Male Bonding, “Mysteries Complete.” Male Bonding cleans up its ragged punk act ever so slightly on their second album, Endless Now. One of the highlights is “Mysteries Complete,” a blast of guitars and dreamy vocals that recalls My Bloody Valentine, but with a bit more muscle. Acing the rapid-fire riffs and percussion-heavy breakdowns, the band proves that musical prowess and indie-rock hooks aren’t mutually exclusive. Frontman John Webb sings of discovering betrayals and haunting regrets, but here Male Bonding keeps the overall vibe bright and powerful. Michael Kilpatrick
Future Islands, “Balance.” “Balance” is perhaps the most suitable moniker Baltimore post-wave outfit Future Islands could have bestowed on this remarkably lightweight yet undeniably danceable tune, which illustrates the soft side of a band that has become known more for its snarls than its sighs. After a brief intro featuring soothing harmonium murmurs, a somewhat distant, vibrating bassline acts as the song’s rhythmic backbone while a delicate fusion of chiming synth keys, unwavering percussion, and frontman Samuel T. Herring’s uncharacteristically restrained vocals align to form one of Future Islands’ catchiest compositions to date. Mike LeChevallier
Big Troubles, “Sad Girls.” Like the previously released album track “Misery,” Big Troubles’ “Sad Girls” is a cleanly produced, classically structured indie ballad about dealing—or not dealing—with the stresses that accompany single life. “My mom said it’s a bad world, she told me of the sad girls/So what’s the point of trying if it always ends in pain?” sings frontman Alex Craig with an air of sarcasm that highlights the “comedy” aspect of the forthcoming Romantic Comedy’s title. Bouncy guitars, glistening cymbal crashes, and jangling drumbeats provide excellent padding to Craig’s breezy, casually apathetic vocals. The New Jersey noise-rock band sounds as if they’ve been playing this brand of bright and shiny power pop from the outset. ML
House Playlist is a series dedicated to highlighting our favorite new singles, leaked songs, and album tracks.