Play It Again Sam, 2013
Already a household name in her home country of Denmark, Obel’s sophomore album approaches indie-rock from a classical standpoint, relying heavily on calm pianos and Obel’s gentle, soothing pipes. Cellos, violins and light percussion help lay out the sombre mood here, and between the haunting instrumentals and pensive melodies there exists nothing short of restrained genius from beginning to end. Devastatingly beautiful.
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Bleecker Street, 2013
White is one of those singer-songwriters who’s just as comfortable playing a street corner as a stadium, and similarly has seen major label success before falling into a more independent career. A darker spirited album than his usually soulful, pop-rock formula, his timeless guitar and piano melodies remain as graceful as ever and his voice is flawless across some very heartfelt and honest songwriting. Already embraced by Hollywood for his penchant for romantic sounds, the indie-rock ears should have no problem welcoming White’s sincerity, too.
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A score that sounds exactly how a drive through Nebraska should sound; acoustic chamber music, gritty country and bluegrass with accordions and violins that move along softly and anti-climatically. Orton (Tin Hat) takes up company with players from Calexico and Willie Nelson’s band, and the first reunion of the original trio of Tin Hat results in music ideal for traveling down a gravel road through an endless expanse of small towns and desolate landscape.
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Hannah Fairchild is an animated and emotive frontwoman, and her powerful pipes work well with the propulsive rock as well as the sparse piano tunes on this tense, moody and forthright EP. Sometimes sitting on the cusp of punk, while other times on the the more soulful side of indie-rock, with an underlying theatrical approach to music, this is an original outfit who write songs with a lasting impression both musically and stylistically.
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Portland is never short on unusual indie-rock, and Amanda Mason Wiles and Zacery Stanley are delivering their own atypical brand as Dramady. At the core it may be bedroom pop, but the violins, clarinets and saxophones bring to mind chamber-pop from a unique standpoint, placing much emphasis on looping and vocal harmonies. Jazz, electronica and funk ideas are all in their arsenal, keeping each track full of cultured surprises.
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Tiny Engines, 2013
Melodic post-hardcore that has evolved much since their last effort, while there’s still a lot of charged guitar work present, Light On The Lake is a more dynamic affair that uses calm moments and constant tempo changes to leave an indelible mark. You might say this is a more refined version of themselves (not that their last LP wasn’t top notch), and the well thought out lyrics suit the challenging, intricately fleshed out sounds. A rare band that would fit well at a hardcore show, pop-punk fest, or indie showcase.
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