Hard to believe it's already the first Weekly Roundup of April. But it's not hard to believe it's got some great music and videos.
It's been a pretty wild week. On the Dig, Dave shared some wonderful new music from Dark Dark Dark and he wrote about the clarinet after watching a video from Laura Gibson. The article also touches on Glenn Miller, Eric Dolphy, and The Low Anthem. I was really taken with "Colerain" by Way Yes. It's a song about death and it made me think of a good friend who passed away last year.
I have an exciting announcement, too. Those Who Dig is partnering with some cool people to bring you the Brooklyn Headsets project. It's a video series of live performances on a rooftop in Greenpoint, where everything is run through consoles and heard on headphones. We taped the first session this weekend. My main role is to conduct interviews. You'll be hearing much more once the first episode is released, but for a little taste, check out some pictures on the BKHS tumblr.
In honor of Roger Ebert, I want to talk a little about movies in this space, which I will continue every now and then. Anyone watch anything cool this week? I had my mind sufficiently blown by the thought-provoking film Room 237. It presents five alternative theories of what Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is really about. While I don't think it's quite fair to say any of them are correct, I enjoyed the level of analysis and detail they offered and I think anything that looks deeply into a cultural work is cool.
Let's get to the music, shall we? We have featured Neonfaith before and now they have put out their very first music video. It's for a song called "Escape," which is going to be on an EP they are preparing. I like the clip. At first I thought it was going to follow a gig flyer throughout NYC, but it shifts into something that goes deeper as we follow the connection between two people. The track starts with a hypnotic groove that I could easily have listened to for hours, not that the vocals aren't good or anything. The "Hear your static on my radio" chorus is what really represents the video concept, I think. Much like the visuals, the music intensifies over time. However, it all seems to break apart as the man and woman seem to becoming closer.
It really is impossible to predict what songs are going to hit me strongly enough to make it in the Roundup, but I will say there are certain things that make me at least hope something is going to be good. For example, an email that says, "My songs are all, to some degree, about celebrating community" because that's really huge for me, both on and off the blog. I'm so glad this track "Listening to TPM" from Brook Pridemore is highly diggable. The video is pretty lo-fi, but charming. The song is named after musician Thomas Patrick Maguire, it includes another musician Joe Michelini, and it has a great, positive energy. Celebrating community should always sound this good. I love the part where it has quieted down and then comes rushing back around the lyric "You have to take the low parts with the high." Look for new album Gory Details soon.
Another new discovery this week is latest single "Transparent" by Japan Soul. I'm not quite sure about the Japan part, but it does have some soul. But there's also so much more. More than anything else, it's a dance party. You'll have a hard time sitting still. Look out for Plastic Utopia soon.
The last new NYC artist to the Dig this week is Madeleine. She's a singer and dancer and her single "Mr. Jailer," has an undeniable reggae feel, which I like. It has an interesting narrative that can be a straightforward story about someone dealing with the consequences of crime, but you can zoom out more broadly to the things by which we may feel trapped, whatever they are. This is part of the forthcoming Chinese Bamboo EP.
A few shows you may want to check out this week in New York:
- The Golden Furs at the Delancey April 11th
- John Brodeur at Pete's Candy Store April 11th
- Cal Folger Day at Branded Saloon April 11th and Pete's Candy Store April 13th
Here's a super catchy tune from Satellite Stories. It's called "Scandinavian Girls," and guess what? That's the exactly what the song is about. Also, that's what you'll find in the video for the track. Unfortunately for the band, it doesn't seem like the titular women care much for them, but at least we can enjoy this song and fun video.
I continue to really enjoy what I've been hearing from Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk. It's definitely folk but I wouldn't say it's "odd" so much as "really awesome." Ok, that was weak on my part, but the music is not. Just listen to "Over Land and Sea," the title track from the album that comes out tomorrow. There's guitar, banjos, and ukulele all weaving together seamlessly, along with the vocal harmonies and rousing percussion. It feels like a journey song and it makes me want to strike out to parts unknown. The mental adventure from listening will have to do. Better put it on again…
This has been a video heavy roundup, but I think this last one is my favorite. It's for the track "Wanderlust," by Polly Scattergood. The music is an epic electro-dance track with Polly's singing floating over a soundscape of rising and falling synths and beats. I love the concept of the video. It shows a dancer going through a routine, and each time she does it, there are new details that keep piling up. The visuals go from hazy to sharp and each character has a progression even if they are essentially repeating the same actions. I dig that. I would say a good comparison is the classic Michel Gondry video for Kylie Minogue's "Come Into My World," and it works when thinking of the vocals here, too.