Singer-guitarist Annie Hardy plays alongside guitarist Micah Calabrese in the Los Angeles indie rock band Giant Drag. The duo crafts a hypnotic blend of angular guitars and fuzzy synthesizers, in a stylish homage to artists such as Mazzy Star, the Pixies, and PJ Harvey. Their 2005 album, Hearts and Unicorns, was reissued this spring with a bonus track they're known to cover in concert, Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game." A few of Giant Drag's songs showcase a surly disposition ("You're Full of Shit [Check Out My Sweet Riffs]," "My Dick Sux"); but their overall performance is pretty unique: Calabrese plays the drums and the bass synth at the same time.
Since 2001, Seattle's Pretty Girls Make Graves (named after a Smiths song) have forged brooding rock akin to that of Magazine, Sonic Youth, and At the Drive-In -- full of rumbling angularity and lithe throttle, with a new-wave undercurrent. Elan Vital, the band's third album and second for Matador, follows up the critically acclaimed The New Romance with even better songs and a more danceable post-wave kick.