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When I tell Loke Rahbek of the Danish band Vär that their debut LP No One Dances Quite Like Our Brothers (Sacred Bones Records) makes me feel like I’ve just drank a little too much GHB, he tells me he actually likes the description. It makes sense to equate Vär’s dark, sludgy electronic feast to the drug commonly associated with date rape. “I knew a guy who died from GHB once,” Rahbek says.  I tell him that you have to be ... Read More
Chicago-based duo Hobbyist are no noobs when it comes to creating a weirdo sound of their own. They formed the strange electronica project, I Luv Luv Birds, back in '04 but dropped the name and started anew as Hobbyist. As a garage-y indie rock band, Holly Prindle sings and Marc Mozga provides the guitar, bass, melodica, and drum machine programming. They've just released their first full-length as Hobbyist, a self-titled, angsty ride that lets its electronic ... Read More
It's been six years since Patty Griffin released an album of new material. Yeah, she did a way cool Gospel album (which won a Grammy) then recorded and toured with Robert Plant's Band of Joy but no new stuff since '07's stand out Children Running Through. Well, girlfriend is back with what I consider to be her most personal album yet and it's in tribute to her recently departed father.Although Ms. Griffin is identified as an acoustic guitar and piano ... Read More
AroarA, a Canadian husband and wife duo comprised of Andrew Whiteman (Broken Social Scene) and Ariel Engle (Land of Kush), bring us a most exquisite debut entitled In the Pines. This EP is part of a forthcoming album and adaptation of Alice Notley’s book of poems of the same name. Each song corresponds with one of the poems and contains words and phrases in the lyrics. If the EP is any indication, the release of the full-length album is sure to be as ... Read More
On their sophomore album, Portland-based Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside cull the best bits from music’s past eras, creating a mercurial hybrid of rockabilly, blues, country, and garage rock. Ford’s vocals have just enough of a worn edge to sound appropriately world-weary and jaded, but she’s smooth enough in her delivery to pull off sweeter, poppier tracks. Catchy “They Told Me” brings to mind the tight hooks of fellow retro rockers the Black Keys, ... Read More
Though she sounds melancholy on her beautifully solemn debut Ripely Pine, Aly Spaltro has something to celebrate. As Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, she offers up a winning new brand of Southern discomfort (though she’s from the North), with tastes of pop, folk, and Americana. The album begins with a guitar slowly strumming sorrow, as if Spaltro is quietly waiting for the pain to go away while offering up lyrics like, “Love is selfish/Love goes tick tock ... Read More
If any of you My Morning Jacket fans were expecting more of the same from your favorite frontman’s new record, there’s one hell of a surprise in store for you. Jim James’ first solo full-length, Regions of Light and Sound of God, is a heady, exploratory deluge that envelops the listener in an eclectic embrace. Over the course of the album, James incorporates everything from the romantic sway of a string quartet (“Actress”), to ... Read More
  Almanac, the second full-length from Brooklyn band Widowspeak, opens with cascading guitar lines you could listen to on loop all night long. Molly Hamilton’s waifish vocals float down between the heavy drums, getting listeners primed for more, more, more. Still drawing a striking resemblance to beloved ’90s legends Mazzy Star, Widowspeak seems to be venturing out from under that shadow. The guitars, courtesy of Robert Earl Thomas, are more ... Read More
I’m stoked to say that even after a long break, indie-pop icons Tegan and Sara have still got it—as demonstrated one Thursday night in January when the Canadian sibling duo packed the basement venue at The Standard in the East Village. The sisters laid down old favorites as well as new tracks off their first album since 2009’s Sainthood. Both women took the chance between songs to get personal with the crowd, sharing the inspirations behind their ... Read More
Sometime around the release of his 1984 album Climate of Hunter, Scott Walker discorporated and his consciousness scattered. Periodically, he’s able to gather his atoms back together and create a harrowing dispatch from the ether before vanishing for another decade or so. His once-golden voice reduced to a haunted wail, Walker painstakingly recreates the sounds of traveling through half-existence surrounded by phantoms of the 20th century’s cruelty. ... Read More
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