Music

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Strip away the music of an Andrew Bird song, and you’re left with brilliant prose (“across the great chasms and schisms and the sudden aneurysms”), vignettes about mentally fending off plane crashes, infiltrating characters like the kings of Macedonia and Lou Dobbs, and titles such as “Yawny at the Apocalyspe.” It’s hard to believe that, […]

Two years after LCD Soundsystem’s eponymous full-length debut sent indie scenesters rushing to the dancefloor, the outfit headed by dance-rock producer James Murphy serves up another stiff cocktail of punk, dance, and funk with Sound of Silver. Analog synths, chugging basslines, chunky guitars, and Murphy’s wild falsetto excursions are once again the foundation to which […]

Beirut’s second LP purportedly takes inspiration from French chanson of yesteryear (as opposed to the Balkan folk of yesteryear). Bandleader Zach Condon has found a new home in Paris, and a new muse as well, quickly absorbing fodder from the likes of Francois Hardy or Jacques Brel. The music remains quite recognizably Beirut–in all its […]

The high-pitched alter-ego of the Lootpack‘s Madlib, Quasimoto concocts one of the most creative hip-hop albums in recent times. Sounding like a lost demo tape from 1992, and made under the influence of some serious mind-altering substances, The Unseen finds Quasi indulging in scattered, stream-of-consciousness rhymes and a collection of dusty jazz breaks and loops. […]

Amy Winehouse’s second album, Back to Black, is one of the finest soul albums, British or otherwise, to come out for years. Frank, her first album, was a sparse and stripped-down affair; Back to Black, meanwhile, is neither of these things. This time around, she’s taken her inspiration from some of the classic 1960’s girl […]

It would take a lot for Vampire Weekend’s debut to rise above the stench of privileged hype that surrounds it. A bunch of kids who formed the band in their Columbia dorm room borrow wholesale from Afrobeat and angular ’80s stuff, and they quickly become an online buzz band before releasing a single album? Thankfully […]

If you’ve never heard Stephen Malkmus, you might want to begin with one of the more accessible of his four solo albums, be it the self-titled debut or 2005’s watertight Face the Truth. But if you’re familiar with his individual work or that of his former band, Pavement, Real Emotional Trash will settle right in […]

With Boxer, the National have reached four albums into their increasingly lauded career, never hurrying the tempo, never over-reaching in volume or instrumental density. Instead, the quintet’s balanced on a pin, emotionally austere, if not utterly downhearted, finding brilliantly dusky ways for Matt Berninger’s lovelorn voice to mesh with a pair of unobtrusive guitars and, […]

Fiona Apple, brooding, brainy belter and capital-A artist of near forbidding depth, begins her much gossiped-over third CD on a lark. The title track, one of two songs produced by Jon Brion before the label dispute that prompted hip-hop producer Mike Elizondo to step in, sounds like a Judy Garland number slathered with irony or […]

Solange performs live for Philadelphia’s 100.3 The Beat. Beyonce who?

Having re-invented himself as psychedelic masked rapper MF Doom (not to mention alter egos King Gedorah and Viktor Vaughn), Daniel Dumile–formerly KMD’s Zev Love X–has fittingly teamed up with producer Madlib, who’s no stranger to aliases himself (see Quasimodo, Yesterday’s New Quintet). Rap formulas of the day are given the boot on Madvillainy; most of […]