The first few months of 2014 have already brought some wonderful new indie pop releases. Here are a few of my favorites! Let’s go through some album reviews:
Alpaca Sports just released their debut album, Sealed With a Kiss. Hailing from Göteborg, Sweden, their brand of sunny indie pop with boy-girl vocals is pitch perfect. Previously released tracks on the album include “I was running,” “Just for fun,” “She’ll come back for Indian summer,” “As long as I have you,” “Telephone,” and “ He doesn’t even like you.” Watercolor album art by the famed Tokyo artist Ray Kimura is simply superb. (And she has great taste in music, having done work for and enjoyed the music of various bands such as the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Wallflower, and Band a Part). Tracks that are new to this album include the standout “Just like Johnny Marr” (my personal favorite track) and “Will you ever come back home?” Rounding out the album are solid tunes “The Old Oak Tree” and “You and Me”. They are playing at the Birmingham Popfest April 25, 2014 (in the UK) and the Copenhagen Popfest May 16, 2014 (in Denmark). From beginning to end, the entire album is indie-pop perfection.
Alpaca Sports also released a remix album, called Bella’s Mixtape. This bonus album is not a rehashing of songs with electronic dance beats; instead, it is wonderful collaboration of Alpaca Sports with some of the best indie bands . In fact, the selection of this coterie of musicians is quite inspired. The cover of “Just for Fun” is the first work from Swedish stalwarths Red Sleeping Beauty in almost a decade and half. Idaho’s The Very Most takes this same song and turns it into a string-based dream sequence which is appropriately entitled “Mandolin Magic Remix.” The Pale Spectre’s remix of Telephone is just solid, while my favorite remix is Band à Part’s remix of “She’ll come back for Indian summer” into a danceable happy love-fest. Tiny Fireflies, Invisible Twin, Cristina Quesada, When Nalda Became Punk, and One Day Diary also get into the act with cheerful re-renditions of Alpaca Sport’s already enjoyable songs. This is a overall a great accompaniment to their full length debut album and not one to be missed as well.
When Nalda Became Punk just released their debut LP last year, and here they are with another wonderful set of tracks from their new EP Indiepop or Whatever! This Spanish band is back with their cheerful brand of upbeat indie pop. 4 songs in total, with the feature track being a tribute to the television show “Homeland.” This track, “Song for Carrie Mathison,” has an entertaining video to go along with it. Title track “Indiepop or Whatever” continues the Muffs-influenced sound, while “Daylight Savings Time” is an enjoyable boy-girl lyrical drumbeat driven pop creation. Finally “A Secret Plan” breaks out the synthesizers to accompany Elena’s wondrous singing. Overall, a nice EP to tide us over until their next full length album.
A Novel Resort is the solo project of M, the drummer from Northern Portrait, the Danish band which has been featured heavily on the Happyoblivion Show. He has sung, played, and recorded everything by himself and plans to release a full length album sometime in the future. So far, there are two tracks from him. “Everything We Ever Hoped For” is a yearning pop ballad that washes over you gradually. There are no singable refrains, but more of an overall hopefulness and stretching forward that pulls you along. “Turning To Ashes” pulls in a bit more of a new wave sound, combining a Psychedelic Furs sound with a little bit of Joy Division, though not quite pushing the boundaries, but rather comfortably settling into this sound. Overall, good stuff, and hopefully we will see a full length album from A Novel Resort sooner rather than later.
Temples are from the UK, and their debut album is called Sun Structures. Classified as playing psychedelic rock, they bring the 60’s rollicking guitar song and energetic vocals to the forefront. This band formed in 2012 and already has generated quite a bit of buzz, with Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher hailing their ascendency as one of the best new British bands. This 60’s sound carries through their entire album with jangling guitars flying around and just a general sense of looseness within structure. Their first single “Sun Structures,” and other tracks “Keep In the Dark,” and “Mesmerize” are excellent, but the supremely outstanding standout singable and danceable track by far is “Shelter Song.” This, my friends, is a fun band. They have already opened for Suede, are playing at SXSW this week, and are scheduled to play Coachella next month. Looks like another band destined to hit the big time quite soon, so hop on board this ride while you still can!
The New Mendicants are made up of Joe Pernice, Norman Blake from Teenage Fanclub, and Mike Belitsky from the Sadies. Their debut LP is called Into the Lime, and the band’s sound is most influenced by the aforementioned Teenage Fanclub with a more mellow and melancholy touch, and the vocals more at the forefront rather than the guitar and bass. However, this album is quite the pleasant surprise. Favorite tracks include the upbeat “Cruel Annette” and “Shouting Match.” The strengths of the band are in the vocals though, and these are featured most strongly in the melodic harmonizations of “High on the Skyline” and “Sarasota.” Basically, come and get your Teenage Fanclub fix right here; you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks so much for listening and reading! More information and playlists can be found at mildmanneredDJ.blogspot.com