Up-and-coming rock is a maddening Catch-22: chances are, if you know about it, it's already too blown up for you to feel smug about. No stranger to obscure wonderfulness, Cold War Kids bassist Matt Maust unearthed for us these yet-to-pop acts so underground, the forces of the Earth's core have fused them into flinty rocks of rock, which we've exposed for your pleasure
Click the band's name to listen to their song on MySpace
Rumble Strips, "Alarm Clock"
lowdown: British clap-along soul tighter than the band's genital-shrink-wrapping jeans
Pink Mountaintops, "Single Life
lowdown: These Psychedelic Canadian ragers are unafraid to challenge ZZ Top for possession of the coveted Long Beard Cup. (For darker tunes, listen to their other band, Black Mountain.)
Sam Owens, "It's A Crime"
lowdown: Melancholy Southern songwriting best served with whiskey and regret
Sparrow Love Crew, "Monster Boogie"
lowdown: Multi-ethnic, old-schoolish hip-hoppers who fundamentally understand that authenticity doesn't necessitate rhyming "commercial" with "commercial".
Dr. Dog, "Easybeat"
lowdown: Eclectic indie that veers between Beatles and Radiohead while nevertheless maintaining almost unfailingly good dental work
Delta Spirit, "Crippler King"
lowdown: Rowdy, hyperactive rock provides the perfect soundtrack to eating a FunDip and driving your mom crazy
Two Gallants, "Las Cruces Jail"
lowdown: Like the White Stripes: a two-piece obsessed with Zeppelin. Unlike the White Stripes: the lead singer would never drunkenly fight a mailbox
Spring Hill Spider Party, "Snickerboobies"
lowdown: The first, whispered line of this electro-pop ballad: "girl, I wanna call you Apu"; (perhaps in the hopes that the liaison will end with a "thank you, come again"?
We Barbarians, "Yesmen and Bumsuckers"
lowdown: Groove rock so spookily noirish you'll watch Requiem for a Dream to get back in good spirits.