Imperial Teen, "Runaway"
Since the start of 2012 I've been fighting the urge to leave the city for a few days, and today I'm caving and doing it. My on-the-road soundtrack comes courtesy of these San Francisco indie pop masters, who will release their fifth album at the end of the month. The first single, the unabashedly sunshine-y track "Runaway," is perfect for blasting from your car windows while you hightail it out of town. Oh, and because they've printed the lyrics along with a sneak preview of the track (genius move), there's really no excuse not to sing along.
--LIZA DARWINPlants and Animals, "Lightshow"
Finally, patience is paying off! After a two year break, the Montreal rock trio is gearing up to release their third album, The End of That,
in February. Get a taste of what's to come in the strummy jam "Lightshow," which is equal parts scuzzy overlays, yearning vocals, and choppy guitar riffs. It's the kind of song that makes me want to go camping, only so I can sing it around the campfire. --LDThe Shins, "Simple Song"
Maybe it's nostalgia, but whenever I hear James Mercer's slightly whiney tenor, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. No, the Shins didn't "change my life," like they did Natalie Portman's character in Garden State (the soundtrack was the best part about that movie, in my opinion), but Chutes Too Narrow was one of the defining albums of my first years in New York post-college, so it will always hold a special place in my record collection. "Simple Song," the first single from their upcoming album, Port of Morrow, proves that Mercer and friends are still at the top of their game, crafting perfect pop that, while "simple," is full of heart.
--ELLEN CARPENTERTodd Terje, “Inspector Norse”
I haven’t stopped listening to “Inspector Norse” since I acquired my copy of It’s the Arps, Terje’s newest EP, earlier this week. His peculiar sense of melody really shines here, as a fluttering synth workout blossoms into full-on bliss atop a swinging rhythm. Take note! This is by far one of the most special and musical dance tracks I've heard in ages.
--MATT CASHThe 2 Bears – “Work”
Joe Goddard (Hot Chip) and Raf Daddy are The 2 Bears, a guise that finds the two bringing some essential elements of their styles together: Youthful club music (that’s actually good) and pride for their hometown of London. “Work” starts off with toy-like piano stabs reminiscent of Richie Haven’s classic “Going Back to My Roots,” and quickly segues into Goddard's undeniably catchy vocal, telling us that “We gotta work”--a message we all could use every now and again. Tune! --MC