Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

MP3s: Up Up

April 10, 2015

Up Up

Without A Care” – Turn to Crime. The insistent arpeggiator, the squawking guitar, pushing drums, and repetitive nature of the song make this perfect road rock’n’roll. Also the topical matter, now that you mention it.

Killer Flamingo Báy” – Flamingo Bay. Manages to be raw and snarling while still also conveying droll boredom with the subject matter. In essence, the most rock’n’roll stance you could take, according to the Vines and Cage the Elephant.

Loose People” – Sans Parents. This feels like a garage rock song jammed together with a melancholy Beach Boys track, but as if those two things have been waiting to be put together forever.

Get It Out” – Two Sheds. Lumbering, towering, yet oddly good-natured rock that seems to be trying to engulf its lead singer entirely.

Struck Matches” – Bop English. It says “English” on the tin, but this cross between roots-rock and Styx is about as American as classic rock stylings can get.

The Devil Got to Go” – The Through & Through Gospel Review. If Of Montreal ever got conscripted for a prison chain gang work crew…

All the Time” – Nai Harvest. You look like you need some good, straight-ahead power-pop in your life.

City Livin’” – Round Eye. Frantic, zinging, careening punk from China. What’s not interesting about that?

One More Life” – Shy For Shore. I suppose if you hate electro-pop, it’s this sort of thing that you rail against. But I don’t know what’s wrong with high drama, big synths, and yearning vocals–if you’re looking for subtlety, just turn away. If you’re looking for that big moment: feast on, friends.

Holy Fire (Radio Edit)” – Many Things. Due to its hypnotic ostinato piano line, U2-level bombastic production, and demands to “throw up your hands now,” this thumping-beat pop anthem is contractually obligated to be played only in stadiums and at least 10 feet above the heads of the floor audience.

Build a Sun” – Wartime Blues. This outfit is trying to cram gleeful abandon into a tastefully restrained orchestral folk-pop band. The results are like Josh Ritter with old-school Arcade Fire creeping out from around the edges.

All Through the Fire, All Through the Rain” – Rosenblume. Isn’t a clean-cut, well-sung adult alternative love song a great thing? Check yes or no by clicking this song link.

Trying Man” – Emilio. There’s more than a little Simon & Garfunkel tucked into this track; the British accent gives it a unique spin. The vocalists at the end also add to the tune.

(And Loud)

May 8, 2014

There’s also rock’n’roll in the summer, for those of us who like it a little heavier when the sun is shining.

Oh So Summery (and Loud)

1. “Right on Time” – The Addies. You might turn down the volume before you hit play: this chunky slab of guitar-rock takes off at full blast before dropping into a groove of sorts.

2. “Brix-tone” – Mangoseed. Reggae + Rage against the Machine = whoa bro.

3. “Forgiveness” – Turn to Crime. The song name and band name seem incongruous, but whatevs. This is a refreshing bit of laid-back rock’n’roll that makes me think of Velvet Underground.

4. “Human Imitation” – Rayne. We’re going to look back in 20 years and realize that, while there were more popular bands, Muse was the most important band of the generation. Those soaring piano lines! High drama! Mmm. Anyway, Rayne knows how to write a high-drama ballad, which is what you get here.

5. “i am laid back no pressure” – pjaro. Some of that late ’80s/early ’90s post-hardcore churn, some of that mid-’90s indie-rock malaise, some punk hollering/singing–pjaro is a clever, interesting rock band.

6. “Casual Strangers (We Used to Be Friends)” – Casual Strangers. This one is actually laid back: ’90s slacker vibe meets wooshy ’70s psych/prog for a real weird but real interesting combo.

7. “Abandoned Houses” – SVK. Norwegian post-rock that’s heavy on reverb, space, bass, and atmosphere. A winning combination.

8. “At the End of a Dream There Is a New Ideal” – Martyn Jackson. British post-rock that’s heavy on guitar melody, percussion, and forward motion. Also a winning combination.

9. “The Bridge” – Matt Stevens. British post-metal that’s just straight-up heavy. (And there’s 12 minutes of it!)

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

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