Aug 06, 2010 Music Issue #32 - Summer 2010 - Wasted on the Youth

And the award for strangest album of 2010 so far goes to... Tony Da Gatorra and Gruff Rhys. Long a proponent of experimentation in his pop music, both with Super Furry Animals and in his solo work, Rhys has outdone himself this time, digging up an unknown Brazilian protest singer/instrumentalist, who invented his own instrument, the "gatorra," a combination of bizarre guitar and drum machine. More

Aug 04, 2010 Music Issue #32 - Summer 2010 - Wasted on the Youth

The first minute or so of "Invincible Hero," the opening track of the first Versus album in 10 years, presses the question: Where has Versus been all this time? A decade has passed since their last album, Hurrah, and sometimes a break isn't a bad idea, of course. More

Aug 02, 2010 Music Issue #32 - Summer 2010 - Wasted on the Youth

Coming off the high concept of their epochal 2004 debut LP Funeral, Arcade Fire lost the plot a tad on 2007's Neon Bible. It meandered, and its bombast overwhelmed what at its core was a fine collection of songs. But on their third LP The Suburbs, they in a sense return to the form of Funeral, engendering a grand conceptual conceit. More

Jul 30, 2010 Music Web Exclusive

Chicago pastor and African American activist T. L. Barrett's 1971 musical legacy Like a Ship, was never designed to move units or break big. Barrett's intentions were much more tangible, local, and admirable: he wanted to provide a constructive outlet for kids and he wanted to bring people into his church. More

Ellen Allien

Dust

Bpitch Control

Jul 26, 2010 Music Web Exclusive

Bpitch label founder, fashionista, and techno maven Ellen Allien doesn't set out to prove herself to anyone on her fifth LP, Dust. The applicability of the title can be heard during the chiming opener, "Our Utopie." There's a well-worn timbre to the samples and guitars used here, as if each element reacts with the environment immediately surrounding itself. More

Jul 23, 2010 Music Web Exclusive

Tom Waits trusted Jesca Hoop with his children, Andrew Bird chose her as an opener, and Elbow's Guy Garvey coaxed her to move from Los Angeles to Manchester. Listening to the nine tracks that make up sophomore album Hunting My Dress, it’s easy to understand why. Crafting quirky folk with enough angles to appeal to those who don’t usually head to San Francisco with flowers in their hair, Hoop exudes such grace that even when all that glitters isn’t gold, you might momentary believe otherwise. More

MAYA

N.E.E.T./ Interscope

Jul 22, 2010 Music Web Exclusive

Maya Arulpragasam—better known as M.I.A.—successfully assembled the title of her third album into a series of lines and dashes, spelling out her first name. She also collided every sound she’s ever heard onto its 16 tracks. The over-the-top clatter could be interpreted as a consequence of a generation with no attention span, but it could also be a sign that /\/\ /\ Y /\  doesn’t measure up to the rest of M.I.A.’s arsenal.  More

Jul 08, 2010 Music Web Exclusive

On If I Had a Hi-Fi, Nada Surf accomplishes the rare feat of producing a covers album that won't just waste space on your CD shelf. In fact, the album wants for, rather demands, repeated listening.  More

Jul 07, 2010 Music Web Exclusive

An early-'80s Athens, GA band that never got the level of attention bestowed upon even the scene's second-tier commercial contemporaries (Pylon, The Love Tractors), The Method Actors were a flat-out terrific post-punk band, with a stentorian push-pull sound as equally indebted to Television as Gang of Four. Their records have aged remarkably well, as evidenced on this terrific compilation that culls pretty much everything the band did during their 1980-81 prolific peak. More