Album Reviews

Esben and the Witch
A New Nature

Sep 18, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands

"Press Heavenwards" opens A New Nature with three minutes of beautifully spacious and dark atmospherics before the meat of the song even begins; this slow burn intro echoes Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" more than anything we've heard heretofore from this post-punk trio.

Engineers
Always Returning

Sep 18, 2014 Issue #51 - September/October 2014 - alt-J

Engineers have done a bit of tinkering in the engine room since its third and last album, In Praise of More (2010). A round of lineup changesthe second in the U.K.-based band's history-has pared the dream pop purveyors down to a trio.

The Juan MacLean
In a Dream

Sep 17, 2014 Web Exclusive

In a Dream is a strange beastThe Juan MacLean has been on DFA since some of the New York label's earliest days, and yet their newest release feels almost like the sudden, indelible debut of a talented new artist.

Classic Interviews

Trust

Trust
Mood Music

Apr 27, 2012

Singer/keyboardist Robert Alfons and drummer Maya Postepski don’t own up to the term “Goth” (who would?)—but as Trust they do make moody dance music, filled with buoyant beats, and dark lyrics about love, loss, and grinding it out. Under the Radar caught up with Alfons via e-mail to talk about music as the message, Ace of Base, and the deliciousness of Plan B.

Comic Book Reviews

The X-Files: Year Zero #1
IDW

Aug 26, 2014 Web Exclusive

In this latest depiction of Chris Carter's hugely popular '90s television series, Mulder and Scully revisit the origins of The X-Files to compare notes to a current case. While tracking down a large cat, the duo hear about a mysterious man named "Mr. Zero," who Mulder recognizes from the very first X-File.

Interviews

Scottish Musicians Speak Out on Today’s Scottish Independence Referendum Vote

Sep 18, 2014 Web Exclusive

Today is a historic day in Scotland as it is the day the nation votes on the Scottish Independence Referendum. The people of Scotland get to vote on whether or not to secede from the United Kingdom and have Scotland become its own country. Here various Scottish musicians weigh in on the subject.

Grant Morrison

Sep 17, 2014 Web Exclusive

Grant Morrison has been writing comic books for over 35 years, and his output and impact on the medium since have been incredible. Morrison has contributed to Animal ManNew X-MenSpawnDoom Patrol, JLA, and myriad other titles over his impressive career.

Pleased to meet you

Scotland Week: Pleased to Meet You Spotlight: The Amazing Snakeheads

Sep 07, 2014 Web Exclusive

We have had a special theme on Under the Radar's website over the last week which we're simply calling Scotland Week. All throughout the week we have been posting interviews, reviews, lists, and blog posts relating to Scotland and in particular Scottish music. For this Pleased to Meet You Spotlight we focus on new Glasgow-based band The Amazing Snakeheads. 

Lists

Scotland Week: Top 9 Essential Cocteau Twins Songs

Sep 08, 2014

We have had a special theme on Under the Radar's website over the last week which we're simply calling Scotland Week. All throughout the week we have been posting interviews, reviews, lists, and blog posts relating to Scotland and in particular Scottish music. Here's a list of the Top 9 essential Cocteau Twins songs. The legendary dream pop band was founded in Grangemouth, Scotland in 1979 by Robin Guthrie, Elizabeth Fraser, and Will Heggie (who left in 1983 and was replaced by Simon Raymonde). Read our recent interview with Guthrie and Raymonde on the creation of their album Blue Bell Knoll. And read on as Mack Hayden breaks down his favorite Cocteau Twins songs.

I've always thought it was kind of fitting I first really got into Cocteau Twins after finishing David Lynch and Mark Frost's Twin Peaks. Perhaps it's because the tone of their music so closely matches the tone of that series. It's alternately dark and heavenly, making beauty out of the purgatory we most often call the planet earth.

Like Twin Peaks, Cocteau Twins always feels too off-kilter to be familiar and too comforting to be foreboding. Cocteau Twins never so much mapped out a new sound as they did use a sonic palate that was limitless and infinite. They paint with the kind of colors that fall outside the spectrum we're used to and make us feel like we're reaching beyond ourselves into some transcendent mystery. At the center of their music is Robin Guthrie's eternal and effects-laden guitar work and Elizabeth Fraser's angelic, delicate and difficult-to-understand vocal style. Together, they created music as vast and awesome as a stormy ocean and as bizarrely meaningful as the night sky's constellations. There are songs on the first couple records which sound so foreboding that they could've been played with the tentacles of Cthulhu but by the time you get to albums such as Treasure or Heaven or Las Vegas, they're coming up with tracks which would inspire Kevin Shields, Robert Smith, and God himself alike.

If you haven't dove into their work yet, here's nine songs (one from each of their records, in chronological order) that will get you standing on the shoulders of these dream pop giants. By Mack Hayden

Live reviews

FYF Fest 2014 Day 2 at LA Sports Arena and Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA

Aug 26, 2014 By Stephen Humphries

Kudos to the FYF organizers for mobilizing like a Rapid Response Unit. In response to the problems of Day One, they've instituted changes overnight. The entrance lines are shorter and attendees were reportedly given free water by way of apology for the long wait on Saturday. The price of water has been cut from $3 to $2. And the balconies inside the Los Angeles Sports Arena have been opened up to accommodate those unable to access the indoor shows for lack of room.

Blog

Reissued and Revisited: The Turtles

Sep 17, 2014 By Frank Valish

This collection of eight 7" records reminds of The Turtles' history and cements its legacy as a forgotten group who, despite several charting hits, never got its full artistic due.






Cinema Reviews

The Guest

Sep 17, 2014 Issue #51 - September/October 2014 - alt-J

The Guest takes the tight action of the first Terminator, bathes it in Dario Argento’s feverish, kaleidoscopic color palette, and adds a pulsing John Carpenter-esque electronic soundtrack.

Television Reviews

Doctor Who - “Listen” (Season 8, Episode 4) Recap/Analysis
BBC America, Saturdays 9/8 Central

Sep 15, 2014 Web Exclusive

After the last couple of earnest but ultimately mediocre episodes, Doctor Who returned this week with one of its most compelling stories in recent memory. "Listen" was again written by Stephen Moffat, and carries his signature throughout, but it also takes major steps in establishing the new rules for this Doctor, something we've been looking for since the premiere a few weeks back.