The thaw is finally within sight. In the homestretch of a brutally cold, bleak winter, it finally seems like spring sunshine might actually be around the corner. That means it’s time to start digging out some of the brighter, warmer material, and our countdown is beginning to reflect that. Whether that’s the dreamy indie pop of Eternal Summers or the playful dub of Nocturnal Sunshine — heck, even the names are reflecting the undeniable return of that big ball of fire. Add in some equally undeniable returns from the likes of Kanye, Chromatics, and more, and you’ll be a few steps closer to putting the parka in storage.
10. Former Ghosts – “Past Selves”
Some of Zola Jesus’ best vocal work is hidden away on Former Ghosts’ debut, Fleurs. Now, she returns to pitch in with some of her earliest collaborators. Freddy Rupert has brought back Former Ghosts for one final 7-inch with both Zola and Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart. “Past Selves” ripples with thick analog synths that sound like they’re on the verge of falling apart, while Rupert and Nika Danilova duet in more or less the same register. “I hate my gender and all my past selves,” they sing, their voices collapsing into each other as the instrumentation stutters and glitches. Former Ghosts might be dissolving with the release of this single, but “Past Selves” is one heck of a song to go out on. –Sasha Geffen
9. Thee Oh Sees – “Web”
Back in 2013, word got out that John Dwyer and Thee Oh Sees were going on an indefinite hiatus, a shock to the many fans of one of the most prolific garage rock acts in the game. But, true to their frenetic pace, that hiatus seemed to last all of a few minutes, and now Dwyer and co. are back with yet another new album. The first taste, “Web”, opens on a rippling bass march and Dwyer’s characteristic psychedelic guitar slashes. It’s all pretty predictably stony — at least until Nick Murray breaks into a shimmying beat and Dwyer breathily whispers out the staccato lines, like some sort of disturbed disco daydream. “Web” and the rest of Mutilator Defeated At Last will be available for purchase on April 19th. –Adam Kivel