Best Rock

Mute Swan

Swirling guitar hooks, off-kilter drumming, Yo La Tengo-y backing vocals and a lead singer (Mike Barnett) who is sincere and wholly connected in his delivery, Mute Swan feels like a less jittery Of Montreal or an extension of Soft Bulletin-era Flaming Lips. No wonder their fanbase extends well beyond the 520. Their up-to-the-moment, artful psych lifts you to a dream-space desert and wraps you up in reverb and reassurances, "It's always hard letting go." Indeed, but it's easier with synesthesia-inspired songs to break your fall. 

Runners up:

2. The Unday

3. The Bennu

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