In the early 1990’s Urge Overkill went from hometown band to national stars, despite the attempts by two local women to stop them. If you frequented the North Side during that time, you may have seen two women dressed similarly to the band, passing out an anti-Urge Overkill newsletter preaching about the “evils” of the band with a megaphone.
In a broad sense, you could call it the NYC rock revival, or resurgence, or early-’00s rock boom, or something. At the time, garage-rock revival, retro-rock revival, post-punk revival, and dance-punk were all monikers used liberally, and all were things that fell under the larger umbrella of the movement. As you’ll see from the list below, there were permutations within this, but generally speaking, music history remembers this in some broader terms: a youthful, stylish brand of rock music, with a carefully manicured sense of brooding, and musical touchstones that could basically be summed up by the Velvet Underground and Joy Division and the Ramones and a few other names, primarily from the late ’70s and early ’80s. There was, of course, sometimes much more to it than that, and sometimes not. In a more cynical approach, you could look at this era as the time when a few rich kids co-opted alternative cultures of the past and brought them to masses in a slightly sleeker box.
Your next favorite band is probably from Glasgow. Sure, we know Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian (previously and very previously), Frightened Rabbit (previously), The Twilight Sad, Glasvegas, and Chvrches (previously). Step inside for some of Glasgow’s current talent explosion. [more inside]
Smith doesn’t really have an hour to spare tonight. He and his bandmates are scrambling through what might be their only rehearsal for their first US headlining tour, which launches later this week. The goal is to road-test new material for the follow-up to DIIV’s 2012 debut album, Oshin, an underground breakout hit that marked them as one of indie rock’s most promising bands on the rise. Tomorrow he has to take care of countless logistical matters for the tour such as picking up borrowed gear and buying a van, which would be stressful enough for a random Tuesday. But tomorrow is also the 22nd birthday of Smith’s girlfriend, the model and acclaimed pop singer Sky Ferreira, and he needs to make it special after spending much of her 21st birthday stressing out about an impending European tour. “Last year I blew it,” Smith says. “She was so upset.” On top of all that, he’s also supposed to meet with his probation officer upstate, one of many unpleasant consequences of being arrested for heroin possession and other crimes last September in upstate Saugerties, New York.
The Fire Rises is a music video from Masketta Man's UUUU, a name-your-price banecore devotional EP based largely on the somewhat befuddling opening to the 2012 blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises. Other tracks concern hotheads (and how to get them out of places), states of relative bigness w/r/t inter-guy relationships, and pastiches in the vein of Bentley Rhythm Ace. To be fair, however, other banecore songs have been equally sonorous, other banecore videos may be even more romantic, and Bane himself has some skills as a rapper, although maybe not as much as Tom (and Louis) Hardy. (last link contains NSFW language)
Deep Elm Records, which turns 20 years old next year, today announced that all 200+ of its albums are available on a "name your price, no minimum" basis: "If you have means please show them love by naming your price. If you do not have any means, in exchange for each download we kindly request that you post, share, tag and tweet to tell your friends about each album as our bands depend on your word of mouth." [more inside]
Pavement's album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was released twenty years ago next month. Stereogum has the oral history.
"A generation ago, refusing these kinds of offers was a way for bands to telegraph where they stood, the sort of thing that showed their allegiance to the underground and their community... If someone in the independent-rock world thinks that this is bullshit, they should take a look at themselves. They’re doing the same thing; they’re writing albums that people stream 30 seconds of on fucking Pitchfork and then people are like, ‘Oh, I like your album.’”
Dexter Tortoriello makes various forms of sad music. The most prolific persona is Houses, which is a duo with his girlfriend Megan Messina, which Tortoriello thinks of in terms of "old Elephant 6 recordings," though it's been classified with the chillwave craze of the recent years, escapist songs are understated in mood and minimalist in structure. Then there's his solo project, Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross, named for the centuries-old secret occult sect Golden Dawn and the symbol of Rosicrucianism, built with intensely sculpted collection of skittering electronics and delicate acoustic textures, ... marked by heavy beats and synthesizer pads. You can hear tracks from both projects on Soundcloud (Houses; Dawn Golden) and YouTube (Houses official channel, and a playlist for A Quiet Darkness, the newest Houses album).
Bluedawn (푸른새벽) were a South Korean dreampop band characterized by soaring ethereal vocals, dreamy acoustic melancholy, quietly quixotic melody and softly cascading walls of sound in the vein of Mazzy Star and Hope Sandoval. [more inside]
C.J. Boyd is a wandering bassist improvisor/composer who has found time to make 11 "multimedia mixtapes" for his Obsolete Media label-mates, and you can stream or purchase (for a price of your choosing) more than 16 hours of enjoyable, experimental music, featuring a ton of artists.
Their debut album is a weird, hypnotic masterpiece. Licorice Root Orchestra was an obscure band out of Newark, DE. They echo shades of Neutral Milk Hotel, John Lennon, Brian Wilson, Spacemen 3 and Marc Bolan. [more inside]
Happy belated birthday to Jesus Murphy, Haslam, DJ Critical, Uncle Climax (NSFW audio), Stinkin' Rich (NSFW audio), Dirk Thornton, Buck 65, or as his mom called him, Richard Terfry. Born in the year of the rat, and he's a Pisces, which makes him a rat fish, but by trade, he's a turntablist/ MC/ producer/ broadcaster. Generally he makes some form of hip-hop (some NSFW lyrics), though as of late, he's been broadening his style, as heard in his cover of Leonard Cohen's Who By Fire (previously) and Paper Airplane (official "lyric" video). In tribute to his 41st birthday, there's a lot more music inside. [more inside]
The ballad of Red Buckets. "Richard Mason was a high school kid in Boston when he formed his band Insteps and recorded his first songs sounding much like the early Cure. ... Red Buckets began at University of Pennsylvania around 1982, and eventually brought Richard and the band into the context of Crazy Rhythms-era Feelies, the Hoboken music scene at Maxwell’s, Dream Syndicate passing through, and the proto-Yo La Tengo record machine."
"...the ways in which musicians are screwed have changed qualitatively, from individualized swindles to systemic ones."
"The "Tugboat" 7" single, Galaxie 500's very first release, cost us $980.22 for 1,000 copies-- including shipping! (Naomi kept the receipts)-- or 98 cents each. I no longer remember what we sold them for, but obviously it was easy to turn at least a couple bucks' profit on each. Which means we earned more from every one of those 7"s we sold than from the song's recent 13,760 plays on Pandora and Spotify. Here's yet another way to look at it: Pressing 1,000 singles in 1988 gave us the earning potential of more than 13 million streams in 2012."Making Cents: Damon Krukowski of Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi breaks down the meager royalties currently being paid out to bands by streaming services and explains what the music business' headlong quest for capital means for artists today. [more inside]
Bill Doss, co-founder of the seminal indie rock collective The Elephant Six Recording Company and member of classic lo-fi groups and projects such as Olivia Tremor Control, The Sunshine Fix, and the Powerpuff Girls: Heroes and Villains album passed away today at age 44. No cause of death was released. [more inside]
The tagline is simple: "Danceable melancholia for the depressed," though on its face, the tracklist might challenge indie rock fans. "Post-millennial indie rock faves [updated] with 1993 hip hop production"? Downcast remixes of Andrew Bird and Deerhoof by a hip-hop producer? But it works. Joe(y) Beats, who collaborated with Sage Francis as Non-Prophets, shows his love for The Black Heart Procession and Neutral Milk Hotel by finely dicing their tunes and re-arranging them so they flow together, but don't lose their original beauty. Behold: Indie Rock Blues. [more inside]
An enigmatic Soundcloud user has painstakingly recreated My Bloody Valentine's album "Loveless" in full.
The exacting, cerebral sounds of Massachusetts natives Math the Band invite intense attention and abstract appreciation. A live set from 2009 presents what is perhaps the best opportunity to sample their dense soundscapes: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 [more inside]
The movie Apollo 18 opened recently. The plot centers around a supposedly secret Apollo moon landing mission (the last actual mission was Apollo 17). But never mind the space stuff, what is up with the title of the mission? It's been used for a couple of non-space related music projects. They Might Be Giants used it for the title of their fourth album. Then there's a Korean indie rock band with the name, who won the Rookie of the Year award at the 2010 Korean Music Awards. [more inside]
For nearly 2 years now, Manchester band WU LYF (World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation) has been experimenting with music and the presentation of their image. The group's official website *autoplay on front page* is an assaulting mix of manifesto, art project, and promotion. What started as the intention to have a faceless band quickly gave way to the huge appeal of interesting music, and the band started taking a new approach and taking off the masks. A weird blend of atmospheric indie rock, blues-informed vocals, vaguely political messages, and British soul music, all strangely influenced by American hip hop, makes WU LYF easy pickings for best of the (music) web.
Henry Rollins talks with Dinosaur Jr. An 18 minute chitchat followed by a loud, rocking show, most of which was also posted: The Wagon Out There Don't
Over the weekend, critically-acclaimed musician Neko Case started a discussion with her twitter followers: "To answer your question, no, ladies in bands don't get ANY action... Back me up ladies. no one believes this." The resulting conversation lasted the rest of the night and had women musicians like Amy Millan, Miranda Brown and Michelle Branch agreeing and chiming in. So, why don't female rock stars have groupies? [more inside]
The "Matador at 21" festival is streaming live. The indie-rock ticket of the year is this three-day festival celebrating 21 years of Matador Records, and featuring notable Matador stalwarts of the past -- reunited Pavement last night, reunited Superchunk tonight, reunited Guided By Voices tomorrow. Didn't get tickets? Watch at home.
Where music geekery and typographical geekery intersect: Rock That Font looks knowledgeably at the typography of notable album covers.
What's the matter with Sweden? How public funding for the arts has turned countries like Sweden into Meccas for indie music.
Lou Barlow has a new solo record, and is promoting it by releasing some videos and a making-of documentary every week this month on Lootube. [more inside]
[musicnewsfilter]: European copies of Dinosaur Jr.'s new album Farm have been recalled after duplication software "doubled the sound layers, resulting in a 3 dB increase in the overall sound volume." [more inside]
In 1997, reclusive Neutral Milk Hotel mastermind Jeff Mangum performed a now-legendary set at Athens, Ga. coffee shop Jittery Joe's. One week only on Pitchfork.tv Previously 1 2 3 [more inside]
We Got The Tweet: The Week's 50 Best Rock Star Twitters. I think it is safe to say that all of us unreservedly love three things: indie rock, twitter and Ryan Adams. That's a given. Well this Stereogum post has them all! The weeks best tweets from all your favorite indie rock stars, including Ryan Adams hijacking his new wife Mandy Moore's (no I can't let that go) twitter account to make a bunch of tweets until she has to take the computer away from him. lol! [more inside]
The Most Serene Republic, quite possibly the most underrated of all the acts on the Arts & Crafts label, create music in a similar vein to fellow Canadian indie rockers Arcade Fire, Stars, and Broken Social Scene. Experience their explosive, big-band, polyphonic, experimental flair by listening to their 3 releases in full: Underwater Cinematographer (2005), Phages EP (2006), and Population (2007). A few video music videos as well: The Men Who Live Upstairs, Oh God, Content Always Was My Favourite
Death Cab For Cutie. Live, in a Black Cab. One Song ("No Sunlight"). One Take. One Cab.
Also: Daniel Johnston, Bill Callahan, The New Pornographers, The Raveonettes, Okkervil River, Spoon, & The Futureheads.
Also: Daniel Johnston, Bill Callahan, The New Pornographers, The Raveonettes, Okkervil River, Spoon, & The Futureheads.
No Depression magazine will soon leave this world of toil and trouble. NPR reports that, due to falling ad revenues, the May/June issue of the revered alt-country zine will be the last. The magazine's Web site will remain active, but to what extent remains unsettled. [more inside]
From 1999 to 2004, a slew of bands, either unknown, faintly famous, or about to go on to larger levels of exposure played in the clubs and houses of the Santa Cruz independent "rock" scene, and were recorded for anthropological purposes. [more inside]
Evil Bee (embedded QT) is a gorgeous & interesting animated short about a worker bee in a factory who rebels; bonus points for awesome soundtrack by menomena.
The Football Albums. Music and football. Surely there's something better than "Hail to the Redskins" and "The Superbowl Shuffle?" One man believed there could be. That man was Peter Hughes, Inland Empire indie rock mini-star, sometime member of Nothing Painted Blue and the Mountain Goats, baseball diarist, and leader of the now-defunct band Diskothi-Q. In 1999, Diskothi-Q released The Football Albums: a double CD of 32 songs, one for each team in the NFL. All are now freely downloadable as .mp3s: AFC and NFC. (.mp3 links follow) Get ready for the big game this weekend by pitting "Colts" against "Patriots." Revel in the untamed savagery of "Eagles" or sympathize with the touching lament, "(Nobody Cares about the St. Louis) Rams."
"[W]hat I really wanted to hear ... was a bit of swing, some empty space, and palpable bass frequencies."
Q: Is [country] somehow more soulful than Wilco? A: Oh, hell yeah.: Sasha Frere-Jones writes a polemic on why indie music lacks a certain something. Writes more and more and talks about it, too. The Voice weighs in. Slate says it's class, not race. Or perhaps kt's response is more your speed?: not everything needs critical assessment or whatever.
A previously unreleased documentary [Google video, 37 min.] of Modest Mouse shot during the recording sessions for their 1997 album The Lonesome Crowded West.
Due in part to the success of TV shows like "Top Chef" and "Hell's Kitchen," chefs have become rock stars—but some rock stars have been known to put down the axe and pick up a chef’s knife as well: chef Sam Mason [note: autoplay music] makes Dinner With The Band; dishes are paired with DJs in NY clubs; and there's also a recently-published indie rock cook book [MySpace link]. Care for some dessert? Steve Albini has the final word on food.
In the grand Village Voice tradition of slagging off musicians for being white and/or harmless, VV scribe Chris Ott writes an irrationally antagonistic critique of Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy, in an ostensbile concert review. Oh snap! Meloy's girlfriend Carson Ellis sticks up for him in the comments section!
Neutral Milk Hotel demos, videos, and bootlegs. Brainchild of enigmatic, now-reclusive singer/songwriter Jeff Mangum (not Magnum!), the "fuzz-folk" project known as Neutral Milk Hotel began and ended in the 90s and only released two LPs, but is still held as a touchstone by many indie rock critics. More live recordings can be found at the site for Elephant 6, the collective which included NMH and other bands like Beulah, Circulatory System, Elf Power, and Apples in Stereo. The complete discography and more MP3s. Some lyrics. (Previously)
NPR’s Live Concert Series site offers recordings of recent live performances by James Brown, Sinead O’Connor, Iron & Wine and Calexico, Son Volt, My Morning Jacket, The White Stripes, M. Ward, Sigur Ros, Bloc Party, The Decemberists, and live tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. ET, Colin Meloy.
So, why don't you like doing interviews? Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock takes the piss. [wmv]
Browse MP3it's collection - Some free music for fans of gybe!, Black Heart Procession, Rumah Sakit, The Champs, Sea and Cake, and others.
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