Pop & Obachan is Emma Tringali and Jake Smisloff, a pair of New Yorkers who make absolutely lovely air-light pop-rock among other creative endeavors including videos, illustrations, and photography. Their new album is called Misc. Excellence, and it lives up to its name.
The duo recorded the album in their apartment on a tape deck, lending each song a tangible sense of warmth and intimacy. There are traces of Beach House’s hazy reverie in Pop & Obachan’s approach, but their music is cleaner and less grandiose, speckled with ’60s psych influences and the gentler side of modern indie-pop — think Alvvays but with the soft dynamics of the Clientele.
It’s all quite pretty, and as Tringali explains, it’s intended to draw you out of your protective shell:
We started recording this album a year ago onto a Fostex tape deck — the second hand reel we were using had someone else’s mix on it, and was already labeled as Misc. Excellence. We felt really excited that the tape had this energy built into it, and that we could extend its lifespan a little bit.
Misc. Excellence challenges the idea that sentimentality and straightforwardness is embarrassing, or that it is cool to be cynical, when being cynical is sometimes the easiest way to create / live, especially in New York. We are really inspired by artists that are not afraid of creating an empathic experience — showing the darkness right next to the light and letting the listener decide which emotion they’d like to pick up at that moment.
Jake and I recorded this album alone in our apartment, but we are lucky enough to perform live with our band of great musicians & humans (shown in the “I Bet High” video) who also embody this approach and continue to grow a really thoughtful & fun music community.
Stream the album in full below.
Misc. Excellence is out 10/7. Pre-order it here.