Indie-pop's finest hit NYC for Popfest
That most elastic of genres, pop music simply means music that people like, regardless of who and how many are doing the liking.
At its grandest, it can mean world-beating hits from women in whipped cream-spurting bras and gangs of young men gamely executing synchronized routines. At the more intimate end of the spectrum, it can mean energetic yet gently mannered music made by people who favor the librarian look for the fervent enjoyment of an audience who, more often then not, look much the same.
This weekend, the latter group can revel in the sweetness of the sixth annual NYC Popfest, an event that holds aloft the timid torch of indie pop, hosting bands from across America and around the world that share affection for the jangling guitar-based style birthed in mid-'80s England.
In recent years, the highly collegial event has become a proving ground for up-and-coming bands like the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, as well as a showcase for proven acts with fresh tunes to share.
Here are five names that amNewYork heartily recommends:
The Ladybug Transistor
With a name that twee filmmaker-music buff Wes Anderson would likely invent if it didn't exist, this Brooklyn-born project has soldiered on for 16 years, making them elder statesmen of this young genre, and proudly continues to make exceedingly particular pop statements, most recently with last year's "Clutching Stems."
Saturday Looks Good To Me
A collective effort lovingly effected in fits and starts over the past decade, the grand project of Michigander Fred Thomas is once again active, an awesome treat for devotees of his brand of '60s influenced, faded-Polaroid pop.
A promising new star in the indie scene, this Seattle dream pop trio coalesced quickly around their gauzy-sharp sound and released their scintillating debut ("Go With Me") last year to great acclaim.
With a sound influenced by the catalog of vaunted indie label K Records, the Brooklyn threesome of Kyle Gilbride, Allison Crutchfield (both of whom share time as part of the punkier effort Swearin', also playing Popfest this year) and Sandra Alayon is a breezy blast of summer soul-searching.
This London band fronted by the overly talented Aussie-born singer-songwriter-ukelele enthusiast Elizabeth Morris just released their sophomore album "Europe," a polished effort with a warm, handmade feel.
If you go: NYC Popfest runs Thursday through Sunday. For ticket, venue and schedule information, go to nycpopfest.org.