"Sometimes you can't be new, but it's worth a try," Cullen Omori sings on "Synthetic Romance," one of the many reflective and spangling indie-pop songs spread across his debut solo LP, New Misery. It's a fair assessment, as to many he'll always be the singer/guitarist of Smith Westerns, the jangled-up crew he formed in his late teens that issued a trio of praised albums before imploding in 2014. The last couple of years were tough for the Chicago-bred songwriter, and came fraught with moments of self-doubt.
Katy Goodman may love the vocal cord-shredding sounds of early '80s hardcore, but four albums into her own La Sera project's jangled-up discography, she's fully accepted that she'll never be popping neck veins in the booth with bulldog-vicious growls. "High Notes," the hay bale-toppling foot-stomper that kicks off the band's new Music For Listening To Music To, is a winking reflection of this, and plays out with Goodman's pristine pipes soaring over a countrified beat.
Insightful ION scribe, Joanie Wolkoff, isn't just a top tier writer of words, but also a magnificent songsmith, whose new record, Without Shame, was just announced this week. Leading the record cycle is "The Homecoming", a solid representation of where her and current producing partner, Icarus Moth, have decided to plant their flag. The duo have together crafted a trademark sound, which is near impossible with the cultural limitations of 2016.
The Raveonettes have marched to their own drum since they formed in 2000, so it is no surprise that Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo decided to do things a little bit differently with their new "anti-album" in 2016. The duo have released a brand new track entitled This World Is Empty (Without You) as part of a series called "Rave-Sounds-Of-The-Month", a collection of new songs that will be released one at a time on the last Friday of every month until the end of the year.
Mikal Cronin is at peace and at home. Not necessarily in that spiritually re-awakened, opening moments of a movie trailer kind of way, though truthfully there's been a bit of that going on too. His third solo album, the aptly-titled and surprisingly orchestrated garage-pop masterpiece MCIII, is a lush examination of various discomforting truths and concepts of self-doubt.
There are three bands currently listed on Wikipedia’s category page for “Indie Bands from Oklahoma”: Aqueduct, a synth-tinged indie pop foursome currently operating out of Seattle, Other Lives, a folk three-piece that is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and Hanson, a little known pop group that had a hit or two back in the nineties.
OK Go have grown a lot since you last saw them, probably with a distinct vision of colours and treadmills. As any good band does though, they have grown and manifested into something that is closer to their own truth, closer to the music that now resonates with their souls and their new experiences. JJ Brewis spoke with frontman Damian Kulash about growing up and moving forward, maturity of sound, and creative balls.
Since his debut in 2005 with Final Fantasy, Owen Pallett's music has defied lazy journalism. It is utterly unique and only comparable to Owen Pallett, leaving music journalists everywhere struggling to find clever one-liners to summarize his unique brand of genius. Now an in-demand multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, arranger, and composer, you can no longer nail his music down to the orchestral pop cross.
One of the many fascinating things about Canadian musician, multi-instrumentalist, and renowned joker, Mac DeMarco, is the dichotomy between his crooned, swoon-worthy catalogue, and his oddly raw and rude public persona. Take, for instance, how his softly strummed songs about true love contrast with live show stories of DeMarco swinging from the rafters, finger betwixt his butt cheeks.
Last year saw HAIM hit the big time around the world. Inclusion in all the ubiquitous best songs of 2013 lists for “The Wire”, a lauded performance on Saturday Night Live, and everyone knowing Este’s “bass face”, is all off the back of their critically acclaimed debut album Days Are Gone. We don’t know how else to put it, these girls are big. Our music editor, Trevor Risk, meets the trio, and finds they are the refreshing exception to the rule.