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Indie/Alternative Music


Dirty Projectors “Swing Lo Magellan”: Album Review

Domino Recording Co. (2012)

I’m just gonna say this—and it’s an observation, not a criticism—listening to Dirty Projectors is kind of like listening to Attention Deficit Disorder set to music. That, or the natural extension of the Beatles’ drug-induced later works. Granted, the band’s latest work Swing Lo Magellan is possibly their most focused and elegant work to date, but it’s still an acquired taste, mainly appealing to people who are bored with music […]


Up-And-Comers: Passion Pit

A few years ago in Massachusetts, a guy named Michael Angelekos recorded a few songs on his laptop to impress his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. Little did he know then that his musical ideas would evolve into a five-piece electropop outfit called Passion Pit, or that they’d be play the Glastonbury Festival, or tour with Muse, or that their songs would get placed on the CW’s Gossip Girl and the […]


DIIV Leaps Into the “Oshin”

Captured Tracks (2012)

Listening to Oshin, the debut release from New York-based indie band DIIV, actually gives me the feeling that I’m listening to a rock band play underwater. Not saying that’s a bad thing—just saying. From the moment you, er, dive into this record, you understand that Oshin is about an experience, a sensation, rather than a tracklist. The best way I can describe it is that DIIV sounds like 80’s rock […]


Up-and-Comers: Imagine Dragons

Anyone seen the recent movie trailer for the film The Perks of Being a Wallflower? How about that catchy tune playing on the trailer? That’s the song “It’s Time” from Imagine Dragons, an up-and-coming indie-rock band from Las Vegas who is setting themselves up to take on the world. From the moment this four-piece formed in 2008, it was apparent these guys were dead serious about their music. After releasing […]


Fiona Apple’s “The Idler Wheel…”: Well Worth the Wait

Epic (2012)

The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do. It’s a long title for an album (well, maybe not for Fiona Apple, but still). And we’ve been waiting an even longer time for the album to come out (seven years, specifically). But on my first listen, I can tell you most emphatically—it was worth the wait. […]


Metric Continues Its Winning Streak with “Synthetica”

MMI / Mom + Pop (2012)

Following up on the success of 2009’s Fantasies, electro-rock outfit Metric has solidified their sound and dug deep lyrically with its fifth studio release Synthetica, creating what may be the band’s most poignant and significant work so far. Metric is already a band that is breaking barriers and beating the odds at so many levels. Think about this:   They found their greatest success as an indie band. Breaking free […]


Up-and-Comers: Jesca Hoop

Sometimes the door of opportunity opens in the oddest of ways. For indie singer/songwriter Jesca Hoop, it opened during her stint as a nanny for Tom Waits’ family. It’s fitting, actually, given that Waits and Hoop are both a bit off the beaten path, that Waits would have a hand in introducing her to a wider audience—and yet all he did was hand off one of her demos to someone, […]


Is This What The Temper Trap Wants To Be? (Album Review)

Liberation Music (2012)

This week, Aussie indie-rock band The Temper Trap released their self-titled sophomore release, a follow-up to their breakthrough debut record Conditions. On the first listen, I have to say I was a little confused. By the second listen, frankly, I was bored. A sophomore album always carries a bit of risk, especially if your first record was huge. Even more risky is to make your sophomore release a self-titled work, […]


Brandi Carlile “Bear Creek”—Album Review

Columbia Records (2012)

As a point of disclosure, let me start by saying I’m a huuuge fan of Brandi Carlile. Her songwriting style is nothing short of inspiring, and her gritty folk-rocky voice goes easily from warbling to wailing—and both give me goosebumps. So when her fifth record Bear Creek dropped this week, I was all primed to give it a “5.” I soooo wish I could. But I can’t. Don’t get me […]


Sigur Rós Returns With “Valtari”

XL Recordings (2012)

After what was rumored to be an “indefinite hiatus,” (and a solo jaunt by frontman Jónsi), Icelandic band Sigur Rós has returned with Valtari, their first studio album in four years—and quite possibly their most epic work to date. I’ll be the first to admit, listening to Sigur Rós requires me to be in a certain frame of mind. Don’t bother comparing them to other bands, because they don’t sound […]


Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros “Here”: The Hootenanny Continues…

Vagrant Records (2012)

For those of you who may be new to Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, let’s clarify something before talking about their new release Here: Edward Sharpe isn’t real. He’s a hippified messiah-type, a character created by lead vocalist Alex Ebert, sort of as a way of dealing with his own demons. The band that formed around this character, then, could arguably be considered his…um…nine or so “disciples.” The end […]


Up-and-Comers: Meiko

This might seem paradoxical to say, but singer/songwriter Meiko is on her way to becoming an institution in the indie music scene. I say paradoxical because indie music sort of eschews convention and “institutions.” Let’s just say that, at the very least, Meiko is making a name for herself with her simple, coffeehouse vibe, a sound she perfected with many appearances at Hotel Café in Hollywood (which still serves as […]


Beach House “Bloom”—Album Review

Sub Pop (2012)

Just when you thought dream-pop duo Beach House couldn’t get any better…they Bloom. Some bands move forward by reinventing themselves with each record, and that’s cool. Sometimes the best way to grow is to mutate. But sometimes, when you have something good going on, you don’t change it—you just keep making it better. This seems to be Beach House’s approach, and it is definitely working. With each of their four […]


Best Coast Cleans Up Their Act with “The Only Place”

Mexican Summer (2012)

With their much-anticipated sophomore release The Only Place, indie surf/pop/rock outfit Best Coast (a.k.a. Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno) have brushed the sand off their reel-to-reel and stepped up to the mic for a much cleaner sound than their first record, Crazy for You. At least, that’s sort of what it sounds like. Perhaps I should explain. The duo brought in producer Jon Brion (Fiona Apple, Kanye West) for this […]

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