Kist – Rainy Day

Feathered with optimism, “Rainy Day” is a really just a simple song about taking negativity and trying to make the best of it. Its hopeful lyrics, laced through with the singer’s beautiful and unusual lilt, paint an upbeat picture of wearing a smile as an umbrella. With its positive, danceable beat and bright melody, it is delightful in its candid, buoyant cheerfulness, completely unabashed.

Beborn Beton – Daisy Cutter

An amalgam of animal and artifice, “Daisy Cutter” thumps into being with a calling that immediately commands the struggle taking place within its tones. With an inherent uncertainty, there is still the sense of something victorious here; veiled among the overturning of allegories and pontifications on doubt is a creeping self-awareness of purpose that builds this song into an anthem at its climax. This is a song about survival, about laying waste to obstacles and destroying barriers to find truth and faith beyond a seemingly endless void.

Feeding Fingers – Your Candied Laughter Crawls

I’ve often felt that Feeding Fingers’ music has had a tendency toward quiet desperation, and, at times, a sense of holding itself back from its own full potential. But “Your Candied Laughter Crawls”, the debut single from their upcoming fifth album, is almost triumphant, musically. There is an entire metamorphosis occurring in the microcosm of this particular song, one that opens itself up to the listener like a blooming flower as it progresses from its sleepy opening notes to their book-end, with its entire story laid out in between.

Drab Majesty – The Foyer

This is a song that changes sonic tactics throughout, and it works really well. Echoing the confusion and frustration of its narration, it vacillates between peace and discord. It builds its story around the lyrics, but challenges itself to tell that story with its audial composition. It warms from sparsity into intricacy, then plays with an almost noodling sound – evoking moments in waiting rooms; anticipatory, anxious.

Ballerina Black – Blue-ish Grey

Lush arrangement and poetic, but not horribly cumbersome, lyrics make this a song for movement – this is a track to drive to, to walk to, to dance to – but it is also a song for mental movement. It is a track to think to, as well. I actually found myself reminded of bands like The Railway Children; there is an element of that sumptuous mid-eighties New Wave sound represented here – a bit darker, but quite handsomely dressed in the same sort of brilliant guitar melodies and steady, up-tempo undercurrents.

Moon Tapes – A Little Bit Of Paris

There is indeed a warm staccato style of bass and guitar sound here which is highly reminiscent of the Smiths at their peak – Moon Tapes has mastered this particular brand of textured aural and emotional complexity, but give it their own unique spin. There isn’t quite Morrissey’s lyrical dexterity, but the plaintive angst vocalist Joep Meyer brings to the song is spot-on. Essentially, this is the Smiths without the hubris.

Hearts Of Black Science – Wolves At The Border

Hearts Of Black Science have a knack for layering, building from sparse guitars and subtle synths into harmonies of complex splendor. Ethereal, chilling vocals lead into what is essentially a lesson in aural world-building; by the end of my first listen I felt I had been transported into the moody, unnerving realm of its lyrics….palpable mistrust, doubt, and fledgling hopes all combine to create a panoply to showcase the talents of this fantastic Swedish mixed-genre band.