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Under the Radar Announces Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue with The Flaming Lips on the Cover

Issue 59 Also Includes Interviews with The Avalanches, Death Cab for Cutie, The Divine Comedy, Rose Elinor Dougall, Foxygen, Jagwar Ma, Jim Jarmusch, Jens Lekman, Mogwai, My Morning Jacket, The Radio Dept., R.E.M., Savages, Weyes Blood, and Much More

Dec 30, 2016 The Avalanches Photography by George Salisbury Bookmark and Share

Under the Radar is excited to announce the full details of our joint Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue, which is out now digitally via Under the Radar’s app and the magazine app Readly. The print version is about to ship out to subscribers and stores and will be on all newsstands soon (as well as available soon digitally via the magazine apps Zinio and Readbug). The issue celebrates the best albums of 2016, reflects on Under the Radar‘s 15th anniversary and albums released in 2001, looks forward to albums due out in early 2017, and features The Flaming Lips on the cover. There’s also a big article examining how the music industry has changed in the last 15 years and in our Artist Survey section various musicians comment on the music and events of 2016.

The issue also features interviews with The Avalanches, Death Cab for Cutie, The Divine Comedy, Dntel, Rose Elinor Dougall, Foxygen, Jagwar Ma, Jim Jarmusch, Jens Lekman, Mogwai, My Morning Jacket, The Radio Dept., R.E.M., Savages, Surfer Blood, Weyes Blood, and more.


The issue features two cover stories.

The Flaming Lips

There is an in-depth 3,800-word cover story article on The Flaming Lips’ new album, Oczy Mlody, in which we speak to band’s Wayne Coyne and Steve Drozd about its creation, how the band has stayed relevant for so many decades, and where they are at now. George Salisbury photographed Coyne for the cover exclusively for Under the Radar in Oklahoma City and Matt Fink wrote the article. The cover is an homage to the cover of Under the Radar‘s third issue, in 2002, which also featured Coyne on our cover with a bloody face and outstretched hand (in honor of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots).

“It’s better to make ridiculous music than to make boring music, so we’ll always pick anything that lets us be more ridiculous and more different.” - Wayne Coyne

“[Oczy Mlody is] probably the most dynamic record we’ve made. It’s lower, fatter, bigger, crispier, and brighter.” - Wayne Coyne

Winning to Lose: The Indie Rock Revolution a Decade and a Half Later

Matt Fink has put together an in-depth and expansive article that charts how the music industry has changed in the last 15 years-how the Internet has shifted everything for better and worse, and how genres have continued to blur. The article is a conversation about indie rock’s identity crisis that incorporates brand new interviews with The Avalanches’ Tony Di Blasi, Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew, The Cardigans’ Nina Persson, The Dears’ Murray Lightburn, Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy, Dntel’s Jimmy Tamborello, Interpol’s Paul Banks, The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, Jens Lekman, Les Savy Fav’s Tim Harrington, Pixies’ Black Francis, Polyvinyl Records’ Matt Lunsford, Saddle Creek Records’ Robb Nansel, Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, and Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart.

“On many levels, indie music is totally dead and has been for a really long time.” - Murray Lightburn of The Dears

“The idea that your song might be in a TV commercial was preposterous for a band like us when we formed.” - Tim Harrington of Les Savy Fav

“Now the embracing of Top 40 music, like your Rihannas and Drakes and Beyoncés, is surprising to me.” - Colin Meloy of The Decemberists

“I think it was more thrilling when you weren’t allowed to [make pop music], and you did it anyway. Now everyone is allowed to do whatever they want.” - Jens Lekman

“I can spend a couple years working on something, and it feels like no matter what, once you put it out it’s blown away in the wind in a week, if you’re lucky.” - Jimmy Tamborello of Dntel and The Postal Service

“We feel very grateful that we were able to come of age and make what will most assuredly be our most successful and popular albums when people were still buying records.” - Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service

“It’s not that it isn’t a great thing to have access to music, but we should pay for the services that we get and pay a fair price, but we live in a world where everything has to be 50 percent off.” - Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab

“The music industry used to be run by music people, but now it’s just run by people with MBAs. It’s just a business.” - Tony Di Blasi of The Avalanches

“I don’t think it’s better for all types of groups, but it’s definitely a better time for us.” - Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips


Under the Radar‘s very first print issue came out in December 2001 and thus in our special 15th Anniversary section we interview artists who released great albums in 2001. We talk to Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard about The Photo Album. Dntel’s Jimmy Tamborello reflects on Life is Full of Possibilities. Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite discusses Rock Action. My Morning Jacket’s Jim James digs into At Dawn. And, in a rare interview, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck looks back on Reveal.

“I know people who that’s their favorite album of ours, and I would never try to convince anyone otherwise, but when I think of that in the context of our catalog, it’s my second least favorite album.” - Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie on The Photo Album

“By the time we got to Rock Action, we had opportunities that we hadn’t had before. Maybe subconsciously we felt like we’d never get the chance again, so we wanted to try those things.” - Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai on Rock Action

“We were just so green and just such infants, we didn’t really know anything about professional recording or anything like that.” - Jim James of My Morning Jacket on At Dawn

“[Reveal] has a Jimmy Webb and Glenn Campbell vibe with a Krautrock filter.” - Peter Buck of R.E.M. on Reveal


In this section we interview some of the artists who are putting out albums in early 2017, including our cover artists The Flaming Lips, as well as Rose Elinor Dougall, Foxygen, Jens Lekman, and Surfer Blood.

“My life was incredibly unstable at the time [of recording the album]. Both emotionally and practically.” - Rose Elinor Dougall

“We were thinking of it a lot more like a film and what the soundtrack to that film would be.” - Jonathan Rado of Foxygen

“I’ve always loved the idea of growing old with my listeners and my fans, because I can write about things that have happened in my life, and they can probably relate to it in one way or another.” - Jens Lekman

“When we were all sitting there together at [Thomas’] memorial, we realized he wasn’t on some retreat getting care. He was really gone.” - John Paul Pitts of Surfer Blood

BEST OF 2016

We close the book on 2016 with our Top 100 Albums of 2016 list and interviews with artists who released great albums in 2016, artists we didn’t already interview in 2016. The section includes interviews with The Avalanches on their 16-years-in-the-making sophomore album, Jagwar Ma, The Radio Dept., Savages, Weyes Blood, and film director Jim Jarmusch on his acclaimed movie Paterson.

“We could have tweaked [the album] for years. We could still be doing it now.” - Tony Di Blasi of The Avalanches

“The romance of the drug-addled, struggling artist has never appealed to us.” - Jono Ma of Jagwar Ma

“I don’t like regimentation.” - Jim Jarmusch

“We weren’t born to be on stage. We’re quite shy and get really nervous.” - Johan Duncanson of The Radio Dept.

“When you’re facing death, whether it’s denying your friend is gone or when something catastrophic happens, you just give into life.” - Jehnny Beth of Savages

“Ever since I was a little girl I had raspy, funny voice-low and raspy and weird.” - Natalie Mering of Weyes Blood


For our annual Artist Surveys we emailed the same set of questions to musicians about Trump and the election, 2016’s deaths, self-driving cars, Stranger Things, first kisses, scary movies they shouldn’t have seen as a child, which friends character they are most like, and much more. The section includes interviews with Amber Arcades, Austra, Faris Badwan of Cat’s Eyes and The Horrors, Boxed In, Caveman, The Charlatans, Cursive, Lucy Dacus, The Dears, C Duncan, Sadie Dupuis of Sad13 and Speedy Ortiz, Dutch Uncles, Ezra Furman, Robyn Hitchcock, The Invisible, Justin Lockey of Editors and Minor Victories, Lost Under Heaven (LUH), Lush, Midlake, Phantogram, The Range, Springtime Carnivore, Sunflower Bean, Surfer Blood, TEEN, The Thermals, Nick Valensi of CRX and The Strokes, Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak, and Yuck.

“My mum had to come find us and we were both hiding in the garage in between some dumpsters. We kissed there and then for the first time.” - Annelotte de Graaf of Amber Arcades

“I don’t understand the point of self-driving cars at all, why don’t we just get rid of cars and have self-driving trains to get around instead?” - Katie Stelmanis of Austra

“That [2016] had to take three of music’s brightest stars has been a real thorn in the side of an extremely difficult year.” - Oli Bayston of Boxed In

“When I was in Chile a group of 10 year olds thought I was in One Direction. They surrounded me excitedly and I signed all their school books.” - Faris Badwan of Cat’s Eyes and The Horrors

“My friend was probably 20 at the time and was very drunk. Bowie pulled him aside to make sure he was okay.” - Matthew Iwanusa of Caveman

“Are you sure these interview questions weren’t the ones for Angela Merkel? I can imagine she’s in Berlin wondering why she’s being asked what her favorite music festival is.” - Tim Burgess of The Charlatans

“It seems like the best punk rock is made during times of right-wing control, so hopefully the Trump administration will be good for punk rock.” - Nick Valensi of CRX and The Strokes

“I feel like all news has been subjugated by capitalism and the best way to make a buck is to divide us.” - Tim Kasher of Cursive

“I made up my first kiss so that my friends would think I was cool. I even typed up a fake story about my family’s beach trip where I met a fake boy named Luke that I had a wholesome fake romance with.” - Lucy Dacus

“The unfortunate by-product of [Donald Trump’s] rise to power that’s getting played up in a topical way has only highlighted stuff I was born into as a person of color.” - Murray Lightburn of The Dears

“I personally don’t feel like there are enough out gay role models in the alternative music world.” - C Duncan

“One notable struggle I had was determining whether I was actually a fan of our band or not.” - Duncan Wallis of Dutch Uncles

“[If I was president] I would make every elected official across the board spend 100 days in their representative constituencies with the actual people who voted them in.” - Justin Lockey of Editors and Minor Victories

“I woke up and pretended to still be asleep because I was so excited that someone was kissing me. But it was horrible.” - Ezra Furman

“I dreamt that I was taking cocaine on a submarine in the arctic with Noel and Liam Gallagher.” - Drew MacFarlane of Glass Animals

“We’re merging with our phones now; in a generation they will become implants and then, who knows?” - Robyn Hitchcock

“I got engaged, I’m expecting my first child, and I lost my father. I feel poised between life and death as I contemplate these moments of transformation.” - Dave Okumu of The Invisible

“People get the politicians they deserve. Trump is contemporary culture-or the culture of an empire in decline.” - Ellery Roberts of Lost Under Heaven (LUH)

“I am reminded why I spent 20 years away from being in a band. I’m not motivated by being in the limelight, particularly because an inevitable part of that is also to be in the firing line.” - Miki Berenyi of Lush

“I lost my dog this year. It was way worse than any other loss.” - Eric Pulido of Midlake

“Donald Trump is our president. We are fucked no matter what.” - Sarah Barthel of Phantogram

“AI will very likely bring about a massive job extinction on par with the great depression.” - James Hinton of The Range

“Most of my crushes are cartoon characters.” - Sadie Dupuis of Sad13 and Speedy Ortiz

“My friend dared this boy and me to ‘kiss so much that you switch gum.’ Teenage grossness at its finest!” - Greta Morgan of Springtime Carnivore

“Losing Bowie felt like a meteor hit the planet.” - Julia Cumming of Sunflower Bean

Poltergeist really shook me up, for years I was afraid that a ghost would come out of our TV.” - John Paul Pitts of Surfer Blood

“I’m ready to get off the grid and grow my own food.” - Kristina “Teeny” Lieberson of TEEN

“We went out the whole school year but never kissed with tongue. It was Catholic School after all.” - Kathy Foster of The Thermals

“I saw The Shining when I was WAY too young, and yes, it stuck with me for a long while. I had nightmares for months.” - Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak

“If someone says that Phoebe or Chandler is their favorite [Friends character], I usually decide at that point that our relationship can’t progress any further.” - Max Bloom of Yuck


For our regular last page feature, The End, we ask a different artist the same set of questions about endings and death. Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy is this issue’s participant. He appeared on the cover of Under the Radar‘s second print issue, way back in 2002, in honor of 2001’s Regeneration.

“There is no hell this devil-bloke could devise which could match what is performed on a daily basis in the meat industry.” - Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy


Over 45 CDs, films, TV shows, and comic books are reviewed in the issue, including reviews of releases by:

Childish Gambino
Allison Crutchfield
Rose Elinor Dougall
Dutch Uncles
Brian Eno
The Feelies
The Flaming Lips
Jim James
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
The Last Shadow Puppets
Jens Lekman
Los Campesinos!
Minor Victories
Pissed Jeans
Porcelain Raft
The Radio Dept.
Ty Segall
Shock Machine
Soft Hair
Luke Temple
Fred Thomas
Weyes Blood
Xiu Xiu
The xx


Each issue comes with a digital sampler that is a free download and includes up to 33 MP3s. This issue’s digital sampler includes tracks by, among others:

Thomas Cohen
Douglas Dare
Rose Elinor Dougall
C Duncan
Dutch Uncles
Sam Evian
Alex Izenberg
Jamie Lidell
Los Campesinos!
The Magnetic Fields
Angel Olsen
Porcelain Raft
The Radio Dept.
Shock Machine
Soft Hair
Springtime Carnivore
Surfer Blood
Luke Temple
Fred Thomas
Weyes Blood
Xiu Xiu


The digital version of the issue (available via iTunes, Zinio, Readly, Readbug, and Kindle and for iPads, iPhones, Macs, and PCs) also features extra Artist Surveys. There are surveys not found in the print magazine from Johan Angergård of Club 8 and The Legends, Beverly, EZTV, NZCA Lines, and Jessica Zambri of Mass Gothic and Zambri. Then there are bonus answers from Amber Arcades, The Charlatans, Lucy Dacus, C Duncan, Lush, Springtime Carnivore, and Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak.

“I know it’s completely wrong, but I do feel a certain amount of anger toward the entire country [for voting for Trump].” - Johan Angergård of Club 8 and The Legends

“Aren’t the Biffs of the world supposed to have the best years of their lives behind them? Isn’t it Marty’s turn now??” - Drew Citron of Beverly

“Voters on both sides were victims to separate media echo chambers.” - Lucy Dacus

“We may have to move planet to get away from what is happening politically in the world right now.” - C Duncan

“Is it too early to start talking about a Tim Gunn/Heidi Klum 2020, Project Presidency?” - Michael Stasiak of EZTV

”[Marlon] Brando was so beautiful it made me want to cry.” - Miki Berenyi of Lush

“With so many famous deaths and the election, this year has definitely made the word ‘why’ a bit more bold.” - Jessica Zambri of Mass Gothic and Zambri

“The emails stuff is bullshit, that’s not why people didn’t trust [Hillary Clinton]-it was because they aren’t used to having a woman come out and say what she wants.” - Michael Lovett of NZCA Lines

“David Bowie’s last album, which preceded his death by a mere few days, was a lesson in grace and creativity for all of us.” - Greta Morgan of Springtime Carnivore

“Humanity is going to destroy itself or be destroyed by nature eventually, perhaps even in my lifetime!” - Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak

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December 30th 2016

yass flaming lips <3

If you get a chance check out this track :) https://soundcloud.com/adison-runberg/candy-cane-jello-shots