- Nada Surf
"Goat's Eyes," Hot Lava (Bar None): They're baaack. One of Richmond's catchiest indie-rock acts returns from hiatus with a keyboard-driven fashion statement built on a relentless chorus about goat's eyes — or is it self-conscious youth? Who knows.
"Teenage Dreams," Nada Surf (Barsuk): It's only February, but this standout track from the veteran New York band's latest CD, "The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy," is a strong contender for best pop song of the year.
"Brains," Lower Dens (Ribbon Music): A new full-length from Baltimore's finest isn't expected to drop until summer. This krautrock-inspired teaser, making the Internet rounds, promises much.
"Unfold," The Lost Satellites (LS): The closing track from this underrated Richmond group's impressive new CD, "This War Will End," is a stately anthem ready made for a stadium full of lit Bics.
- Bill Callahan
"Riding for the Feeling," Bill Callahan (Drag City): Singer and songwriter Callahan's deadpan baritone delivery on this sparse and lovely apocalyptic waltz earns him post-punk Leonard Cohen comparisons.