"Dams don't just blend in as part of a landscape anymore. Knowing what I know now, it's impossible for me to look at dams in the same way as I did a few years ago -- or even rivers, for that matter. Dams and hydropower...

"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 toes. This month, Gauntlet Hair pay homage to noise pop vibes and Pure Bathing Culture get adorable, while Grumbling Fur and Dubais present a psyched-out jam and lo-fi offering, respectively.
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Pure Bathing Culture - "Pendulum"

Portland favorites Pure Bathing Culture, comprised of guitarist Daniel Hindman and keyboardist Sarah Versprille, have done the boy-girl music partnership thing to great success. After blowing up the local scene with humble fanfare, they've taken the same type of reverb and cutesiness that has become grotesquely overdone in the indie pop genre and gone on to offer something just a bit more. It's hard to detail just what that something is in words -- but it's a feeling evoked, of genuine pleasantries and not of fads, of beauty in wispy, fleeting moments, to be celebrated. A reminder of the passing of time in this way, "Pendulum" is the opening track of their upcoming full-length, Moon Tides, which will be released on August 20th via Partisan Records.

 

The Pictureplane tour stop in Los Angeles saw him as an addition to Check Yo Ponytail 2, a recurring Tuesday night coalition of IHEARTCOMIX and The Echoplex. Word on the street was that UK's Holy Other had to drop from the bill due to illness...

Solar Bear's six-track EP, Captains Of Industry, opens with "Logical Fallacy," a minute-long intro track that sounds like a Refused track run through a grainy vintage filter. And if its title is any indicator, the song is a bit of a trick; it puts you off your guard, making you wonder whether your speakers are turned down or if the band just committed a newbie recording mistake. But no such mistakes here, as made evident by the next track, "The Endless Choir." Angular riffs dance around tricky time signatures, immediately making me think, "Yes, Solar Bear! I hate your band name, but I'll still give your post-hardcore stylings a whirl!"

Listen to "The Endless Choir" - DOWNLOAD MP3

At one-time –- as Fear Before The March of Flames –- the band was often compared to The Blood Brothers and Converge. Now, as their career reaches its seventh year, they find comparisons to Depeche Mode and the Deftones on their plate....