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Not teens, not dreams

Beach House avoid the literal
“The abstract has been very good to us.” I am communicating via e-mail with the two members of Baltimore’s dreamy pop choir Beach House, and to be honest, I don’t know which one of them made that statement.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  March 23, 2010


Boys meet girls

The four most crucial post-punk boy-girl duos of the '80s
Much of the press tumult over Beach House has focused on how the duo’s idiosyncratic musical style folds into a surging wave of like-minded indie artists eschewing rock histrionics for a gentler path to the hearts of music listeners.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  March 24, 2010


Continental drift

Flying the friendly skies of Air
It's fitting that when I finally get Jean-Benoît Dunckel on the phone, he's just stepped off a plane.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  March 16, 2010


Review: Jay-Z at TD Garden

Jay-Z, live at TD Garden, March 11, 2010
There was something about the way Jay-Z hyped the crowd up at the start of show opener "Run This Town" that was not only emblematic of his performance style, but of his general appeal as a performer -- a key to his likability. 
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  March 22, 2010


The other side of heavy

Harvey Milk scramble your metal detector
Loving heavy rock is a two-step process. Step one is easy: you hear something heavier than you've ever heard before, and you realize, "This is my thing." Step two is a little trickier: you wonder, "What is 'heavy'?" If you can accept the idea that a certain set of limitations leads to ultimate heaviosity, then — kudos! — you are a metalhead.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  March 02, 2010


Interview: Skeletonwitch’s Scott Hedrick

Catching up with Demi Lovato’s favorite metal band
You know you've made it to rock’s Big Time when interviewers catch you as you're boarding a jet, instead of loading the tour van. And although Athens, OH's  Skeletonwitch  didn’t happen to be boarding their own Iron Maiden-like 747 when we reached them, they’ve got too much going on these days to make it all happen on four wheels.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  February 16, 2010


High On Fire | Snakes For The Divine

E1 (2010)
Joining a metal band as a young 'un is a bit like getting hired as a burger flipper: you may dream of one day becoming Ray Kroc, but after years of toil, grease, and ridicule, you'll probably settle for store manager.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  February 16, 2010


Review: Magnetic Fields at the Wilbur Theatre

Magnetic Fields, live Wilbur Theatre, February 11, 2010
“Similarly, here’s another song about miserable death,” Stephen Merritt drolly informed us between songs.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  February 19, 2010



Tokyo's Polysics cannot play music in calmness
Japanese acts attempting to interface with Western audiences often do so from behind a veil of inscrutability. Never mind that Japanese artists emerge from an alternate J-rock history that seldom intersects with ours. Tokyo's enduring Polysics have bridged this gap by expressing themselves as plainly as possible: with screaming, bouncing, eyeball-popping pogo pop so spastic that it breaks the language barrier.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  February 09, 2010


Review: La Roux at the Paradise

Paradise Rock Club, January 31, 2010
"I could have been singing this at the Grammys — but I'm here with you tonight," declared Elly Jackson, the public face of La Roux, with a detectable dash of annoyance folded into several dollops of playful sarcasm.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  February 03, 2010


Four Tet | There Is Love In You

Domino (2010)
In the five years since Kieran Hebden a/k/a Four Tet last dropped a full-length, the playing field has been seriously leveled for sample-based electronic music.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  February 02, 2010


Choir power

Ladysmith Black Mambazo raise their voices
The Romantic notion of artistic merit is that one must plumb the depths of despair to emerge with great work — and that the finest triumphs are often born of the direst misery.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  February 02, 2010


Blackshaw's good vibrations

James Blackshaw keeps his ears (and strings) open
Blackshaw's low-key career has evolved as organically as one of his songs: at 28, the Londoner has amassed a body of instrumental guitar music that defies tidy categorization. What he does isn't really folk, jazz, or new age — and it's far too accessible to be mistaken for avant-garde.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  January 26, 2010


Odd men in

Of Montreal might be weird enough for the mainstream
When Beyoncé, in a recent Guardian interview, pegged Georgia art weirdos Of Montreal as a group with whom she'd love to collaborate, the real weirdness was in how sensible it all seemed — as pop music has gotten skronkier and more fuzzed-out, indie rock has slowly molted its hatred of the mainstream and started to display the very flamboyance and hook worship it once held as anathema.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  January 19, 2010


Review: Julian Casablancas at the Paradise

Julian Casablancas, live at the Paradise Rock Club, January 8, 2010
Casablancas's solo debut, Phrazes for the Young (RCA), is a bizarre and twisted romp through sophisticated musical stylings that, especially in a live setting, sound light years away from the compact garage minimalism of early Strokes. This was evident from the first notes of the show.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  January 12, 2010


Prep rally

Rock's rich history of boarding-school brats
Much of the early backlash that followed the Strokes' meteoric rise had to do with the idea that a '00s punk revival couldn't be spearheaded by a band of moneyed prep-school twerps — as if boarding school and rock stars didn't go together like marmalade and scones.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  January 05, 2010


Ke$ha | Animal

RCA (2010)
If balancing adolescent stupidity and abandon with effortless hooks has been a sacred rite of pop music since time immemorial, then crunk-pop diva Ke$ha is on her way to priesthood.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  January 08, 2010


Stroke of genius

Julian Casablancas goes it alone
Julian Casablancas is in control, for better or worse. Better, in the sense that he is finally seeing the release of his debut solo album, Phrazes for the Young (RCA), in which he steps out of the stripped-down style of the Strokes — his blockbuster unit for the past decade — and unveils a kaleidoscopic world of lush dreamscapes, arpeggiated classicism, and haunting balladry.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  January 05, 2010


Lady Gaga | The Fame Monster

Interscope (2009)
With our world ready to melt into oblivion any day now, pop divas know that even their days are numbered.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  December 16, 2009


Same old song

Reissued and remastered CDs give classic releases a fresh face
Most music fans can probably be forgiven, at this point, for being doubting Thomases at the alleged demise of the major-label music industry.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  December 08, 2009


Review: Lady Gaga at the Wang

Lady Gaga, resplendent, striding onto the stage of the Wang Theatre, has just removed an intricate half-Egyptian/half-Wagnerian headdress from her person, freeing her enormous blonde hairdo from its confinement.
By: DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  December 02, 2009

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