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Indie/Alternative Music

Milk Carton Kids “The Ash & Clay” – Album Review

Anti- (2013)

Is it just me, or has the indie folk scene gotten a bit crowded? It seems like the raw, stompy, banjo-ey sounds of Mumford & Sons and their ilk have sparked a flurry of new acts playing the heck out of their acoustic guitars, mandolins and banjos, attempting to turn folk into the new rock. If (like me) you were folk before folk was cool, you are probably looking for […]

Wavves “Afraid Of Heights” – Album Review

Mom + Pop Records (2013)

“I’ll always be on my own / F**ked and alone” laments Nathan Williams on the title track of Wavves’ fourth studio album Afraid of Heights. Throughout the album, the mood doesn’t change much. Actually, it’s pretty standard fare for a band that has built a reputation on internal turmoil, personnel changes, and self-loathing lyricism set against a musical backdrop combining the pop-punk sensibilities of Green Day with the dark grunge […]

Low “The Invisible Way” –Album Review

Sub Pop (2013)

I have a theory when it comes to sad music, or angry music, or music that rides on other emotions we consider negative. When it’s done right, it can be cathartic, even therapeutic. The idea is when you are sad and you listen to some good sad music, it helps you feel better, or at least not as sad. It serves as a vent for your emotions. Slowcore trio Low […]

The Ocean Blue “Ultramarine”: More than a Comeback (Album Review)

self-released (2013)

I always worry about bands and artists from bygone days who release comeback records after 10 or more years (let’s just say I breathed a sigh of relief with David Bowie’s latest). Likewise, when I found out Pennsylvania-based New Wave band The Ocean Blue was releasing Ultramarine, their first full-length studio recording since 1999, I was a bit apprehensive. Would it measure up to their amazing material that won them […]

Devendra Banhart Focuses, Lightens Up on “Mala” – Album Review

Nonesuch Records (2013)

It seems like a contradiction to suggest that someone who creates experimental, eclectic, hipster psych-folk music is getting “focused.” The whole idea seems to fly in the face of a musical style bent on expansion and exploration. But it’s simply the best way to describe Venezuelan singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart’s latest release Mala—and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, this sense of focus is what makes this Banhart’s best work […]

The MIMO Interview: Ivan & Alyosha

Seattle-based folk-pop act Ivan & Alyosha have been hard at work over the past few years, building a following by heavy touring in support of their two earlier EPs, The Verse, The Chorus and Fathers Be Kind. They first came on the national radar thanks to NPR, who has featured the band several times over the past couple of years. Now, Ivan & Alyosha (named after two characters from The […]

The MIMO Interview: BOY

Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass, the Hamburg, Germany-based indie-pop duo otherwise known as BOY, have spent the past several years building a strong following for themselves across Europe with their approachable lyrics and hook-laden songs. They recently hit a new milestone when their debut album Mutual Friends (first released in Europe in 2011), was released a couple of weeks ago here in the U.S., propelling the record to debut at […]

They Might Be Giants “Nanobots”—Album Review

Idlewild Recordings (2013)

Confession: I can’t listen to They Might Be Giants without smiling a little bit, and occasionally laughing out loud. Their wry sense of humor is the one continuous thread through their songs, to the point that I wish there was a sub-genre of indie-rock called “tongue-in-cheek.” They would definitely be the poster children for it. Predictably, their sixteenth studio release Nanobots continues this tradition, sporting a tracklist so diverse that […]

Kate Nash Presents Mixed Bag with “Girl Talk” (Album Review)

have 10p Records (2013)

When pull-no-punches songstress Kate Nash gave fans a foretaste of her shift toward indie-punk with her Death Proof EP a few months ago, she definitely piqued our interest and built our expectations for her upcoming full length. The promised product Girl Talk, however, presents a mixed bag of good and bad that will no doubt make a lot of people scratch their heads and wonder what’s come over her. It’s […]

Up-and-Comers: Ivan & Alyosha

I’m just going to start with the punchline: I love Ivan & Alyosha, and I think you will, too. Hailing from Seattle, this folk-pop band began as a two-piece in 2007 with Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary, who drew their band moniker from characters in Tolstoy’s The Brothers Karamazov (already a cool move). Since then, they’ve grown into a four piece, opened for the likes of Brandi Carlile and The […]

BOY “Mutual Friends”—Album Review

Groenland Records/Nettwerk Productions (2013)

We Americans like to think we are on the cusp of “what’s hot,” setting trends in music for the rest of the world to follow. But as indie pop Swiss-German, Hamburg-based duo BOY demonstrates, America sometimes has some catching up to do. Most of us in the States have never heard of BOY, but for the past several years Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass have been building a huge following […]

Atlas Genius “When It Was Now”—Album Review

Warner Bros (2013)

When Australian indie rockers Atlas Genius first began burning up the blogosphere with their single “Trojans” and their subsequent EP Through the Glass, expectations were set pretty high for the band. That sense expectation can be either a blessing or a curse—it can be a chance to break through and show the world what you’ve got, or it can be a standard that is difficult to measure up to. Unfortunately, […]

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds “Push the Sky Away”—Album Review

Bad Seed Ltd. (2012)

With his rambling lyricism and low-throated gruntings, the eclectic music of Nick Cave is admittedly an acquired taste appealing to a niche audience. His fifteenth record with The Bad Seeds, Push the Sky Away, is not likely to grow his audience much, but those who get his vibe will immediately “get” the artistry and brilliance of this record. This whole record is a lesson in drawing inspiration from the immediate. […]

Matt Costa “Matt Costa”—Album Review

Brushfire Records (2013)

When an artist releases a self-titled album (particularly when it isn’t the debut), it’s assumed the artist is making a musical identity statement: “This is who I am.” But I have to be honest: when listening to Matt Costa’s self-titled fourth album, I’m scratching my head trying to figure out who he is, exactly. It isn’t that there aren’t good songs on the album, because there are some brilliant ones, […]

Up-And-Comers: Veronica Falls

If you’re a fan of retro rock—particularly of the sixties Brit or surf varieties—you’re going to want to give Veronica Falls a listen. This London-based four-piece began making a name for themselves with their 2011 self-titled release, and their momentum continues with their sophomore effort Waiting For Something To Happen, which dropped this week in the UK, and will be available next week here in the states. The cool thing […]