Posts Tagged ‘US’

Who The Hell Is… Jonneine Zapata?

By • Sep 29th, 2010 • Category: Features

From the first syllables sung by Jonneine Zapata on her debut album Cast the Demons Out, on an intro which segues into the simmering let’s-get-it-on pop of “Good Looking”, the LA siren had us hooked. Before the record made its way into the world Zapata was best known as a concert draw, gaining rave reviews in the US and catching the attention of Mark Lanegan and Jack White who had Zapata and band support Soulsavers and The Raconteurs respectively. We attempted to get some background ahead of her first Australian tour. While that was accomplished we also learnt that apart from an amazing voice and song writing chops Zapata has a wicked sense of humour.

Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest

By • Sep 29th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

The stakes are high on Deerhunter’s 4th album. Can they beat Webcuts album of the year 2008, their own magnificent Microcastle?

Interpol – Interpol

By • Sep 26th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

The Lights are on but the tunes aren’t home on Interpol’s disappointing fourth otherwise known as #4.

Who The Hell Are… Janus 4-14?

By • Sep 22nd, 2010 • Category: Features

Janus 4-14‘s tag is ‘indie pop that won’t make you cringe’, but they fail to recognise that statement itself is cringeworthy. Despite being presumptious of their own sound, Janus 4-14 do make for great music. They exist in a time that some would regard as the golden age of music, that mid-90’s alternative scene when American bands owned their airwaves. They took their influences from the UK, as well as their own country, and put together something that sounded like The Ramones meets The Buzzcocks, that in itself was almost a new breed of rock n’ roll — fast or slow, these were raging guitar-driven, melody-led slices of imperfect perfection.

Twin Sister – Vampires With Dreaming Kids / Colour Your Life

By • Sep 19th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

How many times do you get given a record and for it to feel like a breath of fresh air? Here you are then.

The Drums – Stop and Take a Bow (2010)

By • Sep 15th, 2010 • Category: Interviews

The cross overs. Every year has them; bands that get touched by the hand of hype and go from being blogged about to actually selling significant quantities of records/MP3s along with world wide tour schedules and high billed festival slots. This year one of those bands is Brooklyn’s The Drums who have certainly enjoyed a lot of column pixels and radio play on the strength of their back to basics c86 indie-pop as imagined by Phil Spector self titled debut album and its omnipresent lead single “Let’s Go Surfing”. Static’s Chris Berkley has a drink with three quarters of the band for a lesson in how to avoid being drowned by the waves of success.

Suckers – Wild Smile

By • Sep 14th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

Brooklyn’s Suckers channel a little ADHD indie rock throughout their debut album, defying hype and maintaining interest.


By • Sep 9th, 2010 • Category: Features

How Webcuts first encountered Knoxville, Tennessee’s Coolrunnings could be best described as a lucky accident. And it’s no surprise that the best way to get someone’s attention is to slap a photo of some naked chicks skateboarding on the cover of your EP and let them sell it for you. The appropriately titled (and NSFW) Babes Forever was clearly the product of talented and warped minds. The creepy, schizoid mayhem of “Trippin’ Balls at Der Wienerschnitzel” and the inspired, almost unabashed, synth-pop of “When I Got High With You” sounded like they were made by some slacker Bill & Teds who’d already embarked on their own excellent adventure.

Deerhunter – Helicopter

By • Sep 8th, 2010 • Category: Webcut of the Week

“Take my hand and pray with me”, and how we’ve prayed, patiently awaiting the arrival of Deerhunter’s 4th album Halcyon Digest. For the dimly remembering, the monumental Microcastle was Webcuts album of the year for 2008, and expections have already been set. “Helicopter” is the second track to be previewed from the album and it’s a loop-based, plink-plonk synth-led Deerhunter meets The Littlest Mermaid undersea adventure with Bradford Cox revisiting his usual themes of isolation and escapism, and well you know the rest, drugs and paranoia. Unlike those ‘slacker’ bands out there like Wavves and Best Coast who talk about getting stoned and making music, Deerhunter is the real fuck-with-your-head deal. The collage of visuals for the clip (Deerhunter’s first ever video) is unsurprising for them, but there’s something about “Helicopter” that feels like it will have its greatest effect while being paranoid, trapped, and on drugs.

Warpaint – London – 26 August 2010

By • Sep 7th, 2010 • Category: Live Reviews

It’s shows like this which give birth to the very nature of rock and roll. The hip-swaying sounds of a band as they rock back and forth, eyes closed, mouths pressed against the microphone with their feet marking the beat. It’s an undeniably sexual thing. This isn’t news. It’s why they tried to ban Elvis in the 50’s. He turned young girls on, and it wasn’t so much the man, but the music, the stage, the sweat, the motion — the rock and roll of it all. Wedged together in this barely ventilated Old Street basement, Los Angeles’ Warpaint are presiding over something that had this been the 50’s, would’ve gotten them banned too.

Pernice Brothers – Goodbye, Killer

By • Sep 1st, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

All killer, no filler, Joe Pernice and Co. turn up the volume and turn in one of their most enjoyable records to date.

Jonneine Zapata – Cast The Demons Out

By • Aug 31st, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

Sounding like a counter-revolutionary, singer-songwriter Jonneine Zapata’s task at hand is presciently hinted at in the title.

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – Bottled In Cork

By • Aug 23rd, 2010 • Category: Webcut of the Week

We didn’t review Ted Leo & The Pharmacists recent album The Brutalist Bricks, because frankly, the music speaks for itself. Trying to find 450-odd words to adequately sell Mr. Leo’s blood, sweat, and tears would be doing the man and his music an enormous injustice. You won’t see his music used on commercials, you won’t see him selling his soul on a magazine cover for a few more units sold. A punk rocker with a pure heart, Leo and The Pharmacists have always done it (for better or worse) their way, and you have to respect that… and buy their records. Man’s gotta eat, y’dig (read more about that here — “Bottled In Cork”, one of the finer moments on The Brutalist Bricks, shows Leo throwing out enough hooks to make Cheap Trick envious and indulging in a little old fashioned fun, theatre style. I swear if he brought that show to London, I’d go see it.

Magic Kids – Memphis

By • Aug 23rd, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

Named after the town they’re from, Memphis has “some great songs, some brilliant moments”, but not quite all adding up to Magic, Kids.

LCD Soundsystem – Still Happening (2010)

By • Aug 22nd, 2010 • Category: Interviews

During their recent visit to Australia for Splendour in the Grass we caught up with LCD Soundsystem’s main man James Murphy who gave us reason to put away the hankies for LCD’s much reported demise – “It’s not necessarily the last record. I would make another record. It’s more the end of this part – three records that go together, an arc. We became a bigger band than I ever expected. Something needs to stop, for me, for us all to be happy.” He also waxes lyrical about making the record in the LA of his imagination, growing up and wanting kids, his Greenburg soundtrack experience and his many and varied future projects.

Dean & Britta – London – 30 July 2010

By • Aug 17th, 2010 • Category: Live Reviews

Releasing their soundtrack to 13 of Andy Warhol’s screen tests was an opportune moment for ex-Galaxie 500/Luna star Dean Wareham to fully express his love for Velvet Underground and the stars of Andy Warhol’s Factory. The screen tests alone, wavering between the visually arresting and the arrestingly mundane, were elevated into a new realm with the musical accompaniment provided by Wareham and partner Britta Phillips. Bringing the 13 Most Beautiful show to London (having frustratingly been given its UK premiere in Dunfermline last year) was a long-anticipated occasion.

Pixies – Brisbane – 31 July 2010

By • Aug 6th, 2010 • Category: Live Reviews

A few nights before this Pixies warm up concert for Splendour in the Grass, I had a vivid dream. In it I was the tour manager or press officer for the band and they were being put up in a luxury hotel with a huge swimming pool which they were swanning around in and (in)famously not getting along and refusing to do the show. It ended with me giving them a “look all the great rock’n’roll bands are dysfunctional, but when you’re on stage for that hour and a half you come together, that’s when you work, that’s when you function!” speech. And then I drove them to the Zoo in a black hummer.

Mark Kozelek – London – 29 July 2010

By • Aug 4th, 2010 • Category: Live Reviews

“Give me a minute and I’ll blow your minds“. The crowd laughs, so does the man who just uttered those words. The mood, somewhat quiet, respectful, shiftless, is lightened, and Mark Kozelek begins another master-class in tinkling the nylon strings of his Spanish guitar like Liberace would the piano. “I’m old” he breaks the silence again, “I’m fat, I need water, I need lyrics to my songs”. From my pew to the right side of the stage I have to squint to see if it’s not Neil Young sitting there complaining about his arthritis. To Kozelek’s credit, he’s still as ageless as ever, and that gut you were grabbing at? I’m pretty sure you’ve been carrying that for a while now.

Superchunk – Inbetween Days

By • Jul 28th, 2010 • Category: Webcut of the Week

Last seen by Webcuts at the Primavera Festival in Barcelona tearing up the stage like street kids on a candy high, North Carolina’s Superchunk took great delight in reminding the assembled why they were of the last great alternative bands of the 90’s still standing. Having been somewhat quiet since 2001’s ironically titled Here’s To Shutting Up, Superchunk have a brand new album on the way, the epically titled Majesty Shredding released on September 14 (US) and October 4 (UK). The band’s website says the album is “neither a return nor a departure…” and that just tells you everything you need to know — exhuberant, melodic, intense and in your face (and that’s just the slow songs) Majesty Shredding could well be their greatest hour (or 41 minutes). While we wait for October to roll round, sit back and relax as the band peel out on a cover of The Cure’s “Inbetween Days” recorded especially for the AV Club.

Liz Phair – Funstyle

By • Jul 25th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

From “Exile In Guyville” to exiled in general. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Liz Phair. In fact you could say things have been downright un-Phair.

Kaki King – London – 13 July 2010

By • Jul 23rd, 2010 • Category: Live Reviews

When does standing in the front row give you a direct line to god? Just because your idol, or current object of interest, is able to look you in the eye while they’re singing doesn’t mean that this is your opportunity for some face-to-face “let’s get to know each other” time. Really, it doesn’t. And it’s rare that a concert is marred by one asshole that doesn’t get the hint and won’t shut up, but shit does happen, and it happened to Kaki King and to the respectful crowd who had to endure this one “fan” and his relentless pursuit in establishing a “connection”.

Pernice Brothers – Jacqueline Susann

By • Jul 22nd, 2010 • Category: Webcut of the Week

For the first few seconds you’d swear this is Morrissey’s “The First Of The Gang To Die”, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to associate that solitary opening chord with the work of one Joe Pernice. As far as recordings go, Joe hasn’t quite done a Colin Meloy, but he has authored a 33 1/3 series book, of his quasi-fictional adolescent experiences with The Smith’s Meat Is Murder. This is not as sordid as it may sound. Rest assured, “Jacqueline Susann” has nothing to do with Morrissey or The Smiths. It’s just a quick 2 minute 30 second rev (screeching guitars as screeching tyres, no less) of the Pernice Brothers’ engine to reintroduce the band into our lives once again. Taken from their latest album, Goodbye, Killer the video clip for “Jacqueline Susann” is an obvious joy to behold. I say this sarcastically of course. You pay peanuts, you get 3 minutes of a guy riding a bicycle.

Devo – Something for Everybody

By • Jul 11th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

There are people who write for this website who weren’t even born when Devo last made a record. This is not for them.

Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

By • Jul 4th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

More emotional missives from angry, intense, young American men. What steady diet do they feed you on?

The Morning Benders – Big Echo

By • Jul 2nd, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

Oh, summery shimmery albums. Why must you hook us so? Berkeley, CA’s, The Morning Benders serve up a treat.

Against Me! – White Crosses

By • Jun 24th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

Fifth album from these Floridian punkers. File under “anarchy, unfulfillment and frustration”.

LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

By • Jun 22nd, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

“This is dance music that’s worth thinking about – or, more accurately, thoughtful music that’s worth dancing to”. Agreed.

Suzanne Vega – Close Up Vol. 1 Love Songs

By • Jun 14th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

A thematic collection of stripped down tracks from Suzanne Vega’s songbook, beginning with the love song.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today

By • Jun 6th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

Sounding more like a theme park ride than a band, Ariel Pink pulls off both with a little 70’s funk and 80’s new wave self-exploration.

Spoon – Mother Knows Best (2010)

By • Jun 4th, 2010 • Category: Interviews

Spoon‘s latest album, Transference, seemed to show the band finding new ways to tie their own shoelaces, searching out their own “Mystery Zone” or what Britt Daniel will later say in the interview “we gotta try to please ourselves first”. Notable for being our first interview where the band asks us the questions, Spoon have perhaps realised there’s more to making music than pleasing yourself. You’ve still got to please your Mom too…

The Hold Steady – Heaven Is Whenever

By • Jun 1st, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

Heaven is here, and if the album is half as great as this review, then The Hold Steady should be counting their lucky stars.

The National – High Violet

By • May 20th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

Riding high on the charts, The National have found a resounding voice where “High Violet’s loneliest, weightiest moments feel like shared sorrow.”

Harlem – Gay Human Bones

By • May 20th, 2010 • Category: Webcut of the Week

The sophomore, major label release from Harlem, entitled Hippies was something of a contentious issue at Webcuts. The first time in the history of this site where a reviewer was told to go back and try again, having criticised Harlem for their lack of lyrical imagination and school band simplicity (“those who don’t sicken quickly of energetic, repetitive three-chord rock will have a lot to love”) — which is really the reason to embrace them. Its lo-fi, hi-charm garage rock. For those who take their music seriously (yawn, The National) “Gay Human Bones” is not going to appeal to your innate sense of singalong fun. With lyrics like the earnest honesty of “someday soon you’ll be on fire/and you’ll ask me for a glass of water/and I say, no, you can just let that shit burn” from Hippies album track “Someday Soon” show that the best songs dispense with any artistic melodrama and quickly cut to the chase. Iminently touring Europe, Webcuts will be catching up with Harlem next month, but for now, savour the flavour of “Gay Human Bones”. Hippies is out now on Matador Records.

Kaki King – Junior

By • May 19th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

More depressing pop dressed up espionage style on the fifth album from this diminutive guitar goddess. “Junior”, indeed.

Tracey Thorn – Love And Its Opposite

By • May 18th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

Former Everything But The Girl frontwoman aptly wrestles with life after 40. “…not all fun and games, but a pleasure regardless”.

The Dum Dum Girls – Everybody’s Out to Get Them (2010)

By • May 11th, 2010 • Category: Interviews

New York has definitely handed over its crown as being home to earthshaking epicentre of what’s hot, hip, and happening. These days all eyes are firmly focused on the eclectic sounds of the West Coast — as it seems that every single band we talk right now calls the place home. With Katy Perry (of all people) singing the praises of California Girls, just like the Beach Boys did in the 60’s, so are we with Los Angeles’ Dum Dum Girls.

Titus Andronicus – The Monitor

By • May 7th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

Ragged fist-pumping fury from outta New Jersey. Named after one of Shakespeare’s earliest tragedies. Fact.

Harlem – Hippies

By • May 6th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

Of Harlem, this brief explanation should suffice — “those who don’t sicken quickly of energetic, repetitive three-chord rock will have a lot to love”.

The White Stripes – Under Great White Northern Lights

By • May 4th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

Visual document of The White Stripes Canadian invasion of 2007. No Seven Nation Army required.

Chris Thile – Los Angeles – 26 April 2010

By • May 1st, 2010 • Category: Live Reviews

“You must be the most attentive audience, ever” joked Chris Thile, during his performance at LA’s gem Largo at the Coronet, “It’s not often that you can hear the performer’s water bottle snap back into place.” And it was true — in this intimate setting of about 75 people (including fan Minnie Driver), Mr. Thile was the center of everyone’s attention. There was no heckling or chatter between songs, just enthusiastic, almost rapturous applause for this mandolin virtuoso.

LCD Soundsystem – Drunk Girls

By • Apr 27th, 2010 • Category: Webcut of the Week

The last album ever for LCD Soundsystem? Say it isn’t so! From the band that brought Daft Punk round to your house and told the music snobs of the world that we were losing our edge, comes the frenzied disco chant of “Drunk Girls”. Webcuts was a fan of the song long before we’d even heard of it, in fact a great portion of readers of this esteemed site are indeed “drunk girls”, so it would be insincere of us not to see this track as some kind of celebratory anthem. So give it up for the drunk girls of the world, give it up for LCD Soundsystem and give it up for Spring. It’s drinking weather. Get outdoors, grab some friends, dress up like pandas on pcp and raise some hell. LCD Soundsystem have provided you with the soundtrack, you just have to do the rest. This Is Happening is released on May 18 via Parlophone records. You can listen to the album at You can listen to drunk girls almost everywhere.

HEALTH – Breaking the Sound Barrier (2010)

By • Apr 26th, 2010 • Category: Interviews

Finding unexpected notoriety through their collaboration with electronic arsonists Crystal Castles, Los Angeles Noise Rock quartet HEALTH have been a prominent musical force in the LA scene over the past couple of years. With their second album Get Colour released late last year, the band have evolved beyond being nihilistic noise makers into an act that is pushing the textural accessibility switch.

The Soft Pack – The Soft Pack

By • Apr 25th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

No hard hits from San Diego’s The Soft Pack, just bland indie rock with some scant memorable moments.

She & Him – Volume 2

By • Apr 22nd, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews, Reviews

Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, a perfect pop couple if there ever were one, are back for a second helping of doo-wop and pop.

Spoon – Transference

By • Apr 10th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

The anticipated follow-up to the fan and critic fave Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, fails to meet expectation, begging the question, ‘Where were Spoon transferring to?’.

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – The Mighty Sparrow

By • Apr 8th, 2010 • Category: Webcut of the Week

In certain circles, Webcuts’ love for Ted Leo is almost as legendary as the man himself, and with the restraining order now expired, it’s game on motherfucker! Having made music now for close to two decades with punk-pop heroes Chisel, and for the last decade as Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Ted Leo epitomises the phrase “he bleeds for his art”, but mostly Ted just sweats for it. He was also the man who once graciously performed his cover of Split Enz’s “Six Months in a Leaky Boat” to console a certain Webcuts scribe who was in Paris to part company with a vivacious young German dissident. Ah, memories… Recently signed to Matador Records, Ted went into the studio last year to record his follow-up to 2007’s Living with the Living curiously entitled The Brutalist Bricks. Louder and angrier than ever (with a love song included to boot), The Brutalist Bricks finds Ted and the Pharmacists in fiery form. We’ll endeavour to catch up with the man in person when he tours Europe next month but for now you can watch the band perform a track we gave away as a free download last month with the 2 minute 45 second snarl of “The Mighty Sparrow”.

The Hold Steady – Ready for Heaven (2010)

By • Apr 6th, 2010 • Category: Interviews

“Listening again to everything The Hold Steady recorded. Is this the greatest American band now? They just got me through a rough month.” Bret Easton Ellis, Twitter Nov 2009. Lauded by fans, critics and other creative minds for the scope, depth, truth and heart that they bring to chronicling the American rock myth, Craig Finn and Tad Kubler of The Hold Steady hold court to discuss (via impersonal record label Q&A) their forthcoming blue collar opus Heaven is Whenever, due for release on May 3.

Yeasayer – Odd Blood

By • Mar 23rd, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

With a new sound and approach on display, Yeasayer have in their hands a contender for album of the year with Odd Blood. Yes, we know it’s only March.

Pavement – Quarantine The Past

By • Mar 17th, 2010 • Category: Album Reviews

The smell of reunion is in the air as Pavement’s back catalogue is harvested for the new-comers in this career-spanning collection.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Their Pop Aesthetic (2010)

By • Mar 16th, 2010 • Category: Interviews

A firm favourite last year with those of a pop persuasion was the debut album of Brooklyn four-piece, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. An example of youthful exuberance and melodic indulgences, The Pains (is it ok to call them that?) were as easy to swallow as a chocolate sundae with all the toppings — and just as addictive and in no way fattening. Recently on tour in Australia, we spoke with guitarist Kip Berman.