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Originally hailing from Yellowknife, the capital city of Canada’s chilly Northwest Territories, Dana Sipos has crafted an interesting musical path for herself, one that brings to mind phrases like “off the beaten path.” This is not merely a metaphorical observation; having lived nomadically for some years now, she’s traveled Canada through various non-motorized forms of transportation, including bicycle and tall ship.

The uniqueness of her life’s experience is borne out rather beautifully on Roll Up the Night Sky, her latest full-length record. Below you can stream the dreamy little nocturne “Portraits”, which shows Sipos’ knack for smart chord progressions—check the tonal shift that comes in when the D major chord shines a little light on the otherwise somber minor key of the song.

“Higher and Higher”, a bonus track on Jeen’s (Jeen O’Brien, also of Cookie Duster) forthcoming Tourist Deluxe Edition LP, starts out unassumingly. Its hushed opening immediately brings the word “lo-fi” to mind, but not long after this the chorus kicks in, with a drumbeat and a catchy vocal that makes this sound like the kind of tune ripe for singing and clapping along to in a live setting. Like the rest of Tourist, “Higher and Higher was recorded in a lo-fi setup in Jeen’s Toronto attic, but “lo-fi” here does not denote a lack of life or vivacity; far from it, in fact.

The sound of the Oakland, California rock outfit Trails and Ways is described as “a fascinating mix of the melancholy of bossa nova, the fearlessness of basement indie rock, driving grooves from the end of disco, and the slick shine of radio pop.” Such eclecticism is on full display with “Say You Will”, a cut from the group’s new album Pathology. While indie rock in the present day is known for its disaffected, somewhat ironic and detached tone, “Say You Will” is a refreshingly funky jam that melds danceable grooves to ethereal vocal harmonies. The accents of Nile Rodgers-esque guitar tone are just the icing on top of the cake.

It’s All Just Pretend finds the Seattle outfit Ivan & Alyosha expanding from a quartet to a quintet, with drummer Cole Mauro joining Pete Wilson (bass), Tim Kim (guitar) and founding members Tim Wilson (lead vox, guitar) and Ryan Carbary (guitar, piano). While the allusion to The Brothers Karamazov in the band’s name might suggest a certain highfalutin literary pretension about their music (a la the Decemberists), but such is not the case. Nor, however, is their music All Just Pretend. As the album cut “Modern Man” (stream it below) evinces, these five musicians are in the business of writing straightforward and honest music. It helps that it rocks, too, as the ‘70s classic rock tone on “Modern Man”‘s guitars evince.

After two years in the making, All Through the Fire, All Through the Rain EP, by the Liverpool-based Rosenblume, is now ready for the world to hear it. Although he hails from the city that wrought the Beatles, Rosenblume earnestly and successfully channels the multi-varied threads of ‘60s and ‘70s American folk, particularly the scenes in Greenwich Village and Laurel Canyon.

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