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Five Albums You Should Be Listening To Right Now

This week's curator: Mara Schwartz of Bug Music.

By Mara Schwartz

Every two weeks, titans of the mediasphere give Hooksexup their music recommendations. This week: Mara Schwartz of Bug Music.

My life features a soundtrack of near-continual music, whether I'm deciding which of our company's artists to suggest for an upcoming film, checking out new songwriters we're considering signing, or just listening for pleasure. Here are five that stood out from the unruly pack and made me want to listen again and again.

Royal Bangs, Let It Beep

1. Royal Bangs, Let It Beep

This Nashville-based electro-indie trio takes all the cool hybridization of dance-punk bands like The Rapture and !!!, but turns up the rock more than the booty shaking. Like The Faint at their prime, this group uses inspired synth lines to give an '80s edge to uncompromising, guitar-blasting tunes. Loved by the Black Keys (whose drummer's label, Audio Eagle, released this album), the band's next jaunt will be on unstoppable hitmakers Glassnote Records (Phoenix, Temper Trap, Mumford and Sons) — meaning you'll likely hear Royal Bangs' electricity coursing through an iPod or car commercial near you.

Listen: "Poison Control"

Royal Bangs

Generationals, Con Law

2. Generationals, Con Law

Last year's debut from New Orleans act Generationals (which rose from the ashes of the indie-pop band The Eames Era) is all over the map, careening between '60s-inspired boy-group pop, wonderfully twee bounciness, and guitar-laden indie rock. Somehow this all coalesces, thanks to the band's sly songwriting, which manages to create fully-formed worlds with just a few perfectly placed details.

Listen: "Nobody Could Change Your Mind"


Surf City, Kudos

3. Surf City, Kudos

Neither surf rock nor a Beach Boys tribute band, this young New Zealand group shares close musical ties with The Jesus and Mary Chain, whose "Kill Surf City" provided inspiration for its moniker. Throw in a little influence from countrymen like The Chills and The Clean, along with some tightly aggressive tunes, and this brand-spanking-new album is unfrozen in time — it could have come out at any point during the past thirty years and still have been the coolest record at the party.

Listen: "See How The Sun"

Surf City

Mazarin, We're Already There

4. Mazarin, We're Already There

This album's about five years old, and the band's already broken up over legal wranglings with a similarly-named act, which is a shame because this is a true indie gem. The songs twinkle and shine despite the sadness of writer Quentin Stoltzfus' worldview, tossing in head-spinningly complicated percussion here, driving guitar-wash there. One glimmer of recognition for Mazarin came via The Walkmen, who covered the poignant "Another One Goes By" on their album A Hundred Miles Off.

Listen: "Another One Goes By"


Aztec Camera, Knife

5. Aztec Camera, Knife

On the slight chance you're not wondering, "Who?" you're probably thinking, "They had another album?" Best known in the U.S. for 1983's new-wave hit "Oblivious," this band's 1984 follow-up was largely overlooked, despite production by then-hot Dire Straits leader Mark Knopfler. Knopfler added a gorgeous studio sheen to then-twenty-year-old Scottish frontman Roddy Frame's jangle-pop melancholia, running the gamut from upbeat guitar-strummy wordplay to sparse modern folk songs. One suspects Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch spent a good chunk of formative years dancing around his bedroom to this one.

Listen: "All I Need Is Everything"

Aztec Camera

Commentarium (12 Comments)

Dec 01 10 - 1:43am

Aztec Camera made me think of "Mexican Radio" by Wall of Voodoo. Now I want to look at pictures of Rick Bayless' recipes. Funny how association works.

Dec 01 10 - 1:43pm

Needs more cowbell.

Dec 01 10 - 5:56pm
hurdy gurdy man

this is by far my favorite "Five Albums" list

Dec 01 10 - 8:29pm

definitely agree with the cowbell comment

Dec 01 10 - 11:27pm

Needs more hipsters.

Dec 02 10 - 12:14am
Needs more hipsters

Why do you listen to shitty music?

Dec 02 10 - 5:09pm

WOAH! "NEEDS MORE HIPSTERS" TOTALLY CHANGED MY MIND ON MUSIC WITH HIS CRITICISM! This is Shitty, I never realized it. (That is what you want to hear right?)

Dec 02 10 - 5:09pm

Nice music list Mara.

Dec 04 10 - 2:07am

Probably the only one in this series that wasn't completely useless. Extra points for the Aztec Camera selection.

Dec 17 10 - 5:58pm
Tiger Neinstein

Aztec Camera was a band from the 80s, I doubt these are the same

Dec 17 10 - 8:08pm

The worst music I've ever heard.

Jan 01 11 - 6:28pm
H. Finch

Love the Royal Bangs! But my fave on this album has got to be "War Bells."