Summer singles you heard too many times

August 31, 2007
Who could have predicted that summer 2007 would mark the grand return of the novelty song? (Not to toot our own horn, but scene, last October). With trap music on the wane, post-emo (the Fueled by Ramen roster notwithstanding) losing its hold on pop fans, and the Internet actually affecting the pop charts, pop went »

Dr. Dog drops album

March 2, 2007
Dr. Dog has made a huge mistake. The band’s highly anticipated third album, “We All Belong,” was uniquely positioned to introduce a wider audience to Dr. Dog’s riotous late-’60s sound. But the album is plagued by slapdash songwriting and indulgent instrumentation. As disposable, Beatles-esque pop, the album excels. Yet its lack of substance in the »

The Apostles of Arts & Crafts

February 16, 2007
Apostle of Hustle frontman Andrew Whiteman may be better known as the E Street Band-costumed, rock-posturing lead guitarist of Toronto’s Broken Social Scene. But don’t be fooled by the fedora and the high-kicks; Whiteman is as much a “we hate your hate” softie as the rest of the Social Scenesters. “National Anthem of Nowhere,” the »

The ‘Boys and Girls in America’ are Holdin’ Steady on top

October 6, 2006
When asked about the strength of “Boys and Girls in America,” the Hold Steady’s follow-up to 2005’s near-perfect “Separation Sunday,” guitarist Tad Kubler remarked, “This seems like it’s probably the most personal record I’ve ever heard Craig write lyrically.” Finn’s lyrical focus on his own life (as opposed to that of recurring characters Holly, Gideon »

Aren’t Xiu (Xiu) into S&M?

September 22, 2006
In an instrumental representation of sadomasochism that recalls the opening of Nine Inch Nails’ album “The Downward Spiral,” a slowly repeated, violently struck tom punctuates “Buzz Saw.” The drum interrupts Jamie Stewart’s gently plaintive vocals, backed by wistful sustained piano chords, thirty seconds into the opener of Xiu Xiu’s “The Air Force.” But while Reznor’s »

Yo tengo un great album name

September 15, 2006
Yo La Tengo’s “I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass” is a beautifully sprawling mess of an album. Like a classic double-LP or a packed-to-the-gills compilation disc, the 77.5-minute album quantum leaps from one stylistic reference point to another while remaining, quintessentially, Yo La Tengo’s own. But while “I Am »

Summer’s gone, sexy’s back

September 8, 2006
Summer is not only the season for big-budget popcorn crowd blockbusters, but also the only time it’s always worth listening to the radio. Here are the best singles of summer 2006, for those scene readers who spent the season out of the country, or worse, away from the Internet. “Sexyback” — Justin Timberlake and “Promiscuous” »

Summer schooling of glorious music releases

April 21, 2006
Summertime means many things to Yalies, but to music lovers it means losing access to precious iTunes networks and other musical conduits, and finding music on one’s own — a perilous endeavor. Sure, there are quintessential summer albums like the Avalanches’ “Since I Left You,” but for those hungering for new music, this year’s final »

Pretty Girls Make naught

April 14, 2006
If Pretty Girls Make Graves’ third album, “Elan Vital,” is any indication, the band’s fourth album will be either an instant classic, or their worst and probably last album. “Elan Vital” finds the band exploring new waters, but far too hesitantly. Alternately promising and disappointing, the album displays musical growth but at times fails to »

Ghostface obliterates rap standard

April 7, 2006
“You ain’t been hungry since ‘Supreme Clientele’!” a gruff “Rocky”-esque coach challenges Ghostface Killah on the Wu-Tang alumnus’ new album “Fishscale.” Indeed, since 2000’s classic “Clientele,” Ghostface’s lackluster solo efforts have left many wondering whether the sometimes surreal MC still has the skill and desire to rescue his legacy. Fans of the now 35-year-old rapper »

Survey says: Show us ‘Your Bones’, Karen O!

March 31, 2006
Karen O, frontwoman of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, explains the only weakness of the band’s new album “Show Your Bones” in “Cheated Hearts,” its best track: “Sometimes I think I’m bigger than the sound.” In 2003, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ full-length debut “Fever to Tell” stunned audiences everywhere with its arresting energy, artful ferocity and »

Neko ‘Brings the Flood’ of joy

March 24, 2006
Neko Case’s voice is a force to be reckoned with. Just ask Carl Newman, lead singer and chief songwriter for Vancouver’s New Pornographers. Back in 1997, he recruited the American alt-country balladeer, then in Canada attending art school, as a guest vocalist for his burgeoning supergroup, and he has since put her voice to excellent »