Katie Presley

The video for "Sorry" by San Francisco's The She's is the stuff dreams are made of. A beautiful duo frolics on the beach, the sun is shining, the sparks are flying, a sweet series of kisses are shared in the surf, and, as in so many dreams, the whole thing is tinged with a creeping sense of existential dread.

It's only sexy to be sick sometimes. Or more precisely, only some types of sickness are sexy. Passionate fevers. Tragic, romantic consumption. Artistic mania. Poetic depression. The spectrum of socially acceptable mental illnesses is about as wide as a pinky finger — paranoia and anxiety aren't even on the same hand.

The cover art of Newcastle indie-rock quartet Lanterns on the Lake's new album, Beings, is at once soothing and unnerving. Warm, filtered light bathes an arid mountain-scape, and whimsical will-o-the-wisps bubble around the edges of the image. Yet, in the middle of the photograph, there sits an unadorned black heptagon, like a scorch mark. It's a striking image, perfectly paired to the music it illustrates.

Saying an artist's music is "gaining velocity" usually means it's exploding in popularity; finding a larger (and growing) audience. For the songs of Twin Cities musician Haley Bonar, though, it's literally true. Her musical projects, first solo and now with her band Gramma's Boyfriend, have been increasing in tempo and kick for the duration of her decade-long career.

Bakers know to cut their sweetest confections with salt, to give dimension to that sugary taste. Painters and photographers use shadow to give shape to light. And on her latest single, "Still Your Girl" (from her newest EP, Arrows), the Michigan-born, Nashville-bred singer-songwriter Fleurie (born Lauren Strahm) uses heavy, jarring electronica to turn an airy pop song into something dark and downright luscious.

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