Chicago band Speck Mountain plays loud, thick, shoe-gazey rock with an aching lyrical core. "Lies," an otherwise unreleased B-side, has a heavy sound, yet somehow it still soars.
Beginning with clacking percussion and airy harmonies, ending with a sprawling, psychedelic dreamscape, "Langsom Dans" by Gliss frames an artful study in contrasts.
On my radio show Hindsight, I spin a wide range of indie pop and rock from all sides of the pond. This year offered a lot of great songs from which to choose.
U.S. Royalty -- perhaps named as such because lead singer John Thornley's swagger is decidedly Mick-Jagger-inspired and bassist Jacob Michael is most certainly this century's Slash, at least in terms of hair and rocking out -- does not, at first glance and listen, make sense.
Relying on simple melodies layered with spacey pedal effects and the rare skuzzy riff, El Ten Eleven creates songs that play like an ideal mixtape, both for cool kids who want nerd cred and the nerds who are, like the Adam and Nathan of one notorious song, totally kickass.