Los Angeles isn't just a city; it's an idea. It's ground zero for fantasy and failing, "the end of the world" as one writer put it. The band Memoir channels those themes into a contemporary soul-pop sound that has "learned to fly" beyond the city of angels.
In certain moods, Ghost Beach (New Yorkers Josh Ocean and Eric Mendelsohn) describes itself as "tropical grit pop," which is about as close to the dizzying sound of new track "Moon Over Japan" as three words can get.
For the "You Be My Heart" collection, Bowerbirds tackle a song by Devon Reed (a volunteer for the non-profit arts organization 826 National), and tap into (and catch fire to) the lyrical wonders of "Seven Wonders."
Recorded on an old tape deck that most musicians would be thrilled to unload on Craigslist for a sandwich and a case of beer, "Vermona" by Brooklyn, N.Y. duo Take Berlin has a delicate acoustic movement that's part found art, part elusive emotion.
The new breed of orchestral-folk bands is nothing if not precocious, and Montreal, Quebec band Little Suns is surely that, as well as spry in its rhythms and wry in its message of hope and companionship.
Multi-culturalism isn't just an ideal for Brooklyn, N.Y.-based musician Nasimiyu. It's the core of her identity and her sound, which grooves between Afrobeat, dream pop, experimental rock and neo-soul with total confidence. Judge for yourself on the new track "Raise Your Arrow (The Hunt)."
Welsh musician Rhys Viney's uses his latest project Go Life to send echoes of classic '80s synth pop, a la Depeche Mode or OMD, in new, reverberating directions.
In physics, the observer effect is well known. "You can't observe anything without changing it." So too is it in love and life. "Vanilla," a new song by Ghost Maps, the latest project of Jeff Martin of Dublin, Ireland band Halfset, captures that uncanny feeling.
"Caught like a deer wrapped up in car light," sings Brookln Dekker of Nottingham, UK duo Rue Royale, "I missed out on what was mine." It's a small but powerful epiphany on a trip that's dark, tense and very much worth taking.
Fuzz rock doesn't get much fuzzier or rockier than "Sea of White" by Vancouver, British Columbia band Tough Age. Turn it up, stand back and/or take cover.