I have to say that Fifth Harmony is one of my favorite pop girl groups to date. They are hardworking women who are incredibly talented and work like an act I have never seen before. You can listen to their music on repeat for hours and it is just as fun as the first time you played the song (much to the chagrin of your roommate and neighbors).
However, it has been a little more than a year since Fifth Harmony released their debut record, Reflection. Sure, perhaps “Work From Home” has satisfied budding cravings for new Fifth Harmony music, but it will only be a matter of time before those pangs return even stronger than before. What do you do then?
Well, you come to me and I recommend music from my beloved indie underground world to hold you over. Sit back, plug in those headphones and just “let my body do the work, work, work, work, work, work, work” for you.
Grimes is the project of Claire Boucher, a Vancouver-born and raised singer, producer and visual artist (she’s a woman of many talents). She began playing under the name of Grimes at McGill University where Boucher was studying neuroscience. However, it was her dedication to music that eventually led to her being expelled from the school.
Frankly, music is far cooler than anything neuroscience-related, if you ask me.
Grimes is essentially what you get when you smash video game music and J-Pop together and then load up the combination with lots and lots of steroids. You’ll be finding yourself moving your body frantically to her quick-tempoed melodies and wondering how in the world she manages to get her voice that high. If you love the pop elements of Fifth Harmony, you’re sure to love the orchestrations of Grimes even more. I mean, she’s writing the music herself.
Essential Tracks: “Realiti” and “Flesh Without Blood.”
Joywave is an indie band with heavy electronica sensibilities. The band formed in 2010 in Rochester, New York, and began to create 80s-inspired music. Joywave garnered attention through their online mixtapes that combined their original music and other artists’ material. In 2015, the band released their debut album, How Do You Feel Now? on their own music label, Cultco Music.
Joywave is a band that has got a lot of musical attitude that will force you to get up on your feet and dance. Their drum beats are relentless and their melodies are heavy. If you’re looking for something to sing along with while flailing your arms about wildly, this is the band for you. Fifth who?
Essential Tracks: “Somebody New” and “Now.”
Capital Cities is the duo project of Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian. The two originally worked as jingle writers and met on Craiglist back in 2011. Shortly after meeting, they released an EP online and gained a whole lot of Internet exposure. They were then joined by bassist Manny Quintero, trumpeter Spencer Ludwig, guitarist Nick Merwin and drummer Channing Holmes and created the band that we all know today. Capital Cities released their debut album, In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery, on Capital Records in June 2013.
I couldn’t overload you with pounding beats and aggressive melodies for four songs in a row. Capital Cities, best known for their infectious pop track, “Safe And Sound,” isn’t your traditional cut-and-paste indie-pop group. They’ve got smooth R&B instrumental influences (listen to the synthesizer work on “Center Stage”!) pouring all over the place, jazzy guitar work and warm vocals that make them stand apart from the general alt-pop rabble. Capital Cities’ music will have you thinking sunshine, cold beverages and sand between your toes.
Essential Tracks: “Center Stage” and “Kangaroo Court.”
Strange Talk originally started as the bedroom recording project (as most great acts do) of Stephen Docker and producer/DJ/bassist, Gerard Sidhu in Melbourne, Australia. They eventually roped in guitarist Gillan Gregory and drummer Travis Constable and formed a full band. Strange Talk first came into the public eye when they became a featured artist in a competition held by Australia’s popular Triple J radio station and eventually rose to number one on Billboard’s Uncharted chart in 2011. Their debut album, Cast Away, was released in February 2013.
There’s a specific sound that Australian electronic acts specifically have. It’s bright, atmospheric, quick-moving and smooth – despite any spiky beat or pounding synthesizer chord being played in the background (think of bands like Cut Copy and Gold Fields). Strange Talk has an infectious sound that will make even the wallflowers get off of the wall and jump onto the dance floor. I, personally, quite enjoy kicking and spinning around to Strange Talk – especially whilst listening to “Another Day.”
Essential Tracks: “Another Day and “Climbing Walls.”
Miike Snow is an indie electro-pop group that hails from Stockholm, Sweden, that was formed in 2007 by childhood friends, Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg. They were later joined by American songwriter, Andrew Wyatt in 2004. In 2009, Miike Snow released their eponymous debut in June 2009 on Downtown Records.
This is a band that can do sassy-sounding and easy-listening music with relative ease. You can easily kick back with your best friends on a lazy weekend to Miike Snow or shout along with the lyrics with those same friends drunkenly in a bar. There’s a Miike Snow song for all times of your life – that’s what I’m trying to say.
Fifth Harmony, on the other hand can only be listened to when you’re about to get down with your bad self (which is not a bad thing).
You can listen to this playlist via Spotify below.