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2013’s Best Indie to Pop Music

Let's just say this music leans heavy on the vocals, just to save my ass

The only thing more difficult than writing is categorizing these damn top 2013 lists. I messed up our last 2013 favorites, the lady vocals, so I thought I would clarify this list for all of us.

A few years back this would have been called, “Indie to R&B,” in fact it was, but the latter has flipped producer-side and is more accurately classified under electronic for us this year.

While this is obviously intended to be centered around indie & pop music, including alternative & folk, genres are hard to pin down, especially to one or even two nowadays. So to give this list a more accurate, less appealing title, the music here is centered around a vocal-bases.

Like rock before it, indie & pop have become rock’s sliding scale contemporaries, putting the singer smack out in front. Which compared to electronic goes back to a composer or producer-bases, like jazz and classical before it.

And yes, there are elements of electronic, jazz & disco on this list, which is why I had to go on this rant in the first place.

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Warm Spaces

A project by Charles Bordeaux

Rarely do I keep going back to the same musician and consistently post everything they put out. I crave novelty and vocals especially tend to dry up fast. Bordeaux, however, is one of a few exceptions.

In my favorite single off his latest side project, Warm Space, ‘Rust Lovers’ takes that voice I love so much and puts it into a very warm piano piece. The other two tracks are still a good taste of Bordeaux’s style & voice, but I love the lyrics in ‘Rust Lovers’ most. Not necessarily just for the meaning, but what his voice brings to it too.

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Jess Burgess · Rivers and Roads

A cover of The Head and The Heart original

I don’t know if Jess Burgess will end up as the type of music we cover on Silence, but get this girl the right producer and she’s got just as much potential as anyone on here… well, she already does but more so! At first her ‘Rivers and Roads’ cover sounded like any aspiring singer, but when she hit those highs it hit the heart (then the head).

That said, there’s plenty of sweep throughs this needs in production and mastering before anything goes legit. Particularly the ending sounds out of sync and just plain off. I’m not one to promote unfinished work, in fact that’s usually why I don’t, but Ms Burgess is in need of notice with some producers whom I know roam around here. Vocals like these are not easy to find, especially with the bombardment of producers we’re getting today, and Jess deserves her paid dues.

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Broken Bells · Holding On For Life

"What a lovely day to be lonely." -- he says it so sweet

Finally more Broken Bells. The duo put out one of our favorite albums of 2010, back when we actually featured albums, and we’ve been wondering ever since if they’d come out with another.

Just a week or so back, Broken Bells teased us with a short (below) and now finally we get our first single. ‘Holding On For Life’ is a ghostly tune with Bee Gee like backups, but everything else is all Broken Bells signature. That familiar guitar strum, Mercer’s hauntingly good looking vocals, all with a slight build to keep it uplifting til the end.

Can’t wait to listen to the full album. I’m sure it’ll be good for many go arounds.

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GlitterEmcee · Hellorato

I'll love this for life, though never her name

I can’t believe I just posted a song about a glitter emcee, let alone the GlitterEmcee. Girls gotta flow a lot like Doja Cat’s, laid back and not as stale as these male rappers nowadays.

But I wonder how long she can keep my interests, I get bored with these female MC’s fast (males faster). I do appreciate ‘Hellorato’ though, it’s a cold trip with a lovely lyricist.

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Outside Lands 2013 : Who I’m Excited to See

Mostly Paul, H&O, J5 and RHCP

I’ve seen Paul McCartney twice now, once in Minneapolis and the other time at Wrigley Field, and I’m still most excited for him at Outside Lands Festival for 2013. Well, Hall & Oates and Jurassic 5 might be my personal favorites to see, but I’m guessing Paul’s performance will still be my favorite in the end. Which brings up a huge predicament, Pretty Lights plays the same time as Paul. Paul does play earlier, but I couldn’t imagine leaving him to go see PL. If I could only get them to play together…

… also excited to see z Chili Peppers… and even more excited for the food.

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Banks · Warm Water (Snakehips Remix)

Makin' Banks sound better

Banks has got a beautiful voice, but her ‘Warm Water’ is a bit too mellow for me. Snakehips (love the name) however has graciously put some nu funk, electro-soul sauce into this Warm Water melody.

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HAERTS · All The Days & Wings

I got this from a good source

I’m not usually one to take music advice from other people. Running this blog for four years now has made me very skeptical of people’s motives and all I feel like people are doing is pitching me their friend’s music (or their own). But I do have some people I trust, especially with this one, my sister.

HAERTS shining star is without a doubt Nini Fabi who provides vocals for the group, which have a soft resemblance to Stevie Nicks — but I’m sure there’s a better comparison out there. The instrumentals support her well and sure gets you lost in the sound quickly. ‘All The Days’ is the favorite, but ‘Wings’ is a catch too.

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MT. OSSA · Love Jam

Can't wait to see how they play out.

Gentlemen like MT. OSSA are the musicians to wonder about it. Each month I come across an artist or two that I’m eager to see how their music career plays out.

I recently read The Weeknd’s first interview and saw his Complex cover. Abel is one of three or so artists that I’ve ever reached out to for an interview – mind you, he wasn’t so big back then and at the time was a friend on Facebook (my only claim to fame). I may not have got the interview back then, but it’s inspiring to see an artist grow from nothing to someone so influential. Hopefully, it’s just begun for Abel.

I don’t know if MT. OSSA will rise to the status The Weeknd has, but ‘Love Jam’ is my jam right now. This psychedelic indie whatever you wanna call it puts such vivid images in my mind every time I hear it. But as similar as they feel every time, they’re ultimately always changing. Wonder what it’ll look like in 10 years.

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Bondax · Giving It All

More beautiful, uncredited vocals

I met Bondax through Moon Boots (love these names) and I’ve been sittin’ waitin’ to get something original of theirs out since. ‘Giving It All’ is a nice little pop tune, but really shines with that infamous chorus I speak so highly of in many of my favorites, especially in these disco-pop tunes. Once again though, the vocals go uncredited (when will we learn!).

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