Issues | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, October 17th, 2019  

Issue #66

Issue #66 - My Favorite Album - Angel Olsen and Sleater-Kinney

Sep 27, 2019

Under the Radar is excited to announce the My Favorite Album Issue, our new print issue in which we speak to musicians and actors about their all-time favorite album. The issue features Angel Olsen and Sleater-Kinney on the two covers and is available to buy directly from us here, as well as being distributed in stores nationwide (on newsstands, in such stores as Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, and elsewhere).

While it's hard to pick just one all-time favorite, the following gave it a try: Tegan and Sara, Wilco, Weyes Blood, Sigur Rós, Fred Armisen, Topher Grace, Jay Baruchel, Jason Mantzoukas, Jimmi Simpson, Lucy Dacus, The Flaming Lips, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Low, The Mountain Goats, Camera Obscura, Iron and Wine, Metronomy, Whitney, Zola Jesus, Zoe Lister-Jones, Amanda Palmer, Hatchie, Strand of Oaks, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Hot Chip, Anna Meredith, Chelsea Wolfe, Lower Dens, Metric, Temples, Local Natives, Marika Hackman, Frankie Cosmos, Arcade Fire, Piroshka, Ride, Rose Elinor Dougall, Slowdive, The Divine Comedy, Super Furry Animals, and many more. Plus Mew's Jonas Bjerre interviews Pixies' Joey Santiago about Pixies' Doolittle, Bjerre's favorite album.

In the print version of Issue 66 there are interviews with 64 different artists and reviews of 15 albums. Then the digital version of the issue (for iPads, iPhones, Macs, and PCs) features an additional 19 interviews and 27 bonus reviews. Then the issue's digital sampler includes downloads of 38 great free MP3s, with many of the songs coming from artists covered in the issue. So there is a lot to dive into.

Still not convinced to check out the issue? Then below are the full details on who is interviewed and what's reviewed, along with pull quotes from most of the articles. The best way to see truly independent print music journalism thrive is to support Under the Radar by buying our print issues and subscribing.

COVER STORIES

Angel Olsen

For our in-depth 3,100-word cover story article, writer Frank Valish spoke in-depth to Angel Olsen about the creation of her stunning new album, All Mirrors. She discusses the heartbreak and influences that fed into All Mirrors, as well as the themes of the album and also gets into the back-story of her career. We also spoke to Ben Babbitt, Olsen's old friend who arranged the strings on All Mirrors, and Jon Hency, head of Bathetic Records, who released Olsen's debut EP. There's also a sidebar article on Olsen's all-time favorite album.

Co-Publisher/photographer Wendy Lynch Redfern went to Asheville, NC, where Olsen has lived for many years, to photograph her at her home and in some of her favorite spots around the artsy Southern city.

"The way you see yourself isn't the way people see you. Ever." - Angel Olsen

"Although the songs seem about personal heartbreak, and some of them were, many of them were about friendship and realizing that my value system is different from my friends', or that all this time we thought we were listening to each other and we weren't." - Angel Olsen

"I just realized that I was in a lucky position but was incredibly isolated, and that no one would think to ask me how I was doing because they just assumed that I was doing so well that I wouldn't need that." - Angel Olsen

"I love performing and becoming a character, but there is some aspect of it that is always 100% me; which part of that, I can't tell you." - Angel Olsen

(Angel Olsen photos by Wendy Lynch Redfern)

Sleater-Kinney

In our in-depth other cover story, Matt Fink interviewed Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney about the band's new album, The Center Won't Hold, working with producer Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent), and longtime drummer Janet Weiss deciding to leave the band only six weeks before the album was released. There are also sidebar articles on the all-time favorite albums of both Brownstein and Tucker.

"I don't want to make a cynical record now. We wanted this record to be something we could sing along to and that people could see and hear themselves in and could resonate for them on a personal level." - Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney

"The technology that we have that we're so dependent on and that has so much influence on us, I don't think we've been able to grasp the significance of that." - Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney

"We really wanted [Janet] to stay and asked her to stay, but she was ready to go on a different path. I had no idea." - Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney

"We're sad [to lose Janet], obviously, but we love this album and we're really proud of how it came out. We want to give the audience that sense of catharsis and escapism and everything that we think this album can do." - Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney

"There was this whole history of music that had been relegated to the margins or even the dustbin of history, so finding that record was part of the broader search for those bands." - Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney on Her Favorite Album

"Now looking back, it really inspires me as a songwriter to have this woman who was completely in charge of her own career and such a powerful songwriter." - Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney on Her Favorite Album

(Sleater-Kinney photo by Koury Angelo)

DETECTION

The front-of-book Detection section is smaller this issue and features interviews with Tegan and Sara, Wilco, and Jay Som.

Tegan and Sara discuss their new album, Hey, I'm Just Like You, which features the Canadian identical twin sisters reworking old unreleased songs they originally wrote in high school and were thought lost for over 20 years. It is accompanied by the release of their first memoir, High School, which they also discuss. The sisters were also interviewed about their all-time favorite albums (or in Sara's case, why she can't pick a favorite album). Koury Angelo did an exclusive photo shoot with Tegan and Sara in Los Angeles.

Wilco's Jeff Tweedy also discusses his all-time favorite album, as well as the new Wilco album, Ode to Joy. Then we talk to Jay Som about her new album, Anak Ko.

"Those [high school] years were seminal because it was the intersection of our discovering our talent as musicians and songwriters, but also using it as a medium to work through and express our anxieties about life." - Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara

"That record, it really did have an impact on me and ended up influencing a lot of how we built our early shows." - Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara on Her Favorite Album

"In Asian culture, in general, you're supposed to not stray away with making music or entertainment.... Don't do arts. Be a nurse or a doctor." - Jay Som

"We laid out a rough outline of the record and worked hard to tear apart a drum kit and not have it sound like a rock drum kit." - Jeff Tweedy of Wilco

"I can pretty much play all the songs from memory without having to relearn them. There aren't that many records that get that deep inside your DNA." - Jeff Tweedy of Wilco on His Favorite Album 

(Tegan and Sara photo by Koury Angelo)

MY FAVORITE ALBUM

We interviewed musicians and actors about their all-time favorite album. Or in some cases the musicians wrote an article on their favorite album and submitted it to us. We're not going to tell what each artist's favorite album is, because why spoil the surprise? You have to pick up the issue to discover for yourself. But we will tell you who took part in the section.

(Weyes Blood photo by Koury Angelo)

In terms of musicians, the following opened up about their all-time favorite albums: Weyes Blood (aka Natalie Mering), Georg Holm of Sigur Rós, Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire, Lucy Dacus, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Alan Sparhawk of Low, John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura, Iron and Wine (aka Sam Beam), Joseph Mount of Metronomy, Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich of Whitney, Zola Jesus (aka Nika Roza Danilova), Amanda Palmer, Hatchie (aka Harriette Pilbeam), Strand of Oaks (aka Timothy Showalter), Jim Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain, Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip, Anna Meredith, Chelsea Wolfe, Jana Hunter of Lower Dens, Emily Haines of Metric, James Bagshaw of Temples, Nik Ewing of Local Natives, Marika Hackman, Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos, Alex Lahey, Katherine Paul of Black Belt Eagle Scout, Blanck Mass (aka Benjamin John Power), Jennifer and Jessie Clavin of Bleached, Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy, Jack Savidge of Friendly Fires, Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, Hayden Thorpe, MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger, Tim Booth of James, Jesca Hoop, Andy Stack of Joyero and Wye Oak, Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead and KAZU, Kirin J Callinan, Little Scream (aka Laurel Sprengelmeyer), One True Pairing (aka Tom Fleming), Ellen Kempner of Palehound, Miki Berenyi of Piroshka, Mark Gardener of Ride, Rose Elinor Dougall, and Rachel Goswell of Slowdive. Plus Mew's Jonas Bjerre interviews Pixies' Joey Santiago about Pixies' Doolittle, which is Bjerre's favorite album.

"It grabbed and held me when I needed a sonic savior, during a very long and lonely era of my life while I was writing my book in 2013." - Amanda Palmer on Her Favorite Album

"It really changed my ideas of what an album could be." - Anna Meredith on Her Favorite Album

"It was the soundtrack to this relationship that I was in, and when the relationship ended the album took on this whole other sadness. Definitely there was a time when I couldn't listen to it." - Katherine Paul of Black Belt Eagle Scout on Her Favorite Album

"When I listen to this album, it takes me back to being a teenager every time." - Jennifer Clavin of Bleached on Her Favorite Album

"It reminds me of when I was a wee girl and I got into records for the first time, and listening to this album, I am envious of little kids getting into it." - Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura on Her Favorite Album

"He came to terms with his desperation; he was okay with that. He wasn't afraid to break his own heart." - Chelsea Wolfe on the Artist Behind Her Favorite Album

"Every track is just like a world in itself and doesn't seem to bear any relation to normal musicianship." - Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy on His Favorite Album

"Some of that music is haunting, it's beautiful, and it's strange, and it's happy, and it's sad, and it's fucked up, it's all the stuff." - Wayne of The Flaming Lips on His Favorite Album

"She disappeared in 1974 and nobody knows where she went. She didn't have any music released until somebody played a reel to reel of hers on the radio in the early 2000s." - Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos on the Artist Behind Her Favorite Album

"It's a nice comfortable thing having a favorite that you love so much—like a happy marriage." - Jack Savidge of Friendly Fires on His Favorite Album

"It combines electronics and songwriting, it has a deeply saturated production. It's like when they boost the color in photography." - Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals on His Favorite Album

"I remember my mom putting it on in the car and my mom always singing it. And my auntie as well. It really had a place in our home." - Hatchie (aka Harriette Pilbeam) on Her Favorite Album

"[His] songs can be so minimal they're almost concept songs. All the orchestration and grandeur within the soundscape is actually a construction of your mind." - Hayden Thorpe on the Artist Behind His Favorite Album

"I remember as a youngster being shocked by its explicit sexual lyrics." - Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip on His Favorite Album

"She's a poet, shaman, diva, rock and roller, artist—she aspires to all the things that I would aspire to." - Tim Booth of James on the Artist Behind His Favorite Album

"I can't say now what I was thinking about but I had my face pressed up against the glass in the tour bus and I was weeping. I don't know why [the song] struck such a deep chord." - Kirin J Callinan on a Song on His Favorite Album

"There are so many moments in this album I can't even figure out what is happening musically (and I'm a very professional musician)!" - Nik Ewing of Local Natives on His Favorite Album

"This whole record was this giant thing. It was the step further beyond Pink Floyd's The Wall, which had been the teen angst record that had been around a lot when I was the age when you start thinking, 'Oh, man. Life is heavy.'" - Alan Sparhawk of Low on His Favorite Album

"My initial impression was just, 'I have to dance. There's no option. I'm listening to this, I can't do anything but dance to it.'" - Lucy Dacus on Her Favorite Album

"I remember when [the album's single] came out and I used to have to get the train regularly and I think I listened to it 35 times on one journey." - Marika Hackman on Her Favorite Album

"Listening to [the album] is like having an intelligent conversation with a friend." - Emily Haines of Metric on Her Favorite Album

"This album became the soundtrack to my early teenage years. I remember going to awkward parties and sleepovers listening to it, and having it in the car with my parents and going on school trips and having it on my Walkman." - Joseph Mount of Metronomy on His Favorite Album

"It's weird because a lot of the music I listened to at that time, I don't really listen to it any more. Whereas Doolittle is something that's just stayed with me." - Jonas Bjerre of Mew on His Favorite Album

"I realized that [the album] features the greatest guitar riffs in the whole history of music." - John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats on His Favorite Album

"I sat in the front row of her concert like a tragic fanboy, watching her fingers and getting punched in the gut, wondering what the hell I was going to do with this new knowledge." - One True Pairing (aka Tom Fleming) on the Artist Behind His Favorite Album

"The lo-fi nature of the recordings makes me feel like I'm in the room with him, like he's a real person singing to me and not some unreachable, glamorously dead rock star." - Ellen Kempner of Palehound on Her Favorite Album

"[The song] is one of the most moving love songs I know. I literally cannot listen to it without tearing up—and believe me, I am not the sentimental type." - Miki Berenyi of Piroshka on Her Favorite Album

"I've been happily knocked on my ass many times by incredible music, but something about that record completely changed my musical paradigm." - Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire on His Favorite Album

"She is so expressive in so many different voices, sometimes she is like an angel and then sometimes she is strong, defiant, and guttural. All of her powers were at her peak." - Rose Elinor Dougall on the Artist Behind Her Favorite Album

"When I heard some of the other amazing tracks on that album, I decided to go all-in for [for him]—I plastered my entire room with his posters." - "Weird Al" Yankovic on the Artist Behind His Favorite Album

"It's an intimate, beautiful record that is so modern that it sounds like stuff that didn't happen for another 10 years." - Weyes Blood (aka Natalie Mering) on Her Favorite Album

"It makes me want to quit music because I will never make music that beautiful." - Zola Jesus (aka Nika Roza Danilova) on Her Favorite Album

(Strand of Oaks photo by Ray Lego)

Then we also interviewed the following actors about their all-time favorite albums: Fred Armisen (Portlandia, Saturday Night Live, Documentary Now!), Topher Grace (That '70s Show, Black Mirror, BlacKkKlansman), Jay Baruchel (How to Train Your Dragon, Knocked Up, This Is the End), Jason Mantzoukas (The Good Place, The League, John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum), Jimmi Simpson (Westworld, House of Cards, Perpetual Grace, LTD), Zoe Lister-Jones (Life in Pieces, Whitney, Band Aid), Chris Sullivan (This Is Us, Stranger Things, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2), Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Doom Patrol), and Noël Wells (Master of None, Saturday Night Live, Mr. Roosevelt, and who also just released her debut album). And author/screenwriter Nick Hornby lists his favorite current albums.

"He just does that thing with my brain where it just gives me glee and joy." - Alan Tudyk on the Artist Behind His Favorite Album

"The way that [he] writes songs, and the sense of humor and the poetry with which he kind of views the world, has definitely formed the way that I take things in." - Chris Sullivan on the Artist Behind His Favorite Album

"I know that for [her] this record represents a kind of restless time in her life where she was traveling and had just ended a relationship, and there's a lot of upheaval and a real powerful potent melancholy to it." - Jason Mantzoukas on the Artist Behind His Favorite Album

"It was great music to write to. It was great music to just smoke weed to. It was great music to do fucking everything." - Jay Baruchel on His Favorite Album

"In those small-town environments it seems like there's only a few people who happen to be reaching further to discover new music." - Jimmi Simpson on When He Discovered His Favorite Album

"I was surprised that the album had a perfect song for every stage of grief I was going through." - Noël Wells on Her Favorite Album

"[His] voice just cut right into me, too, especially as I was about to be a hormonal young woman. [He] as a lead man was just speaking to all of my Brooklyn indie rock boy dreams." - Zoe Lister-Jones on the Frontman of the Band Behind Her Favorite Album

The My Favorite Album section also includes two pages where some of our writers penned essays on their all-time favorite album.

(Hatchie photo by Ian Maddox)

THE END

For our regular last page feature, The End, we ask a different artist the same set of questions about endings and death. Carl Newman (aka AC Newman) of The New Pornographers is this issue's participant. Newman discusses how he'd like to die, what song he'd like played at his deathbed, his concepts of heaven and hell, his favorite endings to movies and books, and how Nickelback might be on Satan's playlist.

"Going against everything that rock and roll teaches, I think I'd like to fade away. Die in my sleep, knowing I'm old and tired, having been able to prepare but thinking I still have more time." - Carl Newman of The New Pornographers

REVIEWS

Around 15 albums are reviewed in the issue, including reviews of releases by:

Devendra Banhart
Bat For Lashes
Alex Cameron
Charli XCX
DIIV
Liam Gallagher
Juliana Hatfield
Brittany Howard
Anna Meredith
The New Pornographers
Angel Olsen
Pixies
(Sandy) Alex G
Vivian Girls
Wilco

DIGITAL SAMPLER 

Each issue comes with a digital sampler that is a free download and includes up to 38 complimentary MP3s. This issue's digital sampler includes tracks by:

Ali Barter
Amason
Angel Olsen
Anna Meredith
Black Belt Eagle Scout
Blanck Mass
Boy Scouts
A Cast of Thousands
Chelsea Wolfe
Dave Monks
The Divine Comedy
Dry Cleaning
Electric Youth
Ezra Furman
Hatchie
Hayden Thorpe
Jay Som
Jenny Hval
Jesca Hoop
Joyero
Lightning Dust
Little Scream
Lower Dens
Luke Temple
Necking
Nitemirror
One True Pairing
Penelope Isles
The Persian Leaps
The Replacements
Rose Elinor Dougall
Sleater-Kinney
The Soft Cavalry
Squid
Twin Peaks
Weyes Blood
Whitney

(Rose Elinor Dougall photo by James Loveday)

DIGITAL MAGAZINE INTERVIEWS

The digital version of the issue (for iPads, iPhones, Macs, and PCs) also features extra interviews not found in the print magazine, as well as additional full-page photos from our photo shoots for the issue. There are bonus articles on Aldous Harding, Anna Meredith, Belle and Sebastian, Frankie Cosmos, Hatchie, Jimmi Simpson, Nilüfer Yanya, Rose Elinor Dougall, Stella Donnelly, and Strand of Oaks.

"I don't always feel like discussing [my songs] you know, but I think I will now, just because I'd rather say it than try and figure out how to dart around it." - Aldous Harding

"For years I couldn't even get a band together, and then all of a sudden I had these people, just as I got a job living and working as a janitor at the church; trying to juggle practice with the band while the local retirees had their bridge club in the next room and didn't want to be disturbed." - Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian

"I'm just trying to figure it out, same as everyone. When I find out that other people don't have it all figured out, it always makes me feel better." - Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos

"I have a really musical family, so every holiday was always an uncle with a guitar and another uncle on the piano and everyone singing." - Hatchie (aka Harriette Pilbeam)

"You look over and you see Anthony fucking Hopkins. So that gets a performance out of a kid from Jersey. It leaves me wondering: 'How the hell did I get here?'" - Jimmi Simpson

"I just subconsciously don't want to be seen as a confessional female singer/songwriter and all that rubbish." - Nilüfer Yanya

"This isn't a political album, but there is a background of a very unstable world. That series of events that followed from [Brexit], the world is a very unrecognizable one to the world when I wrote my last album." - Rose Elinor Dougall

"I've learned over the years that yelling at somebody doesn't quite have the same effect as it would if I was to gently try to find a relatable way to explain to someone how I feel." - Stella Donnelly

"The flame was going out. I was giving up and not feeling like I wanted to be a musician. At the same time, I also didn't want to be me anymore." - Strand of Oaks (aka Timothy Showalter)

(Stella Donnelly photo by Ray Lego)

The digital version also features a bonus My Favorite Album section, where the following musicians were interviewed (or wrote about) their favorite albums: Amanda Bergman of Amason, C Duncan, Emily Cross of Cross Record and Loma, Austin Garrick of Electric Youth, Maria Usbeck, Jake Webb of Methyl Ethel, Steve Sladkowski of PUP, Ellis Ludwig-Leone of San Fermin, and SPELLLING (aka Chrystia Cabral), who talks about her three favorite albums. There are also essays from three of our writers on their favorite album that didn't make it in print.  

"It's both alien and extremely familiar, off-hand and calculated, grating and soothing." - Emily Cross of Cross Record on Loma on Her Favorite Album

"There have been many times that I've danced to this record alone or with friends. I like to do fun rave moves to it." - Maria Usbeck on Her Favorite Album

"You shouldn't have to over-think a favorite record because upon first listen a favorite record should hit you harder in the gut and heart than the brain." - Steve Sladkowski of PUP on His Favorite Album

"The construction of the whole thing is perfect, and exactly what I still try to do with my own concept-y records, which is: front load it with bangers and then sneak in your weird song cycle at the end." - Ellis Ludwig-Leone of San Fermin on His Favorite Album

"It's shameless, floppy, relentless, and the lyrics border on poetry." - SPELLLING (aka Chrystia Cabral) on One of Her Favorite Albums

(Nilüfer Yanya photo by James Loveday)

DIGITAL MAGAZINE REVIEWS

The digital version of the issue also features 27 bonus reviews of albums, including reviews of the latest releases by the following:

!!!
Amason
Belle and Sebastian
Black Belt Eagle Scout
Bon Iver
Chastity Belt
Miles Davis
Dry Cleaning
Frankie Cosmos
Friendly Fires
Ezra Furman
The Hold Steady
Jay Som
KAZU
Mark Kozelek with Petra Haden
Long Beard
Lower Dens
Moon Duo
Sheer Mag
Shura
Sleater-Kinney
Starcrawler
Temples
Vampire Weekend
Whitney
Chelsea Wolfe

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Interviews

Belle and Sebastian - Stuart Murdoch on “Days of the Bagnold Summer”

Reviews

All Mirrors
Days of the Bagnold Summer (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Deceiver
Devour You
Joey Always Smiled
Ode to Joy
Stars Are the Light