The Conversation Heart, "Candy Bitches" (self-released).
Tullycraft, "Molly's Got a Crush on Us" (Magic Marker).
The Catch, "All About Me" (Made in Mexico).
Kuma, "Every Girl" (self-released).
The Dutch Elms, "Knickers in a Twist" (Jigsaw Records).
Love Hotel, "Ahoy, Supercool" (self-released).
The Buttersprites, "Fresh Mochi" (Dionysus Records).
Sameer Shukla and the Part-Time Lovers, "Cheap Cheap Moon" (self-released).
Dolour, "Cheer Up Baby" (Made in Mexico).
Tennis Pro, "Imaginary" (Cake Records).
Math and Physics Club, "When We Get Famous" (Matinée).
The Long Ranger, "Burnin'" (self-released).
Smoosh, "Rad" (Pattern 25).
Slender Means, "Telepathic Lovesick Heart" (demo).
The Jeunes, "Time Is on My Side" (self-released).
The Reluctants, "Viva La Carwash" (Unsmashable Records).
Boat, "Lanterns & Laughing Ladies" (self-released).
Derby, "This Conversation" (self-released).
"Bach is fun, and Beethoven is fun . . . but music for happiness is the funnest," quips Anna Lange of the Dutch Elms. Amen, sister! As the daylight stretches longer, the sunshine warms my ears until all I want to hear is GO GO GO indie pop. Lucky for me, the Pacific Northwest is teeming with great local bands releasing kick-ass drive-in-the-sunshine faves.
Some highlights: The Conversation Heart's "Candy Bitches" offers sugar hooks and singsong vocals during the most infectious chorus I've heard since, well, Tullycraft, whose "Molly's Got a Crush on Us" sounds like the idealized fun I pictured parents-out-of-town parties were like when I was naive and impressionable.
As for the lady rockers of summer, the Catch's new Get Cool features an all-out pop-punk blast of sunshine favorites, chock-full of pouts, fan kicks, vices, and fun. Kuma's "Every Girl" turns up the guitars to croon through a blaring, danceable rock track, reminding me of dance nights before "goth" became a demographic. Love Hotel's "Ahoy, Supercool" brings to mind the pop sensibilities of Exile in Guyville–era Liz Phair: It's wise, brash, and ballsy. The Buttersprites specialize in punk-pop-a-go-go, served up with airy Japanese vocals, matching outfits, and a coy dash of discordance on "Fresh Mochi," which is as delicious as it sounds.
Math and Physics Club evoke the innocence of first love on their dazzling Matinée debut EP, reminiscent of Belle & Sebastian, the Lucksmiths, and the Smiths. This delicate track segues into the Long Ranger's "Burnin'," an electronic dance ditty that smolders like an indie-rock porno soundtrack. On "Lanterns & Laughing Ladies," new local band Boat play with delectable distorted vocals and reverb effects, creating a quirky dose of psychedelia. "Time Is on My Side" by the Jeunes offers the punchiest drum kicks, overlaid with darkly lush vocals and jabbing guitar riffs, seamlessly fusing the blare of the British invasion with the blur of the dark-wave '80s. Portland-based Derby play Britpop flavored gems, and "This Conversation" may remind you of the best of Sloan, the Posies, and Travis, distilled, sun-ripened, and squeezed into the musical equivalent of limeade on the hammock.
Dana Bos is co-founder of ThreeImaginary Girls.com, Seattle's sparkly indie-pop press.