Jun 01, 2008 Summer 2008 - The Protest Issue

Given that the prospect of describing music is an inherently abstract process—entrusting words or images to capture the infinite permutations of rhythms, tones, and textures—it only makes sense that some artists who work in the sound medium would perceive these qualities differently than the rest of us. In technical terms, such folks are said to have “narrow band synesthesia,” a phenomenon where certain sounds or instruments consistently evoke a particular visual essence, and ideas for songs might only be intelligible as collages of color. In this case, A Thousand Shark’s Teeth is a shadowy landscape of grays and dark blues, graceful and brooding, an album created by someone who saw it all in her head. More

Jun 01, 2008 Summer 2008 - The Protest Issue

For the better part of the last three decades, Michael Stipe has passionately melded his rock and roll with his activism. From R.E.M.’s early days as Athens, GA indie-rockers through their big ’90s hits and the subtler explorations of their later work, Stipe and company have always had their hands in politics, whether teaming with Rock the Vote in the early ’90s, playing the Vote for Change tour in 2004, or supporting causes from hunger relief to women’s rights and Greenpeace. More

Jun 01, 2008 Summer 2008 - The Protest Issue

In 2002, when indie kids in the U.S. looked to Sweden as a hotbed for new music upon the emergence of bands such as The Hives, 16-year-old Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson was devising her escape from Stockholm. More

Jun 01, 2008 Summer 2008 - The Protest Issue

Given all the obstacles Elbow has faced over the past three years, it’s quite an accomplishment that the veteran Manchester, England, quintet were able to write an album at all, let alone one that is arguably the best of their decade-long career. The sinking of their long-time record label, V2, and ensuing legal battles left Elbow doubting the fate of their fourth album and contemplating getting day jobs in order to survive. More

Jun 01, 2008 Summer 2008 - The Protest Issue

"In the kind of world where everything is readily available to everyone, information-wise, I think there’s something nice about a little bit of mystery,” says Conor Oberst, describing the hype or lack thereof surrounding his new, eponymous solo album.  
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Jun 01, 2008 Summer 2008 - The Protest Issue

Jason Pierce was in a good mood until I asked him about the Coachella festival. It’s only three days after he played the finale in a succession of “acoustic mainlines” shows, the widely acclaimed concert series where Pierce reinvented the Spiritualized canon with a string section and backing vocalists, and he’s still frustrated over how badly the set went. More

Apr 02, 2008 Spring 2008 - Flight of the Conchords

The three members of Montréal’s Plants and Animals might be Music Studies graduates, but theirs is not the sound of intellectual snobs. Graduating from Montréal’s Concordia University in the early part of the century with degrees in electro-acoustic music, Warren Spicer, Matthew Woodley, and Nicolas Basque have, with their sophomore album, Parc Avenue, hit upon a sound that is at once smooth, complex, and organic, with touches of ’70s rock and soul and an expansive musical palette that includes everything from flutes to violin and choirs of voice. More

Apr 02, 2008 Spring 2008 - Flight of the Conchords

Any child of the ’80s knows the idea of the year 2000 back then was really insane,” says Bryon Hollon (aka Boom Bip). “There were a lot of TV shows and movies with laser guns and hover cars and stuff. According to Gruff, all roads from the ’80s lead to John DeLorean.” More

Apr 02, 2008 Spring 2008 - Flight of the Conchords

Saturday’s a horrible day to spend in detention. Unless you’re there with representatives of five distinct social cliques, each letting their guard down just enough to realize they’re really not that different. Then it’s—how’s it go? They only met once, but it changed their lives forever. John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club so expertly captured the myopic, all-consuming angst that defines teenagerdom that anyone who viewed it in the last two decades can quote at least a few lines. That includes Anthony Gonzalez, the Frenchman behind M83, who cites Hughes films as one of the various ’80s influences running rampant on his new album, Saturdays=Youth. More