1. The High Wire – “The Midnight Bell”
With vocals that are airily (and eerily) akin to AIR and Flunk, “The Midnight Bell” wouldn’t be out of place in a Sofia Coppola movie. The single from this London-based trio is out March 1 and their debut later that month.
2. Baby Monster – “She Comes Alive”
With electronic rain droplets falling on reverb-soaked vocals, “She Comes Alive” is inexplicably funky fresh. Big Stereo‘s first signees have made something visceral. It’s like accidentally walking outside during a downpour without an umbrella. And then seeing your significant other. And then forgetting about the weather.
3. Holy Ghost! – “On Board (Friendly Fires)”
Returning the favor for Friendly Fires, NY’s Holy Ghost! covers one of the highlight tracks from the St. Albans, UK trio’s self-titled debut. The nü-disco pairing of childhood friends Nick Millhiser and Alex Markel takes it in a different direction, mellowing out the vocals and upping the ante of the dance-meter, further cementing their place in the DFA roster.
4. First Aid Kit – “I Met Up With A King”
This first single from the Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Soderber is the epitome of a folk-coustic gem. “I Met Up With A King” is a beautifully harmonious, feel-good ballad that is a cure-all for all sorts of heartbreak.
5. The Deadly Syndrome – “Wingwalker”
With the body of a riffy guitar line clothed in a thumping bass drum beat, “Wingwalker” is a mostly instrumental song that relies on alternating oohs and the occasional quippy verse. The LA-grown four-piece started off on Dim Mak Records (Steve Aoki’s namesake label), but are now slated to self-release their sophomore, Nolens Volens on March 23.
6. Yes Giantess – “The Ruins”
Almost like a 21st century boy band, Yes Giantess took the blogosphere by storm with the “Tuff N Stuff”/”You Were Young” single. A year later, after massive touring, we see the four-piece’s first exploration into the darker depths of “brooding” synths and electro-noir. With their trademark wipe-out and then gradual kick-in, Yes Giantess promises to outshine any cheap imitations.
7. Kate Nash – “I Just Love You More”
Taking a page on Karen O. out of Chew Lips‘ book, the British songstress makes an unexpected departure from the cutesy piano ballads of her debut, Made of Bricks. This is perhaps due to her recent turn as bassist in punk side-project The Receeders.
8. Phantogram – “Mouthful of Diamonds”
With a guitar-and-tronic intro like that of a trippy soundscape, “Mouthful of Diamonds” will give you an excuse to live inside your head for a little over four minutes. Don’t be surprised if you see ghosts behind your eyelids, like in Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated . Clearly, Phantogram is a more suitable name than their previous one, Charlie Everywhere.
9. Thrushes – “Crystals”
When it kicks in, “Crystals” rides a ’60s wave of surf guitars and therapeutic girly vox from Anna Conner. “Who will I find to talk to?/And grow old with/I wish it was you” manages to be both earnest and carefree at the same time. Also hailing from Baltimore, Thrushes is like a peppier Beach House that drinks from the same water.
10. Hot Chip – “Thieves In the Night”
The first single off the Brits’recently released album starts off with vocal licks, courtesy of lead Joe Goddard, who consistently throws in synth zoom-ins and outs atop of the repeated “happiness is what we all want/may it be what we don’t always want.” Perhaps their most accessible song to date, “Thieves in the Night” also features a shredding solo that guarantees Guitar Hero happiness.
*Download the mix in its entirety here.