Sounds like: Portland behemoth Menomena’s Brent Knopf’s solo project is a spacey, keys-heavy indie rock hike in the woods.
Free association: Everything these boys do is golden, wonky, artsy bliss.
For fans of: Beards, plain Ts, modesty
The Most Serene Republic
... And the Ever Expanding Universe
Sounds like: Some whispery serenity on the Canadian collective’s fourth LP, but also loud, fast, dramatic crescendos.
Free association: What are they drinking in Toronto? It breeds deeply epic songs.
For fans of: Apostle of Hustle, Broken Social Scene
Lessons in the Woods or a City
Sounds like: Reverb-heavy rock from Seattle kids who yelp, shout nonstop and wail on their instruments.
Free association: Sweaty, ripped T-shirts and long black hair is in there somewhere.
For fans of: Oneida, Deerhunter, volume
La Coka Nostra
A Brand You Can Trust
Sounds like: Basically House of Pain reincarnate, Everlast goes 50x harder with this rap supergroup shouting about guns.
Free association: HOP goes to L.A., gets blunted with Cypress Hill, goes gangsta.
For fans of: Long shorts, bandanas, strippers.
Sounds like: Influenced by ’70s/’80s cheese rock/pop (Hall & Oates, ELO), and it rocks and grooves real good.
Free association: Heavy synth and cowbell; one of these Chi-town dudes must have a mullet or variation thereof.
For fans of: Chicago, Kansas, Boston
Music for Cougars
Sounds like: The California tool brigade knows no one’s waiting for this record, but give it to you anyway.
Free association: Setting Mark McGrath’s firing from Extra to Auto-Tune.
For fans of: Barenaked Ladies, Third Eye Blind
Portugal. The Man
The Satanic Satanist
Sounds like: Wasilla, AK, redeems itself with a great weird rock band like this one; arty, psycho, rhythmic, curiously well-crafted.
Free association: The best album packaging you’ll ever see, though the music shines independently.
For fans of: Yeasayer, Jane’s Addiction, the Lips
Sounds like: Strummy, sun-kissed Americana from New York boys in Western shirts with hints of Spoon, Jason Collett.
Free association: No one will accuse you of being offensive, ever.
For fans of: Wilco, Ryan Adams