The Black Ryder – The Door Behind The Door

written by: Ben Kowalski on February 10, 2015

After its critically-acclaimed debut Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride (2009), Australian shoegaze duo The Black Ryder has had its music featured on TV shows like House and Damages, as well as the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack. The duo has now resettled in Los Angeles for its second hazy LP, The Door Behind The Door. […]

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Dutch Uncles – O Shudder

written by: Ben Kowalski on February 3, 2015

With three albums behind it, British art-pop quintet Dutch Uncles has established its upbeat, sun-washed sound and produced its most direct, relatable album to date. On its fourth LP O Shudder, the band accesses the lighthearted, catchy sounds of ’80s pop with super-compressed drums, falsetto vocal hooks, and a multitude of synth sounds. Singer/keyboardist Duncan Wallis […]

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Vision Fortune – Country Music

written by: Ben Kowalski on February 2, 2015

Experimental band Vision Fortune shows a biting sense of humor with the title of its challenging sophomore LP Country Music, as the unusual album experience couldn’t be further from the country genre. The Belgium trio centers around brothers Austin and Alex Peru, both contributing vocals and guitar, with percussionist Andres Cuatroquesos adding drums, though none […]

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Viet Cong – Viet Cong

written by: Ben Kowalski on January 20, 2015

It’s perplexing, at first, to classify the type of music played by Canadian rockers Viet Cong. The quartet combines the abrasive instrumentation of industrial rock, the extensive layouts of ambient music, and the minimalism of lo-fi recording. These elements, however, are mixed to varying degrees of success. Viet Cong’s self-titled debut presents an ambitious group […]

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Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

written by: Ben Kowalski on January 2, 2015

Marilyn Manson has been challenging audiences with his abrasive hybrid of shock rock and industrial metal since the mid-90s, but until recently his gothic aesthetic and Satanic-esque lyrics were filtered through major record label Interscope. In 2009 however, Interscope dropped Manson due to low sales of his seventh album, The High End of Low. Free […]

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Hanni El Khatib – Moonlight

written by: Ben Kowalski on December 30, 2014

The album artwork for Hanni El Khatib’s Moonlight features an angry fist strangling a helpless serpent, but the music behind this dark imagery isn’t nearly as thrilling. Following his 2013 breakthrough sophomore LP Head in the Dirt, the LA singer/songwriter aims to chill listeners’ bones with a batch of ominous, sexually-themed alt-rock jams, but fails […]

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Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World

written by: Ben Kowalski on September 20, 2014

Legendary Canadian dance punk duo Death From Above 1979 returns from a decade-long hiatus with The Physical World, the long-awaited follow-up to its 2004 debut LP You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine. After promoting the LP with a highly energetic performance of cymbal-crashing single “Trainwreck 1979” on Letterman, drummer/singer Sebastien Grainger and bassist/keyboardist Jesse Keeler […]

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Big Black Bird – A New World Wonder

written by: Ben Kowalski on September 11, 2014

“We really try to make sure there is something on our set list for everyone,” explains Andrew Price, singer and bassist for Chicago rock quartet Big Black Bird. The band proves Price’s statement, made in a summer Q&A with the Chicago Tribune, true. In a digital age with more bands than fans to hear them, […]

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Merchandise – After The End

written by: Ben Kowalski on August 25, 2014

Merchandise’s latest LP After The End is texturally gorgeous, but wallows in the same whiney, reverb-drenched apathy as every other self-indulgent, DIY indie act circulating the internet. It’s been two years since Merchandise released its breakthrough sophomore album Children of Desire, and at this point, the band is confident in its self-made skin. The smooth, […]

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Johnny Foreigner – You Can Do Better

written by: Ben Kowalski on August 20, 2014

American punk bands may have hit a dead end attempting to modernize the genre, but Birmingham, England’s raging punk quartet Johnny Foreigner breaks new ground with its fourth LP, You Can Do Better. Though the album may sound like a screaming mess at first, it harbors hidden value for those who listen a second or […]

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Benjamin Booker – Benjamin Booker

written by: Ben Kowalski on August 16, 2014

Not unlike the skeleton featured on his album artwork, 24 year-old New Orleans blues rocker Benjamin Booker holds up a raw, unpolished depiction of himself on his self-titled debut, promising (and delivering) an honest, unapologetically coarse LP. Booker’s booked himself a full schedule this year. He’s already toured with Courtney Barnett and Drive By Truckers, […]

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