Temperatures hit a high last Monday, and my spirits skyrocketed alongside them. (Seriously, where did that 70 degree weather come from? And where did it go?) While it might not be summer quite yet, there is no stopping my Spotify playlists transforming from soothing, contemplative ballads to summer songs. Yes, you know the ones — upbeat, danceable, sometimes obnoxious, songs reminiscent of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” that will govern the radio for the next four months.
Named one of Nylon magazine’s South by Southwest Artists to Watch, HOLYCHILD is a frontrunner to dominate the summer song scene this year. Self-diagnosed as “brat pop,” the LA-based duo takes traditional pop music (or as traditional as pop music can be) and adds a sarcastic spin to its construction, pairing experimental chords and an intense drumline to create an entirely new subsection of pop. A remix of HOLYCHILD’s most recent release, “Running Behind,” is currently featured the new Apple Watch commercial, allowing brat pop to take to television screens across the nation.
HOLYCHILD, comprised of Liz Nistico and Louie Diller, formed when the pair met as juniors at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. With a sound similar to Icona Pop (whose love child with Charli XCX, “I Love It,” monopolized the summer of 2013), Nistico and Diller make music that should be listened to with the volume turned up and the windows rolled down. It’s fun, sugary sweet and inventive in ways that haven’t been explored yet. “Running Behind,” characterized by powerful, steady percussion and looping choruses, sets the stage for these new methods and dictates the direction of HOLYCHILD’s vision. Although much of the focus remains on syncopated beats and repetitive electronic riffs, the sarcastic lyrics of “Playboy Girl” explore the unrealistic expectations placed on women in relationships. Despite its bubblegum pop sound, many of the songs on HOLYCHILD’s first EP MINDSPEAK indirectly address larger societal issues without alerting the casual listener.
These up-and-coming artists often take to their Twitter to interact with fans and express their desire to stay true to themselves amid the hectic journey to fame. While their authenticity is refreshing in a world primarily revolving around appearances, it’s also interesting to see the reflection of their personalities in their music. Liz and Louie’s rebellious tendencies frequently manifest themselves in their mocking lyrics, singing “I would lie if I say I did know / My true love and my silly symbol” in “Pretend Believe.” Set to release their first full length album on Jun. 2, HOLYCHILD’s The Shape of Brat Pop to Come will attempt to define this new genre and kick-start the summer with catchy and innovative musical techniques fit for the Top 40.
Some songs are meant to be summer songs. They aren’t ones that will be remembered in 50 years or played in the background of a graduation slideshow (my mother was partial to Billy Joel’s “Vienna”), and that’s okay. These are songs that that you’ll find on that throwback playlist and they’ll launch you back to that road trip or those nights in the park. This is exactly what HOLYCHILD strives to do — create songs that make memories.