Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Best of the rest!

December 27, 2013

Independent Clauses is but one man right now, and I can’t get to everything. Here are some really quick hits on stuff I like but haven’t had a chance to cover in detail.

Shine Your LightGap Dream. Burger Records loves garage-rock, but Gap Dream goes against the grain for some psych-influenced pop-rock. The tunes here are smooth, powered by shimmering, pulsing synths and trilling, chiming guitars. These are really fun tunes that take some of the irony out of indie-rock’s version of pop-rock. Perfect driving music, excellent chilling-out music.

Light on the LakeSignals Midwest / BanquetsBanquets. I didn’t listen to a lot of punk rock this year for a bunch of silly reasons. These two bands, whom I dearly love, bore the brunt of my sabbatical. Both are really talented bands that deserve the attention of those who love muscly punk rock that doesn’t get too abrasive and keeps an artsy streak.

Spooky ActionThe Fierce and the Dead. If a punk band and a post-rock band were in a head-on collision, the resulting fusion would sound as frantic and expansive as this album. If you’re into post-rock but think it can get way too navel-gazing sometimes, you should hear the pounding riffs and rhythms this English band throws down.

UnravelDebbie Neigher. Neigher is an alto singer/songwriter with a mature approach to songwriting, along the lines of Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap, and Feist. She relies heavily on keys–but not necessarily piano–which creates a nice vibe to her work.

Save Your HeartLights & Motion. If you like your post-rock in major keys, with huge crescendoes, and with jubilant conclusions, Lights & Motion is far and away the best at that. This is beautiful stuff that intends to make you sigh with wonder. You know who you are.

Multiple Releases – Qualia. Dan Leader put out six releases in 2013 under his post-rock moniker. Similar to Lights & Motion, but with a pinch more nuance and minor key action, this is still incredibly beautiful work. If you’re into it, there’s a ton of it to be into, so jump on that.

Falling in WavesBlack Birds. These Australians marry guitar crunch and heavy reverb for a post-shoegaze throwdown. If you’re into rock riffs without a blatantly self-indulgent rock’n’roll attitude, check it out.

Nov MP3 Drop Two

November 26, 2013

Lotta good stuff trying to cram its way into 2013! Here’s a varied mix.

1. “No Sleep Tonight” – Family Cave. The precision of indie-pop, the aesthetics of indie-rock, and the mood of indie-folk create an incredibly intriguing tune. Watch for Family Cave in 2014.

2. “Keep It Together” – Decent Lovers. Not a cover of a Guster tune, this DL jam is ironically pretty separated and hectic. It’s held together by a strong mood and a deep internal rhythm. Elijah Wyman is getting better and better at this really unique style of pop.

3. “Travelin’ Home (On Another Christmas Eve)” – Peter Galperin. If you’ve ever wondered what a bossa nova Christmas sounds like, Galperin has got your back with this charming, hummable tune.

4. “Don’t Shoot the Messenger” – Miles Hewitt. Reminiscent of ’60s and ’70s protest rock, Hewitt combines old and new into a hypnotic mix.

5. “Belfast” – William Steffey. Takes cues from Oasis with dashes of Portishead and Blur, this tune sounds completely British but is totally from Chicago.

6. “Heartbreakers” – Tomorrows. The Jim Ivins Band rebrands and revamps, moving from an adult-pop template to sounds more akin to Anberlin’s early modern rock. The prominence of vocal melodies has not changed, which is good.

7. “Love Is Not Allowed” – Gap Dream. Obligatory Eno namecheck. Aside from that, this is a gorgeous, swirling mass of analog-sounding synths, modulated vocals, and electronic drums that makes me swoon.

8. “Get In It” – Nyteowl. Funky, spacey, mostly-instrumental R&B. “Do you want to get in it?” Yes. Yes, I do.

9. “Get Down Baby” – Blacktop Daisy. You’ve got to hand it to a band which unabashedly labels its music disco. No violins here, but those harmonies!

10. “Can’t Let Go” – Black Checker. This pop-rock-punk tune comes from an EP called Fast. Yup, that’s pretty much all you need to know.

11. “The Ah Ah Song” – Stand Up and Say No. I miss the days when The Flaming Lips made jubilant, illogical, bright pop tunes. This joyful, exuberant pop-rock tune is exactly that.

12. “Ain’t No Sunshine” – Magi. This Bill Withers cover is minimalist lo-fi glory: the distant recording, the raw passion in the imperfect vocals, the deep sense of mood.

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

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