Review: Brand New – Science Fiction

Whenever Brand New makes an announcement or otherwise enters public discourse in some way, you’re almost guaranteed to hear someone reminiscing about their high school days. This is understandable, since Brand New and fellow Long Island emo titans Taking Back Sunday wrote some top-notch tracks that perfectly encapsulated teenage angst. Brand New’s 2001 debut Your…

Review: Arcade Fire – Everything Now

  Originally, I planned to write this review like any other. I was going to talk about how Arcade Fire went from being a relatively unknown Canadian indie rock band in the mid-2000s to winning Album of the Year at the 2011 Grammys for their excellent album The Suburbs. I was going to mention how…

Review: Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder

Broken Social Scene were the band to be a decade ago. They had two critically acclaimed albums under their belt: 2002’s You Forgot It In People and 2005’s Broken Social Scene. They had a devoted enough following to sell out three nights in a row at the same venue. And perhaps most importantly, they became…

Review: The Drums – Abysmal Thoughts

  There’s a general consensus in music that you need multiple musicians to form a band, while an individual is considered solo artist or a singer-songwriter. If only it were that simple. Multiple indie acts over the years have muddied these definitions, making it difficult to tell where the line is drawn. Bright Eyes revolved…

Review: Phoenix – Ti Amo

  When Phoenix hit it big in 2009 with their hits “Lizstomania” and “1901” off the album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, there were a couple surprises in store for their newly-acquired legion of listeners. First, that the band had been around for quite a while – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was actually their fourth album (they released…

Review: !!! – Shake the Shudder

The ungoogleable band !!! (pronounced ‘chk-chk-chk’) has long been a prime candidate for a “best of” album. Their studio albums to date have been decent enough, but each contained one or two tracks that blew all the others clear out of the water. Just to name some examples, their self-titled album had “KooKooKa Fuk-U,” Louden…

Review: The New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions

It’s easy enough to describe the New Pornographers’ music. Over the course of six studio albums released in just under a decade and a half, the band has created an incredibly distinctive style of upbeat indie rock filled with pop hooks and singalong choruses. Pinning them down is something else entirely. The New Pornographers are…

Review: Conor Oberst – Salutations

Ah Conor Oberst. Feels like it was just the other day that I was writing about him… Oh wait, that’s because he only released the album Ruminations in October of last year. If you’re thinking five months is a relatively short gap between albums, realize that Ruminations was a fairly bare bones release. It consisted…

Review: Japandroids – Near to the Wild Heart of Life

Reading the titles of Canadian indie rock duo Japandroids’ albums gives you a fairly good sense of what they’re all about. Their 2009 debut Post-Nothing suggests a band lacking a grand vision of what they’re supposed to be, bucking subgenre designations like “post-punk” and “post-rock” in the process. More descriptive is the band’s 2012 sophomore…

Review: The xx – I See You

For a band that seemingly emerged out of nowhere, the xx have made an impressive impact. Their 2009 debut xx received unanimous critical acclaim and won the 2010 Mercury Prize, despite relatively little radio play and the absence of any singles that could be called a “hit.” More importantly, the band’s sound became highly influential…