What? In navigational terms, a rhumb line is a path of constant bearing. Given Ra Ra Riot's brief but turbulent history, it seems only fitting they name their debut after a fixed point that won't let you lose your way. That much is true of The Rhumb Line, out August 19 on Barsuk. Here, the chamber-pop outfit expertly guides its mischievous, youthful interpretation of indie rock around dueling violin and cello strings. The result is an album comprised of ten new-wave-meets-orchestral tracks that range from ebullient come-ons to studied hymns of grief. These highs and lows are as much of a product of circumstance as they are an instrumental release: While their self-titled EP was in the making, Ra Ra Riot's drummer, John Pike, passed away. The former sextet has since soldiered on as a five-piece, recording The Rhumb Line with producer Ryan Hadlock (Gossip, Blonde Redhead, Islands). Who?
What? The members of Broken Social Scene collect side projects the same way most people hoard takeout menus. But while the umpteen others quell their creative urges, BSS co-founder Brendan Canning has remained one of the quieter members of the Canadian indie super group -- until now. With Something for All of Us, out July 22 on Arts & Crafts, the bearded, bespectacled bassist is stepping out of the shadows, and attention must be paid. Canning stays true to the collective's trademarked baroque-pop aesthetic, and his record blooms with the same slow-building beauty of a BSS disc. Effervescent anthems, sparse lullabies, and restless samples coalesce in a blissfully chaotic production style -- tempered by Canning's own rasp-whisper delivery. Who?