by: Katrina Yentch and Tracy Ratledge
Gardens & Villa - Dunes - (Secretly Canadian)
Keyboard synth-heavy, Dunes is a playful mix of 80's pop with your classic modern quirky indie spin. Fitting high pitch vocals accompany these tracks, and catchy bass lines ensue. Pop music that is upbeat and surprisingly not obnoxious, this brand is whimsical and guaranteed to put anyone in a pleasant mood.
Thumpers- Galore - (Sub Pop)
With an electro pop flare, Thumpers meets the standard for the go to happy-go-lucky Indie Pop/Rock. The steady clamor of percussion tie together the synth-y melodies with some warm guitar riffs and echo-y vocals reminiscent of Tears for Fears. Standout tracks: “Dancing’s Done” (#2), “The Wilder Wise” (#8) and “Roller” (#9) which includes some Doo Wop-esque background vocals and kazoos.
Mayors of Liberty - Dream On - (Brick Lane)
Never thought anything could sounds like Elton John meets The Strokes, but that’s what comes to mind with the Mayors of Liberty (well mainly on the track, “Come Home”). The vocals are a little breathy but the lyrics stay true to the honesty of the singer songwriter genre. It definitely has a retro feel with the clamoring piano, background harmonies, but has a modern update with the occasional guitar riff
Snowmine - Dialects - (Mystery Buildings)
Snowmine has the hauntingly beautiful vocals of Fleet Foxes but with a dreamy electronic vibe of their own. Catchy melodic intro and slow, minimalist guitar, falsetto and some electronic add ins seem to characterize the general feel of this band. For something upbeat start with “Rome” (#2), “Further Along and Farther Away” (#4) and slow it down with “Courts” (#9).
Warpaint - s/t - (Rough Trade)
Warpaint definitely fits into the mold of the ever so present simple yet fierce female vocalist in the Indie Rock scene. Tracks range from upbeat surf guitar to hypnotically electronic vibes to an array of percussion supporting the vocals. Recommended Tracks: “Keep it Healthy” (#2), “Love is to Die” (#3), “Biggy” (#5)
Lovelife - XXX - (Self Released)
It comes as no surprise that band named Lovelife would release an album with that meets the level of romantic angst of Dirty Dancing. With a repeating rhythmic pop motif combined with smart lyrics and just the right amount of EDM, “Dying to Start Again” will take you to the same place as “Elevate” by St. Lucia. This is clearly a musically articulate post break-up album with enough synth and head bobbin’ beats to keep you from feeling too dreary. Recommended Tracks: “Dying to Start Again” (#1), Your New Beloved (#4), “Doomsday” (#5).
Graham Colton - Lonely Ones - (Self Released)
After 2004's "The Graham Colton Band," Graham Colton seems ready to try out something on his own. So forth comes Lonely Ones, a solo and self-released album. Vocals that parallel Mercer's of The Shins, each track is plain good indie pop rock with lyrics that ooze meaning. Don't expect any cutesy choirs to chime in, but instead listen for good hooks and instrumentals with quality.
Hospitality - Trouble - (Merge Records)
Good old rock accompanied by thrashy female vocals. Don't be intimated by the thrashy vocals part - it works well with the instrumentals. The album takes us back to rock in 2005, before it got murdered by EDM remixes. Trouble is simply just crisp, clean and well-done. The hooks here lie in the vocal progressions, and it makes for a memorable album.
Twinkie Jiggles Broken Orchestra - (Too Big to Fail)
Look at the the name of this band-need I explain otherwise why I added it? But in all relevance, Too Big to Fail, a solo debut of Sean McPherson, is pleasant piano rock with some jazz infusions. Many talented female vocalists It's plain, nice, wholesome, and the big band instrumentals behind this "broken orchestra" would claim that it is certainly "mended" otherwise.
The Royal Oui - s/t - (File Under Music)
Feminine and simplistic acoustic folk. A Vancouver couple that blends female & male harmonies well. Kick back the hammock; it's hard to listen to without taking a few long, deep breaths. Melancholy is ensured with this little gem. It's no doubt that Sirius XM will give this pair PLENTY of airplay on one of their indie rock stations soon enough.