“Valley Boy” – Wolf Parade. Wolf Parade’s absence hasn’t been quite as long as some other bands that have returned this year; their last album was just seven years ago. And in the interim, its members were still active in other groups, most notably Dan Boeckner in the Handsome Furs and Divine Fits. Based on this song, it’s like they never went away.

“Living On the 110″ – Prophets of Rage. The idea of Prophets of Rage held some appeal to me. Tom Morello, Chuck D, and B-Real combining to form a rap-rock super group? Sounded awesome. The early songs I heard from them last year were not great, though. However, this one connects and is pretty solid.

“Eastwick” – Julia Jacklin. It seems like there’s a long list of young, female artists who write their own songs and make amazing, affecting music in the process. Courtney Barnett, Lydia Loveless, and Nadia Reid to name just three. Jacklin continues to prove that she belongs near the top of that list, too.

“Spring And By Summer Fall” – Blonde Redhead. Wow, this song, and the album it comes from – 23 – are 10 years old! A perfect track for a morning that feels more like late September than the first week of August.

“Regional Echo” – Jen Cloher. Cloher is getting attention as much for who she is married to – Courtney Barnett – as for her music. Don’t get distracted by her spouse’s identity, though. This is an outstanding song that proves Cloher is a musical force all on her own. This is a wonderful song, complimented perfectly by this video, which appeals to my photographic eye.