The Strokes’ “All the Time” is not the return to form single everyone wishes it would be. To be a true return to the peak of reserved cool, one would first have to forget about 2011′s superior, “Under the Cover of Darkness,” and how throughout the rest of the album, Angles, the band tried their hardest to avoid the skittish rhythms and big hooks which made them stars. In other words, Angles sounded a lot like this mess — A four minute and two second argument as to why I’ve entered the skeptical phase of Strokes fandom.

Dead horse, meet beating instrument. Australia, and especially Melbourne, is one hot spot these days for garage, punk, and indie. I have SoundCloud, twitter, facebook, gmail and google reader all on high alert all things Australia. And it’s not like every Aussie rock band coming through the internet’s pipes is especially groundbreaking, either. Today’s import, The Stevens, just do it better and without the winks and without the irony of today’s American indie kids. “I Look Back,” is like the Shins, but with a square kick in the rear, or, like Pacific-folk without the bitter seriousness, and with a square kick in the rear. Really, a good song can be as simple as strum, sing, and don’t over do it.

Mogwai and a zombie soundtrack are a match too good not to happen. Post-rock, especially in the Mogwai or Godspeed vein, with its overriding doom and big overreaching crescendos is by its very nature cinematic. So, bravo to Canal+ for having the wisdom to get these Scots involved with their French zombie show, Les Revenants. And bravo to Mogwai, for not mailing it in. “Wizard Motor” captures the tension of a slow-approaching horde of undead just smashingly. The soundtrack to Les Revenants will be released by Sub Pop records on February 26th.

The use of effects come with a catch. We’ll call it the buck naked syndrome, for discussions sake. When your music is so clouded in reverb, echo, and feedback, as was the debut album by the Austin trio, Pure X, there’s the inherent risk that once the effects are brought down to normal levels, the band can be revealed as the proverbial buck naked emperor without a song to stand on. While Pure X’s first attempt at coming clean(er) may not set your tumblrs and Twitters afire, “Things In My Head,” does promise enough with its slow, woozy melody to earn your continued attention. Pure X’s Crawling Up the Stairs will be released May 14th on Acephale Records.

For today’s last two tracks, I’m going to shut up and let you listen. Rachel Zeffira can sing, okay. She’s a classically trained, opera singer, who once got to sing at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II, the holy one everyone liked. Later, her pop career would get a boost from The Horrors’ Faris Badwan when the two recorded as Cat’s Eyes. That’s all you need to know. Click and be mesmerized, first on her new album’s title track, “The Deserters,” and then on the My Bloody Valentine cover, “To Here Knows When.”  Rachel Zeffira’s debut album, The Deserters, will be released March 12th on Paper Bag Records.