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Indie/Alternative Music

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes

“Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes” (Self-Titled)—Album Review

Community Music/Vagrant Records (2013)

I have to admit—it’s almost impossible to listen to Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes and not smile, even when they’re singing about sad stuff. The exuberant hippie-folk, free-spirited gospel-ly vibe of frontman Alex Ebert and clan (and that’s what you call a 10-piece band—a clan) is nothing if not contagious. Whenever I hear them—or watch them live—I have this inexplicable urge to jump on the platform with them (or […]

The Mowgli's

Singles You Shouldn’t Miss – July 2013 Edition

July is seeing some great summer music surfacing, both from emerging and established artists in the indie vein. Here are a few noteworthy singles that ought to be on your radar this month.   THE MOWGLI’S “SAN FRANSICSCO” California-based indie act The Mowgli’s have been gaining a lot of traction nationwide with their feel-good vibe. Their first label release Waiting for the Dawn released last month is currently sitting at […]


Josh Pyke “The Beginning and the End Of Everything” –Album Review

Ivy League Records (2013)

Back in May, I wrote this piece about Aussie singer-songwriter Josh Pyke to try to put his music on the radar of a few more Americans. Now that his fourth record The Beginning and the End Of Everything is available, we can see if the buzz he generated with his single “Leeward Side” was worth it. My take? It was definitely worth it—and then some. First off, Pyke is an outstanding […]


Never Shout Never “Sunflower” –Album Review

Loveway Records (2013)

It has admittedly not been a banner year for one-man-band-turned-actual-band Never Shout Never. Barely a year has passed since the notorious interview with Bryan Star—you know, the one where frontman Christofer Drew Ingle (who later admitted to taking acid prior to the interview) told him off, called him a “joke” and made him cry, and bled a gob of Facebook fans and Twitter followers over the fallout. His arrest for […]


Up-and-Comers: The Dear Hunter

I have to be honest: The Dear Hunter are not typically a band I’d write about, simply because I leave prog-rock to other writers to cover. But after a number of years of plugging away at the scene, their recent release Migrant is starting to give them a level of national attention they have long deserved—and I can definitely understand why. The truth is, The Dear Hunter have never been […]


Smith Westerns Mature on “Soft Will”—Album Review

Mom + Pop Records (2013)

When you start out as a garage-rock band, it seems there are two ways you can evolve: you can learn to create perfection out of lo-fi distortion (think Jack White or The Black Keys), or you can move toward a cleaner, indie-rock vibe. Chicago act Smith Westerns’ third effort Soft Will definitely leans toward the latter, and it feels like a completely natural evolution. Granted, Smith Westerns have always carried […]


Singles You Shouldn’t Miss – June 2013 Edition

Last month, I started a new feature on my column called “Singles You Shouldn’t Miss”—great new songs by indie and alternative artists, both emerging and established. This month’s installment includes an up-and-comer from New Zealand, an established post-punk outfit from the UK, and a fantasy-pop duo from Brooklyn. Their tunes are making the rounds on the Internet, and are definitely worth a listen. Enjoy!   LORDE “ROYALS” Sixteen-year-old singer-songwriter Ella […]


Sigur Rós “Kveikur” – Album Review

XL (2013)

Knee-jerk reaction: What the hell happened in a year? It’s been merely a year since Icelandic post-rock outfit Sigur Rós released the exquisite, shimmery, atmospheric Valtari, their first in a four-year period. Yet the mood between it and this year’s new release Kveikur could not be more different. Playing the two back to back is like listening to the brightest of days followed by the darkest of nights. The amazing […]


Up-and-Comers: Aoife O’Donovan

It hardly seems fair to classify Aoife (pronounced “EE-fah”) O’Donovan as an up-and-comer, seeing as she’s pretty much a veteran in the Americana/folk scene. Many fans will probably recognize her voice as the centerpiece of string band Crooked Still, and some will also remember her as a member of female folk-noir act Sometymes Why. In her time, she’s shared both stage and studio with the likes of Chris Thile, Sarah […]

Jason Isbell Southeastern

Jason Isbell Finds His Stride on “Southeastern” – Album Review

Southeastern Records (2013)

(Sigh) I could listen to this stuff all day. Seriously. It has to be hard for singer/songwriter Jason Isbell to keep being referred to as “that guy from Drive-By Truckers” (a band he left seven years ago). Two albums under the moniker Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit have helped build a modest reputation for their Muscle Shoals-tinged Americana vibe, but in my own opinion Isbell has remained fairly underrated […]


City and Colour “The Hurry and the Harm” – Album Review

City and Colour, Inc. (2013)

What began as a personal side project for songwriter/guitarist Dallas Green has become big enough to become his main gig. With post-hardcore band alexisonfire now wrapped up, Green’s solo indie-folk moniker City and Colour now takes center stage with his fourth release under that name, The Hurry and the Harm. Funny, though—this feels like old news. I don’t think anyone thought (least of all Green) City and Colour would gain […]


The MIMO Interview: Lissie Talks “Shameless”

Folk-rock singer/songwriter Lissie is one of those artists whom you have probably heard without even realizing it. Her song “Everywhere I Go” (from her 2010 debut album Catching a Tiger) was featured on numerous TV shows, including episodes of So You Think You Can Dance, Grey’s Anatomy and 90210, and her cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” featured recently on the film Safe Haven. With her new single […]

desire lines

Camera Obscura “Desire Lines” –Album Review

4AD (2013)

Some bands we love because of they always surprise us, and some bands we love because they are consistent. Scottish indie-pop act Camera Obscura are definitely in the second group. Simply put, if you do something well and people like it—and if the expression is right for you—then you don’t change it; you just make it better. That’s exactly what Camera Obscura have done with their latest, Desire Lines. They […]


Eisley “Currents” – Album Review

Equal Vision (2013)

Life has been fairly busy for the five-piece indie-pop family act Eisley, not just in all the obvious hard work put into their latest release Currents, but in family life in general, as four of the band mates recently entered parenthood. This fact alone makes it fairly remarkable that Currents is quite possibly the band’s most mature and focused work to date. Recorded in their home studio, and unshackled from […]


Laura Marling “Once I Was an Eagle” –Album Review

Ribbon Music (2013)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the cover art on Laura Marling’s latest effort Once I Was an Eagle is an epic poem in itself. A bare-backed Marling reaching for the sky as high as she can—it brilliantly tells the story of this record. Having already made such a name for herself by age 23 as a remarkably mature singer-songwriter, Marling could have just coasted with this album […]

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