Check out what music journalist Maria Sherman has been listening to this month…
Saturday, April 29th marks World Dance Day and it couldn’t come at a better time: this month was full of great indie releases to inspire even the surliest of skeptical listeners to get up off their feet. The holiday isn’t just for those hitting the club on weekends or dance music connoisseurs—the act of boogying is available to us all, even those of us whose interests lie more in the indie/pop side of the musical spectrum. With that in mind, here are a few songs I just haven’t been able to quit this month. Here’s hoping they make you move like no one’s watching, too!
Charly Bliss: Dairy Queen
There are worst fates than one that leaves you working at a neighborhood Dairy Queen but for Brooklyn punk-poppers Charly Bliss it’s a life sentence. The band released their debut LP Guppy this month, a Josie & the Pussycats-esq. release full of joyful harmonies and ascending choruses—if there wasn’t such a sweet darkness to vocalist Eva Grace Hendricks’ childlike squeak, it would be rated PG. Let your silliest moves free with this one.
Perfume Genius: Go Ahead
Perfume Genius, the project of Tacoma, WA-based musician Mike Hadreas is typically defined by orchestral movements, massive melody and experimental pop. While those elements seep into his latest track, “Go Ahead,” they’re mostly just haunting the song. Here, dancing commences in the space between his soft whisper-singing and simplistic drum pads—it’s in those brief silences you’ll feel the need to contort your body with Avant-grace.
Paramore: Hard Times
For the last decade and some change, Paramore have been unavoidable. Born from the Warped Tour/Hot Topic scene, the Tennessee trio have evolved from suburban punk heroes to pop powerhouse. “Hard Times,” the band’s latest single, has further shed its emo ethos and opts for massive ‘80s pop hooks in its place. In a word, it’s funky.
Agent Blå: (Don’t) Talk to Strangers
There’s no shortage of great pop music coming from Sweden, and that extends to the Scandinavian country’s surprising indie underground. Gothenburg goth teens Agent Blå (Agent Blue in English) craft indie pop that teeters a line between shoegaze and dream pop, creating something that sounds familiar, vintage-even. “(Don’t) Talk to Strangers” is an anti-love ballad, one that stops a crush before it happens. They’re young, but they know the danger of a broken heart. If you can’t cry about it, you might as well dance.
Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee & Justin Bieber: Despacito (Remix)
Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi has been lighting up the Latin charts with his collaboration with reggaeton star Daddy Yankee, “Despacito.” In April the duo instituted Justin Bieber for a remix wherein the Biebs drops a perfect verse in Spanish. If that’s not enough to make your hips shake, I’m not sure what will.
Hey Violet: Break My Heart
Welcome to your next teen pop obsession! Hey Violet started as a straightforward LA rock band—their first real tour under their old band name, Cherri Bomb, was opening with for alt-heroes the Smashing Pumpkins. They brought their textbooks with them. Fast forward a few years and this still-mostly teenage band have developed into a radio-ready pop act. “Break My Heart” is a sweet song about impending breakup—it doesn’t sound like much motivation to hit the dance floor, but when you hear that EDM-inspired production, you’ll get ready to groove.
Indie rock knows no bounds but even in the oversaturated world, there’s a vast spectrum of quality. On the end near perfection is Philadelphia singer/songwriter Waxahatchee, the moniker of Katie Crutchfield. “Silver” is the first song from her upcoming fourth full-length LP, a hazy and intoxicating song perfect for driving with the windows down—you won’t dance the entire time, just at red lights—and that’ll be enough.
Jay Som: The Bus Song
Largely the most fragile track on this playlist is the song that brought Bay Area musician Jay Som to the tip of everyone’s Pitchfork-curated tongue in the last few months, “The Bus Song.” The mode of publication transportation isn’t the most romantic place to connect with someone, but the routine of a silent commute with a loved one can be. Let this one soundtrack a private slow dance with your partner, or a soft sway alone in your bedroom.
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