indie rock

"Relay Runner" - Loma

"Relay Runner" - Loma

Sounds Like:

The pressing sense of urgency and dread, of natural sounds and industrial clatter

Why You Should Care:

During Shearwater’s Jet Plane and Oxbow tour in 2016 and 2017, the opening act was the husband-and-wife Austin duo Cross Record, made of Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski. In comparison with the drive and electrified energy of Shearwater in its most direct mode, Cross Record in concert tends toward the amorphous, moving only infrequently toward rock structures with Cross singing over Duszynski’s multitracked guitars, keyboards, and assorted electronics.

Despite the differences in approach, the tour must have been a companionable one, because Shearwater singer and guitarist Jonathan Meiburg has put Shearwater on a friendly hiatus and joined Cross Record in a new project called Loma. 

Loma’s second single “Relay Runner” opens with field recordings of frogs fading into a naggingly insistent industrial drumbeat. Emily Cross’s vocals take on an increasing sense of the desperation to escape. The track devolves into Meiburg’s heavily processed guitar and the continued thumping rhythm, producing an overall feeling of urgency and dread. “I find a needle in the night / I'm at the bottom of the lake / I'm coming up again / I'm throwing everything away.”

Loma will be released February 18, 2018, on Sub Pop Records.


“Doors” - The CooLots

“Doors” - The CooLots

Sounds Like:

An eclectic mix of Jimi Hendrix and rhythmic soul

Why You Should Care:

Listening to the CooLots reminds you of the diversity and talent of the Washington, DC music scene. Straddling genres from rock to soul to alternative, the CooLots bring together powerful vocals with such emotion and energy that each track they put out has a distinct personality. The only thing you expect from this band is that each track will surprise you with its ability to personify the intersection of many genres in a cohesive way.

The opening track to their new album Rebirth, “Doors” begins with a guitar riff reminiscent of a Foo Fighters or early Pearl Jam song, then opens up with the vocals and powerful rhythm section that harness the power of nearly every member of this incredibly diverse and talented band. “Doors” talks about the power of doors to lock you in, or unleash you to the world. The CooLots attempt to do the same thing with their music — tempting listeners to try a new genre or mix of styles they have not heard before.


"Up and Down" - Wavves and Culture Abuse

"Up and Down" - Wavves and Culture Abuse

Sounds Like:

Driving to the beach, sand (somehow) already between your toes.

Why You Should Care:

Wavves emerged onto the indie scene in 2008, just as pop-punk had returned to its favored noisy and apathetic roots. Since then, Nathan Williams’ band has done an excellent job combining his natural punk feel with the dreamy undertones of current alternative music.

Here, Wavves collaborates with a somewhat newer punk band, Culture Abuse, whose sound could easily be mistaken for Wavves, if not for the cadence and thick baritone voice of frontman David Kelling. Keller and Williams complement each other well vocally, singing the low and high vocal parts on this (rather short) slacker anthem.

A steady, no-frills, flat-out California rock tune the Lords of Dogtown might head-bang to, you can hear "Up and Down," and more, live as Wavves embarks on a late-2017 tour of the U.S. with Joyce Manor opening — along with Culture Abuse, at select venues.


“Body Memory” — Björk

“Body Memory” — Björk

Sounds Like:

“Threading an ocean through a needle” — Björk

Why You Should Care:

You could make a sound argument for any moment in Björk’s long and evolving career as a musical icon. Her escalating musical complexity and embrace of different styles and technologies (in artful ways, never as a gimmick) stem from her pouring her entire heart into every last moment of a project, using the flow of her own life as a lyrical and musical guide.

Björk’s’s latest, Utopia, has been widely cited as a comeback from the “breakup” vibes of 2015’s Vulnicura. The recurring theme is of her re-engaging with a part of the self that she had lost during her separation and estrangement from long-time partner Michael Barney — namely her sensual self. “Body Memory” could represent the whole 14-track (71 minutes, 38 seconds) epic poem on its own, structurally and sonically, with light, airy flutes supported by intensifying rhythmic breaks (almost like memories) as the song develops.

With its lyrical undercurrent of being “trapped in a legal harness,” “Body Memory” is as literal as Björk ever gets, alluding to the pain of her separation before embracing the excitement and chaos of love life head-on again.

“Body Memory” was released on Utopia on November 24, 2017. Experience this song on your next snowy mountain road trip.


Episode 324: Automatic For The People - R.E.M. [Discologist]

Episode 324: Automatic For The People - R.E.M. [Discologist]

After the surprise success of their thoroughly weird and seismic shift in their sound on their 1992 Grammy-winning LP Out Of Time, Athens, Georgia's R.E.M., promised a loud, raucous follow up. What they delivered instead was a monument to the joys of melancholy, loss, and the never-ending quest for beauty in the world. 1994's Automatic For The People, seen by many as the high point of the band's career, cemented their status as rock-and-roll legend's, and it's humanity still resonates today, twenty-five years later. 

Join us as we look back on this modern masterpiece and explore how it's meaning has changed for our panel of superfans so many years later, why some of its messages are MORE important today, and much more. 


"Get Right" - Weezer

"Get Right" - Weezer

Sounds Like:

A return to the Weezer of the early 2000s

Why You Should Care:

Weezer’s 11th studio album Pacific Daydream is an ode to the band’s California roots, full of exuberant pop-rock that fans of the band have come to expect from the band, and a return to the production from their 1990s heyday. While some of the other songs on the album feel overglossed and primed for radio play, “Get Right” is a pleasant departure that hits the right balance

Throughout “Get Right” Cuomo speaks to a feeling of being alone and thinking about what might have been. While the lyrics take a darker and more contemplative tone, the upbeat tambourine, strong bassline, and Beach Boys-style backup vocals give the song the impact of a classic Weezer tune.

One thing is for sure. Weezer has not lost its ability to get a strong hook stuck in your head —  “Get Right” is a song you will be bopping along to long after it has ended.


Japanese Breakfast @ Black Cat - 9/7/2017

Japanese Breakfast @ Black Cat - 9/7/2017

At this point, it’s safe to say that Japanese Breakfast is no longer just a curious side project of Little Big League’s Michelle Zauner. On night 1 of her headlining tour across America (and soon, Europe), Zauner explained that opening for other artists like Slowdive and Mitski has been great, but headlining in support of her well-received sophomore album Soft Sounds from Another Planet is even greater. "I've felt like a bridesmaid for the last year and a half - that's why I'm wearing white tonight." 


Arcade Fire @ Capital One Arena - 9/16/2017

Arcade Fire @ Capital One Arena - 9/16/2017

The penultimate song on The Suburbs was an inflection point for Arcade Fire. The track, “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains),” featured an exuberant Regine Chassagne on vocals over a retro-glossy synth-pop track. It suggested that her real comfort zone was not in aspirational arena-filling anthems, but on the dance floor. Although the album went on to win Album of the Year at the Grammys, the sound that Arcade Fire was known for changed in line with the new musical times - more “Sprawl II” than “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels).” Their latest album Everything Now signaled that it wasn’t just a phase - the title track and other tracks are more danceable than anything in their back catalog but at the expense of the anthemic qualities of their earlier work.


REVIEW: Dum Dum Girls - End of Daze

On their 2011 album, Only in Dreams, the Dum Dum Girls took a major step forward in their development as a band, deepening their sound and moving beyond the polished stylistic sheen that had largely characterized their earlier work.  However, the power of the album was largely rooted in lead singer Dee Dee’s experiences coping with the death of her grandmother and long, tour related separations from her husband (Brandon Welchez of Crocodiles).  Due to the singular nature of these experiences, it was unclear at the time whether Dreams would represent the beginning of an ongoing stylistic evolution for the Girls, or wind up as an inspired aberration.

Fortunately, the new EP puts those concerns to rest as it builds on the more nuanced arrangements and personal themes introduced in Only in Dreams while providing a degree of closure missing from that earlier effort.  Dreams ended with the heartbreaking “Hold Your Hand,” a song that explicitly describes the helplessness of watching a loved one pass away.  Indeed, the last words sung by Dee Dee on the album were “But there’s nothing I can do/But hold your hand/til the very end/til the very end.”  In many ways, End of Daze can be seen as the natural conclusion to Dreams (The title itself indicates as much), cauterizing the ragged emotional wounds laid bare on that LP and pointing the way to a (hopefully) brighter future. 


TRACKING: Titus Andronicus - "In A Big City"

SOUNDS LIKE: Emotional The Hold Steady, early Replacements, thrasher Bruce Sprinsteen
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Punk rock has never sounded so good or used as many big words 

One thing that you’ll never be able to say about Titus Andronicus is they’re afraid to go full on epic. On 2010's The Monitor, most of the songs come in just under the eight minute mark, with closing track “The Battle of Hampton Roads” clocking in at a whopping fourteen fist pumping minutes. This group from New Jersey loves to show us their chops, and on the new single "In A Big City," they're just warming up for a new installment of raucous ballads and lots of yelling.

While their approach to music is simple, front man Patrick Stickle’s songwriting is full of complex story lines and developed musical interludes. Piano breakdowns and poetry readings frequented The Monitor, and "In A Big City" finds the band as literary as ever, delivering mouthfuls of lyrics over has your plethora of in-your-face vocals and driving drum tracks: "I grew up on one side of the river/ I was a disturbed dangerous drifter/Moved over to the other side of the river/ Now I'm a drop in a deluge of hipsters." 

In releasing this single and revealing the album artwork for the upcoming Local Business earlier this week, the band stated "For those of you who would prefer to judge a record by its cover, well, we are prepared to accommodate you too." That punk spirit runs deep through Titus Andronicus’ music and with anticipation is officially building for Local Business, out October 22nd, all we have to say is bring it on boys. Bring it on.