Kristi Kates has been writing about and performing music for quite some time now. When we found out that she was going to be editor-in-chief of Pyxis Magazine, which launches today, we figured we'd ask her to curate a guest playlist and see where her tastes lie. Her own musical creations are typically of the Brit-influenced, melodic indie-pop variety, but she's certainly spanning some genres with this excellent list. Download the tracks, then head over to Pyxis and see what they're featuring for their first day (launch at noon eastern).

Neil Finn - "Throw Your Arms Around Me"

I simply adore Neil Finn. In addition to the gorgeous control he has over his voice, he's got to be one of the most elegant songwriters around, weaving melodies and lyrics together in such an effortless way, and making plenty of other songwriters jealous in the process.

The Strokes - "Last Nite

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Before I moved to New York, I always thought that The Strokes represented the City's quintessential downtown cool. The way Julian Casablancas could just throw away a lyric while singing, the whole band's stylish good looks and complete insouciance - not to mention that the hooks of their songs stick in your head for days.



The Shins - "Australia"

This is one of my very favorite Shins songs ever, especially the way the arrangement keeps changing, swooping and morphing into catchy bit after catchy bit. The lyrics equal the complexity of the tune, encouraging the shy and lonely to take the hand of friendship when it arrives.

Belle & Sebastian - "Another Sunny Day
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As bubbly and bright as a Sunday skip in the park, only Belle & Sebastian's unexpected Glasgowian playfulness could make this lyric actually work: Another sunny day/ I met you up in the garden/you were digging plants/I dug you/beg your pardon…

Air - "Planet Vega"
...but who needs lyrics at all when the synthronica is as perfectly chill as this? One ginger soda with a twist of lime, please.

Sigur Ros - "Hoppipolla"

I've always liked to think the rumor is true - that the title of this song means "Hopping Puddles" - even the opening piano trills sound like water droplets. It's interesting how it's been used in so many films and commercials; it's just one of those pretty tracks that suits a lot of environments.

Wilco - "Whole Love
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I saw Wilco perform at Lollapalooza a few years ago, and while I embarrassingly hadn't given them much thought before, I was definitely a fan after that set. That was the year of their "Nudie suits" (not what you think - look it up), but even all those rhinestones couldn't outshine standout songs like this one.

White Lies - "Death (Crystal Castles Remix)"

Something of an Interpol/Killers hybrid, White Lies - while perpetually glum, it seems, if their songs are any indication - nonetheless know how to craft the perfect pop-punk beat. Once that's set as the foundation, even lyrics like these, about fear of airplanes, become danceable.  

Aimee Mann "Thirty-One Today
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This isn't actually one of my fave Aimee Mann songs - it's a little too dark even for her usual wry outlook (I like "Save Me" and her version of Nilsson's "One") - but she's such a great representation of how to be a cool female singer-songwriter without falling back on either costumes or coarseness, I couldn't leave her off of the list.

Army Navy "The Long Goodbye
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Army Navy seem way too strummy and indie to be an L.A. band, but West Coasters they are indeed. This is my wild card pick, as I had heard of - but hadn't heard - this band before running across them here on Epitonic. Very cool.