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"I hope you know this song is all I've got left," sings Matthew Squires on "Echo," and you almost believe him. "It's the final thread tying down my mind." But the song, while serious about the meaning of music, is also relentlessly giddy, even silly, with the quirkily rhythmic sound of his band the Learning Disorders suggesting that if this tune really is the end, they'll all go down smiling.

Austin, Texas' Charlie Belle, a teenage folk-pop trio, seems to have a clear mission: to get audiences singing and clapping along. The band's new single, "Get to Know," will do just that.

With echoes of Arctic Monkeys and Oasis, South Wales-based band the Marks Cartel turn up the Brit-rock sound with the new track "Where Do I Go?"

Written by Dave Hamilton and Clarence Paul, and recorded by Marvin Gaye in 1964, "Purple Snowflakes" isn't known as a holiday classic, even though it really should be. St. Louis band Rough Shop updates the dreamy, jazzy, psychedelic sound with a cover that's both faithful and fully inspired.

"Technicolor Souls" by Flight of Ryan comes pretty much as advertised: huge, playful, wide-spectrum pop, both digital and analog, that would sound as welcome at an outdoor festival as it would beeping and beeping and roaring out of your earbuds.

It's not often one encounters exciting, experimental folk-rock from Prembrokeshire, Wales, but that's just what one discovers in the band Little Arrow and the dense, sound-shifting "Medicine Moon."

You can have your Pandoras, Spotifies and Pirate Bays: St. Louis rock band Bruiser Queen, based in the duo of Morgan Nusbaum and Jason Potter, still believes in the power of good, old, analog frequency modulation to thrill and inspire -- and there's nothing quite like hearing a song like "On the Radio" on, yes, the radio. But a download is pretty sweet too.

It takes more than gumption to cover one of the most perfect of all rock 'n' roll records. Tucson, Arizona-based musician Brian Lopez doesn't overdo it on his version of Phil Spector and the Roneettes' "Be My Baby"; he lets his expressive voice and personal vision of the wall of sound make this baby his own.

With layers of acoustic and electric guitars, Boston's Sleepyhead invokes classic guitar-chime bands like R.E.M. and twee-pop groups like Camera Obscura, but with a distinctively arch tone. "Liberation Theology" testifies to the band's melodic ambitions and lightly-worn influences.

Monday, 17 November 2014 07:00

Song of the Day: 'No One Is Lost' by Stars

If you didn't know better, you'd think "No One Is Lost," the title track to the new album by Canadian band Stars, was cut in a closed-down gay discotheque in Montreal. Turns out you really didn't know better, and the song (like the album) was in fact recorded just above said disco. It's a state-of-the-art, dance-pop track from a band that still has some surprises up its glitter-covered sleeves.

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Karate Bikini - A Simpler Sugar

Wed November 26
Karate Bikini is an eight piece ensemble who's members hail from St. Louis and the metro area. They are a large band with a large sound. Their latest album A Simpler Sugar is full of upbeat pop songs,…