Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Industries of the Blind makes gorgeous, freeflowing post-rock to love

May 12, 2011

Industries of the Blind‘s “Chapter 1: Had we known better” is just over thirty minutes of heavily orchestrated post-rock. It’s split into three parts: 13 minutes, 5 minutes, and 13 minutes. It’s important to note that, because if you didn’t pay close attention, you’d feel that it’s all one piece. Seeing as they did in fact title it “Chapter 1,” I don’t think it’s too out of place to consider it all one piece.

“I Just Wanted To Make You Something Beautiful” is the final track and the second of the 13-minute pieces. It follows a predictable but desirable post-rock formula: start with forlorn guitar, bring in the strings, slow build from there to crashing finale. If post-rock were a country, Industries of the Blind would be making their way through Sigur Ros, with Explosions in the Sky coming up over the horizon.

There are no vocals, and that, along with the fact that the 30+ minutes are only divided into three (or one, as I previously noted), it’s hard to pick out parts of this to admire or criticize that would really mean anything to you. But it is helpful to note that the composers were on to something with the title of “I Just Wanted To Make You Something Beautiful” : the half hour is absolutely gorgeous.

Put it on repeat and you’ll fall asleep (and have beautiful, Michel Gondry-ian dreams, I bet). Put it in on in your car and you’re suddenly in a Wes Anderson movie. Put it on during a party and you’re in the weird slo-mo part of a Charlie Kaufman film. I have no idea what would happen if you made out with this in the background, but I would sure like to find out. This is the type of music that dramatic things happen to. It’s really good.

If you like post-rock, you should check out Industries of the Blind. It’s not going to blow your mind like Isis or The Non, but it’s not going to require as much effort on your part either. It is music to be heard and loved. Get it here for “essentially free,” as they note in their website. They only ask that you share it and/or donate if you love it. And you should very much do both.

Brine Webb's morose yet beautiful music captivates

May 11, 2011

Sometimes an album invades my consciousness and takes up residence. It pushes all other music out. It becomes the only thing I want to listen to. It puts me behind on listening to and reviewing other music. Most recently, that album has been Brine Webb‘s O You, Stone Changeling.

Webb’s album is based in the acoustic guitar, but his compositions are so intricate and yet expansive that they transcend genres. The tunes are all, however, completely devastating. From the distressed lyrics to the downtrodden tone of the songs to the artwork, this whole album is under the weather.

But it is morose in the most beautiful way; tunes like “Rrose Hips,” “Paper and Bone” and “Cigarette Tree” impact me in a way few songs are able to. Not only am I able relate to the lyrics and feel the emotion laden in the tunes, the songs hit so close to home that I have to examine myself. Rare is the album that turns the microscope on the listener.

Webb does this by turning an unsparing lens on himself. The themes here of remorse, memory, apathy and even death make other “confessional” artists seem like they’re going through the motions to grab attention. You wanna get really raw? Try writing “Ghost Family.” Try performing “Ghost Family.” Wow.

The elegant acoustic rumination “Rrose Hips” is on my best songs of the year list, as well as the haunting piano tune “Paper and Bone.” I don’t put many songs on the list, but Brine has done it twice. The album itself is definitely on my list, as you can’t have this many good songs and not be there. It’s an album that will grab and hold you. Listen to the whole thing here. And do yourself a favor and listen to the whole thing. It’s worth it.

Check the album release party this Friday at Pepe Delgado’s on Campus Corner in Norman. The Nghiems will open, and they’re also releasing a CD. Bonus!

Cash Cash's dance-pop falls this far from being absolutely killer

May 9, 2011

I knew the first time I heard the “ra-ra-ah-ah-ah” riff of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” that it was going to be an enormous smash. It has the unnamed x factor that makes pop songs into classics.

Cash Cash‘s “Love or Lust” has ten tunes in the Cobra Starship mold that all have the ability to be minor radio hits. But there’s not a track here that has the x factor. I only bring it up because every song is so close to having it. I don’t usually listen to dance-pop, because the majority of it is bland and formulaic. Cash Cash’s is not bland, and if it’s formulaic, it’s the formula listeners want. But there’s no go-for-the-throat melody, riff or hook here.

“Wasted Love” shows great promise through the verses and bridge, but the chorus is too soaring and sultry for the down’n’dirty mood. “Sexin’ on the Dance Floor” acknowledges that it’s a straight-up club jam, and the verses crackle with tension. But the chorus spins a bit too far into pop-punk to fit the tune perfectly. “Naughty or Nice” has the same tension bristling the verses, but the pre-chorus and chorus drops the energy with their choice of atmospheric synths instead of straightforward ones.

“Dirty Lovin'” is the most honestly techno tune here, and it’s a highlight. It’s like Cascada with a dude singing, and I like it. Again though, the charm is laid too thick on the pre-chorus, giving it a winking, pop-punk, Boys Like Girls attitude. It’s so incredibly close to being a killer.

“One Night Stand” has all the musical parts, but the lyrics are brutal (“Don’t touch my heart/I told you from the start/I’m only looking for a one night stand”). I don’t put it past the modern public to like harsh songs (I already quoted a song called “Bad Romance”), but this one is nearly unpleasant in its callousness.

You’ll have bits and pieces of these tunes haunting the aural part of your brain for days. But you won’t find a whole song that just won’t leave your ear.  I hope Cash Cash keeps making songs, because they have all the pieces here to make a whole string of hit songs. They just need to spin the BINGO tumbler once more and get a new combination of pieces. It’s a bright future for Cash Cash, if they can get there.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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