Posts Tagged ‘Indie Pop’

Sacred Paws – “How Far”

On their sophomore LP, UK duo Sacred Paws continues their thread of simple, yet sunny indie pop. “How Far” practically skips into the room on its acoustic strums, twirling in the sunlight like a kid let out of school early. The song’s so loose and airy it barely has bones but the pair keep it together with the charms of vets who’ve been honing their pop pedigree longer than their years would let on. The song approaches the edges of afrobeat before pulling back towards the indie-pop garden and the skittering lilt that guitarist Rachel Aggs adds to the song’s burbling beat is all the better for it. Definitely looking forward to this album as it rolls out from the band May 31st.




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Blue Jeans – “Friends & Lovers”

Got a brand-new track from Michigan jangle-pop trio Blue Jeans and its swimming in allusions to the golden years of the twee end of the spectrum. Shades of classic Slumberland, Cloudberry, Flying Nun, and Subway abound, and with good reason. The band boasts a trio of music writers, alongside Saturday Looks Good To Me’s Fred Thomas, at their core. The band leaves influences draped all over their sleeves and the joy they get from dipping into the fray is palpable. The song itself celebrates making records, listening to records, and loving records with the kind of anguish that makes one stay awake late at night playing a song over and over into the headphones until the dark finally wins the fight. They’ve captured the long sigh of indie-pop with the attention to detail of listeners who’ve made it their duty to absorb every last lingering lilt. Check out the zine-worthy video above and be sure to keep an eye out for their debut LP May 17th.



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Matt Surfin’ & Friends – “Waiting On You”

New slice of shimmer pop out today from Matt Surfin’ and Friends, the collaborative project of Matt Serferian (Donovan Wolfington, POPE). “Waitin’ On You” on you slides in on Summer winds, catching some of the downdraft from The Cars as well as more contemporary pop diggers Sam Flax and Wyatt Blair. The band was conceived as a collective of friends and this track features Ross Farbe and Ray Micarelli from Video Age. Ross provides the vocal treatment that gives the band its seabreeze air to match Serferian’s musical pleather punch. Matt recalls the song’s incubation – “Waiting On You” is a collaborative work between Ross, Ray, and myself. I felt like I couldn’t do some of the ideas I had justice so I asked Ross if he would be interested in singing the song and maybe helping me rework some parts. We met up months later, rewrote the verses and changed the feel to something more like a dance version of the cleaners from Venus. We wrote and recorded it all in about 8 hours. It was a blast working with such talented musicians and song writers as Ross and Ray as they solidified and expanded my ideas.”

The Records is out May 3rd on Community Records, limited to 300.




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Bleached – “Shitty Ballet”

Bleached have been on a constant tumble away from garage their whole career and with “Shitty Ballet,” they’ve rolled clean out. The track is patient and coiled, starting with the spare, yet driven guitar of Jessica Clavin and followed soon by the perfectly exasperated vocals of her sister Jennifer. The track’s a build to an inevitable breaking point. You can feel it coming on from the moment the first strum hits, but its no less satisfying when the band finally breaks down the levee and lets loose with a torrent of fuzz, crashing through with a deluge of frustration that melts into catharsis. They red-line the song without a care for fidelity or formality and it’s the kind of scream along satisfaction that picks at the best scabs of ‘90s indie. Catch the video for the new song above.

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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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