Posts Tagged ‘Indie Pop’

R. E. Seraphin

A sparkling power pop cut from R.E. Seraphin (Talkies, Apache, Buzzer) starts off his solo tape for Paisley Shirt and it’s stuffed full of a bittersweet optimism that feel as prescient as ever. Laced with strums and yearning leads, the song swells to a chorus full of hangdog hope. Seraphin knows his way around a hook, but the song, along with the majority of the album, thrives on a soft-focus pop approach that’s woozy and winsome. Seraphin’s approach is charged enough to keep this one stuck in your head all day, but melancholy enough to leave a sigh in your lungs by the third rotation through your brain. As he eases into the rest of the album, Seraphin balances vaseline-lensed pining with a power pop pounce that’s lined up with the kind of forgotten gems that littered the cut-out bins, but were necessary pickups to those with the right kind of ears. Churn a brew full of Phil Seymour b-sides, deep cuts from The Phones, Jags, and Pointed Sticks and this tape starts to come together.

Having spent time in a number of power pop upstarts from Apache’s similarly faded ‘70s slink and Lenz’ new wave quiver to the glam on the cheap workouts of Glitz, Seraphin has spent plenty of time in this pocket, but its nice to see him going all in with his name on the marquee. He’s not completely alone, though, bringing along the original Talkies rhythm section, but this is a new strain from what Talkies were laying down. A close (if not kissing) cousin of his other band, but still making its own imprint in more faded denim direction. I’ll still maintain that if you press your ear to the rail, the last ten years ring true with a wellspring of solid power pop and this one slides into the collection nicely.



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Parsnip – “Adding Up”

Parsnip’s album from last year was an exhilarating breeze of post-punk devoured by indie pop and the band keeps up the pace on a follow-up single this May. With a bouncy strum and their color drenched splashes of organ leading the charge, the band expands on charms of When The Tree Bears Fruit, throwing in their sightly askance harmonies for good measure and letting a breath of spring waft in as the last note trails away. This time the single shares space at their usual hang about Anti-Fade (a true barometer of Aussie pop if there ever was one) and over at Episode Sounds in Japan. The band seems built for the short format so, while in other hands an EP would seem like just a stop-gap, this one’s a necessary pickup for Parsnip fans and indie-pop hoarders alike. The record sidles onto shelves May 15th.




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Sachet – “Arncliffe Babylon”

Mid-last year Aussies Sachet released the standalone single “Nets,” which would not seem to be an actor piece and the title track of their upcoming album for Tenth Court. This week the quartet have a new low simmer jangler and its pushing Nets up the anticipated pile for sure. “Arncliffe Babylon” has an undeniable ‘90s quality to it, or rather, it has several that all pile together for a song that’s hitting several tips of the tongue at once. There’s the low-slung baseline that rips its riff straight out of slacker-punk pages – loping and bobbing with a bubbled indifference. The guitars are over toasted like an afternoon snack forgotten in the toaster over and just caught before the flames take hold. Then there’s the vocals of Lani Crooks, who’s delivery is wedged somewhere between the alt-rock quiet cool of Kay Hanley and Anna Waronker. There’s been plenty of ‘90s revivalism, but somehow the soft-punch and loosely braided melodies of Sachet feel like the right impulses are making their way back around. The album is out shortly on Tenth Court.


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Ezrat – “Loud Sounds”

While they often bubbled under the surface, Brooklyn’s EZTV were a vital piece of the power-pop puzzle from the last few years. As the band’s mercurial sound began to change over the years they pulled in a soft lilt of country and folk that rounded their sound into something far more nuanced than genre tags can hope to evoke. Much like Canadian contemporary Michael Rault, they’d found a sound that was lush and luxuriant within the bounds of pop, and while it seems that EZTV as an entity have faded into the ether that informed them, their spirt lives on with Ezrat. Songwriter Ezra Tenenbaum has begun a new journey that’s gilded with many of the same charms as his previous band. Hung heavy with the dissolution of not only the band but many past relationships, the songs on Carousel were culled from a cache of 50 recordings Tenenbaum had saved up as home demos.

Ezra brought Kyle Forester (Woods, Crystal Stilts), John Andrews (Hand Habits, Cut Worms), and Michael Hesslein (Mail the Horse) along for the ride, fleshing out a bittersweet gem of an album at Figure 8 Studios in Brooklyn. On the first single, “Loud Sounds,” a knotted riff gives way to the sighs of strings (provided by Elena Moon Park & Kyla-Rose Smith) with Tenenbaum giving the track his usual rose-colored veneer – soft strums fading into the winds and melodies wrapping themselves around your own memories until they tug at the heartswell sweetness of melancholy days gone by. The record is out May 1st. Take a few spins ‘round with “Loud Sounds” below.



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Martin Frawley – “Nowhere To Be Seen”

Ahead of an Australian tour, the ex-Twerps frontman Frawley returns with another shaggy shaker that follows his lowkey but loveable album from last year. “Nowhere To Be Seen” pins its hopes on a knuckle-crack beat, bouncing bass line and alternating strums and piano trickles. Frawley found his niche over the course of Undone at 31 with a heart-on-his-sleeve approach that was full of confessional ballads that were soaked and smirking at the end of the bar. This one’s a little more trepidatious, through still letting the emotions rise through to the surface of the skin. It’s a song full of small disappointments and personal reflections that perhaps we could all use. Recommended you get more familiar with Frawley, if you aren’t’ already.



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Jeanines – “Been In The Dark”

Last year NYC’s Jeanines put out a charming burst of jangle-pop sunshine on Slumberland. The band, which paired songwriter Alicia Jeanine with veteran jangler Jed Smith (My Teenage Stride, Mick Trouble), is back with a new single for the UK imprint Where It’s At Is Where You Are. While the label name’s a mouthful, the first taste of the single is another delight from the duo. “Been In The Dark” swoons back and forth in a sunbeam of strings, a bubble wrap ratatat of drums and Alicia’s bittersweet vocals that tie it all together with the timeless pop bounce of bands like Look Blue Go Purple, Shop Assistants, or newer faves like Veronica Falls (minus the three part harms). The addition of violin sway gives it a particularly plucky feeling and its hard to not want this one to soundtrack every sunny day from here until August. The single is out March 6th. Nab one while you can.



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Odd Hope – “All The Things”

It’s been a good week for limited singles collections. Following two stellar entries to Sub Pop’s singles club, the next couple of entries from the Slumberland 30 collection hit the internet today and included is an absolute gem from RSTB faves Odd Hope. The band, fronted by Portland songwriter Tim Tinderholt, has had an album and previous single on Fruits & Flowers, both solid and highly recommended. This single follows in fine fashion, picking up Tim’s thickly frothed jangle-pop, spreading some early summer vibes while there’s still frost clinging to the branches. “All The Things” is pinned to a hard charging guitar line that wouldn’t be out of place on a Power Pop comp, but it’s offset by spindly jangles and Tinderholt’s lightly warped croon, making this an indie pop gem that won’t crawl out from under your skin soon. On the flip, the more languid and lankier “What’s Your Part Of It makes for a fine companion. Pick this one up now. More people need to be singing the praises of Odd Hope.




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The Tubs – “I Don’t Know How It Works”

The first couple of offerings from Perfect Records, the collaboration between Joanna Gruesome members and Mark Dobson from The Field Mice, have highlighted members of the band post-dissolution. Where Ex-Vöid blend JG’s knack for melody with some spark-changed guitars, The Tubs invests in Sarah Records-styled jangle that feels as timeless as ever. “I Don’t Know How It Works” is a bittersweet tumble down the tubes with organ swells and aquamarine-hued harmonies that can’t help but hurt as much as they heal. The song picks at jangle with a ruffled charm, feeling at once like the most put together track from members of the Gruesome family, yet still one that doesn’t subscribe to the notion of perfection.

The flip is a slightly more driven pop nugget that’s got strains of The Chills and The Bats in its DNA, and could easily crop up on latter-day offerings from either. Both sides are absolutely stunners and here’s hoping that as this label progresses they continue to highlight the crossover chemistry of members from the ranks of Joanna Gruesome while also roping in some likeminded folks along the way.



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HITS – “Tried Bikinis”

Thanks to the tip from the best ears on the ground in pop, Glenn Donaldson, on this one. There are plenty of cuts on Hits that radiate with a faded pastel charm, but the perfect pop of “Tried Bikinis” is unstoppable. The band captures the ‘80s ideals of thriving outside of a system that’s not built for bands that don’t scrub clean and fit the video-ready rabble of pre-fab pop. Infected with the kind of wonky wobble that made Raincoats, Dolly Mixture, and Kleenex work wonders on the spools of a yellow sport Walkman, this cut from Hits comes with the built in feeling of having been passed from mixtape to mixtape before it hit the foam phones wrapped around your teenaged head. The bass is so thick and rubbery its practically tactile through the speakers and just as the hooks start to dig the band pulls the carpet from underneath the catchiness. Its a cacaphonic, saccharine bit of aural bliss and I want it to go on waaaaay longer than the bare minute that it gets. Thankfully there’s plenty else to love on this cassette from the band — downer drowned pop, scotch tap traps, fuzzed hooks and hi-bias jangles. If you haven’t gotten your hands on this yet, go. Don’t wait.



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pting – “Boo”

Nice shaker of a track out of Australia from newcomers pting. “Boo” is an airy jangler that makes the most of the soft-focus vocal yearn of Elise Langer that rides atop the spring-loaded drums and heartsick guitars. Without an air of pretense, pting work to make a song that’s simple and sweet, but sticks with you long after the last notes slide away from the speakers. Feeling ripped from the 80’s / ‘90s tipping point of CMJ saturation, the song makes its stake on an aura of refreshing ache more than catchy choruses, but sometimes its those tracks built on mood that get returned to the most. The song feels familiar in a cozy way – comforting, understanding, and supportive like a moment from youth that can be lived in forever on a loop three minutes at a time.


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