After a lifetime of explaining -- and subsequently losing at -- what I like to call The Music Game (a perpetual game which entails listening to surrounding songs at bars, grocery stores, chain restaurants and being the first to name the artist), how refreshing it is to browse through some stellar new tracks on Epitonic...ones which may not be blasting at a restaurant with two-dollar breakfast and tore-up servers, but damn if I wouldn't finally win if they were. Vintage recordings, nostalgic high school crooners, and catchy pop beats make me swoon.  As such, these songs have had my heart this week.

The Dodos "Fables": Someone who I suspect to be a really big ABBA fan recently introduced me to The Dodos, a fun and frantic band which you may not like upon the first listen, but after the tenth or the 100th, you'll discover that clever lyrics and long, upbeat instrumental solos are seriously deep without being annoyingly depressing. “Fables” is no exception: a comforting, poppy tune that reminds you how easy it is to be in love with a perfect, kick-ass chorus that indirectly assures you that being reclusive is the best way to avoid asshole liars. I already knew that, but I appreciate the tip.

Apollo Sunshine "I Was on the Moon": I didn't want to like this song when I first heard it. I didn't want to get it stuck in my head and sing a cheesy line like, “I was on the moon when you were born...” I didn't want to play it again and try and decipher if it was a love song to music or a love song to a girl. I wanted to file it under “the stuff I used to listen to when I was 16 and anxiously awaiting the new Will Smith album.” Yet there is something about the artfulness of the tone, the way he sings “I'll be home soon” over and over, the way the song changes each time before returning to the familiar chorus. “I Was on the Moon” feels juvenile in the best way: nostalgic and lovable, a song for teenagers who want to play guitar but don't. “I Was on the Moon” captures some unidentifiable moment you had at 15 before you were pretentious and self-involved. Before shit got complicated.

Shimmering Stars "I'm Gonna Try": I will admit up front that I know little about Shimmering Stars, and I can only imagine that they recorded this short, choppy 60s-esque piece in the back of their friend's van or in the basement of that place that sells Halloween costumes. Yet it made me instantly happy, be it because it's caked with a pretty, whimsical tone or because it's the perfect song for dancing in the rain. Or simply because you can't help but be drawn to a song that somehow can say “love is the only thing that can save me” without sounding like they're trying way too hard to come off as heartfelt. Two whole minutes of this stuff and I'm totally ready for some drinks, love and rain dancing.

Honorable Mentions

Spoon "Got Nuffin'": Who doesn't love Spoon sounding kind of angry and jaded?

Blitzen Trapper "Dragon's Song": I'm a sucker for a repetitive piece of indie rock gold.

Menomena "Taos": I don't go to clubs but if I did I'd totally stand in the corner and listen to this under a hoodie.