I’m beyond excited to announce that we’re releasing our next EP, Things Too Obvious to Sing, on March 29 with our friends at My Little Owl Records. Here’s a page with the details, including a stream of the first song and a link to preorder. I know bands always say this, but I think this is the best batch of songs we’ve ever released. We’ll have more info (including release shows, videos, etc.) in the coming days and weeks.
I really love me a good music blog. Bloggers get inundated non-stop with promotional materials from bands and labels, and so, if you find one whose tastes you trust, you can almost guarantee that they will find music you love that you would have a very hard time finding yourself. It’s not overstating anything to say that music bloggers enrich my life immensely. So, with that said, here is a list of my favorite blogs. It’s worth noting that most of these bloggers, over the years, have said some very kind things about my band, and most of these bloggers I would consider my friends. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m plugging them here because of that. I still get lots (if not most) of my new music recommendations from these blogs.
- Bloodbuzzed. This one is written by Raul Jimenez Jimenez, who lives in Barcelona. He writes a lot about indiepop, but he also covers more indie-rock-ish stuff like the National. In addition to covering music, he also writes really great movie and book reviews. He’s usually a bit more critical of movies and books than he is of music, which I like. He has a few regular features that I really love: Discoverer, where he covers up-and-coming bands, and Stop Bad Covers, which shines a spotlight on the worst album art imaginable. He has set the record for most positive mentions of The Very Most, and for that we’ll be forever grateful.
- Songs For Girls To Sing. Xanthi Piretzi writes this blog from the beautiful island of Syros, Greece. She loves indiepop bands with female singers, Australian indiepop, and the tambourine. She might be the world’s greatest TracyAnne Campbell fan. We also happen to be next-door neighbors on last.fm, which means we have exceptionally similar taste in music. Anytime I feel like swooning to a new pop band (which is nearly every day), I visit her blog. I also want to add that she wrote my favorite thing that anyone’s ever written about The Very Most.
- Piggledy Pop. Marie-agnes Hallé hails from Paris and always recommends the most amazing music: everything from sunshine pop to folk to classic 60s singer-songwriters. She writes in French, and I don’t want Google translate to butcher her beautiful words, so I usually just listen to her recommendations, but she is a blogger I trust implicitly.
- MP3Hugger. The ever-mysterious Mr. Hugger comes to us from the city I most want to live in: Dublin, Ireland. He covers a lot of ground, genre-wise, but I enjoy almost every recommendation he makes. He’s introduced me to some amazing bands, including Candy Claws, Standard Fare, and Avi Buffalo. He also runs a label called Indiecater Records which released our last full length album A Year With The Very Most. We also happened to write the blog’s theme song.
- Rue Something. Kristin Gill from New Hampshire (soon to be Sweden) includes such an amazing personal touch in all her music writing and there are very few people I know that are more passionate about the music they love than she is. She covers almost exclusively indiepop. She also interviewed us for the superb Candy Twist zine.
- Indie Pop Saved My Life. This one is not a blog, per se. It’s a Twitter and Facebook page run by Howard Saltzman. With little fuss or muss, Howard brings the best in indiepop (or is it indie pop? Indie-pop? That’s an inside reference with Howard and I by the way) to my feed on a regular basis. Invaluable.
- Here Comes the Dumptruck. Ben Schultz writes this blog mostly about the Boise live music scene. Ben is an excellent writer, is fair to the bands he writes about, and doesn’t annoy me horribly, unlike many of the other writers that have covered Boise in the past. He also writes for the Boise Weekly.
- Skatterbrain. Coming from Philadelphia, Matthew Edwards does one of the most influential indiepop blogs. His playlists, in particular, are what I keep coming back for.
- El Planeta Amarillo. I’ve got to include Rafa’s blog if for no other reason than the fact that he is a one-man indiepop media mogul. He’s got an extensive YouTube channel of great live clips, a web radio show, and a huge archive of reviews up at his site. Spend hours and hours getting lost on The Yellow Planet.
Anyway, I guess that’s it for now. Notice how none of these are huge career-bolstering blogs like Pitchfork or Stereogum? Yeah, I did too. I find those blogs boring and their focus is far too scattered to be of much use to me. These are the blogs that I come back to on a regular basis.
So without wasting too many words, I’m going to give you guys a quick rundown of what The Very Most was up to in 2013.
- We were honored to be asked to play NYC Popfest this year. This was our first time at a popfest and our first show in New York City. Thanks so much to NYC Popfest for asking us to participate. I wrote a lengthy blog post about this trip, but I’ll give you the short version to save you some time: it was one of the best experiences of my life.
- We released some music, including Just a Pup for Manic Pop! records, covers of our friends’ songs for a compilation called Village Green, a Christmas song co-written with my nine-year old daughter Amelia, and a cover of “Hubbert’s Peak Theme” by Central City Music Company for a tribute compilation. 8 songs in one year. Not too shabby.
- We were included on several year end “best of” lists including #9 song of the year on the “It’s a Jangle Out There” radio show blog, three times on the amazing Bloodbuzzed blog, favorite songs of the year on the Rue Something and February Records blog (both written by Kristin Gill), top EPs of 2013 by our favorite Facebook page Indie Pop Saved My Life, favorite songs of 2013 by Liz Hunt of The School, #4 EP of the year on El Planeta Amarillo, #5 EP of the year from the Happy Oblivion radio show in Hawaii, and one of the top EPs of the year on Japanese blog Happy Hour.
- We recorded a new EP for a label that we’re very excited to be working with. We will release details about that as soon as we can.
So, all in all a fairly productive year. Thanks to everyone who supported us and listened to our music in 2013! (BTW, 2014 is shaping up to be maybe even more productive than 2013.)
I made a thingy where you can read all of our lyrics and stream all of our songs from one page. It’s got other information about the songs as well, including the year it was written, the year it was released, who played on it, who write the song, whether it’s a cover or not, and more. Take a look, if you’d like.
Could there be any other pick for my number one song and album? Of course not.
- The Pastels – Slow Summits
- Lake – The World is Real / Circular Doorway
- Camera Obscura – Desire Lines
- Prefab Sprout – Crimson/Red
- Veronica Falls – Waiting For Something to Happen
- Dick Diver – Calendar Days
- Cate le Bon – Mug Museum
- The Felt Tips – Symbolic Violence
- Dave the Fave – Long Distance Lover
- Central City Music Company – The Irish Question / Don’t Spin Away / About Your Mom
- Math and Physics Club - Our Hearts Beat Out Loud
- The Pastels – “Check My Heart”
- Prefab Sprout – “Billy”
- The Mini-Skips – “Evil/Shy”
- Dick Diver – “Alice”
- Veronica Falls – “Broken Toy”
- LAKE – “No Wonder I”
- Souvenir Stand – “Days I’ve Spent With You”
- Skelocrats – “What Am I”
- Yakuri Cable – “Giving Into Silence”
- The Choo Choo Trains – “Save Me”
- The Van Allen Belt - “Songs”
So, this year, like most years, we made a Christmas song, which, unsurprisingly, is appearing on a compilation by our good friends Indiecater Records. However, this Christmas song, unlike most Christmas songs, involves everyone’s third favorite aquatic mammal (after dolphins and otters): the seal! You see, our song “Stars and Happiness Forever” is a song about a seal that comes to visit me on Christmas day. The character of the seal is one played by my nine-year-old daughter Mia every day, for at least some of the day. When she’s in seal mode, she looks at the world quite differently. She speaks in a very nasally, but very soothing, voice. She is very naive. She is more scared of everyday things, and she is more physically affectionate. Mia basically just acts as she imagines a seal would act if that seal were living among humans and could talk. There are also some seal-ish words. “Naga” means “no”, for example.
In any case, I decided I wanted some sort of crazy talking/sound during the solo section of our new Christmas song, which, at that point, didn’t have lyrics yet. I decided to recruit my children for this task. It was Mia’s idea to do the seal character. In the studio, I asked her to imagine that she was the seal, waking up on Christmas morning. The results of what she said can be heard on the track, which you can stream below:
Here are the lyrics:
Stars and Happiness Forever
A seal came to me
just so she could see what Christmas is.
So she knocked on our front door
December 24th, and here’s her take on it:
“I got up for Christmas and I got:
and a piano
and a wire
and a wire cutter
and a guitar
and a kitty
and a microphone
and jingle bells!
Jingle bells! Jingle bells!
Stars and happiness forever!
Then she took a nap
right there in my lap.
For hours, she laid.
Then she had to leave
to go back to the sea.
She’ll be back again someday.
So, I hope you like my aquatic collaboration with my daughter. The compilation that this song is included on is quite good. You can check out the whole thing right here. Oh, and here’s Mia, appropriately enough, at the aquarium.
Back in June, eleven Boise artists, including The Very Most, paid tribute to Central City Music Company, one of the most unique and best bands that have ever come from Boise.
I’ll probably have a studio diary video for you soon though.
Here’s a quick rundown of the reviews we’ve gotten so far on Just a Pup. I’ll add to this page as reviews come in.
Theory and Practice
Listen With Monger
Ice Cream Power Pop and More
A Layer of Chips
A Gypsy Death and You
The Sound of Confusion
Bloodbuzzed (Premiere of EP)
Records I Like