Album Reviews

Anna Calvi
Strange Weather EP

Jul 23, 2014 Web Exclusive

Anna Calvi shares her creative reinterpretations of others' music on this five-song covers EP, and in turn shows us another side of herself as a performer. 

Pixies
Indie Cindy

Jul 23, 2014 Web Exclusive

Pixies are an incredible band, when you really think about it. They emerged at a time in rock and roll when glam was the norm, punk was homogenized, and everything else was gloomy and self-absorbed. 

White Fence
For the Recently Found Innocent

Jul 22, 2014 Web Exclusive

Only in the dust-caked, film grain world of Tim Presley could recording in Ty Segall's garage be considered a major fidelity upgrade.

Classic Interviews

Booker T. Jones

Booker T. Jones
With Friends Like These

May 26, 2011 Web Exclusive

Booker T. Jones was a master of musical economy from the start. After settling in as a studio musician for Stax Records in Memphis, Jones formed Booker T. and the M.G.'s with fellow Stax players in 1962, and the instrumental group enjoyed hit singles of their own while serving as the label's house band.

Comic Book Reviews

Astro City: Through Open Doors
Vertigo/DC

Jul 15, 2014 Web Exclusive

The most recent addition to Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson's Astro City series, Through Open Doors once again returns readers to the eponymous metropolis where everyday citizens interact with heroes—and villains—on a regular basis. 

Book Reviews

Peter Hook
The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club

Jul 22, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands

Founded by New Order and Factory Records and kept afloat for years by their profits, the Hacienda in Manchester, England functioned on a self-destructive business model to become one of the most storied nightclubs in history. 

Interviews

Wye Oak - Jenn Wasner on Sexism in the Music Industry and Their “Intensely Dark” New Album

Jul 23, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands

Wye Oak's stunning new album Shriek, at the surface, lies in stark contrast to their earlier work. The duo of Jenn Wasner (synths, bass, guitar) and Andy Stack (percussion) have eschewed their trademark guitar and drums sound in favor of something more silvery and abstract, no doubt informed by Wasner's foray into electronic textures on her 2013 side project Dungeonesse. 

Wye Oak on Overcoming Writer’s Block, Abandoning Guitars, and Subverting the Formula

Jul 22, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands

Growing stronger with every record, while incrementally increasing its audience for a good part of the past decade, Wye Oak well could've trodden the beaten path and continued with its trademark guitar and drums sound, one that had endeared it to a progressively mainstream audience, including appearances of 2011's Civilian's title track on the likes of The Walking DeadBeing Human, and Safety Not Guaranteed.

Pleased to meet you

Money

Jul 23, 2014 Issue #50 - June/July 2014 - Future Islands

Most bands retain the stamp of their home towns and cities, but Brits MONEY came together as usurpers in their adopted Manchester, the uniquely creative environment that gave us The Smiths, Joy Division, and Factory Records. Decamping to the north of England in his late teens, London-born vocalist and frontman Jamie Lee credits the city with indelibly shaping the sound and identity of the Bella Union-signed band.

Lists

10 Spectacular Pet Shop Boys Songs That Aren’t “West End Girls”

Jul 17, 2014

"Those are the guys that did 'West End Girls' and that song about brains and money or whatever, right?"

Sigh.

Invariably, that's the response I get from fellow Americans when trying to discuss Pet Shop Boys with them. And I'm tired of it. Sick and tired of it, folks.

Don't get me wrong, I love "West End Girls" and "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)," but there is so. Much. More.

I'm fanatical about Pet Shop Boys. I'm fanatical about them in the same way the Depeche Mode fans who commented on my recent Depeche Mode piece are. Although, I think I'm less angry? Then again, perhaps not. The conversation outlined above does make my blood boil and fill me with inexplicable rage. But I mean, I'm not so fanatical of a fan that I can't recognize when Pet Shop Boys put out a clunker; Bilingual, Nightlife, and Release weren't great. Rather spotty, if I'm being honest. In fact, some bits of that album run are downright silly.

But still.

Here are some things, according to Wikipedia, Americans should know about Pet Shop Boys right freaking now:

  • Guinness Book of World Records has named Pet Shop Boys the most successful duo in U.K. music history.
  • According to Billboard, as of 2003, they were listed as the 4th (behind Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Donna Summer) most successful act on the U.S. Dance/Club charts.
  • They've sold over 50 million albums worldwide, had 42 Top 30 singles, and 22 hits in the U.K. Top 10.
  • They are three-time Brit Award winners and six-time Grammy nominees.
  • We named last year's Electric as one of the 125 best albums of the year (just sayin').

And I could go on and on.

But I won't. Instead, I present for your edification, 10 Pet Shop Boys songs that are not "West End Girls," but just as good, maybe even better? (And these songs weren't even singles!)

Once again, we've dumped these tunes into a Spotify playlist for ya, too.

By Kenny S. McGuane

Blog

Best and Worst Show: Dean Tzenos of Odonis Odonis on Never Playing Regina Again

Jul 18, 2014 By Dean Tzenos

Best and Worst Show is our recurring guest blog series where the artist writes about the best and worst shows they ever played. For this installment, Dean Tzenos of Odonis Odonis writes about playing a near-empty show in Canada. Odonis Odonis' new album, Hard Boiled Soft Boiled, came out on Buzz back in April. 






Cinema Reviews

The Kill Team

Jul 23, 2014 Web Exclusive

Dan Krauss’ The Kill Team focuses on the legal proceedings following 2010’s Maywand District murders in Afghanistan.

Television Reviews

The Strain
FX, Sundays 10 p.m.

Jul 11, 2014 Web Exclusive

Minutes before it lands in New York, a plane carrying 210 passengers from Berlin ceases all communication. It maintains radio silence on the runway; every window shade save one is closed, and the plane is eerily dark. Suspecting a possible terrorist threat, first responders call in the Center for Disease Control.