Inside Bedroom Pop

Story by Shirley Griffith

There is a simple but expansive genre gradually taking over in mid-sized cities across the nation. Charlotte-based acts like aggrocragg (Soft Speak Records), The Mineral Girls (Self Aware Records), Melt (Croquet Records) and even the quirky, Ariel Pink-inspired Josh Cotterino are all favorite local examples within this subset of sound. Regionally, bands like Elvis Depressedly, Waxahatchee, and Radiator Hospital are garnering more followers on a daily basis. But how do you describe such lost and wondering feelings that their focused music stirs up? A sound that looks around a room as dusk settles in and asks the question, “Does anyone else ever kinda feel like this?”

It stays mostly underground because with any new creature, the first steps are slow, a little awkward and unsure of belonging. Maybe it’s just wary of showing itself in the harsh and critical daylight. Bedroom pop, the moody, quiet teenager birthed out of the DIY scene, is weirdly its own non-genre; a sound malleable and plaintive, a lo-fi creation of late-night reflection that plays out while observing the mountain range of a popcorn ceiling in everyone’s very own personal sanctuary: their bedroom. The songs are recorded mostly on amateur equipment where the only audience members are spiders listening from the dusty corners or a disgruntled pup lying on the cool bedspread knowing its way past bedtime.
Bedroom pop is an intimate and somehow omniscient name encouraging the softest songs of the heart to speak up. It urges the ghost inside a person to radiate, having patiently waited until an undisturbed moment of peace is found so it can wail with sincerity. It is an art that can only bloom in a safe and precious space and that’s what makes the sound so thoughtful, so endearing. The power of this quiet stirring should not be overlooked. It is a soft dance of strummed acoustics, singular percussive beats and some of the most personal lyrics one could ever come across. The songs each spin a web of lone transgressions, admissions of guilt and anger that come across matter-of-factly because there’s nothing to prove and nothing to hide. The drifting confessions can be too heavy for words alone but the bedroom is patient and allows the musician to experiment in ways outside their normal, expected comfort zone. The creation itself is an exit therapy for the thoughts and emotions too engrained into the soul to be forgotten about. As such, a lot of the songs act as a memoir to innocence, to childhood, and a cry out to lost virtues of the underdog. They’re powerfully listless and reflective as the singer holds themselves accountable for the world upon their shoulders and for the shadows that same heavy weight casts. All while a catchy hook and melody, the soft bedframe of sound, cushions and comforts.

The music is sweet and the intentions are honest. The titles of tracks are either vague and leave the audience room to relate to, or they’re direct with ‘I’s and ‘You’s when it’s clear the musician has pinpointed a specific timing of person they’d like to bring to attention. Earnestly, it reflects on the awkward and gangly growing pains that no one could possible ever warn another individual about. About finding out our lives are all different paths, intersecting and dispersing without regard. This specific loneliness is captured in bedroom pop. The strangers that are met and then forgotten about, the laughter and conversation that provides purpose and reward to being human, experiencing the love of someone and watching the way that that love disintegrates are all common threads in bedroom pop, showing how the empty space between people is maybe just a pregnant pause. It is the sad admissions of life lessons learned painfully then turned into a saccharine lullaby that sings you to sleep. The sound meanders past graffiti under a bridge, created out of late-nights and stale mornings. It is built by the millennial working class, the servers, and the observant artists in a time when all other elements seem to push out this stoic, careful sentimentality of charm and expression. What better way to experience firsthand the subtle pleasantness of bedroom pop than at a house show thrown by master DIY-ers themselves, the Oddboy Collective. Saturday, July 18th The Odd Room hosts three acts that are by all means their own headboards in the bedroom pop collection. Adult Mom (Miscreant Records) from Purchase, NY, released Sometimes Bad Happens in 2014 which is an apprehensive monologue discussing the handling of lovesick and lifesick in the day to day. Adult Mom brings a lingering, RL Kelly or Frankie Cosmos vibe; honest, grateful and easy without unnecessary embellishment.  Also on tour is Lady Queen Paradise from New England. Lady Queen Paradise is the magic and innocence of a first kiss broadcast through an old timey phonograph. The familiarly nostalgic east coast sea breeze breathes out of solo artist, Clara Zornado and breaks against simple, floating guitar. Local support, aggrocragg, is the project of Justin Brown, which he built from anxious melodies that plagued him as he got off work at 3am and stepped out into the quiet world. The thoughts and progressions that kept him from sleep bloomed out of Brown and he recorded an impressive 4 song demo, Figi Afterglow using his iPhone and whatever recording materials he had at his late-night disposal. That demo has turned into a full catalogue of songs recorded at the legendary Old House Studios and a successful east coast, 10-day tour not to mention constant local acclaim and support.

Growing up in an age where everything is a trend and then it’s gone, bedroom pop fights back in earnest against cheap information and cheap emotions. These bands put independent in indie music, and the overwhelming sincerity is a lighthouse beacon shining out and answering the question from a sea of people, “Does anyone else ever kinda feel like this?”


Saturday, July 18th @ the Odd Room

Adult Mom, Lady Queen Paradise, & aggrocragg

Submit a comment