Category Archives: +++ dreampop

Brandi Ediss / Simple Friend

I met Brandi Ediss online through my pal Mary Lou Lord (also featured on this blog). I think Brandi is one of the most criminally underrated singer-songwriters out there. Her songs are literally… LITERALLY… perfect pop songs. She also makes absolutely charming and mesmerizing music videos for a lot of her songs (stop-motion animation, random slideshows, etc).

She also records with her boyfriend Frank as “Simple Friend”. Featured here are several of Brandi’s original songs, as well as the Simple Friend song “count to three”.

She is one of my all-time favorite songwriters. She should be as well-known as Laura Gibson, Frankie Cosmos, and other huge indie/bedroom pop artists. Hopefully this blog will get her music out there, much more.

She is freakin’ brilliant. I’d love to make bedroom pop/folk music like this with someone this talented and experienced (especially melodically). I love all the people I work with, but I feel like I haven’t yet found a singer/songwriter who writes brilliant shit like Brandi, and also makes such perfect videos to accompany such perfect songs.

Much love to Brandi and Frank!

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Engineers

I know hardly anything about this band. Probably the most underrated band, ever. Currently, they have 5,800 listeners on Spotify. That really isn’t much. Seven albums under their belt. Do not sleep on ANY of them.

 

 

 

Liz Phair (circa 90s)

lizp

I am so sick of stupid hipsters of 2016. I’m sick of the lo-fi, “bedroom pop” sound, even though I do love a lot of artists who are in that genre (truly). I’m just sick of the hipster bullshit (yeah, I’m starting this off on a very personal note but, I feel the need to get it off my chest)….. 2016 hipsters (aged 19-24, respectively) are some of the most elitist, too-cool-for-school assholes I have ever met. I see a lot of holier-than-thou bullshit daily, in my facebook feed, and it makes me feel nauseated. Young people…. you think you know good music? So far, the 10s (2010-present) hasn’t bred a lot of good music. I knew about true, good music 25 years ago, you attitude-riddled fuck-bags (phew! Do I feel better? No! I don’t! But thankfully, I’m about to talk about Liz Phair).

Twenty-three years ago (yes, that’s 1993 for the mathematically-challenged…. and yes, 23 years. That’s over two decades!)………. I bought Liz Phair’s Exile In Guyville CD after reading a glowing review about it in Rolling Stone (remember when people used to take a chance on music, before being able to hear it?) It was the third CD I ever bought. It took me two weeks to get together the $15 for it, because I was poor as shit.

Liz Phair was the original DIY punk girl. Every song on Exile In Guyville is written entirely by her, and produced (with additional instrumentation) by Brad Wood, who also recorded Ben Lee’s brilliant solo debut Grandpaw Would, and Ben Lee’s second record (my favorite of his), Something To Remember Me By.

I am reminded of Liz Phair tonight, as I saw a facebook post by a former guitar student of mine, who I started teaching in 2008 (she’s now 18). She was absolutely raving about Liz’s music, and specifically Exile In Guyville. She said she wished she’d gotten into Liz Phair’s music sooner. I told her she got into it at the perfect age (I was 17 when I bought Exile and spun it to fucking death).

Liz hasn’t ever, and will never, top the brilliance of her debut record. The second album Whip-Smart is alright, but the lead single from the album “Supernova” is absolute shit. It’s her worst song, in my opinion. But the actual song “Whip-Smart” is super-good.

Liz’s 3rd record, the initially-rejected (by the major label who she went to) Whitechocolatespaceegg, is super good, and is reminiscent at times, of Exile. I have the initially-rejected version in my collection, and the commercial release that die-hard Liz fans know (her 3rd album was mostly ignored).

Fast-forward a few years, and Liz sold out, with “Why Can’t I?”. It’s a lovely little pop song, but co-written by professional songwriters, so it loses its credibility, and fast. I haven’t touched any of Liz’s music beyond that song, after one listen… as I don’t think any of it is worth listening to, more than once. It’s just over-produced pop garbage.

But man.. that first record. WHOA.

Enjoy it… and fuck this 2010-2016 hipster bullshit. A lot of it is entirely forgettable. But this record certainly isn’t. This record is everything RIGHT about the 90s, and female-fronted (and female-written) alternative rock/indie. PERFECTION. Don’t you ever forget it.

side note about the very first CDs I ever bought (all of which, I still own): The first, and second CDs I ever bought were The Smiths’ self-titled album, and Dinosaur Jr’s Bug. Other CDs I bought after Exile In Guyville include Juliana Hatfield’s Become What You Are, Smashing Pumpkins Siamese Dream, and Louder Than Bombs by the Smiths.

Nina Kinert (aka Nina K)

 

Mmmm…… Scandinavia. Always. The magic they create. Why couldn’t I have been born in Norway or Sweden? I mean shit, I am mostly of Scandinavian ancestry (Denmark, mostly), but…. ugh. I just wish I wasn’t American, sometimes. This music created by Scandinavian artists always resonates through my soul. I listened to Nina Kinert non-stop on the weekend of August 27th and 28th. Superb.

 

Seekonk

Seekonk RULES. PAINFULLY underrated group. I guess they broke up. But they left some great music behind.

 

Laura Gibson

The music usually speaks for itself…

 

Kings of Convenience

They’ve been around for almost two decades, but I hate how these guys barely get any love….. I love their gorgeous music and it totally calms me down. Tremendously beautiful acoustic guitar layers and arrangements… stellar harmonies, great lyrics, too. “Quiet Is the New Loud”, indeed. Scandinavian songwriting…. is there anything better? Not usually.

I’d love to see these guys live someday… (sigh)

 

Paper Aeroplanes

Oh man, Wales….. how does your country bring us such beautiful, perfect music and beautiful women? You’re like Iceland, only smaller. I love you, so very much.

First Paper Aeroplanes record (playlist of 13 songs):

 

 

 

 

Bad Bad Hats

God, I want to hate this band. But I can’t.

It’s that damn “indie pop voice” that haunts my every waking moment (this voice is basically everyone trying to copy Leslie Feist or Nataly Dawn of Pomplamoose… or hell, Cat Power). It’s charming. It’s great.

You’ll love it.

From Minneapolis.

Velocity Girl

Not sure if I wrote about them already, but…. yeah. Pretty much a staple of my music-listening, since 1994. Sadly they weren’t together long… but man, did they leave a powerful impact. From College Park, Maryland / Washington DC area. A lot of people prefer their earlier work, such as “My Forgotten Favorite” or the album Copacetic, but I think their best work is their last stuff, specifically the Gilded Stars and Zealous Hearts record (1996).

Sarah Shannon (vocalist) now does solo stuff as her own name. Worth your time, if you like her voice (and how could you not?)