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by Evan Sawdey

3 Sep 2014


Photo: Matt Petricone

For Dark Oceans, a label that’s been completely unafraid of exploring the dark psyche of the modern indie rock landscape, the signing of a band as poppy and joyful as Bishop Allen may at first seem a bit unusual.

However, this long-running project that was initially formed by Justin Rice and Christian Rudder have been making waves ever since their debut album Charm School in 2003. What initially brought them to national attention was their 2006 effort wherein the band recorded a fully-produced EP every month for the course of that year, filled with soaring harmonies, jangle-pop guitars, and a wry sense of wit and wisdom. The best from those sessions helped form their 2007 effort The Broken String, which started the band’s fruitful collaboration with Dead Oceans.

by Evan Sawdey

26 Aug 2014


Photo: Shervin Lainez

Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor get bored with their own music pretty easily.

That’s not to say they don’t love it or love crafting it or refuse to play older songs at shows, no. However, in their short lifespan, this Sheffield duo have made notable changes to their sound from album to album, as the clap-and-stomp folk-rock of 2010’s Yeah So is notably different from the irreverent, more fleshed-out full-band workouts that made 2011’s great Paradise what it was. Perhaps even more impressive than their discography has been their incredibly notable videography as well, which has featured everything from impressive Daniel Radcliffe cameos to their viral “Two Cousins” concept, stunning in its simplicity but effective nonetheless.

by Evan Sawdey

15 Jul 2014


Contrary to popular belief, Brian Vander Ark was never much of a rock guy.

Oh sure, he was the guitarist and lead singer for the Verve Pipe, who, in 1996-1997, dominated the airwaves with the inescapable, era-defining modern rock single known as “The Freshmen”, but in truth, Vander Ark was a pop purist at heart. Their 1999 follow-up to their breakthrough album Villains featured memorable pop-rock numbers like “Hero”, but by the time they released 2001’s supremely underrated Underneath, they brought on Fountains of Wayne frontman and noted pop-savant Adam Schlesinger as producer, and were focused on crafting pop songs in the most classical of senses. Their commercial prospects never matched the heights of “The Freshmen”, but while that song somewhat defined the band for some people, their hardcore fans knew that the band was capable of so much more.

by PopMatters Staff

11 Jun 2014


PopMatters caught Glenn Tilbrook‘s acoustic set at Nashville’s unassuming, friendly 3rd and Lindsley in September 2013, while in town for the Americana Music Fest. It gave us a thrill, to see the Squeeze man up close in such a laid-back, comfortable setting, far removed from his stadium shows’ past.

by Evan Sawdey

28 May 2014


Jim Carroll does not like compromise.

He is, after all, a Chicago boy who makes no qualms about his displeasure not only with pre-packaged pop stars, but also the very music industry he is a part of. Following Unicycle Loves You’s Brian Deck-produced debut album in 2008, Carroll’s once-DIY solo project has morphed into a full-blown band, and with each record, they seem to be changing up their style, moving from power-pop to garage-crunch with surprising ease, and never staying in the same place twice. Actually, that last part is quite literal, because after years of pounding the streets of the Windy City, the group only recently moved to New York City, and now the Big Apple, along with the rest of the world, gets to hear the band’s latest opus, The Dead Age, once and for all.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Counterbalance: The Avalanches' 'Since I Left You'

// Sound Affects

"Get a drink, have a good time now. Welcome to paradise, and read all about the 305th most acclaimed album of all time. An Australian plunderphonics pioneer is this week’s Counterbalance.

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