Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

MP3s: Electro / pop

September 22, 2015

I’ve got a lot of singles to catch up on. All these that I’m posting over the next few days have been sent my way over the past two months.

Electro / pop

1. “it was gone” – Orchid Mantis. Somehow combines found sounds, heavily processed vocals, insistent synths and stuttering drums into great clouds of sound. It’s a gem.

2. “Iron & Wood” – Quinn Erwin. Erwin, of the brilliant Afterlife Parade, turns his impeccable songwriting talent toward synth-driven pop-rock. The results are just as dynamic and exciting as his band’s forays into anthemic guitar rock and artsy post-rock. The lyrics, the vocal melodies, and the arrangement just all work together like clockwork.

3. “Nothing Can Stop Us Now” – Summer Heart. The song title and band name are perfect for this tune that balances wiry energy and dreamy vocals to create the soundtrack to a carefree summer afternoon.

4. “Go” – Sunday Lane. Lane isolates the chorus and lets that hook live on its own, letting the rest of the song draw its energy from the perky declaration, “Where we gonna go?”

5. “Everything at Once” – Her Magic Wand. Sonic texture is something I don’t call out that often, but this electro-pop track has some really nice layering of disparate sounds that give the tune a compelling sonic consistency.

6. “We Are Golden” – Nova Heart. Burbling synths, LCD Soundsystem-esque bass riffs, a buttery smooth mood, and luscious vocals make this mesmerizing electro-rock jam an easy fit for the dancefloor or the rock club.

7. “Broken” – Featurette. The herky-jerky rhythms of this tune rub up against the silky synths to create that juxtaposition that plays so nicely in electro: the jagged smooth, the spiky soft.

8. “Shake It Loose” – Astronauts, etc. If you need any suave, svelte, seductive babymaking music, this tune has my vote.

9. “Beachside” – Heather Larose. This acoustic-pop song makes me want to dance in my computer chair. ‘Nuff said.

10. “Tied Up” – Level and Tyson. Scandinavians have the most eccentric lenses when it comes to pop music: we’ve got Surrounded-style distorted vocals, walking-speed acoustic-vibes, ’90s-esque drum beat and some humming background vocals. The results are unique, to say the least.

11. “Lovers Can Be Monsters” – Roger Harvey. Harvey bears the burden of having a voice and genre similar to Ben Gibbard’s, but it would be a shame to pass up this addictive, oddly tender indie-rock track due to unasked-for similarities. I want to listen to this over and over.

June Electro Drop

July 2, 2015

1. “Take a Dive” – By Day By Night. Big, friendly synth-pop that’s a mix between M83 dusky drama and Chad Valley exuberance.

2. “You’ve Got Somethin‘” – Air Bag One. I don’t know if it’s just my vantage point, but it seems like we’ve moved from big synth-centric ’80s jams to big vocal-centric ’80s jams. If so, Air Bag One is on point with this tune.

3. “Time (feat. La Petite Rouge)” – Haring. Wavering chillwave synths create a blissful mood before a neat and tidy beat comes in to give the song motion and structure. It grows from there, without ever overwhelming the initial mood. Beautiful.

4. “A Berry Bursts” – Twin Hidden. This enthusiastic, difficult-to-classify track sits somewhere between gentle indie-pop, low-key electro, and Tokyo Police Club’s giddy pop-rock attack. It’s way fun, whatever it is.

5. “Kangarang” – Casual Strangers. This psych-rock tune explores the more ambient, experimental, almost electronic vibes of the genre–eschewing huge guitars for a deep groove, this song is a burbling, thoughtful instrumental jam.

6. “Start Again (ft. Amy)” – Stefansson. I can’t resist an EDM song that is tasteful and restrained with the more stereotypically brash audio elements of the genre.

7. “Lackluster No.” – Nova Heart. A stark, sparse landscape gives way to an elegant, pristine, magnetic body of the song. It fuses electronic elements and live bass in a surprising way. It grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.

8. “World Government” – Heptagon Heaven. Do you need six minutes of arpeggiated synths, great sound washes, and general “cool” vibe? Of course you do.

9. “Indian Summer” – Jai Wolf. The stuttering optimism of Gold Panda fused to ODESZA’s artsy, high ideals post-dub makes for a deeply impressive track.

November MP3 Drop 1: DANCE IT OUT

November 10, 2013

So I’m getting caught up on MP3s too. Soon I will be back on schedule!

MP3 Drop 1: DANCE IT OUT

1. “Wear You Out” – Amerigogo. Punk-funk-party-rock with muscle, grit and old-school “we play our own damn instruments” passion. If you don’t want to dance to this, I’m not sure this blog can help you much on that front.
2. “Gold” – Half Sister. There will always be room in my heart for more girl-fronted power-pop, especially when it’s as crisp and surprisingly emotive as this. Tender is not a term given to power-pop that often, but more power to Half Sister for pulling it off.
3. “Small Pony” – Dott. Girl-fronted power-pop that features an impressive bit of drumming; if you’re on the Best Coast train, you’ll find much to love here.
4. “Get Down” – Like Clockwork. Somewhere between the Postal Service and Ke$ha lies this track and its catchy chorus. Cobra Starship? Maybe?
5. “TTYN” – SCRNS. Is Lorde on the front edge of something, or is she already causing? SCRNS has similarly minimalist electro production going on, and it’s similarly catchy and fun.
6. “Partners in Crime” – We Were Lovers. I don’t think I can ever think of rich, majestic, night-time dance-rock without invoking The Killers. So a female-fronted Killers it is, and I love it.
7. “My Song 9” – Nova Heart. Ominous, foreboding female-fronted indie-electro-rock with an excellent production job.
8. “Inhibitionist” – Starlight Girls. The line between campy horror and surf-rock has never been harder to find. Fun all around, whatever you think the sound is.
9. “Earthquake” – Passafire. The only reggae I know much about is Matisyahu, but Passafire caught my attention with this track: smooth vocals, great chorus, a bit of tough edge to the guitar.
10. “Moonlight” – Message to Bears. A hypnotizing, gently rolling tune that inhabits the space between artsy R&B and atmospheric indie-folk.

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

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