Top Pops! March 2013: Olafur Arnalds, Generationals, Kisses, Dutch Uncles, More

“Pop music shouldn’t always get a bad rap,” says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles, updated throughout every month to bring you the best of the funk.



Dutch Uncles – “Bellio”
Vocally one part Bear In Heaven and one part Field Music, Dutch Uncles have a lot of fascinating things going on as far as the world of pop music goes. Cascading instrumentation, unforeseen breakdowns, and minimalism in occasionally suitable points make “Bellio” a track that may not be initially mind-blowing, but shifts here and there into a rainbow-clad Battles. Their upcoming record, Out of Touch in the Wild, will be released on Memphis Industries on April 2nd, and is a busy-body piece of work that will dazzle some and overwhelm others.


Kisses – “Huddle”
Kisses’ verbal simplicity often infuriates me to no end (note their band name and generic song titles galore), but in my humble opinion, they repeatedly redeem themselves with their tried-and-true methods of stripping down pop songs to only their catchiest necessities. With the release of “Huddle” and last month’s “The Hardest Part”, Kisses miiiiight be giving away all of their best tricks prior to the release of their next full-length, the again obnoxiously-named Kids In L.A.… but whatever gets them (and you) in the door, I guess.


Generationals – “Spinoza”
Just in time for spring warmth comes Generationals’ latest record on Polyvinyl, Heza. As Polyvinyl has been scooping up pop outfits left and right, they’ve found something brilliant in Generationals, as far as “Spinoza” goes, a prime indicator. Garage-surf vibes are present on “Spinoza”, but it is the flowering, echoingvocal cadences that really make the track an early body-shaking victory. Stream the whole album right now on Hype Machine.


Julian Lynch – “Carios Kelleyi I”
“With the whistling of wind chimes, the smacking of tambourines, the crash of cymbals in the distance, “Carios Kelleyi I” is one of the most immediately inviting tracks on Lines. The precise, sparse use of Lynch’s electric guitar amplifies the song from charming to ineffable, a brilliant juxtaposition that comes together in a gorgeous fashion.” (from Julian Lynch – Lines Album Review) ERIK BURG


Maria Minerva – “Black Magick”
“‘Black Magick’, with its deadpan and detuned vocals delivered atop… awkward melodic imagery, typifies the knowingly innocent, alienated and strangely plaintive attitude of the female protagonist present in all these songs [on the Bless EP]. As this track evolves, the lyrics cleverly mutate, from an opening few lines that could be found in any mainstream pop song, via subtle shifts of stance and ground, to a scenario and meaning that is darker and more complex in nature.” (from Maria Minerva – Bless EP Album Review) GREG HEALEY


Ólafur Arnalds – “For Now I Am Winter”
Taking it down a notch with this beautifully somber track from Icelandic artist Ólafur Arnalds, who, on his latest record, has decided to explore more electronic and vocally-driven territory than he ever has before. The title track of the record, “For Now I Am Winter” guest stars Arnór Dan, and a slow synth progression collides into introspective vocals as gently as the rainfall that opens this track.



Written by
Vivian Hua 華婷婷

Vivian Hua 華婷婷 is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer. As the Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum in Seattle and Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary arts publication, REDEFINE, much of her work unifies her metaphysical interests with her belief that art can positively transform the self and society. She regularly shares human-centered stories through her storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE! In 2020, she will [hopefully] begin production on a comedic Asian-American series entitled Reckless Spirits.

Ask Vivian about MARSHMALLOWS, cuz she's gross... and being tips for being frugal while nomading!

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Written by Vivian Hua 華婷婷
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