Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

ENERGY AND STUFF

January 15, 2014

My last MP3 drop was pretty chill. Here’s some decidedly energetic MP3s to get you through the middle of the week.

ENERGY AND STUFF

1. “The Scope of All This Rebuilding” – The Hotelier. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the incredible title of the album this comes from: Home, like Noplace Is There. Then appreciate the frantic, emotionally charged, complex arrangements of this mile-a-minute pop-punk rager. It’s a workout, y’all.

2. “On Your Own” – Germany Germany. Clubby house with some neat synths and a great nighttime vibe? SECRET TECHNO FAN EMERGES!

3. “Tear Your Hate Apart” – Monks of Mellonwah. I cover hardly any modern rock, but man–these guys know what’s up. Interpol-esque moods, great falsetto, and strong control of atmosphere call up Muse comparions, but without the proggy bloat.

4. “Here We Go Again” – King Champion Sounds. The line between punk and post-punk is muddied here by horns that aspire to stay out of ska territory by being textural and integral to the sound.

5. “Evergreen (Feat. I AM DIVE)” – Brunetto. Moody electro incorporating fractured breakbeats, muscly tones, and some chill vocals (for contrast).

6. “Pulsing (Feat. Nina K)” – Tomas Barfod. You’re driving on an empty highway through a major metropolitan area at 4 a.m. This perfectly titled electro track is playing on the stereo.

7. “How Do You Know” – Scary Little Friends. Neil Young guitars, skyscraping vocals, and a ragtag alt-country feel propel this tune to great heights.

8. “Head for the Hills” – Night Beds. Night Beds can do no wrong so far, as the folky troubadour gives us a few triumphant indie-rock moments here. Give your ears a rest and enjoy this one.

Quick Hits: The Future Elements / Monks of Mellonwah / Del Bel

June 24, 2012

The Future Elements is a group of writers and musicians from all over the world (but primarily India) who love “shoegaze, ambient, modern classical, drone and experimental music.” Those genres, along with post-rock, form the bulk of their 35-song (!) debut compilation album Elements 01. Since it’s almost three hours of music, it’s gonna take you a while to listen to, but it’s pretty worth it. If you sub out the Absent Hearts’ misplaced modern rock track, the quality of the compilation is quite high.

The majority of the compilation is of instrumentals, and its roughly organized around genre: the post-rock stuff with full-band set-ups is at the front, followed by more electronic takes on post-rock, which segues into modern classical, then ending in the full ambient section. The ambient section takes up most of the back half of the compilation. The least compelling work is the modern classical works, but that’s only because the rest of the ambient and post-rock stuff is just beautiful. Picking out individual tracks from the three-hour mass is a bit silly, so I’ll leave you to that yourself. This is a great, great release, and I look forward to what bands the label chooses for its releases. They’ve displayed a well-tuned ear so far.

If at some point you see me write on this blog, “I’m moving to Australia,” do not doubt the veracity of that statement. I am apparently enamored of every musical thing that comes out of the land down under. My latest Aussie crush is Monks of Mellonwah, who play high-drama rock, reminiscent of Muse without the keys. The band’s four-song EP Neurogenesis features a lot of soaring, spacy guitars, heavy drumming and melodic vocals. Highlight “Kyoto” adds a distorted bass into the mix, meshing with the furious drumming and soaring guitar work for a killer tune. The intro especially grabs attention. The rest of the album isn’t as frenetic as “Kyoto”: “Neverending Spirit” brings a neo-reggae vibe to the table in the guitars and vocals, while the title track keeps the chilled-out vibes going. “You Shine” is a ballad of sorts, but one with pounding drums. The EP is a nice introduction to the group, and “Kyoto” is a keeper.

The songs on Del Bel’s Oneiric are “gently rolling, evocative, moving indie rock held together by a cinematic strain running through the tunes.” It is not naturally the album I would expect to get the remix treatment, but a lot of things I don’t expect happen. The remix EP is worth your time for its incredible name and artwork alone: Kareemix Abdel Jabbel is about as puntastic as they come.

The remixes within largely replace the gentle evocative nature of the tunes with heavy beats and propulsive rhythms, which works excellently for the Gregory Pepper remix of the already-highly-rhythmic “Stirring Bones.” But the MadadaM remix of “Beltone” gives the tune a dubby vibe that just doesn’t sit right with me, given the sparse, tense original. The rest of the tunes fall somewhere between the two: The Adverteyes remix of “Slave to the Deep” plays up that tunes jagged separation for a jarring track, while Live Action Fezz and Skene turn in takes on “No Reservation” and “This Unknown” (respectively) that work well. If you’re into electronic music, this will be a fun listen.

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

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