Posts Tagged ‘Indie Pop’

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Other Lives – Tamer Animals

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Tamer Animals (2211)

Tamer Animals (2211)

I first heard/saw these guys as the opening act for Radiohead earlier this year in Dallas. Even then I was very impressed with their talent, but never gave Tamer Animals a listen until last week.

In my opinion, these guys are the best act in Oklahoma. They deserve much more attention than they currently have. Hailing from Stillwater, they bring that Oklahoma red dirt flavor to blends of folk, indie, with a tinge of arena rock. The music is expansive, even hypnotic. There’s an almost holy aura to it, like a Gregorian chant. It’s really hard to place, but Jesse Tabish’s voice sort of reminds me of Paul Banks or Ian Curtis, and their atmosphere is reminiscent of Radiohead, if Radiohead were earthy and American. There is something soulful and surreal in their delivery.

Besides the usual instruments of drums, bass, and guitar (mostly, if not all, acoustic) there is excellent interspersing of piano and strings.

If you haven’t listened to these guys yet, don’t miss this.

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The Starlight Mints – Drowaton

Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Drowaton (2006)

Drowaton (2006)

Dreamy sigh…oh, the Starlight Mints. Norman, Oklahoma represent!

The jangly guitar enters from the start of “Pumpkin” and the first words are so memorable: “Tra la la la…” It’s so sick, as in, I’m going to throw up because it’s so sweet sounding. Allan Vest’s falsetto reaches new heights here than on his previous record, the chord changes are wild and crazy and unpredicatble, the lyrics strange and weird yet funny.

“Torts” keeps up the fun mood, but it goes haywire with track three, “Inside of Me.” A piano chromatic crazy run down from the top of the keys to the body starts the song, flowing into a driving riff of minor chords that strangely extremely happy.

“Seventeen Devils” by itself almost makes buying the whole album worth it.

“Rhino Stomp” sounds like a rhino stomping around.  A rhino in a candy store, who is about to get shot with a water gun filled with chocolate. I don’t really know where I’m going with this descrition…next song!

“The Killer.” The one truly downbeat track that is just downright pretty. I tried figuring it out on guitar without too much success (hint: capo on third fret), but other than that I can’t figure it out. Awesome song though.

“Eyes of the Night” is also a fun one. They played it live at the NMF, along with other neatness.

OK, I don’t really want to go throught the rest of the album. But take my word for it, Drowaton is great. As I said in the concert review earlier, the Starlight Mints are like a sugar-coated Pixies with a pyschedelic twist playing in a land of candy, with the threat of a thunderstorm in the distance.

Also: new album coming out in June! It’s called Change Remains.

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Concert Review: The Starlight Mints

Monday, April 27, 2009

[I know this is lame, but I’m just posting something I wrote for my school paper. You can find the original article here.]

The Starlight Mints contributed their pop-like and rather strange brand of indie rock to the Norman Music Festival Saturday night – and for me – were the highlight of the entire festival.

The concert really started moving with their third song “Rhino Stomp,” which – like few other songs I’ve heard – is able to conjure perfectly the image of its title.

For me, I get this image of a rhino stomping around. Being the Starlight Mints, it was pink rhino tromping around in a candy store. But instead of it being a scary picture, it was a strangely happy one.

The music from last night’s Starlight Mints’ concert was highly addicting. After you sit through the first two songs, you’re hopelessly hooked and converted into a Starlight Mints fanboy – or fangirl.

I took two Starlight Mints virgins to the main stage early, in order to get a good spot, telling them nothing more than they were like “a candy-coated, psychedelic pixies.”

It was fun to turn around and see their stunned faces after being rocked by the Mints waves of saccharine-laden notes. But after that shock dissipated, they could enjoy the sickeningly sweet music.

After the concert, I had the “Tra-la-la-la” from “Pumpkin” stuck in my head for hours on end. Combined with dancing puppets from side windows, huge bouncing balls, interpretive dancers weaving their way through the crowd, and singer Marian Love Nuñez’s strange use of a traffic cone to sing through and gesticulate with, last night’s concert series was among the weirdest I’ve been to, if not the weirdest – a quality added to by the concert-goers as much as the music.

The next highlight of the concert came with “Eyes of the Night” off the Starlight Mint’s newest album, “Drowaton.”

When played live, it scares listeners with its trademark scream – not to mention the scariness it imbued when Allan Vest started singing about “cookie monsters” and “screaming motorcycles.” But fortunately, the happy melody kept the lyrics from being scarier than they could have been, and no one was trampled in a madness to flee the scene.

By this point, my friends were fully converted, which is quite a feat as one is a punk/metal person. For this person, I was a little worried that the Mints’ happy candy spell would fail to sucker him in.

The band closed with a few oldies, including “Popsickle,” off their EP of the same name released in 2001, an admittedly strange song of which I’m not a huge fan. But thankfully, they closed with their two of their lead tracks off their first album, “The Dream That Stuff Was Made Of.”

“The Bandit” has to be one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard a lot of catchy songs in my day. Hearing it live was a real treat. “Submarine #3”was also a nice way to wrap up my favorite act from the Norman Music Festival.

If I were to have one nitpicky complaint it would be that they did not play “Valerie Flames,” my favorite Starlight Mints song. But for what it’s worth, The Starlight Mints played a fun and quirky show, like a rollercoaster ride through a land of gumdrop forests and ickily sweet pink lemonade rivers.

But unlike those things, with the Starlight Mints, I couldn’t get enough.

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u.n.p.o.c. – Fifth Column

Monday, January 19, 2009
Fifth Column (2003)

Fifth Column (2003)

If the Beach Boys and the Pixies ever married, u.n.p.o.c. would be their baby.

And this baby ain’t ugly.

This album is unbelievably catchy. I must admit that before listening to this I had a severe bias against music that was too catchy. Of course, I’m a huge hypocrite for liking the Beach Boys and the Beatles, but somehow those bands are magically exempt.

Though catchy, this is nowhere near pop because hardly anyone has heard of u.n.p.o.c. – but the same hooks that make any pop song great are present in Fifth Column. Very lo-fi, this is a hidden gem in the world of catchy, acoustic indie music.

I might also mention this is a one-man project. His man’s name is Tom Bauchop and he lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. I think he has something to do with a small-time recording company, according to the sum of all human knowledge.

This record is one that really just makes me want to pick up my own guitar and write something.

The whole album is good, but my two favorites are “Here On My Own” and “Nicaragua.”