Why Make Clocks | Fifteen Feet and Twenty Degrees

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Rock: Americana Rock: Noise Moods: Mood: Brooding
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Fifteen Feet and Twenty Degrees

by Why Make Clocks

expansive songs of betrayal, loss and alienation (without all the self-pity)
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Revolver
why make clocks
4:31 $0.99
2. I Think the Answer's No
why make clocks
4:09 $0.99
3. Sink or Swim
why make clocks
5:20 $0.99
4. Feedback
why make clocks
2:22 $0.99
5. Forcing My Hand
why make clocks
5:14 $0.99
6. You Never Knew This Kid
why make clocks
2:40 $0.99
7. Baby Fingers
why make clocks
6:42 $0.99
8. Fifteen Feet and Twenty Degrees
why make clocks
2:07 $0.99
9. Spotlight
why make clocks
10:17 $0.99
10. Winner Takes All
why make clocks
3:34 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Originally formed as a duo in 1998 by Dan Hutchison (vocals/guitars) and multi-instrumentalist Brian Wiksell, WHY MAKE CLOCKS soon released a 7" EP, "the Transient Swivel".

The groundwork laid by the EP eventually led WMC to incorporate various line-ups for live performances and recording projects, including the 2002 debut album, "Fifteen Feet and Twenty Degrees". The band has a completed new album, "Midwestern Film" (also available through CD BABY as well as the digital only EP "Ego Reflector".

for this record was:

DAN HUTCHISON-vocals, guitars, farfisa, loops, bass
BRIAN WIKSELL-piano, organs, tympani, accordion, guitar, vibes, harmonica, e-bows

Lyrics for this CD can be found on our website by clicking the link on the left side of this page

Recorded/Engineered and Mixed by AJ MOGIS (Criteria/Lullaby for the Working Class/Bright Eyes/etc.) @ Presto! Recording Studio (Lincoln, NE)

Mastered by DOUG VAN SLOUN @ Studio B (Omaha, NE)

For your benefit, we've included below some of the national press our debut album received:

Feel free to leave your own below:



to write a review

CMJ Magazine

When the downbeat drums and lonely guitar twang come in as a forbearer for the opening lyrics: "starting off with a slow dance/the room sways with rented lights" those cynics listening to the debut record from Why Make Clocks may instinctively open their rock-cliche bible to the alt-country section and start flinging about unnecessary Palace references. Granted, the thoughtful vocals of Dan Hutchison may evoke visions of Will Oldham cooing with an early Michael Stipe, but it's the crisp energy of the music that makes WMC stand out from the pigeonholing. Rotating smoothly between mid-tempo pop songs and slower tracks brimming with a mellow forcefulness, WMC breathes life into the compositions by accentuating their arrangements. Through the tutelage of wonder-producer AJ Mogis (Lullaby for the Working Class, Bright Eyes), they continuously evoke a subtly building passion. "Spotlight," for example, spirals in a slowly controlled fashion for more than 10 minutes, using emotive guitar bursts as a cover for the intricate piano and organ work pushing the tune just above the surface. This musicality sets WMC apart by constantly pushing forward with powerfully flowing melodies that emphasize their moody lyrics. Combined, you have tunes in a class with a new breed of outstanding alt-countriers, even if they're of a different school.

Nikki Tranter-Pop Matters

"I'd rather be empty/ Than a mixed-bag full of s**t"
The outstanding feature of Why Make Clocks' debut full-length release "Fifteen Feet and Twenty Degrees" is its honesty. With steady and low guitars, deliberately unhurried, the band has created a heartfelt, occasionally brutal portrait of a man lost in the recklessness of adult relationships.

With his strong grasp of metaphor and meaning, Clocks' lead singer and principal lyricist, Dan Hutchison, has constructed ten easygoing tracks, each with markedly diverse narratives from a variety of points of view. Whether he's obsessing over his inability to stop time (on "Sink or Swim") or regurgitating harsh conversations about shitty guys (on "Forcing My Hand"), Hutchison's songs are always believable, sincere and smart.

Why Make Clocks, originating in Iowa in 1998, is made up of several already established musicians. Their talents are evident on the album as they combine skillful guitar playing with more unconventional instruments (a couple featuring a sultry accordion). With such an eclectic mixture of sounds each easily distinguishable on the album as band members are given ample time to display their flair. Hutchison is right in labeling his songs "musician friendly". The songs each have distinct arrangements, giving them the ability to fall into a variety of catagories, from pop to rock to jazz, and even alt. country.

Hutchison's vocals are often sharp and keenly convincing. It's very easy for his style of singing to slip into maudlin whining, but instead of any kind of wallowing, Hutchison has taken his songs about heartache and depression and has turned them around to be almost proactive. He's less prone to bitching about others often preferring to examine himself.

The opening song on Fifteen Feet demonstrates just how capable the Clocks are of creating gorgeous, understated music. With "Revolver"--vocally sounding a lot like a Michael Stipe with just a sprinkling of Toad the Wet Sprocket--Hutchison bursts out of the gate with a gem: "Starting off with a slow dance/ The room sways with rented lights/Divide the potential dancers/ To their own sides of the room/ Another Friday night in view". The song slowly transforms itself into a rather macabre tale of misused opportunity, finishing up with a breathtaking guitar, which, bizarrely, sounds almost vocal, as though it's sympathizing with Hutchison.

Song after song on Fifteen Feet exacts this kind of expert musicianship. The whole thing just sounds so organic, so effortlessly produced. Hutchison's lyrics are the same way, as, while deliberate, they come off as though he's making them up as he goes along. This is especially evident on "I Think the Answer's No". "Self-help books/ and Telephone cables/Won't solve problems/That I enable", Hutchison sings, as though he's spotting these things as he looks about the room. There is really no strict rhyming to the songs, no real balance, just a general sense of a couple of guys sitting around saying what they want to say and playing how they want to play. To pull off a sound so real and unforced and actually make it good it quite an achievement.

On "You Never Knew This Kid", Hutchison pulls off another great lyric with: "Are you getting the same impression/ I left by way of confession/ That I'd rather be empty/ Than a mixed-bag full of s**t I don't understand". Well, with their grand melodies and expert craftsmanship, Why Make Clocks are certainly a mixed-bag, but never empty, nor full of shit. Nice one, fellas.

Steven Graham-Sponic Zine

If you ever meet the woman that broke Dan Hutchison’s heart, thank her. Not for destroying his life, which she seemingly did, but for indirectly creating some of the finest alt-country ballads this side of Whiskeytown.

His band’s debut album is a collection of 10 great country-rock waltzes. Although the musicianship is solid and powerful, the album’s brilliance really lies in the lyrics. Unlike the seeming emo trend of heartbroken ballad as theoretical songwriting exercise, Hutchison has clearly been there. He honestly opens his broken heart and lets listeners into his life of fractured relationships.

“This house seems empty without your voice cutting through the bathroom door, screaming at me, broken mirrors and windows, record sleeves cut up on the floor, everything seems more fucked up than before,” he sings on “I Think the Answer’s No.” I don't imagine anyone can make up details like that.

It’s hard to choose the best song on the album, but “Spotlight” is an epic eight-minute masterpiece of wailing guitars, Hammond organ and pining lyrics begging a girl to come to a show where they can “share a spotlight.”

His voice has been widely compared to R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe. Despite a similar slight Southern drawl, the comparison’s not fair to either artist. Stipe admits his earliest and best work uses often incomprehensible vocals as just one instrument that creates part of the overall sound. On the other hand, Hutchison’s clear, crisp vocals are always the musical focus. A better comparison, lyrically and stylistically, is Jay Farrar of Son Volt and Uncle Tupelo.

Like Farrar’s slower moments, Why Make Clocks is musical therapy. Thanks for letting us in, Dan.


Harnessedfrequencies cordlistener!
This album reminds me of hearing a story that atmopherically environments scented auras I've felt yet a.k.a. dejavoombrellas brothering vesseled spokesmen. Hauntingly pleasing to the ear who wishes ascension.


tales of loss and regret
Why Make Clocks spin tales of loss and regret against a simmering Neil Young-meets-Vudi guitar wash. "Fifteen Feet and Twenty Degrees" will lead you to the beautifully bleak corner of rock where brooding bands like American Music Club and Pernice Brothers reign supreme.

Billboard Magazine

a moody compelling effort
Why Make Clocks debut album is a moody, compelling effort perhaps best appreciated by an attentive listener playing the disc in a slightly darkened room. The set weaves together emotive percussion and lyrics delivered by the deeply expressive vocalist Dan Hutchison. Each song feels somewhat epic in style, with tales of troubled relationships ever-present (witness "I Think the Answer's No"). Elsewhere, Hutchison sings of dealing with personal confusion. The truly rockin' "Forcing My Hand" about a man in love with a woman who continues to date the wrong person, could very well be an every(wo)man's tale for contemporary times.


"as honest as music can get"
Because, after all, they'll only remind you how fast time is slipping by. That your opportunity to pay penance is running low. That you didn't make the best of time while you had it. DAN HUTCHISON and his gang of four convey these thoughts in delicate terms, making you wonder, but not cry as hard, in the way an antisocial Neil Young would. With a hand in production from A.J. Mogis of LULLABYE FOR THE WORKING CLASS, "Fifteen Feet's" 10 savory, mostly acoustic morsels melt in your ear like warm chocolate. The aftertaste, though, is bittersweet, with arched maneuvers recalling the same heroic tragedy as Mountain Goats. There is a pipeline running from Hutchison's heart onto this record, and that's about as honest as music can get.