Weekly Roundup on a Saturday may be a rare bird but it's still full of the usual amount of great new music and videos.
If you didn't know, Paper Garden Records is a really cool local outfit with a great roster of music. I'm a little behind, but they released the album Catacomb Party by Fierce Creatures last month, and it's worth checking out. The sound is a bit otherworldly, like light psychedelics, but it is also rooted in a strong sense of melody and songwriting craft, a combination that makes for a good listen.
–Cruiser is an act from Philadelphia, the recording name of Andy States. Holy hell is this song "Don't Go Alone" an earworm! It's can't-stop-listening-and-might-eventually-go-crazy-a-la-Schumann catchy. Just listen to it already, and check out the rest of the Cruiser EP for similarly great music.
-The energy isn't going to maintain at Cruiser levels this whole roundup, but multi-talented artist Brianna Lea Pruett's "The Stars, the Moon, the Owl, the Cougar, and You," is a good comedown. Driven by piano (layered in an interesting way) and a textured drum that alternates between brushes and rainfall, it has naturalistic imagery and a vocal performance that is deceptively potent. This is the title track of her recently (re-?)released album.
-Chicago's Quarter Mile Thunder has a sound that draws on folk/Americana style and mixes with some lurking atmospheric ambience. Take a track like "Absolute Beginner." There is a great, simple melody accompanied by acoustic guitar and piano, but also an electric tingle just at the periphery of the song. Almost like a summer night before a storm. Cool stuff. Look for more on their album Twist.
-Shifting gears once again, here's a little pop gem from The Magic called "Call Me Up." It pulses along with horns and a cool drum beat, but probably the biggest draw is Sylvie Smith's vocals. She guests with the duo's Gordon brothers – who provide nice harmonies – and it's a great performance. The verses feel a bit understated but the yearning comes through on the chorus. The single officially will be released 10/29 and it's from their self-titled debut album.
-I like the way this track "Hold Your Horses" starts with some organ chords and vocals of the singer Pati Yang. Really grabs your attention. Then, about 30 seconds later, the rest of the track explodes into a very satisfying and enjoyable electronic dance pop tune. It comes from an EP of the same name.
-I'm going to add a new section to highlight NYC music to the Roundup whenever I have a few things I really want to share that are great and coming out of the place where I dwell. Check out this track "Tied Together," the second single from Neonfaith. It kind of slipped by me so maybe you've already heard it, but I dig it. It's electronic instrumentation that doesn't feel too machine-like and the vocals are great and soulful.
-We also have a band called Onward Chariots. They released an album called This Is My Confession that was – wait for it – conceived as a coherent body of work that tells a story over the course of its run. I'm glad people still do that. Their sound embraces a lot of different types of music. Check out "Mama" and try to tell me to which genre it belongs. Actually, don't bother. Just enjoy it. I like how it builds up from vocal parts, incorporates strings, horns, and electronics, and even seems to reference Dark Side of the Moon.