16 Best Indie-ish Love Songs

It’s February and that means love is in the air. Whether you’re spending Valentines Day with a loved one, or single AF, love songs provide that cheesy sentimental touch that are sometimes just good for the soul.

16. “Archie, Marry Me” by Alvvays

Alvvays is a jangly indie pop quartet based out of Toronto. There is no album that will give you a more fuzzy feeling than their 2014 self titled release Alvvays. A highlight on the record is “Archie, Marry Me” in which singer Molly Rankin breaks gender norms in her sincere proposal to her paramour Archie.

15. “I Wanna Be Yours” by The Arctic Monkeys

There is no proclamation more clear than stating “I wanna be yours” a straight to the point sentiment that leaves no room for doubt. The lyrics comes from a poem of the same name by John Cooper Clarke. Alex Turner and company really nailed this song as the closing track on their flawless album A.M. This one will give you the feels.

14. “Shut Up I Am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings” by Sunset Rubdown

Love is weird, even chaotic sometimes. A lot of the time it doesn’t make any damn sense. And that’s what is portrayed in “Shut Up I Am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings”.  Topping out at 8 minutes, this song delicately illustrates what it’s like to feel as if you and your significant other are the only two people in the world.

13. “Popular Mechanics For Lovers” by Beulah

Listening to this song will make you feel like you’re floating on a cloud. The narrator is bitter because the love of his life is running in the arms of a man who will never love her as much as he does. The glistening pianos effortlessly glide as the synchronized harmonies will have you singing along to the morbidly sweet words of “Just because he loves you too/ He will never ever take a bullet for you.” Swoons.

12. “Baby’s Arms” by Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile is known for his ambient yet sometimes folky music, he also is known for his ability to yank your heart out.

“Baby’s Arms,” a track off of Vile’s acclaimed record Smoke Ring For My Halo, features everything which makes him great. The celestial fingerpicking, his signature drugged drawl, and reverb-y drenched plucking show his brand of melancholia that is communicated both plainly and unassumingly enough to be missed. Lyrically, it’s about finding comfort with your one, and being content in just that moment.

11. “Islands” by The XX

“Islands” is about discovering that the one you love has been in front of you the entire time and the search is over. Known for their atmospheric music, their signature moody and soulful sound compliments this duet perfectly.

10. “Blue Jeans” by Lana Del Rey

Although not your most conventional love song, “Blue Jeans” is well deserving of a spot on this list. This song features all of Lana’s signature stylistic elements we have grown to love: retro swagger, top notch production, and an overall sad girl aesthetic. Gay or straight, I think it’s everyones dream to have Lana Del Rey plead to them “I will love you until the end of time.”

9. “Happy” by Best Coast

Sometimes love is simple and “Happy” is just that. Despite the differences and fights, you can reflect and admit “you make me happy,” because you’re young and in love and it’s just that easy.

8. “Eyes” by Rogue Wave

There is nothing sweeter than “Eyes” by Rogue Wave. Its formula makes for the perfect love song. The acoustic guitar serenades us as Zach Rogue proclaims that the only thing he is missing is in her eyes. BRB, my ovaries are exploding.

7. “Say Yes” by Elliott Smith

I apologize in advance if this song rings similar to the latter. There’s something about the way an acoustic guitar pairs with sentimental lyrics.

It was tough to catch the late Elliott Smith on a good day, but it’s captured on “Say Yes”, the closing track on Either/Or. As the vocals are gently layered, we see happiness and optimism from the infamously sad singer.  In “Say Yes” we can picture Smith smiling and watching the morning sunlight fall on the hair of the girl lying next to him.

6. “I Won’t Share You” by The Smiths

Known mainly for their tales of heartbreak, angst, and remorse, The Smiths do have a few love songs in their repertoire. More famously they are known for “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” and “Hand in Glove” but their more obscure “I Won’t Share You” resonates with me the most. The best part about Morrissey’s lyrics is his use of ambiguity that gives the listener freedom to interpret his music as they please.

For me, “I Won’t Share You” is about finding your one, and admitting it to yourself and acknowledging that you want them all to yourself.

5. “I Found a Reason” by The Velvet Underground

Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground once said of their final  1970 album Loaded, “It showed that we could have, all along, made truly commercial sounding records. We usually opted not to…but people would wonder, ‘Could they do it if they had to?’ The answer was, ‘Yes, we could.’ And we did.” Loaded rarely got more accessible than on this song

Reminiscent of any classic 1950’s slow song with a Velvet’s twist as Lou Reed devotes “When you ain’t got nothing,” they sing in letter-perfect four part harmony, “You ain’t got nuthin’ at all” … It’s a moving and tuneful moment from a band not often regarded as being terribly melodic (though they were more often than they were thought to be)

4. “Heroes” by David Bowie

Composed by David Bowie and Brian Eno in 1977, “Heroes” is the history of the secret love affair between Tony Visconti (co-producer of the album) and backing vocalist Antonia Maaß in Berlin.

How lovers can be heroes just for one day, whether they stay together or not. No matter what happens, if their love is true, it will be alive forever, even if they are separated by the Berlin Wall and bullets are flying over their heads.

3. “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” by Talking Heads

David Byrne just gets it. Anyone who has ever felt genuine love have been here before, and that’s why “This Must Be The Place” resonates with anyone who has ever listened to it. This songs vulnerability paired with the breeziness of the keyboard brings a sense of sweet and unadulterated comfort. It’s about happiness and the blissful confusion that love creates.

David Byrne once said “I don’t think I’ve ever done a real love song before. Mine always had a sort of reservation, or a twist. I tried to write one that wasn’t corny, that didn’t sound stupid or lame the way many do. I think I succeeded; I was pretty happy with that.” And yes, so are we.

2. “Brand New Colony” by The Postal Service

The Postal Service is the combination of Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and DNTEL’s Jimmy Tamborello, although they have only released one album 14 years ago, The Postal Service will always be one of my favorite bands.

Gibbards lyrics are written with a sense of self reflection and delicacy that truly makes him a master of his craft. He approaches this love song in a nonconventional form of metaphors, he wants to become all of these metaphysical objects (a bottle of wine, a record player, a fleece jacket) because of the important purpose they serve to her. 

He talks about all of these complicated things, but in the end he reveals what he really wants: to kiss her on the mouth, run away from the cynics of their town, and start a brand new colony.

1. “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys

“God Only Knows” is one of those shimmeringly perfect love songs. This song makes you feel sad, in love, grateful, and hopeless all at the same time.

Appearing on The Beach Boys’ 1966 masterpiece Pet Sounds, the song opens in a haze of french horns and harpsichord. It marries baroque and West Coast pop, combines multi-tracked layered vocals, a cellist, flautist, and an accordionist. Brian wilson once described the song as “a vision … It’s like being blind, but in being blind, you can see more. You close your eyes; you’re able to see a place or something that’s happening.”

Considering the fact that it’s a song about devotion, it’s opening line “I may not always love you,” is the cloud of uncertainty that makes “God Only Knows” truly extraordinary. Because it isn’t just a love song, it recognizes the fact that falling in love is terrifying and that you have to go into it blindly, but in that blindness you can see who you are because of someone else.

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Cherry Glazerr – Apocalipstick

2017 has already been a whirlwind, which is what makes Cherry Glazerr’s appropriately titled Apocalipstick more relevant than ever. In this day and age what we need is simple: good rock music.

Four years ago Los Angeles rock outfit Cherry Glazerr began with then 15-year-old singer/guitarist Clementine Creevy, Hannah Uribe, and Sean Redman. But in their short duration they have faced personnel changes and the trio is now backed by Tabor Allen and Sasami Ashwort. Despite the new transition, Cherry Glazerr effortlessly shines in their sophomore album.

Their debut record Haxel Princess was a lighthearted and unhindered view of juvenile dispatches. While promising, it never managed to hit the surface, lacking the confidence that Creevy possesses today. Creevy, who is now 19, is a grown up reflection of fierceness and fearlessness in her music.

In Apocalipstick the trio have presented us with their most glistening recordings yet. Full of furious howls, jangling distortions, sick riffs, and swaggerous girl power all packed into 34 glorious minutes. It may not be their first album, but feels like their first proper album.

Opener “Told You I’d Be With the Guys” features all of the staple Cherry Glazzer sounds we’ve known to love. Creevy’s fluent howling behind a groovy guitar riff that builds into a solidified rock n’ roll  anthem. Let’s not get it twisted though, they are not one trick ponies.

In the mellowest track off Apocalipstick “Nuclear Bomb” Creevy delicately repeats “All the souls are swimming in the bathtub,” in a cry for validation, with the sounds of an acoustic guitar and a bubbly synth beaming in the background. “Trash People” expresses unbridling millennial self awareness where Creevy admits her room smells like an ashtray and she wears her underpants three days in a row.

Other highlights include “Instagratification” surf guitar nostalgia and the re-recordings of fan favorites “Nurse Ratched” and “Sip O’ Poison”.

Apocalipstick is fun, unpretentious, and refreshing rock n’ roll.

B+

 

Listen to Arcade Fire’s newest single “I Give You Power”

It’s been four long years since we’ve seen new music from the beloved Arcade Fire. This week the band returns with “I Give You Power,” a collaboration with gospel legend Mavis Staples.

The track itself implements a menacing disco beat with a slightly dark edge. They explore cloudy territory as the synths cast a shadow over the ominous undertones the song presents. Mavis Staples empowering vocals add an extra layer that entices the tune.

Released on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, there’s no doubt that the song has political implications. When the band shared the track, they attached a brief statement: “It’s never been more important that we stick together & take care of each other.”

All proceeds will benefit ACLU.org
Listen below!

Foxygen – Hang

If The Beatles classic concept album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and Meatloaf’s pinnacle rock opera Bat Out of Hell made a love child, you’d have Foxygen’s fourth studio release Hang.

The groovy L.A. based duo comprising of Jonathan Rado and Sam France have once again reinvented their sound, but their style remains the same. Their 2013 release We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic propelled them into the limelight. It was fresh, spirited, frenetic and unlike anything else. Their follow-up …And Star Power (2014) was less impressive as a forgettable 24-song chronicle of a band at war with itself.

In Hang, Foxygen takes a different direction. Having assembled a 40 piece orchestra, Foxygen considers Hang to be their “first proper studio album.” Album opener “Follow the Leader” thrusts the record into full swing with bombastic horns, groovy keyboards, 1960’s bubblegum female backup vocals, and France’s gyrating shrieks.

France’s vocal diversity in Hang is prevalent as he effortlessly switches his inflections from Mick Jagger (“Rise Up”), David Bowie (“Mrs. Adams”), and Lou Reed (“Upon a Hill”).

Hang reaches it’s peak with album highlight “On Lankershim.” It is reminiscent of the 1970’s folky sounds of a.m. radio. The ballad “Trauma” is as smooth as it is carefully arranged symphonic pop. “Avalon” and “Upon a Hill” evoke imagery of the vaudeville camp you’d see on the Broadway stage.

Hang is grandiose, flamboyant, and ostentatious. But underneath the high concept, little substance is present. It’s all body and no soul. It’s an album I would pay good money to see in all of it’s cosmic glory live, but it’s not an album that I would come back to for regular listens.

Hang: C+

“Run the Jewels 3,” a Hardcore Manifesto from 2016

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I never really got into the prior two Run the Jewels albums. They just weren’t my sort of hip-hop to listen to. I have never been a big fan of hardcore anything; hardcore rock, hardcore hip-hop, none of it ever connected with me much.

In 2015 I went to the FYF Music Festival in Los Angeles. Frank Ocean was scheduled to play, but he ended up canceling and Kanye West took his spot. Billed before Kanye was Run the Jewels. A good friend and I wanted to be at the very front for Kanye, so we had been preparing to move up and camp out for Kanye.

We got to see the Run the Jewels show fairly close, their red, flashing LED screens permanently seared on my mind. The show was energetic. The crowd was buzzing. People vibing to the deep bass sound waves, hands thrown up in the air, knees bending up and down. The show didn’t change my mind on Run the Jewels, but it did open my mind up to give them a spin if the time was pertinent.

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Run the Jewels performing at the FYF Music Festival in Los Angeles in 2015

Run the Jewels 3 is equally frenetic as their live performances. The hardcore sound that is thematic to any Run the Jewels album is still there. Expect big bass, boom-bap drums and chopped up samples on Run the Jewels 3.

Killer Mike remains political, particularly in a year  he was much more visible in the public eye. Backing Killer Mike’s strong political verses is hype man and producer, El-P. The chemistry between the two remains strong. El-P interjects and phrases at the right times, never awkwardly cutting into Killer Mike or forcibly pushing his presence onto a song El-P remains the modern hype man archetype.

The music and the lyrics come together to create a captivating, political album. Run the Jewels is Killer Mike and El-P continuing their yearly streak of dropping one of hip-hop’s most captivating albums.

Grade: B+

Our Top 25 Songs of 2016

25. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam Batmanglij | I Had a Dream That You Were Mine |  “The Morning Stars”

24. Lucy Dacus | No Burden | “I Don’t Wanna be Funny Anymore”

23. Drake feat. Kyla & Wizkid | Views | One Dance

22. Beyoncé | Lemonade | “All Night”

21. Car Seat Headrest | Teens of Denial | “Fill in the Blank”

20. Solange feat. Sampha | A Seat at the Table | “Don’t Touch My Hair”

19. Frank Ocean | Blonde | “Nikes”

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18. Frank Ocean | Blonde | “Ivy”

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17. Big Thief | Masterpiece | “Masterpiece”

16. ScHoolboy Q feat. Kanye West | Blank Face | “THat Part”

15. Leonard Cohen | You Want It Darker | “Treaty”

14. YG featuring Nipsey Hussle | Still Brazy | “FDT”

13. Bon Iver | 22, A Million |”33 ‘GOD'”

12. Angel Olsen | MY WOMAN | “Woman”

11. Solange | A Seat at the Table | “Cranes in the Sky”

10. A Tribe Called Quest | We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service | “We the People…”

9. Frank Ocean | Blonde | “Nights”

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8. Whitney | Light Upon the Lake | “No Woman”

7. Mitski | Puberty 2 | “Your Best American Girl”

6. Angel Olsen | MY WOMAN | “Shut Up Kiss Me”

5. Kanye West feat. Kid Cudi | The Life of Pablo | “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1”

4. Beyoncé | Lemonade | “Formation”

3. Radiohead | A Moon Shaped Pool | “Daydreaming”

2. David Bowie | Blackstar | “Lazarus”

 1. Kanye West feat. Chance the Rapper, The-Dream, Kelly Price, and Kirk Franklin | The Life of Pablo | “Ultralight Beams”

33s, 45s and MP3s Top 25 Albums of 2016

Despite 2016 being a questionable year in more ways than one, it’s undeniable that it was a glorious year in music. We saw great debut introductions from bands such as Whitney and Big Thief, and we received long awaited releases from our longtime favorites such as Radiohead, Frank Ocean and Leonard Cohen.

For this article, we combined forces and put together a list of our favorite records of 2016.

Continue reading “33s, 45s and MP3s Top 25 Albums of 2016”

10 Songs About Jennifer

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Jennifer, a popular female name originating from the Cornish name Guinevere. The name translates into “white enchantress,” or “the fair one,” which for me personally rings accurate because I am about as pasty as it gets.

“Jennifer” hit its peak in the 1970’s as the top female baby name in the U.S. for 14 years straight. With that being said, it’s no surprise why there have been so many songs inspired about girls named Jennifer.

Without further or do, here is an assortment of songs I’ve collected over the years with Jennifer in mind.

And no, this list does not include “867-5309 (Jenny)” you savages.

10. “Jennifer Juniper” by Donovan

Although I have no evidence to back this up, I am a firm believer that “Jennifer Juniper” is the first song dedicated to a girl named Jennifer. Released in 1968 the song peaked at number 5 in the UK Singles Chart.

Hailing from Scotland, the singer, songwriter and guitarist Donovan had a distinct style that combined jazz, pop, psychedelic, and world music. “Jennifer Juniper” is a delicate folk ditty that you can still hear on the classic radio station daily. And I think it’s safe to say that all Jennifer’s have had someone sing them this song at one point.

Fun fact: This song was inspired by George Harrison’s then-sister-in-law, Jennifer Boyd who later married Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac.

9. “Jenny” by Electric Guest

I love me some Electric Guest. Their debut album Mondo, produced by Danger Mouse, was released in 2012 and was easily one of the best records of the year.

The Los Angeles based quartet’s soulful mix of funk and synth pop is perfectly captured in “Jenny”. Give it a listen and see for yourself.

8. “Jenny, You’re Barely Alive” by Rilo Kiley

For those of you not familiar with the early 200o’s indie rock band Rilo Kiley, Jenny is the name of the lead singer/ultimate dream babe Jenny Lewis.

The song is a self help letter written in the second person perspective. The lo-fi vocals and distorted guitars are an arrangement that frays away from Rilo Kileys usual pop sound. A technique purposely used to match the lyrical desperation of this track.

“Jenny You’re Barely Alive” is about a girl who is lost and can’t seem to get it right. Something we’ve all felt at one point.

7. “Amy + Jen” by The Spinto Band

The Spinto Band is a six piece indie rock band formed in 1996. I listened to them quite a bit when their album Nice and Nicely Done came out in 2006. Their music is an upbeat mix of pop, folk with neurotic hook packed choruses.

“Amy + Jen” is a delirious and tightly arranged highlight off their 2013 record Cool Cocoon. Reminiscent of something you’d hear in a modern disco, the dreamy guitar solos, accompanied pouncing keyboard, this is a song that will make all Jens (and Amys) proud.

6. “Jenny and the Summer Day” by The Avett Brothers

What’s up with folk bands infatuation with girls named Jenny?

“Jenny on a Summer Day” is a cute love song about a summer love during adolescence. It makes you want to sit under a shady tree in the middle of July and drink lemonade while listening to the banjo plucking and piano keys ringing.

The Avett brothers are an American folk rock band from North Carolina, and they are made up of, well, two brothers. Their style combines bluegrass, country, punk, folk, ragtime, and country.

5. “Jennifer” by Faust

Faust is a German experimental rock band formed in 1971. Despite the songs nearly 5 minute time stamp, lyrically the song only repeats the same lines: “Jennifer, your red hair’s burning. Yellow jokes come out of your mind,” which to be honest, I have no idea what that means.

But the timeless lo-fi style and arrangement trump the incoherent lyrics.

4. “Jenny Don’t be Hasty” by Paulo Nutini

Scottish singer/songwriter Paolo Nutini is a heavy hitter in the UK. Always at the top of the music charts, even reaching certified platinum. In June 2014 the BBC titled him as “Scotland’s biggest musician.” Although he’s reached a modicum of success in the U.S. it does not come close to his triumphs in the UK.

“Jenny Don’t be Hasty” is the second single from Nutini’s debut album These Streets. His soulful husky vocals and lyrical wisdom make it hard to imagine they belonged to a then 19-year-old.

3. “Jen is Bringin the Drugs” by Margot & the Nuclear So & So’s

Margot & the Nuclear So & So’s was one of my favorite bands in high school. They’re named after Gwyneth Paltrow’s character Margot from the cult classic Wes Anderson film “The Royal Tenenbaums”

Hailing from Indianapolis, their music style is described as “cinematic chamber pop,” over the years their sound has evolved from an orchestral sound to guitar rock.

Lyrically, they’ve always touched on topics such as drug abuse, alcoholism, and being impoverished. So it’s no surprise that “Jen is Bringing the Drugs” fits the same narrative.

Listen for yourself, I think everyone know’s a girl like the Jen described in this song.

2. “Jennifer” by Little Comets

Little Comets are an English indie rock trio. Despite being a band for almost a decade, I only ever got into their 2013 album Life is Elsewhere. It consisted of cute indie rock ditties that make you want to tap your feet.

“Jennifer” is the first single off Life is Elswhere. In the chorus, the singer asks “Jennifer, why do you have to be so taciturn?” And my answer is because Jennifer’s are awkward AF.

Jangly guitars, upbeat rhythms and singer Robert Cole’s high falsetto is a combination does not make this the kind of music you’d listen to when you’re looking to stare at the ceiling and reflect on life. But sometimes, we just need to dance.

1.  “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” by The Killers

As a Las Vegas native, nothing reminds me of home more than The Killers debut album Hot Fuss. The opening track “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” is the ultimate introduction to The Killers. It was the perfect start for the band to let us listeners know what we were in for.

The groovy bass line, the hypnotic synths, and the memorable chorus will still make people sing in stadiums across the world, despite this song being over a decade old. Although I hate it when people call me Jenny, when people sing this song to me, it’s the only exception.