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Five Songs You Need To Know

Summer officially started just the other day, but there are already plenty of songs kicking around the airwaves that deserve a place on your sun-splashed playlists. Below are five of the best. They're all easy to find online, so give a listen and lemme know what you think.

J. Roddy Walston & the Business, "Brave Man's Death" Download this ramshackle epic from the raucous Baltimore band's website. Seriously, do it. As Walston testifies in his raspy, drawling voice and the charmingly baggy song builds from voice and piano to a swaggering storm of thumping drums and group vocals, it sounds like he's dragging bell bottom rock into the skinny jeans era. Also, the guitar solo rips.

Brandon Flowers, "Crossfire" You can hear this, the first single from the Brandon Flower's forthcoming solo album, Flamingo, if you go to the erstwhile Killers frontman's website.The seductively slick sound and soaring melodies that he's known for are, pardon the pun, in full flower on this moody, mid-tempo number. And the way that the echoed guitar lines burble through the verses before boiling over on the choruses and the rhythm section gallops along heroically suggest that Las Vegas's greatest rock'n'roll export has been listening to a lot of The Joshua Tree lately, which makes sense-that album's co-producer Daniel Lanois, lent his control board magic to Flamingo.

Cotton Jones, "Glorylight And Christie" The first time I heard the Baltimore duo of Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw, someone was playing their gentle, warm music in the office. I could've sworn I was listening to a recently rediscovered gem from fifty years ago. There's a lovely dusky hue to the band's lush production and quaint folkie melodies that makes songs such as the bittersweet "Glorylight And Christie" positively shimmer. Hear it on the Cotton Jones MySpace page.

Wavves, "Post Acid" In Wavves, Southern California beachnik Nathan Williams makes music that buzzes with insolent punk attitude and snarls with thick amp distortion. It's not all nastiness, though-"Post Acid" jams plenty of ear-pleasing vocal and guitar hooks into its 130 seconds. Listen to it here, then go do donuts in the parking lot of a convenience store.

MNDR, "Fade To Black" MNDR is the brainchild of underground cool New York City electronic musician Amanda Warner. And if that sounds like a recipe for archness, don't worry-Warner is just as interested in moving your butt as she is in making you go hmmm. "Fade to Black," available on her MySpace page, is a giddy tumble of rubbery, whirling synths, forceful drum machine beats, and melodic vocals. DAVID MARCHESE 

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