John Norris

Doldrums: Spelled With an I

February 26, 2013

Out this week, Lesser Evil was created over a period of 18 months, and features the sort of clattering collage-pop with which Doldrums has already become synonymous.

Adam Green and Binki Shapiro, Bicoastal Buddies

January 30, 2013

The West Coast gal/East Coast guy dichotomy that’s at least as old as Annie Hall gets a new and rumpled indie iteration with Adam Green & Binki Shapiro, a duets album that brings together a native New Yorker/one-time Moldy Peach/perpetually ironic visual artist and filmmaker (the batshit, ketamine-fueled The Wrong Ferrari) and an angel-voiced Angeleno whose 2008 album with Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti and singer Rodrigo Amarante as Little Joy was an alt-pop gem.

A Breath of Foxygen

January 15, 2013

It was in a math class in Silverlake Village, California, in the early aughts, that a couple of sixth-graders named Sam France and Jonathan Rado met, sowing the seeds of one of the more inspired young outfits you will hear this or any year: Foxygen.

Brooklyn’s Babies Built a House in LA

November 12, 2012

The hard-not-to-love garage-pop quartet The Babies represent 21st-century Northwest Brooklyn through and through: the band was were born in the environs of Williamsburg and Bushwick, and founding members Cassie Ramone and Kevin Morby are best known for their associations with two indie essentials of the past decade, Vivian Girls and Woods. And yet it was that other coast’s rock enclave, the Echo Park area of Los Angeles, that gave birth to The Babies’ new second album, Our House On The Hill, as well as its title.

Bat for Lashes: English Embrace

October 22, 2012

Fantasy and a flair for theatrics have long seemed to come naturally to Natasha Khan. Bat For Lashes, since its 2007 debut Fur and Gold, has always seemed as much art-pop project as band, rich in characters and costumes. But Khan has flipped the script—to a point—on the new The Haunted Man, a record whose beauty comes partly from its relative simplicity.

Deerhoof Does Parties

September 5, 2012

A conversation with all four members of the perennially thrilling avant-pop outfit Deerhoof can be a little like one of their Dadaist albums: a crazy quilt of sounds, stories, images, and anecdotes; you never know what direction you may be headed next. We discovered as much recently, as John Dieterich, Satomi Matsuzaki, Ed Rodriguez, and Greg Saunier sat down to talk about Breakup Song, Deerhoof’s twelfth album since 1997, out this week.

Dan Deacon: Protest or Party?

August 28, 2012

Although it’s quite possible to party on with Dan Deacon and tune out the words, which are often buried in the mix, he hopes you won’t do that. On America, his latest and most ambitious record to date, there’s more being said than ever, but you’ve got to dig to hear it.

Ice Choir: The New, New Romantics

July 30, 2012

Previously drummer of 80s-inspired shoegaze pop outfit The Depreciation Guild and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Kurt Feldman is doubling down on the decade with his third act, Ice Choir.

Twin Shadow, Free Agent

July 9, 2012

Even before meeting up with Twin Shadow’s George Lewis Jr. to talk about his new Confess, we’d worked out where he was coming from on many of the songs on the sparkling second album. He laughed when we reminded him of the thematic pop lineage it joins: “Baby, don’t get hooked on me, cause I’m a ramblin’ man and wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home.”


June 1, 2012

A pharmaceutical visual is not a bad place to start with DIIV, whose swirling, chiming music melds the Motorik and the psychedelic, with just a touch of early grunge thrown in for good measure—Smith’s passions range from shamanism to Kurt Cobain.

Spiritualized Goes Pop

April 2, 2012

Jason Pierce learned a funny lesson on the way to creating Sweet Heart, Sweet Light, the seventh album from Spiritualized and already a contender for one of the top releases of the year: making a good pop record is not so easy.

Darkening Clouds: Dylan Baldi Reinvents Cloud Nothings

January 24, 2012

As the title Attack on Memory suggests, on his third album Dylan Baldi is reinventing his band.

Parenthetical Girls Plumb Their Privilege

January 24, 2012

Zac Pennington, leader and only constant member of Portland’s arch, wickedly sharp baroque-pop outfit Parenthetical Girls, following the attention-grabbing Safe As Houses (2006) and Entanglements (2008), retreated to the Pacific Northwest, and in early 2010 began issuing—at approximately six-month intervals—a series of EPs titled Privilege.

Putting Their Dukes Up

December 29, 2011

Over six years and three albums, The Duke Spirit is the rare UK band that’s been as embraced in America as in its homeland—if not more so.

Discovery: Shin-B

October 24, 2011

Shin-B has fashioned not only a burgeoning career as an MC in her native Los Angeles, but also a parallel name as a K-pop star in the land of her ancestry, and she’s worked as a counselor and teacher of hip-hop to LA kids.

Psychic Ills’ Hazy Days

October 13, 2011

Changes are afoot in the world of Psychic Ills. The New York experimentalists, known for drone, all manner of Eastern flavors and, naturally, psychedelia, released their last album, Mirror Eye, in early 2009.

The Boy from Boise: Youth Lagoon Comes Out of Hibernation

September 26, 2011

Trevor Powers has had his share of standard-issue growing pains in recent years—relationships, breakups, make-ups, career uncertainty—plus more than his share of chronic anxiety, at times serious. But rather than be defeated by it, Powers picked up a Casio and turned those experiences and more into a sweet, layered, hazy debut album called The Year of Hibernation.