Tag: Indie Pop

1998, Music

The Boy With the Arab Strap (1998) by Belle and Sebastian

I have heard a lot about Belle & Sebastian over the years but I guess I never read anything that made me think that I needed to listen to them. Any time I read the word “twee” I certainly get the idea that I won’t like the music being described, whether or not that’s actually …

1998, Music

Electro-Shock Blues (1998) by Eels

I had long heard of Eels but was actually completely unaware I had heard him, as I had never made the connection between “Last Stop: This Town,” which I vaguely remember from High School, and Eels the band name. So all this time I thought Eels was something else but I had actually heard what …

1998, Music

Something About Airplanes (1998) by Death Cab for Cutie

Much of what the world knows as “alternative” is actually post grunge, a subgenre of alternative if we’ve being generous, that has a little in common with alternative and a lot more in common with mainstream rock music. Much of what people now seem to dislike about alternative rock music and its brief dominance of …

1998, Music

Whitechocolatespaceegg (1998) by Liz Phair

Phair is a strong songwriter, she writes catchy songs with lyrics that are above average. (I often liken her to PJ Harvey at times, given both have a penchant for writing lyrics from the perspective of other people. Sure, many lyricists do that but they are explicit about it.)

1993, Music

Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements (1993) by Stereolab

I am familiar with what one might call “peak” Stereolab, the sound of the band in the mid 19990s. They are not a band I particularly enjoy but they are a band I respect, given their pretty much utterly unique fusion of styles. (They basically have their own genre, in many ways. And I wouldn’t …

1993, Music

Perfect Teeth (1993) by Unrest

Imagine if Television were really an indie pop band with an occasional female lead singer and maybe you get some idea of what Unrest sound like on this record. Not really, actually, as that’s a pretty poor comparison for many of the songs here, but it’s the best I can do at the moment.

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 Wolfe Island Music Festival (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.

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 …

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.