Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Mid-October Singles, pt. 3

October 17, 2016

1. “We’re So Close” – MOON. Heavy doesn’t shock anymore, but it certainly can still make a big bang. As such, the thundering electric guitar entrances in this indie-rock tune are really, really rad. I would love to see this live: I can imagine it would be an impressive experience.

2. “Chaperone” – TOLMAN. I hear electro-indie-pop tunes all the time, and yet some still make me turn my head (and fast; somehow the song makes me know in seconds that it has arrived). This electro jam has some zinging treble synths, sultry female vocals, and squelchy bass synths. The words don’t do it justice–it kicks.

3. “Cold Sunshine” – Dan Webb and the Spiders. Webb usually throws down brash and speedy pop-punk, but this one slows down into a mid-tempo rocker that makes me think as much about The Hold Steady as it does The Gaslight Anthem and other not-quite-pop-punk-but-whatever bands. Webb turns in a great, evocative vocal performance here.

4. “I Can’t Resist” – The Great Escape. Sassy organ, squawking guitars, roaring vocals, stomping percussion; this reads like a mix of The Black Keys and Alabama Shakes.

5. “Show Me Your Facebook Page” – Samantha Echo. This is a wild ride: Echo creates a cabaret/show-tune style piano-pop song about the emotional troubles that Facebook causes. That simple statement can’t encompass the many twists and turns of this song, but it’s the best I got. Just listen to it. (Editor’s note: originally linked to a Soundcloud track that’s now gone; the video remains, but it’s not to my taste. Still, the song can be heard.)

6. “Cigarette” – PANG! feat. Cameron Douglas. Manages, manipulates, and ultimately owns the space between introspective folk and Avicii-style electro-pop-folk. Beautiful, but also catchy and punchy.

7. “Bad Girlfriend” – Keith Monacchio. The downtempo, talking-style singer/songwriter work is immediately arresting. The lyrics are fantastic as well; the sort of simple, “I could have written that but I guess I didn’t” sort of plaintive concern that connects deep.

8. “Evening Light” – Paul Sweeney. This instrumental acoustic piece is the sort that has distinct, robust lead melodies that could have been vocal melodies, had Sweeney so desired. Instead, it’s a highly melodic piece with a lot of body and development.


Dan Webb and a Spider

July 14, 2014


Even though my parents played folk bands for me when I was young, the first music I discovered on my own was pop-punk. I made it back to folk by listening to lots of pop-punk bands play acoustic songs, then moving on to singer/songwriters from there. So there’s always a sweet spot in my heart for pop-punk bands that break out the acoustic guitar. Dan Webb exactly fits that bill.

Webb usually fronts the pop-punk band Dan Webb and the Spiders, but for Eine Kleine Akustischmusik he lists his band as Dan Webb and a Spider. (Ha!) The recordings are simple: two guys with voices and acoustic guitars. There are occasional light overdubs (“Night Games,” “Long Years”). The whole 13-track thing was recorded in one (apparently quite long) night in a studio, giving it an earnest, raw feel without dipping too deeply into lo-fi. Webb’s high voice is complimented often by passionate high harmonies, which give a lot of energy to the tunes. As with anything that includes “punk band,” “one night” and “recordings” in the same sentence, these necessarily imperfect tunes have absolutely gorgeous, pure moments too. Sometimes those two things exist in the same song or phrase. It’s totally cool.

Opener “Texas” is the tune that most sounds like a singer/songwriter tune instead of a acoustic punk song; Webb’s vocal melodies fit beautifully over a lazy strum. “Fix This Place” also feels more like a singer/songwriter tune, as the somber guitar structures lend a gravitas to the tune. But just in case you worry that this is all introspective work, there is a song called “Astro Zombies.” It’s about zombies from outer space trying to exterminate humans. Yup.

If you’re into that particular style of acoustic music purveyed by pop-punkers taking a break from their regular style, Dan Webb and a Spider have got a treat for you. It will be interesting to see if Dan Webb keeps developing this songwriting style; there are some high highs that show up.

Unnecessary distortion covers up quality sound from Dan Webb and The Spiders

November 20, 2009

Dan Webb and The Spiders have put forth a new album that hints of greatness underneath layers of unnecessary mudding and distortion.   Released in fall 2009, The self titled album features 9 tracks that take the listener on a roller coaster ride of catchy vs. unmemorable.   The sound ranges from that of garage punk to California beach-rock.  Though the band is Boston-based, they have an appeal that resembles the “west coast sound” often featured on teen shows like The OC (rip).  Think Nada Surf meets garage punk and seasoned with an extra helping of distortion. Continue readingUnnecessary distortion covers up quality sound from Dan Webb and The Spiders…

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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