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.

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.

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.

The Cribs – An Ivory Hand

Immediately hearkens to early Weezer – and behold, this was produced by Ric Ocasek who oversaw the Blue album. Straight-up, straight-ahead, noisy, melodic, 6/8 pop-rock of the mid-90s. Weezer don’t do it no more and I’m glad to find a band that does.

KONGOS – I Want to Know

This blend of world music vibes, modern instrumentation and a big choral presence reminds of Toto – sorry, don’t hit me. A charismatic composition and deft arrangement of elements that, in less-skilled hands, could easily have jarred or come off as twee.

Death Cab for Cutie – Black Sun

If you’re familiar with the Death Cab oeuvre, this will sound like every other Death Cab
song you’ve heard. If you’re just arriving, it’s warm, mellow, mid-paced indie-alternative
with the impression of depth.

Ex Cops – Black Soap

Uber cool and cruisy track heralding the duo’s sophomore release and showcasing their¬†chemistry and talent. At the accessible end of indie dreampop, it grabs this nineties kid (I¬†want to say Garbage at a Smashing Pumpkins pace) while remaining both contemporary and timeless.