Yeah sure, you love that new Sufjan Stevens album, and we all know you're just totally nuts about the Iron and Wine/Calexico split. But what about all those records that slide under the cracks—the great albums by bands that not even you, Mr./Ms. Indie Connoisseur, have heard of? Here is a little roundup of some of the better records from this year, which you have yet to discover.

Ley Royal Scam
Pregnancy Scare/Sophomore Slump

Part of the fun of loving Ley Royal Scam—and after listening to them you can only LOVE this band unconditionally—is trying to figure out if they're real or fake. Originally dubbed a fake band (they were assembled in a fashion that would make Lou Pearlman proud), they have recently started to play live (their first show, opening for Taking Back Sunday to a crowd of over 2,000 kids), which only makes this collection of their two demo EPs all the more appealing. Singer Teeter Sperber's voice is a dead ringer for Cyndi Lauper, especially if she was raised on (early) Weezer and had a murderous vendetta against mall emo.

Raised by Wolves
(2024 Records)

Since they never seem to tour, this Minneapolis band seems doomed to obscurity—a downright crime considering their subtle balance of Mates of States coed pop and warm electronics. The opening track from Raised by Wolves, "How Far North?," is my mix-tape jam of the year, an absolutely flawless gem of indie pop, complete with dueling vocals lines and well-placed strings. Someone needs to buy this band a tour van fast.

Mariee Sobonya
Pray Me A Shadow

Originally from the same small town (shire?) as Joanna Newsom, which is just plain weird when you hear how elfish and cute Mariee Sobonya sounds. Harp-free, but still well paced, intimate, and just downright beautiful, as Sobonya's voice cracks and chirps over picked acoustic guitar. It's more Folk than Freak, which is fine, especially when the songs are as well written as they are. She even has a song called "Ghosts In My <3"! So cute. OMG! LOL! WTF!

Dirty on Purpose
Sleep Late for a Better Tomorrow
(North Street Records)

If you haven't heard of them by now, you will soon. It's only a matter of time before this Brooklyn (where else?) band climbs to the top of the Pitchfork Hype Mountain, and rightfully so. Dirty on Purpose is ridiculously precise, with heavily structured harmonies and a drummer who is somehow able to sing beautifully and play manically, at the same time. They'll remind you of the pre-Seth Cohen days of Death Cab, back when you loved that band and weren't so jaded. You've changed, man.