By its very nature, pop is the least underrated genre of music — if you define underrated-ness by commercial success alone. Sure, a pop star may not live up to sales projections and be dubbed a flop for selling hundreds of thousands of copies, but there’s also the critical side of this specific coin. So ‘underrated’ is a complicated idea. All interpretations of it are on display in this list, which focuses on the last 20 years of pop and covers everything from Charli XCX to Matchbox… Read More
If you’re the sort of person who likes frolicking in the sun, summer days are ace. If, conversely, you’re the sort of person who’s given to hunching beside the AC and occasionally peeking out the window to see if the streets have caught fire, they’re no fun at all. Either way, summer evenings are kinda great — half the time it’s too hot to sleep, but it’s perfect for sitting out on a stoop/rooftop/porch with your friends, drinking beer and listening to some suitably mellow tunes. With that in mind, we’ve got you covered for a playlist — here’s our selection of great songs for lazy summer evenings, along with a Spotify… Read More
Last week we brought you the top 25 albums of 2014 so far, but we couldn’t let the midyear pass without taking a look at the best songs up until this point. This being a singles list, it’s heavy on your Iggys and your Charlis and your Sias, but you’ll also find choice album cuts from some of the year’s best rock LPs, like EMA, The War on Drugs, Against Me!, and more. And finally, we tossed in a few you may not have heard yet, hopefully inspiring you to check out the underrated tunes that haven’t been critical faves or Hot 100… Read More
It’s getting toward the end of June, which means… mid-year list time! It’s been a strange year for music thus far, with plenty to like but relatively little to love, and as a result, our annual state-of-the-year-in-progress list is an eclectic affair, encompassing genres as diverse as studies on an imagined pseudo-China, dystopian futurist pop, food-centric neo-soul, and an epic triple album that’s likely to generate a panic attack and/or an existential crisis. And strangest of all, perhaps, hip hop from… Read More
I’m calling it now: April will be the biggest month of 2014 for indie rock releases. The competition was stiff, and my ears are tired. We’ve got Mac DeMarco, EMA, Cloud Nothings, the return of Afghan Whigs — and that’s just the… Read More
AUSTIN, TX: Kelis’s duck confit sliders bring all the boys to the yard.
Down at South By Southwest, attendees often are reintroduced to familiar faces angling to mount big comebacks and reinventions. Sometimes it doesn’t work — typically because the shows aren’t high-profile enough or the stunts aren’t clever enough to break through… Read More
I could make a list of acts I’m excited to see at SXSW this year: Mark Kozelek, Sylvan Esso, Eagulls, London Grammar, Diarrhea Planet, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Perfect Pussy, Future, Sam Smith, Against Me!, and a lot more I won’t know about until I stumble upon them, tipsily, in the middle of the afternoon.
But half the fun of going to SXSW is improvising when you can’t get into shows or don’t want to deal with lines, in the process seeing artists you normally never would. So instead of focusing on my personal to-do list at SXSW Music, I want to take a look at the topics I expect will garner online chatter this week, once music industry folks and writers alike map out their own highly personalized schedules. Some will focus on the deeply sponsored events, like Lady Gaga performing in a Doritos vending machine, or the entirety of the iTunes Festival, while others will completely eschew the sort of shows that require a badge or even an RSVP. These should cover most of our bases, though. … Read More
With year-end listomania pretty much over and done with, it’s time to turn our attention to the year to come — and, specifically, which albums we’re most looking forward to hearing in 2014. So far, it’s shaping up very nicely indeed, thanks — there’s the return of a whole lot of artists who we’ve been waiting to hear from for up to four-and-a-half decades, along with debuts from exciting new talents. Here’s what’s gonna be on our shopping list once we pay off the debts of the “festive” season. … Read More