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Pom Pom Squad :: Death of a Cheerleader

A solid debut album, with a wide range of energies and emotions, filled with swirling guitars, moments of unabashed vulnerability, and sheer screeching unhinged psychopathy.

Drug Store Romeos :: The World Within Our Bedrooms

The female vocals have a child-like quality, and the bass-forward music hulks behind it, sometimes like a princess’ bodyguard, sometimes like a delicate clockwork contraption.

The Rare Occasions :: Big Whoop

There is a lot of smart indie guitar pop out there these days, and this effort showcases this band’s ability to easily traverse that range, from anthemic hook-laden singalongs to richly harmonized earworms, with many unexpected stops in between.

The Catenary Wires :: Birling Gap

It is difficult to make lush pastoral pop like this without going completely overboard into schmalz territory, but this band manages quite well, carefully draping their orchestral tendencies over a solid base of interesting songs.

The Scientists :: Negativity

If there is one word to describe this latest outing from Kim Salmon, with its droning rumbles, hazy distortion, and proto-punk vibe, it is “menacing”. This is an album you apologize to, maybe buy it a drink to be safe.

Woody and Jeremy :: Gravy In My Coffee

It’s like a solo bedroom funk-pop project, with all its trappings (spur-of-the-moment compositions, absurdist themes, flashes of intense brilliance), except it comes from two people. These songs will quickly settle into your head and raid the fridge.

Wolf Alice :: Blue Weekend

Sneer at the formula all you like, but putting a strong, dynamic female voice, one which ranges from a husky whisper to an anguished scream, in front of a well-produced guitar-centric combo can sometimes yield unexpectedly unique results.

black midi :: Covercade

Out of many odd cover-filled releases bands have ejected over the last year-plus, this is one of the most disparate and interesting, partly from the selections and the interstitial music, but mostly because it’s not what you expect from black midi.