Pixie Pop 'Plosion.
April 17, 2009 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Manic Pixie Dream Music: Once again I must step outside my beloved genres to find music for an event that's all about Sparkles! Glitter! and Pixies! Need suggestions for happy, twinkly, fairy music. The more tooth-achingly pop-y the better. "The Magic Position" by Patric Wolf would be a good example.

I'm pretty well versed in Glam Rock, but am a complete noob in the indie/current/pop/rock/whatever scene. Consider me 60 years behind the times.
posted by The Whelk to Media & Arts (30 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
You really need to buy Janelle Monae's EP Metropolis: The Chase Suite. Here's the video for one of the singles, "Many Moons." It's a little more melancholy/dystopian than you might have set out for, but her herculean energy and infectious pop sensibilities really push this into MPDG territory IMO.
posted by hermitosis at 9:15 AM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Cocteau Twins
posted by fire&wings at 9:15 AM on April 17, 2009

Acid House Kings come to mind, especially "Do What You Wanna Do" and "This Heart Is a Stone."

The Bird and the Bee, "Love Letter to Japan"?

Regina Spektor, "Fidelity," "On the Radio."

Belle and Sebastian, "Another Sunny Day," "If She Wants Me," "There's Too Much Love."

So... twee?
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:17 AM on April 17, 2009

Móa: the other other Icelandic pixie songstress*.
* Bjork and Emiliana Torrini are pixie-ish, but Móa is like ... "pixie-core."
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:17 AM on April 17, 2009

Oh man.

I went through a long, long phase of this kind of music right after I graduated from college. It lasted about a year and a half.

The vast majority of bands that play this kind of stuff can be found in Sweden. A smaller portion is from Canada. And then, after that, is "everywhere else."

The bands and artists I'd recommend include:

I'm From Barcelona
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names
New Pornographers
The Fairways
The Polyphonic Spree (not exactly what you're asking for, but so sweet you'll get cavities)
Au Revoir Simone

... Can't think of anymore... But that should be enough to get you started.
posted by KantGoOn at 9:25 AM on April 17, 2009


Mirah is a mellow folk singer girl, I don't see how she fits into this category at all. New Pornographers are poppy but not really twee, which seems to be what the OP is looking for.

Wikipedia has a list of indie pop artists, but it's really long and lots of them aren't indie pop at all.

Anyway, check out the lineups for some upcoming popfests for some good selections:

NYC Popfest
SF Popfest

Tullycraft in particular is a big one.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:35 AM on April 17, 2009

Some bands to look into:

She & Him
The Bird and the Bee
The Boy Least Likely To
Bridget Bardot
Jim Noir
Camera Obscura

Also, check out the soundtrack to Marie Antoinette, which had a not-dissimilar theme.
posted by Schismatic at 9:36 AM on April 17, 2009

Pizzicato five. Like this one. Or maybe this. Pretty much any of their songs would fit.
posted by umbú at 9:41 AM on April 17, 2009

I just saw Gabby Lala play a show last night and she was all about the sparkles and unicorns. Even her website is hella twee.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 9:46 AM on April 17, 2009

The Icicles
Hello, Seahorse!
posted by god hates math at 9:46 AM on April 17, 2009

What you want is a selection of The Cardigans, in particular their first three albums (more like 2.5 albums). They can make Black Sabbath sound cute. Specific tracks:

"Daddy's Car"
"Rise & Shine"

The trick with The Cardigans is that, when you listen closely, all of the cutesy stuff has a much darker tone.
posted by adipocere at 9:56 AM on April 17, 2009

mum! they are Icelandic and dreamy, kind of the ambient end of what you may be looking for.

Beirut also comes to mind, as do Final Fantasy and the Tiny, but there is something mournful to each of these bands that might be out of place. but maybe not.

oh, and Joanna Newsom. though she may not be sparkly enough.
posted by spindle at 9:59 AM on April 17, 2009

Margo Guryan's album Take A Picture
posted by hamsterdam at 10:07 AM on April 17, 2009

Going to double up on Joanna Newsom and Camera Obscura. Also, if you're not scared of foreign music, Canciones de Temporada by Niza is the album you need to get.
posted by bookwo3107 at 10:08 AM on April 17, 2009

posted by chairface at 10:11 AM on April 17, 2009

Aki Tsuyuko - she's not really pop, but she's certainly pixie.
posted by Beautiful Screaming Lady at 10:14 AM on April 17, 2009

The Softlightes
posted by MrVisible at 10:29 AM on April 17, 2009

Apparat & Ellen Allien
Architecture in Helsinki
The Boy Least Likely To
The Ditty Bops
Go Sailor
The Pipettes
posted by logic vs love at 10:37 AM on April 17, 2009

It might be a little more "mysterious" than you're looking for, but Detectivbyrån is great pixie-ish fairy music, and entirely instrumental.

Seconding Pizzicato Five, and apropos of the Shibuya-kei genre, you may want to look into Kahimi Karie as well, although... well... her lyrics (particularly from the Momus area) when they're understandable can be a bit disturbing.
posted by pts at 10:38 AM on April 17, 2009


posted by stenseng at 10:42 AM on April 17, 2009

Cibo Matto?
posted by dixie flatline at 10:45 AM on April 17, 2009

Does it have to be English?

Try Eurovision.
posted by kldickson at 11:32 AM on April 17, 2009

Thread full of Europop.
posted by kldickson at 11:35 AM on April 17, 2009

Check out Mika and (as others have said) The Boy Least Likely To. That's about all I listened to one particularly emotionally rough summer when all I could handle was maximum aural cotton candy joy joy tunes.
posted by mostlymartha at 11:41 AM on April 17, 2009

Try Otsuka Ai - Smily or Sakuranbo are representative examples. Or Morning Musume - Summer Happy Wedding.

If you're looking for short, happy song snippets you could also try Parry Gripp. Oh, and I second Cocteau Twins for a bit more sedate, ethereal songs; their album Four-Calendar Café is great for that.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 2:18 PM on April 17, 2009

Goldfrapp, 'The Seventh Tree'
or any Bat For Lashes.
Great lovely summer whinsome tuneful pop eccentricity.
Also check out Nouvelle Vague, it's 80's new wave but French cafe. It'll make you smile.
Oh, and St. Etienne.
posted by BadMiker at 3:24 PM on April 17, 2009

Thanks everyone! You gave me a ton of ideas for the final mood. The final playlist went like this. Try to imagine bunches of girls dressed as pixies with flower garlands draped over glitter, gauzy fabric.

We are the Daughters Of Triton - Little Mermaid STK
Ballet De Suburbia Suite - Danny Elfman
The Clog Dance - La Fille Mal Garde
The Magic Position - Patrick Wolfe
Breakfast Machine - Danny Elfman
Happy Workers - Tori Amos
What's the Use Of Wonderin' - Amanda Palmer
Reach For the Sun - Polyphonic Sphere
Some Velvet Morning - Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood
L.S.D - The Pop Classics Workshop
The Astronomer - Vermilion Lies
Wiener Waltz - The Muse' Mechainque Recordings
Cvalda - Bjork
Meet Me In The Red Room - Moulin Rouge STK
Pull Shapes - The Pipettes
Love Letter To Japan - The Bird and The Bee
The Fantastic Plastic World - Pizzicato Five
Ping Pong With Hong Kong - Momus
Section 19 - The Polyphonic Spree
Summer Wine - Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood
The Killing Moon - Nouvelle Vauge
Sugar Water - Cibo Mato
Tiny Paintings - Architecture in Helsinki
posted by The Whelk at 5:59 PM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

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