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Alternative Music: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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.
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...
Our 10 Favorite Math-Rock Albums
Tally your time-signatures! A guide to the essential, indispensable math-rock records.
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.
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?
10 Most Inspired German 'Krautrock' Albums
West Germany in the 1970s was a fertile time for progressive, mind-altering music.
Top 10 Albums by The Fall
Ever wondered where's the best place to start for a Fall neophyte?
The 10 Best Ever Slow-Core Records
Slow, sad, frighteningly quiet: a rollcall of classic 1990s LPs from these masters of the spartan.
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.
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.
Upcoming Alternative Album Release Dates
Sort through the glut of new releases with this guide to the upcoming indie-music release schedule.
10 Bands to Watch in 2014
FKA twigs, Haerts, Mas Ysa, Temples, and Thumpers headline 10 bands primed for a 2014 breakout.
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.
30 Best New Bands of 2013
From Boogarins to Weaves, Haerts to Vår, Béisbol to Wampire, here's indie music's Class of 2013.
Scott Walker - Artist Profile
Teen pin-up turned avant-garde recluse. The strange music and even stranger life of Scott Walker.
Top 30 Albums of the 1960s
The radical records that broke the mold, moved music forward, and influenced generations of artists to come.
Alternative Music 101 - Your FAQ Primer
Your guide to the confusing basics of Alternative Music. Just remember: there are no dumb questions.
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.
Matador Records Profile
A traipse through the history of New York's venerable mega-indie, Matador Records.
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 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 50 Albums of 2013
The moment My Bloody Valentine issued their third album, 2013 was a great year for indie music.
Top 10 Twee Albums
The class releases that defined the growth of twee from tiny, self-contained English scene to global underground culture.
Neu! - Artist Profile
The German krautrock legends gave the world motorik rhythm and the infamous proto-remix Side 2 of 'Neu! 2'.
10 Infamous Concerts
Ten bizarre, embarrassing, and much-remembered underground live-shows that have endeared their own, modern-day mythology.
Top 20 Concept Albums
Tired of records that sound like random collections of files? Here's 20 LPs of singular theme and sustained narrative.
Top 30 4AD Albums
The best 30 albums from the first 30 years of the all-conquering indie powerhouse.
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.
Revisiting 2013's 10 Best Indie Music Groups
Looking for potential breakout bands in 2013? From Indians to Savages, here's ten sure bets.
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.
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.
TV on the Radio - Artist Profile
Let us chart the rise and rise of the Brooklyn outfit who's never met a bad review.
Genre Profile - Lo-Fi
Crack out your Shrimper cassettes! It's a history lesson in the lo-fi movement.
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.
Top 10 Bands Who'll Never Reform
In an era of retromania, are the any bands left that aren't reforming? Gladly, there are...
Genre Profile - Shoegaze
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The National 'Trouble Will Find Me'
On the sixth National album, Matt Berninger ruminates on the lure of heaven.
Young Galaxy 'Ultramarine'
'Ultramarine' is populated by young dreamers dealing with the sadness of growing up.
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.
Interview: Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend
Fighting off Saab enthusiasts and a chorus of hater, Vampire Weekend remain eternally undaunted.
Julianna Barwick 'Nepenthe'
Julianna Barwick recorded her 4th LP in Iceland, but it sounds like it was made on a cloud.
Blitzen Trapper Announce New LP, VII
Blitzen Trapper Announce New LP, VII
David Lynch 'The Big Dream'
The director-turned-musician's second LP boasts buzzing-fly bar-blues that doesn't measure up to his cinema.
Vampire Weekend 'Modern Vampires of the City'
The third Vampire Weekend album makes the band's most varied, divisive, daring work.
10 Bands to Watch at SXSW 2014
SXSW is suddenly on the horizon! The indie super-bowl takes over Austin, Texas, every march, with an orgy of bands and bloggers and bros getting righteous for
Bon Iver - Artist Profile
The background, beginnings, and developments of Justin Vernon, also known as Bon Iver.
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.
No Age 'An Object'
No Age's fourth album explores unexpected soundscapes, using noise as a compositional tool.
Genre Profile - Post-Rock
A look at the ragged instrumentalists and jazz-schooled dorks that've made up post-rock's wordless movement.
My Bloody Valentine 'MBV'
My Bloody Valentine's remarkable third album manages to live up to 22 years of wild expectations.
Julia Holter 'Loud City Song'
'Loud City Song' finds the Los Angeles composer writing songs for the metropolis.
The National - Artist Profile
The National's slow, steady progression, from unknowns to the band who soundtracked Hope and Change.
Sufjan Stevens - Artist Profile
Sufjan Stevens is an artist defined by his ambition.
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 Broadcast Songs
English electronic act Broadcast presided over a brilliant career of beautiful, strange, eerie songs.
Kurt Cobain wears Daniel Johnston T-Shirt to VMAs
Back in 1992, what t-shirt you wore really mattered.
10 Obscure Albums That Became Classics
Ignored, reviled, or 'lost' on their original release, these obscure LPs eventually proved hugely influential.
Sharon Van Etten Back with New Album
Sharon Van Etten has a brand-new album. Are We There, the Brooklyn-based songwriter's fourth album, will be out May 27 on Jagjaguwar. Are We There marks
Genre Profile: Math-Rock
The staunchly-punk, time-signature-juggling, nerdy instrumentalist mayhem of math-rock.
Interview: Pat Grossi of Active Child
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Vampire Weekend - Artist Profile
Brooklyn's preppiest, poppiest indie outfit has made a career of bright melody and slight controversy.
Top 10 K Records Albums
10 all-time great albums on the ultimate underground indie label.
Nirvana - Artist Profile
Profile of the life and death of the alternative legends
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.
Definitive Albums: Red House Painters 'Down...
Essentially the early demos of Mark Kozelek, the debut Red House Painters' LP is a landmark in slow, sad, sombre songwriting.
Interview: Theresa Wayman of Warpaint
Theresa Wayman feels out the emotions running deep in Warpaint's debut LP.
Constellation Records Profile
Chronicle of Canadian post-rock powerhouse Constellation Records.
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.
Jeffrey Lewis - Artist Profile
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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.
Interview: Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia and...
Back in 2002, the late Jason Molina already saw his Songs: Ohia records philosophically.
My Bloody Valentine - Artist Profile
A career chronicle of the recently-reborn godheads of the shoegaze movement.
Kings of Convenience 'Declaration of Dependence'
After five years apart, Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe are back on record together, writing a love-letter to each other.
Ariel Pink - Artist Profile
The life-and-crimes of A. Pink: home-taping enthusiast turned unexpectedly-influential indie music sage.
Beach House - Artist Profile
Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally recall the history of their slow, narcotic Baltimore duo.
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.
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.
Grizzly Bear - Artist Profile
An in-depth look at the harmony-draped folk-pop experimentalists.
Top 20 Drag City Albums
The greatest albums from one of indie music's greatest-ever labels.
Genre Profile: Chillwave
It's the summery, nostalgic, warped-sounding electronic music that blew up the blogosphere in 2009.
MGMT - Artist Profile
An in-depth look at the brief history of the hype-starting New Yorker duo.
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.
Modest Mouse - Artist Profile
Isaac Brock's adventures with The Pixies, God, jail, Johnny Marr, and chart-topping success.
10 Best Indie Bands to Follow on Twitter
The most entertaining indie-rock Tweeters.
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.
Definitive Albums: Scott Walker 'Scott 4' (1969)
Walker's unquestioned masterpiece is an uneasy mixture of MOR balladry, lyrical savagery, and hesitant avant-gardism.
Interview: Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi
You know you're a Southerner when you throw rocks at a dumpster. Toro y Moi talks touring far from South Carolina.
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.
10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
Tired of tepid 'women in rock' lists? Here's ten fiery heroines that blazed radical new musical trails.
Little Dragon Unveil New LP and Single, Play...
Little Dragon Unveil New LP and Single, Play Letterman
Top 20 Matador Albums
Few record-labels have had an ongoing, unbroken run of pop-cultural credibility like Matador Records.
10 Biblical Indie Albums
Call them anti-Christian-Rock records: 10 mighty albums rich in religious theme and biblical heft.
10 Bands to Watch at CMJ 2013
From Arp to Coke Weed, Glasser, Sisu, and Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, here's ten standouts from CMJ 2013.
Interview: Noah Lennox of Panda Bear and Animal...
Panda Bear felt the pressure of following up 'Person Pitch.' Rising above it was, he says, like battling depression. Page 2.
Genre Profile - Slowcore
Slow, quiet, sad, introspective, pretty: a look at those fearless slowcore rebels who first dared to not-rock.
10 International Bands to Watch at CMJ 2013
From Finnish synth-poppers to Australian oddballs, here's 10 choice foreign acts en route to CMJ 2013.
Interview: Bradford Cox of Deerhunter
B-Cox talks blog haters, the Bob Pollard Curse, record stores, and about himself in the third person. Page 2.
Elliott Smith - Artist Profile
Chronicle of the rise and demise of the ultimate depressive songsmith.
Definitive Albums: Catherine Ribeiro and Alpes...
One of recorded music's most powerful voices screams a terrifying suite of horror-songs hoping for Peace.
Definitive Albums: Slint 'Spiderland' (1991)
Slint's legacy grew in a fashion that matched the music: slow, steady, barely perceptible, ultimately legendary.
St. Vincent - Artist Profile
A look at the life and career of fearsome fretboard shredder, old-fashioned romantic, and all-around dork, Annie Clark.
10 Last-Minute Picks for SXSW 2014
Ex Hex, Glass Animals, Nothing, Protomartyr, Your Friend: 10 bands building late buzz for SXSW 2014.
10 Iconic Album Covers
The most distinctive, most striking, most lauded album covers in indie music history.
Definitive Albums: Scott Walker 'Tilt' (1995)
After a dozen years in the wilderness, the great recluse arose with the terrifying 'Tilt'...
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Artist Profile
The intently political Canadian co-op authored the blueprint for cinematic, apocalyptic post-rock.
Definitive Albums: Talk Talk 'Laughing Stock'...
On their final album, English moodists Talk Talk created an atmospheric opus that presaged post-rock's rise.
Owen Pallett 'In Conflict'
'In Conflict' finds the Arcade Fire fiddler ditching concept-record fantasies for sentiment, songs, and sequencing stitched with conflict.
Top 20 Vincent Moon Videos
Vincent Moon's 'Take Away Shows' revolutionized live music video. Here are the highlights of his inspired, improvised work.
Genre Profile - Twee
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Genre Profile - Krautrock
To English ears, the psychedelic, progressive, cosmic sound of early-'70s West Germany heralded a brave new sound: krautrock.
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.
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.
Definitive Albums: Can 'Tago Mago' (1971)
On their legendary double-LP, Can continued to push psychedelic, progressive rock into strange, new, uncharted terrain.
Artist Profile: Nirvana
Profile of the life and death of the alternative legends. Page 2.
The Decemberists - Artist Profile
Profile of the fore'er whimsical folk-pop troupe from Portland.
Interview: Jessie Stein of The Luyas
Thank God for mental illness. Jessie Stein talks an LP dealing with schizophrenia and hallucination.
Definitive Albums: Nico 'The Marble Index' (1969)
Nico's legendary second LP unmoored itself from pop-song form and drifted into a terrifying avant-garde underworld of haunted hymnals.
Interview: Annie Clark of St. Vincent
Chit-chat with the chatty and charming St. Vincent. Page 2.
Definitive Albums: Sleater-Kinney 'Dig Me Out'...
The crossover success of Sleater-Kinney's anthemic third album marked the end of riot-grrrl as self-contained, insular movement.
Sub Pop Records Profile
In-depth historical profile of the influential, (semi-)independent Seattle label.
Genre Profile - Riot Grrrl
Chronicle of the riot grrrl movement's furious surge in the early 1990s.
Interview: Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab
Laetitia Sadier discusses the state of Stereolab, and the state of the modern world, on the eve of her beloved band's ninth album.
Definitive Albums: Belle and Sebastian 'If...
The Scottish pop outfit's second LP is one of the greatest records ever committed to disc.
Definitive Albums: Neu! 'Neu!' (1972)
For many, Neu!'s debut 1972 LP served as the unofficial birthplace of the krautrock movement.
Interview: Raphaelle Standell-Preston of Braids...
The sweet-voiced singer talks the togetherness of Braids and the untogetherness of Blue Hawaii.
Artist Profile: Sharon Van Etten
Sharon Van Etten's songs are stark confessionals recounting life in a destructive relationship.
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.
Interview: Bryan Devendorf of The National
The National's perpetually-pounding drummer talks about dealing with the weight of expectations on 'High Violet'.
Alternative Music History: Suicide's 23 Minutes...
A riot breaks out, a bootleg is recorded, a mythical show is born.
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.
Antony & the Johnsons - Artist Profile
Profile, history, biography of the warbling New Yorker troubadour.
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.
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'.
Iron and Wine - Artist Profile
Shy southerner Sam Beam's quiet songs have made a loud noise on the alternative scene.
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.
Interview: David Berman of Silver Jews
Silver Jews' David Berman discusses his recent embrace of the road, pop's utter lack of message, and whether he's still on a mission from God.
Owen Pallett - Artist Profile
The life and times of a carrot-top'd, concept-album-obsessed Canadian fiddler who once called himself Final Fantasy.
Wolf Parade - Artist Profile
A tale of four Canadian gentlemen and their merry rock'n'roll band.
Top 10 Breakout Bands of 2013
From Autre Ne Veut to Waxahatchee, via Chvrches and Savages, here's 10 indie acts who treated 2013 as a coming-out party...
The Pixies - Artist Profile
The Pixies blistering use of broad dynamics and innovative re-write of pop-song forms redefined guitar music.
Definitive Albums: The Shaggs 'Philosophy of...
The greatest album ever made? The worst? Both?
Merge Records Profile
Chronicle of the surprising rise of North Carolina's long-running independent label Merge Records.
Interview: Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius
The Perfume Genius frontman talks controversy, 'Twin Peaks', rehab, and 'Put Your Back N 2 It'.
Interview: Hugo Manuel of Chad Valley
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Interview: Zac Pennington of Parenthetical Girls
Parenthetical Girls' album 'Entanglements' is an ambitious, impressive orchestral epic. Here, frontman Zac Pennington spills the beans on its making.
Definitive Albums: The Raincoats 'The...
Best known for diffusing punk's heaving machismo, the Raincoats' remarkable, ramshackle debut summons a peculiar musical magic.

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