Best of the rest
Grizzly Bear Warp
A flourish of clarinets and Debussy-esque piano introduces the second album from this young Brooklyn quartet, who manipulate their multi-instrumental talents with the aid of a computer. Folk and electronica intermingle with classic pop harmonies - the Beach Boys with laptops instead of surfboards. At times the songs build into an intense wall of sound; elsewhere they are gentle and alluring.
OOIOO Thrill Jockey
Proof, if it were needed, that not all guitar music is macho, backward-looking and aggressive. OOIOO is an all-girl four-piece from Japan that straddles the divide between rock, psychedelia and avant-garde composition. Here, tribal rhythms and duelling guitars are augmented by abstract, chanted vocals and bursts of electronic noise to glorious effect. At once primal and sophisticated, this is some of the strangest and most uplifting music you will hear all year.
So This Is Goodbye
Junior Boys Domino
Released into obscurity in 2004, this Canadian synth-pop duo's debut, Last Exit, is the stuff of internet legend. The follow-up album should rightly bring their music to a wider audience, marrying the pop hooks of groups like the Pet Shop Boys with a slowed-down version of techno and murmured, almost indecipherable lyrics. Devoid of sarcasm or irony, Junior Boys make a thoroughly modern sound that can be embraced by blissed-out clubbers and lonely hearts alike.