March is coming to a close, and thus ends our first quarter of  2013. Every quarter we’ll break down staff picks the top tracks dropped, and tell you why they’re important. Next week we’ll share the top 25 by listener votes!

1. kinoko teikoku (きのこ帝国) – ユーリカ
Out of nowhere. Perfectly straddling post-rock and shoegaze, this song is purely audacious. Broke the rules. And produced an amazing piece of art that may well stand above all else at year’s end. Nobody else has done something like this, and perhaps no one else can.

2. Brothers In Law – Shadow II (Leave Me)
In a normal quarter, this would be the winner, hands down. A song of two halves, the first half is a breezy jangle with echoing, slightly eerie vocals. Then, they shift gears and rip your heart out halfway through. On this cut they out-DIIV DIIV, they outperform Beach Fossils. As we said, under other circumstances, this would normally be the quarter’s stand-out track. Beautiful, insistent, intense. An unforgettable classic.

3. Decades – Tonight Again
We were early adopters of Decades. This band has crossover written all over it, with shoegaze, dream pop, and indie influences. But they’ve managed to master them all, and produce a sound so well-crafted you’d think they’d been doing this for, well, decades, rather than just launching their debut LP.

4. Field Mouse – Tomorrow is Yesterday
Every time we turn around, Field Mouse has done something surprising and impressive. Just when you think they’re all dream pop, they drop a tasty slab of shoegaze and say, yeah, we got this. Truly magical.

5. My Bloody Valentine – She Found Now
And that happened.

6. Beach Fossils – In Vertigo (feat. Kazu Makino)
Beach Fossils are always good enough to chart in a solid quarter, but who knew the addition of the Blonde Redhead vocalist would add sparkle to the Beach Fossils sound?

7. Panda Riot – In the Forest (Some Kind of Night Fills Your Head)
Panda Riot dropped an album best listened to all the way through. Light and shadow, color and mood, “Northern Automatic Music” is best taken as a cohesive whole. Still, if you’re looking for a way in to the excellent album, this is as beautiful a place as any to start.

8. Slowness – Day For Night
After expectations and delays, “For Those Who Wish to See the Glass Half Full” was finally released. This languid sound is something Slowness has been perfecting for some time now. Standout track on a terrific album, the only quibble is that the song should have ended on a minor key, just to keep you off-balance. Is there a producer in the house?

9. The Joy Formidable – This Ladder is Ours
Sure, you’ve heard of arena rock, but arena shoegaze? The Joy Formidable always enters triumphant and leaves you exhausted. They haven’t lost their touch.

10. The Death of Pop – Laugh Now I’m Weak
Surprised? Don’t be. When a song won’t leave your head, maybe it’s supposed to stay there. Another song of two perfectly executed halves, we start off in dream pop land, then ascend to an almost 10CC wall of chorus. DAMN that’s good. You’ll want to put it on repeat.

Honorable Mentions:
Decades – Can You Love Me Now (catchy as hell)
The History of Apple Pie – Glitch (that little hook is an ear worm. Don’t worry, it won’t harm you.)
And, truly, there are so many other excellent current releases that we just don’t have space to fit them all!  Great new releases from Sunshine, Virgo Rising, Star Horse, Cheatahs, Skinny Dream, Life Model, Splashh and Spectres… honestly there’s so much to recommend. And many of these artists you just won’t hear anywhere else.

As always, you can catch ALL the newest breaking releases on DKFM, and most especially on New Tracks Weekend.

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