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…

Review: STRFKR – Being No One, Going Nowhere

  STRFKR (formerly known as Starfucker before vowels fell out of fashion) never wanted to be pinned down or confined to any single box. In an interview, frontman Josh Hodges declared that the band’s mission was to create “dance music that you can actually listen to, that’s good pop songs, but also you can dance…

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…