Crafty and intricate, the music of Forsthays has undeniable echoes of Frank Ocean while still venturing into wholly new, wholly eclectic electro-R&B vistas. Case in point: the new track "Better Off Now."
Des Moines, Iowa band the River Monks take folk foundations -- banjo, guitar and close harmonies -- and then build and build from there, creating a mysterious, almost psychedelic sound on the new track "Beasts."
When you decide to take on a cover of Tears for Fears' best-known song, you'd better have a concept, and that concept best not be tongue in cheek. Vancouver band Bear Mountain somehow manages to put its own playful, experimental stamp on "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" while still paying homage to the sing-along catchiness that made the song such a pleasure to begin with.
"Strugglin'" by I Am the Albatross is more than just another lo-fi foray into gothic country. The Austin-based trio has sure-footed, bluesy musicality and a great Leonard Cohen quote to get you brooding along.
On "The Weight of It All," call-and-response vocals and a surging, guitar-lit chorus enrich the piano-based confessions of Newfoundland-born, Halifax, Canada-based singer-songwriter Kim Harris.
For his new album "Draws Blood," Cape Breton, Canada songwriter Carleton Stone enlisted Howie Beck (Feist) and Jason Collett (Broken Social Scene) to assist in producing, but the tense, prickly tone of "Climbing up the Walls" is still very much his own.
The tones and textures of 'Garden,' a new song by Owls of the Swamp (aka Australian songwriter Pete Uhlenbruch), seem to disappear like breath off a fresh razor. But somehow the tranquility of the track lingers long after it's gone.
Cajita started out as the one-man band of Jay Chakravorty, though recently the project has taken on a broader but still achingly intimate quality. One listen to "The Stars" is enough to succumb to the sound.
"Basement Lights" by Sleepers Work -- an electronic project by Brooklyn, N.Y. multi-instrumentalist and producer William Flynn, known for his work with St. Vincent and Acrylics -- flows through elastic minimalism to find some subtle emotional depths.
Overlake, the creation of Tom Barrett and Lysa Opfer, puts its alternative rock passions -- a love for Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine -- to gloriously noisy purpose on the new track "Disappearing."