Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Brighter … Now! (Welcome back to the show)

April 2, 2013

I have now officially recovered from SXSW. It’s time to get back to that inbox and cover those bands you will soon love. Here’s an indie-pop/indie-rock mix for y’all; this should brighten your day.

Brighter … Now!

1. “Come Back to Life” – Hospital Ships. Sometimes I hear a song and think, “Wow, I want to write songs like that.” Stunning quiet/loud indie-rock here.
2. “Roosevelt Hotel” – Cocovan. That chorus. I’ve been singing and dancing for a week solid. This woman knows her way around a thoughtful pop song.
3. “Way Yes” – Colerain. Can you have dance-friendly energy while being deeply pensive, even sad? And make all that beautiful? Colerain says yes, yes, we can.
4. “California Analog Dream” – Vondelpark. Remember the first time you heard Grizzly Bear? Or Bon Iver? My first listen of Vondelpark was like that: instrumental simplicity that somehow overwhelmed my ears like an enlightenment experience.
5. “Monday Morning” – Charles Mansfeld. Acoustic indie-pop with idiosyncratic vocals and a unique gravitas? The more the better.
6. “Jive Babe” – Mikhael Paskalev. Squash together the frenetic vocal fervor of King Charles with the buzzy guitars of the Vaccines and you’ve got a scrumptious recipe.
7. “Monday Morning” – Younger James. (Not a typo, this one is also called “Monday Morning.”) I heard the Strokes have a new coming out. I can almost guarantee that this tune will be better than whatever that foursome is putting out.
8. “Ode to the Summer (Radio Edit)” – Syd Arthur. Someone called this prog? I thought this intricate, melodic work was what indie rock sounded like in 2013? Things just got weird.
9. “Young Men of Promise” – Yellowbirds. What a great song title. The mid-tempo, vaguely garage-y indie-pop is strong, too.
10. “Open Arms” – Fletcher. Q: What if The Walkmen were happy? A: FLETCHER. Next question.

Top 36 songs of the year

December 27, 2012

I usually like to get this post to a nice round number, but I didn’t get it there this year. Here’s what my year sounded like, y’all! This post isn’t ranked; instead, it’s a playlist of sorts. My ranked post will come tomorrow.

1. “Canvas Shoes” – The Brixton Riot
2. “Never Heard of Dylan” – The Finest Hour
3. “Heard It All Before” – The Switch
4. “How Do I Know” – Here We Go Magic
5. “Lady Percy” – King Charles
6. “You Left Your Sweater…” – Cobalt and the Hired Guns
7. “Monster Fiction” – Oh Look Out!
8. “When I Write My Master’s Thesis” – John K. Samson
9. “Lightshow” – Plants and Animals
10. “Believer” – Ponychase
11. “Day is Gone” – Phoebe Jean and the Air Force (My runner-up favorite music video!)
12. “Still Analog” – The March Divide
13. “Hap Hej” – Dva
14. “Love Changes Everything” – Amy Correia
15. “The Road” – Nicollette Good
16. “Kneebone” – The Miami
17. “I Rose Up At the Dawn of the Day” – Martha Redbone
18. “Virtues, Spices and Liquors” – 4H Royalty
19. “I’m Happy All the Time (Sad Hawaii Version)” – Decent Lovers
20. “When I Hit My Stride” – Jonas Friddle
21. “Mom and Me Versus You and Dad” – Pan
22. “Walrus Meat” – The Parmesans
23. “See the Conqueror” – Jenny and Tyler
24. “Advice From People Who Shouldn’t Give It (Don’t Take It)” – Superstar Runner
25. “All Creatures” – ElisaRay
26. “This Love Won’t Break Your Heart” – Annalise Emerick
27. “The Secret Songs” – Come On Pilgrim!
28. “All My People Go” – Kris Orlowski and Andrew Joslyn
29. “Tuck the Darkness In” – Bowerbirds (My favorite video of the year!)
30. “Brother Don’t Wait” – Emily and the Complexes
31. “Survivor Blues” – Cory Branan
32. “A-Okay” – Summer of Sam
33. “Farewell Old Friends” – Jacob Furr
34. “If I Were A Surfer” – Elephant Micah
35. “All I Have” – Young Readers
36. “Shenandoah” – Goldmund

Non-fruited Summer Jams: A Mixtape

July 12, 2012

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I haven’t been this behind on singles in a while either. It’s time for a mixtape.

1. “Zambezi” – Tinashé. Not new, but this incredible, enthusiastic pop tune is new to me.
2. “It Goes On” – Tin Can Radio. Mid ’00s dance-rock meets Tokyo Police Club-esque pop-rock. And they’re Australian!
3. “Lady Percy” – King Charles. If you don’t hear summer in this, I don’t think summer is in you. It’s either the steel drums or his impeccable clothes.
4. “Burn Out” – Youth Sounds. Cheery, dream-haze synth-pop cut through with direct vocals and pushing drums, which takes it to the next level.
5. “Samar” – The Clouds (Jakarta). Jangly, airy and lightweight, the Indonesian indie-pop band’s name matches this tune.
6. “Jukebox” – Oceanics. Remember The Cribs? Perky British mid ’00s indie-rock? Take out some of the sneering, and here’s your Aussie equivalent. Fun track.
7. Black Horses – Charlotte & Magon. Haunting indie-rock that has silent movie drama, trip-hop tension and enveloping female vocals.
8. “Love is a Devil” – Laneway. These Aussies know how to make pitch-perfect, dark American country music. Shiver-inducing.
9. “Kingston” – Corduroy Kids. When Jack Baton’s voice is in his low register, he can make a folk song sound ominous and mournful at the same time.
10. “Zambezi (Mbira Version)” – Tinashé. The energetic tune gets a quiet, pensive rendition via the gorgeous, mesmerizing tones of the mbira.

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

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