This Rose Melberg Tribute Compilation Is Twee AF
Music is full of mythos. People become icons after dedicating their life to their craft, offering us plebeians timeless art. This level of celebrity worship is usually earned after death; it’s the true legends that manage to become mythological beings in life. For those who fancy themselves indie-pop purists — the kind that cringe at the word “twee,” but understand its subcultural weight — Rose Melberg is royalty.
When it comes to American indie-pop, K Records and the Pacific Northwest is considered the hotbed. While mainstream music in the '90s was dominated by grunge, a certain hazy masculinity, a group of gentle folk made soft music, Melberg becoming a major player in the scene with her bands Tiger Trap, the Softies, Go Sailor, Gaze, Tally Ho! — later Gigi, PUPS, Imaginary Pants, Brave Irene and Knife Pleats. While these acts differ greatly from one another, her keen ear for huge melody in small spaces exists throughout. In the genre, she is a leading songwriter.
This week Jeremy Jensen, frontman for Boise, Idaho pop band the Very Most, compiled and released Constant and True – A Tribute to the Songs of Rose Melberg via February Records. The 21-track CD is a lot to parse through in the best possible way — bands from the U.S., Scotland, England, Spain, Norway, France, Australia and the Dominican Republic contribute to the release. Boyracer, a popular '90s indie-pop band from Wetherby in Leeds, came out of retirement to cover the Softies song “Alaska.”
Perhaps most notable is the Band á Part’s cover of Go Sailor’s “Long Distance.” The nouvelle vague Madrid dynamic duo reworked the song to perform it in Spanish, highlighting something indie-pop fans have always known to be true: There’s an inherent absoluteness in the genre, something that goes beyond language. Alternative pop music can have mythos, just like the women who create it.
Listen to Constant and True below.