When most people hear mention of Hanson, they immediately picture the fresh-faced, white-bread teen brothers who busted onto the pop scene in 1997 with their first major label release, "Middle of Nowhere," which went 4x Platinum in the U.S. and featured the Grammy-nominated, sun-shiny hit "MMMBop."
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.
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.
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.
The new track "Inside My Head" by Parkington Sisters (Sarah, Ariel, Nora and Rose) blends sisterly harmonies and precisely orchestrated strings for a fairly irresistible pop sound, part new wave, part girl group.
Dreamy and sultry, with echoes of classic British folk-rock, "I Think I Knew" finds Cate Le Bon sailing through a contemplative duet with Mike Hadreas, aka Perfume Genius.
With a throbbing but airy electronic soundscape behind him, Jamison (no last name) of Abbotsford, British Columbia's Teen Daze sounds like he's headed straight into the heart of a lovelorn dream. And the sound of "Listen" will take you with him.
"Chairman Meow" may have a silly title, but it also has an irresistible rhythm and a subtle pop hook. You can hear how much fun Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion had recording it with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone.