Daniel Euphrat is the mastermind behind the eclectic Timmy Sells His Soul outfit. Each song is so uniquely distinct and different from the last it’s like listening to a more pop version of Mr. Bungle though without the busy backdrop. Dripping wet with indie-pop incredibleness, “Name and Form” jumps from genre to genre but always boasting a terrific array of textures. His off-key vocals range from somewhat spoken yet muffled to melodic crooning. A huge array of electro influences are smashed up behind his voice. “Seeds” finds Rachel Springer Dunbar lending vocals amid a chaotic stew of IDM and melodic indie pop harmonies. “Knife and Bowl” evoke a kind of melancholy – something this album doesn’t seem to lack in – but with an industrial-pop edge ever so slightly creeping upwards. I couldn’t begin to tell you who he may be influenced by because so many things happen throughout the listen which is a good thing; I highly doubt it’s easy to pigeonhole someone like Timmy Sells His Soul. “Vicious” sounds like something you’d hear off of Metropolis Records while “We are Surplus” could be easily heard at your local coffeehouse with its low-key indie-pop flavors. Rangy and yet authoritative in what he’s trying to deliver and accomplish, “Name and Form (Black)” is a dark beauty but one that demands your utmost attention. Highly recommended.
Posts tagged indie pop
Toronto-born Scott Lanaway decided to take everything he loved about music, melt it down, and create his own silver bullet. “Mergers & Acquisitions” is the fruit of this labor. Granted this is sophomore release, it still feels like a birth. The songs and sounds contained are so well thought-out, planned, and composed that it feels like it was the work of a debut simply because the majority of songwriter’s best songs are created as their first body of work rather than their second or later efforts. “Oprah, God Wants You to Have a Private Jet” shows Lanaway doesn’t need to be cornered amid the subject matter of his songs that are often mind-wandering noodles and thoughts of love, death, time, the mind, and everything in between. His textures are sprinkled with electronica and acoustic vibes that are just unbelievable and uninhibited. He bares his soul, unafraid to let anyone in to peer in curiosity at what this creature is thinking and doing. Beautiful, please pick it up and tell him I sent you.
Psychedelic folk assembled by Andrew McAllister that does things similar to Bright Eyes but without outright copying anything. Each song seems simple yet when you break it down it’s amazingly complex. McAllister is joined with three others to form a cohesive unit capable of writing imaginative songs and utilizing off-the-beaten-path instruments like a banjo, melodica, and Wurlitzer. Mastering the 2-minute pop song seems to be what Vanish Valley originally intended and then decided to say “the hell with it, let’s do something different” halfway through. Intriguing elements of country, folk, psychedelia, pop, and rock permeate the self-titled debut album. So guys, how are you going to follow this gem up?
Indiana-based House of Bread (not affiliated with the bread shop, sorry!) buries the competition in the indie synth pop world easily on their third installment, “Superhuman Tomb”. Having gotten their start in 2005, Omar Afzaal wanted to put together a noise-pop solo project using a simple 8-track recorder. Soon after Bob Haddad joined forces with Omar and the rest as they say is history. Dreamy and dense, “Superhuman Tomb” carries a similar torch of intricate guitar pop mastery that people came to expect from early Smashing Pumpkins. Definitely recommended if you like groups like Air, Asobi Seksu, Super Furry Animals, or just want to be able to boast that you like eclectic music that no one else has heard of and just happens to also be freakin’ great.
ps. You can download the album for free too.
Rick Sell’s The Atlantic Manor continues to pave the way for DIY indie rock. While the band has always and unfortunately flown under the radar, the group always seems to be masterful when it comes to crafting the perfect pop gem. They have never sacrificed sound or quality despite being a self-avowed lo-fi artist. Now on their eleventh album, The Atlantic Manor has turned the page with a focus on surreal and cerebral music. Occasionally gravelly voiced, Sell (ironic last name much?) paints his canvases with self-portraits that are introspective and curious. A bevy of noises and oddities saturate each tune without being distracting, instead ladling up the pop feel and serving it to the folks fortunate enough to stumble upon them. I am gracious that I have had the pleasure to not only review the band but hear such terrifically built albums like “The World Beneath This World Is Brightening”.
Songwriter Ryan Groff has a keen ear for what’s coming up in the attention deficit plagued world of indie pop music. “Yes Yes Yes” is magnetic with a stick-to-your-ribs infectiousness that boasts tremendous range and creativity. Each song is a different passionate approach to moody music. Whether it’s a power pop anthem, an epic dreamscape, a Radiohead-esque passionate account, a beautiful piano ballad, or a raw singer/songwriter theme, Elsinore seems to just “get it” more than most indie bands.
Post-rock journeymen Goonies Never Say Die boast an instrumental rock sound that is more powerful than a 20-person choir could dictate. Rangy guitars chug through crunchy distorted textures pouring out emotional melodies that are both grand and sweeping. While many folks instantly think of groups like Explosions in the Sky when they hear descriptors like “instrumental post-rock”, Goonies Never Say Die are quickly establishing themselves as the next go-to definition of that sound. Simon Morgan is both the guitarist as well as the engineer and mixer on “No Words to Voice Our Hopes and Fears”; his work on both sides of the fence creates a darkened atmosphere that peeks out small elements of every emotion as it swallows your body whole. Perfect.
Cascading loops with dark soundscapes and Latin-influences and velvety melodies, “Pequenas Canciones de Amor” reminds me of something off of Acuarela Discos out of Spain. Inflected indie rock noodles throughout this stirring experimental album. Exploring a variety of styles, O Paradis deploys a king’s ransom worth of diverse instrumentation. But the one all encompassing common denominator is heady vocals and a knack for crafty a finely tuned song. There’s seventeen tracks here that bridge the gap between Euro-pop, indie-pop, electronica, experimental, and abstract. I love it. Thank you Tourette Records!
Kadman sounds like a mellow Pearl Jam album at times; often melodic and meandering (in a good way), extremely lonely and trying to find its feet. “These Old Bones” shakes off stereotypes with a vocally-led drive, sparse rhythm, coffeehouse centric guitars, and intriguing lyrics. An intricate and incredible album to say the very least. Another perfect notch on the belt for Baltimore’s best indie label, The Beechfields.
The group featuring Mrs. Miller and Mccabe, neither of which is the real name of either of the duo whom are properly referred to as Victor Krummenacher (Camper Van Beethoven, Monks of Doom) and Alison Faith Levey (The Loud Family, The Sippy Cups), performs stirring indie pop with an Americana twist. But refusing to be slipped into a specific genre cabinet, the group delves into Southern blues, folk, pop ballads, roots-rock, jazz, and pleasant acoustic. It’s foot-stomping fun that refuses to succumb to any industry pressure to sound like this or that. I love that. And you will too. Looking for the next big thing that none of your hipster friends have heard yet? Pick up “Time for Leaving” and you won’t be disappointed.
Peep a video for these indie pop rockers for the title track: