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Melbourne-by-way-of-Brooklyn duo Zoe Randell and Steve Hassett, also known as Luluc, will be releasing Passerby, their new album of delicate and delicious acoustic songcraft, on July 15 via new label home Sub Pop. Clearly Randell and Hassett are not ones to be rushed: the new project follows up their critically adored 2008 debut album Dear Hamlyn, named for Randell's late father. Since then, Luluc (pronounced Loo-LUKE) have found some supportive fans like Lucinda Williams and Joe Boyd, the original producer for Brti-folk legend Nick Drake who recruited the pair for last year's Drake tribute album. Another admirer, Aaron Dessner of The National, stepped in to co-produce and contribute instrumentally to the songs that became Passenger.  "It was kind of remarkable how well Aaron was able to fit in," says Randell. "He really felt like part of our creative brain.” Click through to stream Luluc's version of Nick Drake's "Fly."

Luluc - "Without A Face" (from Passerby)

Nearly three years ago to the day, we featured the song "Happy Banjo" from Toronto trio Dark Mean. Since then, the band -- led by Mark Dean (insert "aha" moment here) -- has released a self-titled debut album and, more recently, a new four-song EP Samuel the Phoenix. Their mantra is simple: "we write music, jam in the garage, and make records." For the recording of a live video for the cool Canadian webbers Southern Souls, the band went back for another take on "Happy Banjo." Good move. Click through to hear the original.

When Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak opted to explore the nuances of beat driven synth/pop in the duo Dungeonesse it now appears that her little dance-floor-driven side project resulted in something of an electronic epiphany. In the new Wye Oak world witnessed on the remarkable Shriek (April 28, Merge), the standard bearing guitar cacophonies of the past have been jettisoned in favor of plugged-in machines. Rarely has a band's signature sound undergone such a radical reinvention. And it works. As to be expected, the sound has a cushion of taut bass lines and lush keyboards, but where might opt to go light and twinkled, Wasner, partner Andy Stack and co-producer/engineer Nicolas Vernhes go deeper and darker under their electric blanket, using the dense sonic layers to skillfully balance tension and release. Wye Oak aren't the first to treat synth/pop as a medium for serious-minded indie artistry but we're predicting Shriek will emerge as one of the best and most dramatically defining bellwether albums of 2014. Click through to stream "Before" and watch "The Tower" video.

Wye Oak - "Sick Talk" (from Shriek)

Much of the debut album A Thousand Half Truths from Norway's alt-pop quartet Making Marks is so relentlessly sunny and determinedly upbeat and sweet that your head hurts and teeth ache. Not so much with "Like Spinning," one of Half Truths' best songs and the band's new video. Stream the full album here.

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