Remember way back…back when we were talking about the best of 2012 releases? Hard to believe it was nearly six months ago. At any rate, I rambled on about a few bands back then, one of which happens to be spinning (even more) incessantly on my turntable since I had the pleasure of seeing them live last weekend. It’s a rarity for me to attend a gig in the early months of spring, a time which seems, somehow, year after year, to be reserved for bands playing arenas while the little guys (my guys?) get prepped for the summer festival season. Right. And so it goes.
Never fear! Of course my recent evening was plagued by typical Abby gig annoyances: loud, yappy girls not paying attention and people stumbling over my feet topped by a guy having a stag party who was collecting signatures of women on a jock strap he was wearing over his trousers…you know, the normal. After I graciously denied the drunk soon-to-be-husband my John Hancock on his, well, you know, I befriended a lovely biologist/music aficionado blessed with the gift of height who I could stand alongside as a deflector of toe-steppers (my better half didn’t join me for the gig). Shortly thereafter everything was sexy and right with the world. Enter: Veronica Falls.
While I was sad to have missed their US stint with the support of Golden Grrrls, the opener, Mazes, was a pleasant albeit incongruous start. I cannot stress enough how jubilant the sound of VF makes me feel. Tremble-worthy. I suppose, no…I know, it’s because of their likeness aurally and visually to the Sarah Records/C86 bands that tattooed my teens and early 20s. Though their freshman s/t offering sonically trumps 2013’s Waiting for Something to Happen, both are outstandingly pop-sensible in a pool of otherwise loud and noisy here-and-now counterparts. The same can be said for the sound of Golden Grrrls. Why it has taken so damn long for this brand of boiled-down, jingle jangle pop to rear its beautiful head (again) in the form of a young, new band is beyond me. They are intoxicating, these music makers. Discerning pop without the flash and buzz of blips and bloops. Simplicity.
While touting new records and songs to whoever will listen is glorious, the old standards cannot be beat. Artists like 14 Iced Bears, Heavenly, The Field Mice, The Wolfhounds…what? You don’t know them you say? Learn about them. Listen closely. You could scour YouTube and websites for second rate, low quality recordings for starters. Afterwards, when you are over the goddamned moon, you can get your trigger finger ready and visit Cherry Red Records to pre-order the greatest compilation ever: Scared to Get Happy, a 5-CD boxed set due out this 26 June. Borrowing its title from the Bristol-based fanzine of the late 80s, this compilation is chock-full of the indie guitar pop sounds of the same era I just went on and on about. Roundabout 130 songs for a measly 50 bucks and change. A steal I tell you. Or you can continue listening to Frank Ocean and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Mostly.
[Abby's Road is a Knox Road feature published every other Friday.]