Mantler

Some songs inspire me to write music. Mantler’s like that. Simple melodies I can get my head around. I imagine myself sitting down at the piano and fiddling around with a few keys until a riff comes to life. If only I could pull myself away from this QWERTY keyboard for two minutes…and I’d have to find a drummer (ain’t got a lick of rhythm).

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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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Spiraling

“Nostalgia” has always been the phrase at the heart of what could be called the entertainment equivalent of conservatism, i.e., it’s a dangerous reaffirmation of not just the status quo but of “the way things used to be.” Yet I just can’t fight that good ol’ feeling Spiraling gives me: classic keyboard melodics, arena-rocking riffs and cymbals — heck, there’s even an organ in there. Tom Brislin knows his history, that’s for sure, but I’m ready to throw down with anyone who tries to call these tracks, as much as they’ll make you think of the glory days of new wave, anything but the new new thing.

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Blue-Eyed Son

California South Bay punk rocker ditches his band (40 Watt Domain) and gets in touch with his melodic, singer-songwriter side. The preferable results fall on the pop scale somewhere between the Judybats and a more cheerful Elliott Smith.

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The Honorary Title

If the thought of Jeff Buckley fronting The Promise Ring gives you the good kind of goosebumps, then The Honorary Title is worth your download time — even if you’re on dial-up. Jarrod Gorbel has the vocal acuity of the late-great Buckley and a Rufus Wainwright-esque flair for drama that both merges with and hovers above the bounce and retreat of Aaron Kamstra’s lovely arrangements. Go ahead and sing along silently.

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Death Cab for Cutie

Note: Thanks to our MANY astute readers, it came to our attention that these links don’t work from an outside source. You have to cut and paste the links into your browser window. We’re all about hassle-free here at 3hive, so grab these while you can. They’ll be pulled down shortly.

An astute 3hive reader, Si, suggests we don’t overlook the obvious and feature one of the current kings of the indie world. Emo, in the hands of mature, keen songwriters instead of boy bands, whose first concern is their hair-do’s, turns out to be a really, really good thing.

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The Mathletes

Hilarious, cute, and quite often catchy — just what you’d expect from a young bedroom pop maestro with a quivering voice who choses to go by The Mathletes instead of Joe, covers Boards of Canada, and openly admits to stalking Cat Power. (Thanks, Gabba Pod.)

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Olympic Hopefuls

If you’re still searching for a summer single, you won’t do much better than “Holiday,” an emphatic anthem with a pinch of despair that is the perfect male answer to the Go Go’s “Vacation.” There are a couple more pop gumballs from these Minneapolis jogging suit aficionados that’ll make you want to rock the Slip’n’Slide until mom makes you go inside and eat your fish sticks and tater tots.

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French Kicks

The latest from these fashionably flip young men takes on a new-wave polish that accentuates the hooks and speeds the rhythm section to heel-popping precision. Precious, but in a savagely catchy way.

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