Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Mid-July Singles: Indie Pop and Other Things

July 21, 2017

Indie Pop and Other Things

1. “Shake” – Go Gracious. Imagine if The Hold Steady and The Naked and Famous tried to write a song together. That sort of jubilant-yet-rueful mix is exactly what you get with Go Gracious’ debut tune. Summer jam for real.

2. “History Walking” – Amy O. Noodly, doodly, and propulsive, this chipper indie-rock tune pushes all the right buttons for “infectious summer listening.”

3. “Magic” – Amy Stroup. Beachy but not in the traditional ways, this tune makes the most out of a loosely funky bass line and rattling percussion. Stroup’s easygoing vocals strengthen the chill vibe.

4. “Molly” – Ratboys. This fascinating mixture of alt-country, female-fronted pop-punk, and indie-pop subverted my expectations at every turn. Great stuff.

5. “Small Space” – Tall Friend. Bright but with a hazy, rainy sheen, this lo-fi, unassuming indie-rock/indie-pop tune reminds me of warm afternoons on green grass.

6. “Your Voice on the Radio (feat Laura Gibson)” – Dave Depper. OH man, chipper indie-pop basically doesn’t get any better than this. The inimitable Laura Gibson on guest vocals, bouncy bass guitar, tropical vibes, great vocal melodies, the whole shebang. More please, thank you.

7. “We Must Stand Up” – Har-di-Har. Wow, is there ever a lot going on in this song. This song rockets from synth-pop to angelic folk to complex indie-pop to wubby post-dubstep and points beyond. If Muse was ostensibly an indie-pop band, they might come up with this wild and clever track.

8. “What the Open Heart Allows” – Brad Peterson. Sometimes you’ve got an inventive, layered indie-pop arrangement that is heavy on tension and itĀ stillĀ gets outshined by a massive, soaring vocal melody in the chorus. This is a good problem to have.

9. “Shame” – Lushloss. A solid two minutes of deconstructed down-tempo rainy-day indie-pop that’s heavy on bass guitar and layering. The tune appears unassumingly and ends suddenly, making the song even more endearing.

10. “Waking Up” – Illyin Pipes. All genres can be amazing, no matter how “done” they are. This is a full-on synth-pop piece with no big quirks–ambient synths, fuzzy arpeggiator work, rattling drums, woozy vocals–and yet it sounds amazing and fresh.

iTunes radio: totally boss

November 3, 2013

So iTunes has a radio feature now, and it’s not like any other radio I’ve ever heard. For one, they actually play great music. Secondarily, they solve the problem of “established vs. undiscovered” by letting the listener pick which they want (fancy that). Finally, it sounds like the curation is done by people– if it’s not, the algorithims are finely tuned to produce much better effects than “similar instruments, similar rhythms,” like Pandora does.

For example, in just over an hour of listening to a station I made based off Gregory Alan Isakov, I heard of four new bands that I am totally into:

1. The Family Crest, which sounds like a more textured version of IC faves Typhoon. This video right here has under 7500 plays, which is firmly under-the-radar. (Although they have been in Paste, so they are moving on up.)

2. Bronze Radio Return, who I probably should have known about. (At least I know now!) Sounds like Paul Simon fronting Mumford and Sons. (This is a huge compliment.)

3. The Rocketboys, who have slipped through the cracks of my music knowledge in their 8-year history:

4. Amy Stroup has apparently been featured on various TV shows that I don’t watch, so that’s how I didn’t catch the memo.

Yeah. All that in one hour. I’m totally sold on iTunes radio.

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

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