Everything you need to know about Peach Kelli Pop is in the name: It's sweet like a peach, feminine like the name kelli, catchy and fun as pop music can be. There's just one thing missing: The sheer noisy punk spirit of it all. Peach Kelli Pop is the musical project of Canadian songwriter Allie Hanlon. Her music gets in, has its fun and gets out—all of her albums are about 20 minutes—but stays stuck with you long after you've finished listening. This is probably best exemplified by the title of her song "Princess Castle 1987." She finds a boisterous and carefree middle ground somewhere between punk rock and Sailor Moon.
Catch Peach Kelli Pop at Club Congress, 7 to 10 p.m., Thursday, May 31. Free. 21+. Her fourth album, Gentle Leader, is out May 25.
Redd Kross Born Innocent
Redd Kross' music is special because it comes from a place of pure fun and giving no f*cks. I have always connected to Redd Kross' fondness of satire, humor and absurdity. This band and album has been inspirational for me on so many levels (Peach Kelli Pop is the name of a track off Redd Kross' album Neurotica, FYI) As a young woman and fan of punk music, I love hearing the excitement, chaos and disorder of punk completely void of any dumb macho tough guy lyrics or attitude. Nothing about the band, their music, or the narratives they sing about makes me feel excluded or irrelevant from the music. That's just one of the many reasons I love them.
Elliott Smith Either/Or
I listened to this album throughout high school and connected to it on an emotional level. I felt really frustrated and misunderstood at the time. I don't think I was aware of what some of the songs were about, but appreciated that they made me feel calm. The production style and simple instrumentation showcases his distinctive quiet singing style really beautifully. I think it's cool that I loved his music as a teen in Eastern Canada and, fast forward, I now live within a few miles of where he did in Los Angeles.
Sparks Angst in my Pants
Russel and Ron Mael are the brothers behind Sparks. They've been putting out albums since the 1971. Angst in my Pants is my favorite one and I always go back to it. My favorite song on the album is the album opener and title track. The music is so beautiful that it makes me emotional, even though it's a song about a guy getting a boner. I love Sparks, because like Redd Kross, they write songs with an emphasis on humor and absurdity. I have a hard time describing Sparks to people... They're like super stylish, high-brow, posh pop music. Either way Sparks is one of the best bands of all time and this album is a classic.
The Muffs Blonder and Blonder
Another album that blew my impressionable teen mind. I remember the first Muffs song I ever heard was "Nina," where Kim Shattuck does her signature aggressive growly-screaming over and over. My sister thought it was weird. I instantly thought she was the coolest ever and wondered if I could ever sing like her. (I have quite literally the opposite voice from her.) I was first impressed by Kim Shattuck, because she's cool and I wanted to be like her, but the whole band is fantastic. Sometimes I worry about three-piece bands sounding lacking or deficient in their live show (i.e., would it sound better with a second guitar? Can they pull it off live?) but the Muffs have always sounded big, full and complete on the records and live. Blonder and Blonder came out 23 years ago and still kicks so much ass. I think The Muffs deserve some kind of award.
Tony Molina Dissed and Dismissed
Tony Molina writes incredible, classic-sounding pop songs that remind me of the Beatles. The combination of his laid-back voice, the fuzzed out rhythm guitar and screeching guitarmonies is so cool. This album has 12 songs and is only 11 minutes long. I love short & sweet and don't really have patience for songs over three minutes. A few days after I moved to Los Angeles, I went to a house party on Independence Day and Tony Molina played. I had never heard of them but it was amazing and that's when I become a fan.