Here we are on another Monday, about halfway through the musical calendar, and while I should probably be working on one of those magically meaningless “Midway Best Of,” I feel like I’d be letting down our friends if we didn’t do our wrap-up of the goods from last week. Honestly, and I won’t throw out names, but there are some jams that would certainly make my best of the year list…one in particular. Can you guess it? Also, some of the new stuff by Love, Burns and Normil Hawaiians isn’t streaming, so I linked you to some of their other work you might enjoy. Mostly, it’s Monday, and I like to make this playlist for my friend Marc, so he doesn’t have to read anything and just gets music. Happy Monday folks!
If you’re in need of your early morning pop dosage, well, be sure to check out the latest Wanna Go Dancin (So Far Away) EP from Vermont’s The Smittens. The EP opens with a brand new tune commissioned by Burlington City Arts for their Bubblegum Pop Exhibition; the tune’s got tons of vocal layering to craft an undeniable hook that will have you clapping your hands spiritedly. “Year of Happiness” is a lost tune that was recorded during the band’s 2014 sessions for Love Record Breaker, but somehow didn’t make the cut. There’s a few remixes too, and another unheard tune from the band’s early days, and in the end, all the tunes are going to get your day going right. So start here. Courtesy of Fika Recordings.
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 seem to be continuously charmed by the Smittens, and here we are again with another brilliant pop song to adore. It’s got a steady cadence, filled in with wonderful harmonies between various members of the group; the group stretch out the song in the latter half, allowing for a more thought provoking element to the tune. That makes sense, as Dana says he penned the number as ‘a coming out/transition anthem,’ encouraging us to all ‘find the spaces in which we belong.’ City Rock Dove will be out via Fika Recordings on August 3rd.
Having written about the Smittens recently, I figured I should offer you another track from their forthcoming release to entice you further. The band takes on the definition of love in the lyrics, a concept that’s vital to any indiepop release, or so it might seem. If you’re looking for your own definition for the word, then listen closely. Musically, the song is pretty light and airy; I do particularly like the final message that “love is an action word/its a verb.” Also, the contrast between Missy and Max in regards to their vocal tones is pretty special. Look for the group’s City Rock Dove to drop on August 3rd via the esteemed Fika Recordings.
Having just written about Mikey Collins yesterday, it seems only fitting that I turn my attention to another act on Fika Recordings, The Smittens. Having been fairly quiet for a couple of years, they return with a new single (and a new album). Immediately noticeable are the Stephin Merritt-esque vocals through each of the various verses, but be forewarned, there’s a little something special beneath the surface. For instance, take the change in the chorus, accompanied by several backing vocal tracks and a slight change in the tempo. It’s clear after several repeat listens that the group are intent upon layering their brand of pop music, and we’re all going to be better for it. Look for their new City Rock Dove LP to drop in August.