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Alternative Music: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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.
Our 10 Favorite Math-Rock Albums
Tally your time-signatures! A guide to the essential, indispensable math-rock records.
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?
The 20 Best Record Labels for Indie Music
The greatest ever indie record labels.
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 10 Best Ever Slow-Core Records
Slow, sad, frighteningly quiet: a rollcall of classic 1990s LPs from these masters of the spartan.
10 Most Inspired German 'Krautrock' Albums
West Germany in the 1970s was a fertile time for progressive, mind-altering music.
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...
Alternative Music 101 - Your FAQ Primer
Your guide to the confusing basics of Alternative Music. Just remember: there are no dumb questions.
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 Albums by The Fall
Ever wondered where's the best place to start for a Fall neophyte?
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 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 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 - 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.
Genre Profile - Twee
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Genre Profile - Shoegaze
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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.
Scott Walker - Artist Profile
Teen pin-up turned avant-garde recluse. The strange music and even stranger life of Scott Walker.
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 Twee Albums
The class releases that defined the growth of twee from tiny, self-contained English scene to global underground culture.
Genre Profile - Lo-Fi
Crack out your Shrimper cassettes! It's a history lesson in the lo-fi movement.
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.
Sufjan Stevens - Artist Profile
Sufjan Stevens is an artist defined by his ambition.
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.
Top 20 Concept Albums
Tired of records that sound like random collections of files? Here's 20 LPs of singular theme and sustained narrative.
Upcoming Alternative Album Release Dates
Sort through the glut of new releases with this guide to the upcoming indie-music release schedule.
Beach House - Artist Profile
Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally recall the history of their slow, narcotic Baltimore duo.
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.
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 30 4AD Albums
The best 30 albums from the first 30 years of the all-conquering indie powerhouse.
Genre Profile: Chillwave
It's the summery, nostalgic, warped-sounding electronic music that blew up the blogosphere in 2009.
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 Infamous Concerts
Ten bizarre, embarrassing, and much-remembered underground live-shows that have endeared their own, modern-day mythology.
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.
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.
Genre Profile: Math-Rock
The staunchly-punk, time-signature-juggling, nerdy instrumentalist mayhem of math-rock.
10 Obscure Albums That Became Classics
Ignored, reviled, or 'lost' on their original release, these obscure LPs eventually proved hugely influential.
The National - Artist Profile
The National's slow, steady progression, from unknowns to the band who soundtracked Hope and Change.
10 Bands to Watch in 2014
FKA twigs, Haerts, Mas Ysa, Temples, and Thumpers headline 10 bands primed for a 2014 breakout.
Kurt Cobain wears Daniel Johnston T-Shirt to VMAs
Back in 1992, what t-shirt you wore really mattered.
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 K Records Albums
10 all-time great albums on the ultimate underground indie label.
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.
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.
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.
Modest Mouse - Artist Profile
Isaac Brock's adventures with The Pixies, God, jail, Johnny Marr, and chart-topping success.
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.
Definitive Albums: Chapterhouse 'Whirlpool'...
For lovers of shoegaze, where to turn after My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive? Chapterhouse, my friends.
Top 10 Bands Who'll Never Reform
In an era of retromania, are the any bands left that aren't reforming? Gladly, there are...
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.
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.
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.
Iron and Wine - Artist Profile
Shy southerner Sam Beam's quiet songs have made a loud noise on the alternative scene.
Mazzy Star - Artist Profile
The disappearance and return of the narcotic balladry of the 90's platinum band- Mazzy Star.
Interview: Victoria Legrand of Beach House
The Beach House vocalist talks about the 'sexual' qualities of their third LP, 'Teen Dream'.
The Pixies Artist Profile
The Pixies blistering use of broad dynamics and innovative re-write of pop-song forms redefined guitar music.
Top 10 Broadcast Songs
English electronic act Broadcast presided over a brilliant career of beautiful, strange, eerie songs.
Genre Profile - Riot Grrrl
Chronicle of the riot grrrl movement's furious surge in the early 1990s.
10 Best Indie Bands to Follow on Twitter
The most entertaining indie-rock Tweeters.
Built to Spill - Artist Profile
The history of bearded fretboard warrior Doug Martsch, and his merry band of Built to Spill men.
10 Iconic Album Covers
The most distinctive, most striking, most lauded album covers in indie music history.
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.
Ariel Pink - Artist Profile
The life-and-crimes of A. Pink: home-taping enthusiast turned unexpectedly-influential indie music sage.
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.
Bon Iver - Artist Profile
The background, beginnings, and developments of Justin Vernon, also known as Bon Iver.
Nirvana - Artist Profile
Profile of the life and death of the alternative legends
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.
Joanna Newsom Artist Profile
A story in which a warbling, harp-playing California girl becomes a towering colossus of the recorded medium.
St. Vincent - Artist Profile
A look at the life and career of fearsome fretboard shredder, old-fashioned romantic, and all-around dork, Annie Clark.
Kill Rock Stars Profile
Profile of the long-running, fiercely-independent Pacific Northwest imprint, from riot-grrrl beginnings to its rebirth in Portland.
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.
Top 50 Albums of 2013
The moment My Bloody Valentine issued their third album, 2013 was a great year for indie music.
Genre Profile - Slowcore
Slow, quiet, sad, introspective, pretty: a look at those fearless slowcore rebels who first dared to not-rock.
Interview: Pat Grossi of Active Child
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Interview: Pepi Ginsberg
With the release of her third LP, 'East is East', Ginsberg discusses the finer points of pop-song penmanship.
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.
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.
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.
Merge Records Profile
Chronicle of the surprising rise of North Carolina's long-running independent label Merge Records.
Owen Pallett - Artist Profile
The life and times of a carrot-top'd, concept-album-obsessed Canadian fiddler who once called himself Final Fantasy.
Definitive Albums: Talk Talk 'Laughing Stock'...
On their final album, English moodists Talk Talk created an atmospheric opus that presaged post-rock's rise.
Los Campesinos! - Artist Profile
Smartypants twee-pop explosion Los Campesinos! burst onto the indie scene with the release of two albums in 2008.
Matador Records Profile
A traipse through the history of New York's venerable mega-indie, Matador Records.
Interview: Ernest Greene of Washed Out
The Washed Out don also laments that we're all stuck with the name 'chillwave' for all eternity.
10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
Tired of tepid 'women in rock' lists? Here's ten fiery heroines that blazed radical new musical trails.
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.
Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album
A year-by-year history of every Grammy nominee in the always-confusing Best Alternative Album category.
Definitive LPs: Various 'A Christmas Gift for...
Long before he went off the rails, Phil Spector marshaled his wall-of-sound behind the all-time classic Christmas LP.
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.
Death Cab for Cutie - Artist Profile
Potted, spotted history of the impossibly successful Seattle indie-rock icons, as told by its members.
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.
10 Biblical Indie Albums
Call them anti-Christian-Rock records: 10 mighty albums rich in religious theme and biblical heft.
Owen Pallett 'In Conflict'
'In Conflict' finds the Arcade Fire fiddler ditching concept-record fantasies for sentiment, songs, and sequencing stitched with conflict.
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.
'Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man'
A film divided into three: one part study of Cohen, one part all-star variety concert, one part stuck-listening-to-Bono.
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.
Interview: Alan Palomo of Neon Indian
Topics of conversation: synth nerdery, Flaming Lips collaborations, chillwave riding, Lil' Wayne's tour bus.
Belle and Sebastian Artist Profile
The life and times of the Scottish twee institution.
Interview: Nathan Williams of Wavves
Post Primavera meltdown, Nathan Williams talks about being the most hated man in the blogosphere.
Top 20 Vincent Moon Videos
Vincent Moon's 'Take Away Shows' revolutionized live music video. Here are the highlights of his inspired, improvised work.
The Decemberists - Artist Profile
Profile of the fore'er whimsical folk-pop troupe from Portland.
Biography of Artist Elliott Smith
Chronicle of the rise and demise of the ultimate depressive songsmith.
Interview: Johnny Jewel of Chromatics and Glass...
The Italians Do It Better mastermind talks the 'Drive' soundtrack, Chromatics' ascent, and being patient in an impatient era.
Breadcrumb Trail
Lance Bangs' history of the mysterious Slint finally brings to light facts to illuminate the dark Spiderland.
Constellation Records Profile
Chronicle of Canadian post-rock powerhouse Constellation Records.
10 Last-Minute Picks for SXSW 2014
Ex Hex, Glass Animals, Nothing, Protomartyr, Your Friend: 10 bands building late buzz for SXSW 2014.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Genre Profile - Krautrock
To English ears, the psychedelic, progressive, cosmic sound of early-'70s West Germany heralded a brave new sound: krautrock.
Artist Profile: Sharon Van Etten
Sharon Van Etten's songs are stark confessionals recounting life in a destructive relationship.
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.
Revisiting 2013's 10 Best Indie Music Groups
Looking for potential breakout bands in 2013? From Indians to Savages, here's ten sure bets.
Brendan Canning 'Something for All of Us'
Brendan Canning's solo debut is like a duller, flatter take on Broken Social Scene's collectivist mediocrity.
Interview: Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai
The guitarist of the Scottish post-rock heroes is howling.
Definitive Albums: Slint 'Spiderland' (1991)
Slint's legacy grew in a fashion that matched the music: slow, steady, barely perceptible, ultimately legendary.
Definitive Albums: The Pixies 'Surfer Rosa'...
'Doolittle' gets the greatest-albums-ever acclaim, but is 'Surfer Rosa' The Pixies' best album?
MGMT - Artist Profile
An in-depth look at the brief history of the hype-starting New Yorker duo.
Interview: Trish Keenan of Broadcast
The late Broadcast singer speaks sound as literature, the passing of time, and the power of make-believe.
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.
Vampire Weekend - Artist Profile
Brooklyn's preppiest, poppiest indie outfit has made a career of bright melody and slight controversy.
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.
The National 'Trouble Will Find Me'
On the sixth National album, Matt Berninger ruminates on the lure of heaven.
Morrissey 'World Peace Is None of Your Business'
After penning his wildly-successful 'Autobiogaphy,' Morrissey returns to music-making armed with emboldened self-obsession.
Interview: Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast
The Best Coast leader talks Jon Brion, backlash, gossip culture, existential angst, and expectations.
Galaxie 500 - Artist Profile
Look at the brief, blindingly beautiful career of cult indie-rock outfit Galaxie 500.
Definitive Albums: Scott Walker 'Scott 4' (1969)
Walker's unquestioned masterpiece is an uneasy mixture of MOR balladry, lyrical savagery, and hesitant avant-gardism.
Mistaken For Strangers
The National's unexpectedly out-there on-the-road documentary is an oddball portrait of sibling rivalry.
Sufjan Stevens Speaks About The Age of Adz
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Definitive Albums: Alexander 'Skip' Spence...
Spence's schizophrenia-addled suite of half-finished songs sold almost no copies in its day, yet ended up influencing the entire lo-fi movement.
Real Estate 'Atlas'
Real Estate's third LP's another jangly trip back to the green lawns and leaves of their New Jersey childhoods.
Definitive Albums: The Velvet Underground...
The Velvets' noisy, nasty riposte to their commercial 'failure' became an alternative landmark.
Devendra Banhart - Artist Profile
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Interview: Zooey Deschanel of She and Him
Zooey Deschanel talks She and Him's second LP, Hollywood's eternal glass ceiling, and childhood memories of 'Twin Peaks.'
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 Fall 'Hex Enduction...
For all intents and purposes, The Fall begins and ends with 'Hex Enduction Hour.'
Why? - Artist Profile
A look at the life and work of indie-pop/backpacker-rap confessionalist Yoni Wolf.
Sub Pop Records Profile
In-depth historical profile of the influential, (semi-)independent Seattle label.
Interview: Claire Boucher of Grimes
On the release of 'Visions', Grimes talks indie bands as brands, cognitive neuroscience, and Montréal.
Definitive Albums: Neu! 'Neu!' (1972)
For many, Neu!'s debut 1972 LP served as the unofficial birthplace of the krautrock movement.
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.
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.
Definitive Albums: Nirvana 'Bleach' (1989)
The best $606.17 recording budget Sub Pop ever presided over.
Definitive Albums: Tortoise 'Millions Now...
Tortoise's sea-tide grooves and pointillist hand-percussion put the post-rock sub-genre on the map.
Alternative Music History: Suicide's 23 Minutes...
A riot breaks out, a bootleg is recorded, a mythical show is born.
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks 'Wig Out At...
On his sixth solo album, the former Pavement-leader draws inspiration from the NBA, Memphis soul, and rock nostalgia.
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