indie rock

La Luz's Shana Cleveland on The Trashwomen's "Aphrodesia" | Hooked

The "surf noir" lead guitarist and songstress honors a compilation find that provided a cathartic, snotty spark to her own fun, unpretentious (yet meaningful) rock 'n' roll journey.

Read More Show less

Amid uncertainty about Sonic Youth’s future, intrepid alt-rock pioneer Lee Ranaldo plows ahead with Between the Times and the Tides—a solo LP that finds the Jazzmastertoting icon collaborating with Nels Cline and avantrock composer Alan Licht on songs that deftly bridge pop, avant, and the singersongwriter ethos.

Among dedicated Sonic Youth fans, it’s long been something of an inside joke—“the Lee song.” Almost as a matter of ritual, it’s been the last song on side one of the LP, concealed deep within the glorious cacophony. Yet it always seemed to serve an artful purpose in the grand scheme of every Sonic Youth record. After a few doses of the band’s signature harrowing howl and the feral yowl of bizarro-tuned Jazzmasters and Jaguars, the Lee song was a breather, the eye of the storm, an emotive touch, and often a touch of pop/rock classicism amid the cyclone swirl. Many Lee songs are classics in the Sonic Youth canon—“ Mote” from Goo, “Karen Koltrane” from A Thousand Leaves, “In the Kingdom” from Evol. And they gave every Sonic Youth album a depth, weight, and beautiful counterpoint to the band’s more unbridled side.

Sonic Youth’s future is now uncertain. Lee Ranaldo the songwriter, however, may be just hitting his stride. The evidence is Between the Times and the Tides, a collection of 10 tunes that encapsulates both the love of melody that the young Ranaldo loved in the work of the Beatles and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and the sense of adventure and abandon that made Sonic Youth one of the most vital and original bands of the last 30 years.

Read More Show less

In true Imperial Teen fashion, they deliver just about the perfect blend of bubblegum fuzz with shimmery guitar, melodic synth, danceable beats, and happier-than-thou harmonies.

Imperial Teen
Feel the Sound
Merge Records


With a freshness reminiscent of a band in its early 20s just discovering the late-’90s, indie-pop styles of the New Pornographers or Superchunk, San Francisco’s Imperial Teen is back with its first studio release in five years. In true Imperial Teen fashion, they deliver just about the perfect blend of bubblegum fuzz with shimmery guitar, melodic synth, danceable beats, and happier-than-thou harmonies. In fact, to get the party-on-a-record started, all four members share lead vocals on the album’s first track, “Runaway.”

Formed in 1996, Imperial Teen made their debut with Seasick, which Spin named the No. 4 album of that year. Made up of Roddy Bottom (ex-Faith No More keyboardist), Will Schwartz, Lynn Truell, and Jone Stebbins, the band has a unique knack for creating glimmering, dancy pop that oozes hooks—almost seeming like it could be destined for Top 40 radio in another universe. That said, there is something just too cool about this band’s tunes that keeps it from getting that tag.

Read More Show less
x