Headlights - Some Racing, Some Stopping
On their second album the group builds on the promise of their debut and consolidates their strengths into a peppy, pretty and satisfying romp through ten songs that will have fans of light and breezy indie pop smiling like crazy. The album is split between up-tempo tracks perfect for indie night at your local teen club, happy go lucky songs with glockenspiels, and sweeter than sugar ballads that might nudge your heartstrings but never tug too hard. (read more)

It's a Musical - The Music Makes Me Sick
It's a Musical is a duo made up of Ella Blixt (who also records enchanting pop songs under the name Bobby Baby) and Robert Kretzschmar with Ella on vocals and various keyboards, and Robert on vocals and drums. With help from various bass players, that's all there is to the group's sound on their debut album The Music Makes Me Sick. No guitars at all. You don't miss them though thanks to the layered keyboards and production touches like the occasional trumpet fanfare and the warm blanket of reverb that wraps around everything. (read more)

Jean on Jean - Jean on Jean
After the untimely breakup of Out Hud, cellist/vocalist Molly Schnick turned her back on rubbery basslines and dancefloor friendly tempos and spent three years crafting her first solo record under the name Jean on Jean. Jean on Jean is a fragile, tender, and intimate album that draws from freak folk, indie pop, and singer/songwriter traditions and weaves these influences into something magical. (read more)

The Lucksmiths - First Frost
The group's 2008 album falls a little short of 2005's near-brilliant release Warmer Corners, but it's still top-shelf Lucksmiths. The full arrangements (horns, strings, and loads of backing vocals) are here; the songs are a mix of tender ballads, chugging rockers, and introspective midtempo rambles; and Tali White's everyman vocals are as intimate and real as ever. (read more)

Pacific! - Reveries
The super pop sound that Swedish duo Pacific! designed on their debut album hits a very sweet spot between the French machine disco of Daft Punk, the schoolboy electro soul of Hot Chip, the cold synth pop of the Human League, and the processed songcraft of 7Ts bands like 10cc and ELO. The end result could have come off like a half-baked sonic experiment, but Daniel Högberg and Björn Synneby aren't copyists; they are synthesists who inject plenty of icy soul into their concoctions. (read more)