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Inside the Strange Walls of Castle Face Records

By Paula Mejia, Contributor

Before Matt Jones takes me on a tour of Castle Face Records HQ, the label he runs with Brian Lee Hughes and Thee Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer, he warns me: "This place is weird." He's right: The building used to be a factory that manufactured baby carriages; there's still a woodshop downstairs and sawdust sprinkled all over the floor. Once Jones unlocks the door — identifiable only by a kaleidoscopic poster bearing the label's… more »

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White Lung’s Beautiful, Dark, Twisted ‘Fantasy’

By Kat Bee, Contributor

It's an unusually hot Sunday afternoon in late-April Los Angeles, and I'm huddled at a rickety sidewalk café table with Mish Way, the outspoken frontwoman of the roaring punk outfit White Lung. We're stationed outside El Huarache Azteca, a nondescript Mexican eatery in the rapidly-gentrifying Highland Park neighborhood, and one of Way's favorite local haunts since she moved to the city last December. The bright streets of Southern California are an unlikely place for Way to… more »

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C86: The Stories Behind the Iconic Compilation

By Wondering Sound Staff, Contributor

The back story is so absurd it almost defies belief: A cassette compilation, assembled by a magazine, comprised of 22 little-known bands and available only via mail order, became so influential that its title became shorthand for an entire genre of music. But that's exactly what happened with C86, a collection released nearly 30 years ago that continues to be rediscovered at an alarmingly regular rate. It's routinely described as "the birth of indie," and… more »

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Le Butcherettes, Cry Is for the Flies

2014 | Label: Ipecac Recordings / The Orchard

Le Butcherettes’ Teri Gender Bender comes off as unpredictable, perhaps even a little possessed, during the band’s now-infamous live performances. But on Cry is for the Flies, her band’s second full-length, the Mexican-born singer-songwriter also displays some subtlety alongside her off-kilter edginess.

Gender Bender and drummer Lia Braswell, as well as collaborator and producer Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (of Mars Volta), have concocted an album that’s playfully weird and oftentimes frightening. Whether it’s the organ-grinding churn of “Boulders Love Over Layers of Rock,” the all-out garage-rock stomp of “Demon Stuck in Your Eye”… more »

The Ukiah Drag, In the Reaper’s Quarters

2014 | Label: Wharf Cat Records

The debut album from New York-via-Florida outfit the Ukiah Drag fronts like a menacing rock record. There’s the ostentatious title — In the Reaper’s Quarters — and the foreboding “Intro” track, but the Ukiah Drag don’t bludgeon or assault the listener like most self-consciously “heavy” rock music. The guitar leads aren’t blistering; they’re seething. In the Reaper’s Quarters unfurls insidiously, stirring a murky atmosphere of dread in slow, deliberate turns. The reaper isn’t home, but while tensely anticipating its return, the room begins to look comfortable — and it’s easy… more »

Sloan, Commonwealth

2014 | Label: Yep Roc Records / Redeye

Despite decades of mainstream acclaim, sales and exposure in their native Canada, Sloan only managed to transcended their cult status internationally when bassist Chris Murphy taught the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World actors how to play their guitars. Commonwealth, the band’s 11th studio album, isn’t the Halifax power-pop quartet’s first release with a concept designed to grab a little well-deserved, long-overdue attention: Their eighth, Never Hear the End of It, squeezed 30 songs onto one compact disc. But this new one is the first to emphasize that Sloan have miraculously… more »

Blonde Redhead, Barragán

2014 | Label: Asawa Kuru LLC / AWAL

Considering Blonde Redhead’s art-punk pedigree, their 2010 album Penny Sparkle was a bold move. Unfortunately, it had them sounding like nervous bliss-pop voyagers adrift on a sea of vaporous synths — so perhaps it’s no great surprise that with Barragán (named after the late, Mexican modernist architect Luis Barragán), the NYC trio set out “to make something timeless and pure and perhaps a little minimalist.”

Touchingly tentative, but never timid, their latest is the sound of seasoned vets surrendering to the studio moment and finding themselves fully charged by a… more »

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Gimme Indie Rock!

By Marc Hogan, Lead News Writer

Calling all poseurs, dilettantes and part-time punks: Check your head and check your cred at the door. From Buzzcocks to Iceage, from dream-pop to chillwave, Gimme Indie Rock gives you the sickest vibes out of the scene that can't stand to be pigeonholed. Whether Dum Dum Girls or the Strange Boys, the Field Mice or Killer Mike, James Blake or PJ Harvey, you'll hear them all here — where it's totally OK to hang the… more »

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