The Soft Moon
Breathe the Fire (Captured Tracks)
We haven’t heard a gothic-beach-party number this spookily satisfying since we donned our best Wednesday Addams finery and moped down to the Batcave back in 1982.
Foxes in Fiction
15 Ativan (Song for Erika) (Don’t Die Wondering)
You might like to pop 15 Ativan yourself and drift away to the sound of Warren Hildebrand’s narcoleptic dream pop. Actually, don’t do that. It would probably put you in a coma, which would make listening to the song rather difficult.
In Heat (Lovepump United)
If My Bloody Valentine had opted to pick up synths instead of guitars, the result might have been Health. But only if they’d also done a lot of speed and developed an unhealthy obsession with Big Black.
Go Berserk (Last Gang) Known for his work with the King Khan and BBQ Show, Mark Sultan does dirty garage rock just as well on his own. The tastier-than-KC-Masterpiece guitar licks are definitely something worth going berserk over.
With a name like Owl Drugs, this band would have some serious balls if it tried to get away with not calling itself experimental. We’re not sure if they’re nocturnal by nature or if some- thing else is keeping them up at night.
Hazelnut Moon (Eyes & Ears)
Former Maplewood Lane member Willoughby may sing about sinking into despair, but with its whistled hook and its backing of banjo and trumpet, "Hazelnut Moon" is a deceptively celebratory-sounding lament.
Latin America (Young Turks)
A loping trip-hop beat and creepy synths impart a darkness-at-noon vibe here—and as for the title, let’s just say that the unmistakably milk-white Canucks in Holy Fuck can forget about receiving engraved invitations to this year’s Latin Grammys.
The Dead Trees
Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird of Paradox) (Milan)
Afraid that its petrifying name sounded a little too sombre, the band tries to make up for it by playing upbeat tracks like this John Lennon cover. We’re still waiting on that song about the lush foliage of Oregon, though.
Back to Back
We like the dancing-with-myself vibe of this melancholy dying-love lament so much that we won’t even talk about how the whole wolf-band-name thing is so 2005.
Sometimes Things Don’t Match Up
West Chester, Ohio’s Andrew Clark whips up a bittersweet little electro-pop ditty for everyone who ever wished Hot Chip would stop mucking about and just give us something to dance to.
She & Him
Everyone fell in love with Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer, even though it was a crappy film. But when she’s singing alongside indie-folkie M. Ward, she just shines brighter.