Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, June 27th, 2022  

Album Reviews

MUNA

MUNA
MUNA

Jun 24, 2022 Web Exclusive

On “Number One Fan,” the lead single to MUNA’s 2019 album, Saves the World, lead vocalist and songwriter Katie Gavin sings, “So I heard the bad news/Nobody likes me and I’m gonna die alone/In my bedroom.”

Sometimes, Forever

Soccer Mommy
Sometimes, Forever

Jun 23, 2022 Web Exclusive

Over the past four years, Soccer Mommy bandleader Sophie Allison has ascended from the world of sparse and scratchy Bandcamp releases into an indie rock forerunner, marrying some of the genre’s most desolate lyrcisim with a bold melodic ear born from turn-of-the-millennium pop.

Live ’77

Melissa Manchester
Live ’77

Jun 22, 2022 Web Exclusive

Forty-five years ago, it just wasn’t in the cards for Melissa Manchester’s live album to be released.

Classic Interviews

Devendra Banhart

Devendra Banhart
Tangled in Tongues

Oct 01, 2007 Fall 2007 - Beirut

“I’m under the impression that it isn’t nearly as eclectic as it could have been if we had included the Arabic song, the Yiddish song, the other Portuguese song, and another song…” Devendra Banhart pauses as he searches his mental rolodex for the Native American tribe whose language he adopted for another of the songs that was left off his fifth full-length release, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. Sitting backstage at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz, CA, Banhart acknowledges no grand design in the sprawling mix of Spanish folk variants, acoustic ballads, ‘50s pop, and hairy rockers that compose his latest opus. Add in a little French and Portuguese, and you have an album that reflects the citizen of the world status Banhart has cultivated through years of travels. He has little concern that the album won’t communicate with English-only speakers.

Comic Book Reviews

Keeping Two

Keeping Two
Fantagraphics

May 26, 2022 Web Exclusive

All the best things in life take time, and yet it’s natural to fear that same passing. In Keeping Two, the latest graphic novel from acclaimed cartoonist Jordan Crane, and an endeavour which has appropriately been in the offing for 20 years, time is less a linear pathway than a kaleidoscope of interconnected anxieties, hopes, and dreams.

Book Reviews

Europe Crosswise: A Litany

Blixa Bargeld
Europe Crosswise: A Litany

Jun 24, 2022

First published in German in 2009, Blixa Bargeld’s Europe Crosswise, now translated into English, provides a “semi-fictional account” of Bargeld’s 2008 tour across Europe with Einstürzende Neubauten.

Pleased to meet you

L-E Talk Us Through Their Forthcoming Debut Album

Jun 15, 2022 Web Exclusive

L-E’s Bryan Serwatka talks us through their forthcoming debut album, while also sharing new single “Do You Want To Live?”

Lists

From Silver Jews to Purple Mountains: 14 of David Berman’s Best Songs

May 20, 2022

For a select few of us who can claim to be bona fide hometown fans of the NFL’s Houston Oilers circa the 1980s into the early ’90s, there is a certain level of gluttony for punishment that goes along with that honor. Added to the indignities of many playoff appearances that never quite panned fully out, the team’s owner, Bud Adams, unceremoniously up and moved the team to Nashville, Tennessee. After a year or two operating as the Tennessee Oilers (up there with the Utah Jazz in terms of city/mascot disconnects), the team’s name changed to the Tennessee Titans with the team’s flagship player, and one of the Houston holdovers, being quarterback Steve McNair.

You may be asking what this has to do with David Berman and his musical projects, Silver Jews and Purple Mountains. But as reclusive as an artist as Berman was, including his 10-year disappearance from making music, Berman was clear in idolizing the Titans and McNair. I first became aware of Berman early on as a fan of Pavement and no doubt purchased Silver Jews’ debut album, Starlite Walker, due to Steven Malkmus’ and Bob Nastanovich’s involvement with the project. Berman’s hangdog tales were laced with pure poetry, an alt-country lean, and a laconic, lo-fi delivery that spoke to listeners in a language they didn’t know they needed to hear.

Over the course of six Silver Jews albums and the unexpected 2019 comeback via his Purple Mountains debut, Berman never disappointed. I didn’t get the opportunity to see Berman perform live, although I had tickets to a Houston show in 2008 that I was unable to travel to due to Hurricane Ike blasting through the area. Amazingly, the show did go on at the last minute at an alternate location. After Berman’s Purple Mountains reemergence, I was pressing my son to go see the planned set at Raleigh’s Hopscotch Festival (Purple Mountains, Orville Peck, Faye Webster, and Jenny Lewis were to all play that day), but Berman took his life a few days before the Purple Mountains tour was to begin.

It was almost too much to fathom that Berman could find his way back through the fog, only to be gone a few months later. Though his loss is certainly more devastating than the relocation of a favorite sports team, being shown another taste of Berman’s talents so soon before he was gone for good did leave a feeling of having been cheated out of something cherished in addition to the grief many of us who love his music felt. He also garnered the message “Nashville (and the world) will always love David Berman” on the Titan’s Jumbotron as a posthumous salute.

Fortunately, we have the legacy of Berman’s music and words, including his parting gift to us just before his passing. Here I pick 14 of my favorite Berman songs. To borrow from the Jews’ “Random Rules,” in order to be “democratic and cool,” I picked two songs apiece from each of the albums and tried to include a taste of the different approaches that Berman brought to the table—from the purely whimsical to the deeply felt. So if your favorites aren’t here, they may have well been nudged out by other songs on the same album or in favor of a different example of Berman’s talents. By Mark Moody

Live reviews

Dry Cleaning @ Southbank Centre, London, UK, June 13, 2022

Dry Cleaning @ Southbank Centre, London, UK, June 13, 2022

Jun 21, 2022 By James Thornhill

Dry Cleaning played London’s Southbank Centre as part of Grace Jones’ curated Meltdown and Under the Radar was there to see it.

Blog

David Bowie – Reflecting on the 50th Anniversary of “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust…”

David Bowie – Reflecting on the 50th Anniversary of “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust…”

Jun 16, 2022 By Austin Saalman

The apocalypse, as predicted throughout much of art and literature, is to be an extravagant event: the ultimate destruction of an inherently flawed planet, a bombastic pageant of thunder and hellfire, the huddling populace its unwilling centerpiece. David Bowie, while recording his fifth studio album during a tumultuous era not dissimilar to our own, surely recognized this, as the late rock icon’s vision of the end times arrived sprinkled with glitter and wound in spandex.