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.
Brooklyn, New York's Monogold takes a looping, dreamy, quasi-electronic approach on the new track "Under Daisies." Flower power has rarely sounded so contemporary or so lush.
Southern California is what you might call a pretty big place; trying to capture its spirit in song is a mug's game. But that doesn't stop irresistably sunny, indie-pop band the Rebel Light from making a more than game effort on the '60s and '00s-splashed track "Strangers."
A surging and slightly menacing indie and psych-damaged, power-pop track, "Come On Back" by Brooklyn, New York band Isadora begs to be played loud enough to blow away the blues.
Singer and songwriter Dave McPherson, best known for his work with UK alt-metal band InMe, demonstrates the power of his plaintive voice, furtive guitar and searching lyrics on the new solo acoustic track "Nothing Is Enough."
The pristine and rugged landscape of Bitterroot Valley, Montana provides the context for Skye Steele's evocative vision of folk music. Droning fiddle, sparkling banjo, drifting piano and streams of vocals create a yearning soundscape on the song "Hiromitsu & Yuko."
If you're not hearing echoes of the Smiths in cross-country (as in Brooklyn, New York and Austin, Texas) band Little Cinema, you should probably see an otolaryngologist. But new track "When You Think of Me," is more than just a jangle-wave homage. It's state-of-the-art, melancholy indie pop.
Jackson Browne wrote "These Days" when he just a teenager, but the song has become something of a standard, a song that reveals new feelings and meanings every time it's sung with soul. And that's just what Chicago-based singer-songwriter (and Fort Frances frontman) David McMillin does on this new solo acoustic version.