Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Quick Hits: Problems That Fix Themselves / Nate Allen and the Pac-Away Dots / Kayte Grace

January 21, 2015

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Problems That Fix ThemselvesWhich Is Worse. This electronic duo creates gently unfolding, melodic ambient/glitch music. They manage to make glitch not sound brittle and lifeless, especially on standout track “8:62.” Elsewhere they make circuitbending sound downright beautiful; this might be the easiest introduction to the technically and musically intimidating practice I’ve ever heard. It’s not ODESZA by any means, but fans of melodic post-dub will find connections they may not have expected.

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Nate Allen and the Pac-Away DotsTake Out the Trash. The wild songwriter behind the folk/punk duo Destroy Nate Allen! took a long, hard look at the ills of society. The subsequent musical and lyrical response was a bit darker and weightier than DNA! purveys, although the songs of Take Out the Trash still fit in the folk/punk category. Allen’s raspy voice is perfectly suited to righteous indignation, and so tunes like “West Side Blues” come together perfectly with impassioned vocals over brazen electric guitars. On the other end of the spectrum, gentler tunes like “Social Equality” aim an introspective lens at social justice with banjo, brushed drums, and acoustic guitar. It may make you laugh a bit less and think a bit more than DNA!, but the songwriting chops are just as strong (and in some places stronger) for the change in topic.

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Kayte GraceChapter 2: Sail There EP. Kayte Grace’s country-folk-pop is a charming, romantic brew that will appeal to fans of Taylor Swift, Twin Forks, and young love. There’s infinite depth to be mined in young love, and Grace does that here, both melodically and lyrically. It’s smooth, sweet, but not too saccharine; if you’re swooning over someone right now, you’ll be all about it.

Quick Hits: Lullatone / Kayte Grace

December 1, 2013

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Lullatone makes beautiful, charming, instrumental twee music. Their latest release Falling for Autumn – EP is 22ish minutes of ukuleles, toy pianos, whistling, clapping, gentle horns, and hushed acoustic guitars. It perfectly appropriates the feel of fall not only in the sounds, but in the titles of songs: “here comes the sweater weather,” “raindrops plucking the last leaves from a tree,” “the biggest pile of leaves you have ever seen,” “just walking around.” Lullatone, a married duo who live in Japan, know how to turn earnest cheer into affecting, emotive work. To quote a title of one of their previous albums, these are “Soundtracks for Everyday Adventures.” I am absolutely in love with this record, and I hope that you will be too. Falling for Autumn – EP makes me unabashedly, giddily happy.

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Kayte Grace
bridges pop-country and folk-pop nicely, singing with a pleasant twang and keeping the arrangements jaunty and light. The four tunes on Chapter 1: Say Yes are love songs with well-developed pop chops: only one of the tunes breaks the 2:30 mark. “Decorate the World” is a clear single, with a strong melody and cheery mood; “Just Need You” adds some jazzy markers to the songwriting. “City Plans” adds some gospel vibes in the vocals and cleverly romantic lyrics, which vaults the tune to highlight status. “Farther Than This” showcases Grace’s vocal prowess in a more dramatic song, which rounds out the diverse collection nicely. Chapter 1: Say Yes is a strong opening statement from an artist with diverse skills; the EP stays centered on Grace’s strong songwriting while displaying the variety of her creative ideas. I look forward to the next chapters in this release cycle.

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

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