Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

A Random Group of Good Songs

August 1, 2005

A Random Group of Good Songs

Truth in advertising. Enjoy.

Song: Breaking Habits

Band: Jude

Genre: Indie
Album: N/a
Label: N/a
Website: www.juderockmusic.com

Bottom Line: If I never heard another indie song, it would be okay.

With “Breaking Habits”, Jude has created indie rock that is intricate, enveloping, personal, and emotional. Add to that some rocking out, and you’ve got the formula for a perfect indie song- which is very nearly what “Breaking Habits” is. The vocals here are stunning- beautiful, fitting, and never off, they pull at the heartstrings even more than the guitars do, which is a challenge in itself. The guitars are melodic, complex, and they have a unique sound. If that wasn’t enough, the harmonies are great, the lyrics are awesome, and when they finally rock out at the end of the song, there’s an intensity in it that cannot be duplicated by the most intense of bands- it’s an emotional intensity that comes from actually believing in the sadness captured in the song. “Breaking Habits” is a near-perfect song, and the fact that Jude isn’t signed and that they don’t even have a CD out is nearly sacrilegious. They must be heard.

Song: Electro Cult
Band: Fingers Crossed
Genre: Post-punk
Album: N/a
Label: N/a
Website: www.fingerscrossed.gr
Bottom Line: Tight musicianship propels this band.

Post-punk is built on timing and interactions- which is why Fingers Crossed is so good at what it does. The dark, moody post-punk of “Electro Cult” has the ticking drum beats, whirring guitars, and well-timed odd effects that make post-punk so good. Pair that with a slick set of vocals and a way-reverbed lead guitar lick, and you’ve got a song that you can dance to, or set a movie to, or chill to. It’s multi-talented because Fingers Crossed is so talented at achieving the balance between moodiness, pop sensibility, and enough creativity to sell it effectively. Certainly not the greatest post-punk band to hit the planet, but still very, very good.

Song: Until the End
Band: A Thousand Leagues Below
Genre: Emo
Album: Demo
Label: N/a
Website: www.myspace.com/athousandleaguesbelow
Bottom Line: A portrait of a growing band.

A Thousand Leagues Below is composed of members of the sadly defunct bands #1 Defender and Slingshot Round the Moon- and while it is sad to see the IC favorites #1 Defender go down, it is comforting to know that they’ve taken their experiences in the Defender and applied them to a new band. To that measure, Thousand Leagues… and #1D sound a lot alike- the delicate guitar sound, the variation of distorted and clean sounds, and meandering song ideas all are here. There are two major differences: the vocalist for A Thousand Leagues Below is much, much better, as his tone fits much better with the music. There are spots that it seems to grate with the music, but those will become less and less as the band writes more and more. The second difference is the fact that “Until the End” has a chorus. #1D never had choruses, and 1000LB pulls it off very nicely here. I’m excited to see what they have to offer in the near future.

Song: Long Stay
Band: In The Sun
Genre: Indie-pop
Album: N/a
Label: N/a
Website: www.purevolume.com/inthesun
Bottom Line: A quirky songwriting vision produces mixed results.

There are about as many stances you can take on In The Sun’s music as there are personalities in the world. Some will see his indie-pop/indie-rock musings as self-indulgent oddities, useless for others’ consumption. Some will see the songwriting but not understand the lyrics, or balk at the odd, sloppy, occasionally robotic voice which projects them. Some will say it’s alright, that in a couple of years and a couple of albums he will have figured out ‘who he is’ musically, learned better production values, and turned out a much better product. I fall somewhere in that group- these mostly acoustic, sloppy, odd, endearing recordings are clearly going somewhere. I’m not sure where it’s going just yet, but In the Sun has a very unique take on songwriting- which is something to be commended in this day and age. Something to check out? Maybe. A name to remember? Definitely.

Song: Prettier in the Dark
Band: Alina Simone
Genre: Singer-songwriter
Album: Prettier in the Dark EP
Label: Fractured Discs
Website: www.girlwithguitar.com

Bottom Line: Minimalistic, powerful, and scorned.

Alina Simone controls empty space like the Flaming Lips control lush orchestration- they use it as far as it will go, and then take it a little bit more to see if it will work. They both fall back on an established form to give backbone to the experimentation- the Flaming Lips on weird pop-rock, Alina Simone on a traditional drums/guitar/bass instrumentation. That’s not to compare Simone and the Lips- other than similar songwriting patterns, they have nothing in common. Simone’s forlorn songwriting has more in common with Ani Difranco or Alanis Morrissette than the Lips. But the control over emptiness displays confidence- she’s not afraid to let her smooth, dark vocals and jangly guitar play by themselves. She can carry the song anyway. She does, and the ethereal, smoky song that is put out bleeds with a fiery lyrical sarcasm and sets her apart from other female songwriters.

Song: We Need to Know
Band: Drawn In The Sky
Genre: Power-pop-punk
Album: N/a
Label: N/A
Website: www.myspace.com/drawnintheskyrock

Bottom Line: Eerily like other bands of the genre, but it’s really strong…

Drawn in the Sky is a dead ringer for Mono Vs. Stereo pop-punk band Last Tuesday. I don’t mean bears resemblance. I mean both of Drawn in the Sky’s singers have voices that mimic the voices of Last Tuesday’s dual vocalists. I mean that the songwriting styles are so close that the bands could be interchanged on a CD and no one would be able to tell the two bands apart. I love Last Tuesday, so this is a pretty good thing for me to say- but geez, it’s virtually impossible to tell the two bands apart. They even use the same type of background vocals. It’s as if they commiserated before they wrote songs. Drawn in the Sky has a little bit more mature songwriting in the fact that not every song is straight-up pop-punk like Last Tuesday, but it’s still very close. If you’re up for a tight, melodic power-pop-punk band, check out Drawn in the Sky. If you like them, then you’ll like Last Tuesday, and you’ll get two for one. How’s that deal?

-Stephen Carradini

independentclauses’hotmail.com

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

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