Why Make Clocks | Midwestern Film

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Midwestern Film

by Why Make Clocks

Honest and somewhat downbeat pop songs laced w/pedal steel and other timeless instrumentation that tell stories of disappointment, betrayal, loss and all those other bad things that make sad songs so beautiful.
Genre: Rock: Americana
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Tape Hiss Told Me This
why make clocks
2:54 $0.99
2. Midwestern Film
why make clocks
3:34 $0.99
3. Who's Laughing Now?
why make clocks
4:34 $0.99
4. That's Sad
why make clocks
4:21 $0.99
5. Superheroes
why make clocks
4:34 $0.99
6. Feel the Sun
why make clocks
5:18 $0.99
7. All Your Smiles
why make clocks
3:47 $0.99
8. False Starts
why make clocks
2:36 $0.99
9. Staking Their Claim
why make clocks
3:41 $0.99
10. The Finalist
why make clocks
4:40 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Pop songs with a diverse palette of styles and sounds"

WHY MAKE CLOCKS currently is the project of songwriter, Dan Hutchison and Will Tarbox.

The band's line-up in 2005 recorded the second WMC album, "MIDWESTERN FILM" in June of 2005.

It was mostly recorded over 4 days in Tucson, AZ at Wavelab Recording Studio by Craig Schumacher, known for engineering albums by the likes of NEKO CASE, GIANT SAND, CALEXICO, IRON AND WINE and countless others.
The rest was recorded by the band in their studio.

The diversity of the 10 songs on "Midwestern Film" and the immediate/live sound of the recording itself, create a broad, open musical landscape that provides the fertile ground for lyrical honesty and the overall thematic tone of the record.

MIXING by Craig Schumacher at Wavelab in Tucson, AZ
MASTERING by Doug Van Sloun at Studio B in Omaha, NE






A CD-ROM VIDEO FOR THE SONG "Midwestern Film" (which you can see at our website listed on the left)
Shot and Edited by Erich Ernst



to write a review

Michael Swanger-Des Moines Cityview

What is it about Why Make Clocks' second full-length effort, "Midwestern Film," that makes it so likeable? Is it the tantalization of just when you think you've got it pegged categorically it reveals another layer of influence? Maybe it's the understated musicianship that proves to be more complex upon multiple spins? Or perhaps it's the perfectly matched lyrics and sound? The truth is, it's all of the above and a few things you just can't put your finger on that keep you coming back for more, as singer-songwriter-guitarist Dan Hutchison and company reel you in on 10 dark, earthy, pop-rock tunes. Standout songs include the stream-of-conscious "The Tape Hiss Told Me This" and "False Starts," the harmonious title track, the lowly "Feel the Sun" and the fittingly hopeful last cut, "The Finalist," though the whole album is designed for heavy rotation. -Michael Swanger


hide the sedatives
“Midwestern Film” is an apt title since the movies are a loose thread running through these ten tracks. But these are no Rom-coms, family comedies or feel good buddy flicks. No the celluloid alluded to here is of a distinctly down-beat even depressive nature. One wonders who it was that pissed main man Dan Hutchison off so much that he felt compelled to pen these songs about betrayal, let down and rejection. Who but Hutchison can know but, hell, they certainly did a good job. There is no redemption here just bitterness (“…here take this bitter pill, and once you’ve had your fill, you can let it go…”), more bitterness (“…who’s laughing now not me, little lifting lifters lift you up to see, all the little things you don’t like in me…”) and, as a little light relief, yet more bitterness (“…how can you get so bound up, in hating how you wound up, it’s funny to be lifted, by what’s been bringing me down…”). Its certainly a tough life in the world of Why Make Clocks and no laugh a minute. Musically the order of the day is ‘downbeat’ punctuated with the odd ‘slightly more uptempo but definitely still pissed off’. At times the band veer towards the more Nashvillian (“Who’s Laughing Now”, “All Your Smiles”) and in this context these are the tracks that work less well being almost parodic. Other times they visit their version of country rock on Pink Floyd (“Feel The Sun”) and REM (“The Finalist”) but mostly they come across like a very, very upset Jayhawks. No bad thing perhaps but Dan Hutchison would have failed the interview for the Jayhawks on vocal technique and the rest of the band are a little bit too ‘by the numbers’. Reasonable songs, nice ideas but not quite the panache to prevent you from checking your watch.


Recorded in the depths of Arizona, “Midwestern Film” seems at home among the lovers of rustic roots rock and Americana. Cowboy-quality riffs churn forth the butter that will haunt your bread for quite some time. Wilco-esque vocals wrangle with mature songwriting and a great studio effort by Craig Schumacher whose resume reads like a who’s who of music laundry list with Iron & Wine, Neko Case, Giant Sand, and others popping out.

Art Scene

Sounds like: Cracker/Bonnie Prince Billy
The whole alt-country sound is always either too alternative or too country. I have rarely found an act that can successfully marry the two genres into something altogether different. Why Make Clocks have done just that. "Midwestern Film" feels like something new and fresh-unlike anything else on the rural landscape of Iowa. These artisans have found an inspiring voice that carries with it originality and talented musicianship. It's very hard for a band to equalize all of it's parts to create a cohesive solid whole and Why Make Clocks have done that here. Pick this record up along with a bottle of red wine and a fine cigar and you should be set for a perfect night.
---Tony Tarbox

Kyle Munson-the Des Moines Register

The Des Moines roots-pop band led by singer Dan Hutchison nails its sophomore album with 10 atmospheric, moody songs that mine the rich territory somewhere in the vicinity of Neil Young, Gram Parsons and Radiohead. Start with the organ-drenched "Feel the Sun" or the closing blast "The Finalist."

Patrick Donders--www.hanx.net

Why Make Clocks - Midwestern Film
Het lijkt wel kitsch, maar ik vrees dat ik “breekbaar” en “kitsch” door elkaar haal. Al klinkt Why Make Clocks op bijvoorbeeld False Start wel erg als een countryband uit Volendam. Maar eerlijk gezegd denk ik ook wel eens dat ik naar The Eagles luister als The Cats op de radio zijn. Midwestern Film is de tweede cd van dit vijftal, die tegenwoordig nog maar met zijn drieën zijn, uit Iowa. Opgenomen met Craig Schumacher, en die kennen we van zijn werk met Neko Case, Giant Sand, Calexico en Iron and Wine. Het klinkt dan ook zoals het hoort te klinken. Countryrock, breekbaar en schemerig donker. Op het randje, dat wel, maar met sublieme momenten. Het titelnummer is prachtig en herbergt zo’n beetje alles wat een countryrock-liedje zou moeten herbergen. Het wordt gevolgd door Who’s Laughing Now. De droevige boodschap gaat verloren in de standaard verpakking. Hier wordt het te zoet. That’s Sad is dat ook maar dan weer niet Te. Why Make Clocks balanceert op dat randje. Superheroes is The Blue Nile die CSN&Y nadoen. The Finalist is een piano-driven meestamper. Afsluiter en hoogtepunt. Uiteindelijk wekt Midwestern Film vooral twijfel op. Twijfel die verslavend werkt trouwens. Draai het ding helemaal grijs. (Patrick Donders)


A lot of folks will probably be lumping the folks in Why Make Clocks into that all-too-familiar Americana category. To categorize this band as such would be too limiting, as their music is pure melodic soft pop. What impresses us most about the tunes on Midwestern Film is the fact that they are extraordinarily unpretentious. In a world where so much music is made to impress people or to freak them out with creativity, the bands and artists who impress us the most are those who aren't trying to impress anyone. These soft, mid-tempo pop tunes are played straight from the heart...without unnecessary overdubs...and without the dreaded overkill that is present in so many artists' recordings. The band consists of Dan Hutchison, Brian Wiksell, Boonie, Eric Kennedy, and Philip Sterk. This album features pure, good tunes that are certain to stand the test of time. Impressive tracks include "The Tape Hiss Told Me This" (great title there), "Who's Laughing Now" (a particularly effective track), "All Your Smiles," and "The Finalist." (Rating: 5+)

John Gjaltema-www.altcountry.nl

Het eerste wat opvalt aan Midwestern Film (eigen beheer) van Why Make Clocks is dat de cd klinkt als een klok. Geen wonder, want de plaat werd opgenomen met Craig Schumacher (Iron & Wine, Calexico, Giant Sand) in de Wavelab-studio in Tucson, Arizona. De sound en wijze van musiceren op dit album doen heel sterk denken aan de geweldige cd A Fool’s Attempt van het Utrechtse Storybox, toevallig ook een groep met een lijntje naar Calexico. De licht slepende midtemposongs, het gebruik van toetsen en vooral de fantastische zang, het zijn allemaal overeenkomsten met Storybox. Midwestern Film is de tweede cd van deze uit Iowa afkomstige band, die in 2002 al debuteerde met het onder leiding van A.J. Mogis (Lullaby For The Working Class) opgenomen Fifteen Feet And Twenty Degrees. Dan Hutchison (zang, gitaren, toetsen) is de songschrijver van Why Make Clocks, af en toe roept hij voor de muzikale uitwerking de hulp in van andere bandleden of derden. Het schitterende Who’s Laughing Now is een van de nummers waarop Hutchison zowel de eerste als tweede stem verzorgt. Op het al even mooie False Starts, dat het nooit doorgebroken Pop Art in herinnering roept, doet hij dat nogmaals. Er staat werkelijk geen matig nummer op deze cd, waarop toetsen en pedal steel op bitterzoete wijze samengaan. Nog wat namen om de belangstelling te wekken voor deze nu nog onbekende groep? Denk ook aan American Music Club en Stillhouse. Maar vooral toch aan Storybox. Zelfs de titel Midwestern Film van deze cd past bij de filmische kwaliteiten van die band. (John Gjaltema)