Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Wintry tunes

April 26, 2012

Trip-hop has been popping up on my radar with increasing frequency lately; I don’t know if there’s been a recent bump in its creation, or if I’m just getting exposed to it more. Whichever it is, I’m thankful for it: the slinky, wintry cool of “Stealin’ Hearts” by the awesomely-named Chrome and the Ice Queen should do to you just what the title states. Download “Stealin’ Hearts” here.

The incredible Patrick Watson has released a mind-bending, beautiful video for “Into Giants” that morphs from its Skype opening into a Broadway musical. It is mesmerizing. (And they get snow thrown on them!)

Red Wanting Blue, who I’ve covered several times, are finally coming to my home state of Oklahoma for Norman Music Festival 5; sadly, it’s the first year of the festival that I won’t be there from the earliest shows to the end of the main stage. My personal problems aside, the band is on the rise: RWB just booked its first gig on Letterman for July 18. Check out “White Snow.” (More winter! But only metaphorically.)

Speaking of things related to my home state, The Rock’n’Roll Dreams of Duncan Christopher was shot completely in Oklahoma. Check the comedy’s trailer:

Blue-collars

January 30, 2012

Red Wanting Blue is the personification of the blue-collar road warrior band. Since 1996, the band has been cranking out melodic rock’n’roll/pop that fits neatly next to Counting Crows—which is a great thing in my book, as I know almost every word of August and Everything After. RWB’s newest, From the Vanishing Point, just broke into the Heatseekers chart at #10, which is a hard-earned spot for a band that’s worked diligently for so long. As my Dad quips, “One of these years I’ll be an overnight success.” Here’s their video for the ridiculously catchy “Audition.”

Charlotte & Magon have been charming me for a while (exhibits A, B, C and D), and “The Mining” is no different. The tense, sparse tune draws from trip-hop, electro-pop and post-punk before bursting into a wicked guitar solo. Yes, a guitar solo. They’re ratcheting up for the release later this year of their “magnum opus, rock novel” Life Factory, which is “the story of the working man in search of hope and truth.”


Singles Mix: Slightly Holidays edition

December 16, 2011

Joplin pop-rockers Me Like Bees wrote “Naked Trees” as a charity track to raise money for Joplin Habitat for Humanity in the wake of the tornado disaster there. The track is catchy as all get-out and includes whistling. You will almost certainly love it, and if you contribute you’ll have rocked for a good cause.

So you know those channels on cable that only play music? My friends had a Christmas channel on that was stocked with Bing Crosby and other traditionals UNTIL THIS HAPPENED:

That’s right; Red Wanting Blue recorded “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and it ended up on a background noise channel. Mind be blown. RWB world takeover is imminent.

My friend Peter Shauger, who records as The Bye Byes, sent me over a “Hey, I think you’d like this” e-mail about pop band Shade (not to be confused with the rock band Shade that we have reviewed before). He was right: I heard the pulsing rhythm and honest vocal performance of “Understand” and fell in love with the track. You should check it out if you like music from people who’ve been playin’ the indie-rock game a while.

November included my first half-marathon, so I’m proud to present the month’s list of top-ranked songs from RunHundred.

Calvin Harris – “Feel So Close (Benny Benassi Remix)”

Katy Perry – “The One That Got Away”

Elvis Presley – “Suspicious Minds (Can’t Walk Out Remix)”

Michael Jackson – “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (Immortal Version)

LMFAO & Lil Jon – “Shots (Dummejungs Remix)”

Rihanna & Jay-Z – “Talk That Talk”

Will.I.Am, Mick Jagger & Jennifer Lopez – “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)

Alexandra Stan – “Mr. Saxobeat (Maan Studio Remix)”

Laidback Luke, Steve Aoki & Lil Jon – “Turbulence”

Dev – “In The Dark (DJ Kue Remix)”

A large amount of odds and ends that mostly have to do with Josh Caress

October 4, 2011

So, Josh Caress and his new band Come On, Pilgrim! are making a record, and they’re funding it with a Kickstarter campaign. If you love Caress’s work as much as I do, you’ll want more tracks that sound as incredible as “The Region of the Summer Stars.” If you read this blog consistently and don’t love Josh Caress’s work yet, I have utterly failed at one of my primary goals. Support Caress and correctly-punctuated band names everywhere by contributing some dollarz.

In other Josh Caress-related news, I heard from his brother Adam (whose old band I reviewed a very long time ago, and who co-runs the blog Mule Variations) that they have TWO MORE musical siblings, who are in this band Ponychase. The song sounds like it could have been lifted from (still) my favorite Josh Caress album, Letting Go of a Dream, which means it’s been chilling in the back of my consciousness since I first heard it. Do yourself a favor and jump on this dreamy wonder.

I rep Norman, Okla., proudly and often. But even if I wasn’t from the same town as The Nghiems, I would still love this video. If you ever played side-scrolling multi-player beat-‘em-up arcade games (You know you loved X-men in the arcade), this indie-pop saga will make your heart swoon.

In still further related Caress news, Adam Caress just did an interview on MV with Red Wanting Blue’s songwriter Scott Terry. Red Wanting Blue has been covered here before, and their new album From The Vanishing Point comes out in January. But because they’re awesome, they’re streaming the album, one song at a time, until it’s all up and out in the universe. If you like good ’90s pop, you’ll love this.

And, finally, it’s October, which means Chris Lawhorn of RunHundred sent over the top running tracks of September from his website. I usually let the data stand, but his commentary (below) is quite interesting. —Stephen Carradini

This month’s list brings two questions to mind:

#1. For how many consecutive months will David Guetta turn up in these top 10 lists? (His new track with Usher made the cut–and he just barely missed making it again with his recent Nicki Minaj collaboration.)

#2. Will Calvin Harris, Benny Benassi or Afrojack be the one that unseats him? (All three are making their second appearances on the charts this month. And, like Guetta, each has begun being billed as the artist on his tracks—rather than being credited as the producer/remixer, which was the case a couple years ago.)

This month’s top 10 is rounded out by a new track from LMFAO, a Britney remix, and a song by Young The Giant—brought most folks’ attention by the band’s surprise inclusion on this year’s MTV Video Music Awards.

Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at RunHundred.com–the web’s most popular workout music blog.

Rihanna & Calvin Harris – “We Found Love”
Dev – “In The Dark”
Afrojack & Eva Simons – “Take Over Control”
LMFAO – “Sexy And I Know It”
Chris Brown & Benny Benassi – “Beautiful People”
Shortee & Faust – “Friday Night Special”
Kelly Rowland & Lil Wayne – “Motivation (Rebel Rock Remix)”
Britney Spears – “I Wanna Go (Oliver Remix)”
Young The Giant – “My Body”
David Guetta & Usher – “Without You”
—Chris Lawhorn

Goodbye, summer

August 19, 2011

School started recently for some folk. Other students are wringing the best out of their last days of freedom. I’m in the former category, as I’m enrolled in grad school after a jaunt in the “real world.” (It’s all pretty real to me.)

Here’s a tune courtesy of The Hue that fits the mood of those last fleeting days: upbeat, but tempered from the gung-ho enthusiasm of June. “The Bump,” indeed.

Also, if you remember how awesome Live was in the ’90s, you’re going to be all about Red Wanting Blue. RWB has a bit more of an organic feel (Gin Blossoms!), but you’ll love it.

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

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