Judging by the name, I was not expecting Rifle Men to sound like what they do: clean, sparse (yet perfectly arranged and balanced), smart folk pop stuff, with plenty of New Wave influence (i.e. those ambient, swooning synthesizers, hand claps, and flowing vocals).
I love these guys. They're from New York, but man, I must say I've no clue as to where they've come from, stylistically. Really great, great stuff. I hope the best for these guys. Truly ... you must check them out.
Here's another bizarre unknown for you, this time hailing from London ... Soph Is Lakaband. I've no idea what that name means, but these chicks are pretty cool. Poppy, simple, cute pop with plenty of harmonies and funky beats and synth lines. Definitely worth checking out and jamming to a bit ...
Lastly, while this is a bit of a throwback (to circa '78-'80, actually), the Student Teachers are ace. I never heard of these guys, but man am I glad I've found them now! I'm convinced that this five piece is the product of the Jam/the Buzzcocks breeding with Joy Division or something. Sure, the drumming's a tad messier and hasn't been blessed by Martin Hannett, but that bass is plenty high and distant and cold, and there's a great deal of electronic-sounding effects and synths and such. Oh, and they've the pop structuring of the Jam or the Buzzcocks (hence the hybrid comment). You must head on over to their MySpace page.
Rifle Men - The Lake Is Alive
Rifle Men - Berlin
Rifle Men - Westerners
Rifle Men - Caroline
the Student Teachers - Christmas Weather
the Student Teachers - Invitation To
the Student Teachers - Past Tense