As we’re all looking back on the year 2019, I tend to gravitate towards lists with little agenda, other than to shine a light back on the year in the areas I adore. For one, the indiepop scene. Now, there’s always a great big debate about what indie pop is, so for all intents and purposes, I admit that I just don’t care, so the genre’s purists can yell at me later. Now, this may read as a best of, but merely this is the stuff that stuck out in my brain, so if I missed something, I love you and I’m sorry. Honestly, it just gave me a chance to make a fun playlist (2+ hours!) full of hits for all you pop fans.
We’ve seen some tunes over the last year or so popping up from the Proctors, so I had the feeling something new was on the horizon…and apparently that was a new 7″ from the band. The first of the two tracks on the 7″ has this spritely quality, an innate bounce that works its way into your brain as the sharp churning guitars ring around your ears. This is offset by the softness of the vocals, giving the track over to a dreamier tone. The second tune jumps right into the dreamy side of things, stretching the pop appeal over 5 minutes; it’s a nice ballad with this swelling pop sensibility that erupts into joy around the 1.30 mark. These two tracks appear on the new 7″, available now from Shelflife.
It’s been a few years since we last heard from Lost Tapes with their collection, We Thought It Was Okay at the Time. One thing’s for sure today, the band definitely are doing okay right now, hitting that musical sweet spot of my personal tastes. For starters, there’s a wash over the track, matched by some of the shadier attributes of the accompanying video; this haze hangs on to the vocals too, giving off this dream state. But, just beneath that fuzzy pop is this stuttering jangle pop; it’s sounds a great bit like “Rip It Up” by Orange Juice, which is a sure-fire dance number for me and my wife. Not every day you come across a number that hits the dream pop and the jangle at once; this tune appears on the group’s new EP, out on Shelflife on February 22nd.
Earlier in the year I wrote a lot about Outerhope‘s newest album Vacation; it was this sublimely rewarding piece of ethereal pop music best absorbed in solitude. For me, that meant the minimal notes crept under my skin, and the melodies often created these out of body experiences that made the Lp perfect for escapism. Today the band share the video for “Airways”; the video features beautiful natural footage juxtaposed with a pre-apocalyptic setting. The song itself is one of the more subtle tracks on the record, always building and moving beneath the speakers. If you love it, go grab a copy from Shelflife.
It’s that time of year when the music biz slows it down so they can remind you of all their awesome releases for your year-end lists. Luckily, there’s still great music trickling out, like this new EP from Tears Run Rings, which dropped on Friday via Shelflife. We’ve already shared the opening tune, so let’s quickly recap the rest of the EP. Simply put, it’s shimmering pop of the dreamier gaze side of things, though there’s an emphatic punch of a tune in “Be Still;” it’s aggressive yet wholly influenced by the pop side of things. It’s just four songs, but they’re four amazing songs, so why not kick off Monday this way? If you’re into it, grab the Somewhere EP HERE.
Well, perhaps return isn’t the proper word choice, as Tears Run Rings have been with us most recently in 2016 with their LP In Surges. Now, they’ve popped back up with a brand new EP for one of our favorites, Shelflife and Deep Space Recordings. You’ll find below the staples that brought the group into the shoegaze realm; it features melodic guitars with just the faintest hint of distortion, waiting to erupt into a classic shimmering atmospheric. Vocals live beneath the mix, almost like faint musical whispers working behind the scenes. Feels like its too good to miss out on this one. The Somehwere EP will drop October 19th.
The musical year is wrapping up right about now, but it’s always good to have a few delightful songs to keep you focused on the good stuff coming our way next year…like this new one from Pinkshinyultrablast. Now working as a bi-country act, with singer Lyubov hanging in LA, the band’s sound was bound to stretch. You’ll hear a more defined wash of electronics and synths to accompany her voice, but I really love the way the drums work in this song, emphatic when needed. It leads to a song that unfolds into a dense dream with lofty vocals dancing in the foreground. Look for the band’s new album Miserable Miracles in May of next year via Club AC30 and Shelflife.
Out of nowhere comes the announcement of the debut LP from The Keep Left Signs, a band comprised of members of The Mare and The Electric Pop Group…both who’ve made it onto our pages previously. It’s a sign that, yet again, Shelflife has its finger on the pulse of great indiepop vibes; the sound crafted here is pretty much the staple of every great indiepop hit this year. It features lightly jangling guitars, steady percussive bounce and vocals that always seem to wear a touch of longing. It’s remarkable in that it’s not overly remarkable; it’s crafted with melodies that endure, and if you get your hands on this super-limited release, then I’m sure you’ll agree with that sentiment. It’s titled Tomorrow, and it sees a release on December 8th.
Field Ceremony will be floating around your record stores starting this Friday, but Pia Fraus wanted to give you one more chance to lose yourself in their sound before you’re required to pick it up. This number’s a slow charmer, really working the pace angle here, allowing you to maximize what you pull from the song’s natural melody. Vocals float and circle one another, wrapped in a blanket of female/male overlapping warmth. Of course a gem of an album could only come out on a label like Shelflife, so support the small guy with great tastes and grab the LP.
We all swooned when Bob Collins and Mark Matthews of The Dentists fame dropped Holding Pattern as The Treasures of Mexico for Shelflife back in 2015, so I’m happily welcoming their energetic new single. It’s got just enough jangle, just enough ringing of guitars to grab my ears, but the push from the rhythm section really makes the song kick. Amidst it all, the vocals are direct and warm, and while the “crawling back to me” line could easily be for a loved one, I’m holding out reservations for some sly animal adoration hit. Regardless, hearing this song just makes you feel like the world is headed in the right direction. I’ll keep you posted on more new as we near the release of the group’s second LP.