Crumplehorns – So You’re Mine

An early deadringer for Bettie Serveert’s Ray Ray Rain, this one becomes 40% twee pop (see Holiday), 20% new wave revival (see Pulsars) and 60% religiously earnest undertones, all wrapped up in the wavy pastry of a home recording.

Man With A Mission – Seven Deadly Sins

Anthemic pop-rocker from the Shibuya crew, more synthy than their semi-nu-metal rep suggests. They’re known for always wearing wolf masks, which says they’re older than they want you to know and that suggests they can craft a song.

Pedro Mercado & Karada – Et Voila

Chuffing along like an upbeat Groove Armada, this was my introduction to “tech house” and I don’t mind it at all. Smooth, sweet, warm and motivating, like a mug of hot chocolate.

Alabama Shakes – Don’t Wanna Fight

It ain’t easy to sound this lo-fi. Lovely old-radio ambience, earthy crack-and-fizz in the drums and terrific fretless bass sound. A soulful product seasoned with disco and just enough of today’s production techniques to ensure adequate drive.

Carl Barat And The Jackals – A Storm Is Coming

The latest from the former Libertines frontman opens up with sublime, dirty guitars and good, raw energy. Deftly manages to sound hooky but not predictable, historically-savvy but not retro or kitsch, and British while avoiding the bloody Beatles. Well worth your time.

Incubus – Absolution Calling

Incubus have been around for a very long time now, and, like other old hands, their brand of funk/rock has graduated from exploratory to polished. Well put-together and rhythmically interesting, but not exactly attention-grabbing or memorable.

Modest Mouse – The Best Room

Modest Mouse are still burning their own trail through the indie cosmos, sounding a bit more pugnacious and clear-eyed these days. This likeable track wastes no time getting to the point and maintains its intensity across some highly variable topography.