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Posts tagged "Indie Rock"

The Gaslight Anthem Got Hurt

The Gaslight Anthem Got Hurt

In the trend of recent conversation pieces, Blake (B.I.C.) and I bring you a discussion of The Gaslight Anthem’s newest album Get Hurt.

Carl: First off, how do you feel about “break-up” albums? Intense emotional pain and torment have produced classic albums like Blood on the Tracks, but more often than not I find “break-up” records to be less interesting than others. Get Hurt is certainly a “break-up” record, and while that adds an emotional rawness missing from Gaslight Anthem’s earlier work, I felt as if Fallon’s lyrics lost some of the universality they have on Handwritten and The ’59 Sound.

Blake: As far as…

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New Music: Vampire Weekend's Modern Vampires of the City

New Music: Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City

Vampire Weekend has often been accused of making rather frivolous music that appeals mainly to hipsters, and, in many respects, that accusation is true of their first two albums, Vampire Weekend and Contra. Yet, I personally think that criticizing a band for writing about what they know, especially early in their career, has little merit. You never know when a band is going to take the next step and begin to touch on bigger ideas and struggles than, say, the use of the oxford comma or drinking horchata. On Modern Vampires of the City, the band retains its quirky, anything…

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New Music: Phoenix's Bankrupt!

New Music: Phoenix’s Bankrupt!

French rock band Phoenix cemented their place in the indie scene in 2009 with the release of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, a catchy, immediate record that is one of my favorites from that year. A skillful blend of pop, indie rock, and electronic cavorting, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix set the bar high for Bankrupt!, Phoenix’s newest album. On Bankrupt!, the band remains enamored with producing dance-ready, saccharine pop music, but pushes even further into the realms of synthesizers and moody electronic soundscapes. The result is an album that is less immediately striking than Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, but has more going on underneath…

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New Music: Frightened Rabbit's Pedestrian Verse

New Music: Frightened Rabbit’s Pedestrian Verse

I wake up excited every Tuesday, even if there are no albums I am particularly anticipating, because every Tuesday brings the chance of stumbling into a thrilling musical experience. I had been hearing some buzz about Frightened Rabbit’s newest album, Pedestrian Verse, so I made sure to give it one of my first listens last Tuesday. Then, I listened to it again, and by Tuesday night I was recommending it to everyone I knew. A relative newcomer to the Scottish band’s music (although, since Tuesday I have listened to all of their albums), I was floored. Pedestrian Verse sounds like…

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New Music: Yo La Tengo's Fade

New Music: Yo La Tengo’s Fade

It’s fitting that Yo La Tengo, embarking on their 27th year of playing together, opens their newest album, Fade, with this chorus: “But nothing ever stays the same…so say good night to me and lose no more time resisting the flow.” For a band that has been around for almost three decades and was a vital part of indie rock’s explosion in the early and mid-90s, Yo La Tengo knows a little something about change, carving out a longevity nearly unheard of in the indie rock scene, and this experience and wisdom serves them well on Fade. I’ll spare you…

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New Music: Beach House's Bloom

New Music: Beach House’s Bloom

Sometimes certain music, regardless of its lyrical content, manages to strike a transcendent, spiritual chord simply due to its ability to tap into what seems to be an otherworldly realm. Beach House’s fourth album, Bloom, much like Bon Iver’s self-titled album of last year, belongs in this category. Brimming with breathtaking melodies and harmonies, Bloom allows Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand to play off each other beautifully, his guitar and her voice intertwining to hoist their regretful, hopeful songs to the skies. The songs shimmer and shine, so much so that it’s occasionally difficult to crack the enigmatic exterior, yet…

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New Music: The Shins' Port of Morrow

New Music: The Shins’ Port of Morrow

I’ve always thought of The Shins’ music as summer music (probably due to their first album Oh, Inverted World), suited to driving down the highway with the windows rolled down, heading for the beach. Whether or not this association has merit, or if I just view all indie-pop in that light, the latest album from James Mercer and company, Port of Morrow, conjures up images of the spring more than the summer. By balancing dark tones with light flourishes, Port of Morrow creates a sense of rebirth and rejuvenation that comes with the budding of the trees and the green…

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New Music: Andrew Bird's Break It Yourself

New Music: Andrew Bird’s Break It Yourself

If I had to consolidate Break It Yourself down to its quintessential Andrew Bird moment, I would probably choose the bridge of “Danse Caribe”, its joyous violin and drums exclaiming Bird’s exuberance. Although it lacks his trademark whistling, “Danse Caribe” represents everything else I love about Bird’s music, exhibiting the quirkiness and sense of wonder that pervades his music. Musically, Break It Yourself is a fairly conventional Bird release, differing slightly from the darker tone of Armchair Apocrypha and the sprawl of Noble Beast, content to reside somewhere in the middle of those two albums. Lyrically, this may be one…

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New Music: Craig Finn's Clear Heart Full Eyes

New Music: Craig Finn’s Clear Heart Full Eyes

“I always say it’s never too late to be saved.” -Craig Finn (interview in Paste)

To long time listeners of The Hold Steady, Finn’s statement about salvation, redemption and forgiveness will come as no surprise. Throughout The Hold Steady’s five albums Finn has managed to weave these themes into his rough and tumble stories of drugs, alcohol and partying, often with astonishing emotional force.  His debut solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, is less rowdy than the typical Hold Steady record, but Finn’s songs still tread the same spiritual territory as before.

Musically, Clear Heart Full Eyes reminds me of The Hold…

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Another Week Ends: Indie Law, The New Marriage Killer, Futurizing Fear, Apatheism, Damsels in Distress, George Lucas and Downton Abbey

Another Week Ends: Indie Law, The New Marriage Killer, Futurizing Fear, Apatheism, Damsels in Distress, George Lucas and Downton Abbey

1. In his short article “The Pitfalls of Indie Fame” on Grantland, Chuck Klosterman captures something we have been trying to say on here forever. Don’t be put off by all the music jargon; he is using the critical success of the tUnE-yArDs debut record as an opportunity to reflect on the cruelty of the Law. Which may be particularly pronounced in the indie world (or any rarified/snobby setting for that matter), but the phenomenon is universal. The human relationship to righteousness is a troubled one, love/hate at best, and it finds expression in every possible arena. And while non-religious…

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