Mikal Cronin

Anna: All Mikal Cronin, all day long. I cannot explain why or how this happens, but Mikal's MCII has the ability to both energize and soothe, acting as the perfect antidote to the stressed and weary brain. I cannot get enough of this record. I'm not prone to saying things like "is it too early to call this my favorite album of 2013?!?!" . . . but there it is. (P.S. If you haven't already, be sure to watch Mikal's recent performance on CONAN.)

Ben: It still feels a little weird to tack on "Brooklyn-via-" before writing "SF band Weekend." Recorded in SF last year, Jinx finds the band continuing to further refine its layered post-punk sound. The album sounds great, but the band admirably continues to resist going for easy, obvious moments. As a result, the pop moments feel earned and weighty, and the whole thing is very, very impressive. See them at The Independent on July 26.

Jason: I hadn't heard of James The Giant before Tuesday when our very own Katie Kopacz shared his new EP, but since I heard the album for the first time, it's been on heavy rotation, and I don't see that changing for quite some time. Now, James The Giant (aka James Brennan) released a video for the lead single off the EP, a track called "Two Weeks on the Ocean" that, as Katie explained, tells the true story of the singer/songwriter’s loss of his younger brother Julian to the war in Afghanistan in 2009. Brennan recently told The Huffington Post, "The video started out as my father's project. A few months ago, he told me that he wanted to put together clips that he had of Julian and put them to 'Two Weeks on the Ocean'. When I decided to release the song, I asked him if he would be willing to work on the video. He compiled all the footage and photos and created the first edit of the video." Brennan then brought in photographer and videographer Max Silverman who filmed the artist performing atop Bernal Hill, and finally editor Julius Doogan (from Brooklyn) brought the two sets of film together for an incredibly moving finished product. Watch the video below.

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