Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, January 27th, 2023  

Album Reviews

One Day

Fucked Up
One Day

Jan 27, 2023 Web Exclusive

Fucked Up’s new record marks a departure from the hefty concept albums for which they’re most revered and adored. While 2011’s David Comes to Life and 2018’s Dose Your Dreams reveled in their magnitude, length, and epic scope, One Day is a brief, brilliant fireworks display of an album, written and largely recorded in the space of a single day.

Honey

Samia
Honey

Jan 26, 2023 Web Exclusive

Samia has already impressed as one of the pandemic’s rising freshman indie pop class, debuting in 2020 with the sunny and melancholic tones of The Baby. Her debut and her follow-up EP, Scout, both cultivated a style that thrived on confession, sweeping melodies, and the gentle glimmer of Samia’s voice, a warm and winning combination that proved easy to love.

Gigi’s Recovery

The Murder Capital
Gigi’s Recovery

Jan 25, 2023 Web Exclusive

Dublin post-punk quintet The Murder Capital are back with an exhilarating second record.

Classic Interviews

Easy Life on Their Debut Album “Life’s a Beach”

Easy Life on Their Debut Album “Life’s a Beach”
The Importance of Being Idle

Jun 08, 2021

In a year when everything seemed to go to pot, Murray Matravers, frontman of Leicester, England-based band Easy Life wrote his chirpy songs for Life’s a Beach—a debut album of pure escapism that doesn’t shy away from darker themes. It taps nicely into our collective need for a holiday from the things that were bringing us down, and in this moment, might be the perfect soundtrack for our journey out of lockdown.

Comic Book Reviews

Tops: The Complete Collection of Charles Biro’s Visionary 1949 Comic Book Series

Tops: The Complete Collection of Charles Biro’s Visionary 1949 Comic Book Series
Fantagraphics

Dec 06, 2022 Web Exclusive

Michael T. Gilbert’s fascinating new tome tells the tragic tale of Tops, the ill-fated “adult magazine of dramatic picture stories.”

Interviews

The Return of Amber Arcades

The Return of Amber Arcades

Jan 19, 2023 Web Exclusive

Amber Arcades are back with a new album next month, so Under the Radar sat down for a chat with Annelotte De Graaf about what she’s been up to.

The Delgados On Reforming And Preparing For The Band’s First Shows In 18 Years

The Delgados On Reforming And Preparing For The Band’s First Shows In 18 Years

Jan 16, 2023 Web Exclusive

Emma Pollock talks about The Delgados getting back together to play their first shows in nearly two decades.

Lists

Under the Radar’s Top 100 Albums of 2022 Part 1

Dec 23, 2022

Are things back to normal in 2022? They are, aren’t they? Well not quite. In the past year we eased out of the pandemic, but COVID-19 is still around and still deadly to some (just look at what’s happening in China, now that their long national lockdown has lifted). The pandemic door has been left ajar, rather than fully closed. We put the chaos for the Trump administration in the rearview only for us to relive it via the very necessary January 6th Commission and the specter of the former president running again in 2024 (if he’s not barred from doing so or even in jail). And while Biden’s administration has been fairly steady and helped lead the Democrats to an unexpectedly strong showing in the midterm elections, over in the UK chaos has reigned with no less than three different prime ministers in one year (Liz Truss being the shortest serving prime ministers in British history), the death of the Queen, strikes across the country, and a recent poll having a majority of Brits admitting that Brexit was a mistake.

Those of us who grew up during the tale end of the Cold War and the beginning of perestroika have not been totally surprised that Russia has become a major adversary to the West again in the last decade, but it was still shocking when Russian President Vladimir Putin followed through with his threats to invade Ukraine. On top of the terrible toll on the Ukrainian people and its extraordinary President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the war has destabilized financial markets worldwide and helped lead to massive inflation, with all this talk from financial experts of a possible recession next year seemingly willing such a thing into existence.

After the last few years of the pandemic and all the political upheaval worldwide, the massive right and left divisions in this country and in others, it leaves one wondering if the events of every single year felt this monumental to our younger selves and to our ancestors. Certainly there have been other eras of even greater turmoil (World War II, the 1960s), but will things ever feel truly normal again?

Musicians continued to find their footing in 2022, with live shows and festivals pretty much back to normal and free of major COVID restrictions. Still, many musicians were finding it more expensive than ever to tour this year, in large part because of inflation, but also because of the unfair financial cuts some venues were taking of merchandise sales. With it being hard for indie artists to make much money from streaming or record sales in recent years, this year touring also became a less reliable source of income, with bands such as Animal Collective cancelling whole tours because they knew they’d lose money. 2022 also saw a slew of albums written and recorded during the pandemic, with some lyrics betraying their lockdown inspiration. Ben Gibbard, for example, sang about missing strangers on Death Cab For Cutie’s return-to-form, Asphalt Meadows, a lyric likely written at a time when interacting with strangers could prove deadly.

Asphalt Meadows lands at #12 on Under the Radar’s Top 100 Albums of 2022 list. Prior to June 2021, we had never even heard of the band that made it to #1 on our list, so meteoric was their rise. The rest of the list is filled with some familiar faces to be sure, but some other debut albums are peppered throughout our Top 100. To arrive at such a list, 23 of our writers and editors (including myself and my co-publisher/wife Wendy Redfern) submitted ballots of their 45 favorite albums of 2022, listed in order of preference from first to last. They were submitted via a Google Sheets spreadsheet that helped tabulate the eventual list. An album had to be picked by at least three or four writers to make the list (19 of our writers had our #1 album on their list and it was the clear winner of the vote, getting 100 more points than our #2). Then we worked out the Top 94 albums and held a separate vote to determine which albums should round out the bottom six, with our writers deciding between 21 albums that could make the bottom of the list. Some albums that almost made the list include (in no particular order) ones by GIFT, Tomberlin, Crack Cloud, Broken Bells, Skullcrusher, Sam Prekop and John McEntire, Just Mustard, Florence + The Machine, Warpaint, Cheekface, The Weeknd, Maggie Rogers, Craig Finn, The Orielles, and My Idea. Consider those honorable mentions.

As the next year dawns, I’ve already heard some January to March albums that will surely make our Top 100 Albums of 2023 list. It’s already shaping up to be another great year for new music. But it’s been exhausting living through history, so can 2023 please just be a boring year?




Cinema Reviews

Shayda

Shayda

Jan 27, 2023 Web Exclusive

Shayda is a heart-wrenching, if not somewhat familiar, tale about a woman trying to escape abuse and create a better life for herself and her child.

Television Reviews

Blockbuster

Blockbuster
Netflix, November 3, 2022

Nov 07, 2022 Web Exclusive

The irony of the streaming service that demolished Blockbuster creating a show that points to nostalgia for the very concept it killed is thankfully not lost on the makers of Blockbuster, a new ten-part workplace comedy from creator Vanessa Ramos.