• Elizabeth & the Catapult

    Who? Greenwich Village songbird and pianist Elizabeth Ziman is the main cog of moody, indie pop outfit Elizabeth & the Catapult. Core band members Dan Molad (drums), Pete Lalish (guitar), and Matt Wigton (bass) round out the group, though at times its numbers swell with the additional horns, strings and other orchestral elements that add layers and depth to an already lush sound. The band's self-titled EP, recorded in a basement in the middle of sub-zero Boston, arrived late last year, while a studio full-length is slated for a fall release. What's the Deal? It's tempting to toss E&TC into the Norah Jones piano-driven pop pile, particularly because of their common New York connection.

  • It's a 'Melody Day' for Caribou

    Give Caribou's Daniel Snaith a few years to grow a beard and lock himself in a dark bedroom, and he'll be the Canadian Brian Wilson. On the lush psychedelics of "Melody Day," featured on Caribou's fourth studio effort, Andorra, the seeds are being sown, as Snaith experiments with a sublime mix of trilling keyboard, low-slung sitars about to bloom into posies and a jangly, psychedelic beat that eventually heads into a beauteous choir of sunshine and light. "Melody Day / What have I done? / "Your heart is locked up tight again," Snaith sings in a wiry, vulnerable voice thrown into bells and whistles, growing in the frenzied, orchestral fury. It's a combination of The Go! Team's "Ladyflash" and Elliot Smith's "Baby Britain" on opium -- you simply need to hear it. Andorra drops Aug.

  • Rogue Wave Take a Dip in 'Lake Michigan'

    Like "California Dreaming" and possibly everything the Beach Boys have recorded, Rogue Wave's "Lake Michigan" has the unique ability to sound exactly like summer. To-and-fro guitar melodies and echoing bass lines with a happy, handclapped beat create nothing but joy and fervor -- as the band's multiple members by way of Oakland, California (one of which, drummer Pat Spurgeon is the recipient of a new kidney) sing over top another like swimming schools of fish. The orchestral arrangement of swirling synthesizers and disjointed noise effects feel like the patches of sunlight between the tune's murky depths, recalling the electric acoustics of Neil Finn, Ivy and subdued aspects of the Shins' "Phantom Limb." "Get off my style," the band repeats in tripled harmonies as whirling wultizers and overcast guitars reverberate in classic indie rock formation.

  • The Ghost is Dancing

    Who? Not another oversized Canadian indie collective! And yet the nine members of The Ghost is Dancing started off (relatively) small when Jamie Matechuk (vocals/guitar), Jim DeLuca (vocals/guitar/keyboard), Odie Ouderkirk (keyboard) and Gabby Nadeau (accordion/keyboard) -- BFF's since kindergarten -- began jamming on milk crates at their student apartment in Toronto. Eventually as friends and couch-crashers dropped by 2 French Avenue, the band's signature wall of sound intensity was born, causing the collective to reproduce like freakin' rabbits. What's the Deal? The Darkest Spark, the group's first full-length LP on Sonic Unyon, creates a sound both moody and ingratiating, recorded off the shores of Toronto Island.

  • The One AM Radio Rises Higher with "Mercury"

    Yalie electro-folk musician Hrishikesh Hiway has put himself through the emotional ringer as of late with a metaphysical voyage to India, a nasty breakup, and a recent move from Los Angeles to Rhode Island. The vulnerable electronic heights that single "Mercury" achieves -- off recent third-length This Too Shall Pass on the Dangerbird label -- can only be attributed to these transformations, further examined by in an exclusive remix by tourmates, Tempe, Arizona indie popsters Lymbyc Systym. Where the original "Mercury" matched Postal Service keyboard programming with Hiway's sad-sack vocals, Lymbyc Systym investigates its emotional core, replacing it with a heavy piano, record scratching and a jangly percussive beat. "You said you couldn't stay / You were burning up and away," Hiway laments, crackling static and a dramatic pound of piano scorching in intensity through the fog.

  • A.R.E. Weapons Head to 'Times Square'

    Espousing the virtues of tourist trap Times Square might not be very punk rock, but Manhattan foursome A.R.E. Weapons could care less. In an ode to bright lights, big cities and army recruitment, the fuzzed out superimpositions of the boisterous band against notable New York landmarks are like a grey scale collage of rock. "I know that it's boring up there / I know that there's tourists up there / but right now I really don't caaaaare," shouts vocalist Brain F McPeck as a thudding keyboard, sizzling guitars and swishing drums -- courtesy of bandmates Eric Rapin, Paul Sevigny and Matthew McAuley -- nod in musical agreement. The band's posing against graffited walls are a slice of the Big Apple, adding to the filthy fury their single produces. Modern Mayhem, A.R.E. Weapons' third studio LP, is slated for a fall release via Defend Music. Now Watch This: A.R.E.

  • Marissa Nadler Will Break Your 'Diamond Heart'

    Boston balladeer Marissa Nadler has been grouped with the psych-folk "New Weird America" movement (Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart, Animal Collective) since her 2004 debut album, Ballads of Living and Dying. And yet, throughout the 26 year-old's spooky-goth career trajectory (she once set a Edgar Allen Poe poem to music) -- one thing is clear -- she has the pipes to make the bizarre sound beautiful. Her third studio long-player, Songs III: Birds on the Water, was issued via the U.K. imprint, Peacefrog, earlier this year, but stateside fans will finally see its domestic release August 7th thanks to Kemado. On "Diamond Heart" Nadler's ghostly mezzo-soprano wail is augmented by a peculiar acoustic strumming style and baleful snatches of mandolin -- a recipe part Angelo Badalamenti and part Kate Bush.

  • 'Fly Away' with Little Wings

    No, it's not a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover. Instead Kyle Field, better known as Carpinteria, California's Little Wings adds his own twist to the rock canon, by re-envisioning the title as a sparse, pastoral piano ballad. With contributions from a backing band that includes members of YACHT, "Free Bird" takes flight softly with the grace of Field's sweet falsetto, feathery drums that seem to brush by and a piano filtering in and out with a chorus of harmonizing singers -- "I'm just a free bird/totally free," Field dreams. "One day you'll see me/singing from my tree." The airy arrangement of folksy acoustic guitar and slight rhythm seems to recall another avian, of the Nick Drake variety, producing a single that maybe you won't hold a lighter for, but perhaps lighting a candle and closing your eyes might be a bit more appropriate. Little Wings' seventh long-player Soft Pow'r takes flight Sept.

  • Kweller Continues on His 'Way'

    "If Sha Sha is Coca Cola...On My Way is whisky," promised the cherubic Ben Kweller, clad in an all-denim ensemble on the second night (July 31) of his three-night residency at Brooklyn's Southpaw. Following a set from the perpetually disheveled, quirky crooner Adam Green, a mix of locals in madras shorts and flip flops, glassy-eyed preteen girls, and the occasional eight year old, clutched their complimentary lyric books to their hearts, and awaited the Tom Petty-like balladry, coming of age story that Kweller admitted, is all about the city that never sleeps. "My Apartment" was the first to make believers out of everyone as mad shout outs to the F-train (woo!), his cat (Kweller's veterinarian was in attendance), and New York being "the place/where the sidewalks know my face" were dished to an exuberant audience.

  • We're 'Hot' for 1990s

    "They play rock'n'roll like a blonde gets out of a car!" touts Glasgow bred trio, 1990s, on their official MySpace page, but thing is that these sharp-tongued Scots with the matching haircuts ain't lyin'. "Hot Feet," featured on the band's U.K. extended player, 2007's You Made Me Like It, is as iconic and appealing as a Hilton sister exiting a Hummer. And we mean that in the best way possible. Lead singer (and ex-Yummy Fur bandmate of Alex Kapranos) Jackie McKeown has a Scottish scowl that perfectly compliments the Stooges-like arrangement, circa 1969, of a few power chords, hip-thrusting bass line, and edgy, crashing drums care of bandmates Michael McGaughrin and Jamie McMorrow. His deal?

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