Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Disaster Lover: A Royal Affair

February 23, 2016

Disaster Lover

Disaster Lover’s self-titled EP is highly orchestral, brimming with lush instrumentation and ‘80s glitz and glamour. Baroque pop and sunshine-vocals reminiscent of The Beatles create a colorful, imperial vibe that could play as the soundtrack to an indie pop royal wedding.

Opener “Burning Candles” is an upbeat, sun-kissed indie pop cut. Bubbling, popping percussion; strings of “ohs” and “ahs”; and a tinge of Bollywood flair commence the EP with vibrant optimism. It immediately reminded me of Beirut, with its celebratory nature and world music sound.

While “Burning Candles” plays during the engagement of our king and queen, “Every Single Breath” is the track they walk down the aisle to. Synth and horns combine for an epic, triumphant sound. It’s like this indie rock song chugged a laced cup of ‘80s fruit punch.

And finally, the first dance: “Sweet Angel” is breezy, but there is deeper sensuality found in the vocals, lyrics, and sultry-sweet instrumentation. The final cut, “U Don’t Need An Excuse,” amplifies that vibe with ‘80s-inspired synth and bells, leaving you feeling high off of giddy electronic pop. “You don’t need an excuse anymore/So get off the ground and meet me on the floor,” the male vocalist sings, as our royal couple spends their honeymoon dancing on white sand beaches and sipping the laced ‘80s punch from a diamond-encrusted thermos.

Disaster Lover is made for indie pop royalty, but even if you don’t consider yourself an indie pop fan, no worries–you’re still invited to the wedding. Cheers.–Rachel Haney

 

Late September MP3s: Pop

October 7, 2015

1. “Hopeful” – Bear Mountain. A little bit of Passion Pit, a little bit of Vampire Weekend, a little M83, and you’ve got one of the best dance-pop songs I’ve heard all year.

2. “Entomologist” – Luxxe. Shades of Jason Isbell’s evocative voice creep in here, placed in the context of a perky-yet-mature pop-rock tune. It all comes off with impressive cohesion.

3. “Buoy” – The Band and the Beat. If you wished that Mates of State used analog synths all the time, you’ll be way into TBxB’s gentle, warm, female-fronted synth-pop. The tune just wraps itself around my brain and comforts it.

4. “Understand” – Photoreal. It seems wrong to describe this pop-rock tune as “muscly,” but it feels like a streamlined, beefed-up version of Generationals’ catchy indie-pop work.

5. “Au Naturel” – Holy ’57. The frenetic blitz of a major-key sugar rush will never get old. This tune has everything I’m looking for in a pop tune.

6. “Lodestar” – Starlight Girls. The disco vibes are impeccably done and the vocals are tight, but–for my money–this song is 100% about that bass work. It’s melodic, funky, tight, and just plain irresistible. A knock-out.

7. “Storm” – Bright Whistles. Sometimes I’m concerned that I’ve abused the term “quirky,” because something always seems to come along that was quirkier than the last. Suffice it to say, “Storm” by Bright Whistles is like what The Flaming Lips could have been if they kept on the Yoshimi path, or what all genres of indie-rock sound like in a giant blender, or (stay with me on this one) what an OK GO music video would sound like if the video itself were transformed into audio that reflected the clever, enthusiastic, enigmatic visuals. In other words, it’s pretty rad.

8. “Summertime” – The High Divers. Bands are always making odes to that sunniest of seasons, but this one really nails it: a touch of Vampire Weekend, a splash of Hamilton Leithauser’s vocal gymnastics, and a whole lot of good-old-pop-music. Dare you to not smile.

9. “Two Weeks” – HIGH UP. File this powerhouse tune under “Muscle Shoals Soul/Funk,” right there next to Alabama Shakes, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, and St. Paul and the Broken Bones.

10. “Burning Candles” – Disaster Lover. It’s like I walked into a room where Disaster Lover’s vision was already fully employed: not so many songs capture and modify the aural space that they’re deployed in. The whirling/somewhat chaotic percussion and synths that are woven together to create this here/there/everywhere piece of work are wild and yet inviting.

11. “We All Decided No” – S.M. Wolf. This is, at its core, a pop-rock song. It is a very weird, arch, theatrical, blown-out take on the theme, but it’s in there. This is basically what I imagine we’re trying to capture with the idea of indie-pop: pop songs that just aren’t radio material in this universe, but only because it’s an unjust universe.

12. “Suspended in la raison d’être” – Cloud Seeding. Just a beautiful instrumental dream-pop track that’s over too soon.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of instrumental music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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