Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Quick Hits: Glen Brady / Bendejo / Groove Squared

July 27, 2015

Glen Brady

Glen Brady’s Redeemer EP can light a deep house dance floor on fire with his trademark clean bass lines. But it’s the mix of smooth flow, deep grooves, and melodic downtempo tracks that makes Redeemer sure to win over the ears of electronic listeners.

While the title track and “Rathmines Rock” are pulsing house songs stacked with building, sexy synth, elevating bass lines, and quick vocal bits, I was most impressed with the more ambient soundscapes. Slo-house elements and stunning melodies unfold on “Baby Maker.” The closer,“Once Was Glamour,” boasts enough breaks and ambient guitar to qualify it for late-night, sunroof-cracked cruising. Each song of Redeemer has that chill trance energy to it. It must be the clean production overall that, even while uncontrollably head bobbing and toe tapping, made me want to slow down and soak in every aspect of these tracks.

Bendejo

Vienna producer Bendejo delivers raw emotion like he invented it in his latest EP Unravel, where soaring strings and piano compliment the rich synths and dark undertones this release is heaving with. Ambient and misty, Unravel is a scenic soundscape unto itself.

The title track exhales that emotion through quick bursts of grand piano and an undulating, heavy rhythm. Reverse Commuter’s eerie, dance-inducing “Swallowed Shadow Mix” heaps on the trippiness with warped, echoed synth. Stefny’s “In The Night Mix” is just as darkly atmospheric; for as foggy and wandering as the texturing gets, there is a breathtaking introduction of strings that made me think of a trippy version of The Secret Garden–if the film were ever lucky enough to have an electronic soundtrack.

But it’s Bendejo’s “Landscapes” that epitomizes Unravel’s “epic melancholy balanced out by progressive techno” approach. It churns things up with jumpy, hilly, minimal bits that sound, quite literally, like a rocky landscape. Unravel is just as much sonic terrain as it is an EP; if that doesn’t get your techno appetite growling, I don’t know what does.

Groove Squared

As soon as I read that Groove Squared is an Italian producer, it all made sense: the sexy ambiance, that unique European density, those beautifully restrained vocals. Chemistry is an EP made up of four remixes of Groove Squared’s original track “Chemistry,” with each song emphasizing certain aspects of the track’s soulful, deep house makeup.

Musumeci’s vocal and instrumental remixes stay true to the ambient soundscapes of Chemistry–his vocal remix a deep trance track whose powerful, intensified vocals stand out amongst twinkling synth and a punchy rhythm. Remixes from Dodi Palese offer both a melancholic side and a deep techno burst at the end, which left me with an embarrassing seizure-like twitch long after the music stopped–you go, Dodi Palese. Palese’s original edit plays up those soothing, lulling vocals, but it’s his final remix that reminds me Chemistry offers a provocative European club feel–one brimming with jabbing beats, dramatic vocals, punchy percussion, and some simply unforgettable electronica. —Rachel Haney

Best of the rest!

December 27, 2013

Independent Clauses is but one man right now, and I can’t get to everything. Here are some really quick hits on stuff I like but haven’t had a chance to cover in detail.

Shine Your LightGap Dream. Burger Records loves garage-rock, but Gap Dream goes against the grain for some psych-influenced pop-rock. The tunes here are smooth, powered by shimmering, pulsing synths and trilling, chiming guitars. These are really fun tunes that take some of the irony out of indie-rock’s version of pop-rock. Perfect driving music, excellent chilling-out music.

Light on the LakeSignals Midwest / BanquetsBanquets. I didn’t listen to a lot of punk rock this year for a bunch of silly reasons. These two bands, whom I dearly love, bore the brunt of my sabbatical. Both are really talented bands that deserve the attention of those who love muscly punk rock that doesn’t get too abrasive and keeps an artsy streak.

Spooky ActionThe Fierce and the Dead. If a punk band and a post-rock band were in a head-on collision, the resulting fusion would sound as frantic and expansive as this album. If you’re into post-rock but think it can get way too navel-gazing sometimes, you should hear the pounding riffs and rhythms this English band throws down.

UnravelDebbie Neigher. Neigher is an alto singer/songwriter with a mature approach to songwriting, along the lines of Regina Spektor, Imogen Heap, and Feist. She relies heavily on keys–but not necessarily piano–which creates a nice vibe to her work.

Save Your HeartLights & Motion. If you like your post-rock in major keys, with huge crescendoes, and with jubilant conclusions, Lights & Motion is far and away the best at that. This is beautiful stuff that intends to make you sigh with wonder. You know who you are.

Multiple Releases – Qualia. Dan Leader put out six releases in 2013 under his post-rock moniker. Similar to Lights & Motion, but with a pinch more nuance and minor key action, this is still incredibly beautiful work. If you’re into it, there’s a ton of it to be into, so jump on that.

Falling in WavesBlack Birds. These Australians marry guitar crunch and heavy reverb for a post-shoegaze throwdown. If you’re into rock riffs without a blatantly self-indulgent rock’n’roll attitude, check it out.

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

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