Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Two instrumentals: The Fierce and the Dead and Sun Speak

October 26, 2019

Live USA 17 – The Fierce and the Dead. This is a great primer to a post-rock band that draws more on punk energy than sludgy metal for its animating force. As one of the members calls out after frantic opener “1991”: “We’re the band you can dance to.” And while there’s a bit of self-deprecating humor there, there’s a real sense where tunes like “Spooky Action” and “Truck” could be credibly accused of being “fun” in addition to rocking. I mean, there’s community clapping in “Flint”. People are having a good time. And you could be too! There’s a lot to explore on this record, and that’s a joy.

Moon Preach – Sun Speak. This album resists easy definition, but I’ll give it a go anyway. This is a guitar-and-drums duo, but this is not a garage-rock outfit or a math-rock beast; instead, it’s a cross between a down-tempo trip-hop album, a post-rock album, and an introspective slowcore record. It’s unlike much else I’ve heard in the instrumental-duo realm; Sun Speak doesn’t try to sound like more people than it is or amplify the minimalist aspects of their set-up. Instead, they create a whole universe to inhabit of subtle grooves (“ALASKA,” “ROOST”), jazzy experiments (“FOXON,” “OFFHUE”), and even a calming acoustic folk-like track (“DAVLIN”). Along the way, Sun Speak paints a picture of a dense, carefully constructed, evocative space that Sun Speak clearly know every inch of. This is great, great stuff. Highly recommended.


Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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