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.

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.

Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band – She Can See Me

A well-formed little nugget of guitar pop. Plenty of energy, cheer and oh-woahs to keep things moving along. A bit OK Go, a bit Brendan Benson, a bit all sorts of stuff you could name.

Night Terrors of 1927 ft Tegan & Sara – When You Were Mine

Very much consistent with Tegan & Sara’s new happy-go-retro vibe, this rather Echo & The Bunnymen offering is oh so urban hipster love story. Happy hipsters? I just don’t know.

Pixies – Ring the Bell

Pixies trademarks are still in place, including the whine, heavy syncopation and unexpected chords. But, overall, this is a highly structured and produced package suggesting a degree of inner peace. Pretty decent.

The War on Drugs – Under the Pressure

Smooth, rolling, pop-rock soundtrack to urban detachment. Mood and instrumentation echo Echo and the Bunnymen. The female voice brings up the mood a little, although personally I could live without the slight country twang.