Top 10: Glass Candy, Rings, Xiu Xiu

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Hey Willpower
P.D.A.
Tomlab

Funky electro-pop with vocals that are parallel to vintage Justin Timberlake might sound questionable, but Imperial Teen’s Will Schwartz and Tussle’s Tomo Yasuda pull this combination off as Hey Willpower. P.D.A. is one of the few records that would make Lindsay Lohan’s DJ sets tolerable. For real.

Pig & Dan
Imagine
Cocoon

Sven Väth’s Cocoon imprint has done it again, with this gloom-tech masterpiece from Spain’s Pig & Dan. Grumbling bass, spooky vocal whispers, and soaring trance synths are the key to a moving full-length, and these two producers own it from start to finish.

Glass Candy
B/E/AT/B/O/X
Italians Do It Better

Glass Candy (pictured above) has become one of the most inspiring post-disco groups to emerge over the course of the past few years. B/E/AT/B/O/X is undeniable proof. Producer Johnny Jewel and vocalist Ida No keep it simple, with pulsating, analog synths, vintage drum programming, and sex-driven vocals. If you haven’t jumped onboard, do so now.

House & ParishOne, One-Thousand
Arrco

This ex-Texas is the Reason spin-off is far from another group of old emo dudes revisiting the past or haphazardly trying to upgrade to corny adult-folk. One, One-Thousand is poppy indie-rock, free from sentimental lyrics and MTV-friendly melodies. This impressive band is a reminder that a stripped-down quartet with an underground past can continue to churn out sonic bliss, regardless of how times change.

Rings
Black Habit
Paw Tracks

Rings, the band formerly known as First Nation, may have just composed one of our favorite Paw Tracks releases to date. This trio composes experimental indie-rock in the vain of many of the great FatCat bands (Múm, Mice Parade). Pretty female vocals and infectious female vocals have never sounded so exciting.

Céu
Remixed EP
Six Degrees

Brazilian baile funkstress Céu's self-titled debut, released earlier this year, was a delightfully unpredictable selection of tracks that added jazz and Afrobeat flavors to her homeland’s classic samba sound. It follows then, that the remix album–which includes standout tracks "Roda" and "Rainha"–would be equally varied, with reinterpretation styles ranging from dubby to sultry to funky and everything in between.

The Battle of Land and Sea
S/T
Notenuf

This Los Angeles-based duo makes the kind of melancholy soundscapes that might, in less capable hands, turn into an emo sob fest, but on the self-titled debut from Sara O'Shura and Joshua Canny, the melodies stay original, the lyrics thought-provoking, and subtle electronic touches give each track a delightfully ethereal finish.

Guilty Simpson
Stray Bullets Mixed by DJ Rhettmatic
Stones Throw

Guilty Simpson’s first internationally distributed mixtape began as a 15-minute mix for Stones Throw’s 25th podcast, but fans of both artist and label will enjoy the extended CD version of the mix, available from Fat Beats and featuring stellar production from the usual suspects–Madlib, the late J Dilla, Jake One, Eric Lau, and more.

Biosphere
Insomnia
Beatservice

Geir Jenssen's 1997 ambient epic, Insomnia, may not have caused a stir upon its release, but 10 years hence, its impact is felt, especially with this reissue on Beatservice. Even in the pop realm, Jenssen's fellow Norwegians like Röyksopp happily fly the Biosphere flag, incorporating his time-stretched fizzles and crunchy sonic morsels into the backdrop of their own radio-friendly compositions. Check "Chamber" and the maddening "2nd Field" for some of Northern Europe's darkest sounds yet.

Xiu Xiu
Women As Lovers
Kill Rock Stars

There's a lighter vibe cutting through the typical darkness on Xiu Xiu's latest album, but that doesn't mean the Oakland band has softened even slightly. Themes may be a tad easier on the psyche, but the angst, the disruptive percussion, and the scream-o vocal tension still factors in heavily here. The centerpiece of it all: A collaborative cover of "Under Pressure," with Swans' Michael Gira, that's a visceral shot in the gut. Amazing.