Sofia Zadar – Queen of Cups
Genre: Dream Pop
I’m not one to praise or promote IT barons of industry. But, the next time you consider going off the grid in a bid to avoid the evil of the modern world and all the technology that is supposedly making our lives worse, consider something as plain as pop music.
Pop music is inevitable. Everyone experiences it, whether they like it or not. Starting with the 1970s and until recently a pop star was, for the most part, manufactured in some record label’s basement. And, for any of the talented hopefuls that somehow did not fit into the mold, there was little hope. Furthermore, pop music made outside of the big markets rarely had any hope of reaching a wider audience. It’s just the way things went.
Sofia Zadar makes tender, forward-thinking dream-pop. She’s a self-made artist from an age where large record labels are nearly obsolete. She comes from Eastern Europe, not exactly an incubator for artists embracing progressive ideals. Her confidence and willingness to fully inhabit the dream world her music creates are evident on the imperial Queen of Cups. It’s the age of the international pop star, making songs from their bedroom and using the internet as a tool to spread their message, potentially, to just about any corner of the world.
Billy Bardo – Foto of Japan
Genre: Indie Rock, Garage Rock, Alternative Rock
Great American bards such as Bruce Springsteen have always had the eye of a movie director and manage to bring this to their songs. These tunes often play on the idea of a moment of hope and melancholy as some sort of gigantic reward for being alive.
A sunset is never just a sunset, and a car is not only a means of travel. Their songs are about people who travel to get lost or find themselves, about heroes who cry big tears, and about love affairs that ignite like a forest fire in the summer. These songwriters know how to pull on emotional strings that everyone can see. Yet, audiences have come to expect that this is what they will be receiving and are eager to share in this celebration of life.
Billy Bardo has carved out those giant sunsets into a musical form on Foto of Japan. This should make kids want to ditch college, or their jobs and go out and find the world. Really great music should make you feel this way and ask little in return. It’s all a magic trick and Billy Bardo might just be one of the few ones that really know how to play it.