Everyone has their own definition of indiepop; but I tend to ascribe to the original craft where DIY aesthetics and a softer response to punk were all the rage. But, to each their own. So I went through last year to compile what I think is a pretty all encompassing Best of Indiepop 2018; there’s no order, just a collection of really great indiepop. Some of the below are songs, some are albums, some are just bands or labels that were important. Click on for my picks and a playful playlist. Read more
I’m late to the game on this one, though I’ve known about (and ordered!) this new Comet Gain single for some time, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to take a stroll down the road with David Feck and friends. There’s something playful and heartfelt in Feck’s songs, and yet something one could attach to a sort of everyman type; he makes you feel like a friend sharing a story. I love the way he sort of speeds up his lyrics in certain incidents, like he’s racing to get to the point, then drops back to a more casual vibe. I could, and probably more often than not, listen to this band every day. If you’re so inclined, grab the new 7″ from Tapete Records…an LP is to follow next year.
I’ve never hidden my adoration for legendary act Comet Gain, but today I was given a gift of that I wasn’t expecting; Fortuna Pop gathered all their friends to record a cover of “You can Hide Your Love Forever.” The song fulfills the labels last of their subscription series, so this might be your only way to enjoy the song; you can find the original on Comet Gain’s album Broken Record Prayers. There’s too many names to mention them all, but members of notable bands like Allo Darlin, The Loves, Hefner, Spook School, Martha, Flowers…and Emma Kupa who gets bass credit (though no vocal credit?!)…all play a part. A delightful tune, in both original and cover. I have a feeling that in about a decade, folks will look back on Fortuna Pop as the Sarah Records of its day…bummer its hard to get all those albums in the US. Anyways. Enjoy pop.
Buy it HERE.
Some labels, like Emotional Response, have a knack for discovering great acts you might not hear, such as stunning new group Sparrow People from Australia. The band will debut a new 7″ for the label while they work on their full length, and I’m falling into a deep wormhole with these songs. There’s this simplicity to their songwriting, much like my adored Comet Gain; it’s the execution of the songs, and the added layers, that truly make this some of the best casual pop you’re going to hear. Here’s two songs for you to love.
Ever since I first started collecting music as a passion, I’ve always been one of those that blindly follows the labels I love; I buy anything they put out, whether or not I was initially impressed with what I heard…I trust these people. It probably started with Dischord, somehow merged into Saddle Creek and Vagrant…then the Internet exploded…and with that, so did my tastes. I had to find a new label to love…among those was Fortuna Pop. Read more
This might be one of my absolute favorite songs this week. Frozy is a tri-country band, working together when they can, and while this song is short, it packs a great deal in under 1.5 minutes. There’s something romantic in the melody and the light-hearted tones of the guitars on this one. It reminds me a great deal of some of the cleaner pop songs that Comet Gain has been crafting for years, only making the tune more endearing…to me at least. The band has a new effort, Lesser Pop, which will be released later this month, courtesy of Oddbox Records.
Honestly, I’m always going to throw out a new Comet Gain song; they’ve long been one of my most adored bands, so I see no reason to stop that nonsense now. On their latest single, you get a glimpse at some of the more explorative approaches the band has taken over their career. This tune is definitely more of a far out sound, and less pop-centric, but I think it portrays a band that continues to grown and shape their sound. This tune comes off the Fingerprint Ritual EP, which was recorded at the same time as their last LP, Paperback Ghost. It’ll be released by Fortuna Pop on April 6th.
These lists are everywhere, so you’ll be excused if you just roll your eyes and skip on. But, that being said, we always seem to be way off the mark when it comes to our Top 50 Albums of the Year. Sure, we have some of the sure fire hits on this list like Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten, but don’t even read on if you’re look ing to see where Run the Jewels made it…they’re not there. Sorry not sorry. So, if you’re into arbitrary lists by people who like to push their own agenda, then this list is for you! Read more
I’ll admit it, I’m a little late to be jumping on the Comet Gain fan express, as they’ve been making records for the past 22 years and I am just now becoming acquainted with David Feck and company and their epic jangly indie pop tunes. I say epic because though they specialize in the jingly-jangly guitar that is textbook for indie pop, Feck brings in this heavy element of poetic narratives that pervades all of the tracks and brings it to a whole new level of detail. Paperback Ghosts is an exploration into love lost and the nostalgia that seems to haunt long after its disappearance.
It would be easy to dismiss this record as just jangly indie pop, when in reality it’s that and so much more. Yea, there are tracks that do this genre more than justice, like second up on the album “Sad Love and Other Short Stories” which begins with familiar angular electric and backing acoustic guitars while Feck spins tales of morose love tales, musing “what’s the saddest love of all?” and then offering his interpretation of what could be the answer to this question. His lyrics are quick and witty, giving you vivid images alongside the jangle pop. The words and vocals are mixed as equals to the instrumentation, making it clear where exactly your attention and focus should be. To finish it off you get some string arrangements that coat everything in a nostalgic bath as the song comes to its close. They give you quality jangle with other layers and textures that push it beyond.
While they give you solid tunes like the aforementioned track, Comet Gain also brings you the blues a bit, or some heavier tracks. On these numbers, the band digs in, and the guitars get a bit fuzzier and the synths more prominent. “(All The) Avenue Girls” brings in some female vocals and the old fashion organ-esque synthesizer that runs through the whole tune, and for some of the rest of the album gives it a timeless flair. End number “Confessions Of A Daydream,” is another example of this bluesy tinge, complete with gritty guitars and Feck’s vocals straying the furthest from where we first met him at the beginning of the album. We get the image of a disheveled frontman instead of a put together poet, but the imperfections of the song make it an interesting twist to finish the album.
Paperback Ghosts is an adamant testament to the talent of this man and the musicians that have accompanied him through the years to keep putting out relevant records of indie pop. It takes a lot to stay current, but Feck doesn’t seem too preoccupied at all with keeping up with the times, rather more with doing his own thing. It’s worked for 22 years and it has worked once again this time around; beautiful songwriting abounds and you have yourself a collection of deep tunes to spin around your office or house and really sink into. Let’s just say Comet Gain has made a fan out of me.
There’s a secret cult out there, like me, holding every Comet Gain release to the highest esteem. No matter what incarnation of the group, the songs always fit perfectly into my listening rotation. Recently, Fortuna Pop uploaded this gem of a tune, which can only mean that long awaited next album from the group is just around the corner. There’s a maturity in this track…it’s like City Fallen Leaves, but without the lo-fi aesthetic. Regardless, I’ll devour this song, and probably play it as many times as I can before the record finds its way into my hands. Won’t you do the same? I’ll keep posted on the more finite details as I get them.