It’s 2014!! So here’s some pop, punk, and other speedy goodness! WOOOOOO NEW YEAR!!!!
1. “Sweet Release” – Stoney. If manic popster King Charles had a bit more electro-pop in his musical veins, he and Stoney could tour together. Pop goodness, right here.
2. “Orchard Breath” – Hectorina. After shedding some of the spiky edges of Collywobble, Hectorina’s new song has much in common with the theatrical, occasionally ominous pop-rock of My Chemical Romance.
3. “Sunshine Avenue” – Paul Newman and the Ride Home. Punk rock led by a ukulele. What more explanation do you need?
4. “Town Like This” – Outrageous Fun. Punk rock that sounds exasperated, agitated, and coming apart at the seams. Like all good punk rock should be.
5. “Picking up the Pieces” – Atrocity Solution. Gruff, rough vocals + ska guitars + woah-ohs + pounding drums = punk rock. Also, there’s an awesome guitar solo because why not.
6. “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” – David Broza. Israeli Broza collaborates with the Jerusalem Youth Choir, which features Palestinian and Israeli teens, to create a light and airy version of the Nick Lowe classic that yet carries incredible weight.
7. “Saturday Night Blues” – Natural Child. Was Warren Zevon rock’n’roll? Is CCR still rock’n’roll? Maybe the members of Natural Child ponder these questions in the tour van, before going out and playing their own answer: yes, they are.
8. “Alberta Gold” – Matt Andersen. If Zac Brown Band were a bit more folky and less country, this jubilant track would fit perfectly in that fictional album.
9. “Lap Steel Blues” – Mandarin Dynasty. This indie-pop tune with grit and glory explodes like a firework: burns bright and disappears before you want it to.
10. “When I Die” – Scott H. Biram. Appalachian gospel is one strand of true American folk music, and Biram serves up a foot-stomping slice of that sing-a-long mountain music.
11. “Flightless Bird” – Scott Barkan. Starts a gentle singer/songwriter rumination, grows to a raucous electric stomp.
12. “Yoshimi” – The Adversary. If you cover The Flaming Lips, you get an auto +2 cool factor in my book. This chill electronic take is a nice corollary to the sweeping, grand original.