Tag Archives: indie pop

I have my dad’s overwhelmingly nice headphones on right now, so a post

First of all, these things are way too nice. Music is overwhelming when listened to through them. The clarity is ridiculous. Every sound is distinct and so rich…it’s honestly a tremendous challenge to focus on anything else with these things on. I could not handle owning these things. Listening to music I like on them, for me, is like getting knocked off my feet by a wave. Excuse my writing. It’s seriously hard to be coherent with these headphones on.

However, this blog does not exist to talk about headphones–it’s for songs. If what I want in life is to listen to music with good headphones and die all over the place, my go-to has always been “anything from the Elephant Six Collective.” Since for some reason, I’m super conscious of blogging about anything too obvious today, I won’t go with any of the three Elephant Six basics for this post–which means no Neutral Milk Hotel (it’s a crime to recommend any one song off In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, anyways. That album is best as a whole.), no Olivia Tremor Control, and no Apples In Stereo.

Instead, I’m going to gush about a song by the somewhat-less-often-rhapsodied-about Beulah. Beulah has ridiculously awesome arrangements and rich instrumentals which are best-served by quality headphones or speakers. Their music is, bluntly put, summery as fuck–which is also nice on a gloomy day. I’m gonna go for a song off their 1999 album When Your Heartstrings Break,  mostly because my favorite of their songs is on that one, but slightly because I think Pitchfork sends angry mobs after anyone who says anything good about The Coast Is Never Clear. This post is way too indie-kid. I guess that’s what happens to me when you scramble my brain with ridiculous headphones.

“Silverado Days” does not sound like a song. It sound like stretching out on a blanket in the sun, just close enough to a tree that there’s no glare in your eyes, on the grass in some park you remember having picnics with your family in as a kid. Probably someone nice is with you. “Silverado Days” is floaty and idyllic, with gorgeous, image-tinged lyrics. I love this song a stupid amount.

Beulah – “Silverado Days” 

Even though we don’t mean what we say
We throw our words
Like bombs and hand grenades


Okay, time to actually start posting again

I maybe, slightly, kind-of-sort-of forgot that I’m meant to be writing this, for a while. I have been working some, which I guess has expeller processed many other things out of my brain. Also, I’ve been listening to so much Yeasayer that it almost feels unfair to write about anything besides them, and I’m preeeetty sure there is a finite number of Yeasayer posts one blog should have (not that I’ve reached it yet, but I’m saving them, okay!). But now that I’ve done a Warped-recap post, all is healed, and I will magically have all of the motivation for posts again, right? ………………………………………….AGREE WITH ME!

One of the non-Yeasayer songs that has been giving me happy tingles this summer was made by an Irish band which is signed to a French label. The whole album it belongs to is pretty tirelessly upbeat, and is exactly what you need for all manner of driving-to-the-beach and sprawling-lazily-on-your-bed adventures. It would be highly appropriate during a picnic, or…frolicking. It would be excellent frolicking music. What I am saying is that this is one hell of a summer album, though I promise you can listen to it during other parts of the year, too. The album in question is, of course, the very excellent Tourist History by Two Door Cinema Club, and if you want catchy things to make you happy forever, you should go buy it.

Though there is a number of standout tracks, including the awesomely bouncy “I Can Talk,” which is like my favorite song to listen to at the gym ever, the one I am going to be rambling about today is the relentlessly/awesomely upbeat and optimistic “Something Good Can Work”. Why this song? Because it is a-bit-under-three-minutes of joy recorded, ready to be sent into your brain at any moment. Bad day? “Something Good Can Work”. Stupid fight? “Something Good Can Work”. Sad picture on the internet? “Something Good Can Work”. Etc, forever. The ridiculously cheerful guitar tone, happy bass line, lightly Irish-accented (yes!) vocals, and the (SHUT UP DYLAN THEY’RE AWESOME) synth-y drums all combine for maximum joy-creation. …I’m just going to stop writing now, so you can be happy, too.

“Let’s make this happen, girl
We’re going to show the world
That something good can work
And it can work for you”

P.S. The uber-cute and really simple music video does not hurt in the slightest. Look at how adorable they are! Look at how high that lead-singer wears his guitar, and how floppy his hair is! I want to keep them in my pocket!

P.P.S. Okay, okay, I can’t do this. I’m not a monster! Have the “I Can Talk” video, too. It must be danced around the room to. DANCE!

Hello, Spring!

One of these days, I will start a blog about growing up Russian-Jewish, and expound on the many things that can be found in sour-cream containers (not usually sour-cream), how many types of horseradish it is appropriate to have in ones fridge, the various illnesses cured by tea, and the uncanny ability of non-English-speaking grandmothers to communicate with ones American friends using food. However, for now, you’ll have to content yourself with music.

Home was good. Gah, new quarter has started whether or not I’m ready to face it. I wish I could sleep another week…

My goals for this quarter: play more instruments, take my vitamins, buy all the CDs…and of course, gradesgradesgradesgradesgrades.

Illinois is a state whose music scene I became intimately familiar with when I got into pop-punk, back in the day. It’s always kind of a surprise to get into a band from there and have them not be pop-punk/on the same label as a bunch of other Illinois bands I know/touring with three other bands from Illinois. The band of the day is not a pop-punk band and not part of the Chicago scene. They don’t even live in Chicago, but in Champaign, Illinois which Wikipedia tells me has a population of 81,000.

Their sound is…not what I would expect from a band residing in a small, Midwestern city. Though, truth be told, I’m not really sure what that would even be…Less upbeat, probably. Elsinore, however, is upbeat, staunchly alternative-based indie-pop. The song I will be gushing about today is off their 2010 album Yes Yes Yes. It is awesome, and I will tell you why!

The song in question has verses that sound a bit like early Strokes, with prettier vocals, and you know, elves playing the instruments. (In case you need to ask, I mean Tolkien elves. Please.) Bear with me! There’s this ethereal touch to the music that one does not recall the early 2000s garage rock revival. And then, counterpoint to the alternativeness of the verses, there’s this big, orgasmic, pop-tastic chorus. Which, anyone who’s read any of this blog at all is probably sick of hearing about how much I love those already. This one makes me want to jump and dance around like an idiot. Okay, “want” and “to” probably should not be in that last sentence. They imply that I do not actually do these things.

The whole thing is tied together with a good guitar part, what I’m pretty sure is synth, and a really nice vocal delivery. If you listen to this song, which has a rich sound that belies the absolutely ridiculous amount of studio time that was spent on the album it’s on, and a warmth that has nothing to do with recording and everything to do with the awesome, talented, possibly-elfin musicians who wrote and recorded it, you will want to jump and dance around, too. Also, ridiculous music video.

Here is “Chemicals” by Elsinore.

Hey, love,
I’ve got you on my back I’m thinking of
the chemicals
are something to be reckoned with, oh

What’s my excuse for this one?

So, I may have skipped almost a month again. Oooops. Can I just blame the insanity that is the end of the quarter and ignore the fact that I’ve been done with finals for almost a week? I’ve been sick, okay! Still am, actually. :/ See, none of this has anything to do with laziness! See how I am suffering to share some pretty music with you, overcoming my illness, all that? (Okay, I’m done now. )

Today, I bring to you some absolutely adorable indie-pop from Houston, Texas. (One of these days, I will get around to blogging about something less indie. I promise I’m not actually this cool. Anyone who has any illusions to that effect will have them shattered VERY SOON.) My brief inquest about the band in question turned out very little information, other than the fact that they hang out in Texas, and sell out shows there. They look very young in their photos, and did I mention ADORABLE?

So, this here song has everything anyone (namely, me) could ever want. There’s those boy-girl vocals I like so much, plentiful harmonies, some really sweet keys, and a pleasing, mellow drum-beat. They remind me a bit of Ra Ra Riot – strings + a lady. This is a good thing. There’s some really pretty voices, a really nice instrumental part, and all of it blends together just…way too nicely. So uh, just relax, let the harmonies wash over you, and enjoy “Skin Collision Past” by Wild Moccasins.

swollen tears swallowed by a pavement sea
authority figures look for me

If you would like to see the adorableness in action, here’s a video of an in-studio session they did for All Our Noise. (http://www.allournoise.com/)

And here is their facebook, if you’d like to look at pictures or follow links to their various holdings on the internet! (http://www.facebook.com/wildmoccasins?sk=info)

Something nice to perk up your late morning/early afternoon

What I have learned this week is that every time I sit down to write a blog post, people come over to our house. 😛 Which I do not mind in the slightest, because people..but it also means I’ve been trying to write about this song for an indeterminate number of days. All the things I’ve done have been pretty fantastic. The party on Saturday was fuuuuun. All the random hang-outy things we’ve done this week have been fuuuun. Life is pretty good, I’d say.

Since life is good, some fantastic, pop-y Dutch indie rock is definitely called for. Voicst are an absolutely precious band from Amsterdam. You can tell they’re awesome even before hearing their music because they are named after a stray cat that hung out at their very first practice space. That is pretty fuckin’ cute. Their music, however, definitely helps. It is fun, upbeat, and in my opinion, really well-mixed.

This song, off their 2008 album A Tale of Two Devils, is really, really good. It has a) an infinitely catchy and sing-alongable chorus b) verses with some really sweet backing harmonies c) a very cool bridge d) a really fun beat. It is also such a well-constructed song–from the intro with all the harmonies, to the way the bridge fades into the next verse, to just–the number of choruses (this is more important than you think). It is well-mixed and well put-together–if this song were a person, he or she would be well-adjusted as fuck. It is also upbeat and fun, with semi-simple-but-very-relatable-and-ever-so-slightly-bitter-sweet lyrics. Solid, solid pop-y gem of a song, with plenty of stuff for your good headphones.  I’ve made the decision to go with the music video for posting the song, because it showcases the band being adorable and really weird, even though they messed around with the song a bit for it. If you want to hear the album version, that is up on youtube and very easily found.

In case you don’t like this band enough yet, that song you hear a bit of at the start of the video is called “High As an Amsterdam Tourist”. Here is “A Year and a Bit” by Voicst. Love them.

Every day I am in this mess
I can’t help it and I think of you-ooooh-ooh
Just the top layer of the feeling
Enough to make me dig in all that I’m dooo-ing

Awesome new finds are awesome

Dream pop is something that’s been a weakness for me lately. I like shoegaze. I like things that are catchy and fun. It kind of combines the two. I also like Swedes (thanks Tim Skold), and synthesizers (thanks every band ever right now). Therefore, The Radio Dept., a sweet little Swedish dreamy-electro-indie-pop number, has been putting many smiles on my face since I came across them. And I’m definitely not alone in that opinion. Each of the three LPs this band has released in their fourteen year career (eep, sparse) has been critically lauded. Even Pitchfork likes these guys.

This song, off their 2010 album, Clinging to a Scheme (isn’t that a fantastic album title?), seriously makes me ridiculously, deliriously happy. It’s got a fantastic piano-based riff, a really nice little bass line, dreamy vocals, and some really sweet synth. Oh yeah, and a fun, dub-inspired beat. And those are all the things it needs. This song is pretty simple, pretty perfect, and makes me feel like there’s rainbows and sunshine pouring out of my ears, or something along those lines. Listen to “Never Follow Suit.” It will make you happy, unless you lack that capacity.

I always wanted to belong to
The freak scene
Or anyone who had set their mind to
Never follow suit again