There’s always a handful of fairly generic rock bands that crop up every era and make good music-and one of the better mainstream pop/rock bands of recent times has to be The Fray. Sort of like a more grounded, American version of Coldplay, the band first made it’s name with the hooky ballads “Over My Head (Cable Car)” and the ubiquitous “How To Save A Life” (which, despite being played to death, I’ve never grown tired of. That’s the mark of a great song.) “Heartbeat” is the first single from the band’s upcoming third album, Scars And Stories, and it’s perfect fodder for pop radio. Singer Isaac Slade sounds as angsty as ever, the chorus practically slaps you upside the head: in other words, look for this to be one of the breakout hits of the beginning of 2012.

Besides-I have to give the band props for posting a playlist on Songza.com and introducing me to one of my new favorite bands-Little Dragon.

A few notes about the recently released video:

1) How hard must it have been to get the sand out of those instruments?
2) Is Isaac Slade auditioning for a role in the new production of “Casper The Friendly Ghost”?
3) Who wears fingerless gloves to the beach?

I’m sure you’ll have a couple of questions of your own after watching the clip…

Meanwhile, The Fray’s labelmates Foster The People have followed up their hit “Pumped Up Kicks” (inescapable this past summer) with the equally catchy “Don’t Stop (Color On The Walls).” The video for the latest single by the Grammy-nominated film co-stars Academy Award-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”) as a nervous student driver who…well, let’s just say that what ensues involves the most hapless pair of cops since “Superbad”, a briefcase full of money, and two steamy kisses. Well, one steamy kiss and one steamy almost-kiss. Anyway, this is a pretty fun video.

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