The Essex Green – Cannibal Sea (Merge Records)
With three singer/songwriters in this Brooklyn-based band, it’s no surprise that it this album goes off in a few distinct directions, some with more of a folk flavoring, some more country rock, but all with a pure pop heart. The upbeat track Don’t Know Why stands out as the easiest to immediately embrace, while the other songs warm up more slowly.
The Little Ones – Sing Song EP (Branches Recording Collective)
They might not have invented infectious indie pop, but, geesh, sometimes it seems like The Little Ones should at least share the trademark for it. If songs like Lovers Who Uncover and High on a Hill off of this six-track EP don’t make you want to smile and hop around, your heart could very well be made of stone.