Weekly Roundup: Mar 4 – 10, 2012

Busy day yesterday hanging out in the Heart of Brooklyn to take in some great cultural amenities (the Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Museum), watching college basketball with UNC in the ACC Championship (stupid Florida State…), and seeing Big Deal in concert at Glasslands. No Weekly Roundup yesterday, in other words. But here it is now for you to dig.

Battle Ave is in the midst of a month-long tour, and I would suggest you check them out if they'll be playing in your city. They have an album out called War Paint. You can get it by following the link from the player below. The opening song is simply called " ", and it is quite epic. Seven and a half minutes long and not a single dull moment. I love when it gets loud just before the three minute mark (should I have said spoiler alert?) The band uses "jangled, mangled, and growling" to describe their sound. It's fitting, particularly for the vocals. If you dig rollicking indie rock that's got some heart and rough edges, check this out.

-Despite their name, I wouldn't call Guitars a particularly guitar-centric band. To me, with the name they have, it should be noise and volume and shredding, but this is a very spare folk song. There is an acoustic guitar, as well as a piano back in the mix. The song alternates between a male and female singer. I enjoy the male voice, but the female voice seems to kick it up a notch even higher. The accompanying video is a fairly simple hand-drawn affair that emphasizes basic shapes and figures, conveying a similar austere beauty that the song also has. For NYC people, a heads up that this band will have a residency at Piano's in June.

Mountains by Guitars from Guitars on Vimeo.

Wildlife has made a very striking video for their song "Sea Dreamer." It features some amazing city-at-night scenes, with the band as a sort of gang alternating between fun, like outdoor parking lot bowling, and intense, like a showdown with a rival gang. The sweater vest dudes are real assholes, aren't they? That scene where they break the guitar was hard to watch. It culminates with a brawl that reminds of the free for all rumble between all the newscasters in Anchorman ("Brick killed a guy. Did you throw a trident?"). It's a good match for such a powerful song.

-It's not unreasonable to jump from a band called Wildlife to one called The Mowglis right? You all get the Jungle Book reference? Anything? Is this thing on? Ah, don't bother with me, just get right into this rousing indie rock tune "San Francisco". This sounds like an absolute live party gem. It's a bunch of glorious noise: guitars and drums, yes, but also horns and group vocals. The opening lyric "I've been in love with love and the idea of something binding us together," is quite stunning as well. It's not easy to get this much energy captured in a recording, but I think The Mowglis have done an excellent job. They also have made a tune worthy of the fair city after which it is named (I'm a big fan of San Francisco). By the time they ask "Do you feel the love?" I think you'll be ready to answer with a resounding "yes!"

-Let's keep riding this wave of energy with a delightful fuzzy garage jam called "Lying in State" from the group Island Twins. This band  includes a brother and a sister, Erik & Meagan Brauer, plus their friend Tony, and this does seem to be a very tight-knit and complementary with the vocals, though the song definitely is loose and ragged. I always like that contrast of a certain tunefulness and a more overblown sound when it gets both aspects down pat. I certainly hear that on this song. Their album comes out May 1st, I'm interested to check it out.

-In case that wasn't enough fuzzed out garage rock made by acts with family members for you, I have this song to offer to get your full fix. It's called "Corridor," and it comes from the brothers Ellison, better known as The Plastic Traps. Only two members, but making a big sound is not a problem for the group. This song has a blues feel to it and plays with dynamics a little bit by locking into more of a groove during the verses before roaring back with a tidal wave-like chorus. The Philadelphia duo's debut Find A Home is available on Bandcamp.

-I have a confession to make. There's some great stuff I haven't yet shared from the week Dave & I did a podcast (which you should check out if you haven't) and I plan to post on it. Since this is a day late and since I like you all and since it's a great song, here's a Bonus pick that would have been in the Roundup 2 weeks ago if it was a normal one. It comes from The Dead Ships. It's called "Bones Cracked," it's from their album Electric Ahab, and it just might be about scoliosis. No, that's not true. But it is great. I dig the chorus, how the singer just belts it out. The guitars and drums sound really good throughout too. And guess what? This is a duo too.