Deconstructing: The National, Majical Cloudz, And Artistic Pluralism

By Chris DeVille / May 14, 2013 - 2:24 pm

Everything feels heavier at night. Alone at home after dark, whatever solipsistic sentiment was developing by day takes on titanic proportions. All sense of perspective vanishes along with the sunlight. Melodrama is heightened. Longing feels more desperate, mistakes more extreme. Deep, dark brooding can take over in a way that usually doesn’t happen at noo… More »

Deconstructing: Jason Molina, Uninsured Musicians, And The Importance Of Health Care

By Max Blau / April 22, 2013 - 12:55 pm

On March 16, Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co.’s Jason Molina died of natural causes in his Indianapolis home. The 39-year-old songwriter’s organs gave out after a longstanding battle with alcoholism. His body crumbled under the physical and emotional toil that he faced in his treacherous road back to sobriety. More »

Deconstructing: Phoenix And The Festival Headliner Economy

By Chris DeVille / April 11, 2013 - 1:19 pm

As miracles go, the last two Phoenix records were somewhere between water-into-wine and raising a man from the dead, all ecstasy and wonder and effortless grace. The singles got all the ink, as singles do, but every track was effervescent. It was the kind of music that seems to materialize out of thin air but… More »

Deconstructing: 10 Years Of The White Stripes Elephant And Exploding Hearts Guitar Romantic

By Chris DeVille / April 1, 2013 - 1:47 pm

The bar scene at Ohio University, where I was finishing up my freshman year this time 10 years ago, is a heavy-handed metaphor. Along the main drag, Court Street, are a few dozen establishments wherein coeds in search of bed buddies show off the binge drinking skills they honed in the dorms. For lack of… More »

Deconstructing: Frightened Rabbit, Macklemore, And The Perils Of Earnestness

By Chris DeVille / March 14, 2013 - 12:55 pm

A few months ago, I wrote about the increasing influence of Mumford & Sons and how that band’s brand of bleeding-heart folk-rock represents the convergence of certain indie trends (howling Avett Brothers roots rock, bookish Decemberists folk-prog, humongous Arcade Fire stadium anthems, woodsy Fleet Foxes classic rock worship) with a long tradition of jammy and/or… More »

Deconstructing: SXSW Through The Eyes Of An Austinite

By Brad Shoup / March 12, 2013 - 12:48 pm

So you’re in a band. Let’s say there’s three of you: gives you a good fullness-of-sound to van-space ratio. Who else has to be in your camp? A producer, yeah. An engineer, totally. Roadies … one day. Someone’s got to take pictures and design the album, but that’s why you have a boyfriend with a… More »

Deconstructing: The Return Of The Postal Service And Why 2013 Should Be The New 2003

By David Holmes / March 1, 2013 - 10:52 am

In 2003, indie rock was undergoing an identity crisis. The “garage rock” bands had already peaked. “Dance-punk” was barely getting started. 2003 was perhaps the only year since the dawn of the internet without a real buzzword genre (unless you count crunk), and that lack of a scene made it arguably the best year of… More »

Deconstructing: 20 Years Of Thom Yorke

By Chris DeVille / February 26, 2013 - 1:40 pm

The most memorable moment of my junior year Homecoming night wasn’t the dinner (who knows where), the dance (in my high school gymnasium, I think?) or the date (though I hope she’s doing well these days). It came after all that, when I got home, sprawled out on the living room floor, rewound the VCR… More »

Deconstructing: Chris Brown, Surfer Blood, And Villainizing Entertainers

By Chris DeVille / February 13, 2013 - 2:53 pm

Chris Brown stayed busy these last few weeks adding to his long rap sheet of objectionable behavior. The troubled pop star launched his latest notoriety campaign the night of Sunday, Jan. 27, when he brawled with Frank Ocean over a parking space outside a Los Angeles recording studio. It is unclear who instigated the scuffle,… More »

Deconstructing: The 2013 Grammys

By Chris DeVille / February 11, 2013 - 4:52 pm

When the Grammy nominations came out back in December, they looked significantly younger and hipper than usual. This legendarily conservative institution, the one that recognized late-period Steely Dan studio farts at the expense of Stankonia, Kid A, and The Marshall Mathers LP, had turned in something like a relevant list of contenders. Sure, hip-hop wasMore »

Deconstructing: The Rise, Demise, And Legacy Of The Mars Volta

By Joseph Schafer / February 7, 2013 - 1:57 pm

I woke up on Thursday, January 24, to find the Mars Volta, an old friend, stone dead and on the slab. By now, anyone with sufficient curiosity has read Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s multi-tweet breakup announcement — the group’s death twitches, as it turns out. Those tweets came only months shy of the 11-year anniversary of the… More »

Deconstructing: Buke And Gase, Doing It Yourself, And The Bounds Of Creativity

By Chris DeVille / February 1, 2013 - 10:51 am

“He who works with his hands is a laborer.

He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.

He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

–St. Francis of Assisi

I cried a lot in second grade,… More »

Deconstructing: How The USPS Is Killing Indie

By James Jackson Toth / January 30, 2013 - 12:14 pm

There is a great episode of Seinfeld in which Kramer, fed up with receiving junk mail, decides to permanently suspend his mail service. Mailman Newman attempts to convince Kramer to reconsider by offering a series of hypotheticals — What about bills? What about cards and letters? — each of which Kramer dismisses with sound logic. More »

Deconstructing: Coachella And The Music Festival Industry

By Brad Shoup / January 28, 2013 - 12:34 pm

A music festival is a bit like an iTunes playlist. You’re not going to listen to everything, but it’s great knowing it’s all there. And in a sense, a music festival is a lot like iTunes itself: a key tentpole propping up the industry. Even as the business of recording undergoes perpetual contraction, there are… More »

Deconstructing: Yo La Tengo, Low, And The Creative Potential Of Domestic Bliss

By Chris DeVille / January 3, 2013 - 12:52 pm

“We’re like business associates,” Leslie Mann’s Debbie frowns to Paul Rudd’s Pete in This Is 40, Judd Apatow’s sorta-sequel to Knocked Up. “We’re like brothers and sisters.” Their marriage is buckling under the pressure of raising kids, paying the mortgage, staying fit, dealing with daddy issues, keeping businesses afloat, and meeting the emotional/physical needs of… More »

2012 In Review: Opening The Books On Spotify, Grizzly Bear, And The Economic Plight Of The Working Musician

By James Jackson Toth / December 31, 2012 - 1:33 pm

To a cynic, 2012 might have looked a lot like the Year Of The Bellyache. With musicians from Jana Hunter to John Mellencamp candidly addressing their personal economic realities in blog posts and articles, Rihanna, Katy Perry and Billy Joel rallying to contest Pandora’s attempt to lower their artist royalty rate, and record stores, print… More »

2012 In Review: Filling The LCD Soundsystem Void

By Chris DeVille / December 26, 2012 - 12:32 pm

2012 was the first full year without LCD Soundsystem since James Murphy distilled the fleeting essence of cool into seven-some comically heartrending minutes a decade prior. To remind us what we lost when the balloons came down and the lights came up at Madison Square Garden, directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace released Shut UpMore »

2012 In Review: The Year In Instrumental Music

By Colin St. John / December 25, 2012 - 8:00 am

In 1959, Ornette Coleman released The Shape of Jazz To Come, a record with content almost as audacious as its title. Forty-seven years later, Coleman at least partially fulfilled his own challenge with the fearless and fertile Sound Grammar. But even that 2006 effort might not have crossed jazz boundaries as much as one from… More »

2012 In Review: The New Wave Of R&B Comes Into Full Bloom

By Chris DeVille / December 24, 2012 - 1:04 pm

Throughout the course of my life I have not been what you would call an R&B listener. A brief history of my dabbling: I owned a cassette copy of Boyz II Men’s II because who didn’t? A year later I nabbed Mariah Carey’s Daydream on CD, mesmerized by the tree swing party that was the… More »

Deconstructing: How Can Indie Musicians Break Even?

By Doug Moore / December 12, 2012 - 10:00 am

David Thomas, the singer of Pere Ubu, once said that “Rock music is mostly about moving big black boxes from one side of town to the other in the back of your car.”
I love this line because it perfectly captures the hours of unglamorous toil that stand behind every minute of… More »