Memphis, Tennesse isn't generally thought of as a hotbed for chamber-folk music, but it depends on your vision of "chamber" and "folk." The vision of Memphis Dawls -- featuring a varied cast of musicians, including Holly Cole, Jana Misener and Krista Wroten -- is as inspired by classic Memphis soul as it is the complex, emotional pop of Big Star (the group recorded in the hallowed halls of Ardent studios). The new song "Please Don't Leave Me Now" expresses a string-drenched yearning that defies narrow definitions.
All kinds of '60s pop illuminate "Home Again," a new track by Dam Gila (aka Adam Gil of Chicago band YAWN): Beach Boyish harmonies, Byrdsian guitars and T. Rexian proto-glam.
New York City band Hollands (husband-and-wife duo John-Paul and Jannina Norpoth) lets it all rip -- clever lyrics, charming harmonies, a string interlude, a whole lot of groove and even more fuzz -- on the new track "Great White Shark." A song with so many elements shouldn't have so much bite, but somehow its orchestral-rock teeth sink in deep.
The Swedish duo of Ola Frick and Carina Johansson, who've been making music together since the late '90s as Moonbabies, have decisively departed from their shoegazy origins with the beautifully-tailored, incessantly-pulsing pop of their latest single "Chorus."
The anti-SEF band S features Jenn Ghetto from long-lost, pre-Band of Horses cult group Carissa's Wierd with production assistance from Chris Walla from very-much-not-a-cult-band Death Cab for Cutie. "Brunch" is as delicious and darkly satisfying as indie guitar pop gets.
Opening with guazy folk-tronica and shifting into a tense but still spectral indie-rock sound, "Riddles" by Portland, Oregon band Old Wave (formerly known as Adam Brock 4; good call on changing names) is nothing if not hard to solve, even as it's quite an inviting listen.
The band Young Tongue surely knows from whence comes the phrase "heavy metal" (that would be Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild"), but there's nothing pedantic (let alone metal) about the new track "Heavy Metal Thunder." It's a blast of classic, harmony-and-riff-driven rock 'n' roll.