Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Mid-February Singles, pt. 2: Acoustic

February 19, 2016

1. “Evergreen” – The Tomes. This moving track pits a clear-eyed vocal performance and swift fingerpicking against a swooning violin and delicate piano performance. The results are light and yet weighty; dramatic, yet intimate.

2. “Modesto” – Jon Bennett. This creaky speakin’ folk made my heart leap in recognition and desire, reminded me of Jeffrey Lewis and Bob Dylan. What else do I need to tell you to get you to listen to this?

3. “Unpuzzle Me” – Kate Copeland. There’s something ghostly and close about the mandolin and vocal pairing here that comforts me.

4. “No Mercy in the Night” – Natalie Lurie. Lurie’s harp is insistent, her voice is glorious, and the arrangement frames it all perfectly to sound like a female-fronted Barr Brothers.

5. “Heroin Strings” – Jack Conman. The perfectly-recorded drums here sound just north of empty cans in a big room, which gives this ominous tune a bit of an extra pop. Conman’s vocal performance is also particularly evocative and moody.

6. “The Big Surprise” – Trickster Guru. Elements of Carrie and Lowell run through this moody, death-pondering track.

7. “Long Way Back” – Terri Binion. From the jaunty old-school country vibes, you wouldn’t know that this is a track about a tragic death of a wife and the attempts to cope with that.

8. “Fear of Music” – Tobie Milford. Fans of Antony and the Johnsons will connect with Milford’s theatrical vocals, complex orchestral arrangements, and intensely dramatic moods.

9. “Up There Listening” – Jordan Prince. Back porch picking on a banjo and guitar with Prince’s sweet, charming voice making the tune even more endearing.

10. “Child of the ’70s” – Derek Clegg. Evocative of flower-power folk (Jackson Browne! James Taylor!) but subverts the script by being a song about growing older. It’s like Ben Folds’ “The Ascent of Stan,” but chiller and more accepting of the realities entailed therein.

11. “I Will Follow You” – RIVVRS. Ah, home sweet home: tom thump, “hey,” upbeat strum, romantic lyrics, catchy melodies. This one’s for everyone who just loves a good, honest, earnest folk-pop tune.

 

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of instrumental music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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