TOPS – “Further”

Soft funk group TOPS have always made music that’s a little lost in time, a jangly menagerie of guitars that make your head bop, your fingers tap, and your heart a little warmer, though many of their tracks make use of heavier themes like nostalgia and wistfulness. “Further,” from their upcoming third album, follows the already released tracks “Petals” and “Dayglow Bimbo,” showing another side of their unique aesthetic –  a saccharine sweet breakup track that refuses to let the breakup happen. Jane Penny’s mournful, flinty voice expresses her simultaneous desire and distaste for moving on, as whispers of guitar and bursts of buzzing synth swarm her like a shoulder to cry on.

Sugar at the Gate will be released on June 2nd.

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photo courtesy of artist

TOPS – “Petals”

TOPS’ sophomore album Picture You Staring might be one of the most consistently satisfying albums out there, half based on the fact that they know exactly how to compose flawless, catchy riffs, and half due to the soft, bright nature of Jane Penny’s vocals. The Montreal based dream pop band will soon release their third album, and, along with the news, have also shared the first single. “Petals” is funkier and geared more towards pure soft rock, but the carefree, breezy TOPS spirit is still there, complete with a choral vocal line oozing with charm.

Sugar At The Gate will be released on June 9th.

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photo by Takuroh Toyama

TOPS – “Hollow Sound Of The Morning Chimes”

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Montreal dream pop band TOPS have released yet another new track since last month’s “Anything,” which was a dark, brooding, and wonderfully hazy dream. The track had a few subtle differences from the instrumentals and vocals that were heard in last year’s excellent debut album Picture You Staring, and those variations are heard further in “Hollow Sound Of The Morning Chimes,” an ethereal seven minute romp. The slow, soothing, jazz-like instrumentals compliment Jane Penny’s vocals well, and hopefully with the release of this track, news of a sophomore album can be anticipated.

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photo by Takuroh Toyama

TOPS – “Anything”

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TOPS’ debut album Picture You Staring was one of the best soft rock albums of the past year, and has slowly made it’s way into my most beloved playlists. From my countless listens to the record, it’s a stunner simply because of the the nostalgic, well orchestrated instrumentals and Jane Penny’s gorgeous vocals, all determined by the complex feelings of both desire and reservation. Their new track “Anything” takes a somewhat different approach to their unique sound, trading in their pastel drenched, sun soaked aesthetic for something more gritty and seething. It’s minimal in composition, but Penny’s vocals still make it something that’s completely indistinguishable from anything other than TOPS.

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photo by Takuroh Toyama

TOPS – “Way to be Loved”

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ABT040 TOPS LP-Jacket 11183 v2TOPS is a four-piece band from Montreal. Their soft punk inspired pop is simply amazing, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since I discovered them today. There’s an obvious correlation to the 1980’s – from the delicate, retro synth beats and the addictive guitar riffs that ran rampant during that time period – and the way that they have modernized it is nothing less than brilliant. “Way to be Loved” is a prime example of their boundless talents. Lead singer Jane Penny’s lush, delicate vocals mixed in against strong, fervent instrumentals creates this gorgeous ambiance that can only be described as innocent, but with a desire to rebel. TOPS is the perfect example of a band that doesn’t need to confine themselves; they possess this self-assured, unconventional, independent way that seeps out and is almost tangible with every listen. Needless to say, it works, and I know that I’ll be listening to this song repeatedly throughout the year. “Way to be Loved” is from TOPS’s sophomore album Picture You Staring, which was released today.

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