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LINDI ORTEGA Faded Gloryville (The Grand Tour/Last Gang Records) 5 There’s a big divide between the two sides of mainstream country music today: Corporate country, and the real stuff, Americana. The former seems to be littered with overblown, overproduced, and overrated stars. In the midst of all this, Canadian singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega returns with her fourth full-length album, Faded Gloryville, on which she successfully continues her quest to keep country real—and cool.   The songs assembled on this smokin’ new release run the gamut of country styles. Read More
  This guest post was written by Shannon Carlin.   BEST COAST California Nights(Harvest Records)   The chord progressions are the same on Best Coast’s latest album, which, production-wise, falls somewhere between her perfectly flawed debut and its too pristine follow-up, but this time, Bethany Cosentino has more on her mind than just boys.   “Sleep Won’t Ever Come” is her prayer for a good night’s rest and chance to turn off her brain, while “So” has her contemplating the meaning of life. Read More
  Put every collaborating musician from super producer Emile Haynie’s We Fall into one room, and it would be music’s version of 2015’s “SNL 40” special. At first glance, the list of guest appearances in the Saturday Night Live special seemed ridiculous, hyperbolic. However, while there were some brief moments of brilliance, the immense pool of talent was ultimately diluted into a flavorless mess. Much like “SNL 40,” We Fall features too many voices, leaving Emile Haynie’s debut album lacking a cohesive narrative. Read More
This guest post was written by Sarah C. Jones. BJÖRK Vulnicura(Polydor Records) Fans of Björk know that the only thing predictable about her work is constant change. The Icelandic multi-instrumentalist’s last album, 2011’s Biophilia, was a conceptual (and somewhat bloodless) multimedia project, but Vulnicura is a deeply intimate chronicle of heartbreak. Written in real time, these nine tracks detail an excruciating break-up with her longtime partner. Read More
   San Francisco post-punk outfit Erase Errata has made a smashing return with Lost Weekend, their first full-length album in nine years. Known for concise compositions and experimental performances, this all-female trio doesn’t disappoint with its new tightly crafted collection. Because they no longer live near one another, the members of Erase Errata (Jenny Hoyston, Ellie Erickson, and Bianca Sparta) recorded Lost Weekend over three rare days spent together in Iowa City, imbuing the seven song album with a distinct sense of urgency. Read More
  It was music for the kids in high school who wore worn-out Converse and an air of nonchalance. They didn’t smoke like the others, but drank coffee like water, and listened to Sleater-Kinney with the same kind of aggression. Most were unabashedly convinced they were the only ones the band were singing to. Comprised of Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, Sleater-Kinney became enmeshed in the northwest punk scene of the early '90s. Read More
With her adorable candied vocals that are sweet and smooth like honey, Imani Coppola of Little Jackie sweeps you off your feet on dangerously catchy tunes that are sugary pop, but loaded with substance. She, along with multi-instrumentalist Adam Pallin, are back as Little Jackie for their third album, Queen of Prospect Park, and it’s certain to brighten up dreary autumn days and wintry nights with summery beats. Queen of Prospect Park glows as soon as you hit play and you won’t be able to help but sway your hips from beginning to end (seriously, we dare you to stay still). Read More
The History of Apple Pie offers their refreshing take on grunge-inspired pop-rock on their new album Feel Something, and it's a welcome throwback. The British band helmed by singer Stephanie Min and guitarist Jerome Watson invites comparisons to '90s staples like The Breeders and Luscious Jackson, but without the feel of a retread. Like the titular dessert, this music is perfect for sweater weather. Feel Something is The History of Apple Pie's second album, and though the band has only existed for three years, there's a clear cohesion to their point of view. Read More
Iowa City's Pieta Brown doesn't just play rooms. She fills each space with stories and makes it her own. The singer-songwriter and musician proved her ability to take over a studio in a short period of time and turn out extraordinary music in her Daytrotter session in 2008, a remarkable collection of songs. Brown's new record, Paradise Outlaw, similarly showcases her skill as a performer, and it's exciting to hear such quiet mastery of a genre. Recorded over just four days in Justin Vernon (Bon Iver)'s April Base studio, Paradise Outlaw feels anything but rushed. Read More
Karen O’s solo debut was stolen from her. Though Crush Songs, out today on Cult Records, is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer’s first official solo album, fans have most likely already heard KO at Home, the 14 home-recorded songs that were posted on the Internet in 2006. Originally a private gift for TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek, KO at Home was leaked when someone found the CD in Sitek’s apartment after he’d moved out. In that context, it’s not surprising that the roll-out of Crush Songs has been marked by a certain protectiveness. Read More