1. The New Pornographers – “Your Hands (Together)”
The first single from Vancouver’s supergroup in three years features stadium-ready harmonies from the reliable pairing of A.C. Newman and Neko Case. It’s good. But is it enough to cheer up the Canadian ice hockey team?
2. Broken Social Scene – “World Sick”
The first single from their upcoming album, Forgiveness Rock Record, this track hearkens back to the Toronto supergroup’s explosive self-titled debut. The new release will also feature a song that combines the vocal talents of Emily Haines (of Metric), Leslie Feist, and Amy Millan (of Stars), which is just mind blowing.
3. She & Him – “Thieves”
The smoky croon of Zooey Deschanel is wrapped in M. Ward‘s fitting twangy guitar and stringy crescendos for a mellow cassette-appropriate jam. After listening to the first two singles, we think it’s a damn shame that hubby Ben Gibbard missed the Volume 2 bus, which comes through on March 23rd on Merge.
4. White Hinterland – “Icarus”
Casey Dienel came to prominence thanks to the breathy vocals and deftly precise keys on her jazzy debut album, Wind-Up Canary. As White Hinterland, her sound has more in common with the R&B-tinged stripped down pop of Dirty Projectors or the xx. Look for her new full-length Kairos out on March 9.
5. The Light Footwork – “Rock Island Arsenal”
This carefully constructed lo-fi indie rocket resonates like The Fiery Furnaces — and all while singing about national historic landmarks. It’s beautifully eloquent and almost masochistically mellow, which is of course a surefire-y win.
6. Galapaghost – “Neptune”
Part-man, part-machine Casey Chandler moves away from his humble, ukel-indie rock beginnings to sound something like Radiohead’s The Bends on acid. Be sure to check out the rest of Galapaghost’s day-tripping full-length, Neptunes .
7. Magic Wands – “Warrior (The xx Remix)”
The commercially hypeworthy British elec-trio whip out a wrecking ball on the Magic Wands‘ original and rebuild it in the Gothic architectural style. The spired vocal hooks and arching guitar licks on the wings just fly away with the industrial drum beat.
8. The Apples in Stereo – “Dance Floor”
“Dance Floor” sees the Apples in Stereo break away from psychedelic, Elephant-6-influenced rock toward an experimental sound akin to “early seventies R&B as played by a UFO.” Their first album in three years, Travelers in Space and Time, is out on April 20.
9. Barbara – “Pursuit of Happiness (Kid CuDi Cover)”
The Kid CuDi spaceship humbly lands in the able hands of LA’s folktronic three-piece, Barbara. What had first been a joke evolved into a full-out cover (minus the breakdown) with acoustic guitars, simple laptop percussion, and lush vocals dipped in Iron & Wine. It’s hard not to laugh along.
10. Sia – “You’ve Changed”
What was once just a first name bent on beautiful, orchestral compositions that were snatched up by hit shows like Six Feet Under and the O.C. has fully blossomed into a confident, electronickname for the Australian femme popper, Sia Furler. The Ting Tings-esque groove over zippy synths and lippy vox makes us even more amped for We are Born, due out in April.