Everyone has the same standards for pop songs: infectious chorus, sing-along melody, an uplifting breakdown, maybe a soulful solo and of course, there goes the chorus again. Predictability and repetition are essential in a solid pop song, and that’s ok. What truly matters is not the structure but the overall sound. Prepubescent little girl vocals over flatulent guitars usually capture many ears. However, if your taste is little bit mature, a little bit more sensual, Panthogram is pushing the new pop mode for the new decade. Sarah Barthel croons over deep waves of synths as her partner Josh Carter loops hip-hop breaks and lush shoe gaze guitars. They fall in between as a minimal version of their label mates School of Seven Bells and more progressive version of the XX. Though their style can be comparable, it can help make the new decade pop, even in the mainstream, become a dreamier and intimate one.
Tic Tac Totally Records
2010 will prove that the word revival is an enigma. Many critics cage a certain genre having one period in the musical time frame, and if it ever grows popular again, it must be a revival period. Garage-punk music has grown ever popular these days but such popularity only solidifies it as another musical tradition like folk, blues and yes even punk itself, rather than a phase. Tic Tac Totally, an independent record company hailing from Chicago houses 24 garage-punk bands; all of them kill. TTT Records provide an eclectic array of hardcore antics, trashy unrequited love thrash, hip-popping feel good grooves, psychedelic messes and even apocalyptic synth hop. It’s amazing to see an impressive collection of young musicians; none of them close in their prime, miraculously bringing true, thrilling and at times refreshingly destructive interpretations of the blues/punk chord structure. Recommended bands out on Tic Tac Totally: the Irish heart-slobs, SOCow; Cali garage misfits, Charlie & The Moonhearts; Iggy Pop’s aborted children, The Shanks; Portland’s brother from another planet, Meercaz; and synthetic doomsday preachers, Digital Leather.
If there’s one electronic producer, I hope that gets his due within this new decade it better be SFV Acid. There are three gods of acid techno funk: Zapp, Aphex Twin and Ceephax. SFV Acid has been blessed by all of them to continue laying down the word of the funk and the ever-present spirit of techno/house/hip-hop. SFV Acid uses vintage drum machines and vintage synths to create a style that represents the beauty of the present moment; whether that moment is to dance, think, or cry. SFV Acid never gets overwhelming like some acid-house artists try to entice, but always in a state of bliss. I hope SFV Acid will be the ecstasy of not-so-different dance floors.
Oakland’s corner stone inde-rock label has always outputted and supported some of the best music acts in the scene since 1989. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Crystal Stilts and Sic Alps are some yester-years most talked about bands; all outputted records on Slumberland. The labels alternative-pop regency will continue to grow as the years come. They have just signed two great acts from the SF/Bay area, Grass Widow and Brilliant Colors, which will surely leave local venues and record stores in a heartbroken haze. Slumberland will also press a new Black Tambourine record…well sort off. These overlooked pioneers of 90s shoe gaze will press an anthology album, including two covers of Buddy Holly and seminal No Wave electro group, Suicide. Don’t forget to buy some new headphones to handle all the blossoming reverb, fuzz and femme vocal harmonies!
Compilations of 2010
Are we not music listeners? People please, lend me your ears! We live at period of time that will not last long, and will be greatly missed! We are constantly spoiled by free downloads, easy-access music, and Linux. Every month a new great record compilation resurrects music unparallel to anything during its time, before, or after. What do we do instead? We turn the other cheek and ignore some of the best songs, for the familiarity of the free/cheap ones. Yes, we live in penny-pinching times, but do not let all this music be forgotten again. Here some new compilations of the new decade:
Grind Madness At The BBC – Heavy. Furious. Epic. Pure. Madness. BBC compiles a best of collection of all the grind bands that tread upon their studio. Legendary performances by Napalm Death, Godflesh, Unseen Terror, Intense Degree and more, make this compilation strictly for the metal heads!
Minimal Wave – Minimal Wave Tapes Vol. 1 – Fans of Nite Jewel, Glass Candy, Tones on Tail, Throbbing Gristle, Cold Cave…rejoice! Minimal Wave is a label dedicated to unearthing from the cold abyss, gothic but dancey electronic music from the late 1970s and 1980s.
Cold Carved The Mountains – Lock yourself in your room after a long day. Get some tea. Sit down. Put on your headphones. Play REALLY LOUD. Let everything unfurl beneath each chord, each tone, each grain of fuzz and reverb. Find harmony out of the ordered chaos. Compilation features drone artists: Barn Owl, Tussle, Lucky Dragons, Pale Hoarse, and more. Recorded in S.F.!
Dengue Fever Presents: 14 Cambodian Rock Gems – Dengue Fever is an indie “rags to riches” tale. These Cambodian funk rock legends now give back their roots to you. No fillers, all exotic gems. Great for the next world music potluck cocktail party you impulsively throw down.
This list should not be seen as a definitive list of everything that has graced the music scene since Jan 1, 2010 or promises said artists in this list will be future Ga-Gas.