Tag: Indie Rock


The Swimming Hour by Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire (2001)

I know very little about Andrew Bird. I actually thought he was a jazz musician, confusing him with, um, another Andrew. (Andrew Hill, apparently, which seems ridiculous.) Anyway, eventually I did figure out he was an “indie rock” musician but knew nothing else. Nothing about his principal instrument, nothing about the Squirrel Nut Zippers, nothing.

2001, Music

Musicforthemorningafter (2001) by Pete Yorn

It sure is a good thing I didn’t know anything about Pete Yorn and didn’t read any of the reviews about this album before I started listening to it. Because reading some of the breathless critical acclaim this received would have just about guaranteed that I wouldn’t have liked it. Fortunately, I listened first.

2001, Music

Things We Lost in the Fire (2001) by Low

Low are, to the best of my knowledge, one of those bands that just go out and do their thing over and over and over again. There’s nothing wrong with that necessarily, but it makes dipping in and out of their catalogue a little difficult, because you don’t know which of their albums are really …

1995, Music

Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot (1995) by Sparklehorse

My memory of Good Morning Spider, the only Sparklehorse record I’ve heard before this one, is that it was pretty harrowing stuff. That makes sense, given that part of it is about an overdose. But I guess I was expecting something similar. And though this record definitely has a “sad” vibe at times, I don’t …

2000, Music

All Hands on the Bad One (2000) by Sleater-Kinney

I like this band. I really like their aesthetic and I like their songs. But, at some point, I’ve come to realize that they are an AC/DC type band rather than a band that is concerned with making big artistic strides on each record. (I should probably pick a bett4er comparison given AC/DC’s lyrics, but …

1995, Music

Everything I Long For (1995) by Hayden

Despite being Canadian Hayden has mostly eluded me. (And I’ve, um, seen him live. Seriously.) I don’t know why but I’ve just never taken the time to listen to his albums. I’ve heard some of his songs at friend’s places and, yes, I’ve seen him at a festival. But I’ve never paid much attention and …

1995, Music

Electr-o-Pura (1995) by Yo La Tengo

My biggest issue with many dream pop bands is that they make music that just doesn’t appeal to me, it’s just a not a sound I particularly enjoy. But there is a subgenre of dream pop which includes noisy guitars, and that’s a subgenre I can usually get behind. That’s the world that Yo La …

2000, Music

Figure 8 (2000) by Elliott Smith

I think Elliott Smith is a good songwriter. As I have said when reviewing his other albums, I really don’t get the idea that he is one of the great songwriters of his generation, but he’s certainly very good. His songs are a little too poppy for my tastes, but I can at least appreciate …

1995, Music

Tindersticks [II] (1995)

I’m not sure exactly what it is, but Tindersticks hit me in a place where I am just incapable of disliking them. It’s like Staples et al. just stumbled upon the formula for music I like, and for convincing me that it’s totally okay to release three double LPs to start your career. (If another …

1995, Music

Wild Love (1995) by Smog

My biggest problem with Bill Callahan is just the wild inconsistency from track to track. (I understand that this is why some people like him.) This is only my second Smog album, and this record is arguably just as inconsistent as the other one – full of ideas, many of which are half-baked (third-baked? quarter …

2002, Movies, Music

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (2002, Sam Jones)

As a big fan of Wilco, and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, it’s crazy it took me this many years to watch this movie. But it’s possible that the intervening years gave me some clarity with it, that I might not have had when I was first falling in love with this band (more than a few …

2000, Music

And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out (2000) by Yo La Tengo

I love I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One. I didn’t initially but, over the years, I’ve come to really, really enjoy it and also come to regard it as one of the great indie rock albums of the era. One of the things I love about it is its relative diversity something that …

1995, Music

Throwing Muses: University (1995)

There is so much alternative rock. I guess is true of any genre that was counted among the most popular in the world at a given time, but it feels like this is especially true of alternative. It’s as if, after Nirvana and Pearl Jam and Soundgarden showed it was viable, every single alternative rock …

1999, Music

The Beta Band (1999)

Sometimes you encounter something you don’t know at all and it just stuns you with something special about itself. In this case, it’s the irreverence and the extremely healthy disrespect for genres (which I’m a sucker for) of something like the lead-off track, “The Beta Band Rap”, which I just can’t get over. It takes …

1999, Music

Keep It Like a Secret (1999) by Built to Spill

I think I am predisposed to like every Built to Spill record. There’s something about a good guitar solo or jam that goes straight to my heart. Martsch is such a compelling player that he long ago overcame whatever aversion I would have to his voice, a voice which is not the kind I normally …

1988, Music

American Water (1998) by Silver Jews

Pavement were such a big deal – or seemed like they were such a big deal – that I think it’s really easy to understand why they inevitably come up with this band, even though, according to some sources, this band existed prior to Pavement, and certainly in some iteration or other. But even if …

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 …