1989 as covered by Ryan Adams (except "Clean", for some reason). Blank Space is my favorite. It's available on iTunes (including "Clean"). You can read an interview with him or read about the backstory in USA Today.
In the summer of 2000 Heather Lynn and Kirsten Nordine started playing synthpop together in Grayslake, IL as The Capricorns. Only one song exists online from their first cassette, The Capricorns Are Gonna Get You. In 2001 Paroxysm Records released In the Zone, which gave birth to mixdisc classic The New Sound (live version). In 2003 there followed Go the Distance! Their last album, Pure Magical Love came in 2006. Lynn made a further single and album under the moniker Pure Magical Love, which evolved into a Chicago-based performance troupe. In 2013 Lynn staged her first rock opera, Templehead (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). A second rock opera, Genesis and Nemesis, is coming later this year. Morgan Claire Sirene wrote an appreciation of Lynn for Slutist, and she was interviewed about her life and career by Zachary Hutchinson. Nordine is a sometime member of Prince Rupert's Drops and releases music as Jantar.
Deerhunter - Snakeskin [YouTube] Atlanta art-rock band Deerhunter announced its seventh LP, Fading Frontier, Sunday, and premiered the abstract video for its lead single, "Snakeskin." Fading Frontier comes out Oct. 16 on 4AD. via: NPR Music
Wilco have released a new album called "Star Wars", featuring 11 new original songs, free for a limited time on their website.
Starting in the late 70s and throughout the 80s, Australian Rock strode the earth like a tiny, screaming colossus. Whether Hard Rock (drummer convicted of death threats), Pop Rock (lead singer dead from autoerotic aspyxiation), Pub Rock (lead singer's kids no longer forced to play), or what we'd now call Indie (they broke up, get over it) the 80s was the high water mark in Aus/NZ music history.Then the nineties and naughties ushered in an ero of reality-TV driven drivel... [more inside]
There was a thought that there weren’t enough bands with guitars that were exciting in the same way as the bands we cared about so we had the thought let’s try and do it better ourselves ... What I wanted that was something post-punk or whatever you want to call it but with songs. There was a while there where I wasn’t hearing any songs.Formed in 2013, North London band Desperate Journalist take their name from an obscure 1979 beef between The Cure and the NME's Paul Morley. Together, they make jangly, intense indie pop, redolent of faded seaside resorts, cramped book-filled bedsits, and English winter chill. Their debut album, Desperate Journalist [Spotify], appeared earlier this year. [Youtube.] [more inside]
Giant 800-track alt/indie-focused 90's playlist in chronological order "This is a behemoth of a playlist I put together, focusing primarily (but not exclusively) on the alt/indie/college side of the 90's experience. It's 800+ tracks, about 55 hours, and features plenty of songs that tend to get overlooked in the "remember these 90's hits?" pieces that pop up from time to time. Not definitive by any means, and extremely subjective, but it's a decent chunk of curated history in one convenient place. Also it's a fully chronological playlist, on a week-by-week level. So a track released on May 7, 1994 will come before a track released on May 14, 1994. Time and research went into this. Think of it as the Boyhood of 90's playlists!" (From Mefi's own naju, via MetaFilter Projects.)
This weekend, the seminal Beijing band Chui Wan will launch their (self-titled) second album after an extensive U.S tour. Their new single, The Sound of Wilderness, debuted on NPR last week - quite possibly a milestone for the Chinese indie scene. The album's highlights include the seven-minute closer "Beijing is Sinking", a swirling, chaotic song about staying afloat in a torrent of change. An apt metaphor, perhaps, for all the musicians in Beijing's fiercely iconoclastic indie underground. Initial reviews for the album are buoyant. It's seen as a coming-of-age moment for the band, for its influential record label Maybe Mars, and perhaps even for the small, vibrant Beijing indie community. So let's turn back the clock to the early 2000s, to post-SARS Beijing, and see how we got here. [more inside]
Sufjan Stevens's new album Carrie and Lowell can be streamed in its entirety at NPR and The Guardian. Four (very) early reviews. Previously
Pearl and The Beard are awesome Blending folk, gospel, pop, and Americana, eclectic Brooklyn-based trio Pearl & the Beard formed in the late 2000s around multi-instrumentalists Jeremy Styles, Jocelyn Mackenzie, and Emily Hope Price. Employing an arsenal that includes glockenspiel, guitar, cello, accordion, melodica, and pitch-perfect three-part harmonies, the band's skillful and soulful brand of acoustic art pop has drawn comparisons to artists like Andrew Bird, Beirut, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, and the Low Anthem.
Jim O’Rourke Live in Tokyo in June of 2014 [Part 1] [Part 2] Jim O’Rourke Plays “Women of the World” (Live on Christmas Day, 2013). Jim O’Rourke at Work on the Grizzly Man Soundtrack; Special Appearance by Werner Herzog. [more inside]
Sufjan Stevens has released a new track, "No Shade In The Shadow of the Cross", from his forthcoming album Carrie & Lowell. The album is named for Stephens's mother and stepfather, and the musician recently spoke with Ryan Dombal at Pitchfork about his past and the album's origins.
An Oral History of Shoegaze In this oral history, Wondering Sound speaks with the bands and other figures on the margins of “the scene that celebrates itself” to discover from whence this distinctive sound sprung, and why it has stood the test of time.
무키무키만만수 (Mukimukimanmansu) is a South Korean indie band that's gone mildly viral thanks to a thirty second clip from a television performance of their song Andromeda. The acoustic guitar and janggu drum duo released their first album 2012 in the eponymous year, and they played other songs off that album on television, which have been gathered into a handy playlist by YouTube user HachikoTanuki. Here are a few other videos: Studio versions of 내가 고백을 하면 깜짝 놀랄거야, 2008년 석관동, 너의 선물; television performances of 방화범 (with guests) and 투쟁과 다이어트; music video maker Vio Kim has recorded them many times, including up close at a concert last year (1, 2, 3, 4, 5); here they are performing with a jazz band earlier this year. And finally, here are demos they made in 2011.
In the imagination of a young Parisian named Pablo Padovani there’s a land called Moo. It’s a fantastical place that celebrates nature, the elements, romanticism and sweets [NSFW]. “I think you may like it if you like childhood, sex, dreams and surrealism,” Padovani [says]. “It’s a pornographic episode of Teletubbies mixed with Lord of the Rings.[...]The disc (Le Monde Möö by MOODOÏD) is a walk in the world Möö. This is a soft world made of cream hills and Turkish delight mountains. There are also Camembert mattresses and waterfalls of wine. This is a great, epic adventure."
90's Southern Gothic rockers The Rock*a*Teens have reunited and are going on tour. Their unique mixture of dark, swampy rock influences have been praised by Dan Bejar as "the most underrated American rock ’n roll band of the ’90s," and Will Sheff of Okkervil River as, "masterpieces buried in muck." The band features Chris Lopez, who you may know from aughties band Tenement Halls, and Kelly Hogan, who's worked with Neko Case. Playlist after the jump. [more inside]
After two decades of absence, Slowdive have reunited, and announced that they will play the Primavera festival in Barcelona. In an interview with The Quietus, Neil Halstead hinted that there might also be new material forthcoming. [more inside]
Pavement's album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was released twenty years ago next month. Stereogum has the oral history.
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).
It's been twenty years since Dante Ferrando opened the Black Cat Club on 14th St in DC. The neighborhood has changed immeasurably, but the music is still going.
Literate indie rock band Okkervil River have put together an adventure game to celebrate their new album, The Silver Gymnasium. It's the best Okkervil River game since Saints Row 2.
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.
Some punk from Iowa is hoping to go number one in the charts with an album that technically came out over a decade ago, was recorded on a boombox, and which has divided opinion. The record in question is called All Hail West Texas and that punk from Iowa (technically Indiana) is named John Darnielle and releases music as The Mountain Goats. The album can be streamed on the record label website as well as most of your favorite streaming services. You can download a couple of the outtakes here, listen to a recent interview Marc Maron did with John Darnielle that covers his youth and some of his Iowa period, and read Notes on imaginary extant, lost, deleted, and unrecorded tracks written, performed, recorded for or during the period of time in the life of John Darnielle that would produce All Hail West Texas not included in this collection because they are all imaginary by Matt Fraction.
Anthemic indie rock band The National have just released 'Demons', the first single off their upcoming album Trouble Will Find Me. The band is perhaps best known for their song Mr November and its association with the Obama reelection campaign.
Singer-songwriter Laura Marling will release her latest album, Once I Was an Eagle, this May. She's shared a first song off of it, "Where Can I Go?" [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]
In the 1980s, there were twee bands, and then there was Trixie's Big Red Motorbike. Formed in Shanklin, Isle of Wight in 1981, TBRM were brother and sister Mark & Mel Litten, sometimes assisted by Jim Bycroft on sax and Jane Fish (of The Marine Girls — whose most famous alumna you would have heard if you were alive in the 90s [previously]) on backing vocals. Their sound, lofi, their artwork handmade. Their first single was sent to John Peel [passim], who proclaimed they'd “wipe the floor with the competition” and had them in for two sessions. [more inside]
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names write music with a warmth and simplicity that really hits the spot on chilly autumn days. My favorite songs of theirs are Noodles and Trees and Squirrels; their better-known songs include Funeral Face, Rent a Wreck, and Loop Duplicate My Heart.
Alt-J (∆) are a British art rock band who play low-key but ambitious music and have done well lately, been nominated for the Mercury Prize and broken into the UK top 20, while remaining somewhat anonymous and now they're starting to get noticed in the US. But you don't have to take my word for them being quite good, they've put their whole debut album, An Awesome Wave, up on their SoundCloud page, along with a bunch of other music, or you can check out their videos. You can also watch an entire concert in high definition and good sound quality recorded by KEXP in Seattle.
Inspired by The Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs, 14 year old Californian Gal Musette has decided she can do them one better with her 70 Love Songs project. [more inside]
If you only have three minutes to spend on this post, listen to this song. The Yummy Fur was an unfairly obscure Scottish art-rock group active from 1992-1999. The group is best known for having two band members who currently comprise half of Franz Ferdinand, but that says little about the Yummy Fur proper. The group has a low-fi, angular, sound with mostly-spoken lyrics - the most familiar analogue might be the verses from Pavement's "Stereo" [more inside]
At the end of November, 1979, this band was just a year and half old and had played fewer than 40 sets. They had a handful of embryonic songs influenced by Television and Magazine, and a 3-month old, 3-song EP with two decent songs. Then they went to London to play a bunch of gigs behind that EP, and in just 6 months, over 40 gigs, they exploded. They watched in the studio during the January 1980 recording of “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” wooing Joy Division’s producer Martin Hannett; appeared on TV that month with a song they had only played 4 times, and released a forgettable single at the end of February. Suddenly new songs poured out at a remarkable rate: ”Twilight”, “Things to make and Do,” “A Day Without Me”, ”Trevor” became ”Touch”, ”Silver Lining” transformed into a second single (produced by Hannett). They signed a record contract in March, and immediately began recording a stunning debut album. By the summer they had more songs: a psychedelic/sexual horror tune, and a hot new single. It all became
bloated and sucky commercial and atmospheric soon after, but for a while there, boy did they rock. [more inside]
The Second Second Coming As The Stone Roses prepare to open their series of 3 homecoming concerts tomorrow at Manchester's Heaton Park, a timely look at the band, their influences and their (Tron) legacy. Look out for Metafilter favourite Peter Serafinowicz as Morrissey and Simon Cowell. (slyt)
The female bandmembers of Chairlift, Au Revoir Simone, Class Actress, and This Frontier Needs Heroes get together with "an essentially revolving cast of indie Brooklyn sirens, twice a year in a living room in Greenpoint to cover a single, classic song that they learn and arrange right before they perform. Calling themselves Girl Crisis, the group covers a classic (mostly a capella) from a male artist each Winter and a female artist each Summer. The performances are are filmed with a Super 8 camera, are not open to the public and exist only online. Their latest: Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me To The End of Love". (Via) [more inside]
"Dingus is dedicated to the search [for new music on Bandcamp]. It's here, on this humble blog that we shed light on bedroom artists in their most defining moments. If you want what's popular today, Dingus is not the blog for you. But, if you want what's fringe, pure and passionate then you've somehow landed on the right URL." [more inside]
KEXP 90.3 FM is a Seattle, WA-based radio station, officially "a service of University of Washington," but it's more complex than that. The first University of Washington radio station started broadcasting in 1952. Five decades, a few station organizational shifts, plus three call letter and frequency changes later, KEXP was (re)born in 2001. Along the way, the station spread the sound of 1990s Seattle indie rock, started streaming "CD quality" MP3 audio of their broadcast in 2000, and they have an ever-growing collection of recordings of live in-station performances, including over 2,000 videos on YouTube. [more inside]
Young the Giant's excellent cover of R. Kelly's Ignition (Remix) kicks off this season of A. V. Club's Undercover series in some style. The song has been covered extensively since it came out, in styles ranging from bedroom ukulele to ivy a capella to basement indie. It was also covered by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and inspired Dave Chapelle's pisstake. John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats has been a long-time fan, usually adding a minute of the song as a coda to his cover of The Boys Are Back in Town. Darnielle, and some friends, gave us 100 Reasons Why "Ignition - Remix" Is So Damned Great.
The Mahogany Blog (based in London) features a diverse range of (often indie and/or upcoming) music: through streaming singles, guest mixes and video posts, sharing others' mixes, and brief interviews with artists. Their YouTube channel hosts The Mahogany Sessions - acoustic musical performances exclusive to and filmed by the blog.
In the last decade, no organ of music criticism has wielded as much influence as Pitchfork. It is the only publication, online or print, that can have a decisive effect on a musician or band’s career.... [W]hatever attracts people to Pitchfork, it isn’t the writing. Even writers who admire the site’s reviews almost always feel obliged to describe the prose as “uneven,” and that’s charitable. Pitchfork has a very specific scoring system that grades albums on a scale from 0.0 to 10.0, and that accounts for some of the site’s appeal, but it can’t just be the scores.... How has Pitchfork succeeded where so many other websites and magazines have not? And why is that success depressing? A lengthy history and review of Pitchfork [Media], from an inexpensive online alternative to a music zine, to "indie" music kingmaker, and thoughts on pop music (criticism). [more inside]
Joe Dilworth, one-time drummer/collaborator with indie stalwarts Stereolab, Th' Faith Healers and Jarvis Cocker, ex-lover of PJ Harvey, is also a very accomplished photographer. [more inside]
Swissted New York graphic designer Mike Joyce takes vintage flyers from punk, hardcore and indie rock shows and redesigns them "into international typographic style posters. Each poster is sized to the standard swiss kiosk dimensions of 35.5 inches wide by 50 inches high and set in berthold akzidenz grotesk medium, all lowercase. Every single one of these shows actually happened."
Lana del Rey sings "Video Games" and "Blue Jeans" and just got signed to Interscope. But she's also known as "failed mainstream artist" Lizzy Grant, a "gangster Nancy Sinatra," and "the lie we like to tell ourselves." Here she is at the 2011 Q Awards.
Modest Mouse play a 25 minute set in September 2001 in front of Criminal Records in Atlanta. The songs they play are Paper Thin Walls, Third Planet, Trailer Trash, Lives, Diggin' Holes (later released as an Ugly Casanova track) and I Came as a Rat.
Pompeya is a band that is hard to describe, especially if you go by their videos and sound. For example, if you started with Power (Simple Symmetry & Lipelis Remix), you might think it's an act from the the late eighties, complete with break dancing and dated fashions. If you first came across the Barbarella Chisinau Teaser, you might imagine that they're something from the early 1990s, or a new band goofing with vintage video. And then they drop Power II, which could be some kids playing neo-disco akin to the US band VHS or Beta (wiki). But wait! Check out Cheenese (NSFW moment of nudity 2:58 to 3:05), and you think they might be professional musicians with a sharp-looking video. In fact, Pompeya is a mix of various things: they're four young Russian guys who play indie-disco. [more details after the break] [more inside]
Detektivbyrån (The Detective Agency) was a little-known Swedish band that made delightful music often inspired by Yann Tiersen's soundtrack to Amelié. E 18 - Om Du Möter Varg - Generation celebration - Nattoppet - Partyland - Monster - Laka kaffa - Vänerhavet. (Warning: aggressively cute and happy music containing accordion and bells.) [more inside]
When she placed it in his hand, people must have seen the sparks. Neither understands what just happened to their hearts.
Canadian indie/hardcore band Fucked Up have released the first of four singles from their upcoming rock opera, David Comes To Life. The album appears to be about a man who works in a lightbulb factory and is a follow-up to their critically acclaimed The Chemistry Of Modern Life. Cryptic character bios can be found on the album's site and more information from the band can be found on their blog.
It was song number 3 on John's last CD. "I'm gonna make it through this year if it kills me". And it almost killed me.
Craig Finn from The Hold Steady joins The Mountain Goats on stage to sing 'This Year'. [more inside]
Three parts guitar, one part drums, one or two parts percussion (to taste), one part trumpet, and a couple dashes of organ. Add a hearty shake of vibraslap. Season with half-sung, half-spoken vocals and lyrical wordplay. And there you have it, Cake, roughly the same recipe as they've been using for the last 20 years. There is a new solar powered serving available now. [more inside]
69 Love Songs, Illustrated is a blog where comic book artists and illustrators interpret the songs on The Magnetic Fields' classic album 69 Love Songs.