Weekly Roundup: Oct 28 – Nov 3, 2012

Weekly Roundup is a bit delayed due to post-Sandy craziness, but it can't be denied. In this special Election Day edition, we have a lot of great music. Vote and enjoy!

Yusuf Azak is a Scottish musician with quite an interesting voice, like a cross between Sam Beam and Sean Connery. His new album Go Native comes out next week. The single "Smile Tactics" is great. Besides his distinctive vocals, the guitar playing is gorgeous and expressive.

-Australian musician Abbe May will release her new album Kiss My Apocalypse next spring, but she's put out the first single and it's awesome. Called "Karmageddon," it's a blast of doomsday funk. It's kind of grimy and dark, yet it has an undeniable groove and Abbe's vocals are magnetic. Not a band way for the world to end.

Until this track officially releases, a link will have to do. Click it, you don't want to miss it! 

-It's a little unfair that a sixteen year-old can make such a pleasant pop song, but that's exactly what Cara Mitchell (another Scot) has done with "Little Birdies." Like the track above from her countryman Yusuf Azak, this song isn't anything but Cara's distinctive voice and an acoustic guitar, but that's all you need. Her debut EP is Have You Ever Wondered? is out now.

-And now it's time for some big-time fuzz courtesy of Los Angeles band Bloody Ripper. This band is just about brand new but they sound quite accomplished on this loud yet melodic track "I Don't Care." Feels good to let the waves of sound wash over you. Not sure when more music will be out from these guys, but I bet it will be good.

Kasko Lunsford is the musical alias of Scott Stutzman. He has put out an EP called If This Is The Apocalypse and released a video for one of its tracks, "Seawall." This is our second apocalypse-themed track of the roundup, which is in accordance to the Mayan prophecies. Musically, this takes a very different approach than Abbe May, but it's equally good. Driven by ukulele and xylophone, this catchy tune sneaks up on you.

-Closing out the section of our half dozen new picks with Humans. This is a Vancouver electronic duo who will release a new album in March called Traps. I really dig the song "Possession." It's not hard to imagine this getting a huge group of people dancing with its great beat and cool instrumentation. The vocals have a little bit of a David Bryne-like quality too.

-Now it's time for the NYC section and we start with Ghost Beach, who has a new 5 track EP out called Modern Tongues, just released last week. The first track should get you excited about the whole thing. It's a tropical, electro, party jam called "Miracle" that is an instant mood enhancer.

-Here's the haunting debut track of Azar Swan, "Amrika." It's ambient and electronic but it also has an interesting almost classical element with the string parts. It makes for a compelling juxtaposition. Good vocals, too. It'll be cool to hear more from this duo.

-Switching it up for something more sparse and contemplative, here's the slow-motion, Super 8 video for "Come On" by Annie and the Beekeepers. It feels impressionistic and languid in a very satisfying way. The deliberate pace and powerful atmosphere contrast with a journey to the beach, but I like how both of these sides fit together.

-This isn't from NYC, but another cool video with slow motion: "My Love Won't Wait" is from the new Two Gallants album The Bloom and the Blight. It's a pretty heavy track with a little bit of a blues element. The video depicts a journey through a nightmarish hillside, overlooking a city with very strong visuals that match the dynamics of the song.

-Now let's quickly catch up with some previously featured artists, starting with New Zealand's The Eversons. They have a video for "Terminally Lame" that has a cool hand-crafted element and some off the wall moments. It's a catchy tune.

Dark Dark Dark (whom Dave recently saw) has a new video out as well for their song "Tell Me." I like the narrative of the singer leaving the cityscape to traverse more rural and natural settings, needing a helmet to do so, as if that has become so alien to us. Interesting concept, great song.

-I have always loved how loud and ragged and raucous the The Dirty Nil sound and yet how they still find a way to make it catchy. They have a new 7" single out which keeps that great sound going. The tracks are "Little Baby Metal Fist" and "Hate Is A Stone," plus check out their wild cover of David Bowie's "Moonage Daydream."

-One of our favorite online labels is Bad Panda Records, who rep the creative commons like no other and who introduced us to Dumbo Gets Mad, among many other great acts. That band is back with a new song "Radical Leap," from a forthcoming album Quantum Leap due in early 2013. It's more of their really cool psych rock. Dig!

Lady Lazarus has an awesome sense of atmosphere in her music. I really enjoyed Mantic and now she's preparing to release All My Love in Half Light, another one set for early 2013 – January is shaping up to start the new year very strong! In the mean time, check out "Lapsarian," which seems to use an accordion, though even if it doesn't, the billowing motion of said instrument is a perfect metaphor for the modulating style of Lady L (Freaks & Geeks reference, anyone?) that makes you forget time and immerse in nuance.

School of Seven Bells have a new EP out next week, Put Your Sad Down. Check out "Secret Days." It's so hard not to get swept up in the vocals of this band, and when you add in the cool electronics of its music, why even bother trying to resist?

-Finally, we have some more e-dubble. I know he was here last week, but Reset drops today, so what better time to share "Cycle of Nightmares"? Also, I will be playing a track from this EP tonight on WSUM radio show Cellophane. It airs between 7:00 and 8:00 PM Central, so listen in if you can! And pick up Reset.

And vote, if you haven't already.