8 Bands You Need to Hear: Honorable Mentions 

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1. Tiny Victories
Have you guys noticed a strange lack of smart-aleck, electronically driven dance-pop geared toward hopxeless music obsessives of late? Like, for some reason there's suddenly a gaping whole where there was once a massive, generation-defining figure? Well, get a load of Tiny Victories, a Brooklyn duo that might be able to help you out. They just released their debut 7", and it's a high-energy affair, driven by synths, live drumming and some impressively infectious vocal hooks. We're ready for a full-length. Listen here.

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2. Weed Hounds
We don't know a whole lot about Weed Hounds, a band that, like Twin Sister before them, seems to split time between Brooklyn and Long Island, but we're ever so taken by their pleasantly blaring indie rock. For us, it sits perfectly between the Swirlies and Velocity Girl, which, jeez, is just not a place enough people have even tried to sit over the years. They make an awful lot of noise, but they also bring some endearingly sweet vocals and a nice serving of boy/girl harmonies, not to mention some surprisingly textured and nuanced guitar work. Listen here.

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3. Minerva Lions
The secret to any heartstring-tugging psych-leaning band, we're pretty sure, is the pedal steel. Take, for example, Minerva Lions. While the closing track of their debut EP, Great Strides, Priestess & Queen, wanders a little too deep into jam-funk territory for our liking, it's preceded by two perfectly steel-entwined laments recalling the dreamy, longing sounds of Sea Change-era Beck. The band is clearly aiming for a soft spot here, and they hit it head-on. Listen here.

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4. Beat Radio
Since 2004, Brian Sendrowitz has quietly churned out album after album of fuzzy rock anthems from his Long Island home, but it wasn't until last December that everything finally seemed to fall into place for his band, Beat Radio, with the release of Golden Age on their vinyl-only, start-up label. Here, grungy psych meets spacey folk—equally informed by Sparklehorse as Buffalo Tom's appearance on My So-Called Life—making as clear an argument as there is against early onset hype. Listen here.

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5. The Hairs
Kevin Alvir of class of '09 honorable mention Knight School continues delivering no-fi warm fuzzies with The Hairs, but this time packs things with a little more punch—as if Nathan Wavves gave into his deepest feelings and started exclusively writing love songs for Bethany Best Coast. There's a forthcoming EP on pop-obsessed Magic Marker Records in May, an appearance at NYC Popfest, and occasional bass work courtesy Alex from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Plus, a song called "Feeling Lots of Feelings." Listen here.

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6. Headless 
One could argue that the chipmunky vocals of two-man band Headless Horseman sound like the unnaturally high reach (read: annoying) of Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos, but on the glitch-pop surge of "Wavlngth," the rest of the package has more in common with early Broken Social Scene than sugar-coated pop. By the time their five-track EP makes its way to the floaty "Swansong" and the fractured "Demonsong," it's clear that these guys are way too odd for the Passion Pit comparison to withstand.

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7. Your Youth
Summer, beaches, youth, a taboo obsession with Blink-182, etc. If you're going to be the next band to jump on the bandwagon, then you better make it sound like Blue Album Weezer-meets-Surfer Blood-meets-actual-surfers. And you better play your guitar super fast and bark out lyrics as if you had not a care in the world. Your Youth delivers. Listen here.

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8. Gross Relations
"I've got gross relations, separations, fuzzy timelines, hidden landmines..." We don't even know what the means, but when they guy from Gross Relations deadpans it over what sounds like a collision between The Rentals and the best high school garage-rock band ever, he sounds like the coolest person on earth. Everything on Gross Relations' 7-inch (and presumably on their EP out this June) is just slightly off-center and distorted but immensely infectious—like a perpetual hangover put to music. Listen here.

Grand Rapids | Devin Therriault | Radical Dads | Mainland | Luke 
Rathborne | Slowdance | Yellow 
Ostrich|Family Trees| |Honorable Mentions

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