"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles. Hella indie pop today.

YAWN

YAWN's singles are usually joyful celebrations bearing resemblance to a more stripped down and straight-forward Animal Collective (to name bands that people in such genres hate/love being compared to), with color barf videos to match. But their latest track, "Ganymede", is twinkly without being too energized; it's like a glorious, vocally harmonized lullaby. Cool album art too, bros. The EP came out earlier this month on FeelTrip Records.

 

Watch music video for YAWN's "Yum Yum"

 

With every new album they release, Yeasayer's fame grows rich with new haters and new fans. Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical about their opening single, "Henrietta," and still am -- but they could be doing worse, and the new single, "Longevity," definitely pleases me at least a little bit. Be warned: the direction they're heading is definitely hella pop -- more similar to Odd Blood than All Hour Cymbals, by a long shot. So, those of you who are mourning Yeasayer's past need to just get over it, and they'll tell you that in their "be here now" affirming "Longevity". Both "Longevity" and "Henrietta" can be heard below via prismatic vignettes -- or music videos, for laypeople -- created by video artist Yoshi Sodeoka. For the latter, the band themselves recommend drugs. Fragrant World comes out August 21st on Secretly Canadian.

 

See Yeasayer - Fragrant World Album Review

Yeasayer - "Longevity"

 

"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles. All we need this time is two acts: Austin's Shmu (1/2 of Zorch) and California's Sacred Caves (member of Film School).

Shmu

Shmu is the new solo project of Sam Chown, one half of Austin's raucously insane rock duo, Zorch. His latest record, Discipline/Communication, was released on June 5th via Grand Theft Zamboni Records. The 16-track record, like Zorch's offerings, is sheer insanity, though in a vastly different sense. Discipline/Communication is not consistently high-energy, but each track encompasses its own bizarre universe of sound, each the sonic equivalent of a 15-minute Adult Swim show. This type of compartmentalization is evident in just the first two singles alone: "&hearts" is a spastic collage of noise and rhythm while the much more accessible "House Of Stares" cradles one in a smooth crib of silk, with psychedelic mobiles swirling up ahead. Tracks are streaming below, and if this is your bag, rest assured that the rest of the album can be found among and within these meandering boundaries of musical form. DISCIPLINE/COMMUNICATION TRACKLISTING 01. Impressions 02. House of Stares 03. Backwoods 04. Directions 05. Crazy #107 06. Shadowgames 07. Happiness 08. Peaceful Swan 09. Vanitos 10. &hearts 11. Heads Will Fall 12. Floatin' Oculus 13. Turpentine 14. Fester 15. Dangerous Passion 16. Pool Party (Place 4 Us) Shmu - "House Of Stares" - DOWNLOAD MP3 [audio:/mp3/downloads/Shmu_House-Of-Stares.mp3|titles=House Of Stares] Shmu - "&hearts" - DOWNLOAD MP3 [audio:/mp3/downloads/Shmu_and-hearts.mp3|titles=House Of Stares]

 

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.

 

Grizzly Bear

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.

 

"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles.

Psychic Twin

This adorable single from Illinois pop duo Psychic Twin comes as a part of Lefse Records' upcoming 7" series, which begins June 26th. Psychic Twin are kicking off the series with "Gonna Get Her" b/w "Deepest Part". May the reverb-laden, echoey vocals of vocalist Erin Fein whirl into your brainnnnnn as they remind you about the temporary, transient nature of all things and the importance of letting go. Each single will be limited to 500 copies, and will also be made available digitally. The next installments will include artists like Field Mouse, Sun Glitters, Mister Lies, an electronic side project of Matthew Cooper of Eluvium, and Big Search (Matt Popieluch of Fools Gold/Foreign Born).

 

Pre-order entire 7" Series From Lefse Records

 

Through the years, long-time collaborators and friends Lazerbeak and Minneapolis video artist Matt Scharenbroich have worked together to match their passions with one another's. In this feature below, we look back at their projects together, and Scharenbroich comments on his latest video for "Life Every Voice", which is a rippling animated delight that falls downwards through glitter and varying levels of psychedelic intensity.

 

INTERVIEW WITH MATT SCHARENBROICH CONTINUED BELOW
"The falling in the video could be paralleled with that of Alice falling down into the rabbit hole or the sensation of one's body falling into a dreamy hypnotic state. There is a certain freedom and release associated with this transformational and transcendent state. That release from the boredom and restraints of life can be incredibly uplifting." -- Matt Scharenbroich

 

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.

 

John Maus

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. A bit more straight-forward indie rock this time than usual.

Slam Donahue

With their latest offering to the internet masses, their Big House Nice Dreams mixtape, Slam Donahue sound a bit like all of their posi Cantora Records counterparts (MGMT, Bear Hands, Emil & Friends), minus the polish. These guys are absolutely bursting with personality through their lo-fi pop jams, with so much bounce in their musical step they might shake themselves into having some sort of complex. Feed that pop-loving juvenile left in you with Slam Donahue! They'll scream their way into your heart with absolute disregard for adhering to one convention. Their Hemlock Tea EP comes out August 21st.

 

Drawing from antiquated influences and software, directors Dawid Krepski and Jason Chiu translate the hazy pop sounds of New York musician Beca into a narrative about the understanding and acceptance of the self, whatever that may look like. Below, both directors and Beca answer a brief Q&A about the creative process and underlying message of the "Fall Into Light".

 

"The title 'Fall Into Light' is a bit of a paradox since I associate light with upward movement, and the concept of falling makes me think of darkness. So it's this juxtaposition of light and dark which can be taken literally or figuratively, and I like that it's left open for interpretation. Maybe it means opening opening up yourself enough to see your true self." - Beca