“Death” – Shelley Short. The fusion of traditional song forms and melodic structures with modern sensibilities doesn’t get much more beautifully realized than here in this folk tune. Excellent stuff here.
“Take Me Dancing” – Hafdis Huld. Bright, chipper folk-pop about going dancing. Doesn’t get much happier than this, y’all.
“To Fold” – Sedgewick. The gentle tension between a direct, unadorned tenor lead vocal and the cooing background vocals echoes the push-and-pull between the dreamy and snappy elements of this lovely folk arrangement.
“Takin’ Over” – Humming House. Punchy, dance-party-ready pop-rock here that sounds like Avett Brothers fused to Colony House.
“Odds” – Ephrata. Get ready to get shiny: this track applies a ’50s pop sheen to tight, zooming indie-power-pop. It ends up sounding vaguely beachy on top of all that. Fun!
“This Town” – Mosquitos. A delicate elegy for a city that was, this synth-driven tune avoids almost all of the baggage of “synths!!!!” and creates a fascinating walking-speed indie-pop tune.
“Time Travels” – Matt Tarka. Here’s some punchy indie-pop that fans of the Weakerthans will immediately sit up and take notice of. The guitars and vocals come together beautifully.
“Every Day’s the Weekend” – Alex Lahey. Carefully sheds light on an “it’s complicated” relationship, but trades in the singer/songwriter genre for blast-off major-key indie-rock. It’s the sort of song that I just want to keep listening to over and over.
“New Yorker” – CHUCK. A loving tribute/soft parody of New Yorkers, this is a genuinely funny tune. Layering horns over synths amid a acoustic-indie-pop framework is a great move.
“Technicolour Native” – JR Green. Sleepy vocals and swift fingerpicking patterns turn out a Clem Snide-like track with a subtle, warm glow.
“Dark Matter” – Siobhan Wilson. The stark arrangement of this indie-folk tune allows the intimate gradations, changes, wobbles, and affectations of Wilson’s voice and strumming to come to the fore.