Islands – This Is Not A Song
Depending on how familiar you are with Islands (or the lead singer’s former band, The Unicorns), you’ll probably be a bit mystified by this slow-burn of a torch song. Islands are known for their peppy brand of Indie Pop, and while I can’t claim that they’ve never done a downbeat track (I only own one of their three albums), this one certainly feels unique in their repertoire. But it’s kind of gorgeous in its melancholy. Like Beck on his Sea Change album, sometimes well-worn themes like heartbreak and loss sound new when they come from an unexpected voice.
David Vandervelde – Nothin’ No
I’ve had this song in my library for quite awhile and have been ‘loving’ it pretty much ever since I first heard it, but from time to time tracks like this just reemerge in my playlist and I get re-hooked all over again. This scuzzy piece of rock music is noisy, brash, and almost romantic before turning sexily dark (“and when your boyfriend drove to meet you / you covered the bruises on your neck”). As is so often the case in these posts, this is one of those instances where this is the only song by the artist that I’ve listened to. I’m not sure I’d ever feel the urge to put on a full album in this musical vein, but when this track comes on, I just rock out (in my head).
The Mynabirds – Numbers Don’t Lie
I’m not really sure why this song has so effectively weaseled its way into my head, but it did. That opening organ transforms into a heavenly plunked piano and then it’s all just melody and ‘oohs’. It feels like a track out of time, sort of old, sort of modern, sort of timeless. A strong female vocalist is always going to grab my attention (see also: Lewis, Jenny or Case, Neko), plus, now that I’ve seen the video I can say, that lead singer’s kind of a cutie. Not that it matters. (But, of course, it does.)
Bears – Please Don’t
Indie music is nothing if not fetishistic about retro sounds, and there is no shortage of catchy songs borrowing their sound from long-gone eras (Brown Recluse’s Impressions of a City Morning also manages to pack a musical history lesson into a 2-minute package). The irony is that the sound Bears are replicating here isn’t one I have much love for (the Moog synthesizer has never been a favorite affectation of mine), but this little snippet of pop memorabilia is both a compelling snapshot of a musical style and a transfixing plea for patience from a lover who’s going through a hard time. It just works.
Cake – Sheep Go To Heaven
If you don’t like Cake, you’re probably 90 or soulless. They are just so effortlessly cool. They hit it semi-big in the era of slacker anthems with their single, “The Distance,” but the savvy music consumer knows that Cake has put out albums-worth of killer tracks. This is just one of them. Maybe not their best, but lately I’ve been loving the absolute shit out of it. I just want to play on my panpipes, indeed.
Let’s have a good time.