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Month: February 2023

February 2023 Singles 1

Independent Clauses usually takes a low-power month in the summer to relax, but it turns out that our low-power month this year was January. C’est la vie. We’re back. Without further adieu:

1. “MOD” – Martin Kohlstedt. Murky, wobbly, oceanic (check out the more-ominous-than-the-song video) techno that juxtaposes treble, bass, and rhythm productively and admirably.

2. “Bluish” – Big Lazy. I love a good piece of noir jazz. Check out the muted trumpet and inquisitive guitar lines.

3. “Pandas” – Mike Dillon and Punkadelic. A softer, more pensive take from the frantic melodic percussionist Dillon. Pianist Brian Haas’ influence on the composition here is clear, as the dreamy keys form a compelling contrast to the staccato rhythms Dillon and percussionist Nikki Glaspie are laying down. A lovely work.

4. “O Come O Come Emmanuel” – Cuddle Magic. A truly revelatory version of my favorite Advent carol. Cuddle Magic capture the tension between longing and comfort perfectly in the vocal performances and sonic arrangement. This is top-shelf indie-pop, no matter what song it is–but that it’s a beloved hymn makes it all that much more wonderful. (And you can enjoy it no matter what time of year it is.)

5. “Christmas Time Is Here” – The Paper Sea. An ambient, keys-based take on the Christmas classic. Yes, you can enjoy this one no matter what time of year it is, too.

6. “Alley House Rain” – Wisbands. A poignant, Appalachian rumination on reverb-heavy acoustic guitar and aching fiddle.

7. “Pseudo-Anonymity” – Bomethius. A tense, almost anxious piece that channels kit drumming, nylon-stringed acoustic guitar, violin, and more into a unique fusion of classical composition and post-rock. It resolves into a peaceful, calm work.

8. “Anticipation” – Frolin. New age/ambient with spacey vibes via what sounds like a theremin. Very relaxing and yet intriguing.

9. “snorkel town” – Grandma’s Cottage. The artist’s conceit is music for 8-bit RPGs that never existed, and lo: it is like that. The melodies are extremely evocative, beautifully developing the sort of peaceful-yet-adventurous vibes that the music in games of this type seemingly conjured out of thin air. In specific: this is absolutely a high-quality “town” song, and if you’ve ever played Zelda or Pokemon, yeah, you know what it sounds like.

10. “The Edge of the High Trace” – Dan Munkus with Heather Sommerlad. This expansive, guitar-based post-rock piece has a complex, fascinating geometrical video from John Jannone. Come for the chunky guitars, stay for the morphing visual figures.

11. “Stargazer” – Ivan Torrent. Speaking of things that sound like video game soundtracks, Ivan Torrent’s epic compositions here sound like they would fit perfectly as the opening track to a space RPG. (I’m currently playing through Mass Effect 2 again.) Soaring crescendos, pounding arrangements, great orchestral and vocal melodies. Absolutely great.