Tag Archives: Indie-Pop

Album of the Day: Kythira, “Cut Through”

“I caught you reading my diary last night but I didn’t mind, I knew you’d find it,” murmurs singer-songwriter Alyssa Gengos, aka Kythira, on a spoken word interlude during “In the Attic Room.” The song arrives halfway through Kythira’s full-length debut Cut Through. It’s a telling line on a record that unfolds like a series of diary entries written not only to be read, but explicitly understood—its lyrics are plain-spoken and stripped of flowery metaphor, and its gently strummed, guitar-based indie pop songs are straightforward and uncomplicated. 

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Album of the Day: Charly Bliss, “Young Enough”

Charly Bliss

Photos by Ebru Yildiz

Charly Bliss spent five years playing punk clubs, sorority houses, and coffee shops; they weathered the loss of a drummer, and survived a botched first attempt at a full-length before finally releasing the critically lauded Guppy in 2017, and ending up the opening act on a Death Cab for Cutie tour the year after. Other bands might use album number two to exult in their triumph, but vocalist Eva Grace Hendricks opens Charly Bliss’s sophomore LP with a vision of the end: “I’m still alive, best year of my life,” she sings, “It’s gonna break my heart to see it blown to bits.”

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Album of the Day: Sunbeam Sound Machine, “Goodness Gracious”

Sunbeam Sound Machine’s second album follows five years after the group’s debut Wonderer, and given it’s essentially a one-man band, fronted by Melbourne-based Nick Sowersby, it’s also a good reminder that everyone works at their own pace. Certain hallmarks of classic home recording are evident throughout Goodness Gracious. Sowersby is audibly taken by the continuing impact of late ’60s Beach Boys and all that’s followed in its wake. His band name is well-chosen, with his soothing, understated vocals, nearly always swathed in reverb, flowing gently through the mix.

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Aries Creates a “Super Pop” Paradise on “Juramento Mantarraya”

Aries

Photos by Alba Yruela

Isa Reviriego named her solo project Aries after her astrological sun sign, the main traits of which are generally described as being “creative,” “fiery,” “independent,” and “stylish.” Those adjectives are also fitting descriptions for her latest work, Juramento Mantarraya. The record is a colorful blend of bubbling synths, percussive gurgles, vibrant orchestral arrangements, and Reviriego’s bright vocals.

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Album of the Day: Tullycraft, “The Railway Prince Hotel”

In the hands of Tullycraft, a wry lyric like “You always made me feel like dying when you sang along with Goldie and the Gingerbreads” has intriguing duality. Is the narrator horrified by someone else’s singing style, or overwhelmed by how adorable they are? Such weighty (and wordy) enigmas pepper the lovely, emotionally direct indie pop on The Railway Prince Hotel, the Seattle quartet’s seventh studio album and first since 2013’s Lost in Light Rotation.

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Lifetime Achievement: Lullatone’s Impressionistic, Whimsical “Pajama Pop”

Lullatone

One of the first things you see upon entering Shawn James Seymour’s workspace is a sign that says “The Studio Is A Playground,” which is a riff on Brian Eno’s lecture titled “The Recording Studio as a Compositional Tool.” Seymour’s space—located on the top floor of an apartment building in Nagoya, Japan—brings this in-progress manifesto to life. Throughout our afternoon together, Seymour shows off a variety guitars, synthesizers, and homemade doodads, including a series of bells on a turntable that generate random melodies.
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How Singer-Songwriter Eliza Shaddad’s “Future” Defies Breakup-Album Norms

Eliza Shaddad

Photos by Mel Tjeong

During the first few seconds of “White Lines,” the opening track on singer-songwriter Eliza Shaddad’s debut album Future, you can hear the Scottish-Sudanese artist casting a shadow of doubt over a seemingly irrevocable decision. There’s nothing to mull over anymore, yet Shaddad is as painfully conflicted as she is determined in putting an end to a long-term relationship. “If I drive away, far from you, can I get free from this?” she asks, simply and bluntly, letting us into a conversation she’s been having with herself. “If I stay awake, my eyes on the view, I could get miles.”  Continue reading

Album of the Day: Steady Holiday, “Nobody’s Watching”

Menace lurks around every corner in Nobody’s Watching, the exquisite and cinematic sophomore album from Los Angeles songwriter Dre Babinski’s project Steady Holiday. What began as a concept record about a pair of crooks developed to become a masterful study on greed and the evils of modern living. The album adheres to the philosophical notion, attributed to Mark Twain, that history “doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes,” and some of its most striking observations hint that our current societal ills aren’t exactly new ones.

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