Secrets of the White Sea: How M83’s Morgan Kibby Made Pop’s Newest Break-Up Classic

Morgan Kibby, looking like a Manhattan vision of a fourth wife, is trying to eat bacon gracefully. For the most part she’s succeeding — her pot of tea, low-cut cape-blouse, statement jewelry, and effortless mane of black hair help with that. But for those familiar with her music, this study in contrasts feels about right. … Read More

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It’s Time to Retire the Grammys’ “Best Alternative Album” Category

The annals of music history are filled with once-specific genre names that are now functionally meaningless. “Indie rock” and “EDM” are some recent examples, but back in the ’90s, it was “alternative” that got so overused as to become meaningless. In fact, these days it’s a term whose non-nostalgic use is largely limited to various music awards shows — including the Grammys, whose 2013 nominations were announced last night. Perhaps more than ever before, this year’s crop of “Best Alternative Album” picks raises the question: What does “alternative” even mean in 2012? … Read More

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10 Bands That Changed the Sound That Made Them Famous

This week’s most notable release has been Fragrant World, the curiously titled new album from Yeasayer, which came across our desk a couple of weeks back and has been on occasional rotation at Flavorpill central since. Our impressions of the record are that it sounds basically like its predecessor, 2010’s Odd Blood, and thus nothing like the band’s debut, 2007’s All Hour Cymbals. Given the acclaim that their debut received, it’s curious and rather disappointing that Yeasayer have moved away from its wide-eyed eclecticism toward a more conventional sound. Still, they’re hardly the first band to change the sound that brought them to the public’s attention — we’ve put together a selection for your reading delectation after the jump. … Read More

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Lollapalooza 2012: The Festival in Photos

Last summer, formerly roaming, currently Chicago-based festival Lollapalooza celebrated its 20th anniversary. This past weekend, Perry Farrell’s brainchild barreled into its third decade, once again taking over Grant Park (and most of the surrounding area) with three days of marquee headliners, upstart buzz bands, and plenty of sun, food, and eventually, the requisite mud. Saturday’s installment saw a bit of a hitch, as the entire site was evacuated when a massive thunderstorm descended on the city; fortunately, the event resumed three hours later, with the mass exodus both out of and into the site handled remarkably well.

Nature’s wrath aside, it was another banner year for Lolla. Among the highlights were main stage sets from Florence + The Machine, Metric, Sigur Rós, and the Black Keys — the latter of whom received a personal introduction from Chicago Mayor (and former White House Chief of Staff) Rahm Emanuel. Jack White closed out the festival with a headlining performance featuring both his alternating all-male and all-female bands. And then there was our personal highlight, soul man of the hour, Frank Ocean, whose Saturday night set on the Google Play stage was both a revelation and the perfect reason to steer clear of that night’s main stage acts. Click through for our exclusive photo gallery from the entire weekend, both onsite and off, and if you were there too, share your own favorite moments in the comments. … Read More

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Songs That Sound Like Love Songs But Aren’t

A while back, we did a feature on some of the most misunderstood songs in music, and it’s a topic we’ve been meaning to revisit ever since. Specifically, we’re always interested in the realm of the faux love song, tracks that sound all lovey-dovey at first listen but either conceal deeper meanings or aren’t in fact love songs at all (or, at least, not love songs about people). Whether they’re rude and risqué, sinister, or just plain weird, there are some great songs that fall into this category, and we’ve amused ourselves selecting 10 of them for this feature. If you’ve any to add, the comments section is your friend. … Read More

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10 MP3s You Need to Download for Free This Week: Redd Kross, Yeasayer

It’s Friday, and we’re back with another installment of our regular roundup of downloadable MP3 goodness from around the web. This week there’s a long, long-awaited track from resurgent ’90s icons Redd Kross, a descent to the ocean floor with Bon Iver How to Dress Well, new work from Yeasayer and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, an M83 remix for those not sick of M83, and the answer to the question that’s been bugging everyone: how come they don’t sell batteries on the subway any more? In other words, there’s plenty of interesting sounds awaiting you after the jump, and since they won’t cost a penny or land you an RIAA lawsuit, as your attorneys we advise you to start downloading immediately. … Read More

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10 Free MP3s You Need to Download This Week

It’s Friday, and unlike the rest of Flavorpill, this writer’s not in Austin — instead, it’s time for another installment of our regular roundup of downloadable MP3 goodness from around the web. There’s a new song from Dr. John (if you’re quick), along with interesting M83 and Orbital remixes, plenty of whacked out synths, a dab of psychedelic folk and the return of Owen “Casiotone for the Painfully Alone” Ashworth. In other words, there’s plenty of good sounds awaiting you after the jump, and since they won’t cost a penny or land you an RIAA lawsuit, as your attorneys we advise you to start downloading immediately. … Read More

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What Pitchfork’s Top 10 Songs of 2011 Say About Us

It’s that time of year again, when everyone from New Yorker critics to mp3 bloggers who barely write a single sentence about the songs they post embark upon that great equalizer: the best-of list. This week, Pitchfork has revealed its writers’ 100 favorite tracks of 2011, and as usual, it provides some subliminal insight into where young, indie types’ (we’ll do everyone the favor of not using that word) heads have been over the past 12 months. Indulge us in our overanalysis of what the site’s top 10 songs of the year say about us, after the jump. … Read More

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10 French Bands that Everyone Should Know

As far as French bands go, well, pretty much everyone’s familiar with the likes of Daft Punk and Air and Justice (whose new album is out this week). But that’s not all there is to French music, y’know. The country has given rise to a number of fascinating musical movements over the years, from the modern chanson of the 1960s through the coldwave of the 1980s (check out this excellent compilation if that genre interests you, by the way) and the more recent explosion of French dance music. We’ve put together a list of 10 less well-known French artists who we reckon everyone should know after the jump. (This list focuses on contemporary bands, by the way — i.e. artists who’ve been active over the last 10 to 15 years — which is why we haven’t included Serge Gainsbourg, Barbara, Françoise Hardy et al. Just saying.) … Read More

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