London, Paris, Condale, Munich. Everybody's talking about Summer Camp's pop music. Well, not everybody. But they should.
Wilco -- "They’ve solidified themselves as the greatest American band playing today, possibly of all time".
Folk bands are slowly going the way of the emo bands -- cookie-cutter, predictable, uninspired, and inevitably becoming a parody of themselves because music is a business and the market dictates that consumers will always want more of what's popular. The Beggar Folk fall nicely into the afore-mentioned folk music genre, however their music doesn't seem to follow suit with the folk status quo. These are ballads and hymns, carved from trees and molded from soil. This music demands your attention and effortlessly passes any authenticity tests. It conjures up what real Americana and country music should conjure.
Sweet jangle pop outta New Jersey and more than likely the only Real Estate we'll ever purchase... (sad but true).
A couple of songs into Lydia Loveless’s evening set, and it’s difficult to tell where Lydia the singer ends and Lydia the person begins. It’s simply hard to imagine a woman like this, barely in her twenties, and standing a little over five foot tall in her boots, could be so worldly and explosive. And yet, there she is, muttering a string of f-bombs during a song break because she can’t get her guitar tuned quite right. The attitude, the weathered, sarcastic smile. The edge. That’s pretty damn tough to fake.
Blitzen Trapper brings to mind somebody hunting down reindeer. This has nothing to do with the music.
When it comes to the mythical it-factor, New York's The Rassle by their own admission are “just rock and roll”. They understand that thousands of people have been there, done that. They're here to enjoy whatever the moment is right now, and it feels pretty damn great. Listen to The Rassle's first single, “Wild Ones” and you'll hear what they're talking about. It's a sound that's been done before. A little synthy, a little danceable. But by the time that kick drum chorus comes bellowing forward, it doesn't matter. You're bobbing your head like this is the first time you've heard indie rock before. It's fantastic.
Dum Dum Girls add an extra coat of polish and put on a brave garage-pop face for album number 2.
On the surface, it’s a normal, sold-out show on a Friday night just north of downtown Cleveland. The fans stretch around the corner from the front door; ticket holders excited for the They Might Be Giants concert they’re about to see, and those without tickets hoping to catch a break when they get to the box office. But this is not a normal show, and this is not a normal audience. These are the geeks. The nerds. Die hard rock fans of a different shade of crazy, waiting for their musical heroes to serenade them with catchy pop songs tinged with dark humor and insightful counter-culture references.
Energetic indie-rock from LA's Grouplove but watch out for "the boring half of the record". Whoops.
With our review dispensing superlatives like "timeless" and "classic", Beirut's The Rip Tide is one of the must-listen albums of 2011.
Canadian folk-sters Dark Mean deliver a "must-listen album with staying power, and one of the year’s best" on their self-released debut.
Putting aside Lightspeed Champion, the chameleon musician/producer known as Dev Hynes unveils his latest project Blood Orange.
Chicago's Fruit Bats return to their familiar "effortless and sweet" indie folk ways on their fifth album, Tripper.
First solo release from Rogue Wave's Zach Rogue under his new moniker, Release The Sunbird. For those who like their rock wimpy.
Join Us finds They Might Be Giants at their "quirkiest, catchiest and most clever", which is simply music to our old-school fan ears.
Louisiana's Generationals Actor-Caster is a "treasure trove of indie pop rock songs". That's exactly the kind of booty we like around here.
Ex-New Zealander's Unnecessarily Long Band Name evoke retro 60's thrills on their self-titled debut.
Washed Out's debut album couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time. The water's just right for a little chillwave.
It hasn’t been an amazing year for music, but surely an entertaining one. Lots of new acts jockeying for position amongst the wily veterans, and plenty of debate even as early as June over love ‘em-or hate ‘em titles such as King of Limbs and James Blake’s eponymous debut and where they belong in the year’s final canonization of greats. Honestly, I can’t remember a year in recent memory when I’ve found so many hyped records I’ve disliked or been entirely disinterested in. Cults? Pass. Tyler, The Creator? Garbage. The saviors from musical banality have consistently been experienced groups who know what they’re doing and get praised for their music and not being arrested in LA and starting riots.
Lyrically and musically, simply one of the best records you'll hear all year. Dan Bejar -- Genius. Kaputt -- Divine.
A surprising record or a record full of surprises from this indie-pop quartet? Note reviewer in "I loathed it now I like it" situation.
Thumbs down for the skinny ties and tight jeans brigade on their fourth go-round. Surely it can't be worse than First Impressions Of Earth?
With appearances from Peaches and Patti Smith, R.E.M. show no signs of wear and tear in their fourth decade of making music.
A break-up album like no other, Sweden's pop princess Lykke Li hits an emotional core that has Webcuts in awe.
Providence, Rhode Island indie-folksters The Low Anthem fail to im-press the smart flesh on their sophomore release.
Debut album from Montreal's Braids. Like a Canadian Animal Collective with female vocals? Read on and find out...
Sometimes a mood, feeling or memory can be condensed into a single album or song. It can be due to overexposure to that certain piece of music at the time of a memory being made, like, let's say, Christmas, or it can be the result of new music that already sounds familiar hitting on certain emotional chords, no pun intended. And new music that feels old, strange tunes that feel like a lifelong pal, is not necessarily an indictment of inherent quality, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. So goes with The Volcano Diary, a very new band that feels like they've been making music for decades.
Picture the scene... in a dark Minneapolis jazz club, three anonymous musicians take the stage. The usual rituals of tuning and testing, smiling and carrying on, and then the lead singer steps up to the microphone. It only takes a few songs to appreciate the underestimated prowess of the band; the churning bass, the precision in the drumming, and a fiesty singer whose melancholy adroitness shines through her toned-down Joplin-esque voice and ferocious, half-prostrated guitar solos. This is Holly Newsom and Zoo Animal, a band marked by a soulful yet minimal electrofolk sound and introspective, sometimes spiritual lyrics.
"a polished genre grab bag record of mostly stale, completely innocuous songs". Kings of Leon - Win!
Just how many albums are Weezer going to release (or re-release) this year? What's one more for Christmas?
Consider The Capitalist Youth, a trio of former high school classmates who play “acoustic indie rock combining a living room full of misfit instruments with lyrically driven songs about summer camp, existential crises and gubernatorial indiscretions”. They don’t write and play the kind of music that will leave listeners dumbstruck over their redefinition of a genre, but they’re able to adeptly inject something into their music that only a handful of others have done well: humanity, with a laid back sense of humor, and without any of the awkward pauses that come from other bands who get lucky on a song or two and can’t maintain things the rest of the way.
Totally random, but a friend of mine once got "Chief" tattooed on the back of her neck and the tattoo guy spelt it wrong. There is no metaphor to be found here.
Brooding psychedelic rock with some Zeppelin-esque undertones, Canada's Black Mountain let loose on their third.
Brooklyn's Suckers channel a little ADHD indie rock throughout their debut album, defying hype and maintaining interest.
Sounding like a counter-revolutionary, singer-songwriter Jonneine Zapata's task at hand is presciently hinted at in the title.
Send out the search parties -- Missing in action on the latest album from M.I.A. -- "melody, listenability, and some semblance of a point".
Out of nowhere comes a near perfect album by a near forgotten band that rewrites their own history in one superlative-inducing swoop.
The (Bloc) Party is over. Now, it's a dance party and there's nobody here, except Kele and a few diehard Bloc Party fans looking bored.
We're now entering a phase of the year where great albums are in abundance and Villagers' debut is no exception.
Fifth album from these Floridian punkers. File under "anarchy, unfulfillment and frustration".
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.
A band of such warmth and light, the only way you'd see a 'shadow' here is if you held this Teenage Fanclub CD up in front of you.
For a band who call their music "post-classic rock", Canada's Plants and Rags have at least one thing going for them.
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".
No hard hits from San Diego's The Soft Pack, just bland indie rock with some scant memorable moments.
More of a mixtape than a record? Gorillaz latest adds Lou Reed and Mark E. Smith to their line-up for a day down the (plastic) beach.
Makers of mood music for moderns, Baltimore's daydream duo return with their sweet and sombre third album, Teen Dream.
One of the hotly anticipated releases for 2010, MGMT shake things up with their follow-up to Oracular Spectacular but the title is anything but ironic.
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.