Author: Sarah Madges

  • Speedy Ortiz Play Off-Kilter Rock With Off-Kilter Friends Mitski and Krill

    As the tragic march of “Drunk Walk Home” pounded its way toward the coda, 25-year-old mid-fi indie musician Mitski let go of her candy-colored Danelectro bass and howled herself hoarse for a solid minute. In the stunned silence following her vocal abandon, she said quietly, “This is what I want to do with my life, […]

  • ‘These Songs Aren’t Exactly Veiled’: Sharon Van Etten Gets Raw at Warsaw

    Back when she was bellowing songs from 2010’s epic and sipping wine out of a coffee mug, someone called out a request from Sharon Van Etten’s nimble acoustic-driven first album during one of her sets, and she blushed at the recognition: “No one knows about that,” she dismissed. Over four years later, Van Etten is […]

  • American Football

    Originally active from 1997 to 2000, American Football reunited this year, to sold-out shows and what Pitchfork nominated a “best new reissue” of their self-titled masterpiece. A band of University of Illinois alumni, each member has one foot in AF and one in another band from the same scene, emulating the kind of interdisciplinary closeness […]

  • Trampled By Turtles

    Hailing from Duluth, Minnesota, Trampled by Turtles are an alt country band caught between Dylan and Nirvana: plaintive bluegrass songs and speed-picked covers of indie rock. With old world Americana instrumentation (banjo, fiddle, harmonica, etc.), Turtles are open to interpretation as a strictly bluegrass band. However, their unconventional bouts of shredding and occasional use of […]

  • The Whigs

    With a gift for infectious melodies and solid rock’n’roll sensibility, it’s hard not to like The Whigs, at least a little bit—which probably explains their frequent appearances on late night TV. Formed in Athens, Georgia in the early aughts, the trio has five albums of palatable, loudly-produced garage rock. It doesn’t hurt that the lead […]

  • Fucked Up+Speedy Ortiz

    About as audacious as their name, Fucked Up maintain media appearances with the occasional outspoken fit when they’re not busy creating lyrically dense songs propelled by lead singer Damian Abraham’s throaty scream and metronomic but metallic guitar chugs. While some “experimental” gimmicks remain on their newest album, they’ve conceded their days of five-minute bouts of […]

  • The Polyphonic Spree

    A band whose staying power perhaps lies more in their gimmicks than content—twenty-plus members donning white choir robes to black militant getups producing oversized pop songs—the Polyphonic Spree have proven to still have a place in today’s indie rock scene, if only for their cult following. Since their inception in 2000, frontman Tim DeLaughter has […]

  • Presidents of the United States of America

    The Presidents of the United States of America have a decidedly un-lofty sound for such a self-important band name. Formed in the grunge hub that was Seattle circa ’93, PUSA has committed itself to catchy-if-quirky melodies (lyrics ranging in content from eating “a lotta peaches” to befriending a “crappy ghost”) and friendly punk-y strums. With […]

  • Modest Mouse+Brand New

    Known in the mainstream for their 2004 YOLO anthem, “Float On,” Modest Mouse has churned out six albums in the last 12 years whose only constants are frontman Isaac Brock’s anguished yowl, abundant metaphors for disillusionment, lanky guitar lines, and the occasional sleazy brass hiccup. Joining them onstage is pop punk-cum-emo-cum-straight up indie rock foursome […]

  • Neon Indian

    Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo is king of that ‘80s-referencing bedroom synthpop that has replaced more schizo-frenetic electronic music of this decade. Palomo’s endearingly imperfect glo-fi sound has only received pitch-perfect reviews, and whether such accolades mean anything to you, trust that a DJ set he curates with fellow chillwavers Joel Ford and Heathered Pearls is […]

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