Bleached – Welcome The Worms

Welcome the Worms

“We don’t want perfection because it’s boring,” Jennifer Clavin explained in the lead-up to Welcome the Worms, the second outing from her Los Angeles garage pop band Bleached. “We want to make music that’s as real as life.” It’s a bold statement, like announcing that you’ve arrived to kick ass and chew gum, and that you’re all out of gum, and that if anyone has any gum that would really be appreciated. It’s also fundamentally meaningless, presumably drawing on the vague notion that lo-fi recordings are more authentic – especially odd when you consider that they roped in Joe Chicarelli (Elton JohnMorrissey) to produce this one. Unfortunately, it’s the kind of air-punching vacuity that permeates the entire record, like a car bumper plastered in driving slogans. You might as well say “keep on keepin’ on” and be done with it.

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Laura Gibson – Empire Builder

Empire Builder

After moving to New York in the summer of 2014, Laura Gibson decided to take a step back from music, and promptly broke her foot. She’d just left behind the security of friends, family, and a long-term boyfriend back in Portland, and after spending the first two months hobbling around her new Manhattan apartment, it must have seemed like life had thrown all its upheaval at the artist at once. Or at least it could have, right up until the apartment was destroyed in a gas explosion the following March, killing two people. Gibson survived, despite being home at the time, though all her notebooks and song ideas had gone. Once again, it was time to start from scratch.

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On Fingers Broken Long Ago: a Jenny Lewis retrospective

Jenny Lewis

Let’s get together and talk about the modern age.

In 1978, harmonica player Eddie Gordon walks out on his Las Vegas family band, primarily a duo with wife Linda, called Love’s Lounge. Sometimes Leslie, their eldest daughter, gets roped in to perform too. But most of the time she’s upstairs in the hotel room, where a plastic “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door handle keeps her and little sister Jennifer sequestered in their own, private backstage party. Linda packs up and leaves Vegas, takes the girls to a town in the San Fernando valley, ekes out a living between waitressing and welfare. Not that it’s what keeps food on the table at home; Jenny’s been the breadwinner since pre-school. She’s a child actor.

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Wussy – Forever Sounds


I’m going to let you in on a secret: there are certain genre pointers that turn up in PR material that inspire the deepest, darkest ennui to rise up within me. Drone. Shoegaze. Psych (especially when preceding ‘rock’). Fuzzy. And it’s not because I don’t like all that stuff; I do. It’s that too many new bands employ those terms to suggest that their music is dense, and brooding, and intellectual, when in fact it is dense, and brooding, and shit. So I’d like to thank Wussy for restoring my faith. Because Forever Sounds incorporates all those elements, and it also happens to be an exceptional album.

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Top 10 Songs for Picking Yourself Up and Moving On

Great prophets, from Jesus Christ to Rachel Stevens, have long sought to remind humanity of a painful truth: things are sent to try you. Death. Life. Divorce. Marriage. Children. Older children. Only one thing unites them all, and that is their eagerness to provide you with a swift kick between the legs whenever it seems like your yearly anxiety quota is running low.

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Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – A Man Alive

Man Alive

I bet Merill Garbus is an absolute riot in the studio. It certainly sounds like everyone’s having a blast on A Man Alive, the 6th album from Thao & The Get Down Stay Down that seems to think it’s a debut, produced by the indefatigable genius behind tUnE-yArDs. At one point on “Fool Forever” it sounds like someone’s drumming on dustbin lids, and frankly, you wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they were. It’s just the kind of free-spirited, Californian approach to songwriting that this lot deal in.

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Låpsley – Long Way Home

Long Way Home

Låpsley sees you. She sees your tired ideas, your pop mythology 30 years past its sell-by date; sees you peering past her for the man at the mixing desk. And the prodigious 19-year-old, Southport’s most prominent post-dubstep auteur and yachting enthusiast, is calling you the fuck out. “You wouldn’t ask Caribou if he was a singer,” she told the NME last year. “He’d be like, ‘No, I’m a producer and a writer and I sing in my tracks.’ I’m more than just the face at the front of a band.” No one asks James Blake who produced his tracks, but they still ask Grimes. What Låpsley shares in common with both artists, whichever way you paint it, is that she’s also a pop star.

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Roo Panes – Paperweights


Roo Panes fell into a river as a child, earning him the nickname of a similarly unfortunate Winnie-the-Pooh character. He grew up playing classical music in Dorset, but got bored of reading from sheet music, and discovered a love of improvisation. He crafts tender folk songs with a rich, husky tenor. He is a male model. And as soon as the din of that fire alarm currently going off in your reproductive organs has died down, you should listen to his new album, Paperweights. Because, to top it off, he may also be responsible for the finest folk album of the decade.

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