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Month: October 2022

Premiere: “My Girls” by The Morning Yells

If life feels like a country song, we must still find our voice to find the way. Independent Clauses is proud to premiere “My Girls” from The Morning Yells, the band’s first single from the upcoming release Moonlight Mountain Bungalow.

Songwriter and frontman Phil Stancil takes what could have been a formulaic country song lyric and elevates it with the help of sister Lulu and Sara Watkins on fiddle (Nickel Creek, Watkins Family Hour). The result is authentic–splinters and all–love story. Each harmony enhances and strengthens the piece with uncompromising nuance. Like a field of sunflowers swaying at sunset as the light fades towards night, this song lets the journey to The Morning Yells’ moonlit night begin.

Check out The Morning Yells at their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. —Lisa Whealy

October 2022 Singles 2

1. “Fantasie for Agathe Backer Grøndahl” – Anja Lauvdal. An exploratory set of warped sounds that seem heavily influenced by modular synth approaches. (This may even be a modular synth piece itself.) In this piece, Lauvdal thoughtfully, carefully dances on and around the line between the limits of melodiousness and the beginning of atmospheric qualities.

2. “Late Night Walk” – Mary Yalex. This layered ambient-adjacent piece is much more chipper and warm that the title might imply. One might even call final product of the layers of arpeggiator, reverb, and delay to be bouncy.

3. “C U R R E N T” – Photay, Mikaela Davis. Glittering waves of sound from saxophones, melodic percussion, harp, and voice create a meditative yet active space.”Ever Presence” – Cabin Fever Orchestra.

4. “Surfboard” – Moon Mullins. An electronic composition that falls somewhere between video game revivalism and the impeccable, precise sonic landscape work of Gabriel Birnbaum.

5. “Lahan Al-Mansour” – Yazz Ahmed. Fuses an atmospheric introduction, a Middle Eastern-evoking main theme, and exploratory jazz sections for a vastly interesting piece.

6. “The Chant” – Greg Spero. Funky, soulful, jazzy, and groove-heavy, this piece gives flowers to genre conventions from all over to create a distinctive, unique work.

7. “The Seas That Made Us” – Sophia Subbayya Vastek. Ghostly, delicate, elegant piano composition with occasional staccato runs up the keyboard to keep you focused.

8. “Dead Party Line” – cmfrtr. Ambient that balances nervousness and comfort perfectly. The piece moves meaningfully without becoming too jittery to read as ambient.

October 2022 Singles 1

1. “Trouble” – Joseph Decosimo. Decosimo’s voice is the perfect fit for this hope-in-distress tune: earnest, soft, sturdy, and beautiful. The banjo and fiddle accompaniment are perfect foils to Decosimo’s flooring vocal performance. I’m trying to hold myself back from hyperbole here on how much this performance struck me. Amazing. Highly recommended.

2. “Year of the Dragon” – Blue Water Highway. No can fully pick up the mantle of Bruce Springsteen, but Blue Water Highway continues to carry the torch of The Boss’s road-tested rock-folk about blue collar people in hard situations. This one’s a brilliant set of lyrics set to ringing snare, chiming guitar, and yearning vocals. Highly recommended.

3. “The Life of Trees” – Matthew Squires & The Learning Disorders. A jaunty, quirky love song that speaks to the power of romance to (temporarily?) override cynicism. (Shoutout to Paul Simon.)

4. “Symposium” – Beatenberg. A smooth, well-turned indie-pop jam reminiscent of Vampire Weekend’s quietest moments.

5. “Take on Me” – Joe Policastro Trio. A fun jazz rendition of the classic A-HA jam. The drumming is particularly tasty.

6. “Kutamba” – Junior Simba. Thumping rhythms, moody atmosphere, indelible vocal contributions, found sound, and old-school jazz riffs make this an unusual and impressive dance track.

7. “CCCP” – Blue Nectarine. Blue Nectarine’s late single celebrates the band’s first release after joining Wolf Entertainment. The US band twists a rap in rock vibes.  “СССР” (spelled in Russian letters) is USSR in English. Sisters Evelyn & Dina Simonian (choreography/dance) create an avant-garde punk/rap weirdness in this video that feels like a mix of the Little Rascals and The Clash in its aesthetic.  Filled with paradox, its unique, raw, homegrown feel draws audiences into this trip-rock world of sonic genre-bending. Incredible! —Lisa Whealy

8.”The Dream” – Gold Panda. A lightly glitchy, hustle-bustle electro cut that displays easy warmth (harp!) and frenetic skittering beats with equal aplomb.

Jacob Faurholt’s nightmares give the listener a jolt

Close your eyes, plug in, and tune out to Jacob Faurholt’s When the Spiders Crawl from Raw Onion Records. The songwriter’s tenth album celebrates the cacophony of imagination, a trip through twelve songs from one of  Denmark’s most prolific artists.

Faurholt’s lo-fi alt-rock recording is shaped by influences like Sparklehorse and Guided By Voices. Mostly recorded at his home studio, the sonic soundscape feels expansive. The record opens with the frenetic, poppy opener “Droneflowers” and its horrifying lyrics. Hold on; the nightmare unravels with stunning detail.

“Madness On the Rise” feels heavy, like an attempt to sludge through the reality of a horror story. Somehow, in a post-pandemic state, we are living and sharing that uncertain reality. Music is Faurholt’s grounding point, and his confidence in that oozes through each note and production choice in “Sometimes I Feel the Stars are Under Us” and its thematic mirror “The Darkness Feels Like A Warm Place To Be.”  After the flash into the confessional vocals of “Comforting Sounds,” the guitar invites us into a lullaby. A sudden drop into the abyss (scored by orchestra) on “The Stars Are Cold Like Ice” seems to be an all-encompassing metaphor for love’s power over us. This song is out of this world!

Nearing the end of the record, “Lightning Strikes” and “Like Songs of Pain” must be mentioned for their nuanced simplicity. “The Moon is Slow” is one of my new favorites, as somehow the echo of this song lives in my head.  “T-Rex” is an in-your-face rocker, simply a punctuation to this stream of consciousness. The title track, “When Spiders Crawl,” rocks the record back into the lo-fi grit for which this artist is known. Dark yet trippy, the nightmare fits to conclude Faurholt’s tenth album.–Lisa Whealy