Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Quick Hits: Gold Beach / Cartography

May 22, 2012

The rock of Cartography’s Rasputin 7″ combines elements of post-punk, post-hardcore and garage rock for a fascinating amalgam. The title track starts off at a garage rock jaunt with vintage ’00s devil-may-care vocals before breaking down into a post-hardcore half-time section; then it takes off into a melodic section with a shuffling drumbeat and a straight-up guitar solo. Totally not kidding. The whole thing is pulled off with composure, maturity and melodic flair; there are vocals, but they’re only there when they need to be. The same is true of the singing in b-side “Shasta,” which starts off in profoundly melodic post-rock mode before jumping into a more garage-y state. But it’s never the snarl and gasp of The Vines or the Hives; Cartography is much too poised for that. I suppose some would see that as a detractor, but it does nothing but impress me. The vast amount of influences drawn on and referenced make me want to hear more from the band. Cartography does what it wants on Rasputin, and what it wants is completely great and worth following closely.

Gold Beach’s self-titled EP fits into the serious indie music vein that The National and Bon Iver have made a career out of, combining the weighty arrangements of the former and the high vocals of the latter with burbling synths to create an engaging listen. The six songs create their own world for 23 minutes, and whether or not you want to inhabit their mood should be decided by what you like your pop songs to do for you: this skews much closer to art than “Call Me Maybe.” “Skin of Yours” showcases their sound best, while the driving “Diving Bell” is another highlight. These Austinites get gravitas, and so those in favor of serious music will find much to love.

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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