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Monday, Sept. 22, 9:34 a.m.
Style & Culture

How I Hear It: Overlooked releases from October

You know how you have that one friend who seems to know where to find cool new music that nobody else has ever heard of?

Well, that’s me! So now, I present five overlooked releases from October that I really dig.

Full disclosure: I’m not the friend who knows that stuff or some hipster who claims to be. I didn’t have a good idea for a column this week, so at the last minute, I browsed the “indie rock” and “indie pop” tags on tumblr and found a few things that are pretty cool. My opinions are based entirely on first impressions of one song from the album, but they all really impressed me on play number one. So, here we go.

The Griswolds – “Heart of a Lion EP”

Upbeat tune “Slice of Summer” starts with a summery guitar riff and a chanted vocal of, “Here we go, walking down the Mississippi on our own / Oh man, we are not the same.” The falsetto verse kicks in along with the drums that have the feel of a montage where Tarzan shows Jane all the wonders of the jungle. It’s a quality headbobber and it’s a shame it didn’t come out a few months ago because it would have been a perfect summer song.

Delay Trees – “Doze”

It’s impossible to ignore the similarities to Deerhunter in “HML,” which is far from a bad thing. If anything, it’s a great way for the group to gather fans by starting in a sound that’s really only been explored by one group. For those unfamiliar with Deerhunter or Delay Trees, the vibe is chilled out but also driving and psychedelic and you could listen to it either by a summer evening campfire or while driving on the highway. It’s a great soundtrack for anything peaceful that doesn’t quite call for the tranquility of ambient music.

Black Moth Super Rainbow – “Cobra Juicy”

These psych-pop weirdos fall somewhere between the Flaming Lips, Animal Collective and electro-pop. “Spraypaint” is a mid-tempo, synth-driven number with kinda-sorta-whispered-but-not-really vocals that could be described as airy, although they retain some of the qualities of modern pop, so it’s indie with almost hidden pop sensibilities, if that makes any sense. Either way, it’s pretty good and makes me believe the rest of the album is worth checking out as well.

Sinkane – “Mars”

“Runnin’” is funky, jazzy, soulful, psychedelic, somewhat African and more than somewhat fantastic. Ahmed Gallab, the man behind Sinkane, has worked with neo-psych groups like Yeasayer, Caribou and of Montreal, so it’s easy to see where his experimentalism and genre mashing comes from. At the same time, what he’s doing with Sinkane is completely independent of his work with those groups. Like I said, there’s a bit of everything, but not in the way that “world music” is, but in the way that both challenges and embraces what each of the genres that he borrows from means.

Terraplane Sun – “Friends EP”

They’ve been favorably compared to Foster the People, and considering that the latter group is one of the indies who managed to break through into the mainstream, that’s a big pat on the back. That means they have both the catchiness and accessibility of pop and, because of their acceptance by the indie community, they also have the drive to try something new that keeps their pop music interesting.

If anything, they’re a sunnier version of Foster the People, but I like to believe that if I were to listen to the rest of the EP, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I will, they will establish their own identity. As a commenter on iTunes put it, “This is a masterpiece, get in early.” I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece because that’s a strong word, but it’s darn good and worth shelling out a couple bucks for.