Part two of this seasonal MP3 mix sees me getting antsy with the quietness I usually cover and jonesing for some big, brash rock and pop sounds.
1. “Fourth of July” – Zoo Brother. This unabashedly summery indie-pop cut starts off with fireworks blasting.
2. “What Love Looks Like” – Rebecca Roubion. Are you tired of pristine, joyful folk-pop from guy/girl duos like the Weepies and Jenny & Tyler? ME NEITHER.
3. “Sun Models (Feat. Madelyn Grant)” – ODESZA. Even post-dub artsy electronic groups are getting in on the summery vibes. I am thoroughly on board with this upbeat, airy track.
4. “High Times” – Blonde Summer. This one’s just a gimme, you know? Excellent summery pop here, complete with awesome video.
5. “Modern Romance” – The Forty Nineteens. The joke on this one is that this is a ’50s-style rock’n’roll band with heavy surf influences singing about modern things. Modern when? Who cares. Summer on.
6. “I’m a Freak” – Wise Girl. The components of this song are exclusively big guitars, loud drums, a bass guitar (I think?), and female vocals. I love power-pop.
7. “Killing Time” – The Mirror Trap. Big, brash, Killers-esque rock, because nothing says springtime to me like humongous synths. Chase winter away.
8. “Hex X.O.” – North by North. Rock swagger, flamboyant vocals, and dramatic flair (a la My Chemical Romance) make this track total road trip fun.
9. “Alabama Movies” – Skating Polly. If your version of summertime driving includes snarling, female-fronted grunge, Oklahomans Skating Polly need to be on your radar.
10. “Bulash” – Walrus. Ain’t no summer without woozy, off-kilter psych.
Independent Clauses is but one man at the moment, and that means that it’s impossible for me to cover everything that comes through the front doors. Some notable music flies under the radar for lack of time. To remedy these oversights, I’ve created two shout-out lists. Today’s is for the more pop-oriented stuff, while tomorrow’s is for indie-rock and singer/songwriter.
Alex and the XO’s – North to the Future Here’s some fun ukulele-fronted pop-rock with a female vocalist. Don’t confuse this for an Ingrid Michaelson copy: there’s a lot of crunch in these pop-rock tunes alongside the ukulele strum.
Christian Hansen – C’mon Arizona. This driving-ready synth-pop features a baritone vocalist for a change. Fans of Talking Heads should check the infectious “Spirit Guide” and the money-titled “You Were a Juggalo.”
Coed Pageant – The Seasons EPs Vol. 4: The Fallout. Boy/girl pop that goes for the grand sweep instead of the intimate coo. If Mates of State thought that their loudest arrangement could use a couple more instruments for scope, they might end up in this arena.
Hostage Calm – Please Remain Calm. Gonna throw my hat in here with the rest of the punk world: this one is pretty stellar. I’m a huge Menzingers fan, and this pushes all the same buttons lyrically and musically (only with a bit less gruffness).
Nora and One Left – Bicycle. Enthusiastic, girl-fronted indie-pop that occasionally includes accordion.
The World Record – Freeway Special. Similar to Fountains of Wayne, TWR goes to great lengths and many sub-genres in search of the perfect pop song. And check that sweet album art.
Wise Girl – Wise Girl EP. Straight-up power-pop with a great female vocalist. Turn it up loud.