Some people like fall--the crisp mornings, the technicolor leaves, the steaming cups of cider. I am not one of those people; I prefer my days hot and oppressive, thank you. And while I have no idea what this song is actually about, since distortion and guitar fuzz obscure just about every word, I'd like to think that British band Yuck (they just signed to Fat Possum) are as pissed off by the end of summer as I am. REBECCA WILLA DAVIS
Travis' Fran Healy has one of the most beautiful voices in pop, and on his debut solo album, Wreckorder (out this week), it's front and center, with just gently strummed acoustic guitars and mellow, harp-like synths backing him. On this rainy day single, he tries to win over an ungrateful lover who prefers roses and diamonds over real romance. "What is wrong with buttercups?" he asks in his yearning, boyish tenor. They're perfect, in our opinion.
Kanye is set to drop his new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, in November, and after his bizarre-o performance on Saturday Night Live, we can't wait to hear the whole thing. But until then, we're happy replaying this track, with its slow, driving beat, from his 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak. It's the kind of song you listen to at night...when you're alone.
RAJNI LUCIENNE JACQUES
The Vaccines -- "Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)"
Every now and then, a band comes along on such a wave of hype it seems impossible they could ever come close to living up to it. New British four-piece the Vaccines (members include Tom Cowan, younger brother of Horror Tomethy Furse and Justin Long of Jay Jay Pistolet—not, as was once suggested, members of the British Royal Family) are such a band, but their sunny, indie rock 'n' roll full of echo and reverb is wonderfully infectious, and most definitely worthy of the sudden attention. "Wreckin' Bar," their first single, is 84 seconds of rattly, catchy, Ramones-esque intensity that starts practically at the chorus and is over before there's time to decide whether you even like it or not. But then listen again. And again. They might be a bit late, but the Vaccines are the band we were waiting for all summer long.
This has got to be one of the more morbid love songs out there, but somehow the chorus of "let me be your eyelids," melts my heart. We met this Miami band on a recent road trip for the upcoming America issue and have since become addicted to their brand of '60s tinged, drawling garage rock. "Three of us used to live together and would constantly mess around with recording dumb songs about mythical monsters and sexual deviance," says guitarist Jacob Israel, who lists everything from Kurt Vonnegut to Cro Mags and Stevie Nicks as influences. "Eventually we started calling friends over to help out, and the band was formed." NATALIE SHUKUR