Diiv Evokes a Bygone Alt-Rock Era

Is the Is Are, the second album from Zachary Cole Smith’s band DIIV is a music box of blurry guitar pop, evoking bygone alt-rock without ever quite becoming straight homage. Early on, “Blue Boredom (Sky’s Song)” matches a deadpan, Kim Gordon-esque vocal turn from pop chanteuse (and Smith’…

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The Coen Brothers Love of Music

Hail, Caesar!, Joel and Ethan Coen’s new movie, might seem to be covering familiar ground — like 1991’s oozing nightmare Barton Fink, it’s a movie about old Hollywood. But the aging Technicolor decadence of Hail Caesar’s mid-’50s studio town is a different kind of old Hollywood…

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Kele Okereke: Bloc Party's Hesitant Hero

“Lord, give me grace/ And dancing feet/ As I conquer all anxiety,” begins Bloc Party’s new album Hymns, as a spare pulse builds into a gleaming electropop track. It’s a very Kele Okereke [![Bloc Party's new line-up: (l-r) Josh Harris, Louise Bartle, Kele Okereke, Russell Lissack](/content/images/…

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Editor's Picks: January's New Alt Album Releases

January’s new release schedule can be as frozen and inhospitable as the weather, but this year there’s a clutch of mid-month releases to warm yourself by. Hinds‘ debut Leave Me Alone— a prickly, lovesick blast of all-girl garage rock–is as afire as August. A new, pummeling album…

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Sacred Bones: Label Brings Unearthed Music to Light

Imps of Perversion, the new album from Brooklyn’s Pop. 1280, ricochets the sour roil of its punk guitars off a frigid keyboard squeal. It’s queasy, abrasive, occasionally hostile and scarily absorbing — at once a purist-satisfying throwback and bristlingly modern.  It’s also on Sacred Bones Records, so all…

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Daughter’s Expansive, Ambitious Sound

Chalk up another one to Jeff Buckley‘s Grace: Elena Tonra, whose melancholy, half-whispered vocals rest at the focus of Daughter‘s dark folk-rock, remembers a spark catching when her dad gave her a copy of the album. By then, Buckley had already died. In a 2013 interview Tonra said…

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