Shy Boys - "Something" (stream)

Brandon Biondo, the supremely talented and perpetually underrated mastermind behind Coolrunnings, Walsh and the Dracula Horse label teams up with bassist/co-vocalist Nichole McMinn in his newest project, Shy Boys.

Brandon Biondo has been making superb new wave and art pop-indebted indie rock for years with Coolrunnings to little fanfare, but his newest band, Shy Boys (with co-vocalist and bassist Nicole McMinn) might be enough to break him out to a larger audience. The latest original to be leaked from the project, "Something" is a pristine slow-burner that follows the formula of much of Coolrunnings' mid-paced material. What sets it apart, however, is McMinn and Biondo's sad, longing dual vocal interplay and the big, crisp (though still suitably underground-sounding) instrumentation. There's such feeling to the track that its repetition of "This is love / This is not love" sounds like the duo is wrestling with those sentiments as they're singing them. Shy people everywhere (boys, girls or otherwise) should pay close attention to this one.

'Psycho': The Mother of All Horrors

Psycho stands out not only for being one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, it is also one of his most influential. It has been a template and source material for an almost endless succession of later horror films, making it appropriate to identify it as the mother of all horror films.

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The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti (By the Book)

With discussions of characters like Leon Ray Livingston (a.k.a. "A-No. 1"), credited with consolidating the entire system of hobo communication in the 1910s, and Kathy Zuckerman, better known as the surf icon "Gidget", Susan A. Phillips' lavishly illustrated The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti, excerpted here from Yale University Press, tells stories of small moments that collectively build into broad statements about power, memory, landscape, and history itself.

Susan A. Phillips

The 10 Best Indie Pop Albums of 2009

Indie pop in 2009 was about all young energy and autumnal melancholy, about the rush you feel when you first hear an exciting new band, and the bittersweet feeling you get when your favorite band calls it quits.

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