Posts Tagged ‘Indie Pop’

Shana Cleveland – “Don’t Let Me Sleep”

Shana Cleveland lets out the second single from her upcoming, Night of the Worm Moon, which is quickly becoming one of my favorites of 2019. Much like the previous single, “Don’t Let Me Sleep” languishes in late-night vibes and spectral calm. The song, and album, are a departure from the taut garage pop of her La Luz days, but Cleveland proves that less is more with these affecting and dreamy tunes. The accompnying video is no less dreamy, in fact. Centered on an extraterrestrial concept, the clip is awash in shimmering colors and midnight locales. Its a perfect compliment to Shana’s lullaby pleas. The album is out April 5th, and I highly recommend looking into a copy.

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The Oilies – “Psychic Dog”

A while back I posted a homespun digital single from Carly Putnam, aka The Oilies, and now the artist is stepping out with her physical debut for the always charming Fruits & Flowers. Having spent time in The Art Museums, The Mantles, Horrid Red, and The Reds, Pinks & Purples, Carly’s well versed in the pastel-hued jangles that tend to drizzle down the window panes of the sould and “Psychic Dog” doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The first cut from the EP lopes through a set of competing strums set against the click-stop backdrop of drum machine snap. The track is wistful and wanting, combining the simple charms of Marine Girls with the pulse n’ pine of Jazzateers. For those who readily wander down the lesser traveled paths of the ‘80s this is just what the grey-skied winters ordered.



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Boyracer – “Strong Arms / Teardrops”

Emotional Response continues to be a lifeline to Sarah Records in the here and now. After a string of reissues, including Even As We Speak, Action Painting, and Boyracer’s own earl EPs, the label is now working with the band on a new album due out later in the year But, bonus on bonus, these two non-album cuts have found their way out into the world early via a 75-run lathe cut single. “Strong Arms” is picks up nicely where vintage Boyracer left off, pinning a splash of fuzz to the jangle that long pervaded the Sarah roster. The song tumbles over itself in pure exhumeerance, veering wildly in its lane and spilling confetti out of the windows as it speeds away. The flip isn’t quite as breathless, but its a jolt of joy nontheless, if you can wrap old habits around Boyracer sneering about streaming albums. For fans of the band’s career (which stretched long after the seminal label folded through Slumberland, A Turntable Friend and Fluff Records) this is another great entry to their pristine run.



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Holiday Ghosts

UK four-piece Holiday Ghosts began molding their sound on their eponymous debut, but they’ve cemented it on the follow-up, West Bay Playroom. Named after their recording and rehearsal space, an actual playroom in guitarist’s Sam Stacpoole’s childhood home, the album has an appropriate feeling of playfulness and a loose-slung ease that feels less like a band nailing takes and more like a band simply enjoying themselves with luck keeping the tape rolling. Antithetical to many of their UK counterparts, the record is shaggy, loose and jangled in a way that’s more akin to Aussie exports, Athens indie-pop purveyors, and downstream Boston jangle-punks hung on Jonathan Richman now and forever.

The songwriting bounces nicely between Stacpoole and the equal charms of drummer Katja Rackin, but the band’s got a knack for sunny-sky harmonies that make every song feel like a family affair. They cycle through their jangles with an egalitarian ear – bouncing from the paisley popped blues of the ‘60s through Go-Betweens sleekness of the ‘80s. Yet they push beyond the sometimes high-buttoned affectations of the style, instead injecting a jocularity, humor and twang that feels like they have a few copies of Violent Femmes, Camper Van Beethoven, and Meat Puppets knocking around their personal collections as well. Ultimately, the record coheres into a fun rumble through racks that never feels cobbled together, but rather cherry picked with an eclectic love for bittersweet pop and four conduits built to pull it off without a hitch.



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Tullycraft

Seven albums in and well removed from the heyday of indie-pop that that they just barely caught in their own early years, Tullycraft are back with one of their best. The band was always just a tad late, but wiser and wryer than their classmates, having worn their “out-of-fashion” status proudly on their sleeves. The band made their mark with slogan-worthy ditties like “Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend is Too Stupid To Know About” and sentiments that rang, “Fuck Me, I’m Twee,” which they are. They definitely are. They’ve long been giving the young’uns a few role models to emulate, though, and as they litter zines and band badges across the bar for the taking, they’ve inspired more than a few of those introverts to pick up a powder blue strat and nerd out their own catalog.

Tullycraft are, in fact, textbook twee, but there’s a sense that they’ve been writing that book all along. They’re indie-pop historians and flameholders for the big, bright pastel worlds that are woven out of jangles, boy-girl harmonies, and overly dense lyrics. The hooks here decry parties soundtracked by radio staples, detail relationships built on what you like and not what you’re like, then map out the downfall of shared living spaces with proper doses of humor and ennui. Sean Tollefson and Jenny Mears keep things sweet, sometimes even saccharine, but if you’re looking for indie-pop that lets you escape without a little frosting and felt on your hands, you’d be wise to look elsewhere.

Tollefson spits out literate lyricism with the kind of tongue-twister plot cramming that made John Darnielle sit down and write some actual books to get it all in, but he manages to make each aural acrobatic as infectious as can be. The Railway Prince Hotel distills what’s best about the band and bottles it up for a new generation that could use a little optimism in a natty cardigan. In a lot of ways Tullycraft seems like the gateway drug to a long rabbit hole spent mining old BMX Bandits video clips and Tallulah Gosh b-sides that inevitably ends up with a strange late-night fascination with The Bus Stop label output that your friends write off as a phase. However, on grey days, overwhelming months, and sleepless nights its nice to know that Tullycraft are out there weaving agita into squirreled hooks and private moments of exuberance that wind up secret handshakes for the next generation.



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TK Echo – S/T

More solid pop out of DC this week with the release of the eponymous single from TK Echo. The band scoops up a healthy dose of local talent, with mems of Q and Not U, Protect-U and Supersystem in the mix. Held down by propulsive rhythms and sparkling pop strains, the EP’s three tracks speak well to getting in on the ground floor for the band. Loping in easy with “Fade My Mind,” and then kicking it up with the heat-pounder “Era,” the band’s songs are skewered from all sides with the grind of guitars and the ice-cool neon nag of synths. The single wraps up with the curlicue fuzz heat of “You You’re your Watermark” – a dig in on identity and privacy. Yet another worthwhile venture from the vaunted halls of Dischord.



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Flamingods – “Marigold”

Picking up more than a few similarities to indie’s pervasive and over-the-top psych-pop personalities – throwing Animal Collective, Thee Oh Sees, Temples and Tame Impala in a Vitamix and scrambling ‘til smooth, the London quartet Flamingods seem on the edge of household familiarity with their latest single. The UK via Bahrain band is widening their scope of influence even further on the upcoming Levitation, scooping up inspiration from Mid-East and South Asian funk, psych and disco from the ‘70s. While first single “Marigold” doesn’t quite sound like a lost trinket from the South Asian delta, it’s a pretty blistering bit of excess splattered pop that puts the band on par with Psychedelic Porn Crumpets in terms of welding guitar volume to heady shakedowns for a pretty fun ride. Naturally, this one caught my eye (as with Shana Cleveland) due to artwork from RSTB fave designer Ardneks. Moshi Moshi’s got the album arriving on May 3rd. Can’t wait to hear more from this one.



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The Coathangers – “Bimbo”

The Coathangers have weathered the garage bubble to become one of indie pop’s endearing forces. Album after album they’ve evolved from ragged hooks to the whipped butter heart-flutter of their latest for Suicide Squeeze. “Bimbo” eases in cool and collected, with a pop coo that belies the heel turn the band takes as they hit their stride a minute or so later. With a whip crack of fuzz the band fries the chorus in a hundred degree hook. They’re still making the blood boil but doing it with a subtle style that would make more than a few contemporaries jealous. Check out the vid for “Bimbo” above.



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Business of Dreams – “Keep The Blues Away”

Business of Dreams’ debut was a favorite around here when it came out a couple of years back, so its good to see Corey Cunningham (Terry Malts, Smokescreens) get the bump up to Slumberland from his own Parked in Hell label for album number two. The first taste of Ripe For Anarchy swims in similar waters to that debut – rifling through the racks of C86 alumni, Creation Records deep cuts and Sarah Records compilation faves for just the right pang. “Keep The Blues Away” is smeared and dreaming, rolling on the bed in heartache and procrastinating the thought of going out for fear of being overwhelmed. Cunningham has a penchant for pop, but he buries the bursts under a half ton of velvet curtains in the guise of Business of Dreams. I’m all for the advancement of introvert synthpop in 2019. Can’t wait for more of this.




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Parsnip – “Feeling Small” b/w “Winter”

I was definitely a fan of Parsnip’s last 7” and they popped up with a sunny jangler on Anti-Fade’s last label showcase comp that spent some time on the speakers around here. Their latest short format ripper adds another couple of fun tracks to their blossoming catalog. The a-side is pleasantly prim – full of barroom piano and Small Faces-level revelry for gang vocals and peanut gallery chatter. The flip adds a nice edge, with a punk-picked guitar and heavier hitting chorus. “Winter” might well be one of the best things they’ve done yet – hung with organ swells and confident harmonies. Parsnip have been a ‘blink-and-you-miss-it’ addition to the Aussie indie scene, but with each new piece of the puzzle they get harder to cast aside. Here’s hoping that there’s an album in the works sometime in 2019, but for now I’m going to go back to putting “Winter” on repeat.






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