20 Super Rad Free Downloads from 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, December 20, 2012 05:40pm | Post a Comment’s growing free downloads section had a ton of great stuff this year. Here are some highlights.


Sufjan Stevens – “Justice Delivers Its Death”

This delicate ballad comes from Sufjan Stevens’ latest Christmas opus, Silver & Gold, Songs for Christmas, though its delicate beauty would fit on any of Stevens’ early, more acoustic releases.




Buy the album



Pissed Jeans – “Bathroom Laughter”

Pennsylvania punks Pissed Jeans’ latest album, Honeys, is due Feb. 12 on Sub Pop. The first taste from the album is a ferocious blast, with singer Matt Korvette scream-talking lyrics quickly as the band bashes out two-and-a-half minutes of hardcore bliss.

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My Top 50 Albums of 2012

Posted by Billy Gil, December 17, 2012 07:24pm | Post a Comment

50. Purity RingShrines

purity ring shrinesPurity Ring make Cocteau Twins­-style dream pop by way of Salem’s hard-hitting witchhouse on an album more notable for its smooth blending of related genres than for its actual songwriting, but they’ve got a sweet sound nonetheless.



49. Cold ShowersLove & Regret

Cold Showers Cold Showers’ short and sweet debut heralds the arrival of a great new L.A. band, beaming shoegaze guitars over darkwave synths and goth-style vocals. (Read my review of Cold Showers' show here.)

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Album Picks: Wild Nothing, Swans, Divine Fits, Plus Albums Out Today

Posted by Billy Gil, August 28, 2012 07:37pm | Post a Comment
This is it, we're entering the hot season for new releases. Next week sees the release of new albums from Cat Power, Animal Collective and Deerhoof, to name a few. But plenty of great releases snuck up on us this week too; here are a few of my favorites:

wild nothing nocturneWild Nothing - Nocturne
Wild Nothing’s Gemini was a warm, digitally enhaned indie-pop love letter to its inspiration, college rock of the 1980s. Since that release, Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum has had a couple of releases, the Golden Haze EP and the Nowhere single, that have further proven Tatum an equal to his forebears, and that continues with Nocturne, which sands down any outlier sounds and offers a solidified statement of purpose for Wild Nothing. As you might guess from titles like “Nocturne” and “Midnight Sound,” the album is full of swooning nighttime pop, with swirling, delayed guitars, lovelorn vocals and synth washes lapping underneath it all. While the album’s opening three songs (“Shadow,” “Midnight Song” and “Nocturne) set the tone thematically, the more you listen to Nocturne, the more the shier songs stay with you, like “This Chain Won’t Break,” with its freestyle beat and bassline a weirdly perfect fit to its twee synths and melodies, or “Paradise,” a glorious New Wave totem that sounds like whitewashed memories of an ’80s prom. However, Nocturne doesn’t fall into the trap of sounding overly reverential to the ’80s because Tatum’s songs have become more confident, as he pulls off a refrain like “only Heather makes me feel this way” on the Cure-ish “Only Heather.” Nocturne gets so many things right, with its sneaking melodies, dreamy guitar textures and dreamier lyrics are Tatum’s alone, that everything feels like inspiration rather than pastiche.

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New Albums Out Today, New Ones Coming in July/August

Posted by Billy Gil, July 3, 2012 06:36pm | Post a Comment
Today saw the releases of new albums by Belle & Sebastian member Stevie Jackson, comedian Doug Benson and a 7” from Animal Collective, among others. Check out what’s out today and what’s coming down the pipe:
Stevie Jackson
Stevie Jackson – (I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson
(I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson makes a name for itself quite outside of Belle & Sebastian, coming off like the next in line of a lineage of singer-songwriters who exist on their own terms, from John Cale to Brian Eno to Elvis Costello. Far from just being twee, Jackson rocks out to a new wave beat on “Try Me,” singing “I got pills and I’m lookin’ for thrills/At the same time I want to start a family.” The distinctive, reverb-laden lead guitar he lends Belle & Sebastian is on songs like the lovely display on the Kinks-y “Richie.” And even at his most clearly indebted to Summer of Love-era rock, he creates a varied and thoroughly rewarding listen, notably on the swinging, Mamas & Papas-style “Where Do All the Good Girls Go?”

doug benson
Doug Benson – Smug Life
Huge pot fan and hilarious comedian Doug Benson releases two different versions of the same jokes on Smug Life, both performed on April 20 (4/20!) at the same club. It plays like a case study in how varied performances of the same material can yield such different results — in one case, you hear a comment yelled from the audience that gets incorporated into the joke in the later performance.

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my top 50 albums of 2010...

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 24, 2010 05:53pm | Post a Comment

ariel pink's haunted graffiti before today
#1 Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti-
Before Today
The first time I heard this album I knew it would be at the top of my list this year. It was really just a competition the rest of the year with these other albums to see if anything could overtake it but nothing could do it. I somehow resisted the temptation of Ariel Pink the last couple of years. Before Today was clearly the album for me and a perfect introduction to this band. I just didn't know how much I would be falling in love with the band and obsessed with this album. It is like a shoegaze soft rock mash up of all the songs that you have ever loved. You simply need this album in your collection. It is simply amazing!

listen to "fright night" by ariel pink...

buy the album at

avi buffalo
#2 Avi Buffalo-Avi Buffalo (Sub Pop)
Oh, Avi Buffalo. I am so glad to have you in my life. Another album that I didn't really know I would love until I first listened to it. These guys are crazy young and ridiculously talented. The album is one of the perfect little pop gems of the year and I really couldn't stop listening to it for months. Seeing them open up for My Morning Jacket at the Greek was one of my favorite shows of the year. I was first drawn to them because they were from my hometown of Long Beach, but I fell in love with the album as soon as I heard it. It is addictive. This album will stay with me forever and forever connect me to my great year that was 2010.

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