- “Wo Sind” – Klaus Johann Grobe. Psychedelic jazz-funk cut “Wo Sind” is a German-grown hallucinogenic in song form.
- “Together feat. Clarens” – Douchka. Like a pair of patent red pumps, this track click-clacks into a gorgeous marble room of tessellated synth floors and a crackling fire in the far corner. Check out “Don’t Leave” while you’re at it.
- “Underpass” – Asdasfr Bawd. What starts out as an intoxicating, exotic display of blunt, ferocious rhythm transforms into a complex track fueled by sexy, Parisian neo-disco vibes.
- “Wasted On You (feat. ROZES)” – Louis Futon. From Foreign Family Collective, this future bass single’s emotive styling and gorgeous vocals propel a cleverly honest theme of questioning substance-induced love.
- “Carried” – El Huervo. This future funk track sounds like ‘90s hiphop meets smooth jazz meets a Latin bar. It’s colorful and unapologetically hectic.
- “Dok” – Kenton Slash Demon. These bass lines could dig their way to China.
- “Stars” – Sego. A indie rock track that would belong on a burned CD mix titled “Pancake Breakfast on Sunday.”
- “Town & Country” – Bibio. Bibio projects countryside warmth with his Jersey cotton vocals and flute-y, pastoral instrumentation.
- “Goose” – No Hot Ashes. This single from Manchester indie/funk group No Hot Ashes starts with a Slightly Stoopid vibe and then glides into an upbeat sunniness perfect for the upcoming season’s sunset porch drinking.
- “C (I:Cube remix)” – Prins Thomas. Like a crawling, corrupted disco, this remix by I:Cube taps into a dark labyrinth of funhouse mirrors and staticy synth at every corner.
- “The Harmonist” – Antoine Diligent. This psych pop track soothes and sparkles with lulling vocals and whirling dream pop elements sure to whisk listeners away.
- “Anchors” – Benjamin Muñoz. A song that sounds like an underwater electronic orchestra: heavy, dropping moods that float to the bottom of the ocean and quick, colorful bursts of vocals, like mermaids singing from closeby coral reef. The sonic texturing is fluid and beautiful, coming and going in waves.
- “Yosemite Das (feat. Bagavan Das)” – The Rondo Brothers. This electro-organic cut combines worldly elements, such as short, soothing guitar lines and warm, lighthearted vocal bits that give it a wholesome feel. This is USDA-certified electronica.
- “Utopia” – Digitalism. A sensational, summer-ready track molded of tropical-esque guitar lines and a clean synth varnish.
- “Invisible Cities” – Iska Dhaaf. Like punk-reggae nights in a Los Angeles bar, “Invisible Cities” sounds like the kind of music that pairs with kitschy red lanterns, abandoned surf boards in the corner, and glasses and glasses of Michter’s whiskey.
- “Aloha Blue Sky” – The Foreign Films. Honey-drenched soul, funk, and jazz come together for an oozing good time on just one of many sexy tracks on The Foreign Films’ latest Side 4.–Rachel Haney
Here’s a non-comprehensive, unordered list of 32 tunes that I just really loved in 2015. They approximately go from fast and loud to quiet. Happy 2016, y’all.
“Let’s Go Jump Into the Fire” – Devin James Fry and the Namesayers
“Glass Heart” – Magic Giant
“Seven Hells” – Quiet Company
“Shiny Destination” – The Rutabega
“The Fringe” – Sego
“In the Woods” – Bobby’s Oar
“Run with Me” – Heather LaRose
“Don’t Go Quietly” – Light Music
“Marina and I” – The Gorgeous Chans
“Bad Blood” – Fred Thomas
“Golden Coast” – Billy Shaddox
“Flare Gun” – In Tall Buildings
“All This Wandering Around” – Ivan and Alyosha
“See You Soon” – Valley Shine
“Through the Night and Back Again” – Michael Malarkey
“By the Canal” – Elephant Micah
“Everglow” – Jared Foldy
“Father’s Day” – Butch Walker
“Muscle Memory” – Laura and Greg
“Odell” – Lowland Hum
“Waking Up Again” – Emily Hearn
“Pilot Light” – The Local Strangers
“Death Came Knocking” – B. Snipes
“Hold On” – We are the West
“Money in the Evenings” – Hermit’s Victory
“California Song” – Patrick James
“Winter is for Kierkegaard” – Tyler Lyle
“Paperback Books” – The Pollies
“Closet” – John Vournakis
“Ein Berliner” – Jacob Metcalf
“Spring” – Sam Burchfield
“Vacation” – Florist
Summer! (Mid-month MP3s)
1. “Marina and I” – The Gorgeous Chans. The syncopated guitars, perky horns, and enthusiastic attack of this track took all of 1 second to steal my Vampire Weekend-loving heart.
2. “The Fringe” – Sego. If you miss James Murphy slurring into a microphone over rubbery bass and insistent dance grooves, Sego is LCD Soundsystem’s musical, lyrical, and spiritual successor. “You Wanted a Hit,” indeed.
3. “Even Fireworks” – Pushing Static. This electro-pop/dance-rock fiesta makes me want to crank the volume knob way up.
4. “Island” – Hey Anna. If Braids drank a Red Bull and went to a beach party, they might come up with this fragile-yet-peppy indie-rock track.
5. “Inside Your Heart” – Hectorina. Their previous work is chaotic, fractured, ecstatic, and mind-bending; this track sands down some of the eccentric flair and reveals the ecstatic rock band at their core. (The fact that their beating heart sounds like Prince is perfect.) Everybody clap your hands.
6. “That Kind of Girl” – All Dogs. The sort of melodies that I’d expect from a emo-focused band fused in to a huge punk-rock/pop-punk/power-pop stomper. It just works perfectly.
7. “Sleep Talk” – Diet Cig. The idiosyncratic indie-pop quirkiness of the Juno soundtrack + confessional pop-punk + female vocals + intimate lyrics = excellent track.
8. “Island Kids” – Holy ’57. Sometimes a chorus just works so perfectly that it feels like I’ve know it forever. The perky tropical indie-pop builds through the verse to a speak-sung chorus that just knocks it out of the park. Re: your summer parties.
9. “’82” – Death in the Afternoon. This electronic cut is a lot more breathy, chill, and smooth than I thought death would be.
10. “Good” – Ehmandah. This, right here, is a modern day (some might even say musically progressive) gospel tune. Get in on this infectious, irresistible vibe. Everybody clap your hands.
11. “Sugar Dream” – Valley Shine. The band’s press photos capture them lying on a bed of brightly-colored candy and showered with an absurd amount of confetti. These are excellent visual representations of their Beatles-on-a-sugar-high sound.
12. “Reach Out” – The Bone Chimes. The arrangement of this orchestral-folk-rock tune is clean, bright, and carefully organized: the band builds anticipation from the first reverbed guitar note to a big conclusion.
13. “Sensual People” – Lylas. If hypnotic groove is one of the things you seek in an indie-rock tune, Lylas’ dense textures, ostinato rhythms, and slowly-unfolding song development will catch your ear.
14, “Up of Stairs” – James Elkington and Nathan Salsburg. Watching two talented athletes go against each other can excite, but only rarely does that interaction produce beauty. It’s much more likely when two talented musicians play off each other, which is the basic premise of this track: two incredibly talented acoustic guitar players push each other and come up with relaxing, impressive acoustic gold.
15. “Repeat” – Sye Elaine Spence. An unconventional acoustic strumming pattern and a strong focus on Spence’s enveloping voice create an immersive, unique experience.