While all of the easy Daft Punk comparisons were flying around when Justice released 2007's Cross, there was something else going on: oh, the dreaded word “prog!” But at this point, with even Kanye bumping King Crimson, it’s safe for Justice to come out of the closet. On Audio, Video, Disco (out now on Ed Banger/Because), instead of isolated moments that sound like a '70s Italian zombie soundtrack, you’ve got an entire album full of them, ... Read More
Some embrace the crisp autumn like a sudden shower during a steamy summer day, but to others, the arrival of fall means the tragic end of sun-soaked days at the beach. It’s no wonder that moody trip-hop is in season. Husband and wife duo Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church of Exitmusic know all too well what seasonal changes do to people--they’re based in New York, a city currently dealing with an indecisive Mother Nature. Perhaps that explains why their ... Read More
Known for its impeccable good taste and all around hipness, Brooklyn label Mexican Summer has spawned another hit record with their release of Pink Playground’s Destination Ecstasy (out now). Pink Playground is Texan duo Tara Tyson and James Wing, who, like the rest of their state, like things big: in this case, distortion and feedback.  Despite all best efforts to avoid the obvious comparison to My Bloody Valentine, the ghostly feedback of ... Read More
I firmly believe the world can never have enough girl bands, so I'm always excited when ladies get together and rock out like the Runaways. New Brooklyn group Desert Sharks is one such band: four tough gals with tons of swagger and a heavy sound that any fan of amped-up rock 'n' roll will love. You can listen to their debut demos (and download them for free!) here, and if you're in Brooklyn this week, check out their first show at Williamsburg's Legion Bar. Pro ... Read More
Memphis garage-rock heavyweight Jack Oblivian ain't no one-trick pony, and on his latest release, Rat City (out now on Big Legal Mess), he's making damn sure you know. Jack Oblivian's musical resume reads like an exhaustive list of southern garage-rock history. In the ’90s he founded trashy soul-punk band the Oblivians and garage-country-by-way-of-whiskey crooners the Compulsive Gamblers with Greg Cartwright (of Reigning Sound fame). He’s also played ... Read More
Since their formation in 2006, Beirut has done a lot of traveling, at least musically speaking. The band’s grand tour started in the Balkans with Gulag Orkestar, then moved west to France with 2007’s The Flying Club Cup, and finally ended in southwest Mexico on 2009’s March of the Zapotec EP. After spending the past five years as musical nomads, it seems Zach Condon and company might be ready to settle down. Their third LP The Rip Tide (Pompeii) ... Read More
Since the 2009 release of their debut album Tentacles, Crystal Antlers have learned to deal with change. After their newfound label Touch and Go was forced to downsize, the band had to search for a new home as well as a new organist. On their second album, Two-Way Mirror (Recreation Ltd.), the band sounds fully adjusted and ready to focus on their music—label and member drama be damned. Lead singer Jonny Bell’s scratchy voice, which sometimes cracks ... Read More
Electronic musician/composer John Maus, known for his manic, frantic live performances, brings the party to your home stereo on We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves (Ribbon Music), his third studio album. If that sounds like a complicated title for a dance record, chalk it up to Maus’ impressive education. He’s a professor of political philosophy and theory and is working toward a PhD in political science. His background might have some ... Read More
Erika M. Anderson, formerly of the drone-y indie band Gowns, has always sounded like she has some kind of demon inside her that she absolutely needs to exorcise. On Past Life Martyred Saints (Souterrain Transmissions), her debut album as EMA, Anderson sounds close to the brink on nearly every song, like PJ Harvey’s goth cousin or an early Courtney Love. Opening track “The Grey Ship” begins with Anderson singing over quiet acoustic guitar and soft ... Read More
Mexican Summer is turning out to be the record label to watch of 2010. Though some of their CMJ showcase choices this year seemed a little, ahem, questionable, it's hard to argue with the people who brought you Best Coast's Crazy for You. If there's any justice in the world, San Francisco group Tamaryn ought to become the next M.S. breakout act (except I'm pretty sure they're not going to be so into Twitter). The band is officially composed of lead singer Tamaryn ... Read More
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