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Independent Clauses Posts

July 2024 Singles 2: Heavy and Spacey

  1. Nob & Tooth” – Falcon Arrow. IC faves Falcon Arrow are back with more bass-and-drums post-rock theatrics. This adventurous, enthusiastic piece sounds like it could be the opening soundtrack to a clever, excitable indie film about a wild, unexpected buddy journey. Highly recommended.
  2. Golden Thread” – The Fierce and the Dead. Proggy post-rock that’s heavy on the rock. The song-leading bass work here is particularly memorable.
  3. Horses” – OK Wait. Doomy, intense post-rock/post-metal that’s more Neurosis than Explosions in the Sky. Check out the video in the link, then the description of the video.
  4. Need for More” – LETR. This rock/metal track has strong Tool vibes in the bass tone and usage. The vocalist’s tone has some Chester Bennington in it too. The mixing is a bit roomy, letting each instrument have its own space. The songwriting is holds its own (impressive for a debut song!), moving deftly from verse to a soaring chorus.
  5. Cerberus” – After Ours. Funky, jazzy, spacey, evocatively keys-heavy (or is that melodic percussion?), and yet still heavy at times. This is a blast to listen to.
  6. Girl in Chains” – Magana. A pulsing indie-rock tune that frames Magana’s enthralling vocals with a darkly jubilant arrangement.
  7. Cathedrals” – Secrecies. A smooth, spacey electro-pop jam that sits between CHVRCHES and the XX. A lovely little listen.

July 2024 Singles 1: Quiet and Upbeat

  1. Gathering Light” – Fog Chaser. Fog Chaser’s delicate, nature-inspired composition is well-represented here in this shy, sun-dappled rumination for piano and strings.
  2. End of Innocence” – Shabaka. A mournful yet light piece for piano and winds.
  3. East Bound and Down” – Herb Alpert. I own a half-dozen Herb Alpert records on vinyl, and I’m thrilled to hear that he has new music out. The classic Herb Alpert sound is alive and well here, not aged a bit.
  4. Hope” – Harold Lopez-Nussa. I’m getting very into Latinx music lately, and so this lively slice of Latinx jazz is just right up my alley. What a great groove, and what great performances!
  5. Pajaro Chogui” – Yamandu Costa & Domingo El Colorao. A chipper, friendly, sunshine-laden instrumental duet that puts a smile on my face.
  6. Sunset Cliffs” – Daniel Villarreal. A real head-bobber: a guitar-forward jazz/funk cut that’s deep in the pocket and flowing smoothly the whole way.”Hot Fruit” – Adeline Hotel. A mid-paced, easy-going piece that leads with guitar but arranges for flute, woodwinds, violin, harp, and drums. It fuses contemporary Americana vibes with Laurel Canyon country vibes and a touch of new age flair for a fantastically interesting piece.
  7. Night Bus” – Beatenberg. A smooth piece of pop that blends the barriers between acoustic pop, lite soul, and electro jams. Wiggles its way into my ear and doesn’t let go.
  8. Lapses” – Omar Ahmad. A headbobbing, pensive piece of ambient/composition. The focused swirls of sound are driven forward by a bass line that unspools downward, leading the listener deeper into the track.
  9. Skin of Salt” – Alexander Stordiau. Domineering organ, burbling arpeggiator, and insistent beat create this ominously mesmerizing piece of motorik meditation.
  10.  “Band in Boston” – Nashville Ambient Ensemble. A swooping, elegant, luscious ambient piece created mostly with organic instruments. Highly recommended.

Wonder Truly carves a unique singer/songwriter path

Despite hailing from a lineage of Arizona musical nobility, Wonder Truly has carved her own path as a songwriter, showcasing a unique musical style. Her album Come Back Swinging is a journey of self-discovery, resonating with its intimate and breathtaking beauty. 

The title track “Come Back Swinging” sets the tone with its restrained guitar work and Truly’s authentic vocal delivery, inviting us on an emotional journey. “Edges Soften” elevates the art of metaphor-rich lyricism, with the fingerpicking guitar work underscoring the complexities of love and fear. “Lighthouse (for Emily)” serves as a beacon of hope, resilience, and encouragement, reminding us of our capacity to be a light in the darkness for others.

Nearly halfway, “Nook” is a strong representation of the pandemic: its frenetic beat and simple imagery recall memories of the moment the world stopped. “Edges of the Map” feels reminiscent of better days, like innocent times before uncertainty ripped reality away from us. Like an early Joni Mitchell, “Lockpick” seems matter-of-fact. In contrast, “Here We Go” almost feels like a tame Yvette Young riff taking us through the drama of a relationship’s end.

Dark and reverent, “Holy” finds redemption in reclaiming the soul; achingly terrifying in its final hollow echo, we should all be disturbed by this song’s message. Heading out of the record, the bright “Poltergeist” brings back lightness with lilting vocals. We’ve lived through something. Closing with “Scrap Metal Man” suggests in a lilting waltz that Wonder Truly‘s Come Back Swinging proves that we have a fighting chance.

Come Back Swinging is streaming on all platforms. –Lisa Whealy

February 2024 Singles 1: We’re Back (Again)

So, it’s been a wild ride over here at Independent Clauses HQ for the last few months, and not a lot has gotten done as a result of it. Instead of doing semi-monthly posts of 10-15 songs, I’m going to be doing mini-posts of 3-7 songs to make the work fit better with the new life arrangements. Without further adieu:

  1. Make It Work” – Heavee. A stuttering, pulsing, high-energy track that builds the concepts of footwork. The careful development turn the rhythmically-driven track from a straightforward set for dance into an expansive, wide-canvas approach that incorporates jazz and ambient vibes. Great stuff. Highly recommended.
  2. In the Sun” – MAETAR. A jubilant, trumpet-centric blast of sunshine-dappled jazz. Guaranteed to put good vibes in the room and a smile on your face.
  3. Aotearoa” – Frolin & Magnus. A calming, charming composition that melds gentle keys and subtly insistent percussion to beautiful effect.
  4. Elleipsis” – Umbra & the Volcan Siege. A comforting, encouraging instrumental composition that sounds like a fully fleshed out Lullatone or a calmed down DeVotchKa. Highly recommended.
  5. Daedalus Requiem” – Erik Lankin. Requiems and elegies are always sad (outside of New Orleans), but this one maintains the light of hope through its elegant arrangement.

Single: ZB Savoy’s “Dear World”

ZB Savoy’s “Dear World” came to me by accident. Or did it? Climbing out of the rubble created in my life, I began wandering about new music, looking for storytellers and songwriters. ZB Savoy’s sound brought me back to thoughts of troubadours like the great Glen Campbell. Life can be a heavy trip, but as I was reminded today while listening to a memorial for a peanut farmer’s wife who loved monarch butterflies, we all deserve grace and another sunrise surrounded by the warmth of music like this, helping lighten the load we carry. —Lisa Whealy

Single: Red Sammy’s “Some Days I Feel Crazy”

In Red Sammy’s “Some Days I Feel Crazy,” Adam Trice’s blues rock groove grabs my attention amidst the chaos of life’s changes. His easy vocal delivery fits the song, and the essence of Bob Dylan seems to soothe each lyric. Juxtaposed over the grabbed-on-a-cell twitchy Halloweenish imagery, this music video is an indie IT moment. Stuff like this makes it a treat to struggle through the day-to-day horrors of life. Thank you, Red Sammy, for painting the town with ghostly pumpkin (spice) in your new release.

Stay tuned for further singles from Red Sammy this fall and spring! —Lisa Whealy

September 2023 Singles 1

1. “Mind of You” – Ape Shifter. A chunky, punchy, riff-heavy instrumental rock tune with a wonderfully fun video.

2. “Glimmerings” – GoGo Penguin. A lithe, beautiful composition that makes wholeness out of disparate rhythms, tones, and approaches. GoGo Penguin know how to make mid-tempo work sound just as fascinating and enlivening as speedy work.

3. “Marché Aux Puces (Flea Market)” – Kristen Miller. A peaceful composition that evokes, through pace and evenly measured string melodies, the subtle thrills of walking a market and discovering things.

4. “Katmandou” – Temple Otium. A thoughtful, expansive, patient exploration of space and time in a space influenced by Indian ragas.

5. “Shipwreck” – The Great Northern. This electronic journey calls up tension and ominous vibes without being heavily dissonant. RIYL: Ulrich Schnauss, ODESZA at their lightest

6. “Immortal Love” – Michael Borowski. A lovely piano rumination that transcends the usual barrier of pleasant-but-not-memorable to become truly memorable.

7. “Temper the Wound” – Kalia Vandever. A wonderful collection of breathy brass tones, seeking valiantly.

8. “Ta Nyé” -Ballaké Sissoko, Émile Parisien, Vincent Peirani, Vincent Segal. Delicate, elegant drones underlie lovely melodies from the kora and woodwinds.

9. “Strawberries in Rain” – Euglossine. A wistful, thoughtful nylon-string guitar work that feels very much the soundtrack to walking in a field.

10. “You Will Be Missed” – Julian Loida. A beautiful elegy that begins with piano, moves through gentle strings, and brings in touching melismatic vocals. The effect is deeply felt; this could be the soundtrack to the high point of a Wes Anderson movie.

August 2022 Singles 2

1. “Good Luck in Green Bay” – Maple Stave. This ripper is equal parts punk, post-hardcore, and post-rock. I love it.

2. “Flower Tail” – Dabda. Jubilant, soaring math-rock with soothing vocals that only add to the joy.

3. “Trucks to Gettysburg” – Equipment Pointed Ankh. A little bit jam, a lotta bit motorik, a little bit klezmer; this is a quirky, fun, interesting composition that goes places I did not expect.

4. “Zoetropics” – Setting. A gently churning and subtly ominous piece that melds folk, post-rock, and neo-classical composition to excellent effect.

5. “So Far So Good” – Michael Peter Olsen. Bustling, hustling cello is slowly subsumed into floating, spacy high strings and electronics for a neat composition that is fun and beautiful.

6. “Inside Minds” – Resavoir. Mash up Spanish guitar, vaporwave keys sounds, jazz, and low-key groove, and you’ll get an unusually cool and intriguing track.

7. “Have Mercy” – Paper Horses. I’ll listen to anything Sandra McCracken does. This outfit brings together McCracken, Leslie Jordan (All Sons and Daughters), Taylor Leonhardt, and Jess Ray, which is a pretty impressive collection of songwriting prowess. This one is a lithe, somber Southern folk jam (yes, somber AND jam), and it gets me very excited for the full record.

8. “Water Street” – Matthew Halsall. A luscious, watery, flute-laden piece of relaxing spiritual jazz that immediately brightens the mood of the room.

9. “Narrow Time” – Blurstem. A beautiful, delicate ambient piano composition.

10. “North” – Ross Christopher. Here’s an elegant, wintry composition that is heavy on legato strings and staccato piano, producing a lovely tension.

Premiere: Tracy Shedd’s “Let It Ride”

A woman with blond hair staring straight into the camera. One hand is on her head and the other is over her heart.
Tracy Shedd. Photograph by John Ciambriello

Ah, it’s good to be back. In particular, I’m very pleased to be working with Tracy Shedd and Fort Lowell Records again. When James Tritten sent over this song, he thought “it might be a little too ‘up’ for your interest.” Given that this is a mid-tempo indie-pop jam with good-times ’80s vibes, I think this is a sign that I’ve become a little dour in my listening interests.

Nevertheless, this track did indeed catch my ear. Shedd’s lovely voice cruises over a thrumming bass line, a solid electronic percussion backline, and some swirly/mystical guitars and keys. (Let it ride, indeed.) The solid groove stays on track the whole way. The outcome of the piece is a very summery track without a lot of the usual indicators of “summer,” which is a compliment to the songwriting: evoking the feeling without hitting too many tropes is a feather in the cap. If you like Generationals, Metric at their chillest, and Rilo Kiley (shoutout; I don’t know what the statute of limitations is on RIYL references is, but we’re probably past it on this one) will love this.

You can pre-save the single here. The song arrives August 18.

You can find Tracy at the digitals: Website // Bandcamp // Facebook // Instagram // Soundcloud // Twitter // YouTube

Fort Lowell also has ’em: Website // Bandcamp // Facebook // Instagram // Soundcloud // Twitter // YouTube

August 2023 Singles 1

So, Independent Clauses took a roughly six-month unexpected hiatus. There were several false starts at getting things running again, but I hope and expect that this one is for real. Apologies. On to the music:

1. “The Strings of Hope, the Puppets of Belief” – John Reidar Holmes. A great, misty cloud of acoustic guitar, reverb, defanged distortion, and other mystical vibes. Almost meditative in its mood, but a little more punchy than most require for that.

2. “La Taill​é​e” – La Tène. This Swiss band sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard. This is some wild combination of distinctive instruments (hurdy-gurdy, harmonium, bagpipes/cabrette), the long grooves of techno, the repetition of drone, and the subtle variations of minimalism. The results are ecstatic and mysterious, energetic and enigmatic, nerve-wracking and relaxing. Highly recommended.

3. “Dark Moon” – Okonski. Stately and yet exploratory, this composition falls somewhere between jazz (in its component elements) and trip-hop (in its rhythms and mood). Fans of GoGo Penguin will love this.

4. “Lord Sepulchrave, the 76th Earl of Groan” – Cabbaggage. This piano piece is the opening cut of an album that takes its inspiration from the 1946 gothic fantasy novel Titus Groan. I love a good concept record, and this one opens with a delicate, intriguing rumination with plenty of atmosphere.

5. “acceptances” – Lara Somogyi. An elegant and pulsing collection of delicate harp and thumping bass that makes for a lovely ambient work.

6. “Aurora” – Juffbass. A soaring post-rock tune that falls somewhere between the dark-and-stormy and the twinkly-guitar versions. Reminds me a bit of Ulrich Schnauss.

7. “Immaculate Inning” – Requiem. Stuttering, cool post-rock that’s heavy on bass and vibes.

8. “Welcome to London” – Penguin Cafe. A whirling, punchy, thoughtful piece of jazz/contemporary classical that does the legacy of Penguin Cafe Orchestra proud.

9. “December Dream” – Julian Loida. Drops into a peaceful piano-based groove, and then picks up the pace with quirky percussion and melismatic vocals. A lovely composition.

10. “Sea Wall Bench” – Vein Melter. A delicate, haunting performance of an acoustic guitar with distant reverb trailing behind.

11. “Brocken Spectre” – Kyle Bates and Lula Asplund. Evocative, round drones that make me smile.

12. “Slow Beethoven Radio Mix 1” – The TANK Center for Sonic Arts. Beethoven, but played in a giant resonant tank at a very slow tempo. Truly: ambient classical. It’s beautiful.