Featured Release

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California native Ty Segall is a songwriter, vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist.  The instrument he's best known for is guitar, with an approach that is mainly punk-leaning garage rock.  Segall has been in a lot    of bands, and when he's performing as Ty Segall he's backed by a shifting group of musicians with a band name that seems to change every few months.

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Woods formed in Brooklyn in 2005, and have been steadily releasing their music on Woodsist Records, the Brooklyn-based label founded by band frontman Jeremy Earl.  Their latest record, however, is on Jack White's Third Man Records.  Woods Live At Third Man Records is part of an on-going series of full-length albums recorded in front of an audience in The Blue Room venue of Third Man Records in Nashville.  The albums are released on vinyl only.

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Toronto native Katie Stelmanis is classically trained (she began performing at the age of ten in the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus), and had been writing and performing music for several years before the band now known as Austra came into being in 2009.  Stelmanis released her debut album under her own name in 2008, then decided that a band name would be better.  In time, "Austra" was settled upon, referring not only to the mythological Latvian goddess of light, but also Stelmanis' own middle name.  Future Politics is the third full-length album from the indie synthpop group.

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The XX formed in London in 2005, and released their debut album in 2009.  That record was a critical and commercial success (eventually winning the UK Mercury Prize for best album) and The XX have continued their forward momentum to this day.  The trio's third full-length record, I See You, was highly anticipated by fans waiting four years since the last album, although they did have the solo release from group member Jamie XX (Jamie Smith) to tide them over.

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Kaiser Chiefs are a fine example of a band that is very popular in their native England, yet remain marginally known  in the United States.  They formed in Leeds under the name Parva in 2000.  After one album, and the usual record label intrigues, Parva re-invented themselves as Kaiser Chiefs in 2003.  The name is derived from the Kaizer Chiefs, a South African football team.  The original lineup of the band has stayed nearly intact, with only the founding drummer being replaced a few years ago.

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Dr. Dog have been playing and recording their folk-rock/baroque pop music since around the turn of the century, when they began as a local band in the Philadelphia area.  Late in 2016 they dropped a surprise album titled Abandoned Mansion.  In the band's own words:  "Its a mood record...Nothing too jamming or atonal.   No blips or bloops or anything else that might unsettle you...We did a song a day for two weeks.  And, almost everything is tracked live...Thematically, this is Dr. Dog meat and potatoes.  Our proverbial wheelhouse.  Songs of the oldest questions.

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After being in the game for over 50 years, Neil Young seems determined not to settle into professional old-fogeyism.  His new album Peace Trail was reportedly recorded in just four days, with most of the ten tracks recorded on the first or second take.  Many critics are saying this would have been a better album if the artist had just spent more time refining it.  Obviously, a spontaneous, off-the-cuff feel was what Young was going for.

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I like to think of Kristin Hersh as a kind of godmother of indie rock.  Her band Throwing Muses had an impressive run in the '80s and '90s, and sporadically since then.  In the 21st century, she formed the band 50 Foot Wave.  She has also released many solo albums over the years, and she's authored a few books.  As she's done twice before, Hersh has paired a book and a CD for her latest work, Wyatt At The Coyote Palace.

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Houston, Texas native Robert Earl Keen graduated from Texas A&M (with a B.A. in English) in 1978.  He then moved to Austin and began performing live in various venues there.  By 1984 he had released his first album and started touring outside of Texas.  Over thirty years later, he's become one of those treasured Lone Star State troubadours, continuing to record and tour (maybe the road does go on forever).  In 1996 Keen recorded No. 2 Live Dinner at one of the quintessential Texas honky tonks, John T. Floore's Country Store in Helotes, Texas.

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Australian musicians Luke Steele (of the alternative rock band The Sleepy Jackson) and Nick Littlemore (of the electronic dance duo Pnau) first met in 2000.  They worked on various projects together before forming Empire Of The Sun in 2007.  The duo's  approach to synth pop is definitely coming from a glam rock perspective, with both members having a background in visual art.  Their live show features headdresses and elaborate stage sets.

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Pretenders formed in England in 1978.  The band was fronted by an American:   songwriter, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chrissie Hynde, originally from Akron, Ohio.  Through the decades and many changes of personnel, Hynde remains the only member who has been in every incarnation of the band, although original drummer Martin Chambers has returned after an absence of several years.  Hynde moved to London in 1973, just a few years before the rise of punk rock in England.  She wrote about music, and played with various bands before The Pretenders came together.

Moby (born Richard Melville Hall, a descendant of Moby Dick author Herman Melville) has been making electronic dance music since the early 1990s.  He has had great success with many of his records, often by  bringing songcraft and melody to the genre.  Moby started out playing in punk and post-punk bands, and he brings that energy to his latest full-length album, These Systems Are Failing.  This is definitely a collection of songs rather than extended dance tracks.  Moby has long been known for his support of animal rights,  veganism, and environmentalism.

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Conor Oberst is a busy, creative guy.  The Omaha native began writing songs and performing at a young age, and self-released his first solo cassette tape of songs when he was 13.  Oberst's best-known band is Bright Eyes.  Here are some more of his bands:  The Faint, Commander Venus, The Magnetas, Park Ave., Desaparecidos, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, and Monsters Of Folk.  He co-founded the independent record labels Saddle Creek records and Team Love Records.

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A phantogram is a type of optical illusion, and also a cool band name for the duo of Josh Carter (guitar and vocals) and Sarah Barthel (vocals and keyboards).  The two friends have known each other since junior high school, and formed their musical collaboration in 2007 in upstate New York.  At first, they called themselves Charlie Everywhere, playing gigs and recording some small label EPs.  In 2009, they changed their name to Phantogram, and released their debut album in the fall of that year.  Three is, of course, their third full-length.

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Regina Spektor was born in Moscow in 1980, where at 6 years old she began classical training on the piano.  Her family left the Soviet Union in 1989, moving to New York City, where Spektor continued her classical training and also eventually broadened her musical tastes.  In time, she began writing her own songs and performing as part of the "anti-folk" scene in New York's East Village.  She began self-releasing CDs of her music in 2001.  She signed with Sire Records in 2004, and has gone on to great success in recording and touring.

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Husband and wife duo Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst are Shovels & Rope.  Both of them are very talented and capable songwriters, lead vocalists and multi-instrumentalists.  Watching them perform (you may have caught their great set at this past summer's Hinterland Festival), one never finds oneself pining for more band members.  Shovels & Rope are a solidly roots-based band, but for them that can mean anything from folk to rockabilly, alt-country to country-punk.

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The Pixies are a very influential band in the world of indie rock.  The band's primary songwriter and vocalist Black Francis, and lead guitarist Joey Santiago both attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where the began playing music together.  Bassist Kim Deal (who left the band a few years ago) joined them in early 1986, and the band Pixies was formed.  Even though the group has been around for 30 years, Head Carrier is only their sixth studio album.

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The three guitarists/vocalists in Local Natives met while attending Orange County High School in California. They recruited a drummer and bass player, completing the formation of the band in 2008, with the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles becoming their home base.  Sunlit Youth is the third full-length album from Local Natives.  It was recorded over a two year period- in Thailand, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Hawaii and Ojai, California.  The new record continues to provide the three-part vocal harmonies fans have come to expect from Local Natives.

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Signs Of Light​ is the third album from The Head and The Heart.  The six-piece folk-rock band began in Seattle in the summer of 2009.  Vocalist and guitarist Josiah Johnson explained the band's name, and also gave an indication of difficult decisions involved in the group's formation when he said:  "Your head is telling you to be stable and find a good job, (but) you know in your heart that this (the band) is what you're supposed to do even if it's crazy."  This is their first release for Warner Brothers Records, and that could be taken as a sign of their growing success.

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Schmilco​ is the tenth studio album from the Chicago-based band Wilco.  Wilco began in 1994, rising from the ashes of the alternative country band, Uncle Tupelo.  There have been several personnel changes along the way, with frontman Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt the only original members still in the lineup.  Alt-country remains a part of Wilco's sound, but they have ventured far beyond that description over the course of their career, with a definite adventurous and experimental side emerging from time to time.

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Angel Olsen was born in St. Louis, lived for a time in Chicago, and currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina.  She has recorded and toured with Bonnie "Prince" Billy as a backing singer, and has been releasing her own music since 2010.

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Innocence Reaches is the 14th album from Of Montreal, the band founded by songwriter and frontman Kevin Barnes twenty years ago in Athens, Georgia.  It doesn't seem like Of Montreal has been around for two whole decades, and that's due in part to the fact that there is no other band quite like this one.  Barnes named his group after a woman he had been in a releationship with who was "of Montreal."  Many players have come and gone through the ranks of the band over the years, but the psychedelic pop/glam rock sound has always remained true to Barnes' vision.

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Freetown Sound, the new album from Blood Orange, is named after Freetown, Sierra Leone. The talented songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Devonte Hynes records and performs as Blood Orange, and Freetown is where his father was born.  Hynes himself was born in London, where he began his music career as a part of the edgy punk-dance group Test Icicles.  He moved to New York City in 2007, and began releasing music as Lightspeed Champion.  By late 2009, he was Blood Orange.  Freetown Sound is the third full-length Blood Orange release.

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It's easy to see why Portland, Oregon could be regarded as the epicenter of indie rock.  The list of noteworthy bands that have come out of that town is a long one, and the quality of the music released continues to be strong.  Ages And Ages formed in 2009, with members drawn from the Portland music community.  They released their first album in 2011, and many (including the band) were surprised to find that President Barack Obama had included their song "No Nostalgia" on his 2012 reelection campaign Spotify playlist.

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The Canadian band Hot Hot Heat's new album is self-titled, seemingly as a way to underline the fact that this is their final release, and perhaps a summing up of their career.  The group formed in British Columbia in 1999, and were off to a solid start with Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie producing a few of their early tracks, and the respected indie label Sub Pop releasing their first EP and full-length album.  Hot Hot Heat started out as a noisy electropunk band.  Over time their sound evolved, with the edges of their music smoothed a bit.

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J Mascis (guitar, vocals), Lou Barlow (bass, vocals), and drummer Murph formed Dinosaur in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1984.  After a couple of albums were released, a group called Dinosaurs, comprised of veterans of some of the most notable San Francisco bands of the 1960's, sued the younger Dinosaur over the use of the name.  Thus they became Dinosaur Jr., with more years of the typical rock band ups and downs ahead of them.  In 1997, with Mascis the only remaining original member, the group disbanded.

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Kathleen Hanna has very solid indie rock credentials.  She fronted the 1990's feminist punk band Bikini Kill, a group that is credited with creating the Riot Grrl movement.   Fans responded to Hanna's punk zine writing, the lyrics of the songs and Bikini Kill's uncompromising attitude and energy as a live band.  Hanna went on to form Le Tigre later in the '90s.  Also, she's married to Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) of the Beastie Boys.  Hanna recorded a lo-fi solo album as Julie Ruin in 1998 when she was between bands, and in 2010 The Julie Ruin became a full-fledged group.

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Identical twin sisters Tegan Rain Quin and Sara Keirsten Quin began their musical partnership in Calgary, Alberta in 1995.  They began  writing songs and playing guitars together (and also recording themselves) while still in high school.  Tegan and Sara's official debut album was released in 1999, and Love You To Death is their eighth full-length studio release.  Greg Kurstin produced, and he also plays guitar, bass, keyboards and drums throughout the duo's new record.  Kurstin also produced the sisters' previous album, the very successful Heartthrob.

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American vocalist and musician Alison Mosshart and British guitarist Jamie Hince had both been in other bands when they met in London in 2000.  They began exchanging ideas for songs by sending each other tapes.  In time, they started writing and recording their songs using a drum machine to fill out the sound, and that's how The Kills were born.

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Paul Simon has been a major figure in music since Simon & Garfunkel's heyday in the 1960s, and on through an always interesting  solo career that continues to this day.  In recent years the songwriter and musician has released an album of new material every 5 or 6 years.  This allows Simon to rewrite and perfect the songs to his satisfaction.  Stranger To Stranger is his 13th solo album.  Simon experiments with the music, collaborating with the Italian electronic musician and producer Clap!

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