One of my favorite things I get to do as a blogger and social media user is share things with people—music, especially so. The chance to do a weekly music playlist like Aural Fixation for Literally, Darling is a chance to share my love of sharing great music, without labeling any of my pleasures “guilty”.
That being said, I like my own collection of music to be a place where genre lines can blur and everything gets a fair shot. I’ll try my very best in this column, along with my fellow Austinite LD writer Melissa, to bring you a diverse set of sounds that we think are worth listening to with open ears. Stuff that’s on the radio, obscure B-sides, acoustic covers, best-kept indie secrets—anything’s fair game, but the goal is to keep it interesting. And since music helps us all through work, school, or just whatever, what better day to get weekly music playlist than a Monday? We’ll catch you right here at the beginning of the week, every week.
This week’s indiepop-leaning musical melange is made up of the sounds of mellow sunny days—from the sweeping strings of a Gatsby-inspired romance to the familiar, plucky synths of sun-kissed summer pop, here are 10 songs that have me hooked:
“Young And Beautiful”
Lana Del Rey
A lush rumble in the darker side of indie-pop, “Young And Beautiful” is—as can be counted on from the dreamy Lana Del Rey—every bit as cinematic as the film it was created for. First used in the much-buzzed about music-centric trailer for The Great Gatsby, “Young And Beautiful” was also one of the first songs to be previewed from the equally as anticipated soundtrack to the film. The tone of Del Rey’s boozey, beautiful drone perfectly matches the tone of the epic track and the story of the film itself. A solid soundtrack offering, to be certain.
“Phoenix” is a recently released single by Austin-based indie-pop outfit The Shears. Entirely self-produced by the band, the track is an important moment of synthesis for the group: combining a unique sonic aesthetic with an accessible sound. They accomplish both here, with lead singer Inné Aguilar‘s engaging vocal leading the way to a catchy, offbeat tune that’s hard to shake. (You can download the track for free below.)
“Phoenix” is available for free on SoundCloud.
“Falling” has contemporary Fleetwood Mac written all over it—that, and an instantly classic catchiness that’s sure to dispel the greyest of days. Driven by a funk-dance groove, “Falling” is an impressive offering from sister band Haim and boasts one hell of a hook. Like the Haim sisters’ video for the track, “Falling” is laced with adventure, trying on a sharp ’70s sound but maintaining a fresh, accessible spin.
“Falling” is available on iTunes now.
“Waves” has been kicking around for a few months now, but brother-sister duo Blondfire‘s track resurfaced on the radar just in time for it to lend itself ideally to the soundtrack of this summer. Something like ambient electroacoustic pop, “Waves” combines a hypnotic, Fastball-esque guitar part and the nostalgic whimsy of singer Erica Driscoll‘s voice to create a drowsy snapshot of mellow sound.
Mariah Carey feat. Miguel
Though certainly known for some of the biggest ballads of the ’90s (and, well, all time), Mariah Carey‘s real ace is when her thrilled falsetto feathers up and down the delighted runs of an upbeat number rejoicing the delights of falling in love: think “Emotions,” “Dreamlover,” mega-hit “Fantasy”. With her newest release, Carey might have us falling in love all over again; “#Beautiful” is dewy and effervescent summer love, an effortless vocal romance between the timeless Carey and rising star Miguel.
“You (Ha Ha Ha)”
The lesser-known presence on Icona Pop‘s unexpected radio gem “I Love It”, Charli XCX is a 20-year-old synthpop artist from the UK. Grinding along with staggered, unusual synths and making use of a clever Robyn-esque talk-sing on the hook, “You (Ha Ha Ha)” gives similar vibes to the aforementioned “I Love It”, but certainly stands on its own and stands out from the crowed on the singer’s newly released debut, True Romance.
Obscure American Idol alumni Leah LaBelle has resurfaced on the music scene with the funky alt-pop aesthetic of the slick 2:49 production that is “Lolita”; with a disco underbelly and a guitar riff reminiscent of ’90s alternative, it’s a cheeky delight with an edge. The video is as much fun as the track, too, and definitely an eye-catcher in the current music video landscape.
Anjulie‘s “Allison” is a smart, synth-y affair, nodding towards the stylings of Bat For Lashes in the best way. As ambiguously anecdotal as it is infectious, the track combines a parade of sing-song, ’80s melodies over a dark, absent production that steers it clear of bubblegum territory. It’s a little haunting and a bit dreamy, but it’s definitely interesting enough to add to the collection.
“Outta My Head”
Tommy & the High Pilots
“Outta My Head” is a fresh take on Cali pop-rock—a feel-good, clear-sky affair. With an intuitive, easygoing, and festival-friendly sound, Tommy & the High Pilots‘ “Outta My Head” sets the bar for their forthcoming record Only Human, out in a little over a week. Here’s to looking forward to more of this polished summer sound from the band.
You can pre-order Tommy & the High Pilots’ Only Human from Pledge Music.
“Something That We’re Not”
From Lovato’s forthcoming coming-of-age album Demi, out tomorrow, the hard-candy confection of “Something That We’re Not” is an updated ’80s take on ’00s princess punk—bratty summer fun at its finest. Snarky young 20-something lyrics about hooking up and blowing up phones give the track just the tongue-in-cheek, indulgent edge it needs, and the repetitious chanting and insanely catchy series of hooks are practically begging for a sing-a-long with shades on and the sun roof open.