Reader, in the early nineties, back when many of us were just getting our post-Dave-Kendall-120 Minutes footing on the musical landscape and ‘alternative’ gave way to ‘indie,’ the cute little genre of indie pop—with it’s tiny guitar hooks, intimate, unassuming vocals, and sometimes good, sometimes a-million-miles-from-good rhythm sections—quietly rocked across America. Artists like Lois, Small Factory, The Softies, Tsunami, and a hundred others, along with labels like K Records, Simple Machines, and Teen Beat kept us made our lives a little lighter and made us enthused to be a part of tiny, self-reliant world of music.
A couple weeks ago, it was announced that chickfactor—the nineties indie pop zine and now Web zine—would be celebrating its 20-year anniversary with “five blissful nights of sparkling indie pop on the Northeast Corridor of the USA (three in NY; two in DC) including the first shows in years by Black Tambourine, Small Factory, Pipas, The Aislers Set, A Girl Called Eddy, The Softies, The Lois Plus, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group and Fan Modine and rare performances from such pop luminaries as Stevie Jackson (Belle + Sebastian), Frankie Rose, Lilys, Lorelei, Dot Dash, Versus, Bridget St John and Honey Bunch.”
Needless to say, those of us who consider ourselves nineties indie pop nerds wet our oversized second-hand corduroys. Two of the Brooklyn shows sold out pretty quickly, but as of writing, the third seems to have some tickets left, and, again, as of writing, I think the DC-area tickets have yet to go on sale. We’ll be excited to see some familiar faces and hear a little bit of the music that we grew into adulthood with at those shows this April.
With The Song (formerly Music Monday—what…? It’s bird-themed!), we’ve always had in-mind that we’d very much be forward-looking, attempting to keep pace with the sometimes-hectic pace of the musical creative culture of the day. So, rather than post an old Retsin song and dwell on the past—which, we admit, is fun—we’re instead writing today about a band the reminds us about all the good things from this early age of indie pop and twee.
England’s Big Deal spin simple, intimate stories with their songs that harken back—for me—to Ida’s debut, when it was just Dan Littleton, Elizabeth Mitchell, a couple guitars, and a whole lotta earnest emotion. It’s bright and fuzzy and beautiful and touches on all the sweet little elements that lit the indie fire in our hearts in the first place, back when we’d read lyrics on the bedroom floor and whiled the days away learning new guitar chords and making falafel from a box mix.
The duo—comprised of Londoner, Alice Costelloe and native Californian, Kacey Underwood—released their debut on Mute in Europe late last year and it’s due to hit state-side tomorrow. In the meantime, check out, “Chair,” a catchy bedroom pop gem, and their summertime dream of a video for Distant Neighbor. The band will also be hitting up this year’s SXSW festival, as will The Chain Gang of 1974 + The Big Pink, who we profiled over the past few weeks, as will every other band we profile with The Song until we jet on down to Austin to see in person all one million of the bands playing SXSW this year. Here’s hoping they have vegan BBQ!
And for anyone who doesn’t like the band name, Big Deal, they evidently were first going to be called Hard Cheese. So there’s that. Also, yes, I kind of have that dude’s haircut.