Sometimes you just want something that makes you want to glide. Here are six of those somethings.
1. “Supersonic” – Dynasty Electric. Pulse-pounding dance music with a rubbery, LCD Soundsystem-style bass (which means I’m all, all, all over this).
2. “Forever in Your Debt” – Slow Readers Club. Do you miss old-school Interpol? Apply within for bass lines, night-time vibes, and general cool.
3. “Anxieties” – The Landing. Funky, smooth, quirky, perky: The Landing does it all in five minutes. Props. Mad props.
4. “Your Majesty” – Slack Armada. Song and band name are excellent fits for this tune, which re-appropriates bits that you’d hear in clubby dance hits into something majestic, slow-moving, and chilled out. There are surprises in store, as well; come for the chill, stay for the … well, I’ll let you hear it.
5. “I Want to Tell You Something” – D’Opus. Because you need more sleek, sinuous, futurist instrumental hip-hop in your life.
6. “These Days” – Martha Marlow. Every now and then, I’m totally blown away by a tune. 19-year-old Marlow’s smooth, lithe singer/songwriter performance here is every bit as assertive, clear and interesting as artists 10 years older. Watch out for her in 2014.
I absolutely love this style of dancing, and the gorgeous setting makes the actio in Flume & Chet Faker’s “Drop The Game” video even more beautiful.
Post-Echo releases records, but they also do way cool collaborative projects. PASSAGE is a movie/music collab that they’ve released in installations. The fifth part drops Dec. 3, but the trailer for the whole work is here:
Speaking of Post-Echo, it appears that going to a show by optimistic post-rockers Pan is about as much fun as I’d expect; which is to say, lots and lots. Props to the violinist for wearing proper ear protection: you’ll appreciate that in 20 years.
Lotta good stuff trying to cram its way into 2013! Here’s a varied mix.
1. “No Sleep Tonight” – Family Cave. The precision of indie-pop, the aesthetics of indie-rock, and the mood of indie-folk create an incredibly intriguing tune. Watch for Family Cave in 2014.
2. “Keep It Together” – Decent Lovers. Not a cover of a Guster tune, this DL jam is ironically pretty separated and hectic. It’s held together by a strong mood and a deep internal rhythm. Elijah Wyman is getting better and better at this really unique style of pop.
4. “Don’t Shoot the Messenger” – Miles Hewitt. Reminiscent of ’60s and ’70s protest rock, Hewitt combines old and new into a hypnotic mix.
5. “Belfast” – William Steffey. Takes cues from Oasis with dashes of Portishead and Blur, this tune sounds completely British but is totally from Chicago.
6. “Heartbreakers” – Tomorrows. The Jim Ivins Band rebrands and revamps, moving from an adult-pop template to sounds more akin to Anberlin’s early modern rock. The prominence of vocal melodies has not changed, which is good.
7. “Love Is Not Allowed” – Gap Dream. Obligatory Eno namecheck. Aside from that, this is a gorgeous, swirling mass of analog-sounding synths, modulated vocals, and electronic drums that makes me swoon.
8. “Get In It” – Nyteowl. Funky, spacey, mostly-instrumental R&B. “Do you want to get in it?” Yes. Yes, I do.
9. “Get Down Baby” – Blacktop Daisy. You’ve got to hand it to a band which unabashedly labels its music disco. No violins here, but those harmonies!
10. “Can’t Let Go” – Black Checker. This pop-rock-punk tune comes from an EP called Fast. Yup, that’s pretty much all you need to know.
11. “The Ah Ah Song” – Stand Up and Say No. I miss the days when The Flaming Lips made jubilant, illogical, bright pop tunes. This joyful, exuberant pop-rock tune is exactly that.
12. “Ain’t No Sunshine” – Magi. This Bill Withers cover is minimalist lo-fi glory: the distant recording, the raw passion in the imperfect vocals, the deep sense of mood.
I’m really amused by numbers. Independent Clauses is getting to the point in its existence where the numbers of its posts correspond with years that I know historical events from. Every now and then I’ll post what number the post is. This post is brought to you by the end of the American Civil War.
Max Elto’s “Backyard Animals” combines futurist urban spaces and medieval history. Yeah, me neither, but it’s pretty cool.
Lapland’s “Unwise” combines forests, ghosts, and a color palette not that different from the previous clip.
Velour Modular’s “Forward” is a barrage of images that form a completely surreal whole. If you figure out what’s going on in here, let me know.
1. “It’s All Over Now” – Blair Crimmins and the Hookers. Vintage-style New Orleans jazz/rag doesn’t get much more fun that this. I mean, spoons!! You know you love this already.
2. “Break Away” – Afterlife Parade. AP’s triumphant indie-rock is sounding more and more like U2 by way of The Killers with every release, and I’m totally down with that. You hit those soaring group vocal lines, and I don’t care who you sound like. Sing it.
3. “Silver Boys” – Holyoak. Do you wish that Grizzly Bear was a little less obtuse? Maybe that Fleet Foxes was a little more direct? Holyoak delivers the goods.
4. “White Noise” – The Hand in the Ocean. Heavy on the folk, lite on the indie; heavy on the warbling vocals, lite on Bon Iver beauty-croon; heavy on the banjo, lite on the kick drum.
5. “Ghostflake” – Owls of the Swamp. This piano-led, indie-folk take is as delicate and gentle as the title would suggest.
6. “Vermona” – Take Berlin. Formal pop songcraft and singer/songwriter fare are coming closer and closer together, as the rambling Bob Dylan impulses of yore are turning more toward Paul Simon’s beautiful structuralism. This track’s guitar and analog synthesizer show off that shift.
7. “Broken Arrows” – Tracy Shedd also shows off her formal songcraft skills, adding in a touch of ’50s pop vocal flair to the precise acoustic strumming and melodicism.
8. “The Kids and the Rain” – Alex Tiuniaev. New classical piano composer Tiuniaev opens his album Blurred with this moody, atmospheric, scene-setting solo keys piece.
So I’m getting caught up on MP3s too. Soon I will be back on schedule!
MP3 Drop 1: DANCE IT OUT
1. “Wear You Out” – Amerigogo. Punk-funk-party-rock with muscle, grit and old-school “we play our own damn instruments” passion. If you don’t want to dance to this, I’m not sure this blog can help you much on that front.
2. “Gold” – Half Sister. There will always be room in my heart for more girl-fronted power-pop, especially when it’s as crisp and surprisingly emotive as this. Tender is not a term given to power-pop that often, but more power to Half Sister for pulling it off.
3. “Small Pony” – Dott. Girl-fronted power-pop that features an impressive bit of drumming; if you’re on the Best Coast train, you’ll find much to love here.
4. “Get Down” – Like Clockwork. Somewhere between the Postal Service and Ke$ha lies this track and its catchy chorus. Cobra Starship? Maybe?
5. “TTYN” – SCRNS. Is Lorde on the front edge of something, or is she already causing? SCRNS has similarly minimalist electro production going on, and it’s similarly catchy and fun.
6. “Partners in Crime” – We Were Lovers. I don’t think I can ever think of rich, majestic, night-time dance-rock without invoking The Killers. So a female-fronted Killers it is, and I love it.
7. “My Song 9” – Nova Heart. Ominous, foreboding female-fronted indie-electro-rock with an excellent production job.
8. “Inhibitionist” – Starlight Girls. The line between campy horror and surf-rock has never been harder to find. Fun all around, whatever you think the sound is.
9. “Earthquake” – Passafire. The only reggae I know much about is Matisyahu, but Passafire caught my attention with this track: smooth vocals, great chorus, a bit of tough edge to the guitar.
10. “Moonlight” – Message to Bears. A hypnotizing, gently rolling tune that inhabits the space between artsy R&B and atmospheric indie-folk.
So I don’t usually post more than four videos at a time, but I’m behind and there’s a ton of good videos sitting in my inbox. So here’s two days with 11 total (WHOA).
Way Yes’ indie/tribal/jam/whatever-rock gets treated to a suitably surreal video including two Segways, a hilarious dance circle, and reptiles.
Here’s another dance party, this one made out of beautiful, intricate paper cut-outs. It’s set to Letters to Fiesta’s “Vampires,” which is going to go over real well with fans of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Bjork.
“Explorer” by Breathe Owl Breathe puts the dance party in outer space.
So I have no idea what’s going on in “Arctic Shark” by Quilt, but it might be a dance party. It’s mesmerizing, whatever it is.
Astonishingly, Femme’s video for “Heartbeat” includes a dance party, reptiles, and the same sort of video design as Quilt’s. Everything is so referential these days. Everything is connected. YO BUT ENOUGH OF THAT LET’S DANCE.
So iTunes has a radio feature now, and it’s not like any other radio I’ve ever heard. For one, they actually play great music. Secondarily, they solve the problem of “established vs. undiscovered” by letting the listener pick which they want (fancy that). Finally, it sounds like the curation is done by people– if it’s not, the algorithims are finely tuned to produce much better effects than “similar instruments, similar rhythms,” like Pandora does.
For example, in just over an hour of listening to a station I made based off Gregory Alan Isakov, I heard of four new bands that I am totally into:
1. The Family Crest, which sounds like a more textured version of IC faves Typhoon. This video right here has under 7500 plays, which is firmly under-the-radar. (Although they have been in Paste, so they are moving on up.)
2. Bronze Radio Return, who I probably should have known about. (At least I know now!) Sounds like Paul Simon fronting Mumford and Sons. (This is a huge compliment.)
3. The Rocketboys, who have slipped through the cracks of my music knowledge in their 8-year history:
4. Amy Stroup has apparently been featured on various TV shows that I don’t watch, so that’s how I didn’t catch the memo.
Yeah. All that in one hour. I’m totally sold on iTunes radio.
In addition to writing a blog about new music, I work with musicians. I’ve booked tours, run press, produced albums, consulted on projects, and lots more. I know a little bit how music works right now, and I can say with definition that it’s a brave new world for musicians. Old business models are inaccessible, unreliable, or totally defunct. There’s a lot more artists have to do on their own. The problem is, of course, that there are few people to teach them how to do it.
Enter Musicians’ Desk Reference. Put together by the fine folks over at Counter Rhythm Group, the Reference gives step by step guides on how to do everything associated with being a band. I do mean everything, from starting a band, to branding, to managing rights, to booking tours. It is a comprehensive guide of how to get things done. Furthermore, it’s set up in five neat chapters, because you don’t need to know all of that at the beginning of your musical venture’s life. If that weren’t enough, there are checkboxes for when you get each section of the chapter done. If you’re a go-getter, Type A person, this is just the absolute best.
The Reference website allows you to run multiple projects at once, as well; so if you’re managing several bands, you can keep them all in the same account. Various people can be looped in, and they can be given different privileges corresponding to their level of need-to-know and editing privileges. In short, this is a comprehensive self-managing (or small manager of a few bands) system. I haven’t gotten to work with it extensively yet, but just from what I’ve been able to do and find so far, I give it my highest recommendation. This will teach you everything you need to know about how to be a musician right now. The fact that it’s an interactive system as well just makes it even more impressive.
If you’re an artist who wants to make career of it but doesn’t know where to start, you need the Musicians’ Desk Reference. That’s all there is to it. This is excellent, excellent stuff. It’s currently a one-time fee of $75, which is an absolute steal. I spent 10 years and thousands of dollars learning the hard way what you can get for less than a Benjamin in under a minute. I can’t stress to you how much of a good deal that is.