Portland singer-songwriter M. Ward has adopted the lo-fi gothic-folk production style of Bonnie Prince Billy (and much of the latter's aching vocal vibrato), but while their tunes tend to occupy the mountains and the hills, Ward's are Main Street sing-alongs. These blues-and-gospel-accented ditties could have been made 80 years ago, though their brassy growl might have frightened the town elders.
Today's answer to the Go-Gos, Electrocute are as adorable as their name, and their synth-pop songs reflect their young and sassy attitudes. Enlisting heavy-hitter producers like Junkie XL to their production mix, Electrocute is sure to be a favorite for bubble-gum smacking, pink-convertible-driving Valley girls this summer.
Combining revolutionary spirit and bottle-breaking sound, Living Things bring back their fury from Missouri with the release of "Habeas Corpus." The trio of brothers added new blood to the band on this album and the contributions from guitarist Cory Becker do well to increase the hard-hitting, melodic quality of their music. They don't scream as much to get their point across anymore, but still manage to lash out lyrically as these politically righteous post-punkers are known to do without apology.
You'll recognize his haunting voice from his acclaimed project as one-half of The Postal Service and hear traces of those melancholy beats he mastered as James Figurine. But all that started out 13 years ago when Jimmy Tamborello was Dntel. The last studio album under that moniker came out on Plug Research more than six years ago, but Tamborello's back with those calculated minimal beats, still waltzing drunkenly behind lethargic, unstrained vocals.