Belle and Sebastian
Write About Love
Sounds Like: They keep re-inventing and yet maintaining their sound, like with 2006’s Life Pursuit, these are 11 tight, ’60s-inspired but ’90s-filtered pop songs.
Free Association: Norah Jones, what are you doing here? You’re not twee or British.
For Fans Of: Camera Obscura, Magnetic Fields, Donovan, Stereolab.
Sounds Like: Strange but intoxicating instrumental compositions where Bird’s crazy whistling and violin skills are put on display over expansive and moody meditations.
Free Association: Bird’s voice is lovely, but surprisingly unnecessary to create magic.
For Fans Of: Brian Eno, Django Reinhardt, Konono no. 1 for “Hot Math.”
(Cave City Music)
Sounds Like: Thoughtful, delicate songs from a Kentucky-raised Texan with a full, acoustic sound, supported by some friends to make loud, pretty pop ditties.
Free Association: You sound like John Darnielle, s’cool, he’s mad successful—cash in, bruh.
For Fans Of: Mountain Goats, Michael Penn,
Sounds Like: For the ADHD-plagued party-hopping hipster in us all, slamming Four Lokos, who’ll find their simpleton sampling mash-ups genius at 1:30 a.m.
Free Association: There are 30 samples in the first 15 minutes, hilarious and mystifying.
For Fans Of: Lil’ Jon x Miley Cyrus, BNNA CLPS, the Barbary, South Philly.
Matt and Kim
Sounds Like: The Brooklyn Lovers’ third is their fanciest and catchiest, but money and polish isn’t what they needed; these hi-fi dance jams are flashy as hell.
Free Association: Kim sure sounds like a drum machine; fine, they both sound like machines.
For Fans Of: Passion Pit, Mates of State x the Go! Team.
Sounds Like: The Animal Collective main man (with Panda Bear) gets his own solo ya-yas out with a muddled, mirky collection of tripped-out folksy experimental gems.
Free Association: Yes, everyone and their mother loves AC. But this is for the realest fans.
For Fans Of: Caribou, Four Tet, Dan Deacon, Le Loup, Yeasayer.
Sounds Like: Tracks that didn’t make it to Darkness on the Edge of Town; back in ’78, things were simpler and filled with choruses, brass and harmonica.
Free Association: Lovely songs between “Born to Run” and “Dancing in the Dark” days.
For Fans Of: Mellencamp, Seger, Petty, Fogerty, blue-collar Americana.
Sounds Like: A brilliant stripped-down and minimally-produced collection of hits from back in the day up till now, with a heavy focus on the tap of that high-hat.
Free Association: You never want to hear “Drunk Girls”/”Daft Punk” again? WRONG.
For Fans Of: The Rapture, Hot Chip, Simian Mobile Disco, Holy Fuck.