Spring Ahead or Fall Back?

By liz

So I'm taking the plunge at writing a new column for Excellent. Hopefully I can make this bit of my indiepop world a regular addition to the website.

Let's face it, it may be April but this spring's indiepop releases are looking a little bleak thus far. There is something ridiculously mundane about watching a pile of dirt bloom into beautiful daffodils that makes me want to hear jangley guitars. My attempts at finding THE janglepop release of this spring have been fruitless so far. There have been numerous rock or electronic albums to perk up my ears, but my headphones are severely lacking jangle. Because of this I'm going to glance back to last fall for inspiration. There were two grossly undervalued discs that came out this past autumn that offer us a glimpse into the seemingly happy world of indiepop...

This disc is merely an EP, but a single worth blaring at excessive volume none-the-less. ABERDEEN's "The Boy Has Gone Away" may not offer a hopeful glimpse into the pop world lyrically but musically this could be the best material the band has ever released. This limited edition EP is the perfect disc to watch a springtime sunset, with a bottle of wine and some tears that is. I'm not sure what draws me to pensive tunes overwhelmed with shiny happy guitar rhythms and harmonies but neither does any Pet Sounds fan I suppose. All three tracks on this EP are great examples of how-to-make-your-heartstrings-go-flutter, including the cover of cult classic "Emma's House". This FIELD MICE cover sees John take over on lead vocals and his normally muted backing voice is replaced by a shy confidence that really surprised me. Despite the exuberance of the music on the 'The Boy Has Gone Away', I can't help but grimace at the overwhelming sadness in Beth Arzy-Dean's voice as she sings, "he still thinks of her and that won't go away... but he's much harder and he doesn't miss the way that you were his friend". I've never seen the band put so much depth into three lone songs.

Well I said two releases so what's the second? The first band released on Secret Crush... THE BASKERVILLES. New York City's Baskervilles have been together in some form for over ten years but didn't have their debut record released until last October. If the time was spent perfecting these songs, than it was well worth it. All ten tracks are a mish-mash of boy/girl harmonies and fuzzy 60's inspired jangles that will make you want to dance along like the little redheaded girl in a Charlie Brown indiepop special. It could just be the numerous piano melodies but I really do want to shuffle back and forth moving only my feet and bopping my head along with the bass lines. Citing references like THE TELEVISION PERSONALITIES and LEFT BANKE, the band has come up with rather original Chamber Pop melodies using both electronic and organic tones. At the heart of the sound are Rob Keith and Stephanie Finucane teaming up to create enchanting vocal duets. Bouncing uncontrollably from song to song, it's rather hard to narrow down why the Baskerville sound is so addictive but 'Day One, Amanda Year' could be the triple shot jolt needed to get through this spring.

The Boy Has Gone Away is available through Better Looking Records. The Baskervilles can be purchased at Secret Crush Records.