Although it may not be readily apparent, dream pop and teen ennui go hand in hand. Gossamer-laced, delicate vocals capture both the anticipation and letdown of youth quite perfectly. Dream pop is also pseudo backwards looking, taking a 50s and 60s pop sensibility (see yesterday’s post on The Ronettes and similar bands) to a more fuzzy guitar sound. It is at once both “Mod” and “Square”, yet totally hits a certain pleasure point for this once 90s teen.
In the early 90s, Weezer hit the perfect blend of indie and pop intersection with “Buddy Holly” – a nearly flawless bubble gum pop song at once both reminiscent of its namesake and fueled with a 80s indie rock aesthetic (definitely a lot of the Replacements without the raspy Paul Westerberg vocals). Countless other bands did and continue to work on different nodes of this rather broad “sub genre” or descriptor. Whether it’s the melancholic ballads of bands like Belle & Sebastian, Luna, and She & Him or the more aggressive work of the Dum Dum Girls and Best Coast, dream pop is alive and kicking and here are a few tracks that fall within that universe that have really captured my ear of late.
Are these songs necessarily about growing up or adolescent angst? Nope. But, I think you’ll agree with me that they evoke this time and frame of mind…
Veronica Falls – “Teenage”
How have I never heard this band before? Seriously, I’m in love at first chord with this song. I love the back and forth between the male and female vocals on “What are you gonna do?” verses. VF are a London based outfit who are putting out a record in 2013. I’ll be eagerly anticipating it.
The Babies – “On My Team” & “Moonlight Mile”
The Babies are composed of members from NYC borough BKLYN’s Woods and Vivian Girls.* Two very different tempos, yet two very similar effects: unbridled energy. “On My Team” has strains of Weezer and The Replacements while “Moonlight Mile” recalls the Shins “New Slang” with a little more tenacity. Good stuff. Check out the full record Our House on the Hill here.
*Okay, I can hear you saying, another “Girls” Group. Yes. Let’s run down the list to help clarify and contextualize.
- Vivian Girls – Brooklyn based; all female band; aggressive indie dream pop; other side projects include La Sera and Frankie Rose
- Dum Dum Girls – L.A./California based; all female band; goth dream pop
- Girls – San Fran based; composed of boys and girls; indie rock/pop; now defunct
- Girl Talk – stage moniker of Gregg Michael Gillis from Pittsburgh; solo; mashups and electronic dance
- Golden Grrls – see below
- Girls Names – Belfast based; boys and girls together; contemporary shoegazer with strains of downtempo
- Velocity Girl – Northwest; co-ed; indie-baroque pop; defunct but amazing
Got all of that? We’ll be having a quiz later. (I’m sure there’s more but these are the ones that come to mind.)
Haunted Hearts “Something that feels Bad Is Something That’s Good”
And from the aforementioned Dum Dum Girls comes this wonderful husband and wife duo composed of Dee Dee of the Dum Dums and her husband Brandon (from the Crocodiles, I’m not going to name amphibian themed bands, sorry). This is a bittersweet, leather-clad, biker anthem. Or is it just me? The first single definitely reminds a bit of Handsome Furs and the Raveonettes.
Golden Grrls ” We’ve Got…”
Glasgow based boy and girl group making sweet lo-fi indie pop. Not much to say other than simple, subdued and gorgeous. I hope they get Betty White to star in one of their videos. Thanks for being a friend.
enjoy snoozing into the weekend,