1. “Fountain #3” – JJJJJerome Ellis. 8 minutes of beautiful ambient tones from a Ellis, who “explores blackness, music, and disabled speech as forces of refusal and healing.” The song is intended to be “infinite music,” that you can play over and over again, and lo, it is an appealing effort on that front. Ellis’s saxophone flutters move this into a register above most ambient music, providing some concrete grounding and embodiment to the otherwise floating work. Highly recommended.
2. “Keep Your Mind Free” – Damon Locks – Black Monument Ensemble. Adventurous, creative music that mixes elements of jazz, found sound, electronic music, and analog dance music for a heady, satisfying blend. Highly recommended.
3. “This Rush of Beauty and This Sense of Order” – Ben Cosgrove. This piano composition has the pop and verve of an indie-rock song melded with mellow and post-minimalist composition chops. The final coda is absolutely a rush, punctuated by so much performerly enthusiasm that the ghost of Glenn Gould must have taken notice.
4. “Drunken Dreams” feat. Racoon Racoon – Camel Power Club. A smooth, sleepy, even casual indie-pop tune that achieves a rarefied sense of cool.
5. “Inferno” – The Felice Brothers. Life’s transitory nature lays the roadmap for “Inferno” from The Felice Brothers, their first release since 2019’s album Undress. The Felice Brothers used visuals from the oldest known surviving silent film Dante’s Inferno from directors Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Pedovan, and Gueseppe Luiguoro. Choosing such iconic cinematic imagery as contrast to the banality of the song’s themes meshes perfectly with the subdued, introspective feel of performances. –Lisa Whealy.
6. “My Lullaby (Waxlife Rave Mix)” – Be a Bear. A gentle, soothing acoustic guitar opening is shot into the stratosphere with a booming, rattling, spacious techno development. The tension between the easygoing melodies and the pounding backline is attention-grabbing.
7. “Great Lakes State Line” – DL Rossi. Rossi’s smooth-as-silk voice tumbles effortlessly over a timeless arrangement that marries the shuffle of western swing with the easy confidence of indie-pop. Just an impressive track. Highly recommended.
8. “Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key” – Cole Quest and the City Pickers. I’ve never covered much bluegrass on IC, but this is one of my favorite Woody Guthrie jams (and I have feelings about Woody Guthrie), so I couldn’t pass this up. The arrangement and vocal delivery have all the joy and sorrow of the lyrics, which is all I can ask for.
9. “World War Tour” – Outronaut. I haven’t covered a whole lot of surf-punk either, but lo: this particular cut is a fun, totally-on-point blast of instrumental rock suitable for surf (or superheroes, per the video).
10. “This Place” – Candysound. Been covering Candysound for awhile, and this might be the most infectious downcast guitar-pop tune they’ve yet penned. It’s upbeat and melancholy at the same time, which is a real hard trick to pull off. Death Cab for Cutie fans: rejoice.