1. “Half a Second” – Hemmingbirds. I love power-pop tracks that don’t pulverize the vocalist in a crush of guitars, and this tight, snappy tune accomplishes that mixing feat. The melodies are chipper–even giddy–and the whole track calls for me to roll down the windows and turn it up.
2. “Found Towns” – Dave Miller. This instrumental rock track has subtle elements of Fang Island enthusiasm, occasional jazzy asides, and a rollicking sense of sonic adventure.
3. “Pick Up the Robot” – Booher (feat Will Sheff). If Dawes got a lot more rowdy, they might put out ragged, enthusiastic, overdriven work like this. Booher’s and Sheff’s passionate vocal performances are electric here.
4. “Someone Told Me” – Bitterheart. This duo found the midpoint between traditional country and 1950s pop, then updated it with contemporary attitude. It’s an impressive feat.
5. “Busted Heart” – Strangers by Accident. This is a rare tune that’s tender and gentle in both the acoustic-heavy arrangement and the lyrics. The male/female vocal duet is lovely, as well.
6. “Our Love Is a Garden” – Wilder Adkins. A slight, small tune that floats through my ears (in the best of ways). It’s romantic and warm, like Gregory Alan Isakov’s arrangements crossed with Ray LaMontagne’s passion.
7. “Nowhere to Be Found” – Frances Luke Accord. A beautiful, appealing song that seems like it has always existed: it’s the sort of comfortable, easy tune that seems way too perfect and pristine to have been just written now. A remarkable song that shows Accord as one to watch.