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Swedish band Blind Lake is Lotta Wenglén (guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, vocals) and Måns Wieslander (guitar, drums, bass, vocals), a duo who, on the new track "Walk Beside Me," seems less interested in making synth-pop singles than in making psychedelic, ambient and, yes, synth-pop soundtracks for contemporay film noirs that exist only in their and their listeners minds.

The brash and funky rock of "Miracle" by Los Angeles band Island Apollo seems tailor-made for the festival circuit -- but the dynamic production and arrangement -- shuffling between horn charts and lo-fi acoustic interludes -- also sounds great on headphones.

What makes for a classic rock lyric? Effortlessly revealing multiple meanings at once. Take the opening of "Out of the Gray" by Austin, Texas band Moonlight Towers: "Like a house on fire / I can't watch you burn / There's no justice served / And no lesson learned." And what makes for a classic rock recording? Just about everything heard in this catchy, melodic, guitar-and-harmony-driven tune.

There's nothing reclusive about the elegant sound of Hermit's Victory. The new track "Night Owl" serves as a warm invitation to saunter and sway with the Charleston, South Carolina group through a jazzy, post-lounge nightscape.

Best Girl Athlete features the voice and songwriting of Katie Buchan, a Scottish teenager who displays an uncanny gift for lush, classically-infused folk pop (not to mention a knowing Burt Bacharach and Hal David reference), as beautifully displayed on the new track "He's Calling Me Over."

Tuesday, 24 February 2015 08:00

Song of the Day: 'It's Time' by Hidden Charms

Though they may have the distinctively swinging and gritty R&B sound that producer Nick Waterhouse has made his sonic signature, UK band Hidden Charms more than finds its own voice on "It's Time."

Monday, 23 February 2015 08:00

Song of the Day: 'Beloved Devotion' by KDH

We confess to being powerless before a band that combines Southern rock and garage rock -- and also uses three of our call letters in its name. KDH's "Beloved Devotion" just might inspire a little bit of that in you as well.

"Summer Lawns," a quintessentially unseasonal track from Mike Pace and the Child Actors, just might have enough guitar and organ overdrive (as well as some sneaky acoustic guitar sparkle) to melt away your winter blues.

Friday, 20 February 2015 08:00

Song of the Day: 'Blameless' by CaveofswordS

What first impresses on "Blameless," the new single by St. Louis-based electronic-music group CaveofswordS, is simply the melody: the way it flows in and out and around and through the host of percussive and synthetic textures. The melody is carried by Sunyatta McDermott's seraphic voice, but it's also absolutely inseparable from each musical element. In short: "Blameless" is glorious.

The Beyoncé/Beck mashup "Single Loser (Put a Beck on It)" was probably inevitable. As it turns out, Beckyoncé's track serves as a pretty catchy (how could it not be?) and playfully ironic commentary on the whole Kanye vs. Beck Grammy kerfuffle.

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