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"Chairman Meow" may have a silly title, but it also has an irresistible rhythm and a subtle pop hook. You can hear how much fun Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion had recording it with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone.

Hailing from Jacksonville, Fla. the duo of Jonathan Berlin and Jared Boowser, aka Sunbears!, makes glorious pop music, somewhere between the Flaming Lips and Primal Scream at their loudest and lushest. New track "He's a Lie! He's Not Real!" will test the outer limits of your sound system.

St. Louis band Brothers Lazaroff is nothing if not prolific. But despite (or maybe because of) the brothers' work ethic, they consistently craft music with soulful intelligence. The sweeping, almost Robbie Robertson-esque "Battle Hymn" is the latest case in point.

"I'd sing modern songs, so different from the rest," croons Justin Jahnke of Chicago band Midnite on Pearl Beach. He doesn't mean it, not really; the sounds hearkens back to '70s progressive rock -- including a nice synth break -- while still sounding very much in the melodic moment.

Monday, 23 September 2013 09:06

Song of the Day: 'Kidnap Me' by Cruiser

Fall may be settling in, but there's still time to enjoy the summer, and "Kidnap Me," the latest from Philadelphia's Cruiser is a choice soundtrack for these final, carefree days in the sun.

As good and catchy and sunny as "Make It Together" may be, it really sounds nothing like the ethereal, psychedelic country for which the Beachwood Sparks are so revered. Dating from the band's earliest days together, the heretofore unknown track is a lovely way to close out the summer.

Thursday, 19 September 2013 07:31

Song of the Day: 'Somebody's Baby' by Free Energy

You probably remember Fast Times at Ridgemont High" -- maybe you even lived it -- and the biggest hit from the soundtrack, Jackson Browne's "Somebody's Baby." The guys in Free Energy weren't in high school in the '80s, but they know how to capture the sing-and-clap-along joy of it all.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013 07:00

Song of the Day: '7X3' by Starlight Girls

With the fuzzy, rattling sound of a vintage boombox gone haywire, "7X3" by Brooklyn, N.Y. band Starlight Girls leads the adventurous listener on a late-night prowl through the dark side of the boroughs.

If you're looking for a better country songwriter working today than Robbie Fulks, you'd have to turn to names like Lauderdale, Haggard or Crowell. But Fulks comes from the alternative side of the tracks; yet his songs, like "When You Get to the Bottom," have the timeless feel of pure country, at its hardest and most honest best.

It's been three years since Seattle's the Head and the Heart won over both with its self-titled debut. The folk-pop band is back with "Let's Be Still" this fall; lead single "Shake" has a bold, danceable but still deeply heartfelt sound.

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The Driftaways are a seven-man reggae band hailing from St. Louis. Their E.P. "Don't Hide" is full of high-energy jams and groovy improvisations that give the band's music a good-time vibe. Download their…