The Strokes “OBLIVIUS”
Future Present Past EP (Cult)
RIYL: Any moody NYC indie band from the last 15 years.
The first Strokes release in three years is a truncated affair—hey, better an EP of good songs than an LP watered down by a bunch of mediocre ones, right?—features this single (and yes, that’s how you spell it) with its guitar-that-sounds-like-a-synth, some intricate rhythm patterns and the world-weary voice of Julian Casablanca’s.
The Lazys “Howlin’ Woman”
Dazzle Camouflage (Pheromone Recordings)
RIYL: Bands with well-worn AC/DC records in their collection
Riff-happy Aussie quartet that, for some reason, seem to have created the beginnings of a serious following in Canada. (From their bio: “[Canada is taking] to The Lazys faster than a great white shark to an Aussie surfer.”) They attracted some solid crowds at Canadian Music Week last month. Watch them.
Big Thief “Masterpiece”
Masterpiece (Saddle Creek)
RIYL: REM, M. Ward, Blue Rodeo if Jim Cuddy was a girl
This Brooklyn band offers another variation on whatever “folk rock” is these days. This song features big guitars instead of banjos, but there’s no mistaking where their heart are. Pay attention to singer Adrianne Lenker. She’s definitely got something special.
Empty Houses “Rope”
Daydream (Sargent House)
RIYL: The White Stripes if Meg could sing properly
[WARNING: Music critic bumfluffery ahead!] Here’s a pop-rock trio from Detroit with a dark yet summery twang tune that captures some of the city’s soul music in its delivery. This one is already on my driving playlist.
Jane’s Party “Coming on Strong”
Tunnel Visions (Cadence)
RIYL: Sam Roberts, Some Manic Street Preachers, Coldplay
Jane’s Party have been gigging around Toronto for the past couple of years and finally managed to come up with a new record, one that was produced by Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo, too. He put them through fourteen hour days at his remote farm studio, schooling them on some of the finer points of recording and touring. The video for this first single features Greg’s Blue Rodeo buddy, Jim Cuddy, along with Shad, Brave Shores and a few others.