As the principal songwriter of Dawes, Taylor Goldsmith has long been exploring the poetry of quotidian life; with the band Cassorla (a guest artist-fueled project helmed by in-demand guitarist Ben Cassorla) he takes that poetry into fuzzy and pissed-off territory with the safe-to-blast-anywhere-but-work track "Future One."
With "Paradise Place" Glasgow band We Came From Wolves puts its own distinctively crunchy and weighty take on the Scottish guitar pop sound.
Justin Timberlake isn't the easiest (or even most likely) artist to cover, especially a newer track and especially in an ambient electronic style, but Coldair, aka Warsaw-based multi-instrumentalist Tobiasz Biliński, takes JT's "Strawberry Bubblegum" into a whole new moody pop realm.
A heady and headstrong take on new-wavy art rock, "The Letterbomb" by Brooklyn, N.Y. band Milagres follows through on its punchy title.
The rather baroque title "The Dead Leaves (Danse Macabre Midnight)" belies the easy-going melody and fleet guitar and keyboard figures that hone the song's hook. As it all builds to a fuzzy collision, it's clear Modern Rivals have more than just bookish dream pop on their minds.
"I don't want to walk down memory lane," howls Joel Williams of the band Champ. "Burnt Alive" is an anti-nostalgic declaration, though the collision of grunge and febrile pop harmonies more than suggests that this San Diego foursome isn't ready to kiss off the rock 'n' roll past just yet.
Led by Reese Beeman and James Adkisson formerly of psych-rock band the 7% Solution, and featuring singer Lisa Lipkin, Austin, Texas' HeadShy packs up its R.E.M. and Primal Scream record collection and heads for dreamier pop terrain on "The Light That Guides the Blind."
Opening like a love-lorn waltz and then surging into psychedelic noise, "Good Guy" is a literal swan song for Lakefield (the group is dissolving) and will likely make any fan of Bettie Serveert or Wye Oak wish the Vancouver band could have stuck around a little longer.
As ambivalent farewell songs go, "Numb and Blue" by Hayley Reardon (who is based out of Boston and is all of 17) cuts to the beautiful, bittersweet quick.
Once known as Supermoon, St. Louis band Aquitaine returns with the second edition of "American Pulverizer," turning up and filling the sonic skies -- as that original name presaged -- with heavy psych-influenced rock.