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Being this fucking miserable has never been so blissful

Up to the eyeballs in hippy crap? The mere mention of a ‘Brooklyn band’ likely to induce projectile vomiting of your tie-dyed innards?

Well, swallow hard, gummo: there’s a new breed of doom-mongers lurking out of New York’s dark crevices and it’s anything but quirky.

Outcasts on their own turf, Crystal Stilts’ swathes of maudlin garage-pop guitars and sparse drums borrow as...


A brutal force of joyous abandon

Despite the nihilistic bent of that title, the world must seem a rosy place for this Vancouver noise-pop duo right now. Over the past few months music fans and critics alike have been throwing about all sorts of glowing adjectives concerning their debut album.

And whew! – their debut is a gale-force riot, a virtual tempest of joyous abandon. “I don’t wanna worry about dying/I just wanna worry...


Masters of punky Pennsylvania noise strike again

If all albums came with a handy listening guide from their creators, ‘King Of Jeans’ would read thusly: “Hi y’all, we’re Pissed Jeans and we’d like to confront you with the inanity of your everyday existence. We ask you to please sit still while we bludgeon you into a coma with guitars that crunch like skulls under the wheels of Satan’s chariot.”

Built out of the perpetual miseries of...


Riding the wave of bliss to breaking point

You’ve got to hand it to Michael Angelakos’ band of beardy Bostonians. They’ve succeeded in engineering the kind of breezy electronic pop that is so definitively 2009 you wonder how they didn’t bugger up the time-space continuum.

Adding a dash of the cerebral to the bare-chested psychedelia of MGMT and their ilk, the lo-fi charm of Passion Pit’s EP ‘Chunk Of Change’ had the blogosphere...


So flawless you almost feel embarrassed for everyone else

There are few things that unite the NME office, bar mild alcoholism, social retardation or the threat of imminent nuclear holocaust. So when we heard The Drums and realised that we all thought they were brilliant, we were suspicious. Surely some trick? This perfect band must be a kind of Trojan horse, a trap to get us all into one venue and then gas us like the vermin we are.

Probe as we might,...


Sex, anger and more twists and turns than ever – c’mon, what did you expect?

Sonic Youth’s debut on the Matador label, heralding the end of 17 years with Geffen, is no new dawn of no wave experimentalism. Rather it’s a continuation of the roll they’ve been on since 2004’s ‘Sonic Nurse’. ‘The Eternal’ channels the impressionistic wartime fury of that album, blends it with the more straightforward songs of 2006’s ‘Rather Ripped’ and then stirs it up with some lascivious...


The real star of the show isn’t the often-bloodless figure of Thomas Mars, it’s the brilliantly detailed production

It’s often said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Conversely, Phoenix are what architects should dance to. Sleek minimalism. Clean lines. A propensity to wear white. Emotionally neutral but texturally rich – they’re the sound of Richard Rogers’ utopian future. If Brian Eno wanted to do ‘Music For Airports Two’, he’d just tape a Phoenix album with a bunch of gate...


Three 'Blueprint...''s in and Jigga delivers with quality beats and an all-star cast

To hear Shawn Carter speak recently, you’d think that ‘The Blueprint 3’, his 11th studio album, was set to change the face of hip-hop music forever. When it comes to talking a good game, Jigga has been practically talking six sixes off one over, 147 breaks and nine-dart finishes all at once. “As a person at the forefront of my genre,” he said in a recent interview, “it’s my responsibility to make my...


London folkies grow up and cut back their chirpiness to turn in a corker of an album

As concept albums go, a trudge through the aftermath of a break-up hardly makes for a tale as fantastical as ‘Tommy’ or ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’, but even so, ‘The First Days Of Spring’ is a story we could listen to again and again.
Noah And The Whale might have hijacked last summer with ‘Five Years Time’ – which was lovely the first few times you heard...


A pop album, albeit one that is an antidote to auto-tune, over-compression and over-production

Every few years an artist releases an album that stops everyone in their tracks. Differences are forgotten and community rifts are healed. As barriers of age, class, race and sexual orientation crumble, everyone joins hands and sings along in harmony to the soundtrack of a generation.
This is not that album. This is something different entirely. If anything, 21-year-old wünderkind Mica Levy’s lack of...

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