Weekly Roundup: Nov 27 – Dec 3, 2011

This Weekly Roundup is feeling a little bittersweet, as it is very likely the last installment of 2011. We need to pause it because we'll be busy with year-end features and so that we can prepare some changes to the Roundup format for 2012. Don't worry, it'll definitely be back in a few weeks and there is still one last great batch of songs and videos awaiting you!

-When a band lists the Dismemberment Plan and Radiohead among their influences, it's going to get my attention. City States indeed makes good on their claim, but not in a way that feels like a cheap copy. Their EP Resolution is highly diggable and suggestive of a band with an exciting future. Listen to "Reverse Slow Motion" below and click to download the EP free.

-The label of vintage / retro / throwback is a slippery signifier, where for every spot on use there are several lazy ones. But I do think this video from Golden Glow for a song called "The Cure" hearkens back to an older sound & production style musically and nicely juxtaposes modern footage with an older, grainy style visually. This makes me think of the 1980s in a really good way. I like the drums, understated vocals, and guitar tones.

-Another band with some shine in their name and sound is Turnpike Glow, a UK-via-Italy based act. They are sharing their first song for free to get everyone excited for their debut EP in 2012. It's an infectious, buoyant tune, equally parts dance and rock. The title "The Turn, the Pike, and the Glow" implies a manifesto of sorts, and if that means this is the sort of music we can expect, than I do believe there is a bright road ahead for the band.

Turnpike Glow – The Turn, The Pike And The Glow by abadgeoffriendship

-There is a lot of cool stuff happening in this video for the song "Always, To Belong," by the Last Royals. I like the use of stop-motion to animate the postcards and to capture the path the woman takes – making the significance of each step a bit more obvious. It also plays with the notion of "perspective," whether it is how each eye sees things a little differently, how people appear to each other (like in the waiting room scenes or the alley scene with the cameras looking), or the way the woman makes a screen to hide behind. There is humor and the song is a really nice indie-pop tune. I dig.

Night Beds is the recording alias of Winston Yellen in partnership with Matt Wilcox, and I dig their tune called "Ramona." It has a nice, night-time-driving-out-west, Americana feel to it. Reminds me a bit of the stuff by Ryan Adams I like. This is from Night Beds' forthcoming LP, entitled Country Sleep, due out January 31.

Night Beds – Ramona by goodcopmusic

-Since I've already brought up the notion of throwbacks, I'll also share with you that I often wonder when the 1990s will come back and how. There have definitely been bands with 90s influenced sounds to emerge, particularly in regard to the early part of the decade's indie and alternative. This video for Colin Schiller & the Reactions song "Dizzy" has a very 90s feel in a completely different way. It is like something straight out of 1997 in look and spirit. The ska-influenced tone, the big, catchy chorus, the goofy humor, the visual style and story. And that's great.

-I don't frequently go to the lo-fi well for a sonic drink, but sometimes it just really hits the spot. The roughness and intimacy has a certain refreshing charm to it and it's always great when the quality of a song transcends the production style to knock you aback. I have been exploring the work of John Value and it's a veritable treasure trove. Here's just one song I enjoy, called "Poison in the Cider."

-I have fallen hard for this hilarious and crazy track "All Fake Everything" by the Australian band Regurgitator. It transitions from a piano ballad to a Rick Rubin-esque hip-hop jam and is full of witticism and energy. A few highlight moments are "Sometimes it sucks to be a famous dude" from the first part and "But how could you possibly tell if I ever said what I meant / Or if I just said what I thought was meant to be said." It's from their latest album SuperHappyFuntimesFriends, which is a pretty fun listen.

-A few quick catch-ups before we close down Weekly Roundup for the season, starting with Carrousel. They delighted us with their cool dual screen video for "14," now enjoy the song "Darling, You're So Mean To Me."

San Cisco will be releasing a new EP in February called Awkward and they have a video for the title track out that is really awesome. The combination of a catchy song and clever video make for a highly diggable tune indeed.

San Cisco – "Awkward" from Cluster 1 on Vimeo.

-You may recall an excellent tune we shared by the Creepy Crawlies a few months ago. Well, we are pleased to inform you that the band has given us and other blogs that featured them a brand new tune called "Kick Yr Blues." It's more of the same great indie pop with cool vocal interplay. Definitely looking forward to the full length album Get Buried! next year!

The Creepy Crawlies – Kick Yr Blues

-We're bringing things to a close with Brice Randall Bickford and his new video for "On the Caesura of Paying Attention." It's not often a song title gets me reaching for the old Dictionary.com, but this one did – look at the big brain on Brice! A caesura is a break or interruption, but I believe the compelling visuals and the loveliness of the music will keep you rapt.

Brice Randall Bickford – "On The Caesura Of Paying Attention" from Trekky Records on Vimeo.

Alright, that about does 'er. Wraps 'er all up. The Weekly Roundup hiatus is just about official. It's been a great year of discovering and sharing tons of new bands, songs, and videos with you most weeks, and I think this feature is only going to get stronger in 2012. Perhaps there will be a mini-roundup or something before 2011 ends, but if not, I promise we will be back on Sundays starting January 8!  Hope to see you then!