PEACH KELLI POP with Non-Stop Girls and Your Girlfriend at the Magpie (831 Dundas West), Saturday (March 30), 9 pm. Pwyc $8. 647-350-8305. See listings.
Allie Hanlon, aka Peach Kelli Pop, grew up in Ottawa listening to Motown hits, Much Dance Mix 96 and the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.
"Nothing similar to the kind of music I make now," Hanlon says over the phone from Nashville, where she's halfway through touring her self-titled second album, which came out in December.
But when combined with her introduction to grunge music at five, her everlasting love of Cyndi Lauper's voice and her obsession with Sailor Moon, the varied pop cultural influences start to explain the indie project that is Peach Kelli Pop.
It's bubble-gum music with a side of rock and roll. Catchy melodies and harmonies mix with distorted guitar, and for every mention of dream phones, there's a smashing drumbeat - not surprising since Hanlon's also the drummer of Ottawa-based punk outfit the White Wires.
The 26-year-old wrote, recorded and produced all the tracks on the album, which she insists isn't lo-fi. "I don't appreciate when I'm lumped in with that vague term," Hanlon says.
The tag isn't meant to be dismissive, though. The gritty production adds warmth to her gushy jangle-pop ditties, making them sound like confessional love songs left on a crush's voice mail.
After riding the wave of notable punk bands that emerged from Ottawa between 2007 and 2010 - White Wires, Sedatives, the Suppositories - Hanlon left for Tucson in 2012, and then Oakland, before settling in Sacramento.
"I'm not sure what happened, but that wave kind of stopped, and I was ready to get out of Ottawa," she explains, mentioning that an Ottawa zine suggested that her first LP's cover art, featuring Hanlon in a jean jacket vest and sequined bikini, was a ploy to lure in creepy guys. "I was longing to move somewhere where people were positive and more inspiring."
She also wanted to be closer to San Francisco, a mecca for indie pop, the genre she loves but which can be hard to describe.
"In San Pedro a policeman asked me what kind of music Peach Kelli Pop is, and I just said pop. He said, ‘Like Miley Cyrus?' and I was like, ‘Not really.' We're travelling around in a minivan, so that's what we sound like."