As far as I'm concerned, pop music is the most exciting frontier for musical innovation. From the mainstream radio-friendly mash-ups of Beyonce, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, and Justin Bieber down to your favorite neighborhood indie pop band or danceable electronic act, pop music is encompassing of a wide world of sounds, full of ground-breaking firsts. Yet it's safe to say that in the current indie music climate, with its constant breaking and building of narrow-minded subgenres like dream pop, vaporwave, chillwave, and the like, oversaturation often leads to myriad bands which sound more or less identical. Of these, most lack a truly distinguishing spark that makes them stand out.
Which is why I get really excited upon the discovery of pop bands who don't easily fit in anywhere, and are able to -- if not reinvent it -- at least give the wheel a furious and energetic spin. My latest and greatest finding lies in Royal Canoe, a group of musicians from the uncommon birthing ground of Winnipeg, Canada. While undoubtedly considered "indie pop" by any wide-casting use of the term, Royal Canoe aren't actually easy to define, especially with non-abstract terminologies. With two drummers, two keyboardists, and four vocalists, the six-member band is kind of all over the place stylistically -- yet somehow, it just works.
After talking to Royal Canoe's vocalist and guitarist Matt Peters, I came to realize that what sets Royal Canoe apart from other indie pop bands is not exactly the genre tags they fall under -- of which there are many -- but their fascinating communal character. For a pop band, they are remarkably tenacious. They make a point of having extremely high standards for creation and performance, in service of being the best musicians they can be. Any self-imposed rules they have set for themselves are balanced by a willingness to share artistic duties, as well as an openness to inspiration and experimentation.
"I think everyone definitely has an appreciation for letting their voice be heard but also trying to reach a greater good..." -- Matt Peters
Whim is a collection of media focused on independent rock/pop/garage and everything surrounding it. This week gives us a new Thick Shakes single, tracks from Arc In Sound and Pure Bathing Culture, and the announcement that Girls might be done.
Boston's best kept secret isn’t some hole-in-the-wall diner or hidden cabaret, but a four garage rock outfit led by bassist and vocalist Lindsay Crudele. Thick Shakes have been thrashing the east coast for a few years now, originally breaking onto the national scene with early 2011's raucous Why Buy the Cow 7". On French Dyppe, the group’s newest single, the band refines their brand of wall-smashing thrash pop, creating even more buzz on the east coast and beyond. French Dyppe is out on cassette via Aurora 7 on July 7th.
Whim is a weekly collection of media focused on independent rock/pop/garage and everything surrounding it. This week we feature the incredible new Grizzly Bear track, an Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti cover, a brand new Jens Lekman cut and more. So yeah, it's been an insanely busy week for music junkies. And a good one too.
Putting some of my personal fixations with Grizzly Bear aside, the release of their brand new song almost imploded the internet last week. "Sleeping Ute" is taken from the bands yet-to-be-titled album, due out later this year on Warp, and is an explosive mix of scaling guitars and the band's collective vocal range. It's incredibly reminiscent of member Daneil Rossen's Department of Eagles project, digging into darker, more cathartic sounds on the third verse. It's different from "Two Weeks," which is kind of a bold statement considering the success of that song and Veckatimest as a whole, but "Sleeping Ute" is expansive and brilliant. So for now at least, they have my attention.
Whim is a weekly collection of media focused on independent rock/pop/garage and everything surrounding it. This week we feature a rare John Maus track, a new Sonny and the Sunsets track, some Dirty Projectors news and more.
Left-field psych rock artist John Maus is getting set to release his first album since 2011's terrific We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves, and even though it's just a collection b-sides and rarities, any new Maus is something to celebrate. A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material is out July 17th on Ribbon Music, featuring a collection of 16 different track that span all the way back to 1999. "Mental Breakdown," originally recorded in 2004 is the same warped, dripping psych song that put Maus on the spot with Ariel Pink in 2010 after Haunted Graffiti. The first 500 orders will be pressed on translucent pink vinyl, so preorder limited edition now.
"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles. Two of indie rock's big hitters, Beach House and Dirty Projectors, continue to explore their own sonic universes with new tracks, upcoming releases, and extensive tour dates.
Two tracks so far for the upcoming record Bloom, Beach House's fourth studio album, which comes out May 15th via Sub Pop Records, Europe via Bella Union on May 14th, Mexico via Arts and Crafts on May 15th, and Australia via Mistletone on May 18th.
Beach House - "Myth"
Beach House - "Lazuli"
Directed by Allen Cordell.
4. Other People
5. The Hours
7. New Year
9. On the Sea
BEACH HOUSE TOUR DATES* w/ Wild Nothing
^ w/ Dustin Wong
May 04 – Jefferson Theatre – Charlottesville, VA Tickets
May 05 – Cat’s Cradle – Carrboro, NC Tickets
May 06 – Music Farm – Charleston, SC Tickets
May 08 – The Fillmore Miami Beach – Miami Beach, FL Tickets
May 09 - Beachan Theatre – Orlando, FL Tickets
May 10 - Free Bird Live – Jacksonville, FL
May 11 - The Bottletree – Birmingham, AL Tickets
May 12 - The Georgia Theatre – Athens, GA Tickets
May 13 - Orange Peel - Asheville, NC Tickets
May 15 - Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY Tickets
July 1 - House of Blues- San Diego, CA *
July 3 - El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA *
July 6 - Belly Up Aspen – Aspen, CO Tickets *
July 7 - Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM *
July 9 - Cain’s Ballroom – Tulsa, OK Tickets *
July 10 - Liberty Hall – Lawrence, KS Tickets *
July 11 –The Pageant – St. Louis MO Tickets *
July 12 – Minglewood Hall – Memphis, TN * Tickets
July 13 – Forestcastle Festival – Louisville, KY Tickets
July 15- Pitchfork Music Festival – Chicago, IL Tickets
July 17 – The Vogue – Indianapolis, IN Tickets *
July 18 – The Crofoot Ballroom – Pontiac, MI Tickets *
July 19 – House of Blues – Cleveland, OH Tickets *
July 20 – Newport Music Hall – Columbus, OH Tickets *
July 21 – Mr. Small’s Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA Tickets *
July 23 – Central Park Summerstage – New York, NY Tickets
Thu Sep-13 Richmond, VA - The National ^
Fri Sep-14 Knoxville, TN - Bijou Theatre ^
Sat Sep-15 Nashville, TN - Marathon Music Works ^
Sun Sep-16 Atlanta, GA - Variety ^
Tue Sep-18 New Orleans, LA - Tipitina's ^
Wed Sep-19 Houston, TX - House of Blues
Thu Sep-20 Austin, TX - Stubbs ^
Fri Sep-21 Dallas, TX - Palladium ^
Mon Sep-24 Tucson, AZ - Rialto ^
Tue Sep-25 Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern ^
Wed Sep-26 Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern ^
Fri Sep-28 Oakland, CA - Fox Theater ^
Sat Sep-29 Eugene, OR - McDonald Theatre ^
Sun Sep-30 Portland, OR - Roseland ^
Mon Oct-1 Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom ^
Wed Oct-3 Seattle, WA - Showbox @ The Market ^
cmj music marathon picks for tuesday, october 19th
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