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“It’s like high-school stoner shit.”
It’s just past noon on a Friday in early February, and Erika M. Anderson is on the second floor of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, taking in a painting by the American artist Mark Tobey called The Void Devouring the Gadget Era.
Halfway through a reliably galvanizing Against Me! set last week at Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Hall of Music, singer-guitarist Laura Jane Grace noted that, as usually happens whenever the relentless pop-punks hit the road in January, she’d come down with something (in this case, bronchitis), so if anyone was inclined to sing along, she’d appreciate the help. Judging by the copious hugging/stage-diving that ensued, the worshipful crowd was only too happy to oblige, but based on recent history, Grace would have found a way to push through regardless.
More is more and still not nearly enough on Scott Aukerman’s Comedy Bang Bang, the IFC network’s first venture in to the ever-crowded talk show arena. Premiering tonight at 10 p.m., EST, nearly every overstuffed on-screen second has a gag shoved in there somewhere.
Steve Earle — country rebel, playwright, actor, and now novelist — fishes an iPhone from his weathered denim jacket, eager to show Will Sheff a video of his one-year-old son, John Henry, bopping his head to “The Valley,” the opening track from I Am Very Far, the artfully raw sixth album from Sheff’s band Okkervil River. “As soon as the drums came in,” Earle says in his laconic drawl, “it was automatic. It gets the John Henry Seal of Approval.”
Frontman Tyondai Braxton abruptly left New York math-funk mutants Battles during the recording of their follow-up to 2007’s Mirrored. Yet despite the drama, the band went forward as a trio (Gary Numan and Boredoms’ Yamataka Eye contribute guest vocals) and turned out Gloss Drop, which cements their status as the most accessible band of indie’s avant-garde.
Stand-up comedian and Sarah Silverman Program regular Tig Notaro has a habit of using facial expressions and hand gestures as punch lines, which doesn’t exactly translate on her debut album.
With her virtuoso harp-playing and an ear for complex, ever-morphing arrangements, burgeoning art-rock icon Joanna Newsom undoubtedly deserved to take the stage at New York City’s legendary Carnegie Hall last night.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart often resemble the 120 Minutes generation’s most earnestly obsessive latchkey kids, poring over the Clinton-era’s finest gilded guitar fuzz and downer pop and reconfiguring it all into the swooniest band Dave Kendall never got to introduce.
Vancouver drum-and-strum duo Japandroids confront the passage of time on their sophomore album, Celebration Rock. Specifically, they slap that bastard in the face and burn wheelies on his lawn before heading out for the best bender ever, secure in the knowledge that you can stave off the complacency of adult life if you just believe hard enough in the power of bro-hugs, oh-oh-oh backing vocals, and fist-pump-inducing fuzz riffs. As an old Pavement seven-inch sleeve put it, They Are Made of Blue Sky and Hard Rock and They Will Live This Way Forever.
As a former critic, Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff knows that being championed as a “great singer-songwriter” can be a compliment and a trap. Especially when your band’s sound also could be termed “folky.”
The Men are Brooklyn’s hardest-working punk band. They are also Brooklyn’s hardest-working noise group, and Brooklyn’s hardest-working Crazy Horse tribute act. If you find this confusing, perhaps it’s best to simply think of them in potable terms.
Oh, wunderkinds. They grow up so fast. British folk singer Laura Marling debuted at the age of 18 with 2008’s Alas, I Cannot Swim, the sort of self-assured debut that tends to make people old enough to rent a car feel bad about themselves. She followed it up with 2010’s even more poised I Speak Because I Can, which made it rain Brit Awards and critical raves.
The Flaming Lips have never been shy about indulging themselves, but lately they've been on the kind of tear normally reserved for 13-year-old boys whose divorced parents have unlimited credit and unlimited guilt. Limited-edition EPs and bonus tracks thrown out into the wilderness of the Internet? Check. Guinness Record-breaking misadventures, just...
There was a time when the phrase "solo album from the frontman of" was a roundabout way of saying "your favorite band is about to break up." Thankfully, we live in different times. Relatively affordable home recordings studios and the pervasive demand that our ambitious frontmen be culturally omnivorous have...
It's as if ace classicist duo Jake and Jamin Orrall built JEFF the Brotherhood's musical DNA from elements of rock's greatest fellow siblings. Their pared-down arrangements and bluesy riffs recall AC/DC's Young brothers and their fun-loving zeal is akin to honorary bros the Ramones. But the secret weapon on their...