Album Reviews

La Roux
Trouble in Paradise

Jul 25, 2014 Web Exclusive

Uttering "I know the temperature is rising" on opener "Uptight Downtown" or "walking alone on a sunny beach" on "Paradise Is You," La Roux's eccentric, redheaded namesake Elly Jackson quickly makes some claims for the Summer Jam here.


Jul 24, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands

In John Green's The Fault In Our Stars, eye cancer patient Isaac expressed his love for his then-girlfriend Monica by incessantly exchanging the phrase "always," indicating their devotion to one another. It's a word that's often drenched in hyperbolized romance, one that simultaneously signifies yesteryear and hopes for tomorrow. It also makes something of a perfect name for Toronto-based band Alvvays (pronounced "always").

Anna Calvi
Strange Weather EP

Jul 23, 2014 Web Exclusive

Anna Calvi shares her creative reinterpretations of others' music on this five-song covers EP, and in turn shows us another side of herself as a performer. 

Classic Interviews

Rose Elinor Dougall

Rose Elinor Dougall
Polka Dots to Tender Hearts

Jun 04, 2009 Winter 2009 - Anticipated Albums of 2009

Milestones in life tend to be linked with their corresponding dates. For Rose Elinor Dougall, July 17, 2006 saw the release of her band The Pipettes’ unforgettable debut. At just 20 years old, Dougall cradled an indie-pop treasure in her hands. We Are the Pipettes recalled singles-oriented ’60s girl groups with stunning grace.

Comic Book Reviews


Jul 25, 2014 Web Exclusive

Grant Miller works for a high-level security organization that is very good at making problems disappear. The problem is, he's just discovered that one of the problems he's working on traces back to his employer. 

Book Reviews

Peter Hook
The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club

Jul 22, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands

Founded by New Order and Factory Records and kept afloat for years by their profits, the Hacienda in Manchester, England functioned on a self-destructive business model to become one of the most storied nightclubs in history. 


Throwback Thursday: Grizzly Bear Interview from 2006

Jul 24, 2014 Summer 2006 - The Dears

For this Throwback Thursday we revisit our 2006 article on Grizzly Bear, our first print magazine interview with the band (we did interview them a year earlier on our website about their debut album,Horn of Plenty). Read on as Ed Droste discusses the band's sophomore album, Yellow House, and his hope for some hometown recognition.  

Wye Oak - Jenn Wasner on Sexism in the Music Industry and Their “Intensely Dark” New Album

Jul 23, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands

Wye Oak's stunning new album Shriek, at the surface, lies in stark contrast to their earlier work. The duo of Jenn Wasner (synths, bass, guitar) and Andy Stack (percussion) have eschewed their trademark guitar and drums sound in favor of something more silvery and abstract, no doubt informed by Wasner's foray into electronic textures on her 2013 side project Dungeonesse. 

Pleased to meet you


Jul 23, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands

Most bands retain the stamp of their home towns and cities, but Brits MONEY came together as usurpers in their adopted Manchester, the uniquely creative environment that gave us The Smiths, Joy Division, and Factory Records. Decamping to the north of England in his late teens, London-born vocalist and frontman Jamie Lee credits the city with indelibly shaping the sound and identity of the Bella Union-signed band.


10 Spectacular Pet Shop Boys Songs That Aren’t “West End Girls”

Jul 17, 2014

"Those are the guys that did 'West End Girls' and that song about brains and money or whatever, right?"


Invariably, that's the response I get from fellow Americans when trying to discuss Pet Shop Boys with them. And I'm tired of it. Sick and tired of it, folks.

Don't get me wrong, I love "West End Girls" and "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)," but there is so. Much. More.

I'm fanatical about Pet Shop Boys. I'm fanatical about them in the same way the Depeche Mode fans who commented on my recent Depeche Mode piece are. Although, I think I'm less angry? Then again, perhaps not. The conversation outlined above does make my blood boil and fill me with inexplicable rage. But I mean, I'm not so fanatical of a fan that I can't recognize when Pet Shop Boys put out a clunker; Bilingual, Nightlife, and Release weren't great. Rather spotty, if I'm being honest. In fact, some bits of that album run are downright silly.

But still.

Here are some things, according to Wikipedia, Americans should know about Pet Shop Boys right freaking now:

  • Guinness Book of World Records has named Pet Shop Boys the most successful duo in U.K. music history.
  • According to Billboard, as of 2003, they were listed as the 4th (behind Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Donna Summer) most successful act on the U.S. Dance/Club charts.
  • They've sold over 50 million albums worldwide, had 42 Top 30 singles, and 22 hits in the U.K. Top 10.
  • They are three-time Brit Award winners and six-time Grammy nominees.
  • We named last year's Electric as one of the 125 best albums of the year (just sayin').

And I could go on and on.

But I won't. Instead, I present for your edification, 10 Pet Shop Boys songs that are not "West End Girls," but just as good, maybe even better? (And these songs weren't even singles!)

Once again, we've dumped these tunes into a Spotify playlist for ya, too.

By Kenny S. McGuane


Nocturnal Admittance: Orenda Fink on Her Most Vivid Recurring Dream

Jul 25, 2014 By Orenda Fink

Nocturnal Admittance is our series where an artist writes about their most vivid recurring dream or nightmare. For this Nocturnal Admittance, Orenda Fink writes about a nightmarish experience in India that has inspired a recurring nightmare. The former Azure Ray singer is releasing her fittingly titled new solo album, Blue Dream, on August 19 via Saddle Creek.

Cinema Reviews

A Most Wanted Man

Jul 25, 2014 Web Exclusive

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s surprising death earlier this year lends a bittersweet appreciation to his performance as the heavy-drinking, heavy-smoking, surprisingly cheeky Günther Bachmann.

Television Reviews

The Strain
FX, Sundays 10 p.m.

Jul 11, 2014 Web Exclusive

Minutes before it lands in New York, a plane carrying 210 passengers from Berlin ceases all communication. It maintains radio silence on the runway; every window shade save one is closed, and the plane is eerily dark. Suspecting a possible terrorist threat, first responders call in the Center for Disease Control.