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Jarvis Cocker & Chilly Gonzales – Room 29

Retired Pulp frontman and emeritus nerd heartthrob Jarvis Cocker returns with a new album to seduce adventurous listeners: Room 29, a collaboration with Canadian composer Chilly Gonzales. This concept album opens onto Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont, where the rich and famous have long indulged their decadences as both escape from and service to the Hollywood celebrity […]

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Martha and the Muffins – The World Is A Ball

As 80s music transcends the level of nostalgia to undergird so much of today’s pop, electronic, dance, and indie rock music, an intriguing album reissue arrives saturated with the sounds and stylistic shifts of 30 years ago. The World Is A Ball, originally released in 1986, is arguably the “lost” album by Martha and the […]

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Stella – “Watch Me Dive”

Go ahead and call her “Stella,” but you’re gonna want to figure how to type the Greek sigma character if the new ∑tella album becomes your sudden obsession like it has for me. [Ed.– Try typing option-w.] “Watch Me Dive” showcases her characteristically lean, concise electro-pop. True, hundreds of synth-based acts work the same musical […]

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King Woman – “Shame”

Through her band King Woman, Kristina Estfandiari presents a new, necessary icon of female power for the current day. Informed but unfulfilled by a prior legacy of women’s music (folk’s room of one’s own, the greater visibility permitted by alt-rock,  riot grrrl’s clarion rage), Estfandiari magnifies an intimate voice of pain through suffocating blocks of […]

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Julie Byrne – “Follow My Voice”

I’ll be honest: it takes a hell of a lot these days for indie-folk music to get me out of my chair. Just because someone can fingerpick chords on a steel-string acoustic guitar and boost the recording echo with GarageBand software doesn’t mean they’ve created music that is “lonesome” or as “pure” as the pre-industrial […]

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Menace Beach – Lemon Memory

The kids in Menace Beach remind us of the essential elements of British alt-rock: punk’s spirited amateurism, a laser-like focus on pop hooks, fluency in the semiotics of guitar-bass-drums, and the good sense to keep things simple. Their new album Lemon Memory goes down like a sweet confection, ten remarkably consistent tracks digestible by even […]

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Ty Segall – Ty Segall

The guru of garage rock is back with a new album so killer, and so central to his artistic agenda, that it merits the eponymous distinction. Behold: Ty Segall. I’m guessing it doesn’t help to describe it as a “high octane shredfest,” since those terms pretty much apply to any Segall record. So what kind […]

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Priests – “Nothing Feels Natural”

It does my heart good to see that Washington, DC still plays for keeps with guitar-bass-drums punk created in an independently produced, communally minded context. The scene’s legendary DIY tradition — think Bad Brains and Minor Threat of the 1980s, and Fugazi, Bikini Kill, and Nation of Ulysses in the 1990s — may seem quaint […]

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