The Band: Junius
The Buzz: Breathtaking Boston metal band pulls off a perfect hybrid of Neurosis and the Smiths, striking a stunning balance of brutality and beauty. Their latest album, The Martyrdrom of a Catastrophist, is a concept record about catastrophe theorist Immanuel Velikovsky, exploring his insistence on a chaotic universe. Its songs are spellbinding and heartbreaking, gripping from the first note to the last. A hard rock dream come true.
Listen If: You dress in combat boots and all black and look like you could uproot an oak tree with your bare hands, but your secret favorite record is Disintegration.
Key Track: The heartbreaking "Letters from Saint Angelica," where pleas to "Wake up! Wake up!" are delivered against guitars that crash like tidal waves.
The Band: Dam-Funk
The Buzz: The new sound of old electro: California producer makes glitchy, slippery beats that recall the golden age of hip-hop. Call it Commodore 64-core: minimal blip groove with designed for serious swiveling. It's square and sexy.
Listen If: You could beat Pole Position blindfolded, and used that skill to impress the ladies (or gentlemen!).
Key Track: The laid-back "I Know Love is Here Tonight," with its martini-glass clink and hand-clap percussion. You can almost see the guys in pink pastel polos grooving on the light-up dance floor.
The Band: Laura Veirs
The Buzz: Magnificent Portland songwriter delves into the mystic, crafting spare, entrancing pop songs as informed by folk music as they are indie rock. Her upcoming July Flame takes its title from a type of peach, and its content is just as sweet and irresistible.
Listen If: You rep hard for solo Tanya Donnelly, or prefer Cat Power's early, odd work to her late-period polish.
Key Track: "July Flame," where Veirs hypnotic, mysterious voice wends its way around stiff guitar, purring an endless string of curious riddles until the whole song crests in a crescendo of swirling violins and ghostly choirs.