1. 'Try To Explain' - The Flaming Lips
A haunting digital ballad from The Terror, an album I've fallen for in a big way. The direct and personal nature of the lyrics is striking, no doubt influenced by Wayne Coyne's split with his long-term partner, and they're at productive odds with the experimental feel of the music (if not its minimalism). Incomprehension can have rarely sounded so beautiful.
2. 'Graffiti' - Maximo Park
A definite highlight of their recent Oxford gig, and a portal to a trip down Memory Lane for yours truly. A Certain Trigger remains a fine album.
3. 'Kveikur' - Sigur Ros
Never mind the fact that it's all too often a marketing cliche unsubstantiated by the evidence - Kveikur is a real return to form, its menacing title track in particular.
4. 'Possessed' - Eagulls
It's hard to imagine any band clearly heavily influenced by Iceage securing themselves any kind of mainstream exposure in this country, let alone in the US - so Leeds quintet Eagulls could be forgiven for wondering what the hell's going on. David Letterman seemed to approve, though.
5. 'Backwaters' - Drenge
The Smiths gone grunge.
6. 'Strong Hand' - Chvrches
A bonus track from debut album The Bones Of What You Believe (and the song that actually includes the album title in the lyrics). Not only is it as good as anything that made it into the official tracklisting, the fan-made video was declared "the best thing I have seen all day. Maybe ever" on the band's Twitter.
7. 'Le Prieur Rockets' - Kid Kin
An unfamiliar name from the line-up for this year's Punt, who actually turn out to be (a) extremely good in an electronica/post-rock kind of way and (b) the nom de plume of my former work colleague and current 5-a-side team-mate Pete.
8. 'Seasons (Waiting On You)' - Future Islands
Another Letterman performance - and this really is a performance. I'm wasn't impressed by them at the ATP Nightmare Before Christmas in 2011 (review still in the pipeline, ahem), I'm not particularly keen on this song, and I fail to understand all the positive press they've been getting around new album Singles, out on 4AD - but I can't deny that Samuel T. Herring's vocal delivery and stage manner are remarkable. It does all remind of this, though...
9. 'Nowhere To Land New' - The Cult Of Dom Keller
Thanks to Dave for introducing me to a charming bunch who, on this evidence, drag 60s garage through psychedelia and krautrock to very productive effect. May be on nodding terms with narcotic substances.
10. 'Peaceable Child' - Inventions
Along roughly similar lines as Kid Kin, though more ambient. Also, Inventions are a duo - a collaboration between Explosions In The Sky guitarist Mark T. Smith and Eluvium's Matthew Cooper, whose debut album has been put out by tastemaking label Temporary Residence.