Hello, my name is Dan Gorman and I’m addicted to hooky pop songwriting. This probably isn’t breaking news to you, if you’ve read any of my other articles – hell, I wrote an entire post about candy, so you should know by now how I feel about receiving instant gratification in the form of an individually wrapped, sugary sweet treat. Often times, I’m the same way with music.

It’s with this in mind, that I put together 9 tracks of music to soundtrack your next picnic, road trip, afternoon nap, or visit to the dentist.

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  1. Things start off on a twee note, with the seminal cuddlecore band Cub – coming to you straight from the Great White North and the always reliable Mint Records. Their track “Go Fish” is so nice, you might just listen to it twice.
  2. Up next is Lemuria, who’s latest release The Distance Is So Big sees them consolidating their strengths into an utterly fantastic record of poppy hooks and indie-pop experimentation.
  3. You’ll be familiar with NONA from my most recent post where I gush about how their record Through The Head is one of the best of the year – and “Give” is probably the first song off that album that I could not stop listening to. Eventually I was able to move on to the rest of the album, which proved to be just as enjoyable.
  4. Waxahatchee‘s song “Grass Stain” is the lone acoustic number here, and Katie Crutchfield proves that with the right three or four chords, an incredible voice, and undeniably relate-able lyrics, the most piercingly effective songs are often the most unassuming.
  5. Katie’s sister Allison Crutchfield‘s band Swearin follow up with a blast of fuzzed-out indie-rock that charges through hook-after-hook before drums and bass disappear and Allison sings “Say you love me / Can’t see straight / While I go to work to go on a break” over frenetic guitar strums. This track (“Snag”) is off the band’s 2011 demo-tape slash EP What A Dump – an album that comes with five more songs equally as strong as this one.
  6. Sourpatch‘s song “Cynthia Ann” opens with a guitar riff that screams “90s indie-rock” – and the rest of the track follows suit. Their album Stagger & Fade more than lives up to the promise of a band possibly named after a chewy candy that sticks with you long after you’re done consuming it.
  7. Casey recently blogged about the new Pixies track, and mentioned the announcement that Kim Shattuck of The Muffs has been chosen to replace Kim Deal. I’m a pretty big fan of The Muffs, so while I don’t think that anyone could truly replace Deal, I’m actually happy it’s Shattuck. Here’s “Funny Face” – which you might remember from the soundtrack to Angus, if you were a pre-teen in the early 90s like myself.
  8. Speaking of the 90s, That Dog.‘s albums Totally Crushed Out and Retreat From The Sun have recently re-entered my listening rotation, and I couldn’t be happier. The moog-filled “Never Say Never” has been my go-to sing-along for the past week – so enjoy this one being stuck in your head after you listen to it.
  9. Closing out the mix is Aye Nako‘s song “Visitors” off their record Unleash Yourself. According to the Pitchfork review of Unleash Yourself the band has said that “their politics are essential to their standing as queer, multi-racial, multi-gendered musicians” and the band’s “raison d’etre is to make the music they didn’t have as queer teenagers, to provide empowerment for younger generations” – and on Unleash Yourself Aye Nako succeed again and again at doing just that. I can’t stress enough how equally important and infectious the Brooklyn-based group’s songs on Unleash Yourself are.