Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Jons’ Dreamland

July 18, 2016

jons

JonsSerfs of Today is low-fi bliss. The Canadian band’s psychedelic rock recorded with iPhones and cassette recorders whisks listeners away to a heavenly place where the electric guitar reigns supreme.

“Sugarfree,” the first track off the album, throws us into a beautiful place of grainy recording quality and smooth-talking electric guitar. In fact, using one or two electric guitars as the main aspect of each of the tracks occurs throughout the album, fitting for psychedelic rock. Yet, “I Haven’t Learned” breaks that rule and uses a hearty acoustic guitar as its primary instrument. Secondary instruments include a drumkit and bass for the most part, but more unique instruments come into play on many tracks, such as the shakers in “Sugarfree” and perhaps wooden castanets in “Serfs of Today.”

The title track does not really sound like any of the other tracks. It jumps around in style throughout the song, with a long stretch of castanet-like instrument playing the song out. “Serfs of Today” works to separate the first half of the album’s sound from the second. A lot of the earlier tracks deliver this hazy lo-fi version of The Beach Boys (“Don’t Complain,” “Last Minute,” and “Orchachief”). The beachy guitar and chill vocals are primary characteristics of these tracks. Most of the later tracks are more saucy psychedelic rock like The Doors (“Other Room,” “Catamaran,” and “Softspot”) where the dream-like quality remains, but the bolder electric guitar and use of the bass stand out more.

“Last Call for Buss” closes the album out perfectly. At an even two minutes, the track is the shortest of them all. It opens with the more playful electric guitar from the first half of the record letting out whimsical rhythms. And just as you find yourself enjoying the track’s larkish nature, it gently fades out.

Serfs of Today is the perfect combination of sublime and gritty. The soothing vocals, ravishing electric guitar, and grainy musical quality will surely send you off to dreamland.–Krisann Janowitz

Mix 2: Pop and Rock

September 10, 2014

Mix 2: Pop and Rock

1. “Growing Mould” – Ha the Unclear. I’m a big fan of yelpy vocalists that can find a foil for their tones. Ha the Unclear’s eccentric mix of throw-back pop crossed with mid -’00s indie-pop is a perfect fusion of instrument and voice.

2. “Repetition” – Kobadelta. If you’re a fan of the Doors or any band that has tried to emulate the Doors, you’ll be interested in Kobadelta’s bass-heavy psych-rock with a baritone vocalist and spot-on production. Check that sweet half-time breakdown.

3. “Coulda Been” – Sallie Ford. Get back to your ’60s and ’70s rock roots. Nod at your Grace Slick poster. Remember that the congas are a legitimate instrument. You’re fully ready to get sassed by Ms. Ford in this impressively rhythmic and cool track.

4. “Cellophane” – Adventure Set. Some synth-pop is really indie-pop with a synth. I actually think that Adventure Set wrote every part of this song except the vocals on synths. It’s simultaneously nostalgic and futuristic, wistful and giddy.

5. “Flederlaus” – Magnetfisch. Instrumental synth-pop? Why not? With its chirpy synth line and sassy guitar solo, this particular track feels like it should be the soundtrack to an old-school platformer video game. Sonic the Hedgehog was awesome, y’all.

6. “Adam’s Head” – Adam Rich. This bluesy, goofy, fun track closes Rich’s new album Streetlight Smile.

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

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