On their second full-length, Alberta, Canada’s Faunts reign in their epic song structuring, meandering less while managing to maintain their expansive sound. Their new album tends to use more electronics (a more dour Postal Service?) without sacrificing the ringing guitars. In “M4 (Part 1)” guitars loop repeatedly a la Michael Brook’s infinite guitar and Faunts’ ethereal tendencies in many of their songs remind me of similar moments in The Cure’s Seventeen Seconds. Faunts get plenty of comparisons to The Cure, but unlike many of their contemporaries the similarities lie with the instrumentation rather than Smith’s warbled vocals; however, bald-faced comparisons to any band do a disservice to potential fans, because Faunts transcend simple analogies to any band that’s come before, and Feel.Love.Thinking.Of raises expectations for any band choosing to follow Faunts’ lead.

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Elk City

So there is this perfect meal that I like to make in the fall (due credit must be given to Marcella Hazan, the grande dame of Italian home cooking). I just take some plum tomatoes (canned are best, but the good kind, not the five for a dollar kind) and I put them in a pot. Then I take an onion, cut it in half and put it in the pot. Then I take five tablespoons of butter and, ahem, put it in the pot. I then cook the contents of the pot for 45 minutes, spoon it over piping hot pasta and sit in my pajamas watching wretched TV. It tastes just as good as any complicated and fussy meal I’ve ever made. But this is not a cooking blog, its about the music, so what the hell is my point? My point is that Elk City’simple and lovely “Los Cruzados” is the long missing final ingredient to this simple, yet high octane, tomato sauce. My point is that songs don’t have to redefine the rules to be good, and sometimes taking a few simple, common, high quaity ingredients and mixing them into the pot can yield the most comforting, pleasure inducing things. And then of course you add some butter. If you were wondering, singer Renee LoBue’s melty, raspy voice is totally the butter.

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David & the Citizens

Swedish pop is actually a very wide ranging label. You got your twee pop, your synth pop, your acoustic pop, your shoegaze pop, your pop pop, and with David & the Citizens you’ve got your rockin’ pop. Think of them as Sweden’s The New Pornographers. Catchy, smart, full of energy, and able to manipulate emotions with a wide range of topics and just the right hook to fit the moment.

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Asobi Seksu

With one eye on their shoes and the other trained on the stars, Asobi Seksu blissfully revive their genre of choice through cloudbursts of fuzzed-out guitars juxtaposed against sometimes hopeful, sometimes forlorn (and sometimes Japanese) vocals.

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