Esben and the Witch – Violet Cries

Violet Cries is the brooding debut from Matador's Brighton-based Esben and the Witch; filled with ghostly reverberations, it's sometimes hard to catch the big picture here. Those difficulties are quelled throughout, and it's hard to complain about what's on hand, though it may be tempting. Some of the elements at play here mesh with startling … [Read more...]

Belle & Sebastian – Write About Love

Arriving belatedly and slothfully after 2006’s The Life Pursuit, critiquing clichés have so far claimed that this new Belle & Sebastian LP is somewhat of a ‘rejuvenated’ or ‘re-energised’ affair.  But that’s not really the case. Given that The Life Pursuit and its own 2002 prequel, Dear Catastrophe Waitress, were truer rebirths after the … [Read more...]

Interpol – s/t

Anyone still nostalgically operating in a post-millenial state of revelry is bound to be disappointed by Interpol’s fourth offering – a self-titled set of tunes that retains the band’s trademark gloomy atmospherics while ditching the sprawling emotional contour that made their oldest material so spellbinding.  To quote one of the group’s own song … [Read more...]

Yo La Tengo – Here To Fall Remixes EP

Whilst the gaps between ‘regular’ Yo La Tengo albums have become ever wider, the quantity of ‘extracurricular’ material seems to grow even more abundant.  However, sadly, the quantity no longer always translates to quality for the trio.  So although there’s been the magnificent likes of the Today Is The Day EP and the sublime They Shoot, We Score … [Read more...]

The New Pornographers – Together

Honestly, why have The New Pornographers not made the jump to a major record label at this point? The music industry hierarchy and model of yesteryear may be continuing its downward spiral into irrelevance, but that hasn’t stopped other indie giants like Death Cab for Cutie and The Decemberists from signing contracts with the big leagues in recent … [Read more...]

Harlem – Hippies

Harlem are a little late to the party. Last year’s most blogged about ‘scene’ was the unlikely (and surprisingly inventive) unison of indie pop jangle and slimy, somewhat sarcastic, surf rock. It brought us the balmy likes of Girls, Best Coast, and Washed Out – all low-rent, electrified, and all strangely danceable. Harlem’s Matador debut Hippies … [Read more...]

Quarantine The Past: The Best of Pavement

Is there really anything more to be written about Pavement? They’ve already become the touchstone in indie circles, with everyone from Robert Christgau to Los Campesinos! repping the band’s significance - and their sound, demeanor, and overall appearance have literally developed into the primary colors of the whole concept of indie rock. Quarantine … [Read more...]

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – The Brutalist Bricks

It’s easy to draw up The Tyranny of Distance as Ted Leo and the Pharmacists’ best album, right? Perhaps you’re partial to Hearts of Oak, but in the end, there is little refuting the steadiness of their catalog. Although they’ve made a name for fashioning such punk and highly volatile rock into splendidly excellent music, one has to assume that a … [Read more...]

Fucked Up-Couple Tracks

Fucked Up is a Toronto success Americans wish they could claim. They have been around for almost a decade never hitting the same thing twice, releasing numerous 7”s and only two full length records, one of which, The Chemistry Of Common Life, had them sailing into new tour opportunities. The record won Fucked Up the Polaris Music Award and wide … [Read more...]

Spiral Stairs – The Real Feel

It’s no secret that some of the best songs are written after some sort of gut-wrenching, heart-breaking relationship fiasco and it’s no different with former frontman of Preston School Of Industry and founding member of Pavement, Scott Kannberg, a.k.a. Spiral Stairs. After a split from his wife and five years of "dark times", Spiral Stairs has made … [Read more...]