Standout Track: No. 1, “The Undertow,” which introduces the band’s recent free EP. Former members of D.C.’s now-defunct Apes traded their wild psychedelia for a minor-key, overdriven Cocteau Twins sound. LouLou Ghelichkhani, who has sung for Thievery Corporation, delivers feathery hooks amid the cavernous guitars.

Musical Motivation: Guitarist Erick Jackson wanted to pair “noisier, rockier elements with pop music,” but the songwriting initially happened without amplifiers. “I was just playing three basic chords, LouLou was singing in French, and Amanda [Kleinman] was on the piano—we did it acoustically,” he says.

Agin’, Full On: Jackson says the band works best “when everyone is in a room together,” and that even applies to lyric-writing. “LouLou translated what she was singing in French to an English version, and we all sat around the piano and talked about it,” said Jackson. “A lot of times, I imagine she’s saying certain things in English, so I’ll say, ‘Hey, is this what you were singing?’ and she’ll say, ‘Yeah, kind of,’ and we’ll work together from there.” Jackson says the undertow in the title is a symbol of the onset of age, a loss of clarity, and essentially what “sucks you in before you know it and all that magic is lost.”

Free EP available for download here.