Tanlines, who have a bad habit of saying when they play New York, "Um, we're from here", ready a new single and a new LP of their brand of tropic-pop that transcends even the most scurrilous comments about their stage show. "All Of Me" provides a litany of synth stabs set against the back drop that always manages to recall a more equatorial version of your current location. The back beat rides against the melody into a yelping and intensely singable chorus. Think of the screaming, midnight pop of M83's "Midnight City" mixing into the rum and cokes of an unmissable warm, Caribbean aesthetic (synths recast as steel drums in the bridge). But the hook, and its subsequent repetition provides the marginal returns, each listen a little more satisfying than the last.
Listen :: Tanlines - "All Of Me"
Even on the most dilated summer evenings of my youth I had little desire to take mysterious, unnamed pharmaceuticals. I did, however, want to make ridiculous any common structures of authority, and I assuredly did so in the most obvious, inept way possible. So the concept of Mystery Pills, the moniker of Raj Dawson, and his title single, "The Glass Traditions" seem inexorably linked. They both suggest a darkness, a youthful disdain for established norms and social mores, the kind that reads, "Do not operate heavy machinery" with excitement not trepidation, and that this brand of blind, thoughtless immortality is what always changes the world. This is the spectral absurd in this youthful bit of lo-fi from Rapid City. At its biggest, it is small. The drum machine could easily be by necessity, not choice. The aesthetic is a less syrupy Youth Lagoon, but the dare, the one from the beginning, is the important one. Dawson confides in the chorus, "I don't want to ask forgiveness", a line that will end up rhyming with the title lyric. In essence, give me whatever is in your hand, we're going out to break anything that can be broken.
Listen :: Mystery Pills - "The Glass Traditions"
No band will have more fun than Reptar this year. With lead single, "Sebastian" backing forthcoming LP, Body Faucet, this group of polyglot World influences will remind listeners of off-kilter Zydeco rhythms, those oft-plagiarized Afrobeat guitars and the funk of the DC go-go scene. Speaking in so many vernaculars risks incoherency, but instead the band creates a new pidgin tongue, something foreign, slang and entirely satisfying. Riding the back of the group vocals that close "Sebastian", the influences successfully hide their tracks, a stylistic immigrant experience now lost in a surging crowd.
Listen :: Reptar - "Sebastian"
A session and touring horn player for Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem and Beirut, Kelly Pratt releases his latest solo work under the name, Bright Moments, an allusion to our best selves. The album, Natives, and its first single, "Tourists" is amalgamated World Music, horns holding serve along side swaying melodies and a piano chord progression that resolves in such sweet fashion it nearly rots your teeth. This is Pratt at his finest, winking at Zach Condon, slightly un-Balkanized Eastern thematic pop making its way out from under some lazily big ideas (travel, tourism, airplane sound effects, etc) like afternoon sun waiting for a cloud bank to blow away. The whimsical synths won't or can't provide the marching orders, neither can the hand claps or Pratt's lilting falsetto, but the piano progression and the horn intro and exitlude do. This is fresh and buzzes with life, an earnest strike at making it on your own. Pratt's next-to-last lyrics, the potentially pedantic, "Go on, go on" even feel authentic and real. A guy who played with and for everyone else, now plays only for himself, exactly the type of travel we need.
Listen :: Bright Moments - "Tourists"
Breezy indie pop from California, Creepy Crawlies traffic in all the right tropes. Playful references to annihilation - "It could be worse, it could be nuclear war" is one notable turn of phrase - mix easily with alternating boy-girl vocals that recall the earliest Rilo Kiley material. The hook, a cloud-clearing chorus that trades droning guitar fuzz for ebullient melody, relies in a certain buy-in from the listener, a desire to playfully bottle terrible emotional geography. The eponymous lyric is instruction, "Get Buried", tongue firmly in cheek, to the worst parts of ourselves. It is also wanton impossibility, the kind of thing that supercilious indie pop can navigate with no consequences, something both fun and entirely unrealistic.
Listen :: Creepy Crawlies - "Get Buried"
The soul of baroque, sun-soaked pop grew up on a tiny street in the Western part of Los Angeles. Princeton, the band of two brothers, were reared on the street of the same name in Santa Monica, a tree-lined slice of two-story heaven just a short jaunt from the best tacos and watermelon drink in the city down on Olympic Boulevard. It is this type of sprawling suburban dream where you can imagine a childhood with equal parts Bach, Vivaldi, Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell. Princeton, the band, distills these elements, a dose of the Classical and portions of the World and folk traditions that inform so much of modern independent rock, into something gorgeous and swimming on latest single, "Remembrance Of Thing To Come". The afternoons languidly spill into evenings and the trees block just enough of the south-facing sides of the houses, and though we know none of this is new, it feels rich and important when done this well.
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River Whyless, a pleasant folk-outfit from Boone, North Carolina, traffic these pathways with ease, alternating male and female vocals with crushing aplomb. The story and melody unfold together, groupings of strings and acoustic guitar colliding with vocals, alone and together, a house, for the moment, left unfinished in the wild.
Deportees, a band we posted about a few weeks back, do just this on older single, "Islands and Shores". Recalling a less bombastic Temper Trap, the down-cast guitars are set against a swirling mixture of synths, backing vocals and strings. The climactic lyric, the chorus, risks being just as un-utilitarian as the the one about living and dying. This time the band intones, "looking out for this love, looking out for us," as a choir of voices rise in the background and the arrangement reaches its high-water mark. Accomplishing meaning in reverse, Deportees build an architecture that gives weight to the lyrics inside it, even if those lyrics struggle to find to find the same weight at their center. When done right, and this qualifies, these moments and couplets can be recast as desperately important. A line like, "if it was up to me I'd give you all the oceans" pulled off the yearbook page and thrust, improbably and incredibly, into your short term memory.
Deportees - Islands And Shores (New Single) by UniversalMusicSweden
Deportees - Islands And Shores (New Single) by UniversalMusicSweden
Tiny Victories bridge easily this type of gap between the muddied reverb of their arrangements and the top-of-the-room choruses that build the architecture of their refrains. On "Gravitron", a suitably spinning melody whips around and around as the hook with double-tap drums playing the dual role of enforcer and sycophant. The final explosion roots in the lyric, "We could think about it", spun round a few times and tossed out dizzy and entirely satisfied.
Playful drums and friscalating backing vocals lay the groundwork for Mike O'Neill's latest single, "Henry". The chorus is empty and full at once, layers upon layers of woozy "doos" acting as the hook in place of the hook that isn't totally there. Replay, given "Henry" is only two-and-half minutes long, proves a satisfying ride, lolling down the back of a simple piano progression and the sweetest little melodies you'll hear today. For the Wes Anderson movie appropriated to personal aesthetic experience, the tweed jacket worn with a straight face, "Henry" pulses up and down with a motion all its own and a sepia filter that doesn't feel a bit dishonest.
via Indie Music Filter
Burning Hearts singer, Jessika Rapo. A Finnish duo turned four-piece, Rapo merges her dulcet voice with the arrhythmiatic key signature changes from drummer, Henry Ojala. "Burn Burn Burn" opens with haunting scarcity, a sparse arrangement and the tripartite repetition of lyrics. The chorus gives way to something else, a building urgency, metaphors about roaming the deserts and forests. Layers upon layers of vocals offer a raging potential energy to the song's final movement, a desire to scream along with Rapo, to turn this up and let it spin wildly out of control. Of course, this is compartmentalized and denied, a dignified brand of austerity that is, frankly, hard to look away from.
LA's electricity and groundwater must have trace elements of neon in it. For anyone who enjoyed M83's most recent (or, hell, any) effort, Superhumanoids' "Geri" has some of the same DNA. The synths hum and the male-female vocal interplay sounds like a slow motion dribble hand-off between two sleek, languid guards. The forecast calls for something permanently dark, rife with glowing electronics and a hook sharp enough to stick in your chest.