Tag: Indie Pop

2018, Music

Black Inscription (2018) by Rabbit Rabbit

One of the things I love about this band is that I never know what their next record is going to sound like. They normally release one track a month but I always wait until the full album comes out, making the whole thing more of a surprise.

1987, Music

Calenture (1987) by The Triffids

I can’t speak for the Australian critics, but i feel like the American critics who went gaga over this record are guilty of a fairly common problem, where they over-hype a band from a “smaller” English-speaking country like Australia or Canada when if the same band appeared in the US or the UK they might …

1997, Music

Tone Soul Evolution (1997) by The Apples in Stereo

I am not very familiar with Elephant 6 but, to the extent that I am, I am familiar with weird, idiosyncratic indie pop bands, with a big emphasis on the “indie.” I assumed that Apples in Stereo would be along the same lines as the other Elephant 6 bands but, at least based upon this …

1997, Music

Dots and Loops (1997) by Stereolab

Stereolab do their thing. It’s a very particular thing that sounds like no one else and, for that, they should be commended. They invented this kind of fusion of lounge, krautrock and pop, and that’s to their credit.

1997, Music

When I Was Born for the 7th Time (1997) by Cornershop

I really appreciate the genre-bending of this record. Even though mixing Indian music with western popular music was a thing a full thirty years before this record came out, it feels like that part of psychedelia was the least popular (or accessible) to all the bands that were influenced by the genre. For the most …

1987, Music

Strangeways, Here We Come

To say I dislike The Smiths would be an understatement. I don’t hate them so much as I hate the aura around them and this idea that they somehow saved British music from itself (and synthesizers! don’t forget the synthesizers), almost like a younger, hipper Bruce Springsteen (because Springsteen saved rock music from disco, don’t …

1987, Music

Darklands (1987) by The Jesus and Mary Chain

The UK has a long, weird tradition of hilariously opinionated and antagonistic rock front men who bash other musicians and other people and then make wussy music; the Reids, Morrissey, the Gallaghers (I’m sure there are many more). That shouldn’t matter, really, but I find it harder to accept pop music (and poppier rock) on …

1997, Music

Either-Or (1997) by Elliott Smith

The problem with hype is that it makes you have expectations that can never be met. And, for some reason, the the death of someone just makes this so much worse, but in retrospect. Once a beloved musician dies, everything they ever made becomes a masterpiece and must be held up as proof as the …

1996, Music

Music from The Unrealized Film Script Dusk at Cubist Castle (1996) by The Olivia Tremor Control

This is a rather ridiculous record that asks us to indulge this band’s impulses immediately. This is a debut album and yet it’s a double LP length and it’s full of 10 tracks with the same name and numerous experiment that could have been cut. When these guys want to write songs, they’re pretty good …

2015, Music

The 2015 Wolfe Island Music Festival August 7-8, 2015

The annual pilgrimage to WIMF got off to a bit of an uneven start but ended up being one of the better festivals I have attended over the last half decade or so. On Friday night, we arrived to catch the end of Daniel Romano’s rather sedate country set. Romano had been to WIMF a …

2014, Music

Rabbit Rabbit Radio, Vol. 2 – Swallow Me Whole (2014) by Rabbit Rabbit

This second collection of a year of “one song a month” is considerably more accessible and poppier than the last set. The songs are hookier, the production cleaner/more contemporary (featuring electronic beats on a lot of the tracks), and everything is less weird. (So much more accessible I told my brother about them.) There are …

2010, Music

…Featuring Norah Jones (2010)

This is a compilation of some (though apparently far from all) of Norah Jones’ guest appearances after she became a star. (Though some feel more like duets.) I guess it’s a way for people to see what else she’s doing? I don’t know.Because the thing about this is that there’s a lot of different genres, …

1998, Music

The Best of James (1998)

I’m not going to go into how I got my hands on this, but let’s just say it wasn’t a deliberate decision; it literally fell into my lap.And I had no idea who James was until I heard that hit single I remembered from my youth (“Laid”) and I was like “Oh, these guys.” And …

2014, Music

Bands and Artists I Couldn’t Even Listen to in 2014

A few years ago I gave up listening to Exclaim!’s album previews both as part of my boycott of the magazine and also because I felt like so much of the music was so very similar. I have tried to replace that listening habit with NPR’s “First Listen“, but I have not been wholly successful …

2014, Music

TV on the Radio Live at the Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto November 12, 2014

Natasha Kmeto was the opener. A singer with a laptop and a small keyboard, she initially appeared to actually be more of a DJ, but that turned out to be just an extended intro to her first song. She piled various different beats and loops on top of each other, with the odd melody line …

2014, Music

Swans and St. Vincent Live at Yonge and Dundas Square, June 20th, 2014 (North by Northeast)

The last time I was at one of the North by Northeast free concerts at Yonge and Dundas Square, everything was late, so this time I stupidly showed up late for Swans, expecting them to be late.

2013, Music

Wolfe Island Music Festival 2013

This was my third year attending the Wolfe Island Music Festival (WIMF) and though I can’t say that I found it as musically entertaining as previous years I had a good time as always at pretty much the only festival I manage to get my ass too.

2012, Music

Wolfe Island Music Festival 2012

This is my second year attending the Wolfe Island Music Festival, the 14th edition. Just like last year, I attended even though it is not really full of bands I would normally seek out. I like the vibe (how it is completely different from seeing something in Toronto, for example) and I have always liked …

1986, Music

The Queen is Dead (1986, Rough Trade) by the Smiths

I usually don’t have trouble liking rock I’m “supposed” to like (i.e. the generally accepted rock canon). I can’t say the same about pop I’m supposed to “like” (frankly, I just prefer inventiveness, grit, rhythm and other such things to melody, aesthetic angles to precision arrangements, appropriate to clean production and mixing, etc). I usually …

2007, Music

The Autumn Defense (2007)

Where do I begin? I had really high expectations because this is a Wilco side project. Even though I dislike Sansone’s on-stage arena rock posturing, I appreciate what he contributes to the group in studio. And Stirratt has always played a part in the band; his one song I really like. So I figured I would find …

2005, Music

Live it Out by Metric (Last Gang 2005)

This is better than the debut. I am aware of the guitarist! He’s still not anything to pay attention to but at least he had a fill or two. Amazing. I still don’t like her lyrics. I don’t like when they try to sound like Stereolab but new wavy. I don’t like when they try …

2003, Music

Old World Underground, Where are You Now? by Metric (Last Gang 2003)

I can’t really write anything positive about this because…there’s nothing to write home about. Haines has a good voice – not a great voice but a good voice. She is not a particularly great keyboardist, relying on some pretty straight forward synth lines and using effects more than her actual playing to do anything. I …