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.
First, I’d like to thank Slumberland Records for the excellent 30 Year Single Series. I paid for it, as it is one of my favorite labels, and then forgot, except when the occasional package shows up on my doorstep with delicious pop treats! Is it over? I don’t know? If so, I scored some great hits! Second, the label in the last few years has dabbled in reissuing some great stuff…the Wolfhounds, the Springfields…and now East Village. To be honest, while I should know the band, I have no idea who they are other (other than a few short paragraphs on the Cloudberry blog long ago), but I find the sampler of their Hotel Hotrod reissue to be quite up my alley. Charming and warm, lightly jangling and of the indiepop persuasion…so yes, I’m picking this up too! If Papa Slumberland can get his hands on that Another Sunny Day compilation, I’ll be quite thankful. Go check out East Village; the reissue drops on January 24th.
We continue our year-end list from people we love, one of whom is Joe of Wildhoney; he also shared that there’s a new band named Dummy in the works for 2020. Here’s a few words and a list from Joe! And be sure to hit this jump to check out the new 7″ Wildhoney released via Slumberland Records HERE. There’s a cool playlist at the end, with some extras Joe loved in 2019!
Joe: 2019 was a weird year for me and connecting new music, the things I really loved were mostly reissues, things from the past; newer releases were just not inspiring, and it was the first time I can remember this happening and it was, tbh unnerving. Luckily, towards end of the year some things start clicking and I felt inspired and excited again! So here’s some things I really connected with, 5 new releases, 5 reissues/comps and 5 eps/7″.
If I had one thing I could bestow upon you all it would be the gift of the SLR30 Single Series…especially after this week’s installment news of Wildhoney…but that’s not just it…now we’ve got Smiles. This track is that perfect Friday tune, heavy-handed pop riffs blasting behind you as you cruise towards that pop sunset; the warm melody recalls the band’s home state of California, as well as a nod to Teenage Fanclub. The last 30 seconds are interesting, fusing a bit of classic rock vibes with these vocal tones that aren’t too far off from Elliott Smith’s croon. 30 years of great music, and lets hope it carries on for 30 more with songs like this one.
This debut from Jeanines is shaping up to be one of my favorite things this year, especially with this delicious new single from their self-titled debut. The opening few seconds have this steady pounding indiepop feel to it, and I’d already be convinced to fawn, but that’s not the twist that really hits for me. Just at the 33 second mark, there’s this vocal pitch change that seems both nostalgic and omni-present; it switches the mood from indiepop to classic doo-wop vibes (it also happens at 1:16). Brief and memorable, so it makes sense that their debut is being handed by the same label that brings you Tony Molina, the esteemed Slumberland Records…dropping on June 14th.
Slumberland Records had a great week last week…a new video from Business of Dreams, an EP from Papercuts and a cover from Frankie Rose…but the best news was the announcement of this Jeanines LP. There’s an infectiousness bounce tearing through your speakers the instant you press play; it’s matched by that understated jangle in the guitars that makes indiepop nerds swoon. Alicia Jeanine’s vocals have this crystalline quality that sort of ride the melodic wave of the track itself; I’m not sure I’ve been so quickly charmed as I was upon first listen here…and it’s short, so go on and press repeat as many times as you can fit into the next hour. The band’s self titled debut will be out on June 14th.
The first two tracks from the forthcoming Business of Dreams LP were sort of what I expected, though I’ve admitted that Cunningham is at the peak of his writing prowess this go-round. But, the pleasure of Ripe for Anarchy is the diversity he’s brought forth, and perhaps no track exemplifies that touch more than the single below. It’s still churns out that crisp nostalgic pop vibe, but it has this thoughtfulness I don’t think I realized until the second or third spin. From the layering of the various vocals to the effortless calm throughout, it creates this weird vibe where I feel like I’m listening to Galaxy 500 channeled through the history of angular indiepop and its forebears. Slumberland drops the album tomorrow; please go get it.
We continue our regular column supporting all things Corey Cunningham by bringing you the latest single from his Business of Dreams project. I’m not sure how he’s been able to do it, but he’s topped his previous release, and is running nearly neck and neck with some of his other projects that I adore. I love the keyboard work in this track; it sort of gives this shining brightness from behind the mix, allowing for the wispy vocals to coolly wash over the listener. I don’t want to gush, except that I do. This song is just one example of everything that is great about the new album; there’s ten other examples on Ripe for Anarchy, out Feb 1st via Slumberland.
A lot of folks following musicians and blogs definitely have people that they adore, people that are untouchable in a sense; Corey Cunningham is one such person for me, be it in Terry Malts or, in the case of this post, Business of Dreams. On the latest single, the bass line opens heavy and pulsing, the lifeblood of the tune. It unfolds to build in driving synth work, as well as other electronic sparkles in the background. All the while, there’s Cunningham, sitting carefully in the mix, careful to hold the song’s lofty pop sensibility intact. It almost feels like something in the vein of Blank Dogs, but if it was crafted with sunshine in mind; there’s a natural vibrancy to this one. You will find this tune on Ripe for Anarchy, the new album out on Slumberland Records on February 1st.
We’re just about a week away from the release of the new Papercuts album, and the band just released one of my favorite tracks from the LP. I love the underlying energy from the rhythm section, which works in contrast to the smoky haze of Jason Quever’s voice; the guitar’s, too, carry on an energetic tone. It’s the perfect juxtaposition, allowing the listener to get carried away by the uplifting spirit, whilst still delving into moments of reflection. If you’re willing to let music carry you away again, perhaps you’ll pick up Parallel Universe Blues on October 17th via Slumberland.