The University of Iowa University of Iowa

High “Twee” in The Lab

By: Zach Tilly

In the frosty malaise of winter, when angsty tears freeze to scrunched faces and the world seems stricken by sadness, two crusaders of cuteness offer weekly a spoonful of the sugary antidote. Twee and Crumpets, the infectiously happy brainchild of hosts Nate Gould and Mari Gunn, offers a look into the world of twee every Wednesday night at 8 in The Lab that could loosen up the tightest of tightwads.

Twee, the most cheerful tier of indie pop, gets its name from a British slang term meaning ‘sickeningly sweet and dainty’, an association that the show does not shy away from. “Anything adorable with ukuleles and hand clapping is twee,” said co-host Mari Gunn, “especially if the subject of the music is best friends, kittens, or rainbows.” With such an emphasis on the cute, there can be no doubt that the show exists to spread the smiley twee vibe throughout Eastern Iowa, but the show’s musical scope is not to be overlooked.

Twee, for all its youthful appearances, has a rich musical history that spans a quarter century from its mid-80s birth underground in the UK to its more refined modern state. The playlists put together for each installment of Twee and Crumpets span the genre’s expansive catalog, showcasing modern acts like the woefully-named Architecture in Helsinki, Belle and Sebastian, and Camera Obscura alongside twee pioneers like The Pastels and Tiger Trap, providing the most cheerful tour of a music genre you’re ever likely to encounter.

Twee and Crumpets’ syrupy escapism and impressive variety jell beautifully, creating an accessible, always enjoyable hour of music. Twee and Crumpets airs every Wednesday night from 8-9p on the Lab, tune in and experience better living through twee.

Check out the show’s blog at to listen to playlists from past shows or request a song for next week’s show.