Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Kisses: Balanced yet jubilant

December 29, 2015

kisses

Kisses duo, Zinzi Edmundson and Jesse Kivel, have released Rest in Paradise, a neo-disco album that is balanced, jubilant, and just in time for a low-key holiday. With live instrumentation, it gave me the feeling I was at an outdoor disco or funky dinner party, alongside eccentric guests with even more eccentric dance moves.

Opener “Paradise Waiting Room” sets an immediate, cheerful tone via gellin’ rhythm and a recording of people conversing in the background. This blur of conversation is what gives “Paradise Waiting Room” a dinner party essence, lit up by a quick spritzing of jazzy, silver tinsel horn. This funky party boat glides right into a dock of peaceful, conclusive piano that ripples as the voices of the partygoers are amplified.

Nighttime ballads balance this theme, especially on “Sun,” where the male vocalist starts  this babymaker track off appropriately with, “I’m feeling something, it’s all in-tune.” With patient percussion, rhythm and vocals, this song takes its good ‘ole time.

This pace is replicated on the flat-out catchy “The Nile,” where I was stoked to hear Kisses boldly bring out the cowbells. Electric guitar sways like a low-waist-lined seductress, but it’s “Fred Roses” that really gets into things. With a full moon of a trumpet and soft, burgundy vocals that sing, “It’s written in the sun, it shines on everyone, you wanna be in love,” “Fred Roses” confirms that Rest in Paradise is just as alluring as it is convivial. This mood returns in the slow, sedated-by-oxytocin, “Eternal,” which has a gondola-like romanticism. And then finally reaches its emotive peak in the placid, swirling, conical, closing title track.

Bedazzling lyrics and the trademark Kisses groove channel a supreme sexiness take-over in “Jam.” The vocalist cries, “Oh, baby sista, please dance with me/I know what you’re thinking, but please dance with me…jam, on, jam on,” creating a subtle naughtiness. That heightened level of emotion appears again in a swelling horn section during the last 45 seconds of “Sunset Ltd.,” which is my version of those locker room jams they play in the final moments before game time.

“Control,” the teasing, half-smirk of a song, is a stand-out on the album. It sizzles and slides through synth and exotic percussion. Poppy male vocals, hand claps, and gentle trombone give “Control” a rollerskating-at-a-disco, dizzying buzz. Flirtatious, easy-going, and almost boy-band-like lyrics, “From the west side to the east side, she don’t know what’s right,” complete it.

I read that the duo recently got married and had a baby. And now the synched-up, jovial energy of the record all makes sense; Rest in Paradise is a celebration of the past that lead us here, of hope for the bright future, and of the freedom of being present in the moment. —Rachel Haney

Singles: Smooth, Galactic Groove

August 31, 2015

August Singles: Smooth, Galactic Groove

  1. Hardships” – Nadia Nair. Uproariously captivating in a way I haven’t heard since M.I.A., Nadia Nair’s sound balances exoticness and inclusivity, achieving dynamite individualism that anyone can appreciate.

  2. Lil Yamaha” – Sun Cut Flat. Sun Cut Flat combines gentle, Gramatik-like groove with a delicate pop sound. As the final steaming days of August roll in, promise me you’ll sit down with this track while the summer sun dips and the cool drinks start a-flowin’.

  3. The Shields” – Velour Modular. The ‘bass music,’ ‘sex,’ ‘neotriphop,’ and ‘Abstract’ hashtags adorning this track’s Soundcloud page sum it up entirely.

  4. Can’t Have” – Steven A. Clark. You know when you hear a song, and you think, “Yup. This is going to blow up. Everywhere.”? “Can’t Have” is that song. I’m counting down the days until Clark’s upcoming album, The Lonely Roller, is released on September 18th. (18 days from now.)

  5. wlkng” – arpl and do zee. If you like your instrumental hiphop buttery smooth and with heavy cream, get a taste of this rich lo-fi served up by two crazy-talented members of Fixed Fidelity.

  6. Petals” – BIKES and do zee. Another collaboration from Fixed Fidelity, because apparently I can’t get enough of them, “Petals” combines gnarly guitar lines, day-time lo-fi, and wholesome instrumentals for an electronic walk-in-the-park kind of track.

  7. Dance to the Beat” – Dr!ve. Brought to you by Discobox Records, this has flared jeans, electronic synthesizers, and funky soul written (in glitter pen) all over it. Check out the remixes by Shake Machine and Rotciv as well.

  8. Meteor” – The Winter Sounds. If I could copy and paste these insanely brilliant lyrics, I would. Instead, close those eyes, plug in those headphones, and absorb this galaxies-colliding, synth-sprinkled Big Bang.

  9. Boys Life” – Small Black. How does one make something so disco-dancey, sublime, laidback, and catchy all at once?

  10. Gutter” – baeb rxxth. With the opening lines, “Cage match, I’m a tiger cub/and you’re a bloody piece of steak,” it’s hard not to recognize the unprocessed trap-pop sound that is the big, bad, bold baeb rxxth.

  11. Miss. Mirage” – NoMBe. Haunting lyrics like, “Counting wolves and old sheep/Watch them sharpen those teeth/Crude from the walls of no sleep,” contrast with a smooth groove, smoother vocals, and utopian-esque album art that all left me feeling bewitched, a bit spooked, and completely hooked.

  12. Tantalized” – Fever High. Holy Happiness. “Tantalized” reminds me of those dandelion choker necklaces I used to wear in ‘98, and all the sassy lip-syncing that late ‘80s/early ‘90s chicks mastered long before learning to play the recorder. I have the feeling Fever High were totally those girls.

  13. Control” – Kisses. I’d like to write a bunch of “Oww! Woo! Szzz!” onomatopoeias that were my reaction when hitting play on this sizzling, sleek track. “Control” combines funk, synth, exotic percussion, and dance-inducing rhythm that remains controlled throughout.

  14. Pirates” – Heptagon Heaven. Heptagon Heaven–The corsairs of new-world synth, galactic drops, and astrological album art. Enough said, peace out. —Rachel Haney

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.

Recent Posts

Categories

Independent Clauses Monthly E-mail

Get updates and information about IC, plus opportunities for bands.
Band name? PR company? Business?
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!

Archives