This Year in Indie Pop

For those who enjoy a little cheerful pop music, it should be exciting to note that 2013 could be a year full of downloads and UPS packages. My last radio show heavily featured new music from bands with music coming out in 2013.


Veronica Falls – Waiting for Something To Happen

Veronica Falls, the four piece band from London, rose to fame in 2011 with their self-titled debut. They released a new album last Tuesday. The new album, Waiting For Something To Happen, is great. But with every full listen, I was lost on how to describe it. This record sounds more refined then their first, but I think my notes included a fair amount of crossed-out scribbles. What didn’t get scribbled includes:

  • sweet voice from Roxanne Clifford, backing vocals compliment well.
  • not the most “hardcore/pure” indie pop album out there, but most accessible album.
  • different from their first album, the band has developed a less “raw” sound

It’s a good album, but it’s not like any of the other albums here on this blog post, the lyrics speak more about sadness. There is a sense that this band may be heading out of the indie pop fold. Great album nonetheless.

9/10

Northern Portrait – Pretty Decent Swimmers

Scandinavia has always been famous for their indie pop, the guitar heavy melodically consonant music have wooed listeners for years. This Danish four piece band are not different, and after a 3 year absence, I am extremely happy to see they came back with a new EP, Pretty Decent Swimmers. While still holding on to their distinct “Smiths-like” sound, this new EP has shown that Northern Portrait are developing a more refined sound. The drums are more pronounced, it’s not as melancholic as their previous EPs and their debut LP, Criminal Art Lovers. In fact, it’s just pure sweetness, it surely will bring a happy smile to your face.

8/10


Girl Names – The New Life

Girl Names was one of those bands I was extremely excited to see when I was planning  to go to the Primavera Festival in Spain this past May. Sadly, I sprained my ankle and I couldn’t make it, but from the reviews, I am sure I missed a cracker. This Northern Ireland band has always been lo-fi legends. Their first album, Dead to Me gave me reminders of those pioneers of indie pop such as Josef K, Beat Happening and especially the venerable Field Mice. As exciting as their debut album was, the band wasn’t happy with it. So they started anew, and that is why their new album is called “The New Life”. The one single that has been released already, “The New Life”, is a 7-and-a-half minute long odyssey through an amazing bass line, a lot of reverb on the guitars, and the echo-y voice of Cathal Cully. I’m sure come Tuesday, I will play nothing but Girls Names. This new album could well be a candidate for top 10 albums of the year.

potential 9/10

The Hot Toddies – Bottoms Up!

This all-girl twee band from Oakland, California is like that one sweet girl in high school. Except that sweet girl was also highly sexual, and wasn’t afraid to flaunt it. The band’s homage to 1950s bubblegum pop as well as surf rock makes their music both retro as well as happy go lucky. The second track on the new EP Bottoms Up, “That Ain’t Right”, is a frank one-sided conversation about teenage sex. Lyrics such as “Last thing I want/Is to be knocked up/at seventeen/I pulled the rubber” makes you grin and to check if there are people around you at the same time. A little outrageous, a lot of fun, just like that girl in high school.

7/10

Shout Out Louds – Optica

Scandinavian Pop Masters, Shout Out Louds, are releasing a new album after 3 years. While the five members of the band grew up, their new album promises to be more youthful than their last album, Work. I could drone on about what their new album may sound like, but I think the band can explain it better themselves: “Together we made up a downstairs world of explosive colours, big, warm sounds and a very, very uninhibited work process. We never worried about following a clear path, trusting that the conscious decision not to worry would be enough to lead us right, and that right doesn’t necessarily have to mean rational or even reasonable…I don’t think we’ve ever been this excited to take an album on tour.” Their new single, “Illusions”, come to think of it, is quite colourful. Will be a fun indie pop album to listen to when it comes out.

potential 8/10

Tidbits: 

  • Tullycraft is releasing a new album on March 4th called Lost in Light Rotation. There were rumours they were broken up, but new Tullycraft will pop you into submission with new music this year. Get excited, they are as big as one can get in the Twee Pop world.
  • If you like Math and Physics Club and their lovely pop tunes from Seattle, you’ll be happy to know they are releasing a new album this year. Their Facebook page is full of photos from the recording studio and as a fan, I can not wait, it’s sure to be as sweet and as angsty as their last two albums.
  • The Pastels released a short 1 minute long teaser in the winter of 2012, and their first album in 16 years will be released this year. Indie pop legends in the early 1990s, their fanbase is extremely loyal and to get anything new from the duo will be a treat. Based on the short teaser, I’m excited and so should you.
  • Milky Wimpshake is finally released their new album– it’s a belter, I believe. So if you like your punkish DIY pop, head on over to Fortuna Pop! and get some rocking.

Rumours:

>>> According to Anorak Forum, Allo Darlin’ will be back in studio very soon. This is exciting as their last album, Europe, was my top indie pop album of 2012. Can’t wait!

>>> Los Campesinos! finished their last show for the “Hello Sadness” cycle on December 15th in London last year. They said they are recording a new album right after that show. That was 2 months ago, so it isn’t out of the question for a new album before the end of 2013.

-Sam Lu

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