The portrait of a bully who lost his nerve, Adam Green's "Boss Inside" would have fit in perfectly at a folk festival 50 years ago. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

"No Wonder" is characteristic of Stratton's ability to balance the direct and oblique into a single engrossing song. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

Pretty much everything you'd want in a rock 'n' roll instrumental is in Jim Campilongo's "Backburner": a terrific groove, trick-filled riffs and solos, and a point of combustion. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

Joanna Newsom's previous albums include The Milk-Eyed Mender and Ys. Annabel Mehran hide caption

itoggle caption Annabel Mehran

A caustic rejoinder to an unnamed antagonist, Title Tracks' "Black Bubblegum" is upbeat, but deceptively so. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

Catchy and sweet, Cold War Kids' "Audience" finds its soul in heavy-hitting piano and minimal layering. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

The Morning Benders. Matt Jacoby hide caption

itoggle caption Matt Jacoby

A lovely nature song, Shearwater's "Hidden Lakes" is as graceful and vulnerable as the world it describes. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

Local Natives' "Airplanes" quickly unfolds as a jaunty wonder, as it hurtles along with something resembling school spirit. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's "Beat the Devil's Tattoo" is both threatening and enticing: At times, it seems to endanger the listener's mortal soul. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist