Built to Spill “Living Zoo”
Built to Spill long ago perfected being Built to Spill. The lead single from their eighth album, “Living Zoo” is quintessential—churning-guitar intro accelerates into anthemic-guitar chorus that breaks into slow-guitar bridge that coalesces into multi-guitar crescendo at the four-minute mark as Doug Martsch lets loose his boyish yawp: “We are lions in our cages!” Guitargasm!
Zebra Hunt “Half Right”
Level-VII music nerds venerate New Zealand-based label Flying Nun as a prolific source of thinking-person’s power pop. Zebra Hunt are admitted aficionados, and their debut LP, City Sighs, buzzes and hums like a jar of horny bees. “Half Right” is deceivingly simple and undeniably catchy, laconic lyrics and a group chorus burrowing deep into your earhole.
Tom Eddy “Strangers”
Slow down Tom Eddy, you’re making us dizzy. Dude sings in electro-pop outfit Beat Connection (see page 24), retro-funk collective the Dip and his own eponymous band. With the latter he recently released an EP of sharp, upbeat folk-pop in the vein of Paul Simon and/or Bahamas. His easy delivery on “Strangers” is the hallmark of a born vocal stylist.
Raica “Watr Dragn”
Among an album of eerie electronic conjuring (titled Dose, because drugs), “Watr Dragn” stands out for its inscrutability, disorienting but strangely soothing, like faraway music heard underwater. Raica is Chloe Harris, the producer/DJ behind Seattle’s Further Records, and her ambient experimentation has earned the label an international following.
Sol Moravia-Rosenberg is supremely confident in the craftsmanship of his lyrics, delivering word-dense lines and internal rhymes as naturally as breathing—all flow, no exertion. On “Pages,” he rides a slow-swinging, keys-heavy Nima Skeemz beat, affirming the power of creativity to focus intention, instill empathy and maybe get you laid.
Pictured above: Sol