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What's F'n Next? King Tuff

Sounding like the bastard offspring of T. Rex and Alex Chilton, King Tuff's self-titled second album and first for the iconic Sub Pop label was one of the more pleasant surprises of last year.

By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  January 18, 2013

Minimalists and maximalists

When working on a sophomore follow-up to a successful debut, most bands react to the extra dough and time-as-luxury bounty given to them by trying to cram as much as they can into the confines of their new grooves.
The xx | Coexist
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  September 21, 2012
ema list

EMA finds herself in pop's gritty depths

It's a paradoxical yet undeniable truth: sometimes in order to rise above, you need to bottom out. Erika M. Anderson, now doing business as EMA, could be a poster child for the phenomenon.
Bottom's up
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  July 15, 2011
Gang Gang Dance brooklyn music

Gang Gang Dance trip the light fantastic

Some musicians craft songs meant to elicit an emotion, and some fashion sonic mazes for the listener to get lost in. Over the course of a decade-plus career in shape-shifting psych, Brooklyn's Gang Gang Dance have found a way to do both.
Everything time
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  July 08, 2011

New Jersey

Big Troubles
Big Troubles
By LIZ PELLY  |  July 08, 2011
Ladybug Transistor in Boston with Hallelujah The Hills

The Ladybug Transistor create a new pop shade

Brooklyn might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about overgrown blooms and country air. But for the past 16 years, Gary Olson of the Ladybug Transistor has made the city parks and street-lined canopies of Flatbush his own private g
Growth spurts
By JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  July 01, 2011

rds list

Getting a sonic high with Ringo Deathstarr

The songs from Austin noise-pop trio Ringo Deathstarr — in particular, the devastating dopamine rush of "So High," which features a string of effects pedals marked "MBV" and "J+MC" and twitchy, whorling waves of feedback and call-and-response male/female
Fully operational
By LUKE O'NEIL  |  July 01, 2011
Vast Aire New album OX 2010

Vast Aire | OX 2010: A Street Odyssey

Although it's an imperfect effort in some regards, the somewhat conceptual OX 2010: A Street Odyssey testifies to Vast's highly developed steez, and does so with complements from MCs who effortlessly jibe with his arcane rhyme selections.
Man Bites Dog (2011)
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 01, 2011
Mat Nathanson Boston City Hall

Out: Matt Nathanson at City Hall Plaza's BBQ Beach Party

If you take a gig for something called "BBQ Beach Party," you'd think there would be some pretty decent grub on hand. But that wasn't exactly the case for Lexington native Matt Nathanson last Friday.  
Homecoming king
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  July 01, 2011
ds list

The December Sound drop a sonic boom

Sonic mastermind Zack Sarzana (who returned from a sojourn to New York City a while back) and bandmates Jimmy Rossi Jr. and John McGuigan have always had a knack for finding the plot in a vast haze of feedback, occasionally shaping that cosmic stuff into
Grand scale
By LUKE O'NEIL  |  July 01, 2011
Peter Murhpy new album Ninth

Peter Murphy | Ninth

 It used to be that casual music fans knew Peter Murphy only as the singer of Bauhaus's archetypal goth piece "Bela Lugosi's Dead." Times change, even for the undead, and since Murphy appeared in last year's Twilight Saga: Eclipse as the Cold One (a vam
Nettwerk (2011)
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  July 01, 2011

Nadia Oh taking over the dancefloor

Nadia Oh | Colours

Tiger Trax (2011)
Tiger Trax (2011)
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  July 01, 2011
Unknown Mortal Orchestra cd review

Unknown Mortal Orchestra | Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Fat Possum is having perhaps its best year . . . well, ever. Not only will the Mississippi label turn over a new leaf by releasing the debut album from Odd Future duo MellowHype later this month, their 2011 batting average for jangly little lo-fi gems
Fat Possum (2011)
By JILLIAN MAPES  |  July 01, 2011
Ty Segall

Ty Segall | Goodbye Bread

At just 23 years old, Ty Segall is on his fifth LP, and that's not counting more than a dozen releases with Sic Alps and his four other bands. But Goodbye Bread — his first record for Drag City, in which he plays every instrument — is his most scrupul
Drag City (2011)
By LIZ PELLY  |  July 01, 2011
jb list

Junior Boys | It's All True

With its disco-bass pulse, jet-engine synths, and seductive half-time chorus, "Itchy Fingers" kicks things off by demonstrating the Boys' finesse for tricked-out, ass-shaking programmed grooves.
Domino (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  June 24, 2011
ATR list

Atari Teenage Riot | Is This Hyperreal?

Returning after 11 years of officially not existing, what's left of ATR could've focused their energies on kicking lots of ass. Instead, they indulge spoken-wordy, freshman-year non-profundities...
Dim Mak (2011)
By BARRY THOMPSON  |  June 24, 2011

coathangers list

The Coathangers | Larceny & Old Lace

The Coathangers' abrasiveness goes beyond their band name's graphic, backroom abortion reference: riot-grrrl shrieks, slap-in-the-face lyrics, and badass post-punk energy are all up front on their records.
Suicide Squeeze (2011)
By LIZ PELLY  |  June 24, 2011
lets wrestle list

Let's Wrestle | Nursing Home

Let's Wrestle are another pack of young British guitar owners, and although they haven't crafted much of an identity outside of being amiable wiseasses, that's all you need if your songs are catchy enough.
Merge (2011)
By GARRETT MARTIN  |  June 24, 2011
'Revelator' the new album by Tedeschi Trucks Band

Tedeschi Trucks Band | Revelator

If you like your summer soundtrack replete with the familial, genre-stir-fried Good Life incarnate, then this CD is right in your friggin' wheelhouse.
Sony Masterworks (2011)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  June 10, 2011
Jessica 6 - 'See the Light'

Jessica 6 | See the Light

There is an odd paradox in the modern Western way of appreciating music-as-art: musical pieces that get enshrined on top of the pillar of "art" tend to be those with little-to-no practical utility. Thus, no genre is treated quite as disposably as dance
Peacefrog (2011)
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  June 10, 2011
new Givers album 'In Light'

Givers | In Light

When Givers self-released their first EP two years ago, it was easy to pigeonhole the Lafayette, Louisiana, quintet as just another baby buzz band, a dime-a-dozen blog filler.
Glassnote (2011)
By DEVON MALONEY  |  June 10, 2011

'Black Up' by Shabazz Palaces

Shabazz Palaces | Black Up

The musical reincarnation of Ishmael Butler, the elusive Seattle rapper who makes up one-third of the semi-popular '90s jazz-rap act Digable Planets under the name Butterfly, is a lot to unpack.
Sub Pop (2011)
By CARRIE BATTAN  |  June 10, 2011
dengue list

Dengue Fever add eccentricity to psych pop

For all the kitsch and B-movie flair of Dengue Fever, there are still a few aspects of their obsession with Cambodian pop that they haven't put on record.  
Holidays in Cambodia
By MATT PARISH  |  June 03, 2011
karmin list

Spitting a fierce hip-hop cover, Karmin use YouTube as a launching pad for success

"Literally everything is different now," writes Noonan via e-mail. "No more daytime naps!"
Look at them now
By CASSANDRA LANDRY  |  June 03, 2011
viv girls list

Vivian Girls | Share the Joy

In 2008, Brooklyn's Vivian Girls pioneered a new breed of quick, punky '60s girl-group pop, inspiring a resurgence of distortion-heavy garage sounds over the next two years.
Polyvinyl (2011)
By LIZ PELLY  |  June 03, 2011
Battles, Gloss Drop

Battles | Gloss Drop

In an twist of musical irony, the New York nutsos in Battles lose their most prominent member — vocalist/guitarist/sound manipulator Tyondai Braxton — and end up sounding more like an actual band.
Warp (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  June 03, 2011

Friendly Fires drop 'Pala'

Friendly Fires | Pala

For a densely layered, expertly produced dance-rock album, this second full-length from British three-piece Friendly Fires is perplexingly bland.
XL (2011)
By CARRIE BATTAN  |  June 03, 2011
l mmj

My Morning Jacket | Circuital

If there's any band in the universe that knows the meaning of power, it's Kentucky's My Morning Jacket, a five-piece that thrives, more than anything, on the thunder of five hairy men playing instruments together in a room.
ATO (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  May 27, 2011
boris list

Boris | Attention Please

Two new albums are out this week from Boris.
Sargent House (2011)
By JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  May 27, 2011
ty l

tUnE-yArDs | w h o k i l l

Armed with a few delay pedals, a smattering of percussive devices, and a fucking ukelele , she creates a vocal army of one.  
4AD (2011)
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  May 27, 2011