Every time we've done this feature, I've been genuinely surprised by the quality of the bands that make the final list, which is to say nothing of the countless great bands we've had to leave out over the years. And yet, when it came time to start work on this year's feature, I genuinely had no idea if I'd be able to do it. But for every, let's say, six or eight bands that forced me to get up from my desk and angrily walk outside, only to remember that, fuck, I quit smoking eight months ago, there was one that consoled me: North Highlands for their beautifully rickety take on classic indie rock, Ball of Flame Shoot Fire for their deep, abiding strangeness, Ava Luna for their inventive arrangements and huge, sneaky hooks, Nohow On for their refreshing, almost single-minded respect for melody. And so on.
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