Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Mid-March MP3s: Vol. 2

March 17, 2016

1. “The House” – Air Traffic Controller. Is it too early to call this the song of the summer? This crunchy pop song has hooky verses, an enormous chorus, great lyrics, and did I mention the enormous chorus? I’ve been telling everyone I know. It’s that good.

2. “Masterpiece” – Big Thief. Like All Dogs if they had signed to Saddle Creek (as Big Thief has), “Masterpiece” is a crunchy, female-fronted rock track that has a serious country/folk sentiment running through it in the vocals and the drums.

3. “Codes” – JPhono1. Wandering back and forth between minor and major, this acoustic-led indie-rock track twists expectations in clever ways.

4. “Troubles” – Ego Death. An insistent acoustic guitar is accompanied by ominous banjo, floating flutes, and subtle pizzicato to create an acoustic tune full of tension and release.

5. “Mother” – Ulli Matsson. A pleasantly wavering, flowing, idiosyncratic voice leads this punchy, inspired two-guitar acoustic song.

6. “like a feather or a pawprint” – Field Medic. Combine Iron & Wine with The Tallest Man on Earth, and you’d have the sort of tenderly romantic lo-fi fingerpicking with enigmatic lyrics that Field Medic espouses here. A charming little tune.

7. “When U Come Home” – Kate Walsh. A dramatic acoustic-pop track gets an upgrade with a smooth electro beat and bass line.

8. “Midnight Runner” – Emilio Bonito. A warm, inviting acoustic guitar instrumental complete with tapping percussion, harmonics, and mood shifts.

9. “Chamber of Sins” – Gonzalo Varela. Do you remember the old F-Zero games for Nintendo? The frantic rhythms and 8-bit melodies of Varela’s unique slice of post-rock reminds me of the tunes from that old space-racing game. (Also reminds me of Anamanaguchi, which more people might be more familiar with.)

10. “No Glitch” – One Girl Symphony. The up-front placement of a big, fat, plodding bass line tells me right away that this isn’t a typical instrumental performance. The rest of the tune delivers, landing somewhere between funk, country, and post-rock. Get adventurous, y’all.

11. “Lucid” – Dreamless. The instrumental hip-hop designation usually seems a little presumptuous, but “Lucid” has the swagger, confidence, and even melodic flow that make me think, “yes, this is what they were looking for.”


Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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