Album Reviews

Jenny Lewis
The Voyager

Jul 29, 2014 Web Exclusive

Jenny Lewis is one of the rare non-pop artists we've had the chance to grow alongside. Some of us were first acquainted with her as far back as her childhood acting rolesshe'll always be Haley from The Wizard to mewhile many caught up with her in the late '90s with the launch of Rilo Kiley.

A Sunny Day in Glasgow
Sea When Absent

Jul 28, 2014 Web Exclusive

For a band whose members never seem to be in the same place at the same time, A Sunny Day in Glasgow manages to create a type of harmonious musical interface that makes their distance seem inconsequential.

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.

Classic Interviews

Ed Piskor

Ed Piskor
Comics Artist Talks About Wizzywig, his Hacker-Culture Graphic Novel

Oct 17, 2011 Web Exclusive

Pittsburgh's Ed Piskor, 29, recently finished the online version of his 400+ page graphic novel, Wizzywig, and he says it'll be available online for a "little bit of time" before being given the collected treatment by Top Shelf. Wizzywig is the story of Kevin Phenicle, aka "Boingthump," a phone phreaker/hacker during the early days of high-tech computing who is sort of a pastiche of several real-life phreakers/hackers.

Comic Book Reviews

Secret
Image

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

Steve Lowenthal
Dance of Death: The Life of John Fahey, American Guitarist

Jul 29, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands

John Fahey was an acoustic guitar master, a musician's musician, and a player who transcended blues and folk styles to create his own "American Primitive" instrumental mastery. 

Interviews

Ramona Lisa – Charilift’s Caroline Polachek on Recording in Unusual Places

Jul 29, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands

Caroline Polachek wrote music as a way to fill the long stretches of downtime while on a world tour with her band, Chairlift. As she continued composing songs on her laptophiding in closets or hotel bathrooms when she needed a quiet place to recordthey took on a peaceful, often sorrowful sound that wasn't a fit for Chairlift's upbeat electropop. The songs eventually made their way onto her solo debut, Arcadia, which was released under the name Ramona Lisa. Here, she talks about composing an album on the road and the inspirations that went into her project.

Ramona Lisa – Charilift’s Caroline Polachek on Her Solo Album

Jul 28, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands

When it came time for Caroline Polachek to embark on her first solo record, she opted to follow a non-traditional route. Rather than emblazoning her own nameor that of Chairlift, her well-known bandacross the front of the LP, she released Arcadia under the alias Ramona Lisa.

Pleased to meet you

MONEY

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.

Lists

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?"

Sigh.

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

Blog

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

Happy Christmas

Jul 28, 2014 Web Exclusive

Anna Kendrick returns in Swanberg’s Happy Christmas, this time as a flaky postgrad who, following a Christmastime breakup, moves in with her older brother and his wife.

DVD Reviews

Like Someone in Love Blu-ray/DVD
Studio: Criterion

Jul 25, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands

Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has built a storied career on complicated, ambiguously drawn character studies that rely upon the inherently fractured dynamics of interpersonal relationships.

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.