A Musical Spring In Your Step

Ok. My last post was one heavy dose of lament. Winter, you can die now. Thankfully, it looks like you’re on your last breaths. Forecasted highs this week are in the 40s! Get yer cars washed, Minnesotans! Make sure that sunroof isn’t frozen shut! It’s time to soak up some rays and put the most miserable winter since 1979 in the history books.

One of my VERY favorite ways to welcome in warmer weather is to crack the car windows (because let’s be real, it’s not actually warm enough to have them all the way down yet…) and blare some tunes that put Spring in your STEP and in your HEART! Something to boost your mood, make you feel invincible, young, carefree, and happy. Here’s a bit of what I have on deck for this week’s Welcome Warm Weatherfest in the Kia.

1. Betty Who: I saw a DSW commercial that I liked the song in, googled it, and found Betty Who. I like. A LOT. Oh man. I have a thing for this mid-80’s influenced pop, right now and it can’t be stopped. Buzzfeed two recent college grads who get paid to write fluff blogs, lists and quizzes all day long says Betty Who is going to take over the US in 2014…I’m interested to see if they’re right!

2. Sky Ferreira:  I found out about Sky Ferreira during a late-night, Spotify deep dive. You know, you keep clicking on Related Artists until you lose track of time. She’s a hot mess. She’s a model/singer, looks like she’s maybe on drugs and has been in jail recently. But again, these songs have that drum-machine-down-a-hallway thing I’m into these days. Thus, she’s in the rotation.

3. NONONO: “Pumpin Blood” was essentially written for commercial success. Not commercial success in the terms of making money and playing on the radio. More along the lines of corporations buying it and using it in TV commercials until we’re all tired of it. I’m not tired of it yet.

4. Camera Obscura: Camera Obscura isn’t on the verge like the first few artists I’ve mentioned. They’ve certainly been around for awhile. I’ve known about them for years but never got pulled in until one day, “French Navy” played in my headphones at work several times. I kept going back to it and hitting repeat. It has an easy, summery, spring, new-love sway to it that instantly lifts your mood. It’s a toe-tapper, to be sure. Aside from new artists borrowing from mid-80’s pop, I’ve been interested in artists that borrow from foggy 1960’s sounds for the last few years, as well. Camera Obscura has been a welcome addition to my little group of musical friends. 🙂

5. Oh Land: I love thick and layered harmonies. Especially when it’s studio-tracked one-on-one harmony. The first time I noticed this technique was on No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom album. I’m a NxD geek, so one day years ago I was watching a documentary about them and heard Tom Dumont (guitar) explain how they didn’t want to have to use backup singers on Tragic Kingdom, and decided to layer Gwen’s voice several times on the tracks. There’s something about that sound that grabs me. I heard Oh Land for the first time a couple of years ago when I managed the playlist for my office’s overhead system and was looking for some newer, H&My, Target commercial-sounding stuff. “Sun of a Gun” is the song I used, which led me to this fave, “White Nights.”

6. Ra Ra Riot: Again, they’re not new and neither is this song. But it has a burst-out-of-your-winter-doldrums-and-start-car-dancing quality that you can’t deny! The vocal buildup! The falsetto! The keys! I mean seriously, try to resist it. Oh wait, YOU CAN’T. Not to mention (again) the 80s-pop qualities. Hello.

7. La Plage: Rendes Vous is another discovery from a Spotify deep dive session. They barely have a website, they don’t have a Wikipedia page, and their Facebook following is pretty tiny. So-that’s fun. 🙂 This song has a richer, fuller tone than some of the other mid-80s stuff I’ve included, here. I think it’s the fuller bass? I’m no expert- just my observation. It’s another great toe-tapper, head-bobber for cruising in the Kia. 😉

And last, but CERTAINLY not least…

8. HAIM! HAIM! HAIM!: Nope. Still not sick of them. They’re an every-other-day listen at minimum. They perfectly embody the mid-80’s pop sound and bring it into the NOW. What they’re doing is unlike anything anyone else is doing…either that, or they’re just the best at “it”. Love it, love it, love it. If they ever tour with Hanson, I’m a goner. It’ll just be too much wonderful. Can you imagine the six-part sibling harmonies?!

And just for funsies…

What will YOU play with the windows down, this spring?!



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