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Melissa

Schilli-San – Smooth Situations

It's Saturday night, and you're feeling a bit too adult to go out clubbing until dawn, but way too young to stay at home and do nothing. Smooth Situations is the perfect kind of music for a weekend full of adventures and secrets - it has a laid-back groove that invites you into its mystery, without giving too much away. This is great news for people who like dance music, without necessarily wanting to dance all the time.

Angels & Airwaves give you Love – a free album download

I feel I should preface this review by saying that most Nu-Rock bores me. I kind of got over my rocker-girl phase as soon as I got out of high school, and to be honest I find that most modern rock bands don't really offer much I haven't heard before. That's why it surprises me so much that I absolutely love Love, the much-hyped brand-new album from alternative rockers Angels & Airwaves.

Robinson, Freitag And The Lonely Trumpet present Shaking Hands – relax, island style

At just about every moment during this 10-track album, you'll be waiting for the musicians to break into laughter, and they actually do at some points. But Shaking Hands is not just a joke, it's an infectious combination of calypso beats and lo-fi magic. Either you'll get it or you won't, but if you do, it'll leave you wanting to go out and buy every island-themed album ever made.

Zoe.LeelA’s Queendom Come – vibrant electro-pop

German pop songstress Zoe.LeelA describes her music as "New Plastic Soul," and to be honest I can't think of a better category to put it in. This 6-song EP, appropriately titled Queendom Come, is a bold statement of feminist energy and sexual tension. Zoe already has quite a following in Germany and France, but it remains to be seen whether her very European sound will translate well across the pond.

Duwende – taking a cappella to the next level

I grew up with a cappella music. I was in choirs from a very young age, and when it comes to innovative vocals, I thought I'd pretty much heard it all. But Duwende still manage to be different, even within the recent trend of vocal groups trying to be more outlandish and original than each other. And the difference has nothing to do with cheesy gimmicks or contrived tricks - Duwende simply make solid music that doesn't come off as choir-like.

Bella Ruse’s Self-Titled EP – indie folk with a great girl vocal

When I first heard Bella Ruse's EP, I couldn't believe it was Creative Commons. This minimal indie folk duo have such a smooth, polished sound, it's impossible to think they're not headed for great things. Kay Gilette's rich, unique vocal sound is the foundation on which Bella Ruse's music is built, but the real magic in is the way these songs fit together to form a cohesive whole

Zhang Liming: A Gift of Despair for My Friends

Okay, for a moment, I want you to stop thinking of music as entertainment, and stop thinking of musicians as being the ones fully responsible for bringing their music to you and spoon-feeding you its meaning. Instead, just for a short while, consider the process of making music more as a collaborative effort, where you and the musician share equal obligation in the end result.

Krakenti: Mice Plan

I was familiar with Krakenti’s work in the context of heavy industrial music – kind of like Trent Reznor in his angrier days. While I do like industrial, I find that most independent industrial albums can get very same-y after a while. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Krakenti’s latest release on Bumpfoot, Mice Plan, was described as a mix of “various styles,” industrial blended with trip-hop and ambient. I wasn’t disappointed.