Montreal weirdo-pop band TOPS sift AM pop and later sophisti-pop through a bizarre homespun filter. Their debut album, 2012's Tender Opposites, was met with critical praise for its blend of outsider perspectives and classic songcraft. After a series of releases for the Arbutus label, they released their fourth studio album, 2020's I Feel Alive, on their own Musique TOPS label.
TOPS formed in 2011 out of the disbandment of Silly Kissers, a group that also included like-minded indie crooner Sean Nicholas Savage. Vocalist/songwriter Jane Penny and guitarist/songwriter David Carriere were soon joined by drummer Riley Fleck and bassist Tom Gillies. TOPS were associated with the same scene that spawned acts like Doldrums, Grimes, and Mac DeMarco, and they recorded their 2012 debut LP, Tender Opposites, for Arbutus Records, the label central to that scene. Gillies was replaced by bassist Madeline Glowicki before the recording of the band's second album, 2014's Picture You Staring.
For a deliberate change of environment, TOPS recorded their third LP at a house in Glendale, California. The resulting Sugar at the Gate arrived on Arbutus in 2017 with Jackson MacIntosh (Sheer Agony) taking over on bass. The group added fifth member Marta Cikojevic on keyboards in time for a tour of Europe. The quintet eventually headed back to the studio and emerged with I Feel Alive in 2020. Produced by Penny and Carriere, it was released on their newly formed label Musique TOPS, in partnership with independent distributor House Arrest. ~ Fred Thomas & Marcy Donelson