1. CSS, “Hits Me Like a Rock”
They’re from Brazil. Their name stands for cansei de ser sexy, or “tired of being sexy.” Their singer calls herself Lovefoxxx. And they start a party wherever they play. What’s not to like?
2. Autolux, “Turnstile Blues”
LA mood-rockers that sound like they could have dropped in from 1990s Britain. Who wouldn’t build a time machine to open for Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age?
3. STRFKR, “Bury Us Alive”
Even if Las Vegas boy Keil Corcoran—formerly of next-big-scene-thing Flaspar—wasn’t in the drum seat for this Portland electro outfit, we’d dig the catchy tunes on 2011 album Reptilians.
4. The Whigs, Right Hand on My Heart”
This garage-y Georgia power trio has rocked its way across the globe with the likes of The Black Keys, The Hold Steady and Kings of Leon. Don’t hold that last one against them.
5. Yuksek, “On a Train”
He’s French, he’s a classically trained pianist and he’s got Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke singing vocals on this undeniable club jam.
6. Tennis, “Origins”
A fast-rising indie-pop trio from Denver, led by husband/wife team Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley. They’ve released two records in the past year, along with a cool cover of The Zombies’ “Tell Her No.”
7. HEALTH, “Die Slow”
If you have a weak heart, you might wanna avoid the video for this one—or maybe this noise-loving LA quartet in general.
8. Chromatics, “In the City”
Along with Italians Do It Better labelmates Glass Candy (also on the Pastel bill), these Portlanders are making the case that Italo Disco might need an official Orego Disco subgenre.
9. Le Butcherettes, “Henry Don’t Got Love”
Teri “Gender Bender” Suaréz and her Mexican garage-punk band opened for Queens of the Stone Age last year at Cosmo, and were supposed to open for Iggy & The Stooges at the Joint before that show got canceled. [Update: Le Butcherettes have dropped off the Pastel Project bill due to a family emergency.]
10. The Album Leaf, “There Is a Wind”
Chill out after a long night of listening with Jimmy LaValle’s Sub Pop-housed project (think: sweeping post-rock with vocals).