Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Absurdity / surreality

November 3, 2014

Surreality and absurdity have specific meanings to me. Surreal is the type of weird that’s just left of normal; you can feel that it might be normal, but something is just off. It’s the creepy weird, the weird that everyone accepts as normal except you–and you don’t know why. Absurdity is when completely nonsensical things happen all at once and everyone realizes it’s bizarre. Creating absurdity is much easier than creating surreality. The Landing’s video for “We Are” is surreal, in the best way.

Springtime Carnivore’s video for “Name on a Matchbook” is the funniest video I’ve seen all year. Subverting gender stereotypes and tropes? Re-envisioning Springtime Carnivore as a girl-band Beatles? Be still, my fluttering heart.

Quiet Stories’ “When I Come Down” is not necessarily quiet in volume, but the story he tells in this video definitely is a quiet little tale.

Sometimes it’s a single image that gets me in a video. In Bobby Bare Jr.’s “North of Alabama By Morning,” it’s a two-second clip (0:37-38) of the keyboardist grooving so hard. Total dedication to the sound, right there. Also, this song rules.

I watched the whole 5:16 of Sharon Van Etten’s “Your Love is Killing Me” clip because I wanted to know what was happening. Let’s just call the end a baffling one. Van Etten is a towering presence on this track, so if you’re into huge, emotional songs, you can stay for that as well.

Singles 1: 9 p.m. Friday Dance-away-your-week Tunes

October 21, 2014

9 p.m. Friday Dance-away-your-week Tunes

1. “Lighthouse” – The Burgeoning. One of the most intriguing singles I’ve heard all year, this track combines the ambient uppers of chillwave with the melodic structures of Vampire Weekend and the frantic fury (and guitar noise) of a punk band. It’s a fresh, amazing combination. I’m looking forward to hear more from The Burgeoning.

2. “The Next Morning” – The Drafts. The energy and enthusiastic guitars of The Vaccines meet a reserved, pensive vocalist for a charming, infectious tune that you’ll want to hear multiple times.

3. “Where I Go” – Pistol Shrimp. If Passion Pit, MGMT, and Anamanaguchi had a basement dance party, this bangin’ tune would be the result. Pop gold, right here.

4. “Heartracer” – Cosby. Synth-laden, big-pop ’80s revivalism is going great this year. This fits right up there with Challenger for the best of the bunch.

5. “Recurring Dreams” – Shivery Shakes. The carefree nature of whistling in a ’60s surf-pop influenced tune gets me every time. You like The Drums? You’ll love this.

6. “Promises” – Barreracudas. If you make a metaphor that includes arcade games (specifically Donkey Kong), I will be immediately more endeared to you. Fun, poppy garage-rock here.

7. “Speed Date Yr Way to Fame” – Sweet Deals on Surgery. Starts off a thrashy, screamed, frantic punk song before taking a momentary break in pop. Then in blasts off again.

8. “Name on a Matchbook” – Springtime Carnivore. ’60s girl pop gets a slight sonic update, but the soul of this tune really begs for an -ettes suffix.

9. “Head Down” – The Ocean Party. Jangly ’80s indie-rock meets airy ’80s synth-pop. The peppy, fun results are less ’80s and more ’00s than you’d think.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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