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Alternative Music: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Top 20 Indie Record Labels
The greatest ever indie record labels.
Top 10 Post-Rock Albums
10 records, no singing. Well, almost. Ten of the brightest lights shining in post-rock's instrumentalist darkness.
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 10 Shoegaze Albums
Dewy, dreamy, distorted guitar. Mumbled, barely-there vocals. It's ten classic shoegaze LPs, from MBV on down...
Top 10 Belle and Sebastian Songs
The Scottish outfit have had a long (and brilliant) career of sterling pop-songs. Here are the ten best.
Top 10 Math-Rock Albums
Tally your time-signatures! A guide to the essential, indispensable math-rock records.
Top 10 Krautrock Albums
West Germany in the 1970s was a fertile time for progressive, mind-altering music.
Upcoming Album Release Dates
Sort through the glut of new releases with this guide to the upcoming indie-music release schedule.
Top 30 Albums of the 1960s
The radical records that broke the mold, moved music forward, and influenced generations of artists to come.
Top 10 Albums by The Fall
Ever wondered where's the best place to start for a Fall neophyte?
Top 10 Slowcore Albums
Slow, sad, frighteningly quiet: a rollcall of classic 1990s LPs from these masters of the spartan.
Tune-Yards 'Whokill'
A barrage of funky, feminist, genre-crossing jams, the second Tune-Yards record beckons imminent crossover.
30 Best New Bands of 2013
From Boogarins to Weaves, Haerts to Vår, Béisbol to Wampire, here's indie music's Class of 2013.
Top 10 Riot-Grrrl Records
Riot-grrrl's righteous indignation of sloganeering politics produced a run of raucous, rocking records.
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.
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.
10 Bands to Watch in 2013
Looking for potential breakout bands in 2013? From Indians to Savages, here's ten sure bets.
Franz Ferdinand 'Right Thoughts, Right Words,...
Once famed for their uptight rhythms, Franz Ferdinand sound relaxed on their poppy fourth LP.
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 Bands to Watch in 2014
FKA twigs, Haerts, Mas Ysa, Temples, and Thumpers headline 10 bands primed for a 2014 breakout.
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 Alternative Starter Albums
The defining entries in any alternative record collection. The iconoclasts whose singular sound has shaped a whole generation of underground acts.
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.
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.
Top 10 Bands Who'll Never Reform
In an era of retromania, are the any bands left that aren't reforming? Gladly, there are...
Alternative Music 101 - Your FAQ Primer
Your guide to the confusing basics of Alternative Music. Just remember: there are no dumb questions.
Interview: Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend
The VW frontman talks blog haters, African pop-music, and his lyrical love of polysyllabic words. Page 2.
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.
10 Infamous Concerts
Ten bizarre, embarrassing, and much-remembered underground live-shows that have endeared their own, modern-day mythology.
Scott Walker - Artist Profile
Teen pin-up turned avant-garde recluse. The strange music and even stranger life of Scott Walker.
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.
Genre Profile - Lo-Fi
Crack out your Shrimper cassettes! It's a history lesson in the lo-fi movement.
Genre Profile - Shoegaze
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Bon Iver - Artist Profile
Justin Vernon made a heartbroken record in a Wisconsin cabin in the middle of winter. Plenty of people have warmed to it.
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.
Kurt Cobain wears Daniel Johnston T-Shirt to VMAs
Back in 1992, what t-shirt you wore really mattered.
Nirvana - Artist Profile
Profile of the life and death of the alternative legends
Iron and Wine - Artist Profile
Shy southerner Sam Beam's quiet songs have made a loud noise on the alternative scene.
10 Bands to Watch at SXSW 2014
In Austin for SXSW 2014? Here's ten bands, from Connections to Seoul to Solids, you best keep your eye on.
10 Best Indie Bands to Follow on Twitter
The most entertaining indie-rock Tweeters.
Interview: Theresa Wayman of Warpaint
Theresa Wayman feels out the emotions running deep in Warpaint's debut LP.
Mazzy Star - Artist Profile
Their narcotic balladry went platinum in the '90s, then they disappeared. The story of Mazzy Star.
Genre Profile - Post-Rock
A look at the ragged instrumentalists and jazz-schooled dorks that've made up post-rock's wordless movement.
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.'
Artist Profile: Nirvana
Profile of the life and death of the alternative legends. Page 2.
Grizzly Bear - Artist Profile
An in-depth look at the harmony-draped folk-pop experimentalists.
Genre Profile: Math-Rock
The staunchly-punk, time-signature-juggling, nerdy instrumentalist mayhem of math-rock.
10 Last-Minute Picks for SXSW 2014
Ex Hex, Glass Animals, Nothing, Protomartyr, Your Friend: 10 bands building late buzz for 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.
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.
Vampire Weekend - Artist Profile
Brooklyn's preppiest, poppiest indie outfit has made a career of bright melody and slight controversy.
Modest Mouse - Artist Profile
Isaac Brock's adventures with The Pixies, God, jail, Johnny Marr, and chart-topping success.
Top 10 K Records Albums
10 all-time great albums on the ultimate underground indie label.
Genre Profile: Chillwave
It's the summery, nostalgic, warped-sounding electronic music that blew up the blogosphere in 2009.
10 Obscure Albums That Became Classics
Ignored, reviled, or 'lost' on their original release, these obscure LPs eventually proved hugely influential.
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.
The National - Artist Profile
The National's slow, steady progression, from unknowns to the band who soundtracked Hope and Change.
MGMT - Artist Profile
An in-depth look at the brief history of the hype-starting New Yorker duo.
The Decemberists - Artist Profile
Profile of the fore'er whimsical folk-pop troupe from Portland.
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.
Top 20 Alternative Christmas Records
Here's how humbug hipsters stuck at family gatherings can commandeer the stereo and not upset the seasonal apple-cart.
Elliott Smith - Artist Profile
Chronicle of the rise and demise of the ultimate depressive songsmith.
10 Biblical Indie Albums
Call them anti-Christian-Rock records: 10 mighty albums rich in religious theme and biblical heft.
Belle and Sebastian - Artist Profile
The life and times of the Scottish twee institution.
Death Cab for Cutie - Artist Profile
Potted, spotted history of the impossibly successful Seattle indie-rock icons, as told by its members.
Joanna Newsom - Artist Profile
A story in which a warbling, harp-playing California girl becomes a towering colossus of the recorded medium.
Definitive Albums: Nirvana 'Bleach' (1989)
The best $606.17 recording budget Sub Pop ever presided over.
The National 'Trouble Will Find Me'
On the sixth National album, Matt Berninger ruminates on the lure of heaven.
10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
Tired of tepid 'women in rock' lists? Here's ten fiery heroines that blazed radical new musical trails.
Definitive Albums: Os Mutantes 'Os Mutantes'...
These barmy Brazilians' riotous debut album is a freakadelic fusion of Beatles-esque studio experimentation and traditional Afro-Portuguese rhythms.
Yeasayer - Artist Profile
Yeasayer are a Brooklyn-based band that accomplishes no small task: defying genre.
My Bloody Valentine - Artist Profile
A career chronicle of the recently-reborn godheads of the shoegaze movement.
Constellation Records Profile
Chronicle of Canadian post-rock powerhouse Constellation Records.
Vampire Weekend 'Vampire Weekend'
Vampire Weekend's hype-starting debut disc is one of the biggest alternative albums in aeons. But is it worthy of all the acclaim?
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.
Sufjan Stevens - Artist Profile
Sufjan Stevens is an artist defined by his ambition.
Definitive Albums: Talk Talk 'Laughing Stock'...
On their final album, English moodists Talk Talk created an atmospheric opus that presaged post-rock's rise.
The Pixies - Artist Profile
The Pixies blistering use of broad dynamics and innovative re-write of pop-song forms redefined guitar music.
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.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Artist Profile
The history of the rock'n'roll trio, as told by Karen O, Nick Zinner, and Brian Chase.
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: Can 'Tago Mago' (1971)
On their legendary double-LP, Can continued to push psychedelic, progressive rock into strange, new, uncharted terrain.
Definitive Albums: Afghan Whigs 'Gentlemen'...
Afghan Whigs fourth LP was a classic concept-album unloved in its day.
Interview: Sufjan Stevens
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Top 20 Matador Albums
Few record-labels have had an ongoing, unbroken run of pop-cultural credibility like Matador Records.
Pavement: Artist Profile
Biography of the kings of lo-fi slackerdom, as told by Stephen Malkmus and Spiral Stairs
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.
Broken Social Scene - Artist Profile
Potted history of the sprawling, many-membered, ever-evolving Canadian concern, as told by founders Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning.
Bat for Lashes - Artist Profile
History of glamorous English songstress Natasha Khan.
Interview: Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi
Chaz Bundick talks about talking about people behind their backs right to their faces.
Interview: Nathan Williams of Wavves
Post Primavera meltdown, Nathan Williams talks about being the most hated man in the blogosphere.
Tortoise - Artist Profile
A career-long look at Chicago's genre-razing, forever-experimental instrumentalists.
St. Vincent - Artist Profile
A look at the life and career of fearsome fretboard shredder, old-fashioned romantic, and all-around dork, Annie Clark.
Interview: DJ Riot of Buraka Som Sistema
The man behind BSS's kuduro beats talks about the political agenda of the Portuguese/Angolan party-starters.
Neu! - Artist Profile
The German krautrock legends gave the world motorik rhythm and the infamous proto-remix Side 2 of 'Neu! 2'.
Interview: Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards
On the brink of a breakout, Merrill Garbus is shocked she hasn't had to compromise one iota along the way.
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: Chad VanGaalen
The tall Canadian songsmith talks raiding rubbish skips, building instruments, and the everyman inspiration of the lo-fi movement.
Matador Records Profile
A traipse through the history of New York's venerable mega-indie, Matador Records.
Genre Profile - Riot Grrrl
Chronicle of the riot grrrl movement's furious surge in the early 1990s.
Definitive Albums: Slint 'Spiderland' (1991)
Slint's legacy grew in a fashion that matched the music: slow, steady, barely perceptible, ultimately legendary.
Sub Pop Records Profile
In-depth historical profile of the influential, (semi-)independent Seattle label.
Definitive Albums: Belle and Sebastian 'If...
The Scottish pop outfit's second LP is one of the greatest records ever committed to disc.
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.
Interview: Bryan Devendorf of The National
The National's perpetually-pounding drummer talks about dealing with the weight of expectations on 'High Violet'.
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'.
Genre Profile - Twee
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" >C86 cassette, which celebrates England's
Interview: Pat Grossi of Active Child
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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.
Dead Man's Bones 'Dead Man's Bones'
Clearly the greatest nightmare-doo-wop-with-children's-choir soundtrack to an imagined monster movie recorded by a Hollywood celebrity ever.
Alternative Music History: The Sex Pistols Play...
40 people were there, 4000 claim they were. A look at one of the most legendary, influential gigs in modern music history.
Definitive Albums: Tim Hardin 'Suite for Susan...
Tim Hardin's singular Suite for his newfound family makes for his most personal, profound album.
Devendra Banhart 'What Will We Be'
Unlike recent Banhart records, here the ambling, genre-dabbling, pastichey feel isn't a product of lazy happenstance, but written into the album's ambition.
Definitive Albums: The Smiths 'The Smiths' (1984)
Matching Morrissey's mopey lyricism to Johnny Marr's evergreen jangle, The Smiths' founded an infinitely-influential sound on their debut.
Interview: Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia and...
Back in 2002, the late Jason Molina already saw his Songs: Ohia records philosophically.
M.I.A. 'Maya'
M.I.A.'s industrial-sounding concept-album about internet surveillance isn't a political misstep, it's a musical one.
Top 10 Broadcast Songs
English electronic act Broadcast presided over a brilliant career of beautiful, strange, eerie songs.
Interview: Alan Palomo of Neon Indian
Alan Palomo talks the seminal influence of seeing Sonic Youth play 'Silver Rocket' on Saturday Night Live.
Factory Records' 10 Greatest Catalogue Items
Manchester's legendary Factory Records assembled an artful discography of far more than albums.
Arcade Fire 'The Suburbs'
Arcade Fire's ambitious song-cycle delivers a double barrel-load of gumption: the band hoping to define not just their career, but a generation.
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.
Top 20 Drag City Albums
The greatest albums from one of indie music's greatest-ever labels.
Interview: Ayse Hassan of Savages
The English post-punks weigh up the art of listening, the power of silence, and the din of hype.
Definitive Albums: Faust 'Faust IV' (1973)
Faust's krautrock landmark was visionary and exploratory, but still so easy to love.
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.
Genre Profile - Krautrock
To English ears, the psychedelic, progressive, cosmic sound of early-'70s West Germany heralded a brave new sound: krautrock.
Radiohead 'The King of Limbs'
All insectile rhythms, elusive moods, and soul-singing vocals, the eighth Radiohead LP isn't primed for immediacy.
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.
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.
Definitive Albums: My Bloody Valentine...
My Bloody Valentine's all-time-classic second album changed the way a whole generation of artists looked at the guitar.
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.
Interview: Joel Thibodeau of Death Vessel
The gentle folkie with the high, high voice colors in his pre-Sub Pop musical backstory.
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.
Kill Rock Stars Profile
Profile of the long-running, fiercely-independent Pacific Northwest imprint, from riot-grrrl beginnings to its rebirth in Portland.
10 Iconic Album Covers
The most distinctive, most striking, most lauded album covers in indie music history.
Top 20 Vincent Moon Videos
Vincent Moon's 'Take Away Shows' revolutionized live music video. Here are the highlights of his inspired, improvised work.
Alternative Music History: Suicide's 23 Minutes...
A riot breaks out, a bootleg is recorded, a mythical show is born.
Genre Profile - Slowcore
Slow, quiet, sad, introspective, pretty: a look at those fearless slowcore rebels who first dared to not-rock.
Interview: Hugo Manuel of Chad Valley
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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.
Devendra Banhart - Artist Profile
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Interview: Elizabeth Powell of Land of Talk
The talkative Canadian rocker talks broken bones, Broken Social Scene, Montréal hype, and being mellowed by Bon Iver.
Definitive Albums: The Fall 'Hex Enduction...
For all intents and purposes, The Fall begins and ends with 'Hex Enduction Hour.'
Panda Bear - Artist Profile
Biography of Animal Collective member Panda Bear, from his teenaged home-recordings to his solo flowering whilst living in Portugal.
Definitive Albums: The 13th Floor Elevators...
Austin's garage-rock wailers invented psychedelic rock, tapped into the counter-cultural underground, and provided an early spark for punk.

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