Posts Tagged ‘Indie Pop’

The Reds, Pinks and Purples

If you’ve spent time around the halls of Raven, then Glenn Donaldson’s bands are a familiar sight and his current fixtures The Reds, Pinks and Purples and Telephone Numbers have been a particular comfort in the past couple of years. RPP embody some of the same space that The Art Museums once occupied, albeit with a much heavier heart and a bleary-eyed autumn air floating about them. Tough Love has put together a mini-LP that rounds up more of the singles that Glenn’s been workshopping through Bandcamp over the past year and the picture that fits together on You Might Be Happy Someday fits the pieces together into a brief, but affecting record that’s hung up on lonely souls, impermanent living conditions, the small details that haunt the memory, and the sunset stains at the end of relationships.

Though he’s wandered through noise and folk quite often, The RPPs pick at the scars of a particular side of jangle-pop that knits together the quiet crouching of The Wake and more often, that of Brighter and St. Christopher from their Sarah years. Mix in some of the college rock fallout form the US around the same time, say The Springfields or The Suncharms and the record begins to take shape. Once under the gaze of Donaldson all these bits swim together into a melancholy melt — the body thrown to a sea of jangles, the mind grasping at the gauzy vocals that billow with a heavy heart and a halo of pink haze around them. This is just a precursor to an LP out soon in The States, but even though this might count as somewhat of a singles collection, it feels like a singular sigh. Those hooked on the early CapTracks era of Wild Nothing and Beach Fossils would do well to turn their ears towards wheat Glenn’s working up. Those were kids with newfound crushes, The Reds, Pinks and Purples have spent their years with the ‘80s sitting in their soul, ably transferring the anguish of the past into today’s heartache.




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Kelley Stoltz – “The Quiet Ones”

For those of us who’ve found the entryway into Stoltz’ disorienting alternate history of pop, each new record is a tumble down a new unseen corridor in his secret world. The last record pulled on a crooked tie and a cocked smile for a power pop pub crawl that came and went with only the lucky to nab it for their shelves and the rest to pine. Stoltz is a wily one, though, and he’s not through with 2020 just yet. Another LP looms, with the SF songwriter returning this time to his roots at Agitated Records, stewards of his ’01 kicker Antique Glow. The first taste of Ah-etc packs the power pop back in the suitcase and returns to the lacquered Formica lilt of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Tiptoeing a guitar slink through hallways of chromed keys, the song turns up the voyeurism and eavesdrops on the neighbors, lurking with a queasy charm. Stoltz, ever the Echo & The Bunnymen fan, spent time as a touring member and his bandmate Will Sergeant returns the favor and lends guitar to “The Quiet Ones.” There’s something of a lost afternoon feeling to the track, swirling around the listener and feeding the internal monologue that turns neighbors into puzzles that populate the mind. The loneliness is palpable and the fluorescent flicker just seeps into those synths harder on each listen. The LP is out November 20th from Agitated.

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Pearl Charles – “What I Need”

There was an inkling of change that snuck into the subtle EP that slipped out from Pearl Charles earlier this summer. The reworking of “Night Tides” from a disco romp into a country cool down was an unexpected treat this year. Charles’ new LP for Kanine follows suit in the best ways, trading off the ‘70s sweat of a dancefloor hangover for a quiet twilight in the bungalow alone, spinning the euphoria of the night into a melancholy melt that tugs at the suede center of the soul. Hung on a slouched organ line and sundown slides, the first single “What I Need” sums up the album nicely — a lone saunter down the strip with a chill in the air, smoke and sweat escaping into the atmosphere. The buzz of the night is coursing through the veins right up until the moment when a bittersweet lump forms in the throat. While it’s quite naturally about how this feeling might arise in the end of a relationship, the analogy works the same as any whirlwind night. There’s a knowing feeling that washes over you, an ache that enters, knowing that its over before you hit the sheets, stuck between bliss and the emptiness of a lonesome morning. Her last album waded into several pop waters, but this one dives into the deep end with a confidence that’s hard to shake. The record arrives January 15th on Kanine.



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Special Moves – “Our Summer”

One more blast of good vibes today, on this Bandcamp No Fee Friday. The good folks over at Jigsaw are a beacon for indie pop, both on their label and in their well-curated shop. This short shot of fuzz comes from Special Moves, and while it’s over before you know it, the song buzzes with an indie pop aura that’s perfect for the waning days of summer. The cut opens up the band’s proper debut for the label and the Olympia group operates more like a collection of friends than a hard-nosed band, per se. Fans of Boyracer and the progeny of Sarah gone pop will find quite a bit to love on the band’s LP Little Help which is out as of last week on Jigsaw.


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Tracy Bryant – “Between Us”

L.A. songwriter Tracy Bryant released his third studio album just about a year ago and the first follow-up comes in the form of a limited single split between RSTB faves Six Tonnes de Chair (France) and Third Eye Stimuli (Aus). “Between Us” was cut during the sessions for Hush but Bryant notes that it didn’t fit with the album, and I’d agree. The melancholy tone of Hush isn’t as present in the sun-streaked pop bounce of “Between Us.” Instead there’s a sense of motion and crisp air. The song’s not jubilant, but its trading wistful for winking which seems like a natural fit for Bryant. Despite its studio sheen, the simple setup feels like it shares a bit of DNA with Cronin and Segall around their humble Trouble In Mind days. Bryant hangs the song on the strength of a hummable acoustic hook, sweater-hugged harmonies, and a the kind of natural saunter that endears a song almost immediately. With a lyrical smirk at someone’s know-it-all hijinks, the song is pretty relatable too. The single hits digital outlets on Wednesday, but you can preview it below in the meantime.




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R. E. Seraphin – “Leave Me Here in the Tide”

The last EP from R.E. Seraphin was steeped in a vaseline-lensed power pop, but on his follow-up, Seraphin is moving towards the crossroads of janglepop and indie pop that culls moves from The Field Mice, Even As We Speak, and all manner of 80’s twee pop confections. The track is cut with a dreaminess that’s less easy to pin down. For contemporary comparisons, Seraphin is running through the same filters that Cory Cunningham’s Business of Dreams seems to find familiar, and both bands share a lot of time among the soft pink clouds of daybreak, working their way through the mists. “Leave Me in the Tide” is pinned to a cracking drum machine, and finds its charm in not letting the jangle become the dominant force, letting the guitar warp in the sun just a bit as it wriggles its way through the song. The last EP showed a lot of promise and A Room Forever makes good on it in short order. The EP is out now on Paisley Shirt Records.



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The Sunset Canyoneers

The California coast is always fertile ground when it comes to Cosmic American Music and Cosmic Country in particular. Adding to a scene that’s already packed with faves like Pacific Range, GospelbeacH, and Mapache, Sunset Canyoneers pick up on the twang-simmered ease that lends itself so well to the salt-scented airs of their surrounding environs. As befits their inclusion on Spainish label You Are The Cosmos’ roster, the band focuses on breezy pop harmonies but tinge them with a low-swung sweetness, jangle and slide-dipped sound that’s heir to an amalgam of Big Star, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Though, at their most pure, the band seems to be distilling those same influences through the lens of aughts faves like The Tyde or The Stands.

The band’s pop penchant, sky-high, three-part harmonies and tight format set them apart bit from their contemporaries, who often dig into the folk, or extended jam sides of the spectrum. While Sunset Canyoneers feel like they might be able to stretch the boundaries of a few of these live, their sound is built on crisp pop tracks that are dressed up in Western shirts. It’s a shift from quite a few of the members’ previous projects, but that’s not to say that they don’t pull off their new sound amiably. When they slip off the twang and lean into the warm breeze of pop on “As Far As I Can Tell,” there’s a hint at where the players are coming from, yet it sits alongside the Cosmic Country without too much of a change in temperature. The marriage of indie pop and psych-draped country comes through most prominently, making their enthusiasm for the sound an infectious part of the process. You can feel that Powers and the band are having a good time and in the end that’s the feeling that permeates and the vibe that radiates.




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Boyracer – “Crack The Red”

Got another volley of fuzz from Boyracer, who are just coming into their 13th album. Having blossomed in the ‘90s, working through labels like Slumberland and Sarah, they became nothing if not prolific ambassadors of indie pop over the years. While the lineups would change, the buoyant, blistering songwriting of Stewart Anderson remained a constant and as luck would have it the world found itself ready to love indie-pop with a newfound enthusiasm over the last decade or so and the band’s come into a rather pervasive second (or third) wind. “Crack The Red” is a fuzz-rumbled ripper that works as an ode to a well-earned bottle at the end of the day. While the guitars are set to sunburn, the harmonies cool it off and let the song sink into the skin. The band’s lengthy tenure lets them call in a whole host of friends on the new LP. While Burnt Palms’ Christina Riley joins as a permanent member there are pop-ins from Mary Wyer and Anita Rayner (Even As We Speak), Snowy (Ocean Party), Penny McBride (Cannanes) and Boyracer roster legacies from Simon Guild, Laura Bridge, Matty Green, Jen Turrell, Ged McGurn and Ara Hacopian. The video embraces the bottle in the only way a pandemic vid can – Anderson leads the charge with a whole host of friends sharing the screen to sympathize with a glass. If you’ve missed out on the record, I’d recommend getting it onto the decks.

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The Reds, Pinks and Purples – “I Should Have Helped You”

Some subtle news slips out over the long weekend that there’s a new 7” from The Reds, Pinks and Purples coming on EU label Discreet Music. The official follow-up to the band’s last LP, Anxiety Art culls four tracks from Glenn and co.’s prolific Bandcamp run over the last few months. In addition to the title track, “I Should Have Helped You,” the record picks up official version of “Unrequited,” “Keep Your Secrets Close,” and “They Only Wanted Your Soul.” As with the last album the band excels at mining the Sarah Records heyday with songs that tip both jangled and jilted – catchy but with a true melancholy heat. There’s not a cut on here worth missing but check out the autumn sighs that abound on the EP closer below. The song’s got Glenn’s earnest delivery humming and close enough to feel breath in the speakers, but its heard to push down the lump in the throat that forms over these two and a half minutes. Seems there should be some copies stateside soon, but there’s a link below for the import as well. Along with his Telephone Numbers output, these are some of Donaldson’s most intimate, but aching songs and its worth keeping an ear on them to see what’s popping up next.




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Parsnip – “Treacle Toffee World”

Yeah! This new EP from Parsnip is heading towards the top of the list of their releases. Their last album was a killer, but somehow the pop vapors emanating off of these four tracks find them at their peak and begging for more. They already slayed with the opener “Adding Up,” and now they sweeten the deal with a new video for “Treacle Toffee World.” This one’s clipped to an organ wave and fuzz-pedal bubble that make it float. Just one more reason to get this EP in your stack, and they haven’t even gotten to my favorite, the closer, “Repeater.” Though the whole thing’s out today so take a full listen through over at Bandcamp and then do the right thing and get it in your collection.



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