Featured Release


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Kevin Mazur/ paulsimon.com

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!


Kristin Kontrol is a new musical project for Dum Dum Girls leader, Dee Dee.  Dee Dee's real name is Kristin Welchez, and adding "Kontrol" to her first name was a spontaneous decision that just felt right for her new incarnation.  Kristin was looking for a new direction.  She was inspired enough to write 62 new songs, whittling them down to the 10 that make up the album X-Communicate.  The idea was to combine genres and to go beyond her work with Dum Dum Girls.  "The first music I felt was mine was classic 80s pop and 90s R&B," she says.


Last summer, Des Moines-based singer, songwriter and performer Christopher The Conquered was sharing a stage with Natalie Prass.  He handed her an early copy of his new album I'm Giving Up On Rock & Roll.  She in turn passed it on to Ryan Adams.  After hearing it, Adams expressed his enthusiasm about the record on various online platforms.  Adams called Christopher "the real deal," and the album "crazy and incredible."  I'm Giving Up On Rock & Roll was recorded at famed Ardent Studios in Memphis, with Patrick Tape Fleming producing.


The Jayhawks began in Minneapolis in the mid-1980's as an alternative country rock band.  Since then, the band has gone through changes and had periods of hiatus.  Founding member Mark Olson has left The Jayhawks a couple of times (this time perhaps for good).  Founding member Gary Louris currently leads the band, and Marc Perlman is the other remaining member from the original lineup.  Paging Mr. Proust is the ninth Jayhawks album, with Peter Buck, Tucker Martine, and Louris producing.


Fruit Bats is yet another instance of an actual band evolving from the starting point of the musical alias of a solo singer/songwriter.  In this case, the musician is Eric D. Johnson, who started as Fruit Bats in 1997.  By 2000, Johnson was the guitarist in various bands, including Califone and The Shins.  He was also a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.  By 2001, Fruit Bats was a band, with their debut full-length record released that year.  In recent years, Johnson had continued making music, but had put the Fruit Bats name to rest.


City Sun Eater In The River Of Light is the ninth album from the Brooklyn-based band Woods.  They formed in 2005, so that's nearly an album a year.  Songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Jeremy Earl leads the band, and also runs Woods' label, Woodsist Records.  Woods is a band that have made their name in the realm of lo-fi psych folk (or freak folk, if you prefer).  Their new album is only the second to be recorded in a proper studio.


Radiohead formed in 1985 (originally using the band name On A Friday), while the five band members were attending Abingdon School, a school for boys in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.  The lineup of Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Phil Selway and Ed O'Brien has remained remarkably unchanged throughout their career.  Radiohead released their debut album in 1993, and within a few years they became, arguably, the most critically acclaimed band of the nineties and early 2000's.


Scottish vocalist and guitarist Scott Hutchison began performing as Frightened Rabbit in 2003.  His mother had given him the name in childhood due to his shyness.  The solo act grew into a band with his brother Grant Hutchison joining on drums in 2004, and guitarist Billy Kennedy coming aboard in 2006.  That was also the year Frightened Rabbit released their debut full-length.  For album number 5, Painting Of A Panic Attack, producer Aaron Dessner (of The National) worked with the group at his home studio in New York City.


Love Letter For Fire is a collaborative record from songwriters Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop.  Vocalist and guitarist Jesca Hoop has recorded several albums under her own name.  Sam Beam has performed and recorded for many years as Iron and Wine, and for some time he has contemplated doing a male/female duets record.  He found the vocalist he was looking for (and more) in Hoop.  According to Beam:  "I was looking to work with another songwriter because I had never shared the songwriting responsibility with anyone.


Good Grief is the second full-length album from the Brooklyn-based band Lucius.  The group is currently a five-piece, but began in 2005 with just the core of lead vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig.  The two met while attending Berklee School Of Music in Boston.  They eventually moved to Brooklyn and spent time honing those wonderful vocal harmonies.  The other band members eventually joined up, and the debut album from Lucius was released in 2013.  Perhaps you caught their visually arresting and sonically gorgeous set at last year's Hinterland Festival.


More Rain is the eighth solo album from Portland, Oregon's M. Ward.  The singer-songwriter and guitarist is also known for being half of the duo She & Him, a member of the group Monsters Of Folk, and a producer who has worked with many other artists.  Ward began working on More Rain in 2012, originally intending to layer his vocals and make a doo-wop record.  In time, the album went in a different direction.


A Man Alive is the fourth studio album from the San Francisco-based band Thao & The Get Down Stay Down.  The group's origin dates to 2003, when band leader Thao Nguyen met drummer Willis Thompson.  Thompson has since left, as has the former group member who came up with naming the band "The Get Down."  Nguyen expanded on that idea for "The Get Down Stay Down."  A Man Alive was recorded in San Francisco, with Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs  producing.  Garbus brought a lot of tUnE-yArDs energy to this infectious and creative new album. 


Quilt arose out of the Boston music scene in 2009.  Guitarist and vocalist Anna Fox Rochinski is the daughter of Berklee College of Music faculty member Steve Rochinski.  A jazz guitarist himself, he began teaching  Anna the basics of the instrument when she was 13 years old.  She later met guitarist and vocalist Shane Butler.  A year after that, drummer Taylor McVay joined them (he has since left the band) and Quilt was born.  The group released their first full-length album in 2011, moved to new York City in 2013, and recorded Plaza (album number three) in Brooklyn.


Chicago-born Mavis Staples has been singing rhythm & blues and gospel music for decades, beginning as a child with her family's band The Staple Singers.  In recent years she has been a solo act, touring (with old friend Bob Dylan this summer) and steadily releasing new music.  Staples' latest album is Livin' On A High Note, produced by M. Ward.  Ward and ten other songwriters wrote new songs just for this project.  Ben Harper, Justin Vernon, Neko Case, Valerie June, Nick Cave, Benjamin Booker and others wrote the material specifically for Mavis Staples to record.


The Syracuse, New York band Ra Ra Riot formed in early 2006, when they began playing at venues and house parties around the campus of Syracuse University.  Their high energy live shows attracted attention to the group, and soon they were opening for bands in New York City and touring the UK.  Ra Ra Riot's debut album came out in the summer of 2008.  Need Your Light is their fourth full-length record.  It's full of synthy hooks to grab you and get you out on the dance floor!


Dr. Dog formed in West Grove, Pennsylvania in 1999, and The Psychedelic Swamp is their ninth album.  However, in a way this record is their first, since this new release is a revamped version of Dr. Dog's unreleased debut album.  Scott McMicken (vocals & lead guitar) and  Toby Leaman (vocals & bass guitar) were college students at the turn of the millennium.  The story goes that writing and honing the songs that would eventually become The Psychedelic Swamp is what led the two to form Dr. Dog.


James Hunter began his career as a blue-eyed soul singer in the mid 1980's in his native England, using a stage name.  He was Howlin' Wilf in the trio Howlin' Wilf & The Veejays.  Van Morrison was a fan, and after The Veejays broke up, Hunter spent some time in Morrison's band before he started recording under his own name in 1996.  For the past couple of albums, the records have been credited to The James Hunter Six as a way for Hunter to acknowledge the contributions of his long-time backing musicians.  Hold On! is the first album for the band on Brooklyn's Daptone label.