Heavy Drinker The Colt Kraft Band

Colt Kraft has grabbed attention from club crowds with a lonesome cowboy croon that’s destined for greatness. His band’s new EP is worthy of that voice, with this simple song about a simple man stuck in a simple rut as its highlight. “I’m a heavy drinker, chain smoker,” Kraft sings. “I’m a hard worker.” Let’s hope so.

The Decisive Moment Blue Scholars (unmastered)

Those who found Blue Scholars Cinemetropolis overwrought and underwhelming, take heart. This track, still unmastered, is Blue Scholars at their most potent. Geo’s rhymes cascade as he lands multiple full-contact punches and a looped guitar whiles away below. It’s the best thing they’ve done since Bayani.

Hollow Hibou

This mellow electronic track, created by former Craft Spells drummer Peter Michel, glows like the sun and tickles like carbonation, Michel’s vocals gauzy like a daydream. Essentially, this song is a day at the beach. It’ll go great with your therapy lamp.

I Miss Outer Space Mean Jeans

The Ramones were geniuses because their bratty punk songs seemed stupid but weren’t. Portland’s Mean Jeans are similarly endowed. This song, delivered with a Joey-esque blurt, calls into question this Earthly existence: “What’s this shitty place? I miss outer space.” Then it ends with the guitar riff from Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” Amazing.

Fight Right Rabbits

Warning: This song didn’t make the list because it’s pretty but because it’s effective. “Fight Right” is a song about war that sounds like war. It’s sludgy, chaotic, brutal and ugly—but at its core is a beating, bleeding heart of humanity.

Photo of Mean Jeans by Charlie Vortruba