Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Mid-April MP3s: Indie rock, electro, and the rest

April 16, 2016

1. “Crickets” – Some Army. Some Army sounds seamless here, as if every instrument were playing together as one. That’s a credit to their mature, strong indie-rock songwriting, excellent arranging, and immaculate production. Quite a track here.

2. “Flashback” – Astral Cloud Ashes. If you’re into MeWithoutYou, you’ll have a strong connection with ACA’s approach here: speak/sing vocals over a moody, brooding indie-rock backdrop.

3. “Ticks” – Vienna Ditto. This wildly inventive track requires some oddball words to be strung together, but here goes: sassy ’50s girl pop meets Spaghetti Westerns outside an arcade inside a dark carnival. Sometimes it is like dancing about architecture.

4. “The Joke” – Islands. A thrumming, inviting electro beat meshes with a claustrophobic mood and somehow keeps the song from going full dance-rock; big Bloc Party vibes abound.

5. “Johnny” – Basement Revolver. It takes a lot to get me interested in a mid-tempo garage rock song, because there are so many in the world. Basement Revolver’s perfectly-turned vocals, well-done guitars, and excellent build-ups result in a song that balances vulnerability and confidence neatly.

6. “Woman” – Dear Life,. Quirky, crunchy indie-rock with a multitude of influences that create interesting moments when I least expect them.

7. “Real” – Grace Joyner. Joyner’s lilting voice and engaging chorus hooks suck me in, and the bass/synths arrangement keep me swaying along to the rest of it.

8. “Young Green Eyes” – Leaone. This feels like a male-fronted version of a lost Adele song in its dramatic sweep, use of vocals, and general expansiveness. Could be poised for a big breakthrough.

9. “Even If” – Jesse Owen Astin. So it’s sort of a ballad, but there’s an electro-pop edge in Astin’s vocals that keeps this a little more raw than a ballad would otherwise be.

10. “I’m a Sea Creature” – Color Majesty. Space Age Bachelor Pad music meets some Pogo-esque glitchy vocals to result in another really smooth track.

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

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