Top Pops! February 2013 James Blake, Kisses, Psychic Twin, Parenthetical Girls, 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.



James Blake – “Retrograde”
James Blake is back with Overgrown on April 8th. Embedding this is a tricky feat — as the last time I embedded a James Blake track with the following review, UMG scolded us and demanded the video’s removal — but nonetheless, here it is, for all of your soulful listening desires. Slight electronic texturing still exists here — he hasn’t given himself up completely, certainly — but this is as soulful as we’ve ever heard Blake, and this track is most definitely a slow-burner and a grower, grower, grower.


Psychic Twin – “Strangers” (Polyvinyl Records)
Psychic Twin seem to constantly deliver on impressive one-off tracks, and “Strangers” from their upcoming Polyvinyl-released 7″ is no different. Upbeat synth frolicks and fancy fleeting vocals delight while entering the noggin hypnotically. Polyvinyl is really chasing the dance pop tip lately, and I’d personally say that Psychic Twin are one of their most exciting prospects. Unfortunately, these tracks can’t be embedded right now, but you can enjoy “Strangers” via Soundcloud or hear additional Psychic Twin tracks we have posted here. They will be playing at our SXSW 2013 show; announcement coming Monday.


Kisses – “The Hardest Part”
On Kisses‘ return single, “The Hardest Part”, the duo gets super bass-funky and lyrically more complex. Looking forward to their May 2013 release via up-and-coming pop label CASCINE. Expect a REDEFINE-exclusive mixtape from them soon.


Guppy – “Seen”
The type of track you can infinitely loop on repeat, “Seen” is deliciously simple in its grooviness. The duo features Nathan Terepka from Zula and Felicia Douglass from Ava Luna.


Elephant – “Skyscraper”
Thought they’re talking about modern architectural constructions, sweet ol’ doo-wop throwback vibes can be found in “Skyscraper” by the London-based duo of Amelia Rivas and Christian Pinchbeck. This comes from their forthcoming 7″, on Memphis Industries.


Parenthetical Girls – “Sympathy For Spastics” (Los Campesinos! Remix)
This remix of “Sympathy For Spastics” by Los Campesinos! features exactly the type of epic emotional flows you would expect from theatrical Parenthetical Girls frontman Zac Pennington, made all the richer with lush instrumental reworkings.


The Mast – “Emerald”
Not too long ago, we made a big stink about The Mast‘s pop-and-lock music video for “UpUpUp”. Now here’s another stink for the band’s minimal electronic pop jams, via their latest, “Emerald”.


Autre Ne Veut – “Play By Play” (Software Recording Co.)
Autre Ne Veut has been getting tons of hype love for his release on Software, but his track featuring Mykki Blanco is, in my opinion, by far the best track of his I have heard. Personal preference.


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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