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: 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: Empire of the Sun – Two Vines

Empire of the Sun are known for three things: creating album art and publicity photos so over the top they’re awesome, wearing flamboyant costumes at all times, and making some pretty good electronic music. For now, let’s focus on that last point. Empire of the Sun combines Luke Steele of alternative rock band the Sleepy…

Review: Two Door Cinema Club – Gameshow

  Bands all deal with fame in different ways. Some embrace it, and actively cultivate their following, while others shun the limelight. For Irish rock group Two Door Cinema Club, it turned out to be too much of a good thing. Their 2010 debut album Tourist History propelled the band to fame with a dance-rock…

Review: Kishi Bashi – Sonderlust

Kaoru Ishibashi, the man behind Kishi Bashi, has been one of the most upbeat guys making music since he hit the scene with his 2012 debut 151a. As a former touring member for of Montreal, he combined their whimsical energy with the violin looping techniques of Owen Pallett to create intricate yet cheerful melodies. He…

Review: Crystal Castles – Amnesty (I)

Typically when one person leaves a musical duo, you’d expect that to be the end of the band. After all, it’s hard to imagine the White Stripes without either Meg or Jack, Death From Above 1979 without Sebastian Grainger’s vocals or Jesse Keeler’s trademark distorted bass, or Flight of the Conchords without Bret or Jemaine.…