Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Mid-May MP3s: Come on in, Summer

May 14, 2016

1. “A Laughing Heart” – Steve Benjamins. I am a sucker for steel drums and horns; Benjamins includes both in this jubilant party of a song. If you were waiting for a song to kick off your summer appropriately, let me suggest this one.

2. “I Confess” – Cody Hudock. Hudock possesses the rare skill of being able to sound dramatic and chill at the same time. His skyscraping vocals bring the theatrics (in the best of ways), while a lazy piano and moseying drummer keep the vibes relaxed. The end ratchets up to a big, satisfying conclusion, but for a while, being suspended between the two moods is quite an experience.

3. “Take Your Time” – Night Drifting. The vocal melodies and the gentle, airy synth inclusion take this slightly fuzzed-out acoustic indie-pop tune to the next level. He’s on a rolling release schedule, so hit up his Bandcamp frequently for more music.

4. “I Hope You Hear This On the Radio” – Will Bennett & The Tells. Bennett and company barely keep all their enthusiasm contained on this folk-rock blaster; and if the band is that excited, how can the listeners not get excited? Great stuff here. I love songs that sound like the drummer is about to take off into space.

5. “Completed Fool” – Hollis Brown. Soul is hot right now, and Hollis Brown has some crunchy, electric-guitar-heavy soul ready for those who are all up on the Nathaniel Rateliff train and want more. Brown and his band have a month-long residency at Berlin in NYC, so if you’re around, you should hit that up.

6. “Take That” – CRUISR. Punchy, grooving electro-pop that sounds like MGMT fused to Vacationer.

7. “Drop Your Sword” – Joy Atlas. The fact that this electro-indie-pop song works is amazing: it’s an abstract, angular sort of thing, full of claps and snaps and keys and high-neck bass notes. It’s held together by Imogen Heap-esque vocals and its own internal logic. It made me press repeat just to try to figure out what happened.

8. “Talk About Us” – The TVC ft. Jayme Dee, Connor Foley. The lyrics and the huge, rubbery bass synth give off a hugely ’80s vibe, but in a pleasant way. I feel like I’ve been transported to the montage sequence of a dramatic ’80s teen movie, the part where things have gone south but the protagonists are collecting themselves and gearing up for the final confrontation. tl;dr raaaaaaaaaad.

9. “The Fear” – Amaroun. Amaroun’s engaging vocals power this churning indie-pop/R&B tune.

10. “Elizabeth” – Stephen Hunley. Some serious adult alternative vibes going on here, augmented with some bluesy cred in the arrangement (check that wurly).

Double Bonus March MP3s!

March 24, 2016

  1. Rosebush”– Goldlight. I love it when a song starts off deceptively simple and progressively builds towards its climax. I enjoy the artist’s unique voice, but the driving beat and knockout instrumentation steal the show here. Listening to this track makes me want to blast it in my car, roll the windows down and drive fast– not many tracks stir that up within me. 
  2. Tired”– Ashley Shadow. The layered instrumentation and unassuming vocals pair beautifully. The strong driving beat also makes this track another potential car-song, but maybe I’d drive a little slower. 
  3. Cave”– Katie Zaccardi. This dark and brooding track combines Zaccardi’s strong voice with hard-punching lyrics that tell a poignant story about the tug and pull of toxic relationships. The guitar up-stroke even makes an appearance! 
  4. White Noise”– Swells. I am feeling the groovy vibes of this tune. Soulful female vocals get me every time. 
  5. The Wolf”– ALLA. This string-heavy song oozes with eerie. The repetitive lyrics and rhythms make it seem simple, but the string-plucking alone exposes the track’s complexity. 
  6. Help Yourself”– Bryde. Bryde’s powerful, Vanessa Carlton-like voice continues to entrance me. The hard-hitting lyrics and full-bodied instrumentation keep me coming back. 
  7. Bedbugs”– Amaroun. Amaroun’s unique alt-folk sound is akin to brilliant artists like Bjork and Jesca Hoop. You won’t want to miss taking a ride with Amaroun and her “Bedbugs”. 
  8. Love Dust feat. Mercy”– Christopher Pellnat. I am absolutely captivated by this juxtaposition of seductive Lana Del Rey-like vocals and circus-esque instrumentation. It feels uncannily like a 19th century cabaret, with an accordion to boot! 
  9. Speak”– Expert Timing. The sweet female and unadorned male vocals contrast great with the heavy electric guitar and drum kit instrumentation. This is one punk rock track to rock out to. 
  10. The Lost Ones (featuring Leah Hayes)”– The Gifted. Fun, playful, even includes whistling–everything you want an indie-pop song to be. There’s something about the vibrant sound and catchy lyrics that make me feel that this track could be an anthem for a generation. 
  11. What Became of Laura R?”– Heavy Heart. Summoning their inner MGMT, this track begins and ends with a slew of screaming kids. As the song progresses, Heavy Heart’s rock and roll vibes liken to that of the Silversun Pickups– breezy, laid-back rock and roll. –Krisann Janowitz
Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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