Last week Jigsaw Records quietly released Blue Skies Above, the debut EP from Stars on Fire; I trust the label, so I had to go and spin it on repeat in order to fully digest it. Those who follow my personal tastes will realize that this album is everything I love, and yet none of the things I love. Opener “Shutdown” is a fuzzy little shuffle, bordering on jangling, but focusing on the noisier bits; it sounds a little like that first Pains LP. Jump around a bit to find “Model,” which is more of a post-punk rambling; I love the deep tones of the vocals and the natural balance. “Paper Driver” sounds like something our friends in Fanclub would have released, though special in that its mostly instrumental. You see, this is all over the place, and yet its cohesive in that sense…its like a sampling of all the great things about pop music. Stream it all below.
I guess when you’re on, you’re on, or so is the case with Flying Fish Cove. The band have only recently released the most excellent At Moonset LP, but now they’ve turned around to prep your ears for a new EP. Their first single from the EP has the band at their best; I think you could compare them to Alvvays here. There’s this natural softness in Dena’s voice that creates this soothing emotion that washes over you, letting you know everything’s alright; she gets a little help from a male backing role, but it’s all her show. The rest of the band sit back, lightly filling in the space with some of the best pop sounds you’ll hear today. You can’t stop the hits coming from this bunch right now, but you will have to wait for the new EP; it drops on June 21st via Jigsaw/Lost Sound Tapes.
I’m trying to listen my way out of what’s going to be an incredibly horrible day. At this moment I’m at a real loss for words, so all I can do is turn the tunes up really loud. The Regrets are doing me just a little bit of a favor, at least giving me some escapism with their hook-laden riffs and anthemic stylings. There’s a little bit of swagger and pop sensibility lurking, especially if you spend a few minutes “Under a Sideways Moon.” The group just released their stellar sophomore EP via Jigsaw, so listen below.
Germany’s Crabber are making me wish I’d held off on my Best of Indiepop, as I would surely find a place for them. The group brandish a slightly noisier style in their sound; the jangles are a touch heavier, though the hooks are some of the best you’ll hear. I think it gives the band a slight bit more energy in their craft, which isn’t always a mark of the genre…so it’s a nice touch for sure. I’m also a sucker for really great vocal melodies, especially if they’re teased out over several syllables, and this album is chock-full of them. Their debut Bluesbusters just dropped via Jigsaw Records, so have it.
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
Slum Summer is the San Diego outfit formed by Hugh J Noble upon his move from England; he once played in an early version of what is now the Wave Pictures. But enough of the past, as his new band has this brilliant pop single for you today. His voice is quite distinctive, low down in the register, but I love how he runs his syllables together, not necessarily worried about rounding out the edges to brandish sheen pop. The rhythm section is spot on, giving the song this natural uplifting quality, that works in contrast to the heavy tones of Noble’s voice; it oddly reminds me of an indiepop version of Pedro the Lion, though I can’t say that’s what that working towards. The group will release ABABO via Jigsaw Records on January 18th of next year!
It seems that all over the world people are jamming to those jangling guitars and smooth harmonies that make us swoon…and Jigsaw Records is helping educate me (and others, I hope) on the indiepop scene over in Indonesia. The first of two releases from the area is the new LP from Sharesprings titled Paraparlor; they sound exactly like you’d want them to if you were into indiepop in any way. The other release is from Kaveh Kanes (which I always wondered if that was a GoBetweens reference), offering up the band’s second full-length, Loanwords. They employ similar dreamy guitar work, though there songs seem softer to a degree, blanketing the listener in pop music. Both releases are available, so go and grab ’em while their hot.
Flying Fish Cove is the latest pop export from Seattle, immediately setting the charm levels on high as soon as you press play on their latest EP. The opening tune “Sleight of Hand” kicks in with those jangling chords with furious drumming speed to set the tone behind Dena’s vocals. They settle down for a brief moment on the following tune, but jump right back into the bread-and-butter bouncing indiepop you’ll need to get through the rest of this week. I especially like how “Pony Bracelet” seems to operate in varying segments, all of which could hint at the band’s sound in the future…or maybe not. Check out the whole EP right below or grab it from Jigsaw Records!
Cozy Slippers first came on my radar a few weeks ago when Jigsaw Records put up a new single from the group’s Postcards EP. Well, good news is they’ve now offered up another fine item for your streaming pleasure. I like the tonal quality from the opening minute, almost ticking you into a post-punk vibe before settling into the rising/falling vocal harmonies that subdue any pop aficionado. They’re playful in their craft, trading hooks, dare I say, back and forth. It’s a song you’ll find hard to pull yourself away from; the Postcards EP will drop on April 20th.
Beneath the rain in Seattle is a shimmering pop underbelly, or at least that’s what this new track from Cozy Slippers would have you believe. The band drop this new single today, hanging jangling guitar lines out in the air while the duel vocal threat of Barbara and Sarah supply the required amount of melody. That melodic element almost hints at the realm of dream pop, accented by a seemingly smoky mix in the studio. The trio will release their Postcards EP via the reliable Jigsaw Records on April 20th.