music, review, update

Indie Pop-Rock & Shoegaze

All genres have their inherent strengths and weaknesses. What can cause some to turn away (and even choke back their bile) on indie and shoegaze is their frequently lackadaisical and meandering nature. “Stop droning about your high school crush!” Some might cry. “Give me something more than just a twangy guitar and some fuzzy feedback!”, others wail at their screen.

This is why I’m here: I do my damndest to find the stand-outs of any genre. Even if this isn’t quite your thing, take a look. Some of these grew on me after a few listens…perhaps you’ll find something you just can’t get enough of where you least expect it.

For those curious about other genres, check out my past Sharing The Goodness posts where I looked at piano pop, alternative and hip-hop!

gus dapperton

1. “I’m Just Snacking” by Gus Dapperton

Starting off with perhaps the most twee name in human history, it’s time for some introspection on your music consuming habits. How often do you come back to songs to double-check whether or not it’s a new favorite? ‘I’m Just Snacking’ took a few listens for it to properly grow on me, but once it did, I wasn’t sure how I went so long in my life without having Gus Dapperton on my playlist.

Much like the singer’s cloying fashion sense and oddball haircut, what you see is exactly what you get…almost. Both the song and video give you a rather interesting push-and-pull of simple and weird, a delight I found sticking with me long after the outro wrapped up. The sexual lyrics are rather on-the-nose, mixed with a variety of instruments that sound almost carelessly sprinkled throughout. It’s conventional, yet eccentric. Mellow, yet quirky. All in all, it has a little something for everybody.

Honey, I’m whole so what are we snacking for?

I’m just a whore, boy, it’s only natural

ribbons club kuru

2. “Ribbons” by Club Kuru

You can practically feel the heat waves emanating off this trippy little song. I wavered on-and-off putting this on the list because I wasn’t exactly sure how to classify it…and that’s perfectly okay. While there’s plenty of those sleepy vocals indie is known for, the atmosphere is so lavish it could be pushed through a strainer and sold as cold tea.

‘Ribbons’ engages in a lot of throwback touches, sounding like a record that’s starting to show its age and can’t quite reach the crisp clarity it used to. Never mind when it adds a weird, droning vocal sample near the end that sounds like that drunk preacher at the bus stop if he were speaking through a mouthful of cotton balls. For those that like their indie a touch more on the interesting side, Club Kuru is your hidden psychadelic gem.

Lost the hunger in your head tonight

You miss the roses on her bathroom tiles but

feelin' purple a sun a moon

3. “A Sun, A Moon” by Feelin’ Purple

As someone who lives in Washington and gets more rain than sunny days, this song is extremely validating. I even listened to this on a rainy day while I was bored and shuffling through my YouTube recommendations…which just made it a little eerie. Is there some music deity out there with an ear to my life? Tell them I’d like a song about accidentally ripping off a hangnail.

Music suited for a rainy day can run the gamut of a piano instrumental to a song literally using rain in the backdrop. Not this easygoing indie-rock piece. Both the lyrics and melody of ‘A Sun, A Moon’ instead sum up the boredom that can come along with a heavy April shower. It’s catchy. It’s memorable. I’ve looped it on one rainy day and I know another will be coming soon enough.

Another rainy day in Washington

I wish the clouds would go, I miss that sun

leap year misty coast

4. “Leap Year” by Misty Coast

Want a recipe for a short-and-sweet indie pop-rock piece? Get yourself some of the Ting-Tings, toss in little bit of No Doubt‘s early works and shake it up in your favorite mason jar. Dump it out (with or without an Instagram filter) and you have ‘Leap Year’.

Punctuated stops-and-starts give ‘Leap Year’ a pleasant punch, though there’s no doubt (oh!) that the wailing hook is the standout. It sounds like it wants to veer into garage rock or punk territory, but the breezy vocals and modest production keep it solidly in the realm of indie. I don’t always know what I want to be at any given point in time, so consider me the furthest from judgmental here.

Will you ever get away

Will you ever get away

yam yam

5. “Yam Yam” by No Vacation

I talked about how songs can grow on a person after repeat listens. What about a song that, before you know it, you’ve listened to a hundred times to the point it’s practically your adopted child? No Vacation has perfected the art of travel music and I want to take them everywhere with me.

‘Yam Yam’ is like the sunlight filtering through the treetops. It’s serene, even unperturbed, though don’t confuse that for a second with ‘dull’. The bassline is undeniably sweet and the surest way to soothe your heartrate no matter the mood you’re in. These are the dulcet tones you’ll want accompanying you, ironically enough, while you’re on vacation. Plug this into your iPod next time you’re traveling to the next city over and create a timeless memory all your own.

Simply a distraction I didn’t hope to find

Sitting by my side, I hope you’re here to stay

Like what you hear? Got any suggestions? Stay tuned for the next Sharing The Goodness where I’ll be promoting some music channels as well as taking a look at some lounge, electronica and R&B!

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