The Soon-Another likens its music to "world indie pop," and that's not unbelievable, if the world in question is filled with hand claps (lots and lots of them), finely textured synths and charming lead vocals, as sensual as they are whimsical. Listen to "Like You Like" and make up your own genre descriptor.
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.
Echoes of girl-group pop reverberate through the music of Montreal singer and songwriter Kate Cooper (known for her work with An Horse and Iron On), especially "Flood," with its contemporary wall-of-sound production and bracing chorus.
When I asked the members of Middle Class Fashion how involved they felt they were in the St. Louis music scene, most were hesitant to answer. "I guess we're pretty involved," bassist Brian McClelland said apprehensively. "Yeah, I guess so," singer Jenn Malzone added.
Somewhere between the Velvet Underground and the Pretenders (notably in singer Nina Donghia's Chrissie Hynde-esque sensuality), Coke Weed puts its own seductive spin on guitar-chimed indie pop.
Hooks come in all manner of shapes, sizes and sounds. They could be an organ line, a clicking pattern of drum sticks, a thrumming bass line, a single vowel, repeated. The Crookes undestand that, and on "Afterglow" they pull out all the indie-pop stops.
Hopping club to club mainly throughout Lower Manhattan, N.Y., save for a handful of shows in Brooklyn, is the only way to absorb the CMJ Music Marathon's seemingly endless array of music. And if not taken in stride, one might easily fade before the finish line.
Juxtaposition can be a risky move in music, but San Franciso band the Visibles make it work, contrasting Justin Goldman's barbed-wire voice with a giddy, playful, guitar-pop arrangement on a catchy single called "Clarendon Hills."
There's no getting around it: "On the Wings of a Bug" by Borrowed Beams of Light (Adam Brock and friends of Charlottesville, Va.) sounds a lot like vintage Lindsey Buckingham; there's also no getting around how enthusiastically Brock channels that influence into something fresh and fetching.