Standout Track: “Palm Bay,” a languid pop earworm born from the possibility of triumph. “‘Palm Bay’ started as part of an online contest, which I didn’t win,” writes musician and D.C. newcomer Anders Carlson, who records under the name Moonlight Mask. A Levi’s-sponsored competition on, “Make Our Mark,” asked people to submit original songs that used samples from Grizzly Bear, Ryan Hemsworth, and a few other bands that the clothing company apparently thought could sell skinny jeans. “I used a drum track from Ryan Hemsworth, but layered 20 or so instruments on top of that,” Carlson writes. “It’s almost impossible to recognize the original sample.”

Musical Motivation: Carlson, 30, says he’s not much for religion, but he’s been more or less surrounded by it since he took a job at a local Catholic organization. A conversation with his girlfriend took him deeper into the realm of spirituality, leading him to mine Wikipedia for a beginner’s guide to Buddhism. “The lyrics of the song are pretty much a bunch of fragments of thoughts about questioning your beliefs,” he writes.

Stillness Is the Move: Before Carlson relocated to Takoma, the Minneapolis native spent a decade playing with his psychedelic rock band, Love Lake. “It was really fun, and we were gaining some momentum, but I just had to move here,” Carlson writes via email. It was a matter of the heart: His girlfriend came to the area to attend graduate school at the University of Maryland. He thinks the move worked out, creatively speaking. “I’m really happy I’ve had the time alone here in D.C. to focus on Moonlight Mask,” he writes. “I think it’s the coolest stuff I’ve ever made.”

Listen to “Palm Bay” after the jump.