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
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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