Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, January 22nd, 2022  

Album Reviews

The Overload

Yard Act
The Overload

Jan 21, 2022 Issue #69 - 20th Anniversary Issue

Leeds, England outfit Yard Act, who consist of former Post War Glamour Girls frontman James Smith (vocals) and Menace Beach’s Ryan Needham (bass), unleash a savagely brilliant debut album in the form of The Overload. Smith and Needham are joined by Sam Shjipstone (guitar) and Jay Russell (drums) as they shine a light on the fractured nature of society with a mixture of acerbic wit and deadpan ennui.

The Gods We Can Touch

AURORA
The Gods We Can Touch

Jan 20, 2022 Web Exclusive

There’s a certain magical parity that exists between Aurora Aksnes’ airy physical appearance and her alluring musical complexion.

The Boy Named If

Elvis Costello & The Imposters
The Boy Named If

Jan 19, 2022 Web Exclusive

At this point in Elvis Costello’s long, storied, 45 year professional career, it’s a cliche to label any new album of his that sounds like this to be his best since *fill in the blank* or his first “rock” album since that same *fill in the blank* or a different, earlier album.

Comic Book Reviews

Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero

Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero
DC

Dec 24, 2021 Web Exclusive

Growing up in a rundown urban area of Gotham City, teenager Willow is faced by many a challenge: her unemployed, Jewish, single-parent mother is suffering from cancer, there is little money to support them, and Willow is particularly concerned about not only the plight of a stray dog she names Lebowitz but also about her deprived school and community which she stages protests to improve.

Book Reviews

The Listening Party


The Listening Party

Dec 24, 2021 Web Exclusive

Tim’s Twitter Listening Party was one of the few bright parts of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when the world was in full lockdown in early to mid 2020. Tim Burgess, frontman for the Madchester/Britpop band The Charlatans, came up with the simple idea—having musicians live tweet while fans collectively all listen to one of their albums at a preset time—after seeing actor Riz Ahmed spontaneously tweet along in 2011 to his film Four Lions.

Interviews

Writer/Director Wes Hurley on His New Film “Potato Dreams of America”

Writer/Director Wes Hurley on His New Film “Potato Dreams of America”

Jan 21, 2022 Web Exclusive

For those living in Seattle, Washington or the Pacific Northwest, at large, the name Wes Hurley carries significant weight. He created the series, Capitol Hill, which starred a number of big name drag, burlesque, and boylesque performers in the region, from Waxie Moon to Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme. He has an eye for drama, direction, and talent.

Joe Pera Talks Comedy, Growing Up, and Breakfast

Joe Pera Talks Comedy, Growing Up, and Breakfast

Jan 20, 2022 Web Exclusive

If you were only to listen to the voice of Joe Pera, you might think he was 77-years-old. He’s patient, measured. He says “I don’t know” a lot. He talks about how eggs should be cooked, his comfortable shoes, the falling snow. He’s not a carnival barker or used car salesman in his orientation to his audience. Rather, he’s like a trusted neighbor.

Pleased to meet you

Yard Act on Their Debut Album “The Overload”

Jan 21, 2022 Issue #69 - 20th Anniversary Issue

Amusing characters populate some of the songs of Leeds, England post-punk four-piece Yard Act, including those on their debut album, The Overload. Midway through the album’s title track, frontman and wordsmith James Smith sings from the perspective of Graham, who dispenses unwelcome advice about how they’d be “better off kicking that dickhead singer you’ve got in out the band” and should stick to covers and avoid political lyrics, especially if they want to perform at a pub called The Grand run by a landlord named Fat Andy.

Lists

Under the Radar’s Top 100 Albums of 2021 Part 1

Jan 07, 2022

For many in America and around the world, when 2021 began they were in a state of uncertainty. The pandemic still raged and the chaotic Trump presidency was coming to an end (even if you supported the policies of the former president, it’s hard to argue that his term wasn’t turbulent). In January 2021 vaccines were on the horizon, but not widely available yet and it was unclear how and when any of us would get a shot. It was also up to speculation as to how peaceful the transition of power from President Trump to then-president-elect Biden would be, given the former’s “big lie” about a supposed stolen election. And only a few days into the new year, January 6 to be precise, it was clear that the transition would not be orderly at all, when Trump supporters stormed the capitol in a previously unthinkable display of insurrection (a term I’d in the past thought of as simply the title of one of the lesser Star Trek movies). For music fans and musicians, at the start of 2021 there was anxiety as to when live music would be able to return, with many music venues barely hanging on. It also seemed that some notable artists were holding back from releasing already completed albums until touring was a possibility again.

Alas, when 2021 ended there was still much uncertainty. While many of us did our part and got vaccinated (and even boosted). While kids as young as five could get a shot in time for Christmas. While there was a brief period where going to a concert, a movie, and the grocery store seemed safe, even without masks on perhaps. But then along came the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and, despite it sounding like the name of a friendly Transformer, the mutation spiked everyone’s pandemic anxiety again. Is it safe to send kids to school, even if they are masked and vaccinated? The Grammys have been postponed indefinitely and will major music festivals and tours be next?

The best that can be said about 2021 then is that it wasn’t as bad as 2020, which for many in the post 9/11 generation might be considered their most trying year. We were able to get vaccinated. Kids were able to go back to school (virtual learning was tough on kids, parents, and teachers). Long delayed movies came out (Daniel Craig finally got his tear-inducing Bond swansong). Some vacations were taken. Politics in Washington got somewhat boring again under Biden. The economy was doing better. But life was far from being back to normal and fear set it in that the pandemic world was going to be the new normal much longer than hoped.

2021 was at least a fruitful year for new music. Some released albums were partially or fully recorded pre-2020, others were written and recorded under lockdown. Herein is a list of the 100 new albums we most loved in 2021, records that helped get us through another tough year. We fully acknowledge that we’re late to the best-of-2021 party. We had other considerations in the last quarter of 2021, such as finishing and putting out our special double 20th Anniversary Issue and finalizing and announcing our 20th anniversary Covers of Covers album, both of which took precedence over working out exactly what our favorite albums of the year were. Plus, we long for the days when music websites posted albums of the year lists in late December or even early January, instead of late November/early December.

For those curious about the process: each of our writers were asked to submit a list of their Top 45 albums of 2021. They had to be new albums (not reissues) first released in 2021. Beforehand we collectively came up with a nominations list and most of their choices had to come from that list, but the writers were allowed to include some other albums too. For an album to make the Top 100 at least three different writers needed to have it on their lists. Nineteen different writers and editors voted and the number one and number two albums were each picked by 17 different writers and most of the Top 75 were picked by at least six different writers. Then via a magic of math and an Excel document, it was all calculated into the list you find now.

Here’s hoping that 2022 will a much less eventful year than the last two, boring even, but that the music is just as good.

Blog

Meat Loaf, 1947-2022

Meat Loaf, 1947-2022

Jan 21, 2022 By Austin Trunick

Meat Loaf, the legendary singer and actor who made his mark in the 1970s, passed away last night at age 74. His 1977 album Bat Out of Hell remains one of the best selling records of all time. As an actor, he had memorable performances in Rocky Horror Picture Show, Fight Club, Wayne’s World, Leap of Faith, Focus, and more. His death was reported via an official post on his Facebook page.