Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Pandora: Death Cab for Cutie

June 1, 2006

Pandora: Death Cab for Cutie

A lot of people don’t know about the amazing music resource that is Pandora.com. Pandora.com is part of the Music Genome Project, which is basically an attempt to categorize every song ever written, or come as close as possible. This is only complicated by the fact that people keep releasing music. But the guys and girls of the MGP keep hacking away at it, and we the listeners are all the better for it.

We’re better off because we can go to Pandora.com and type in a band or song name and their computer will automatically spit out a string of songs that you would probably like if you like that original song/band. In fact, they create an entire radio station out of songs you probably will like based on what you supplied. You listen to the songs they play for you, and if you like them (chances are you will), then you can buy the song off itunes, buy the album off Amazon.com, and most importantly tell them if you did like the song or not. If you didn’t like the track, they’ll take it out of your radio station, and play something a tad different to see if you like that. Thus, the longer you listen, the more likely you are to hear things you like. Eventually you’ll hear nothing but stuff you like. It’s an almost flawless way to find new music. In a monthly feature from now on, I’ll be picking a band and plugging them into Pandora. I’ll then list out some bands that played on the station that was created for that band. This will introduce you to some new bands, as well as introduce you to the power of Pandora.

This month’s band is Death Cab for Cutie. The opener song was “Champagne from a Paper Cup” by DCFC. The rest were as follows:

Innocent Vigilant Ordinary by Appleseed Cast.

Charging, panicked track that takes their trademark start/stop dynamics and herky-jerky melodies and makes them work beautifully. I was especially impressed by the vocal performance.

Island Lost at Sea by Stellastarr*

Brit rock with mournful vocals that swings from introspective to optimistic- the twinkly guitars and mood shifts make this longer track delightfully interesting. No, it really is long.

Plastic Smile by Brahman

A short indie-pop/power-pop song with slightly yippy vocals and a dancy drumbeat, this track is sure to put a smile on your face. Whether it’s plastic or not is up to you, but I was sold when the “whoah-oh”s came in. Definitely a good track to drive to.

Time Will Tell by Holly Golightly.

This one actually got the thumbs down on my Pandora player. I just didn’t like her vocal style too much- the laid-back tone clashed too much with the punky, retro vibe.

Roped and Tied by Codeseven

This dreamy track is definitely a keeper. Even with a constant bass-drum thump, this song seems to mosey along at its own pace. The guitars and vocals both contribute to the mood, as the guitars establish more mood than riff, and the vocals establish a lot of melodies but don’t really throw down a specific hook for the chorus, creating a very beautiful track that doesn’t feel like a gimmick. A very flowing, sincere track.

That’s it till next month. If you have a band to suggest for next month’s Pandora Chronicle, e-mail it to me at IndependentClauses@hotmail.com . Or, go to Pandora and look it up for yourself. Or both!

-Stephen Carradini

independentclauses@Hotmail.com

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

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