Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Videos from the Paused Times

May 22, 2020

Seth WalkerMay 31, 8 pm Virtual Concert on Facebook    

It’s plain to see what is going on in the world. While America begins crawling back from the pandemic’s crippling grip, Seth Walker offers up his music video for “We Got This,” directed by Gary Dorsey and based at Pixel Peach Studio in Austin, Texas. The Wood Brothers’ Jano Rix is back as producer on this standalone single from Royal Potato Family.  Stark depression-era imagery creates the narrative, opening with parallels to our country’s current economic state. Dorsey beautifully uses historical references as a backdrop movie reel to each lyric’s progression through Walker’s songwriting, coupling the images with muted colors. Anthems are sometimes marched to a groove like this. A trippy blend of cartoon and realism, the video’s look brings fresh optimism as humanity aches to share together. A bluesy gem strutting through an imaginary animated world of our nation’s history, the takeaway here spotlights perseverance, ingenuity, and community. Yeah, despite the darkness, there’ll be some light. —Lisa Whealy

Protomartyr Preorder Ultimate Success Today VINYL or DIGITAL

Detroit Michigan’s Protomartyr shines with their “Worm in Heaven” visuals. The track is part of the upcoming Ultimate Success Today, out July 17, 2020, from Domino Record Company. Eulogizing life as we knew it, this video is stunning in its harsh imagery, veiled innuendo, and muted reality. It captures our transition into our new reality, with its tension-filled first steps into that new present. Musically drifting into the realm where David Byrne and the Talking Heads dominated, Joe Casey’s plaintive vocals with Scott Davidson’s bass guitar build the foundation for Alex Leonard’s drums. Visual crescendos coincide with Greg Ahee’s guitar. This weirdly wonderful glimpse into our collective consciousness as we all venture into a new reality seems a quintessential homage to every moment home, alone, glued to the fears we all have shared as this brave new world unfolds. —Lisa Whealy

OK GO wrote “All Together Now” celebrating the bizarro world we are experiencing.  For over fifteen years the band has been known for mind-blowing, out-of-this-world, choreography-driven music videos. Yet they’re changing their tune with “All Together Now,” directed by Damian Kulash, Jr. with editor Geoff Shelton. All we feel here in its authentic church-like reverence is breathtaking simplicity. Tim Nordwind, Dan Konopka, Andy Ross, and Kulash, Jr. share production credits with Shelton in this homage to the times in which we live. The band connects each metaphor-driven lyric with touchpoints in reality. Sure, without resting in each note, reveling in how spacious this mix feels, one might miss the warm embrace of this song.  To say this was written as a result of California’s shelter-in-place order feels cliche, yet it is a fraction of the song’s truth. “All Together Now” catapults into that fan anthemic category with rock tracks like Queen’s. Each rising chorus reminds me this song is one for the ages. 

Well, if I am (or you are) thinking that, maybe we have not been forever changed–despite the pandemic taking the lives of people I know and love. Read Damian’s personal letter describing his experience being one of the first cases of coronavirus in California. This puts the song under new scrutiny. Does this track mark the emergence of a redefined OK Go, artistically and musically, beyond anything previously released? I would say definitely yes. —Lisa Whealy

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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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