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Waxahatchee - "Misery Over Dispute"
Katie Crutchfield, of the badass guitar hero Crutchfield twins, at her brief, bruised best.
Phosphorescent - "Song for Zula"
Matthew Houck takes his sophisticated country to a bigger pop place.
Vampire Weekend - "Hannah Hunt"
On an album so saturated with melody and dread that the two seem almost too easy to conjure, the point in which Ezra Koenig's voice finally raises to a raw tremble.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Despair"
No matter how you feel about the rest of the album, Karen O remains beyond question in the wounded-but-triumphant torch song department.
Marnie Stern - "Year of the Glad"
Mellowing her hyperkinetic guitar heroics just enough to let her sly, spazzy personalty shine through.