemen for their song "Reload." It has a vintage look and depicts a chili eating contest. I won't spoil who wins, but the victor deserves it. A few moments of close-up eating may not be for the weak of stomach, but with a song like this, it's worth sticking it out. The chorus is huge and catchy. Led into by the line "There's not a problem you got a single bullet won't stop," it goes "Reload, motherfucker reload" with a harmonic "Reload, motherfucker, motherfucker." It'll get stuck in your head for sure. Rather than vulgar or morbid, something about it to me is empowering.

My last new NYC pick is song from another album due out September 17th, More, from the band Arp. The song is called "More (Blues)." Soundcloud user Sandra Kay put it best when she commented, "This is simply gorgeous." It's a slow tune that draws on blues and doo wop, and the lovely touches of horns and organ remind of a gospel ballad. I like that the percussion derives mostly from the rhythm guitar and bass line, and how both the solo and vocals are on point.

Another Desert Stars song has arrived in advance of their album Habit Shackles, which is out July 16th. It's called "Off the Cliff." This band knows how to balance haze and heart. By that I mean, there is an elusive, fuzzy element that makes the song feel dreamlike, but the vocals, propulsive drumming, and swirling guitars are warm and emotional. I get a subtle reminder of "Heroes” from it. They play a release show at Cameo Gallery the day the album comes out.

Blue & Gold have released another single and it's another awesome blues rock tune, "It's Only You." This time Alex takes a turn in the vocal spotlight and he delivers. Sometimes I feel like most bands around the city push themselves away from anything that would seem limited to one classic genre. I appreciate that desire, but sometimes a straightforward (and not unsophisticated) rock song really hits the spot, so I'm glad that Blue & Gold is bringing it hard. Love how it builds into the titular lyric, and the solo is a face melter! Look for the band at Piano's on July 17th.

Quick catch ups with some of our favorite previously featured artists start with a new video from rapper e-dubble for "Cycle of Nightmares." It mixes e-dubble performing, some 90s TV show clips, a great throwback of school picture days (My parents refused to splurge for the laser backgrounds, which has become an increasingly good thing as the years go by). Like all of his songs, the production and lyrics are incredibly strong. No one does a better job of conveying the ups and downs of pursuing of your goals than this guy, a big reason why I dig his music so much.

There was a cool solo live performance video for "Strange Girl" by the Zolas we shared a little while back, but now the official video of the recorded song is out. It's great. I love the story of the couple. We see change through them as old people juxtaposed with their flashback memories of youth, but we also see what has not changed. Very interesting.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band are releasing a new album called That's It! on July 9th. One of the songs from the album, "Rattlin' Bones," is a raw gem that makes me want to get back to New Orleans as soon as possible. The horns backing up the grizzled voice of the singer are dirty in the best way. The piano and clattering percussion complement them well. And guess what's really awesome? The band will be doing a weeklong residency at the McKittrick Hotel from Sunday July 7th through Saturday July 13th. More details can be found here.

One of my favorite Canadian rawk bands, The Dirty Nil, has released another cover collection. The cassette is sold out, but you can still listen and buy digitally. They put their energetic, loud stamp on four cuts from The Misfits, Iggy Pop, Guided By Voices, and Merle Haggard. Check out "Game of Pricks" below. Also, the video for their song "Zombie Eyed" is out. I won't give anything away, but like the music, it is wild and intense. Watch here.

Lastly, an artist we haven't heard from in quite awhile is back and she's in the midst of something big. Amanda Zelina, aka The Coppertone, plans to leave her record label and owes them money to do so. There is a campaign you can donate to if you're so inclined, but at the very least, it's inspiring to learn about someone seeking autonomy and integrity. Inspiring also to hear it in the rousing, rocking song she wrote for the occasion, "Young Blood."