PARKS :: SOMERVILLE
CLASS OF 2013 TRACK: "SWEATER WEATHER"
After disbanding his longtime indie-pop band Oranjuly, Brian E. King quickly resurfaced late last year with Parks, taking his keen songwriting craftsmanship and penchant for jangle-pop into a more structured, sun-salted, and faster-paced direction. The result was fancy-footed "Sweater Weather," and the reaction was immediate. "I've personally gone through hell in the past two years," King says, "so it'll be exciting to share what I've put all of my energy (and really, my well-being) into." His band includes members of Spirit Kid and the Motion Sick, and you can certainly hear it within this well-heeled union of sugary pop magic. Catch Parks February 9 at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. parksband.com
SECRET LOVER :: WORCESTER
CLASS OF 2013 TRACK: "RUBBER"
Sort-of kindred spirits with the Fagettes of Allston, Worcester's Secret Lover take acid-trip '60s psych harmonies and kiss them slowly after several servings of Andre. Their summer demo leads with the mind-warped ba-ba-ba-bah's of "Rubber," and, by song's end, Sally Horowitz falls into a suggestive vocal trance. Horowitz and two other Secret Lover members live together in a Victorian mansion in Worcester with nine other people, and the sense of community is evident in the band's graveyard waltz-pop. "We wanted to be a disco band at first, but then it quickly turned into something else," Horowitz says. That something else is set to release a 13-song cassette, tour the country all of February, then release a record on Rare Bit, a new label run by two dudes from Vermont's Happy Jawbone Family Band. secretlover.bandcamp.com
THE SYMPTOMS :: ALLSTON/MISSION HILL
CLASS OF 2013 TRACK: "DON'T LEAVE"
Hard to argue that 2012 wasn't a banner year for the four dudes in the Symptoms. The band members each graduated high school in the suburbs outside Boston, landed in Allston, and self-released their debut EP, The World and Its Mistress, in the summer. The head turner on that eclectic collection was the trip-hop vibe of "Don't Leave," an experimental pop jam bursting with ennui and suggesting songwriting talents well beyond their years. Although vocalist James Fraser admits the band might consider a name change in the new year to distance themselves from the bounty of other acts with the same moniker, the glitchy, disaffected space-pop should remain well intact. thesymptomsmusic.com
THE SUSAN CONSTANT :: BOSTON
CLASS OF 2013 TRACK: "LOCKED UP"
Though they formed in 2009, the Susan Constant — named after the largest ship in the 17th-century English Virginia Company's fleet that led to the founding of Jamestown — hit their musical stride with 2011's Rayonnement. Nearly two years later, their indie-pop sound is crystallized with this month's Shapes EP, a jittery collection of tunes led by "Locked Up," a sing-along shout-about showcasing the scrappy talents of vocalist Paul Sennott. Released on the band's own "microlabel," Tour de Stade Records, Shapes is clever and sophisticated without ever taking itself too seriously. thesusanconstant.com