pop posts

The Dø

Thursday, October 7th, 2010 by Julija

indie pop // french eclectic

The Dø is one of those musical gems I’ve been meaning to write about for a long time. Now, with their debut album A Mouthful (2010) finally released in the US and the recent North American tour, is the time to introduce this French-Finnish indie pop act. The Dø first captured attention of European music lovers with their song “The Bridge is Broken”, written for a contemporary dance performance Scène d’amour back in 2005. A Mouthful, a rather eclectic collection of songs, evokes similarities to the sweet quirkiness of Nina Perrson, the Knife’s electro touch and the sharp playfulness of Lykke Li. “At Last” carries rich guitar riffs, piano and bluesy harmonica arrangements woven with Olivia’s yearning, seductive vocals. Ukulele driven “Stay (Just A Little Bit More)” is simply a little delightful track.

Somewhat eccentric, playful melodies.
The Dø – At Last
The Dø – Stay (Just A Little Bit More)
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Folded Light

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 by Michelle

indie folk // alt pop

It’s hard to believe that the intricately layered melodies of Folded Light are the product of two friends (and not say, a legion of musicians), but it’s true. Steve Damstra and Jaffe Zinn make up the Los Angeles-based band, who released their self-titled debut in 2009, and Kelly earlier this year. Folded Light’s deceptively simple and catchy soundscapes belie the complexly woven arrangements beneath them. There is an oddly cinematic feel to Folded Light’s music; “Landscape” in particular conjures up images of open roads and rolled down windows. (It doesn’t come as a total surprise to learn that both Zinn and Damstra have other film-based projects: Zinn is currently finishing post-production on his first feature length film and Damstra composes music for television and film). Summer might be winding down, but take a listen to two of my favorite songs from Kelly, and see if you can’t extend the feeling a bit longer. The hints of lo-fi fuzz amid rolling guitar licks made “Kelly” one of my summer jams, while “Landscape” is a delightfully woven fabric of intricate melody, sweet vocals and humming instrumentals.

Delicately fuzzed-out melodic harmonies.
Folded Light – Kelly
Folded Light – Landscapes
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April Smith and the Great Picture Show

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 by Michelle

cabaret // folk pop // singer-songwriter

If you think that April Smith and the Great Picture Show sounds like the name of some 1930s vaudeville act — well, you wouldn’t be so far off. The upbeat and retro stylings of April Smith and her band bring to mind cabaret acts, jazz, and swing with an indie twist. As we saw at SXSW, there’s a swagger to her live set as well as the band’s recordings. April’s brassy vocals are well matched by the myriad of instruments backing her, including piano, upright bass, horns, accordion, drums, guitar and even a ukulele. Her album, Songs For A Sinking Ship, was a true-blue grassroots effort, financed by her fans on Kickstarter.com and the result is stunning, quirky and lively. This is burlesque with a swagger… and a heart. Take a listen to “Colors” and “Movie Loves A Screen” below and just try to refrain from clapping along.

Boisterous indie pop meets swingin’ cabaret.
April Smith and the Great Picture Show – Colors
April Smith and the Great Picture Show – Movie Loves A Screen
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Laura Jansen

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 by Michelle

indie pop // singer-songwriter

Singer-songwriter Laura Jansen has popped up a few times on Aurgasm before: once last year on the Jason Kanakis track “Anything,” and most recently when we covered her set at SXSW last month. It’s about time for a proper introduction. Laura’s unique indie piano-pop is exceptionally lovely, and manages to showcase her incredible songwriting and ethereal vocals at the same time. She skillfully combines rich instrumentation and sweet melody, with gorgeous results. The songs on her latest EP, Single Girls, run the gamut from playful to reflective and wistful, but they all manage an expressive eloquence that is mesmerizing. Take a listen to “The End” and “Single Girls” from Single Girls and see for yourself.

Eloquent and sweet piano-driven indie pop.
Laura Jansen – The End
Laura Jansen – Single Girls
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Sydney Wayser

Saturday, January 30th, 2010 by Michelle

singer-songwriter // folk pop

Sydney Wayser possesses an ear for melody and talent for songwriting that results in a collection of intimate and playful tunes. The half-French, half-American songwriter grew up in Los Angeles with frequent trips to Paris (and is now based in New York). This worldly charm is heard throughout her music, whether it’s the Southern-inspired “Banjo Bayou” or the dreamy allure of “Bells”. Though the majority of her sophomore album, The Colorful, was recorded on children’s toys and piano, there is nothing childish about it. Wayser’s alluring vocals and her unique instrumentals combine to rapturous effect. The Colorful wanders between light-hearted fun and poignant melody with ease.

Charming instrumentals and smoky vocals.
Sydney Wayser – Bells
Sydney Wayser – Banjo Bayou
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Rosi Golan

Monday, January 25th, 2010 by Julija

folk-pop // acoustic

Israeli-born New York-based Rosi Golan‘s debut album The Drifter & The Gypsy (2008) is 11 vibrant and neatly-crafted folk songs. Mostly accompanied by acoustic guitars as well as drums, bass, piano, banjo and mandolin, the album sways between folky tunes and mellow ballads. “Follow The Arrow” (not featured on the album) is probably the most uplifting, up-tempo and contagiously melodic track from Rosi’s repertoire. Another highlight (taken from the album this time) is the clever folk-driven “I Don’t Wanna Wait”, delivering catchy chorus with such a charming simplicity. The Drifter & The Gypsy will appeal to these who enjoy the tiny bit whimsical sounds of such artists as Ingrid Michaelson as well as the lovely songwriting of Lucy Schwartz.

Bright and light-hearted melodies.
Rosi Golan – Follow The Arrow
Rosi Golan – I Don’t Wanna Wait
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Marit Larsen

Sunday, December 27th, 2009 by Julija

folk-pop // acoustic

Some of you might be familiar with Marit Larsen as a former member of Norwegian teenage duo M2M, known for their hit “Don’t Say You Love Me” (1999). Following the duo’s break up Marit has shifted from the sugary sweet pop to a subtler and more mature kind of songwriting. Her second solo effort, The Chase (2008), is all about the rich yet unpretentious arrangements and memorable melodies. Featured below, “Steal My Heart” is one of Marit’s slow paced numbers and a great example of her orchestral pop crafting. The song evolves around the gorgeous strings and overall delicate instrumentation that carries Marit’s soft vocals.

Sweet melody to melt your heart.
Marit Larsen – Steal My Heart

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Meaghan Smith

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 by Michelle

singer-songwriter // indie folk // holiday

After hearing Canadian songwriter Meaghan Smith’s sweet and carefree songs it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she grew up in a house of music, with her piano-teacher mother, bassist father and three talented sisters. Her affinity for the sounds of the “˜20s, “˜30s and “˜40s features heavily in her music as well. While the jazz-influenced indie folk of Meaghan Smith embraces instrumentation from older eras, the Canadian songwriter gives it her own contemporary twist (Meaghan herself dubs it “modern vintage”). Regardless of what you’d like to call it, her unique take on the holiday classic, “Silver Bells” and her original winter song, “It Snowed” is just what you need to get you in the holiday mood!

Traditional holiday songs go “modern vintage”.
Meaghan Smith – It Snowed
Meaghan Smith – Silver Bells
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Thursday, December 10th, 2009 by Julija

swedish pop // singer-songwriter

Laleh’s album, Me and Simon (2009), shines with pure pop energy and good fun. There are no experimental edges for avant pop lovers, yet there are enough memorable melodies and clever hooks to keep your attention. Iranian-Swedish artist Laleh crafts vibrant pop songs, sweet lullabies and ballads, sung mostly in English with the occasional French and Persian (not to be confused with Arabic) ear candy. Laleh’s stand-out track and my personal favourite is “Simon Says”. With its lovely arrangements, subtle multi-layered vocals and playful lyrics, this one you will carry and hum for the rest of the day.

Strong melody and a somewhat naive quirkiness.
Laleh – Simon Says

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Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 by Julija

brazilian // world

Having lived and performed in Brazil, Chile, Peru, Portugal and France, Bïa is truly a world artist. Musically active for over a decade yet relatively unknown, Bïa released her solid and versatile studio work Nocturno in 2008. Largely acoustic and soothing, it’s an ideal summer album. Nocturno combines gentle Bossa and Samba beats, Portuguese Fado influences with a distinct saudade quality, and delicate touches of jazz, rock, and klezmer music.

Mellow, summery blend of bossa and jazz.
Bïa – Caminhar
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