Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

June Electro Drop

July 2, 2015

1. “Take a Dive” – By Day By Night. Big, friendly synth-pop that’s a mix between M83 dusky drama and Chad Valley exuberance.

2. “You’ve Got Somethin‘” – Air Bag One. I don’t know if it’s just my vantage point, but it seems like we’ve moved from big synth-centric ’80s jams to big vocal-centric ’80s jams. If so, Air Bag One is on point with this tune.

3. “Time (feat. La Petite Rouge)” – Haring. Wavering chillwave synths create a blissful mood before a neat and tidy beat comes in to give the song motion and structure. It grows from there, without ever overwhelming the initial mood. Beautiful.

4. “A Berry Bursts” – Twin Hidden. This enthusiastic, difficult-to-classify track sits somewhere between gentle indie-pop, low-key electro, and Tokyo Police Club’s giddy pop-rock attack. It’s way fun, whatever it is.

5. “Kangarang” – Casual Strangers. This psych-rock tune explores the more ambient, experimental, almost electronic vibes of the genre–eschewing huge guitars for a deep groove, this song is a burbling, thoughtful instrumental jam.

6. “Start Again (ft. Amy)” – Stefansson. I can’t resist an EDM song that is tasteful and restrained with the more stereotypically brash audio elements of the genre.

7. “Lackluster No.” – Nova Heart. A stark, sparse landscape gives way to an elegant, pristine, magnetic body of the song. It fuses electronic elements and live bass in a surprising way. It grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.

8. “World Government” – Heptagon Heaven. Do you need six minutes of arpeggiated synths, great sound washes, and general “cool” vibe? Of course you do.

9. “Indian Summer” – Jai Wolf. The stuttering optimism of Gold Panda fused to ODESZA’s artsy, high ideals post-dub makes for a deeply impressive track.

(And Loud)

May 8, 2014

There’s also rock’n’roll in the summer, for those of us who like it a little heavier when the sun is shining.

Oh So Summery (and Loud)

1. “Right on Time” – The Addies. You might turn down the volume before you hit play: this chunky slab of guitar-rock takes off at full blast before dropping into a groove of sorts.

2. “Brix-tone” – Mangoseed. Reggae + Rage against the Machine = whoa bro.

3. “Forgiveness” – Turn to Crime. The song name and band name seem incongruous, but whatevs. This is a refreshing bit of laid-back rock’n’roll that makes me think of Velvet Underground.

4. “Human Imitation” – Rayne. We’re going to look back in 20 years and realize that, while there were more popular bands, Muse was the most important band of the generation. Those soaring piano lines! High drama! Mmm. Anyway, Rayne knows how to write a high-drama ballad, which is what you get here.

5. “i am laid back no pressure” – pjaro. Some of that late ’80s/early ’90s post-hardcore churn, some of that mid-’90s indie-rock malaise, some punk hollering/singing–pjaro is a clever, interesting rock band.

6. “Casual Strangers (We Used to Be Friends)” – Casual Strangers. This one is actually laid back: ’90s slacker vibe meets wooshy ’70s psych/prog for a real weird but real interesting combo.

7. “Abandoned Houses” – SVK. Norwegian post-rock that’s heavy on reverb, space, bass, and atmosphere. A winning combination.

8. “At the End of a Dream There Is a New Ideal” – Martyn Jackson. British post-rock that’s heavy on guitar melody, percussion, and forward motion. Also a winning combination.

9. “The Bridge” – Matt Stevens. British post-metal that’s just straight-up heavy. (And there’s 12 minutes of it!)

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

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