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Paul Banks | Banks

Matador Records (2012)
It has taken a decade, but Paul Banks has finally written his mission statement in song: "Death will come by ocean, I want that guarantee," he sings on "I Paid for That," a propulsive cut from his debut solo album.
By: RYAN REED  |  October 24, 2012


Diamond Rings | Free Dimensional

Astralwerks (2012)
"Love is a drug, and it's the only one I'm dealing," raps gender-bending synth-pop siren John O'Regan deep into his sophomore album.
By: RYAN REED  |  October 18, 2012


Benjamin Gibbard | Former Lives

Barsuk Records (2012)
"It's been a basement of a year," Ben Gibbard sings over a perky two-chord strum on the saccharine "Oh, Woe." It's hard not to take him literally.
By: RYAN REED  |  October 09, 2012

OTR:FlyingLotus:Until The Quiet Comes

Flying Lotus | Until The Quiet Comes

Warp Records (2012)
On Until the Quiet Comes , his reliably solid fourth studio album, Flying Lotus's Steven Ellison continues to bang out mind-bending electro-donut jams for folks who don't quite "get" electronic music.
By: RYAN REED  |  October 03, 2012


Mumford & Sons | Babel

Glassnote (2012)
Three years ago, London folk-rock quartet Mumford & Sons blew up in a major way with "The Cave," an angst-fueled, Grammy-nominated strummer built on quiet-loud dynamics, Country Marshall's propulsive banjo, and Marcus Mumford's gruff bellow, which churned like a locomotive in free-fall.
By: RYAN REED  |  September 25, 2012


Grizzly Bear | Shields

Warp (2012)
The initial moments of "Sleeping Ute" are so quintessentially Grizzly Bear, they almost have no impact — Daniel Rossen nurses jagged, staggering chords on an electric guitar likely purchased from a 12th-century pawn shop.
By: RYAN REED  |  September 19, 2012


Cat Power | Sun

Matador (2012)
Mental illness, bankruptcy, heartbreak, sonic impotence: Chan Marshall has suffered through her share of crises since her last album of original material, 2006's highly praised The Greatest .
By: RYAN REED  |  September 12, 2012


The xx | Coexist

Young Turks (2012)
The xx's sleeper electro-soul debut was defined by its silences as much as its sounds: by the pauses between dusty, cymbal-less beats, stoned basslines, and echoing guitar pings, and by the pregnant tension between the voices (the unison NyQuil croons of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim).
By: RYAN REED  |  September 04, 2012


Lynyrd Skynyrd | Last of a Dyin' Breed

Roadrunner Records
The eponymous track of Lynyrd Skynyrd's 13th studio album opens with a tease of gritty gusto — a skank-nasty slide riff a few ghostly notes short of Led Zep's "In My Time of Dying."
By: RYAN REED  |  August 28, 2012


Nathan Fake | Steam Days

Border Community (2012)
Even though it's difficult to feel a human pulse on his third studio album, Steam Days, Nathan Fake's brand of laptop-tronica remains uniquely organic.
By: RYAN REED  |  August 21, 2012


Yeasayer | Fragrant World

Secretly Canadian (2012)
To promote their excellent third album, Fragrant World, Brooklyn's resident art-pop weirdos sent their fans on a psychedelic audio-visual Internet scavenger hunt.
By: RYAN REED  |  August 15, 2012


Niki & the Dove | Instinct

Sub Pop (2012)
On their debut full-length Instinct, these electro-pop Swedes strike a delicate balance between trance-y hooks and artful, world music weirdness — and the results typically sound like Cyndi Lauper covering Fleetwood Mac, as produced by Kate Bush.
By: RYAN REED  |  August 07, 2012


In This Moment | Blood

Century Media (2012)
After In This Moment's 2007 debut, the Los Angeles quintet took part in something called the "Hot Chicks of Metal Tour."
By: RYAN REED  |  July 31, 2012


Icky Blossoms | Icky Blossoms

Saddle Creek (2012)
Icky Blossoms prefer their retro-styled dance music deep-fried and nasty.
By: RYAN REED  |  July 24, 2012

Album:The Very Best - MTMTMK

The Very Best | MTMTMK

Moshi Moshi/Cooperative Music (2012)
"World music" is an archaic label, but there's no better way to describe the Very Best's MTMTMK .
By: RYAN REED  |  July 17, 2012


The emotional electronics of Hot Chip

Head music
"You don't always just feel one thing at one time," says Alexis Taylor, Hot Chip's nerd-genius frontman, referencing the grand ambiguity of pop music.
By: RYAN REED  |  July 10, 2012


Twin Shadow | Confess

4AD (2012)
4AD Ever since his 2010 synth-pop sleeper debut Forget blew up like a critical landmine, Twin Shadow mastermind and former Bostonian George Lewis Jr. has been pigeonholed as an '80s-pop revivalist, mostly to his own annoyance.
By: RYAN REED  |  July 10, 2012


Dirty Projectors | Swing Lo Magellan

Domino (2012)
In the indie-rock academy of musical tomfoolery, Dave Longstreth has always earned excellent marks.
By: RYAN REED  |  July 03, 2012


The Smashing Pumpkins | Oceania

Martha's Music (2012)
Billy Corgan's ego alone has probably gone triple-platinum, and he's never been afraid of calling himself a genius (even while promoting skanky, mediocre albums like Machina and Zeitgeist).
By: RYAN REED  |  June 19, 2012


Fawn | Coastlines

Quite Scientific Records (2012)
Jaded girl-boy harmonies, gleeful three-chord riffs, healthy doses of punkish noise and emo melody: Coastlines , the debut LP from Detroit indie-pop quartet Fawn, feels like a charming souvenir from a musical era two decades in the rear-view.
By: RYAN REED  |  June 05, 2012
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