1. Malachai – “Snowflake”
“Mal-a-kai” consists of a Bristol duo with deeply dug roots in dubstep, hip-hop, and ‘60s psychability. This comes across with a grooving riff and that belongs in a period rock anthem of this caliber. With Portishead’s Geoff Barrow at the producing helm, Malachai’s debut, Ugly Side of Love, drops on April 19th, via the British powerhouse label, Domino.
2. The Ruby Suns – “Haunted House”
Sounding like Animal Collective singing over School of Seven Bells, multi-instrumentalist Ryan McPhun fills the air with glitzy musical one-liners and melodious harmonies that lead to an ethereal breakdown. The multi-instrumentalist’s sophomore effort, Fight Softly, is out March 2 on Sub Pop.
3. Atlas Sound – “Shelia (CRACKS Remix)”
French DJs, CRACKS, takes Bradford Cox’s veiled love letter to a glam-pop realm, muffling the lyrics even more and bringing in a whole rhythmic percussion section for a more fulfilling ramp-up. As our friends at I Guess I’m Floating put it, it’s the perfect song if you’ve been “looking for a good companion to this weekend’s drug-taking.”
4. The Watson Twins – “U-N-Me”
The heartfelt lyrics of the twins are so honest they almost reach out of your speakers to stroke your cheek. It might be short and sweet, but this single from their recently-released sophomore album, Talking To You, Talking To Me, proves that they don’t need Jenny Lewis to fuel their hotfire.
5. Sunderbans – “Road Kill”
Upon first listen, it’s no surprise that Sunderbans means “beautiful forest” in Bengali. Also no surprise that the London-based trio is signed to the consistently amazing Young and Lost Club (home to Noah and the Whale and Magic Wands).
6. Marina & the Diamonds – “Oh No!”
The tenth track from Marina’s much hyped about debut, The Family Jewels, is a perfectly mixed mug of unpredictable vocals over a predictably catchy chord progression. Her ruminations on materialism and identity are for nought, however, because she’s definitely here to stay (especially with her freakishly creative visual renditions). Her album is out next week on the 15th.
7. The Radio Dept. – “Never Follow Suit”
With a shaker-heavy slappin’ of da bass intro, the Swedish trio’s second single from Clinging To A Scheme, which should hands down win best album cover for 2010, features their signature dream-popsicle vox and crooning synths. Talk about a cross-genre masterpiece.
8. Lo-Fi-Fnk – “Want U”
This may not necessarily be the first year of abbrevs as norm, but like the Watson Twins’ single from before, the electrodynamic duo’s straightforward, honest lyrics are great layovers to the instrumentation. In this case, there is a weaving bass line that drives the synth-happy melody with a mindfuck of an introduction. This, in a way, is a reminder to keep watch for the release date of their upcoming sophomore.
9. Ortolan – “Sticky Situation”
This all-girl band from New Jersey wouldn’t give two shits about Jersey Shore not shooting within their namesake state lines anymore, or the degenerate show at all, for that matter. Instead, Ortolan sounds like a twin sister of Regina Spektor who was born and raised in London. Their lyrics are silly but honest, much like Kimya Dawson’s. The debut, Time On A String, is out on March 9.
10. Stornoway – “You Don’t Know Anything”
The British quartet’s background plucking and layered harmonies overshadow the wintry bleak lyrics, but purposely. Lines such as “I’ve got my head down in my books/I’ve been reading all weekend/But I don’t learn anything” may remind you of your college days. Why did we ever think reading in bed was a good idea?
*Or download the whole mix.