With a stuttering rhythm track and a drifting vocal mix, "Lost Winter" by Clara Hill isn't quite rock, funk, pop or electronic. Instead it draws from all those genres to create an original soundscape and a dream-swept mood.
With his latest configuration Dream Shake and new single "Buffy," songwriter James Nee, best known for his work with We Are Trees, turns up and charges ahead into garage-pop territory, and slays some personal vampires along the way.
If an archetype of post-punk art rock exists, the band Soviet Soviet --from the Adriatic coast of Pesaro, Italy -- has tapped straight into it. The new track "Together" has shades of Oingo Boingo and Joy Division, and dark, driving shades all its own.
With doo-wop (as in literal "doooooo-woppppp") background vocals and crunchy guitar, "Like a Fool" by San Francisco band Big Tree isn't playing the fool. It's playing for dance-ready, pop-rock keeps.
There's nothing false or pre-fabricated about "Plastic Hearts," the latest from Chicago band Fort Frances. The track races along on a sincere storyline and a sound that will appeal to indie and straight-ahead rock fans alike.
Algerian/Australian musician Ilias has crafted a lovely, new, guitar-based instrumental simply called "September Memory." You can almost hear the changing of the leaves in every melodic turn.
Loaded with eerie and fuzzy touches -- including one of the meanest and weirdest guitar solos of the year -- "I Don't Feel the Same" by Los Angeles band the Black Watch storms through a psychedelic, bitterly personal landscape.
Crunching and surging straight out of the loudest post-'90s corners of alternative rock, "Be Ready When I Say Go" by Emperors will connect with any fan of Built to Spill or the Pixies.
Orchestrated by Ellis Ludwig-Leone and highlighting the sky-high vocals of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, "Sonsick" by San Fermin has a brass-glinting sheen and the bigger-than-big-band feel of pop life.
The name the Bynars evokes the binary foundation of its synth pop (not to mention an obscure "Star Trek" reference) and yet a track like "Everyone Is Here" has more emotion than most of the digi trend-chasing crowd.