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Alternative Music: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Our 10 Favorite Math-Rock Albums
Tally your time-signatures! A guide to the essential, indispensable math-rock records.
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.
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 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.
The 10 Best Ever Slow-Core Records
Slow, sad, frighteningly quiet: a rollcall of classic 1990s LPs from these masters of the spartan.
Ariel Pink - Artist Profile
The life-and-crimes of A. Pink: home-taping enthusiast turned unexpectedly-influential indie music sage.
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 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 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 Albums by The Fall
Ever wondered where's the best place to start for a Fall neophyte?
Alternative Music 101 - Your FAQ Primer
Your guide to the confusing basics of Alternative Music. Just remember: there are no dumb questions.
Scott Walker - Artist Profile
Teen pin-up turned avant-garde recluse. The strange music and even stranger life of Scott Walker.
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 30 Albums of the 1960s
The radical records that broke the mold, moved music forward, and influenced generations of artists to come.
Top 10 Twee Albums
The class releases that defined the growth of twee from tiny, self-contained English scene to global underground culture.
Top 30 4AD Albums
The best 30 albums from the first 30 years of the all-conquering indie powerhouse.
Top 20 Concept Albums
Tired of records that sound like random collections of files? Here's 20 LPs of singular theme and sustained narrative.
Sufjan Stevens - Artist Profile
Sufjan Stevens is an artist defined by his ambition.
Upcoming Alternative Album Release Dates
Sort through the glut of new releases with this guide to the upcoming indie-music release schedule.
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 10 Riot-Grrrl Records
Riot-grrrl's righteous indignation of sloganeering politics produced a run of raucous, rocking records.
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.
Beach House - Artist Profile
Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally recall the history of their slow, narcotic Baltimore duo.
Kurt Cobain wears Daniel Johnston T-Shirt to VMAs
Back in 1992, what t-shirt you wore really mattered.
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 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 Infamous Concerts
Ten bizarre, embarrassing, and much-remembered underground live-shows that have endeared their own, modern-day mythology.
10 Bands to Watch in 2014
FKA twigs, Haerts, Mas Ysa, Temples, and Thumpers headline 10 bands primed for a 2014 breakout.
Genre Profile - Lo-Fi
Crack out your Shrimper cassettes! It's a history lesson in the lo-fi movement.
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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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.
Genre Profile: Math-Rock
The staunchly-punk, time-signature-juggling, nerdy instrumentalist mayhem of math-rock.
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.
Modest Mouse - Artist Profile
Isaac Brock's adventures with The Pixies, God, jail, Johnny Marr, and chart-topping success.
Interview: Victoria Legrand of Beach House
The Beach House vocalist talks about the 'sexual' qualities of their third LP, 'Teen Dream'.
Interview: Annie Clark of St. Vincent
Chit-chat with the chatty and charming St. Vincent. Page 2.
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 - Post-Rock
A look at the ragged instrumentalists and jazz-schooled dorks that've made up post-rock's wordless movement.
10 Obscure Albums That Became Classics
Ignored, reviled, or 'lost' on their original release, these obscure LPs eventually proved hugely influential.
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.
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.
Artist Profile: Sharon Van Etten
Sharon Van Etten's songs are stark confessionals recounting life in a destructive relationship.
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 K Records Albums
10 all-time great albums on the ultimate underground indie label.
Mazzy Star - Artist Profile
The disappearance and return of the narcotic balladry of the 90's platinum band- Mazzy Star.
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 '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.
Interview: Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend
The VW frontman defends himself against charges of cultural appropriation.
St. Vincent - Artist Profile
A look at the life and career of fearsome fretboard shredder, old-fashioned romantic, and all-around dork, Annie Clark.
30 Best New Bands of 2013
From Boogarins to Weaves, Haerts to Vår, Béisbol to Wampire, here's indie music's Class of 2013.
10 Best Indie Bands to Follow on Twitter
The most entertaining indie-rock Tweeters.
Top 20 Vincent Moon Videos
Vincent Moon's 'Take Away Shows' revolutionized live music video. Here are the highlights of his inspired, improvised work.
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.
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...
Vampire Weekend - Artist Profile
Brooklyn's preppiest, poppiest indie outfit has made a career of bright melody and slight controversy.
Genre Profile: Chillwave
It's the summery, nostalgic, warped-sounding electronic music that blew up the blogosphere in 2009.
Definitive Albums: Scott Walker 'Scott 4' (1969)
Walker's unquestioned masterpiece is an uneasy mixture of MOR balladry, lyrical savagery, and hesitant avant-gardism.
Top 10 Broadcast Songs
English electronic act Broadcast presided over a brilliant career of beautiful, strange, eerie songs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
10 Biblical Indie Albums
Call them anti-Christian-Rock records: 10 mighty albums rich in religious theme and biblical heft.
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.
Iron and Wine - Artist Profile
Shy southerner Sam Beam's quiet songs have made a loud noise on the alternative scene.
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.
Revisiting 2013's 10 Best Indie Music Groups
Looking for potential breakout bands in 2013? From Indians to Savages, here's ten sure bets.
My Bloody Valentine - Artist Profile
A career chronicle of the recently-reborn godheads of the shoegaze movement.
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 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.
Belle and Sebastian - Artist Profile
The life and times of the Scottish twee institution.
Interview: Pat Grossi of Active Child
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Bon Iver - Artist Profile
The background, beginnings, and developments of Justin Vernon, also known as Bon Iver.
Genre Profile - Krautrock
To English ears, the psychedelic, progressive, cosmic sound of early-'70s West Germany heralded a brave new sound: krautrock.
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.
Nirvana - Artist Profile
Profile of the life and death of the alternative legends
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: Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia and...
Back in 2002, the late Jason Molina already saw his Songs: Ohia records philosophically.
Top 20 Drag City Albums
The greatest albums from one of indie music's greatest-ever labels.
Interview: Chad VanGaalen
The tall Canadian songsmith talks raiding rubbish skips, building instruments, and the everyman inspiration of the lo-fi movement.
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.
Twin Sister 'In Heaven'
Twin Sister are a band of this era: their debut album a disjointed collection of ten individual sound files.
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.
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: Claire Boucher of Grimes
On the release of 'Visions', Grimes talks indie bands as brands, cognitive neuroscience, and Montréal.
Jeffrey Lewis - Artist Profile
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Elliott Smith - Artist Profile
Chronicle of the rise and demise of the ultimate depressive songsmith.
The National - Artist Profile
The National's slow, steady progression, from unknowns to the band who soundtracked Hope and Change.
Grizzly Bear - Artist Profile
An in-depth look at the harmony-draped folk-pop experimentalists.
Genre Profile - Slowcore
Slow, quiet, sad, introspective, pretty: a look at those fearless slowcore rebels who first dared to not-rock.
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.
Alternative Music History: Suicide's 23 Minutes...
A riot breaks out, a bootleg is recorded, a mythical show is born.
The Decemberists - Artist Profile
Profile of the fore'er whimsical folk-pop troupe from Portland.
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.
MGMT - Artist Profile
An in-depth look at the brief history of the hype-starting New Yorker duo.
Joanna Newsom - Artist Profile
A story in which a warbling, harp-playing California girl becomes a towering colossus of the recorded medium.
No Age - Artist Profile
History, bio, and breakdown of the Los Angelino duo, as told by drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt.
Definitive Albums: Palace Music 'Viva Last...
Will Oldham's third Palace album is his masterwork; at turns urgent and volatile, reluctant and solemn, lovestruck and heartachin'.
10 Trailblazing Female Musicians
Tired of tepid 'women in rock' lists? Here's ten fiery heroines that blazed radical new musical trails.
Genre Profile - Twee
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Interview: Kurt Vile
Growing up, Kurt Vile dreamed of being signed to Matador Records. Now he is.
10 International Acts to Watch at SXSW 2013
From Holy Balm to the Holydrug Couple, here's ten foreign acts bringing the goods to Austin.
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: Noah Lennox of Panda Bear
The Animal Collective bro talks Coachella, Ariel Pink, chillwave, expectations, depression, and children.
Definitive Albums: Belle and Sebastian 'If...
The Scottish pop outfit's second LP is one of the greatest records ever committed to disc.
Built to Spill - Artist Profile
The history of bearded fretboard warrior Doug Martsch, and his merry band of Built to Spill men.
Definitive Albums: PJ Harvey 'Dry' (1992)
Polly Jean Harvey's scorching debut LP introduced the world to a shocking talent of melodic intent and poetic ambition.
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.
'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.
Interview: Sam Beam of Iron and Wine
The man with the immense beard refuses to make the same album twice.
Owen Pallett - Artist Profile
The life and times of a carrot-top'd, concept-album-obsessed Canadian fiddler who once called himself Final Fantasy.
Interview: Raphaelle Standell-Preston of Braids...
The sweet-voiced singer talks the togetherness of Braids and the untogetherness of Blue Hawaii.
Top 50 Albums of 2013
The moment My Bloody Valentine issued their third album, 2013 was a great year for indie music.
The Pixies - Artist Profile
The Pixies blistering use of broad dynamics and innovative re-write of pop-song forms redefined guitar music.
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.
Spoon 'They Want My Soul'
Spoon's quietly-contrarian 8th album finds Britt Daniel and co sounding both brilliant and burdened.
Interview: Aaron Dessner of The National
After the tense 'High Violet,' The National's 'Trouble Will Find Me' is a fun record about dying.
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.
Interview: Joanna Newsom
The Noose battles the self-consciousness of the internet era. Page 2.
Definitive Albums: Slint 'Spiderland' (1991)
Slint's legacy grew in a fashion that matched the music: slow, steady, barely perceptible, ultimately legendary.
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: 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: Alan Palomo of Neon Indian
Topics of conversation: synth nerdery, Flaming Lips collaborations, chillwave riding, Lil' Wayne's tour bus.
Tune-Yards 'Whokill'
A barrage of funky, feminist, genre-crossing jams, the second Tune-Yards record beckons imminent crossover.
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.
Owen Pallett 'In Conflict'
'In Conflict' finds the Arcade Fire fiddler ditching concept-record fantasies for sentiment, songs, and sequencing stitched with conflict.
Interview: Daniel Bejar of Destroyer (Part 2)
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Sub Pop Records Profile
In-depth historical profile of the influential, (semi-)independent Seattle label.
Pavement: Artist Profile
Biography of the kings of lo-fi slackerdom, as told by Stephen Malkmus and Spiral Stairs
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.
Kill Rock Stars Profile
Profile of the long-running, fiercely-independent Pacific Northwest imprint, from riot-grrrl beginnings to its rebirth in Portland.
Definitive Albums: Chapterhouse 'Whirlpool'...
For lovers of shoegaze, where to turn after My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive? Chapterhouse, my friends.
Definitive LPs: Incredible String Band 'The...
Decades before freak-folk, The Incredible String Band had already made folkie weirdness into high, holy art.
Interview: Theresa Wayman of Warpaint
Theresa Wayman feels out the emotions running deep in Warpaint's debut LP.
Top 10 Kill Rock Stars Albums
The label that gave riot-grrrl to the world has grown into an iconic independent imprint beholden to no singular sound or style.
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.
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.
Definitive Albums: Throwing Muses 'Throwing...
Plunging into the tumult of Kristin Hersh's schizophrenic songs with youthful abandon, Throwing Muses authored a classic debut.
Interview: Daniel Bejar of Destroyer
Defending sax solos, puzzling over Frog Eyes lack of fame, and pondering over the death of poetry: Destroyer talks; we listen.
Spoon - Artist Profile
Potted history of Austin indie-rock outfit Spoon, from their troubled early days to their chart-bothering recent rock classics.
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.
10 Iconic Album Covers
The most distinctive, most striking, most lauded album covers in indie music history.
Grimes 'Visions'
The third Grimes LP finds Claire Boucher exploring bright new realms of genre-transcending electronic pop.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Artist Profile
The intently political Canadian co-op authored the blueprint for cinematic, apocalyptic post-rock.
Tortoise - Artist Profile
A career-long look at Chicago's genre-razing, forever-experimental instrumentalists.
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