Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

March MP3s: In the Minor Key

March 7, 2016

In the Minor Key

1. “Works for You” – ╬útella. Sleek, slinky pop that bridges the gap between electro and Fleetwood Mac with ease.

2. “Throw the Game” – Sky vs. Heath. Electro-indie bands are a dime a dozen, but Sky vs. Heath manages to rise above the pack with pristine production, a breathy vocal performance, and solid vocal melodies.

3. “Future Ex” – Plastic Knives. Somehow things still sound futuristic, even though we’re definitely living in the future. This electro-meets-rock-meets-post-rock-meets-soundtrack tune achieves an unusual amount of clarity, consistency and vision for a tune of its type.

4. “Come to Your Senses” – MNNQNS. Ping-pongs between post-punk verses, party-friendly indie-rock pre-chorus, and an almost alt-rock chorus. The results are a lot of fun.

5. “Stay” – Sabbatical Year. Performing the balancing act between hipster-friendly indie-pop and radio-friendly OneRepublic-style pop takes a deft hand, and Sabbatical Year shows off that they’re up to the task.

6. “3 A.M.” – New Dog. A surprisingly perky arpeggiator anchors this late night indie-pop; it’s perhaps a gentler version of Digital Ash-era Bright Eyes. The sort of song that you feel like you’ve known and loved forever, starting right now.

7. “Dodged a Bullet” – Greg Laswell. Laswell is in full-on mope-out mode, making breakups sound just as weird and uncomfortable and all too familiar as we know they are.

8. “All In Time” – Hospital Ships. If you pull out elements of The Postal Service, Songs: Ohia, and LCD Soundsystem and mash them together, you might end up with something along the lines of this intriguing, low-key indie-pop jam.

9. “Cut Love” – Hayden Calnin. A brilliant, icy, arch, James Blake-ian electro-mope (with piano).

10. “The lamp kept us warm, but now we walk (Feat. Olivia Dixon)” – Trevor Ransom. A thoughtful, atmospheric piano-heavy piece (post-rock? modern classical? I don’t know anymore) that includes lots of found sound; it’s the sort of thing that turns an ordinary place into an extraordinary one with a simple pair of headphones.

11. “Back Home” – Lyfe Indoors. It’s tagged “coldwave,” which I’m sure is a specific term, but I like it because this tune is like a spartan chillwave tune in a minor key. It’s got subtle groove and evocative atmospherics.

12. “Dissolve” – TIHMTGB. A fractured, tumbling, almost architectural sonic piece; it relies heavily on impressions and interpretations of the mood, rather than melody.

Video jam, pt 1

September 25, 2012

So I’m a sucker for a big-chorus pop song. Here’s Belmont Lights’ “Halfway,” which throws down piano, strings and whoa-ohs in the vein of The Fray, OneRepublic, et al. Yes, you know who you are. No shame.

“Undertow” is one of the most moving songs on Robert Deeble’s Heart Like Feathers, so I’m glad to see that it earned itself a video.

Hoodie Allen throws down a non-album single called “Feel the Love,” and it’s a throwback to his indie-rock flippin’, name-checkin’ first works. I love it.

Quick Hit: Thomas Neptune

October 19, 2011

Here’s the inaugurual Independent Clauses free association music review. Whatever comes to mind when you see these phrases is all you will need to know about Thomas Neptune:

Matchbox 20, OneRepublic, Goo Goo Dolls, Maroon 5, anthemic pop.

If you’re nodding your head enthusiastically, you need to get your hands on a copy of Neptune’s Down to Earth EP. He’s got the songwriting skill to make it with the big boys, especially as displayed in the stadium-filling “Unbreakable” and the celebratory “My Ohio.” “We’re Beautiful” shows his Matt Nathanson/Jason Mraz side, as well. If you’re into modern radio pop (and I do love a good pop song), then you should be all over this.

(However, I can’t support his excessive use of his own picture in promo materials. It’s just weird.)

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

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