I know it’s been a while, but I’ve been listening to a metric fuck ton of music that has done nothing to inspire a post. Over the past couple of days, though, I’ve reinvested in my music library, and I come bearing for you Architecture in Helsinki.
Architecture in Helsinki is an Australia-based indie pop group who has been around since about 2003. Their music is upbeat, and (for me, at least) makes you want to dance like you’re in the 80s again. If you don’t know what that means, just let American Apparel throw up on you, add some shoulder pads, and make your hair AWESOME. Then dance like a spastic white person (me).
"Contact High" is from their 2011 release Moment Bends. Out of all of their albums, this is by far my favorite. If you enjoy 80s-inspired indie pop, you’ll love this entire album, so I suggest you go and get it.
If I was as promiscuous and passionately fickle in my life as I am with my music, I would probably be dead from some mutant disease no one’s heard of (let’s call it ‘auralius whoritus' for the sake of this post, and also to sate my need to name ALL OF THE THINGS). This week, I've gone from blues and jazz to run-of-the-mill Indie to Rostropovich's take on Bach's cello suites to Bob Dylan, through my collection of mash ups about six times, through my power metal collection (I'm still partially deaf, by the way), and now - now, after three days of experiencing a musical supernova in my head - I found something that helps me focus enough to write a coherent, original sentence that doesn’t make me want to lobotomize myself out of embarrassment.
The xx is, for no particular reason, the savior of my sanity this week. The xx is an indie pop band hailing from London that, in my opinion, has a hint of post-rock thrown in to their pop. Romy Croft’s vocals are enough to have me listening in a music thrall for days on end, and their song “Islands” makes my head buzz. Could be the contented hum it keeps eliciting…
Either way, have a listen. If you like it, check out the rest of their album, and keep a look out for their next release, coming out at some point in the very near future.
The Magnetic Fields have been a staple in my music library since 2005, but they’ve been around since 1989. Since I mark the beginning of humanity at the age of 5, they’ve been around longer than I’ve existed as more than a nebulous, recently un-diapered parasite. While their most famous song is generally accepted as the 1991 single “100,000 Fireflies”, their #1 song in my book is “Let’s Pretend We’re Bunny Rabbits”, from their 1999 release 69 Love Songs, Vol. 1. If you don’t own 69 Love Songs, you need to get it now, because if you ever attempt to make a mix tape/CD/iTunes playlist for your love/crush/insane stalker obsession without it, you’ll have to work twice as hard to get the desired effect (affection, sex, and a possible relaxation of that restraining order).
That said, The Magnetic Fields have provided for us on a (woefully not platinum) vinyl platter the quintessential guide to all things love song. Their three volume set runs the gamut of love, from delightful crush to absolutely cuckoo to madly in love to deep, abiding hatred and bitterness. If you love 69 Love Songs, be sure to check out their other albums, and their other projects, as they have many.
Contrary to what her stage name implies, Marina and the Diamonds is not a band, but instead a lone singer. If you can get over the betrayal of her name, though, you’ll be treated to a great voice paired with a magical synth-pop/new wave sound that managed to make me spontaneously (and surprisingly) laugh out loud when it popped up on my shuffle. Basically, if you enjoy synth-pop and/or new wave (or just indie pop in general), you’ll enjoy Marina and the Diamonds.
"I Am Not A Robot" is from her 2010 debut The Family Jewels, and she’s set to release a new full-length album in 2012, so keep an eye out for it.
Lover Lover is a London-based band comprised of longtime friends Eleanor Bodenham and Martin Craft. Thank the music gods (Apollo?) these two were friends before this whole endeavour, because this folk-pop duo should, in my opinion, never break up. If you’re a fan of synth-pop, 80s music (redundant), or any kind of electronica that can be classified as electronica and not a jarring and hyper-technic mass of synthetic noise, you’ll probably like Lover Lover.
I’d really like to say more about them in my own words, but I think their Facebook page sums up their project better than I could:
“If Beach House met the Eurythmics on a late-summer’s road trip, it might sound like this, all polaroid-faded and sunset-red with the wide-eyed innocence of a John Hughes film. It’s dazzling pop, heartache-on-the-dancefloor, wanderlust dreams, an echo of another time – digitised, modernised and mechanised.”
The song you’re listening to now (listen to it now) is “Freebirds”, the single released by Lover Lover this past April. If you enjoy them, keep an ear and/or eye out for a full-length album release. I hope it’s sooner rather than later…
A Deeply Personal Fan Request to Lana del Rey:
Dear Lana del Rey,
Please have more music babies? I love your indie-pop-soul music almost as much as I love the idea of you birthing conceptual sound wave babies from your pseudo-Olympian head. Your song “Blue Jeans” from Video Games - Blue Jeans deserves ALL OF THE AWARDS alongside “Video Games” and every other song you’ve ever made (except maybe “Mermaid Motel”…there are some things I’ll never understand, but I think with any successful artist there needs to be some mystery that pervades throughout).
That said, I hope you will take into consideration my request. Sound wave babies are gonna be huge among ex-Disney Hollywood pop star actress moms, so get on the wagon while there’s still room.
P.S. I think you and Goldfrapp would make the most adorable music babies together. Just saying.
Allie Moss is an indie pop guitarist who hails from New Jersey, and before you say “She sounds like every other indie guitarist chick I’ve heard”, keep in mind that she acts as Ingrid Michaelson’s lead guitarist on the reg, and her songs have been featured on a number of television shows (Bones, Pretty Little Liars, and, I’m pretty sure, Grey’s Anatomy), so the chances of her actually being the indie artist she sounds just like are fairly high. Her voice is clean and catchy, and her hands are magic guitarist hands, full of talent and wonder.
Really, though, Allie Moss is incredibly talented, and has brought a great deal to the indie music table over the past several years. Welcome her into your ears, and enjoy. This song, “Corner”, is from her 2009 album Passerby.
Cults is another one of those college buddy bands that just so happens to be the kind of group you thank the music gods for. Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion (yes, Oblivion) met at NYU and created this wonderful indie/noise-pop band that works on so many levels. Follin’s voice is light and charismatic, and Oblivion’s not half bad himself, although he’s more in the instrumentals than the vocals (not complaining, here).
Since their most popular song is “Oh My God” from their recent debut album Cults, I’m posting “Go Outside” from the same album (they only have the one, after all) to give you more variation. Also, this is my way of telling you to go outside. It’s most likely a beautiful day where you are.
Emiliana Torrini is an Icelandic indie-pop singer who’s been around since the early/mid 90s, but I’m fairly certain her music has only landed in the states about 6 years ago, or so, unless the pre-hipster hipster had a copy of her music somewhere (you know who you are, and you know that you did). Her first three albums only came out in Iceland, but you know where to go if you want to dig them out and give them a listen.
If you’re a big Grey’s Anatomy fan, you might remember this song from so very long ago in season two. “Sunny Road” is from her 2005 album Fisherman’s Woman, and it 1 of 3 songs released from her album. If you enjoy “Sunny Road”, the rest of her album has that same acoustic indie folk feel, and her voice really is quite soothing. If you think you could listen to it over a period of 42 minutes (or a few hours), then look her up.
Buddy is an indie pop band from LA/Portland named after their lead singer, Buddy (since he’s playing coy with his last name, I’m going to say it’s also his stripper name). I liken Buddy’s voice to the vocal lovechild of the lead singers of Death Cab and Coldplay.
On their official website, Buddy asks, “May we rock you gently?”
My answer is absolutely yes. (Points, too, for the entirely indirect and probably unintentional Tenacious-D reference.)
If you enjoy “Apologize (If You Tried)” from their album Alterations and Repairs, check them out; and if you’re in the LA area, I’m sure you could manage to catch a few performances in some seedy-yet-musically-reputable bar somewhere.