Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

February Playlist

March 11, 2019

February is a short month, and as such I had a shorter list of things I listened to than in January. You can listen to the full playlist on Spotify. On to the music:

Party Starter – Antone. This is about as minimalist as dusky, club-friendly EDM gets; it’s stripped down to bare bones in terms of number of sounds going on in the tracks. But what Antone does with minimal beats and synths is amazing. I kept coming back to the album over and over, not fully sure of what was drawing me. Was it the melodies? Was it the vibe? Was it the groove? Was it the subtle chiptune bits? I have no idea. But it kept me coming back over and over. Highly recommended.

Spring – Teen Daze. This two-song single from Teen Daze in advance of an upcoming album is about as good a teaser as you could invent. Jamison comes back from his adventures and experiments to this project with a rejuvenated look at the core things that make Teen Daze great: the almost-fully-solved tension between electronic and acoustic, the deliciously dreamy vibes, the dense textures that give way to soaring-but-delicate melodies, the thoughtful layering and mixing to bring it all together. The two tracks here push all of those elements further, deepening the oeuvre that Teen Daze has developed over his career. These are just beautiful, excellent tracks.

Powerhouse – Hyde Park Brass. I used to be in marching band as a teenager, which de facto means I’ve been a low-key fan of drum corps ever since. Hyde Park Brass are basically a drum corps (they also include saxophone, a slightly unusual choice) but they’ve got pop sensibilities and real smooth integration of their instrument sections going on. These are tight, fun, interesting brass tracks. They even group-sing in one of them! If you’re into brass or adventurous takes on traditional forms, go for this.

Nick Box – discography. Box’s music is right on the boundary of piano composition and post-rock, as Box loves a huge build to a giant conclusion. But there’s also delicate moments that rely heavily on the piano itself for gravitas and emotion; it’s not all big rushes of multiple instruments. If you’re in the Lights & Motion school of cinematic post-rock, you will love Box’s work.

Marimba Suites: Gwendolyn Burgett Thrasher Plays Her Transcriptions of Six Cello Suites by J.S. BachHas ever a title been so informative? That’s exactly what this is. It turns out that Bach cello suites on the marimba are lovely. Highly recommended.

Death Will Tremble to Take Us – Death Will Tremble to Take Us. A post-rock album of the Explosions in the Sky / Godspeed! You Black Emperor vibe; it hits all the right notes and is a good addition to the collection of those who like this style.

Pictorial – Killbody Tuning. A combination of heavy post-rock that can power through riffs at great intensity and slowcore work that stretches pensive, restrained concepts out over great lengths. Those who are interested in The Angelus will love this.

Silver & Gold – Frances Luke Accord. Basically perfect folk-pop of the calm, Simon and Garfunkel persuasion. If you love lithe melodies, meticulous construction

After its own death / Walking in a spiral towards the house – Nivhek. Sort of a combination between Julianna Barwick’s clouds of vocal loops and a minimalist post-rock outfit, this is a unique, very ominous work evocative of winter and a dense sense of place.

The Lost Music of Canterbury: Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks – Blue Heron, Scott Metcalfe. On a whole different angle of vocal music, here’s a ton of music in a medieval traditional style that is astonishingly, surprisingly beautiful. I have an interest in choral music from my childhood days as a boy choir member, but I’m still surprised by how enigmatic and beautiful these pieces are.

Ape Shifter – Ape Shifter. I wanted to know what an instrumental classic rock/riff rock album would sound like. Now I know: it’s like classic rock but without vocals. I don’t know what I was expecting other than that, honestly. I enjoyed listening to this.

The rest of the work on the list I didn’t actually get to listen to much, and I moved it on over to the March List.

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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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