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Alternative Music: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Alternative Music 101 - Are 'Alternative' and...
We debate the question that has plagued mankind for centuries: what do 'alternative' and 'indie' actually really mean? And is it just the same thing?
Our 10 Favorite Math-Rock Albums
Tally your time-signatures! A guide to the essential, indispensable math-rock records.
10 Most Inspired German 'Krautrock' Albums
West Germany in the 1970s was a fertile time for progressive, mind-altering music.
The 10 Best Post-Rock Albums Ever Made
10 records, no singing. Well, almost. Ten of the brightest lights shining in post-rock's instrumentalist darkness.
The 20 Best Record Labels for Indie Music
The greatest ever indie record labels.
Alternative Music 101 - Your FAQ Primer
Your guide to the confusing basics of Alternative Music. Just remember: there are no dumb questions.
The 10 Best Ever Slow-Core Records
Slow, sad, frighteningly quiet: a rollcall of classic 1990s LPs from these masters of the spartan.
Top 10 Lo-Fi Albums
Home taping didn't kill music, it revolutionized it. Here's 10 classic home-made records committed straight to analogue tape.
Top 30 Albums of the 1960s
The radical records that broke the mold, moved music forward, and influenced generations of artists to come.
The 10 Best Shoegaze Albums Ever Made
Dewy, dreamy, distorted guitar. Mumbled, barely-there vocals. It's ten classic shoegaze LPs, from MBV on down...
Top 20 Concept Albums
Tired of records that sound like random collections of files? Here's 20 LPs of singular theme and sustained narrative.
Scott Walker - Artist Profile
Teen pin-up turned avant-garde recluse. The strange music and even stranger life of Scott Walker.
Top 10 Songs From Twee-Pop Heroes 'Belle and...
The Scottish outfit have had a long (and brilliant) career of sterling pop songs. Here are the ten best.
Top 10 Post-Punk Albums
The '77 UK punk explosion has long been wildly overrated. It was everything that came after that was truly revolutionary.
Alternative Music 101 - Genre Guide
Don't know your shoegaze from your space-rock? Your twee from your C86? Read on to discover the peculiar secrets of all those baffling genre names.
Top 10 Albums by The Fall
Ever wondered where's the best place to start for a Fall neophyte?
Top 30 4AD Albums
The best 30 albums from the first 30 years of the all-conquering indie powerhouse.
Top 10 Twee Albums
The class releases that defined the growth of twee from tiny, self-contained English scene to global underground culture.
Top 10 Indie Music Documentaries
Ranging from portraits of cult heroes (Roky Erickson) and global icons (Radiohead), here are the greatest music documentaries of all-time.
Genre Profile - Shoegaze
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Genre Profile - Twee
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Top 10 Thrill Jockey Albums
From Tortoise to the National Trust, ten of the best from the artful back-catalogue of Chicago's ever-influential Thrill Jockey imprint.
Interview: Alex Scally of Beach House
Baltimore-based duo Beach House's slow, droney, comedown dream-pop has legions of listeners analyzing it for meaning. But the band's Alex Scally isn't one of them.
Genre Profile - Lo-Fi
Crack out your Shrimper cassettes! It's a history lesson in the lo-fi movement.
Genre Profile: Math-Rock
The staunchly-punk, time-signature-juggling, nerdy instrumentalist mayhem of math-rock.
Kurt Cobain wears Daniel Johnston T-Shirt to VMAs
Back in 1992, what t-shirt you wore really mattered.
Upcoming Alternative Album Release Dates
Sort through the glut of new releases with this guide to the upcoming indie-music release schedule.
10 Obscure Albums That Became Classics
Ignored, reviled, or 'lost' on their original release, these obscure LPs eventually proved hugely influential.
Top 10 Bands Who'll Never Reform
In an era of retromania, are the any bands left that aren't reforming? Gladly, there are...
Beach House - Artist Profile
Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally recall the history of their slow, narcotic Baltimore duo.
Sufjan Stevens - Artist Profile
Sufjan Stevens is an artist defined by his ambition.
Top 10 Riot-Grrrl Records
Riot-grrrl's righteous indignation of sloganeering politics produced a run of raucous, rocking records.
Mazzy Star - Artist Profile
The disappearance and return of the narcotic balladry of the 90's platinum band- Mazzy Star.
Top 20 Sub Pop Albums
Though it'll be forever associated with grunge, Seattle's legendary Sub Pop Records has reinvented itself in the new millennium, presiding over an eclectic lineup of increasingly-successful acts. Here're 10 picks from the label's first 20 years.
10 Indie Acts to Look Out for in 2014
FKA twigs, Haerts, Mas Ysa, Temples, and Thumpers headline 10 bands primed for a 2014 breakout.
Top 10 Alternative Starter Albums
The defining entries in any alternative record collection. The iconoclasts whose singular sound has shaped a whole generation of underground acts.
Interview: Victoria Legrand of Beach House
The Beach House vocalist talks about the 'sexual' qualities of their third LP, 'Teen Dream'.
Genre Profile - Post-Rock
A look at the ragged instrumentalists and jazz-schooled dorks that've made up post-rock's wordless movement.
Interview: Pat Grossi of Active Child
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Top 20 Albums of 2014 So Far
From Tune-Yards to Sun Kil Moon to Angel Olsen, here's the highlights of another awesome year in indie music.
Top 20 Alternative and Indie Xmas Records
Here's how humbug hipsters stuck at family gatherings can commandeer the stereo and not upset the seasonal apple-cart.
Interview: Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast
The Best Coast leader talks Jon Brion, backlash, gossip culture, existential angst, and expectations.
Nirvana - Artist Profile
Profile of the life and death of the alternative legends
10 Best Indie Bands to Follow on Twitter
The most entertaining indie-rock Tweeters.
10 Infamous Concerts
Ten bizarre, embarrassing, and much-remembered underground live-shows that have endeared their own, modern-day mythology.
10 Iconic Album Covers
The most distinctive, most striking, most lauded album covers in indie music history.
Genre Profile - Freak-Folk
A look at the fleeting flourish of folk-revival revivalists who've redreamt the imaginary hippy utopia for the new century.
Top 10 Most Influential Figures in Alternative...
From studio perfectionists to singular idealists, with a host of rockbands in between, here's ten figures of infinite influence.
Top 10 Broadcast Songs
English electronic act Broadcast presided over a brilliant career of beautiful, strange, eerie songs.
The Best Alternative Music Albums of 2013
The moment My Bloody Valentine issued their third album, 2013 was a great year for indie music.
J Mascis Kicks Lou Barlow Out of Dinosaur Jr
When the Dinosaur Jr honcho obtusely let his bassplayer go, Barlow turned around and aired his grievances in a series of Sebadoh songs.
Top 10 'Obscure' Starter Albums
These unique, unusual, underground albums sound thrilling, strange, and amazing to this day. They're the best 'Obscure' albums lurking in popular music's fringes, inspiring many with their abundant artistry and individuality.
Guide to the 56th Grammys Best Alternative...
With Vampire Weekend, The National, and Neko Case on the docket, the 2014 Best Alternative LP nominees are weirdly good...
Top 10 Classic Indie-Rock Records
Given the climate of reissues and reformations, it's no longer ironic to call these records 'classic indie-rock.' Here are the ten best.
Genre Profile - Slowcore
Slow, quiet, sad, introspective, pretty: a look at those fearless slowcore rebels who first dared to not-rock.
Interview: Ernest Greene of Washed Out
The Washed Out don also laments that we're all stuck with the name 'chillwave' for all eternity.
Vampire Weekend - Artist Profile
Brooklyn's preppiest, poppiest indie outfit has made a career of bright melody and slight controversy.
Top 10 Bright Eyes Songs
Ridiculous ambition, vicious self-loathing, attacks on God, and a scream bordering on hoarse: the best works of Conor Oberst.
Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album
A year-by-year history of every Grammy nominee in the always-confusing Best Alternative Album category.
Interview: Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend
The VW frontman defends himself against charges of cultural appropriation.
Animal Collective - Artist Profile
Biographical history of Animal Collective, the shape-shifting American outfit who's earned a reputation as one of the new millennium's most important musical acts.
10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
Tired of tepid 'women in rock' lists? Here's ten fiery heroines that blazed radical new musical trails.
The National - Artist Profile
The National's slow, steady progression, from unknowns to the band who soundtracked Hope and Change.
Genre Profile - Krautrock
To English ears, the psychedelic, progressive, cosmic sound of early-'70s West Germany heralded a brave new sound: krautrock.
Interview: Annie Clark of St. Vincent
Chit-chat with the chatty and charming St. Vincent. Page 2.
10 Biblical Indie Albums
Call them anti-Christian-Rock records: 10 mighty albums rich in religious theme and biblical heft.
Iron and Wine - Artist Profile
Shy southerner Sam Beam's quiet songs have made a loud noise on the alternative scene.
Ariel Pink - Artist Profile
The life-and-crimes of A. Pink: home-taping enthusiast turned unexpectedly-influential indie music sage.
Grizzly Bear - Artist Profile
An in-depth look at the harmony-draped folk-pop experimentalists.
Genre Profile: Chillwave
It's the summery, nostalgic, warped-sounding electronic music that blew up the blogosphere in 2009.
Interview: Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear
Daniel Rossen talks his Elvis-obsessed childhood, mimicking Nick Drake, Department Of Eagle's dark songs, and the joyousness of 'Veckatimest'.
Devendra Banhart - Artist Profile
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Dirty Projectors - Artist Profile
Dave Longstreth's project has gone from bedroom four-tracking to six-piece blow-out in a march from obscurity to popularity.
10 International Acts to Watch at SXSW 2014
Bands from all over the world are heading to Austin for SXSW. From Boogarins to Vaadat Charigim, here's 10 you better not miss.
Bon Iver - Artist Profile
The background, beginnings, and developments of Justin Vernon, also known as Bon Iver.
Factory Records Profile
Chronicle of the rise and fall of Manchester's legendary Factory Records, home to Joy Division, New Order, the Happy Mondays and more.
My Bloody Valentine Artist Profile
A career chronicle of the recently-reborn godheads of the shoegaze movement.
Top 10 K Records Albums
10 all-time great albums on the ultimate underground indie label.
Interview: Dustin Payseur of Beach Fossils
Dustin Payseur recorded his debut LP in a loft without walls, rolling tape in front of house-mates who hated his music.
Joanna Newsom Artist Profile
A story in which a warbling, harp-playing California girl becomes a towering colossus of the recorded medium.
Definitive Albums: Kate Bush 'The Kick Inside'...
Kate Bush's grand, resplendent debut was a work of uncommon ambition and artistry for a teen prodigy.
Tune Yards 'Nikki Nack'
Tasked with following up 2011's Whokill, Merrill Garbus's third Tune-Yards LP is both more anthemic and more anxious.
Definitive Albums: Scott Walker 'Scott 4' (1969)
Walker's unquestioned masterpiece is an uneasy mixture of MOR balladry, lyrical savagery, and hesitant avant-gardism.
30 Best New Indie and Alternative Bands of 2013
From Boogarins to Weaves, Haerts to Vår, Béisbol to Wampire, here's indie music's Class of 2013.
Factory Records' 10 Greatest Catalogue Items
Manchester's legendary Factory Records assembled an artful discography of far more than albums.
Biography of Artist Elliott Smith
Chronicle of the rise and demise of the ultimate depressive songsmith.
Belle and Sebastian Artist Profile
The life and times of the Scottish twee institution.
Definitive Albums: Patti Smith 'Horses' (1975)
Smith's immortal debut drew from totemic rock'n'roll imagery in its pursuit of transcendent poetry.
Top 10 Merge Albums
From Superchunk to Destroyer, Guv'ner to the Arcade Fire, we count down 10 choice discs served up in the history of North Carolina's Merge Records.
Interview: Nathan Williams of Wavves
Post Primavera meltdown, Nathan Williams talks about being the most hated man in the blogosphere.
Interview: Ariel Rosenberg of Ariel Pink's...
Ariel Pink's volumes of lo-fi home-recording were, he thinks, a form of therapy. Page 2.
Interview: Andrew Bird
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Constellation Records Profile
Chronicle of Canadian post-rock powerhouse Constellation Records.
10 Awesome SXSW 2014 Shows
Trying to make sense of the madness in Austin? Here's a handy list: 10 killer bills at SXSW 2014.
Interview: Avey Tare of Animal Collective
The wailing AC frontman talks about the authoring of 2009's almighty 'Merriweather Post Pavilion'.
Interview: Alison Mosshart of The Dead Weather...
Despite having toured for nearly 20 years, The Dead Weather's statuesque singer still suffers from stage fright. Page 2.
Interview: Eirik Glambek Bøe of Kings of...
The non-spectacled half of the Norwegian soft-pop bards talks about staying true to their 'Quiet is the New Loud' ideal.
Artist Profile: Nirvana
Profile of the life and death of the alternative legends. Page 2.
Definitive LPs: Incredible String Band 'The...
Decades before freak-folk, The Incredible String Band had already made folkie weirdness into high, holy art.
10 Classic Rough Trade Albums
From Young Marble Giants to The Smiths to Galaxie 500, here's ten awesome Rough Trade LPs, from the golden age of indie.
10 Entertaining Interviews from the About.com...
Quotable notables, amusing anecdotes, public repudiations, and choice chit-chat. Here's ten killer conversations with indie royalty.
10 Forgotten '90s Bands That Need to Be...
In the internet era, it's nearly impossible for a band to vanish. But these 10 awesome acts have come sadly close.
Definitive Albums: Nirvana 'Bleach' (1989)
The best $606.17 recording budget Sub Pop ever presided over.
Definitive Albums: Chapterhouse 'Whirlpool'...
For lovers of shoegaze, where to turn after My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive? Chapterhouse, my friends.
Spiritualized - Artist Profile
Chronicle of Jason Pierce's grandiose gospel-space-rock-soul outfit Spiritualized, from post-Spacemen 3 beginnings to his near-death experiences.
She and Him - Artist Profile
Burying the stigma of the 'actor turned singer' forever, Zooey Deschanel's collaboration with M. Ward has produced some wondrous music.
Artist Profile: Sharon Van Etten
Sharon Van Etten's songs are stark confessionals recounting life in a destructive relationship.
Arthur Russell - Artist Profile
Chronicle of the life and times of the fallen angel of disco-as-art, New York cellist and home-recording scientist Arthur Russell.
Vampire Weekend 'Modern Vampires of the City'
The third Vampire Weekend album makes the band's most varied, divisive, daring work.
The Decemberists - Artist Profile
Profile of the fore'er whimsical folk-pop troupe from Portland.
Panda Bear - Artist Profile
Biography of Animal Collective member Panda Bear, from his teenaged home-recordings to his solo flowering whilst living in Portugal.
Cant 'Dreams Come True'
Christopher Taylor's dark dreams may sound like stark nightmares to Grizzly Bear conservationists.
Interview: Bryan Devendorf of The National
The National's perpetually-pounding drummer talks about dealing with the weight of expectations on 'High Violet'.
Modest Mouse - Artist Profile
Isaac Brock's adventures with The Pixies, God, jail, Johnny Marr, and chart-topping success.
Death Cab for Cutie - Artist Profile
Potted, spotted history of the impossibly successful Seattle indie-rock icons, as told by its members.
Alternative Music History: Suicide's 23 Minutes...
A riot breaks out, a bootleg is recorded, a mythical show is born.
Definitive Albums: Bikini Kill 'The CD Version...
Second Class Riot "Suck! My! Left! One!" With that ferocious, gender-baiting, controversy-provoking cry,
Interview: Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai
The guitarist of the Scottish post-rock heroes is howling.
Definitive Albums: The Fugs 'The Fugs First...
In 1965, if a rock'n'roll underground existed, The Fugs were it.
Interview: Theresa Wayman of Warpaint
Theresa Wayman feels out the emotions running deep in Warpaint's debut LP.
Why? - Artist Profile
A look at the life and work of indie-pop/backpacker-rap confessionalist Yoni Wolf.
The Pixies Artist Profile
The Pixies blistering use of broad dynamics and innovative re-write of pop-song forms redefined guitar music.
Top 20 Vincent Moon Videos
Vincent Moon's 'Take Away Shows' revolutionized live music video. Here are the highlights of his inspired, improvised work.
Definitive Albums: Neu! 'Neu!' (1972)
For many, Neu!'s debut 1972 LP served as the unofficial birthplace of the krautrock movement.
Mistaken For Strangers
The National's unexpectedly out-there on-the-road documentary is an oddball portrait of sibling rivalry.
St. Vincent - Artist Profile
A look at the life and career of fearsome fretboard shredder, old-fashioned romantic, and all-around dork, Annie Clark.
Definitive Albums: Gal Costa 'Gal' (1969)
Gal Costa's second album of 1969 channeled the tropicalistas political rage into furious, terrifying psychedelia.
Definitive Albums: The Pixies 'Surfer Rosa'...
'Doolittle' gets the greatest-albums-ever acclaim, but is 'Surfer Rosa' The Pixies' best album?
Clues 'Clues'
Alden Penner's post-Unicorns outfit debuts with an album of dense, dark, distorted, '90s-ish alt-rock.
Definitive Albums: Codeine 'Frigid Stars' (1991)
Issued in 1990, Codeine's debut album was a landmark of starkness, depression, and sadness.
Definitive Albums: Spiritualized 'Ladies and...
J. Spaceman's towering landmark builds heartbroken symphonies mixing shoegaze with gospel, rock-n-roll swagger with bowed confessional.
Definitive Albums: Suicide 'Suicide' (1977)
Reviled in its day, beloved three decades on. Suicide's debut LP might be the most unexpectedly influential in rock history.
Interview: Alan Palomo of Neon Indian
Topics of conversation: synth nerdery, Flaming Lips collaborations, chillwave riding, Lil' Wayne's tour bus.
Paw Tracks Profile
Profile of Paw Tracks, the label helmed by the members of Animal Collective.
Interview: Amelia Randall Meath of Mountain Man
Mountain Man Meath talks graduating college, touring the world, and taking her band's fragile music into dens of rock'n'roll iniquity.
MGMT - Artist Profile
An in-depth look at the brief history of the hype-starting New Yorker duo.
Top 10 Constellation Albums
Ten picks from the tastefully-artwork'd back catalogue of the mighty Montréal indie, from Godspeed You Black Emperor! to Clues.
Definitive Albums: Neutral Milk Hotel 'In the...
Neutral Milk Hotel main-man Jeff Mangum still hasn't been able to bring himself to attempt a successor to this slice of longplaying perfection.
Michael Hurley 'Ida con Snock'
The latest LP for the progenitor of the New Weird America is familiar Hurley: simultaneously wacky and touching.
Interview: Chad VanGaalen
The tall Canadian songsmith talks raiding rubbish skips, building instruments, and the everyman inspiration of the lo-fi movement.
Interview: Megan James of Purity Ring
Megan James wanted to be a sailor. Instead, she writes the bloody lyrics for Purity Ring's dark electro.
Interview: JP Pitts of Surfer Blood
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Thrill Jockey Records Profile
Profile of Chicago's influential independent label Thrill Jockey.
Spoon 'They Want My Soul'
Spoon's quietly-contrarian 8th album finds Britt Daniel and co sounding both brilliant and burdened.
Sufjan Stevens Speaks About The Age of Adz
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Interview: Joanna Newsom
Philosophical musings with the harp-playing heroine.
Definitive Albums: The Monks 'Black Monk Time'...
With four decade's worth of hindsight, the Monks' still-thrilling debut may've birthed both punk and kraut-rock.
Definitive Albums: Gilberto Gil 'Gilberto Gil'...
The Brazilian establishment was so provoked by Gilberto Gil's mix of Bossa Nova with psychedelia and Afro-Brazilian folk that he was jailed for subversion.
Interview: Trish Keenan of Broadcast
The late Broadcast singer speaks sound as literature, the passing of time, and the power of make-believe.
Interview: Ellery Roberts of WU LYF
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