Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Singles: Friends and Fambly

April 1, 2020

I’m spending a lot more time in the neo-classical, electronic, jazz, and world genres right now, but I still love the artists that I’ve covered before. Here’s a collection of tracks from some of our old friends (and some friends who feel like family).

1. “In the Calm of the Day” – Chaperone Picks. CP is a prolific one-person project that just keeps cranking out high-quality lo-fi indie-pop work. This latest track that caught my ear (from new album Topped) is a guitar-and-voice tune that is almost akin to a ballad (at least as far as the oeuvre of Chaperone Picks is concerned). It’s an honest track about reconciling an argument when it would have been easier to not do it, anchored by a nice guitar riff and signature strongly memorable vocal melodies.

2. “What Does It Take?” – Brother Moses. BroMo’s slick indie-pop has become more polished and more fractured at the same time: the production is tight and clean, giving space to everything to make its weird way forward; the individual lines and instrumental elements are held together basically by sheer force of will, as things go zinging and wailing (that sax) all over the place. Instruments come in and drop out and come in and morph and then there’s gang vocals to wrap it all up. If you like Beck but think it’s just not weird enough sometimes, you’ll be in for a treat here.

3. “Burn It Down” – Andrew Judah. This punchy indie-rock track leads the album Impossible Staircase, an album about a close friend’s addiction. (The impossible staircase is an impossible object that on paper tricks the mind into thinking it is always going up despite being the same closed loop over and over; the connections to addiction jump off the page.) Judah’s vocal performance is urgent, leading the charge over a pounding, pulsing, minor-key indie-rock backdrop.

4. “Fake Girlfriend” – Grace Joyner. I imagine that Joyner wrote this moody, introspective indie track and thought, “Man, there’s just a lot of these, what can we do this?” And someone was like, “I’VE GOT IT: FUNK BASSLINE.” And another person (perhaps the same person) said “ALSO ’80s MELODRAMA SYNTH!” And then someone else was like, “Well, okay, if we’re going that way, then let’s put some real tight percussion on it to keep all that together.” And voila! “Fake Girlfriend.” Also Joyner’s vocal tone is both beautiful and biting here, I would hate to be the person she’s singing to/about.

 

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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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