Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

2010 in Review #4: The Indie Rock Two Hour Block

Power 91 Radio

In June, I began a stint as a radio personality on our university station, Power 91 (KSUU 91.1 in Cedar City, Utah). “The Indie Rock Two Hour Block” featured rambling to the nth degree — and as a bit of a Christmas “treat,” I’ve linked to a set of archives of the show. If you’d like to listen to some bizarre rambling, check it out. It should return in January, and you can listen live at

2010 in Review #5: The build up to some of the year’s greats

The Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

In this series, Matthew Montgomery takes a look at five of his favorite happenings in the music world. Between today and the end of the year, you’ll get a chance to read the top five.

Waiting in eager anticipation can be fun, but when you’re incrementally fed exciting bits of music before a release, it’s that much better. Case in point: “I Didn’t See It Coming” from Belle and Sebastian’s Write About Love and “The Suburbs” from the Arcade Fire‘s chart-topping outing.

It may be in part because I’ve grown to love both groups since my teenage years, and they’d both waited several years to hit the new releases section of your favorite record store — but boosting that anticipatory glee can only be a good thing. Can you imagine being hit with the new album from your favorite band without a moment’s notice? It would be disorienting! That anticipation helps to build expectations so they can either be let down or boosted, depending on your perspective. (more…)

Recession Proof Music: Top Ten EPs of 2010

I’m not sure if the recession really had much to do with it, but short track lists didn’t seem to be in short supply this year.  In my tenure as an indie music blogger and investigator, I’ve usually been able to pick out a couple EPs throughout a year that acted as more than just a promotional tool for a forthcoming LP or simply as a demo of a band’s talent.  But in 2010, it seemed as though many artists decided they would stuff 12 tracks worth of brilliant material into just a few songs (in some case, just two tracks.) Were they in a rush?  Were they just broke?  Or did they simply realize that they can express everything they wanted to in a much quicker fashion?

In the end, it doesn’t matter. Some wonderful tunes were made, and that is all that really matters.  So, here is a list of ten of my favorite EPs from the year:

10)  The Flying Change – Singer/Songwriter.  Sam Jacobs went an entirely different route than he did on his 2009 album, Pain Is A Reliable Signal, that appeared on many “best of” lists, including mine.  He traded in the acoustic guitar for some dancable beats.  Although it is only two tracks, it is very exciting.  I wouldn’t expect to hear an experiment like this from Jacobs again, as he is constantly looking to create something new.  Just be thankful he did this at all.


Music Geek: Ten for 2010

School of Seven Bells - Disconnect From Desire

Given how quickly 2011 is approaching, here’s a quick list of ten of my favorite records of the year. If you ask me what they are tomorrow or at any time in the near future, my answers will change. Just saying. Check it out!

1. School of Seven Bells — Disconnect From Desire (@sviib)
Dream pop on steroids for the 21st century — I can’t resist it.

2. Belle and Sebastian — Write About Love (@bellesglasgow)
More from the band that’s brought you great indie pop for 14 years. Mix in some soul and R&B and you’ve got Write About Love.

3. The Tallest Man on Earth — The Wild Hunt (@tallestman)
Folky pop music with some real power behind everything. Just pure goodness here. (more…)

Video Friday: Yo La Tengo’s “Sugarcube”

Here’s a quick Video Friday for you: Yo La Tengo’s absolutely adorable video for “Sugarcube” is exactly what a good music video should be: fun, enduring, and evocative. Yo La Tengo hits the apex of this on all accounts.

Revolver Records thrives amidst record store closures

T.J. from Revolver Records from on Vimeo.

T.J. Jordan has a bold goal: to run the last record store in existence. When T.J. Jordan opened Revolver Records on Sept. 1, 2007, most people would have written it off as a pipe dream destined for failure. Two years later, Jordan and his staff are thriving at the Phoenix-based record store.

The store’s success, Jordan said, is down to one thing: It’s appealing to music lovers in search of something new.

“The people who come into record stores are coming in because they want something unique,” he said. “They’re not coming into to buy the latest Lil Wayne record. The only way record stores are going to stay in business is by appealing to the people who actually want to buy records.”


PLAYLIST: Not all Irish groups are U2, you know

As it’s Saint Patrick’s Day — and as we’re all obviously Catholic, we celebrate this religious holiday(!) — and people’s attentions are going to be turned toward Ireland, I thought it might be nice to build a playlist with a few of my favorite bands from Ireland. Don’t worry, none of them are U2. Here are nine songs from three groups: The High Llamas, God is an Astronaut, and My Bloody Valentine.

Who are some of your favorite Irish musicians? Share them with us on Twitter or comment below.


SomaFM powers discovery, bucks Web radio trends

For some years now, I’ve been listening off-and-on to SomaFM’s astounding radio station Indie Pop Rocks! and have, as a result, been introduced to some music that has stuck with me over years of listening, from Yo La Tengo and Pavement to Camera Obscura and The High Llamas.

SomaFM features a multitude of stations, and while most of its offerings are electronic in nature, some other notable stations with which I find interest include the recent Noise Pop Radio!, Covers — a station devoted to cover songs, and a dance rock station, PopTron! Across all its stations, SomaFM showcases artists from the obscure to the instantly recognizable.

Where something like or Pandora may offer some computer-generated discovery, the guided discovery of radio is where it can cull real power. Where most over-the-air radio has fallen into the mundaneness of the mainstream, SomaFM stands strong. For some, the variety may seem overwhelming — but with some time and patience, it transforms from something disparate and unrecognizable to the familiar.