"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of indie pop highlights across a selection of styles, updated every month to keep you on your dancing, shaking toes.
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Mirah - "Radiomind" (Absolute Magnitude Recordings)

Mirah: a staple of female indie rock of the early aughts, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Mentions of her have fallen off in the recent past, but with her latest record, Changing Light, Mirah steps solo back into the limelight after nearly five years of shying away from it. The sentiments are complex, as evidenced by album singles like "Radiomind", which expresses both lightness and weightlessness, and "Oxen Hope", which delves into doubts and heartbreak. Yet all might seem well, when we hear her sing the words she sings in "Radiomind":
"Now all the days and nights that I'm dreaming I get to breathe the breath you're breathing It's been a long way back to believing someone Can love me and the radio of my mind
Changing Light will be self-released on May 13th, 2014, via her own label, Absolute Magnitude, with support from her own home, K Records.  

Orcas - Yearling Album Review
Yearling, the second album from Orcas -- the collaboration of Thomas Meluch, better known as Benoît Pioulard, and Rafael Anton Irissari, who also makes graceful ambient shoegaze under the name The Sight Below -- seems very intent on a time and a place. In this case, a summer in Germany, where most of these songs were written. To shift between subject and setting, Yearling switches between ambient drift and yearning ambient pop, with plaintive vocals courtesy of Pioulard. This can be seen most evidently in the one-two punch of album openers "Petrichor" and "Infinite Stillness", the former being a glowing nimbus of field recordings and swelling organs that sound like the backlit tree on the album cover, and "Infinite Stillness" being a piece of epic now wave splendour, with solid, stately drum machines and a plodding bassline and the first appearance of Pioulard's angelic vocals, that brings to mind the best era of The Cure. With a couple exceptions, this more song-oriented approach is a new feature of Orcas', whose self-titled debut was more focused on improvisation and ambiance. Most of Yearling was already written in the summer of 2012, and having a backbone to work off allows the music to be both loose and organic while still being tight, controlled, and ultimately, more human and more personal than any of the participants' solo careers.

Sometimes words can take on more profound meaning when spoken by complete strangers, and regardless of whether this is the intention behind the music video for Cloud Boat's "Carmine", this is indeed the effect. Directed by Chris Toumazou, this video is executed in a simple laundromat setting and carried by the lipsyncing of a number of ordinary yet expressive characters, which seem to lend weight to the emotional gravitas of Tom Clarke's vocals. Cloud Boat consists of Sam Ricketts and Tom Clarke, and their upcoming record, Model of You, comes out July 8th on Apollo Records.

Here is a quick summary of GOAT, and the story is meant to be taken with as many grains of salt as possible. GOAT originally hail from Korpilombo, Sweden, from a community that has a history of voodoo worship. At various times, the incarnation of GOAT has lived on for 30 or 40 years amongst members of this village, and now, the current incarnation of GOAT contains three members from Korpilombo, augmented by a few folks from Gothenburg. All bands need good stories, and GOAT’s is one of the better ones. A quick Google search of Korpilombo and voodoo yields nothing but GOAT-related results. Combine this wonky backstory with the fact that live, the members of GOAT all wear cloaks and masks and operate in a shroud of mystery, and it is enough to be almost too much of a schtick. But what makes the tradition of GOAT work is that the band doesn’t let this aura undermine the music.

Shy Girls - Voyeur's Gaze Music Video
Talk about perfection in voyeurism! This music video for Shy Girls "Voyeur's Gaze", directed by Tony Lowe and featuring Chez Deep drag collective's Bailey Stiles, is a one-take that's all about the setting. Drawing inspiration from Russian webcam rooms, its aesthetic combines those cyber antics with the lives and times of many a boy-crazy teenage girl, to create a hazy wonderland full of stuffed animals and soft pastels. Read on, as Tony Lowe and Bailey Stiles give some words about self-love and empowerment.
Shy Girls - Voyeur's Gaze Music VideoShy Girls - Voyeur's Gaze Music Video

Spectral Hypnosis is a recurring series, featuring mesmerizing songs for one to lose sense of time and space, mind and body.
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Factory Floor - "How Do You Say"

The music video for Factory Floor's "How Do You Say" is really nothing more than monotonous vocals, Nik Void's bouncing hair, and geometric projections upon an empty wall -- but this, in essence, is Factory Floor. Having just caught them on their national tour, I will say that this is techno for those who don't really feel the need to go anywhere over the course of a song or even a half-hour set, because when jogging in place looks and feels like this, it's somewhat enthralling enough. Directed by Factory Floor's Nik Void and Dan Tombs themselves. Releases are spread on two digital EPs and three physical 12 EPs, to be released throughout the month of April, featuring the original as well as a number of remixes; hear Daniel Avery and Helena Hauff's below.    

Negative space, primary colors, and subtly pixelated forms immediately catch viewers in the early scenes of "No Excuse". As time progresses, the video increases in complexity and speed, and as it zooms out to show the complete scene, one recognizes human beings, twirling and contorting before a blue screen backdrop. With slow-motion as their most powerful ally, they seem like artifacts floating in infinite space, and director Melissa Matos and TRUSST manage to utilize stereotypical music video tropes without it ever becoming tired. Jacques Greene's Phantom Vibrate EP comes out April 28th on LuckyMe.

As much as Francis Harris' new work, Minutes of Sleep, is a record of mourning, it is also a record of motion, which seems to materialize out of the vapor, its form gradually coalescing as it progresses. Storm clouds gather with the opening meditation, "Hems", and then break with "Dangerdream". The energy is one of patient inertia; a steady beat finally materializes three songs in with the haunting "Radiofreeze", dials up to muted minimal techno on "Lean Back", then glides to the fore in "You Can Always Leave", the first of a pair of nine-minute centerpieces that the album pivots on. All the while, the momentum has built up so gradually that the distance from Point A to Point B feels closer than it is. Francis Harris Artist Interview Perhaps more circular than linear, the path that Minutes of Sleep takes from one song to the next still feels like an entirely natural progression. Yet when it comes to the album's place within his body of work, Francis Harris doesn't really see any through-lines. "I think it's important to not trace a line or talk about the idea of progression," Harris says, revealing that he sees very little connection between this record and any of his previous work. "I find the idea of focusing on one concept at a time to be rewarding, as it keeps you in the present, at least conceptually."
 

Lucky me; I've managed to see the French electro-surf-punk band La Femme twice in the past month! Touring the States following the release of their insane new 15-track deluxe album, Psycho Tropical Berlin, La Femme are a Parisian six-piece that encompass the city's stereotypes in...