Indie-pop ended up being the flavor of the April, from the C86 tape Moscow Club presented to the world to an endless parade of twee-leaning bands popping up on SoundCloud. This month’s Make Believe Mix represents this trend and, like the Moscow Club mix, attempts to expand the definition of indie-pop beyond jangly guitars. Which we’ve got plenty of, don’t worry – BOYISH, Wallflower and Lilacs give us traditional indie-pop from Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya respectively. Yet Cloudy Busey takes the spirit of indie-pop and embeds it into a dance track, one more influenced by Stardust than Sea Urchins. Shortcake Collage Tape turn twee inwards on “Polaroid Full Of Kisses” while White Scooper…OK, White Scooper isn’t indie-pop, their “Winter Hawk” closing the mix out with some angular dance-rock.
Below is a list of artists and songs appearing in this month’s mix, in chronological order. Click the links to read more about them and find out how to buy/get their music. All artists featured gave me permission to include their music in this mix.
Cloudy Busey “Who Says They Love You” – Online song. Download here.
BOYISH “Waiting In Summer” – From the Gentle Breeze EP. Download here.
Lilacs “Walk The Path I’ve Laid” – Online song. Download here.
Shortcake Collage Tape “Polaroid Full Of Kisses” – Online song. Download here.
Wallflower “Cure Your Heart” – From Fastcut Records. Listen here.
White Scooper “Winter Hawk” – From the album Dazzle. Buy here.
International Tapes debuted this over the weekend, but in case you missed it here is a reminder: Moscow Club helped to organize the Ç86 compilation, a collection of indie-pop-leaning artists (I mean, check the name of the comp again) that the group put together in time for the Spring. It’s a pretty great introduction to the country’s contemporary indie-pop scene. The compilation features pretty faithful recreation of 80’s indie-pop courtesy of The Moments, It Happens and Lilacs. The tape also gives some room to the producer-fantasies of Occult You and OMEGABOY, as while as a back half bordering on ambient. It’s not perfect – some of the sparse electronic songs drag, while Slow-Marico’s dentist drill of a song makes a pretty good case against noise – but when stuff like Super VHS’ bouncy “Not Too Late” plays this tape seems vital, a great digital object highlighting some exciting artists.
The best songs, though, come courtesy of Moscow Club themselves. Last year, they jumped between straight-ahead indie-pop goodness (“Daisy Miller,” “Bikinikill”) and electro-tinged compositions (“Pacific 724,” “Echo Beach”). Here, they make a truce between the two, decking their twee songs out in Christmas lights and letting them twinkle away. They lack the emotional ooooomph of a “Daisy Miller,” but still sound like a step forward for Moscow Club sonically.
Get it here.
Posted in Mixes, Music
Tagged compilation, it happens, lilacs, moscow club, occult you, omegaboy, slow-marico, super vhs, the moments, twee as fuck
Over at the Make Believe Tumblr, I put together a bit of an intro to Japanese indie-pop in 2012. Seems like twee-tinged music has been having a bit of moment this year, with more artists popping up online every week and new digital labels sneaking into the picture. Why this is happening I don’t know – does everyone have an unrequited crush at the moment?…but it has been nice. Aichi’s Lilacs join in on this jangly trend with “Walk The Path I’ve Laid,” a pollen-covered piece of late-afternoon pop just waiting to soundtrack your next melancholic walk through the park on a Monday afternoon. Listen below, or click here.
Once upon a time, you could just tag this sort of bedroom pop as “chillwave” and move on. Alas, those simple-categorization days are gone, and now the sort of music Aichi prefecture’s Lilacs makes sort of floats around in a vaguely-defined pool possibly labeled “indie rock.” The “sounds like” highlights the style well – Lilacs themselves are fans of Craft Spells (sorta) and Wild Nothing (ehhhh not as much), but the two demos posted here owe more to the sounds of Beach Fossils than anyone else. Heck, second song “A Summer’s Tale” sounds a lot like Fossils’ “Daydream.” The better cut is “I’ll Still Be There,” which still sounds sneakingly like Beach Fossils, but also ditches the dreamy synth that, on “A Summer’s Tale,” seems like a gimmick rather than an integral part of the song. “I’ll Still Be There” also contains the catchier overall melody, and just seems a little sweeter.
Based in the same region, The Moments tread similar waters as Lilacs on recent upload “Short Trip.” Another sun-glazed bit of indie-pop boasting a sticky sweet guitar line and some semi-obscured singing. Like “I’ll Still Be There,” “Short Trip” shines thanks to a relative lack of clutter, The Moments pushing all the best, errr, moments to the front and letting them do their job.
“I’ll Still Be There,” being a demo and all, has potential to blossom into something even better, while The Moments similarly show flashes of great songwriting waiting to be spiced up. Which is just what these two acts need to do because plenty of other Japanese artists have explored this sound as well…and taken it into nice direction. CUZ ME PAIN and Sapphire Slows inverted it into creepy headspace dance music, while Super VHS incorporates electronics into their brand of attic pop. Even Friends slapped a bunch of fuzz on top of this sorta stuff. These tracks stand as good listens by themselves, but could easily turn into their “Daydream,” a single track that ends up defining a band that you may not even remember existed in 2011.