Evan Winiker, bassist for Steel Train, was still flying high a few days after playing at New York's famed Mercury Lounge.
If you go Steel Train with Girl in a Coma and Yawn Where: Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave. E., Vienna When: 8 p.m. Tuesday Info: $15; 703-255-1566; jamminjava.com
The New Jersey-born indie rockers -- who are known to give nods to their state's most famous musical export, Bruce Springsteen, with covers of "Dancing in the Dark" -- are soaring now that the band's new self-titled album was released late last month. "We really just started doing that last year," Winiker said of the cover. "We are from Jersey, and this record is a return to our roots, so it's just a lot of fun."
After receiving kudos from major music journalists and hearing they sound much like Modest Mouse, The Killers and Arcade Fire, Steel Train is ready to have people know them for themselves.
One way the band is setting itself apart is by releasing a companion CD "Terrible Thrills Vol. 1," which features covers of all their new songs by female artists, including Scarlett Johansson, Tegan and Sara and Holly Miranda.
"I remember how I used to be with records," Winiker said of the band's latest tunes. "I wanted it to be like that, where people would want to hear it in their cars. [I listened to it that way] and thought, 'This is pretty damned good.' I am really happy with it. ... And the [female covers help] make it even more so."
The band went to great lengths to make sure this album was a hit -- to their ears, surely.
"It was a really interesting time," Winiker said. "We did this with our own money. We bought [our songs back] from the label and spent our own money to record it. That way, we didn't have anyone that was like, 'This song needs that, or this song needs this.' We're all realizing now it was a great decision."
The band's indie status also allowed it to make the covers idea -- which it had a few years ago -- a reality.
"Almost everyone did the track differently, and a couple took it in such an amazing direction [that] it was almost dangerous," he said. "We hope this music inspires [listeners] or even that they just find it interesting."