Iska Dhaaf – Up
I’ve got a vision of watching Frank Zappa with a big, dumb smile on his face, while first hearing Iska Dhaaf’s “Up”. Zappa, of course, was not just a fan of avant-garde and orchestral music. The moustached maestro, also, had an affinity for doo-wop and its ever-changing forms.
“Up” is an interesting take on the veteran music styling for 2020. Aggressive, scattered synth drums are now its foundation. The sweet, technicolour vocals have enough effects attached to render them impenetrable. And, best of all, all these fancy sounds are likely produced in someone’s bedroom, not an expensive L.A. recording studio.
Iska Dhaaf’s “Up” is a bubblegum single played while floating into the ether. It’s representative of pop music’s experiments in 2020.
Pine Barons – Clique Bait
Pine Barons’ “Clique Bait” opens with the synths passages that hint at a remake of some kind of 80s rom-com soundtrack, and carries on with the most Killers-like sounding record this side of the Las Vegas lights.
Indeed, there are moments in this single where the group sounds more like the Killers than the originals, who are currently engaged in arena-rock warfare. This is not to say that the single is not good. Far from it. Simply put, if someone manages to siphon this to the famous group’s record label and pass it as the genuine article, probably, none would be the wiser.
Still, repeated listens reveal the collective personality of dream-pop unit Pine Barons. Blissed-out verses lead into assertive choruses, while the vocals and keys fight for melodic-supremacy. It’s a nice mix that many 80s-loving indie-pop fans are bound to enjoy.