Los Campesinos! – No Blues (2013)

Los Campesinos! has never been a band to take life lying down. Over the course of four albums in as many years, the Welsh band has taken the personal and existential crises facing aimless, terrified twentysomethings and channeled them into manic, occasionally bruising, sugar-rush anthems. Although 2011’s wobbly Hello Sadness suggested the band’s future was

The Best Music of 2013 (So Far)

It’s been a bleak year for music. Not “bleak” in the sense that there hasn’t been any good music. On the contrary, 2013 – only halfway through – has already outstripped both 2012 and 2011 in quality of albums (and quantity of those albums, too). I mean “bleak” in the sense that somebody needs to

The National – Trouble Will Find Me (2013)

“You don’t mind seeing yourself in a picture as long as you look far away, as long as you look removed,” Matt Berninger sang on Boxer‘s key single, “Mistaken For Strangers.” It’s a line that applies to his bleak but steadily dignified band: over their previous three albums, the National have become masters of atmosphere, able

Foals – Holy Fire (2013)

In the lead-up to Foals’ third album, Holy Fire, frontman Yannis Philippakis described the upcoming album as “swampy.” An odd word choice – with the exception of lead single “Inhaler,” which pulls out some sledgehammer guitar riffs on its chorus, there’s nothing muddy or sticky about these songs. Instead, quite simply, they’re big. Massive. Even the

Army Navy – Army Navy (2008)

Maybe it was oversaturation; maybe it was just time for a new fad. For several years there in the mid-2000s, power pop got a second wind and found new life in the capable hands of bands such as The Strokes and The New Pornographers. Suddenly, the alternative/indie-rock scene was filled with bands cranking out energetic,

Song of the Week: The Joy Formidable – This Ladder Is Ours

There’s not a thing about “This Ladder Is Ours” that doesn’t feel epic, or, at the very least, immense. The opening blossoms with a stately string part that glides through its various chord progressions, becoming increasingly dissonant, and then, like the THX theme music on a bad day, reluctantly coalescing into a triumphant, promising major

Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse (2013)

No one listens to Frightened Rabbit to cheer themselves up. The Scottish band’s breakout record, 2008’s The Midnight Organ Fight, was such a bruisingly stark breakup album that singer Scott Hutchison spent the better half of its followup assuring listeners that he was, in fact, “not miserable.” Their fourth album, Pedestrian Verse, is the band’s first for