Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Dead Cliche-Street To Nowhere

November 28, 2004

This month’s feature is of totally independent bands. These six bands have had no label support whatsoever, and still turn out amazing music. These are the DIY warriors…

Song: Dead Cliche
Band: Street To Nowhere
Genre: Rock/ Indie
Album: N/A
Label: Unsigned
Website: www.streettonowhere.com www.purevolume.com/streettonowhere
Bottom Line: Very original. You’re either gonna love it or hate it.

With a unique voice and style, songwriter Dave Smallen presents us with “Dead Cliché”, an upbeat folk-rock song. Finding its strength in its lyrics and melodies, the song opens with the quick, Dave Matthews-ish guitar part. With the verse curiously sharing some similarities with music of the Colonial Period in American history, the songs slows to a darker, more melancholy chorus with the song’s title being repeated. Certainly writing a distinctive song, Street To Nowhere may not appeal to everyone. However, with the undeniably atypical qualities, the band will stand apart from the crowd. And certainly, with the largely homogeneousness of bands today, that may not be such a bad thing.

Song: Impossible
Band: Evy Potter
Genre: Acoustic
Album: N/A
Label: Unsigned
Website: www.purevolume.com/evypotter
Bottom Line: Refreshing solo female acoustic act.
With soft, melodic vocals, great lyrical content, and a strong arrangement with guitar and piano, Evy Potter has written herself quite the enchanting song. After a dissonant intro, Evy brings us into the verse with a storytelling quality, immediately painting a picture of days gone by. Avoiding the tendency that many artists succumb to of cluttering their songs with needless instrumental additions, the piano is used subtlety enough as to not take any attention away from the vocals, while still providing harmonic color to the tune. Her gentle voice and refreshing melodies give the song a lift, elevating Evy above many other solo acoustic acts. With great production and professionalism, critics would easily agree that “Impossible” is on par with the work of many more established acoustic acts.

Song: Motion Creates Emotion
Band: Westcott
Genre: Indie / Rock / Post Hardcore
Album: Awaken the Dawn
Label: Unsigned
Website: www.westcottmusic.com www.purevolume.com/westcott
Bottom Line: If you don’t already know them, you will soon.

Opening with a mix of strings and acoustic guitar, “Motion Creates Emotion” plays with the perfect balance of the rock, post hardcore, and orchestral genres. While the verse has a sort of Trapt feel to it with its delicate guitar work, the chorus takes on a more hardcore quality. After a brief interlude of strings and light guitar, Westcott turns the song to full intensity with multiple voices shouting the final chorus:

We grow strong with time.
Our tears will flow like wine.
I want to be young.
I want my memories back.
You can’t share them they’re mine.
Shudder to think what I had.

For fans of rock/hardcore, this song will prove to be an infectious one, and surely leave you wanting more.

Song: Live Without
Band: Cranky Jam
Genre: Rock / Pop / Folk
Album: Live Without
Label: Unsigned
Website: www.crankyjam.com www.purevolume.com/crankyjam
Bottom Line: Fan of early-mid nineties rock? This is your band.
Cranky Jam, hailing from Geneva, Switzerland, find gold with their simple yet driving song “Live Without.” Resembling rock bands of the nineties like Live and specifically The Cranberries, the band proves that less is more with this 4-chord straight up rock song, led by the raw, melodic voice of lead singer Karine Novell. Holding back in the verse, the band charges forward to produce the thunderous chorus, sure to have the Swiss crowds singing in unison. These changes in dynamics make the song structurally balanced, and thus provide the listener with quite the enjoyable experience. Some may say that rock is dead, but apparently someone forgot to forward that memo to Switzerland.

Song: Take Me Home
Band: Stage Fright Remedy
Genre: Acoustic / Rock / Folk Rock
Album: N/a
Label: Unsigned
Website: www.stagefrightremedy.com  www.purevolume.com/stagefrightremedy
Bottom Line: This brother and sister duo is going to be huge, very soon.

Opening with the guitar line from Taylor Clark, reminiscent to that of Dashboard Confessional, we are soon greeted with the stunning voice of his sister, Rachel, 20. Through her captivating lyrics, the song will quickly put the listener in a sedated mood, a result of the placid guitar work, beat, and melodies. As if having this combination of guitar and vocals in the family wasn’t enough, Taylor joins in the singing for some harmonies to further the belief that this family/group has an overabundance of talent. If only there was some more siblings to play the drums and perhaps piano, Stage Fright Remedy would likely already be in the limelight. However, with the two members, they seem to be doing just fine.

Song: The Places We Go
Band: The Natural Anthem
Genre: Alternative / Pop Punk / Rock
Album: The Places We Go
Label: Unsigned
Website: www.naturalanthem.com www.purevolume.com/thenaturalanthem
Bottom Line: Great song. Very promising band.

Comparable to such bands as The Starting Line and The Early November, The Natural Anthem present us with “The Places We Go,” a well-crafted pop-punk track packed with hooks and a sing-along chorus that will be stuck in your head for days. From a mid-tempo verse, the song builds in the pre-chorus and finally culminates in the chorus with the teenaged anthem-like chant:

“These are the places we go in our hearts,
these are the dreams that we pull back down,
these are the days we’ll remember for the rest of our lives,
it’s never going to get easier for me to say goodbye.”
While there are many bands out there playing in the pop/punk genre, be sure to not write off The Natural Anthem as just another one. With songs like “The Places We Go,” the band sets itself apart from the pack, proving that they have something to offer. Do yourself a favor and listen to this band.

-Michael Schwartz

Street To Nowhere

October 16, 2003

Street To Nowhere

Demo

What do you expect from a band that labels themselves “Punk, Ska, Rock, Emo”? I mean that’s four definitive genres right there. I can see two or maybe even three genres being crossed, but four?? It could possibly happen in Seattle, because that’s the breeding ground all whacked out music these days.  But anywhere else?  I’m not so sure it can be done.

A dark acoustic guitar leads us into “Stab Wound Sighs”, which is a dark emo song with a punk chorus. Street to Nowhere (from here known as STN) uses the acoustic often throughout this demo, and they reach good results with it. They use electrics in this song as well, and it creates a slightly maniacal, frantic feel to the song. Finally, they use dramatic, sweeping crescendos as often as possible, and it enhances the overall feel greatly. At the top of the last crescendo, they have two guys singing, two guitar melodies, thrashing drums, pulsing bass, and most of the audience raising their fists in the air.  “The Parkman Ghost” shows off the impressive vocal range that the lead singer possesses. It has definite rock influences, but this song clearly displays their pop-punk chops (they feature group yelling backup vocals, something only punk can pull off). Good pop-punk has to have a good melody, and appropriately, the chorus is more infectious than the flu. Besides being an obvious nod to Kurt Cobain, “Suicide (Is So April 94′)” is an acoustic punk song that sounds so much like Calibretto that it was eerie. The vocals even possessed some of the same intonation. But, they separate themselves by using things such as guitar swoops, electric guitars, and a set of anti-suicide lyrics.

This shocked me. It was a bright, nearly flawless fusion of rock, punk, and emo. There wasn’t any ska, but hey, don’t believe everything you hear. Pushing the limits of traditional music is a good idea. But Street to Nowhere is bettering that. They push the limits of traditional music and sound awesome while doing it. The best three-song demo I’ve ever heard, hands down (Sorry Suicide Pact). You will be hearing more from these guys, most likely on your radio.

Read: www.streettonowhere.com

Listen: www.mp3.com/streettonowhere

Buy: N/A (whole album available at above address.)

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

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