1. Tokyo Police Club: "Breakneck Speed"
Anyone who's seen Ontario's Tokyo Police Club (with bassist Dave Monks, pictured) can attest to the band's frenetic energy, monstrous melodies and quirky percussion. All of those elements, along with an entrancing guitar line, punctuate "Breakneck Speed," which will find a home on this spring's full-length release "Champ." For those who've yet to hear the experimental outfit, consider the sound to evoke a less polished version of Weezer.
2. Roky Erickson and Okkervil River: "Be and Bring Me Home"
As a leader of the iconic 13th Floor Elevators, Roky Erickson will go down in history as one of psychedelic music's preeminent pioneers. After revitalizing his career on tour, the singer/songwriter turns in "True Love Cast Out All Evil," featuring an already famous backing band comprised of Okkervil River members. On this new version of a previously released rare cut, the legendary singer/songwriter turns towards the alternative country motif, sounding weathered but rugged, while the band breaths new life into the golden great.
3. Camera Obscura: "French Navy (Jim Noir remix)"
Indie poppers Camera Obscura have released four albums since debuting in 1996 and last year's "My Maudlin Career" (4AD) was amongst its most critically acclaimed to date. On this remixed track from that collection, expect to hear the Glasgow-bred band soaring with airy harmonies akin to Belle & Sebastian or Peter Bjorn and John.
4. Stefano Giorgini: "Dirty Diana"
Los Angeles' latest guy with a guitar, Stefano Giorgini is turning heads all across the globe with an inventive tribute to Michael Jackson. Rather than picking one of the more obvious hits, he digs deep into 1987's blockbuster "Bad" to bring "Dirty Diana" into 2010. The vocals mirror the King of Pop's higher register, crossed with the flamboyant approach of Adam Lambert, while the band is ultra-aggressive in its glam-tipped delivery.
5. Hugh Cornwell: "Hooverdam" (the album)
He's best known as a member of English punk rebels The Stranglers, but Hugh Cornwell is still going strong as an artist and activist for free downloading. The former front man turned solo star is backing up that latter fact by giving away his entire new album "Hooverdam," which falls somewhere between his previous band, The Clash and other like-minded scenesters cut with gritty garage rock insistence.
6. The Juan MacLean: "Bring You Down"
Mashing up indie rock, disco house and electronica, this New York DJ is just as innovative as varied. Though "Bring You Down" doesn't exactly command a club with its subdued down beats, it showcases MacLean's affinity for conjuring up a specific atmosphere around each track, which in this case, could serve as the perfect come down from a crazy night on the town.
7. Keith Masters: "Discotheque (FILEJERKS remix)"
Rap and disco often flirt with one another, but rarely is the combo so cohesively integrated as with Keith Masters throughout the remixed title track to the Chicagoan's latest EP. For those who like the beats of Jamie Lidell or Walter Meego, laced with the mic skills of Kayne West or Common, expect an old-school authenticity on top of current dance floor beats poised to induce a sweat within seconds.
8. A.A. Bondy: Hear Ya Live Session 64
Some know him as Scott Bondy, leader of the grunge-ish band Verbena, but anyone who's heard the musician these days finds him shifting towards folk. As a result, he's since adapted the mellower A.A. Bondy persona, highlighted alongside a live backing band in this exclusive live set that falls somewhere in between the switch hitter's seemingly divergent worlds.
9. Jeff Beck: "Blanket"
Guitar snarler Jeff Beck is back on the road with Eric Clapton this year, and as this track indicates, he's likely to give good old "Slowhand" a run for his money (even as the two rake in all that Baby Boomer money). This bluesy performance sits right in pocket thanks to its steadily building groove and accompanying vocals from Imogen Heap, which leaps off Beck's latest concert DVD "Performing This Week: Live at Ronnie Scott's" (Eagle).
10. Shout Out Louds: "Fall Hard (Passion Pit remix)"
While ABBA may be its biggest export in pop circles, Sweden also celebrates the recent indie rock rise of Shout Out Louds. Besides opening for Kings of Leon, The Strokes and Secret Machines, the group also scored a slot at California's lauded Coachella and made the headlining rounds. This synth-infused remix from fellow breakthrough band Passion Pit elevates an already likable twee pop tune to ultra chilled-out dance club status.
Free music from Tokyo Police Club, Roky Erickson and Okkervil River