Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

April ’07 Singles

April 1, 2007

Tracks to check out:

(all can be sampled on Hits From Another Planet)

Late of the Pier – “Space & The Woods”

Generally, I’m not the biggest fan of this “new-rave” sound coming out of the UK right now, even though it combines a lot of elements that I like. Late of the Pier have been lumped together with this movement, but they have both a greater pop sensibility and a glammier approach than most others in the genre. This song, especially, sounds like Cars era Gary Numan. It’s a mammoth single, and one that I can’t imagine failing to be a success. It’s just so darn catchy. Also, I heard this track in demo form a few months ago, and this full single release is about a million times better.

Plemo – “Flashlight”

“Flashlight”, by German singer Plemo begins with a high pitched introduction that I have completely given up trying to decipher. Luckily, it very quickly jumps into an insanely catchy, energetic synth workout. It has the same wild, strange energy that the Scissor Sisters used to have in their demo days, but with more of a dance/club edge. I could see this track simply lighting up the dance floor. Though it sounds like very little else you’ve heard, you’ll be singing along with whatever they’re saying before the first listen is even over.

Andrew Benon – “Rock & Roll Moves”

Andrew Benon has crafted a pitch perfect recreation of great 80’s pop with this track. From the Bowie-esque vocals to the screaming saxophone to the sparkling synths, “Rock And Roll Moves” deserves to be the summer anthem of convertible drivers everywhere. It almost sounds like it was written by Prince back in his eighties hey day, especially the flawless chorus. Best of all, Andrew Benon’s debut effort is full of this kind of stuff. Many artists (especially on this blog) draw from the eighties for their sound, but few have been as believable as Benon is. Lyrically, “Moves” is very clever as well, which is always a pleasant surprise in pop music.

King Midas – “West End Boys”

Back in February, Norway’s King Midas quietly released Sorry, their latest album, and what could end up being one of the best records of the year. I’ve heard their sound on Sorry compared to such artists as Roxy Music and the Human League, but with a more contemporary edge. “West End Boys” was the album’s first single, released in late 2006. It amazes me that a band can release a pop song this perfect and go practically unnoticed outside of their homeland. Despite being lyrically quite dark (about Nazi Germany, or something like that… I haven’t quite deciphered it), the pulsing beat, background chants and chiming bells add up to pure pop perfection.

-Nick James

JamesN65’gmail.com

Singles, February 2007

February 1, 2007

Tracks to check out:

(all can be sampled on  Hits From Another Planet)

Bobby – She’s History

The members of Bobby have been producing new-romantic influenced glam pop for the better part of the decade and have some brilliant singles under their belt (check out “Wide Eyes Open,” “Sooner Or Later,” and “Come Crashing In”), but their most instant is also their most recent. “She’s History” almost sounds like a long-lost [Roxette] track. The lyrics are a bit suspect, but there is absolutely no denying the pure pop catchiness of the guitar-assisted chorus. This should have been massive. The band is releasing a new album later this spring, and I’m hoping it gives them the success they deserve.

A.C.T. – Call In Dead

A rock band that mixes a bit of Queen, ELO and Abba into their music, A.C.T. is completely over the top. “Call in Dead” is under three minutes long, yet it sounds like an entire rock opera sped up and crammed together until it practically bursts with odd verses, stylistic changes and multi-tracked theatrical vocals. It takes at least a few listens to even be able to digest it. The track is off the band’s newest album Silence, though they’ve been around awhile and have three earlier albums of similar prog pop/rock. File this near Tally Hall and LEO and have yourself an epic rock evening.

Pennebaker – Runaway Heart

I know that a lot of my readers are fans of the soft-rock resurgence (think The Feeling or any other Supertramp influenced band out there), and I’m sure that those people will absolutely adore this track. Pennebaker is a Swedish trio who sings “soft rock/pop with western influences.” Think driving down the west coast with the top down. Or, if you haven’t actually done that, try to imagine what it’d be like. “Runaway Heart,” a minor hit in Sweden, is a near-perfect pop nugget: all wispy vocals and pounding piano. If this track doesn’t make you wish for summer, I don’t know what will. Based on its quality, I’ll probably be playing it well into the spring.

We Are The Fury – Now You Know

If you like Hot Hot Heat (and really, why wouldn’t you?) you should love We Are the Fury. The band plays the same kind of jerky dance rock with perhaps a bit more of a glam edge to it. Actually, some of the tracks on the band’s full-length debut wouldn’t be completely out of place on My Chemical Romance’s new glam-inspired album. “Now You Know” could have easily been yet another emo-punk track trying to be glamorous, but the piano and thomping beat allow it to be a bit more. Plus, the band’s got some of the best album covers around.

Lisa Miskovsky – Acceptable Losses

Lisa Miskovsky is a singer/songwriter from Sweden who writes semi-acoustic pop songs with some interesting global influences. She’s been pretty successful in Sweden, first with “Mary,” which was alright, then with “Sweet Misery,” which I loved, and soon with “Acceptable Losses,” my favorite song from her so far. At first it may not sound like much, and is definitely a departure from the kind of music I usually highlight, but it’s got a real perfect pop melody that gives it a lot of staying power. Couple that with one hell of a chorus, and you’ve got a hit, no matter what the genre!

Singles: January 2007

January 1, 2007

Tracks to check out:

(all can be sampled on [Hits From Another Planet)

Loveninjas – “I Wanna Be Like Johnny C”

“I Wanna Be Like Johnny C,” the new single from Swedish group Loveninjas, possesses the kind of shimmering pop melody that groups like Pulp and more recently The Upper Room excel at. I actually know shockingly little about the band, but I think that this song speaks for itself. It just keeps building and building until it bursts into an anthemic rave. In fact, I would put it right alongside Pulp’s “Common People.” In a lot of ways, it’s very similar and a nice compliment to that classic. Plus, the whole thing’s pretty funny… in a serious way of course.

Emmon – “Wake Up Time”

Emmon was the lead singer of Swedish pop/rock band Paris and has now gone solo. In addition to doing remixes for bands like the fabulous Melody Club (and supporting them on tour), she’s released this brilliant debut single. Although it seems to be a bit underhyped on the radio, it is completely deserving of massive hit status. File this next to the new Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Kylie tracks and don’t forget to buy her debut album The Art And The Evil when it comes out February 2nd.

All That and a Bag Of Chips – “Take Me To Your Leader”

All That and a Bag Of Chips incorporates elements of Bowie, the Ark and even a bit of Tim Curry. It’s a mixture made in heaven as far as I’m concerned, and their first single “Take Me to Your Leader” utilizes this sound to great effect. Glammy verses gradually build up to an explosive chorus that sets the track into spastic motion from that point on. ATAABOC hail from Norway, though they sound like they could have come out of America in the early-to-mid eighties.

Pleasure – “Out Of Love”

I really think this is one of the best tracks of 2006. Like fellow favs Alphabeat and Lucky Soul, this is pop music but it’s not vacuous in any way. High quality, unique melody, spare disco beat…it is absolutely essential – brilliant, even, in its simplicity. Pleasure is the work of Fred Ball, Norwegian DJ and pop music creator extraordinaire. An album is promised in February, though I can’t wait if it’s anything as good as this (and judging from second -and completely different- single “Back to You,” it is).

Juvelen – Hanna

Juvelen calls himself the “one man boy band.” I think he’s selling himself short, because he is far more interesting than that – too interesting for any label, in fact. Juvelen (means “jewel” in Swedish) is receiving mountains of hype in Sweden, and for good reason. His current single “Watch You Step” is a fine slice of catchy post-Prince pop, but I like “Hanna” better. “Hanna” is the kind of pop song that I seriously can’t imagine anybody disliking. It’s the kind of thing that Outkast promised us in that brief period where they made good pop… a wicked, surprising track that still manages to be conventional, catchier-than-should-be-allowed pop. In between sparkling synthesizer and funky guitars is pure genius.

-Nick James

JamesN65’gmail.com

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

Recent Posts

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