Here we go again: the earthings! Fantasy Festival is back, with five stages of live performances that’s all just happening in our heads. Today, Dexter Tan returns with an international spread of indie pop, from Scandinavia to Scotland.
When Niko invited me for another round of the earthings! Fantasy Festival this year, I know I had just tweeted about this and this a couple of days earlier, so it was relatively easy to single out what this year’s theme was going to be. Now, I’ve always maintained an agnostic stance in music and that music-agnosticism was what really drove my clusterfuck of a stage last year (I use the term “clusterfuck” loosely because I realize my acts didn’t really sound good cohesively, though Wanderland‘s putting Jungle Giants with Lewis Watson with Kid Cudi, so whatever) but I’ve been an indie pop rock guy through and through. To reconcile the stage’s name to this year’s theme, I tried to feature bands from five countries. Now, without further ado… [DT]
Admittedly, I didn’t even understand a single thing when I first heard the song, but I guess that’s what draws me to indie bubblegum pop in the first place: whereas I try to find meaning in any other genre’s lyrics, all an indie pop track needs to be for me is for it to be perky and danceable. Ironically enough, the French quartet Granville, led by Mélissa Dubourg, is singing about turning down an invitation to a slow dance in this song, though I don’t think they can put anyone at fault if anyone does a mild head bang to this.
Speaking of songs that sound upbeat but actually mean something else – a theme I’ve always badgered Niko to cover to relatively no success – imagine my surprise when I read that the Griswolds‘ lead vocalist, Christopher Whitehall, admit that this song was about losing someone to drug abuse. I guess all the Sydney-inspired sunshine and brightness didn’t quite carry over to the lyrics, but I’ll be damned if you don’t find all that energy contagious. It helps that they’ve been featured on Triple J twice now. Now, just forget everything I said about the song.
It was actually difficult to choose a American indie pop band. I had considered Great Good Fine OK, RAC and the Night Terrors of 1927, but ultimately, I thought Royal Teeth tied the theme together better. I never realized how relatively bigger they have gotten since I first heard them back in 2013 until I started writing this – apparently, they already made an appearance in American Idol performing this song, and it was used for ads for the Galaxy S5 and FIFA13. I typically do not forgive nasality in my songs (I’m looking at you, Gary Larsen!) but Lara Patterson’s vocals makes it all well for me. Yes, it’s been two years but that semi-yodel always gets me to yodel back every time.
Yes, most of you will know this song – and NoNoNo – from last year’s movie Endless Love. No, I didn’t watch it. Yes, the main melody is catchy and the whistling can get stuck in your head for a couple of days. No, I don’t quite like the song, but I can understand people who will. This is one of those pop tracks whose perkiness feel too manufactured.
I’ve mulled this choice and the Royal Teeth one equally long. Why not go the lazy route and feature Stars again? Why not Vampire Weekend or Passion Pit? For me, it’s longevity. Belle and Sebastian has been in the business for almost two decades and it’s amazing how different they sound from way back to any of the new songs in Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. Now, let’s all get back to the party line. (Tomorrow: Rainy Martini goes through her five acts.)