Featured Artist: Smash

After vacating the drum stool for indie favorites Real Estate in 2011, Etienne Duguay has since gone in a completely different direction with his new band, Splash. Duguay’s Brooklyn-based group is immensely influenced by the dance-pop of the early/mid 1980s, and their sole single to date, the shimmering “Ever After,” reminds us of Madonna’s “Lucky Star” — so naturally, we adore it. We hope you do, too!


Featured Artist: Purity Ring

Purity Ring is a platform for Corin Roddick and Megan James to create their own brand of jittery, danceable electro tunes. The Canadian duo has been working together for about two years and just released what we think is their most accessible track yet, the quietly anthemic “Fineshrine.” Roddick’s crafty drum programming pairs gracefully with James’ feathery vocals here, making for an ideal soundtrack as you wind down after a long summer’s day of fun in the sun.


Featured Artist: Clams Casino

The New Jerseyite popularly known as Clams Casino (his friends and family call him Mike Volpe) has turned into one of hip-hop’s newest shining lights. Drawing more inspiration from chillwave artists such as Washed Out than from hip-hop’s traditional past, the producer/instrumentalist drops hazy beats that ebb and flow like sea tides — an ideal soundtrack for a mellow afternoon under the summer sun. And while you’re likely to hear Clams’ most popular work with Lil B and Mac Miller on the radio these days, he’s been sneakily releasing mix tapes of his instrumentals via Twitter that are definitely worth tracking down!


Featured Artist: Ben Browning

Having joined Cut Copy as bassist a couple years back, Ben Browning naturally absorbed the Australian indietronica band’s sonic approach. It’s hardly surprising, then, that his solo debut, the Lover Motion EP, has a smoothly sophisticated sound that’s full of the same bouncy optimism the world heard on Cut Copy’s 2011 smash, Zonoscope. If you’re like us and a fan of New Order’s best work from the 1980s, Browning’s bubbling basslines will sound familiar in all the right ways. We know we’ll be enjoying Lover Motion all summer!


Featured Artist: Beachwood Sparks

As much as we’ve always enjoyed their records — and missed them over the last ten years — Beachwood Sparks haven’t always had the best timing. Los Angeles’ finest purveyors of kaleidoscopic country rock put out a celebrated self-titled debut in 2000, followed it up with a pair of solid releases over the next two years…and then went strangely silent as a host of bands they clearly influenced (including Fleet Foxes, Mumford And Sons, and Blitzen Trapper) became household names in the indie world. But all’s well that ends well, and we’re stoked that Beachwood Sparks will finally return this year with a new album, The Tarnished Gold!


Featured Artist: Japandroids

Striking the North American scene like a lightning bolt with their epic 2009 LP Post-Nothing, Japandroids are a true force of nature. The Vancouver-bred duo of Brian King (guitar/vocals) and David Prowse (drums/vocals) continue to mold a sound that’s unnaturally colossal, drawing on the grandiosity of early 1970s Who, the buzzsaw ferocity of Hüsker Dü, punk-pop’s endless fascination with youth and the glorification of it…and of course, a healthy dose of Canadian humility. On the heels of Post-Nothing‘s success, the band put out three scorching singles in 2010, then took their time last year to craft a proper full-length follow-up. We have a pile of reasons to get behind this band, and the fact that the newly released LP is called Celebration Rock — and better yet, that it lives up to its name — may top the list.


Featured Artist: Passion Pit

Immediately catapulted into the spotlight when their “Sleepyhead” single made the rounds back in 2009, the boys in Passion Pit are back, just over three years later with a new album. They’ve taken a somewhat different path from their peers in bands such MGMT, becoming a little weirder but also a little more personal at the same time. Singer Michael Angelakos still rips with his falsetto and the beats still bang with equal parts sunshine and thunder. We’ve heard a couple songs off the new album – Gossamer, which drops on July 24th – and we think it’s going to be a great soundtrack for our summer. Check out the single “I’ll Be Alright” below to hear for yourself!


Featured Artist: Lotus Plaza

Although he’s best known at this point for his role as guitarist in Atlanta indie rock juggernaut Deerhunter, Lockett Pundt’s solo records under the Lotus Plaza moniker are starting to turn more and more ears. His latest Lotus Plaza LP, Spooky Action At A Distance, is full of chiming guitars and reverb’d vocals, and we’ve had it in constant rotation since its April release. If you’ve ever wondered what Deerhunter might sound like as a half-remembered dream, here’s your answer.


Featured Artist: Van She

Though they’ve sometimes been in the shadow of their australian label mates, Cut Copy, Van She are a robust, capable electropop band with a unique sound and an ear for an incredible remix. Their debut album, V, released way back in 2005, was a slow-burner dance record, taking its time to worm its way into your ear. After a long series of singles, they’re finally back with a fully-baked record, Idea of Happiness. It’ll be released July 10th, and we can’t wait to hear it!


Featured Artist: Sugar & Gold

Just as Sugar & Gold have been compared to the likes of MGMT, Hot Chip, and Ssion, the light electro-pop duo has created a form of danceable pop uniquely their own. Their catalog to date includes two LPs and two EPs, none of which have left our speakers for very long lately. After all, they sound awesome almost anywhere – in the car on the way to the beach, during a workout at the gym…or even on a Friday at work!