Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Nov MP3 Drop Two

November 26, 2013

Lotta good stuff trying to cram its way into 2013! Here’s a varied mix.

1. “No Sleep Tonight” – Family Cave. The precision of indie-pop, the aesthetics of indie-rock, and the mood of indie-folk create an incredibly intriguing tune. Watch for Family Cave in 2014.

2. “Keep It Together” – Decent Lovers. Not a cover of a Guster tune, this DL jam is ironically pretty separated and hectic. It’s held together by a strong mood and a deep internal rhythm. Elijah Wyman is getting better and better at this really unique style of pop.

3. “Travelin’ Home (On Another Christmas Eve)” – Peter Galperin. If you’ve ever wondered what a bossa nova Christmas sounds like, Galperin has got your back with this charming, hummable tune.

4. “Don’t Shoot the Messenger” – Miles Hewitt. Reminiscent of ’60s and ’70s protest rock, Hewitt combines old and new into a hypnotic mix.

5. “Belfast” – William Steffey. Takes cues from Oasis with dashes of Portishead and Blur, this tune sounds completely British but is totally from Chicago.

6. “Heartbreakers” – Tomorrows. The Jim Ivins Band rebrands and revamps, moving from an adult-pop template to sounds more akin to Anberlin’s early modern rock. The prominence of vocal melodies has not changed, which is good.

7. “Love Is Not Allowed” – Gap Dream. Obligatory Eno namecheck. Aside from that, this is a gorgeous, swirling mass of analog-sounding synths, modulated vocals, and electronic drums that makes me swoon.

8. “Get In It” – Nyteowl. Funky, spacey, mostly-instrumental R&B. “Do you want to get in it?” Yes. Yes, I do.

9. “Get Down Baby” – Blacktop Daisy. You’ve got to hand it to a band which unabashedly labels its music disco. No violins here, but those harmonies!

10. “Can’t Let Go” – Black Checker. This pop-rock-punk tune comes from an EP called Fast. Yup, that’s pretty much all you need to know.

11. “The Ah Ah Song” – Stand Up and Say No. I miss the days when The Flaming Lips made jubilant, illogical, bright pop tunes. This joyful, exuberant pop-rock tune is exactly that.

12. “Ain’t No Sunshine” – Magi. This Bill Withers cover is minimalist lo-fi glory: the distant recording, the raw passion in the imperfect vocals, the deep sense of mood.

The Jim Ivins band releases warm, exciting pop/rock

February 27, 2010

The Jim Ivins Band‘s five-song EP is expertly constructed late-nineties and early 2000s pop. The Goo Goo Dolls, Mae, Train, and more of their ilk are all sonically referenced throughout this EP. To some, that’s the kiss of death. To me, it’s pretty stinkin’ awesome. I may be a sucker, but I’m friggin’ in love with Train’s hit  “Hey Soul Sister,” and I’m excited about the Jim Ivins band.

The connection to Mae is very strong, as Jim Ivins and Dave Elkins have very high, warm voices and similar melodic ideas. The connection to the Goo Goo Dolls comes through the recording style, which punches the acoustic guitar way up in the mix and puts the electric guitar behind it as support. It results in a very full pop sound, but not in a wall-of-sound way. When you hear it, you’ll know it. You’ll most likely like it, too; it’s a very warm, pleasing sound.

The songs here are great on their own merits, too. Some albums make a great sound but create interchangeable songs within it; that’s not the case here. “The Chance” has a wonderful chorus hook that will stick in your head. “Back to Reality” has a great guitar riff throughout the chorus that will make you want to put the song on repeat. “How to Hold On” has a melody that Relient K would have been proud to write, and that’s high honors from this guy.

Jim Ivins Band’s self-titled EP is a bright, warm, charming release. I can see myself rocking this in my car on a road trip with the sun shining down. It’s the type of music that just begs to be sung along to. Pop songs may only be three minutes long, but if you put them on repeat, they last a whole lot longer. So it goes with the Jim Ivins Band.

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

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