Sep 14, 2012 Music Issue #42 - The Protest Issue

Like any Grizzly Bear release, Shields demands multiple listens before one is able to peel the layers back to see how good it just might be. This shouldn't be anything new to fansVeckatimest was widely regarded as one of the best albums of 2009, but most everyone, if they were honest, would admit that it took some time to realize it might be better than good. Shields demands a similar amount of patience and engagementand, fortunately, it pays out similar rewards. More

Sep 14, 2012 Music Issue #42 - The Protest Issue

Amanda Palmer is suffering from an identity crisis. Theatre is Evil, Palmer's first solo album since parting ways with her label, finds the self-proclaimed piano-slayer yearning not only to do it with a rock star, but to become one. The result is a song set that begins a move away from the haunted cabaret halls where Palmer shines-but never manages to go anywhere of note. More

Maximo Park

The National Health

Straight to the Sun

Sep 13, 2012 Music Web Exclusive

Maxïmo Park blasted out of the U.K. in 2005 with A Certain Trigger, an album of angular, fast-paced post-whatever rock and roll that was gripping in both its musical heft and its incisive lyrical dexterity. The National Health represents a true return to form. More

Sep 13, 2012 Music Issue #42 - The Protest Issue

The debut album by Los Angeles-based duo IO Echo begins with a bombastic burst in the opening number "Shanghai Girls." It signals a confident presence and ambitious agenda by a band that's been saddled from the start with plenty of labels and expectations by critics and fans alike. Shaking off those labels, which include buzzwords like "dark," "murky," and "gothic," the band forges ahead with songs that are precise and synthetic but nevertheless elude falling into a formulaic rut of ho-hum electronic rock. More

Sep 12, 2012 Music Issue #42 - The Protest Issue

The fifth record from Oregon-based indie rock duo The Helio Sequence sees the pair take a step back: time to take stock, to reassess. It's their first release since 2008's Keep Your Eyes Ahead, the success of which seems to have allowed them the space, money, and confidence to facilitate this fresh outlook. More

Pet Shop Boys

Elysium

Astralwerks

Sep 12, 2012 Music Issue #42 - The Protest Issue

On their 1986 breakthrough single "West End Girls," Pet Shop Boys sang about alienation; it was a great dance pop song about feeling lost in their own hometown. Now, 26 years later, they are revered as one of the most important acts of their generation in their own milieu. Yet new record Elysium finds them sounding once again like proverbial fish out of water, only with far less aplomb. More

Sep 11, 2012 Music Issue #42 - The Protest Issue

Algiers is the latest in a long line of unperturbedly consistent Calexico records, the same ones that score the imaginary hip gas stations in the Cormac-McCarthy-by-way-of-Wes-Anderson southwestern border towns of the mind. And while there's nothing remarkably out of step with what they've done before, Calexico trade on their strengths in the "well-worn shoe" tradition of bands like AC/DC or Red House Painters-the same old thing as an irreplaceable standby. More

Sep 10, 2012 Music Issue #42 - The Protest Issue

One has to wonder if Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) felt a little in awe of David Byrne, if it was never in the plans for this record to be a 50/50 partnership, or if Byrne's persona is simply so well defined at this point that it would overshadow most artists. In any case, the mixture here leans heavily on Byrne, which is certainly not a bad thing, but Love This Giant doesn't take full advantage of Clark's guitar prowess or hypnotic voice. More

The xx

Coexist

Young Turks

Sep 07, 2012 Music Issue #42 - The Protest Issue

Back around the time of recording Kid A, Thom Yorke professed that he was "bored of melody." Twelve years down the line, it seems that The xx, a band whose near-eponymous debut album saw them achieve Radiohead levels of acclaim, have reached a similar conclusion that there's more, as well as less, to a song than a hooky refrain. More