Jason Hawk Harris, "I'm Afraid"
Sometimes the fear of god is more unsettling than any demons the mind can muster. In "I'm Afraid," ex-Show Ponies member Jason Hawk Harris channels the confession of a childhood friend scared stiff by his mother's unsettling piety, pairing it with a ripcord beat, boogieing piano, and electric guitar that tears off notes in jagged shards. Harris' beleaguered warnings and nasally delivery are reminiscent of Mountain Goats' John Darnielle, but his message is more about self-preservation than faith. Or, as he puts it, "Buddy, you can't be too careful when it comes to holy ghosts." J.G.