Most bands find Independent Clauses through word of mouth: a musician talks about a review I ran, and that musician’s friends send in their stuff to me. This is, I assume, how SubFamily Alliance’s first compilation features at least three bands that have submitted work to Independent Clauses.
The 10-track S/F/A Summer Sampler is heavy on garage rock and folk, with a few other things scattered in. I’m currently high on folk and low on garage rock, so I was big on Elijah and the Moon’s “Map and Compass” and The Miami’s “Kneebone.” Elijah and the Moon’s contribution had a Josh Ritter-esque arrangement and aura, but the lead vocals were far more brazen and raw than Ritter usually uses. It’s a passionate, beautiful song that will resonate with fans of Mumford and Sons. The Miami’s “Kneebone” is an atypical folk song, starting off with a martial intro that breaks off suddenly and reveals a mumbling, feverish lead vocalist leading a call and response. The group responds “Oh, oh, Kneebone man,” to all of the lead vocalist’s entreaties, creating an entrancing tune that’s the standout of the group. Hiding Behind Sound’s “Winter 2011” is a folky sort of post-rock that calls up Devotchka, Balmorhea and Seryn, but it doesn’t belabor the point. It clocks in just under 2:00.
On the rock side, Battle Ave. contributes “Whose Hands Are These?” from their excellent album art-rock album War Paint. The Coasts and Regular Fucked Up People contribute garage rock that doesn’t stray too far from the tenets of the genre. The New Diet plays some sludgy, heavy rock, while Time Travels contributes its pop-rock inverse in sound and mood.
I’m excited to see what SubFamily Alliance puts out in the future; their diverse membership is going in some quite interesting directions. I’d be sure to check out Elijah and the Moon, Battle Ave., and The Miami. [Editor’s note: This album is no longer available.]