Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

SVALL, pt 4

October 13, 2014

Brook Pridemore’s “Oh, E!” clip is a humorous clip involving a literal house party and a metaphorical party that Pridemore wasn’t invited to. The noisy, literate acoustic-punk is a ton of fun too.

Jenny and Tyler have released a touching video for their tender, moving “In Everything You Do.” I don’t think there’s been a thing in the last three years that I haven’t enjoyed by J&T.

The Gray Havens’ “Far Kingdom” performance clip shows off a pristine guy/girl folk-pop tune. Their new album (Jan 2015!) is going to be great.

Top EPs of the Year

December 30, 2013

This was the year of the EP. I received way more EPs than albums this year, which made choosing this list harder than choosing the albums of the year. While there’s a whole post waiting to be written about why EPs are the present and future of music, for now it’s enough to say that the music in these EPs stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the work in albums. The EP should not be considered an inferior format; it can pack quite a lot into its shorter run times. Here’s to the EP.

10. Forever and AlwaysQuiet Stories. An eclectic EP of diverse songwriting styles; some hushed and intimate, some boisterous and brash. Constant: melodies galore.

9. House on the MountainTeen Daze. My favorite electronic artist gets a little more analog, but doesn’t lose any chillwave-y charm. Quirky, beautiful, peppy.

8. Sweet Virginia – Sunny Jim Brown. Pensive, thoughtful, raw folky songwriting that just sounds gorgeous.

7. Twin ForksTwin Forks. “THAT’S A LOVE THAT! CAN’T BE BROKEN! THAT’S THE STING OF! A HEART CUT OPEN!” Yes.

6. Where Eyes Don’t GoThe Gray Havens. It was the year of the guy/girl folk-pop duo, and The Gray Havens were one of my favorites. Leaning toward the pop side, Dave and Licia play jaunty, fun tunes that will get you to sing along. Neatly balancing whimsy and seriousness, they stole my heart.

5. The RoosterDavid Ramirez. If Ramirez’s deep, resonant baritone doesn’t touch you, the deeply romantic lyrics will. Absolutely gorgeous.

4. The Long Ride HomeWolfcryer. A man and a guitar is an old recipe, but you don’t have to use a different recipe if the ingredients are high quality. Matt Baumann’s songs rely heavily on his emotive voice and passionate guitarwork, resulting in spacious, wide-open tunes that are perfect for long solo drives. A very strong opening salvo.

3. Somewhere Near the RiverLittle Chief. In a Mumford world, it’s good to play full-band folk. But it’s hard to stand out while doing so, which is why Little Chief caught my attention. Their nuanced songwriting and great cello work set them apart from the ever-growing pack of folky bands.

2. Creeping Around Your FaceNovi Split. One of my favorite songwriters from the earliest days of IC releases a four-song wonder that shows off all his talents. Precise arrangements, effortless melodies, heartrending poignancy, and covers that he takes complete control over. His is a truly singular vision, carving out space in a crowded field to demand attention.

1. For Tomorrow Will Worry About Itself EPFiery Crash. The culmination of a massive year that saw Fiery Crash put out five releases, this 7-song EP is the best of Josh Jackson’s work yet. Rolling folk tunes meet songs adorned with fuzzy reverb. New songs, reworkings, and hymns share space. Throughout it all, Jackson delivers earnest musings with real gravitas. This could be the start of something incredible.

The Gray Havens play a show for you! And write a new album for you!

September 5, 2013

I’ve been a real big fan of The Gray Havens’ Weepies-esque acoustic-pop since they first sent an EP my way earlier this year. After some touring behind the release, the married duo is getting down to business and cranking out an album. In 2013, that means a Kickstarter campaign is about to happen. LO AND BEHOLD:

Here’s the full Kickstarter page. If you don’t know the Gray Havens yet, NEVER FEAR! They’re throwing a free concert in their living room and live-streaming it tonight at 7 p.m. central time. You can watch it at UStream, their website, or below:

So, here’s a to-do list:

1. Watch show at 7 p.m. central time.
2. Fall in love with The Gray Havens.
3. Have your day brightened.
4. Contribute to their Kickstarter.

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

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