Marissa Lorusso

Three years ago, singer and guitarist Jenna Moynihan saw the words "Daddy Issues" written on the wall at a Nashville DIY venue and assumed — with what seems like utterly charming feminist optimism — that it was the name of an all-girl punk group. Sadly, it wasn't; fortunately, Moynihan chose to recruit some friends to take up the moniker themselves. The resulting trio — which also includes drummer Emily Maxwell and bassist Jenna Mitchell — makes stormy, grungey pop that can be charming and trenchant in equal measure.

There's bound to be a disconnect between our ideals and how well we live up to them, between our optimal self and our reality. This is especially true when our goals require us to sacrifice comfort for progress, or to politicize our personal choices.

The lyrics to "Just A Gwen," from Atlanta pop band Art School Jocks, may ring familiar to women. As guitarist Dianna Settles sings, over slinky, surf-y guitars and a dead-steady beat:

Carry your keys
Between your knuckles
You never know who's trying to follow you home
Smile back and
Say you're sorry
You shouldn't be out this late alone

Energetic and earnest, sweet and punchy — self-described "slop-pop" duo Diet Cig is nothing if not endearing. In "Tummy Ache," the first single from the band's upcoming debut Swear I'm Good At This, singer and guitarist Alex Luciano wields this undeniable charm while singing about the challenges of carving out her own space in a notoriously bro-heavy scene.

Spend some time in Boston's indie rock circles, and the name Pile is bound to come up in awestruck tones. The acerbic, noisy rock band's four previous albums and ceaseless DIY tours have earned it local hero status among the leagues of die-hard fans who shout along to frontman Rick Maguire's every word. And Pile is well-known as an idol for its peers, too – just ask defunct Boston cult favorites Krill, who named an EP in the band's honor.

In the last week of 2016, we're featuring just a few of the songs that, for whatever reason, never got their due this year.

Thelma's music sounds almost otherworldly. Slightly spooky and often dramatic, it mixes the warm, human sensibilities of folk with slightly off-kilter electronic elements. The intensity in the music makes sense, given its origins: When Natasha Jacobs, the band's founder, began to focus on songwriting, she did so with a commitment to overcome her lifelong fear of performing. A few years later, while studying composition at SUNY Purchase, Jacobs began experimenting with electronic instrumentation.

If you're tempted to think crunchy electric guitars and pop-punk choruses about heartbreak are the domain of emotional bros, the music of Lisa Prank is a convincing reminder that's not the case. Robin Edwards' one-woman pop-punk project juxtaposes catchy cuteness with vulnerable, relatable honesty and just enough tongue-in-cheek humor. Even the charming, cartoony album art for Adult Teen — Lisa Prank's full-length follow-up to 2014's Crush On The World —manages to combine girlishness and strength.

From the terrifying adolescent witches of American Horror Story to teen tarot tutorials to mass hexings organized on social media, witchcraft is having a moment. The moniker once used to silence women by labeling them crazy has become a hip shorthand for feminine power. But in the new video for Tancred's "Pens" — a dark power-pop gem about feeling insane — there are no good witches.

A recent tweet from Philadelphia's Mannequin Pussy says "i appreciate heartbreak only because of how transformative it can be." That may as well be the thesis of the band's forthcoming album, Romantic, though you wouldn't necessarily know it from the record's sound: brawny punk with a fuzzy pop streak.

The first few seconds of Field Mouse's upcoming album, Episodic, might fool you. The opening track, "The Mirror," begins with gentle, atmospheric guitar strums and a building drumbeat; then, suddenly, it explodes into a melodic, scuzzy rock song with skittering guitars and a demanding rhythm. "What a way to say 'f*** off,'" sings Rachel Browne. What a way to kick off an album.

What's most striking about Japanese Breakfast's first full-fledged album, Psychopomp, is how gracefully it treads over difficult territory. What started as singer and guitarist Michelle Zauner's side project — she took on the moniker to release solo work when not performing with Little Big League — eventually became an outlet for songs of grief and mourning in the aftermath of her mother's death. Sonically, Psychopomp is a far cry from the Philadelphia emo band's music, trading crunchy indie rock for haunting pop songs with swirling synthesizers.

"Sometimes we like each other / and sometimes we just wish we were with another," sings Hannah Mohan on the title track from And The Kids' upcoming album, Friends Share Lovers. "It's okay because / friends share lovers," she later adds. As the title attests, both song and album zero in on what happens when a tight-knit group gets maybe too close.

The music of T-Rextasy is an impeccable combination of sarcastic, swaggering humor and timeless pop-punk grooves. Throughout the band's upcoming debut album, Jurassic Punk, singer Lyris Faron scolds misogynists, plans for punk-rock domination and praises both a cafeteria woman and a one-night-stand-loving lady. The last track on Jurassic Punk, "Gap Yr Boiz," crystallizes the band's formula of punchy lyrics and catchy hooks.

Yung's music is a space of duality: innocence and experience, beauty and pain, darkness and light. Frontman Mikkel Holm Silkjær embodies opposites, too: His music showcases both his maturity as a songwriter and his youth, as he relies on more than a decade of songwriting experience despite being only 21. Both of Silkjær's parents are musical; they put him behind a drum set at the age of 4 and introduced him to the local punk scene as a teen.