Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, January 24th, 2021  

Album Reviews

Cooler Returns

Kiwi Jr.
Cooler Returns

Jan 22, 2021 Web Exclusive

Canadian indie rockers Kiwi Jr. are back with second album Cooler Returns, which addresses the lackluster lives of dejected youth of the West through a wry romantic sepia tinged lens.

Complete United Artists Singles 1977-1980

Buzzcocks
Complete United Artists Singles 1977-1980

Jan 21, 2021 Web Exclusive

As one might expect, this is exactly what the title says. It is a box of (almost) every single released by the amazing Buzzcocks in their original run starting with their “Orgasm Addict” b/w “Whatever Happened To” all the way to the final single of their initial run, November 1980’s “What Do You Know” b/w “Running Free.”

J.T.

Steve Earle & The Dukes
J.T.

Jan 20, 2021 Web Exclusive

Steve Earle has never been reluctant to credit those whose footsteps he has followed in.

Classic Interviews

2015 Artist Survey: Telekinesis

2015 Artist Survey: Telekinesis
Michael Benjamin Lerner on 2015's Best Albums, Getting Fired, and Early Childhood Memories

Feb 23, 2016 Issue # 56 - Best of 2015 - Father John Misty and Wolf Alice

For Under the Radar's 13th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2015. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2015 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers from Michael Benjamin Lerner, who records as Telekinesis. Telekinesis' most recent album, Ad Infinitum, was released last year via Merge.

Comic Book Reviews

The Complete Hate
Fantagraphics

Dec 22, 2020 Web Exclusive

Fantagraphics has released a gorgeous boxed set of the entirety of Peter Bagge’s Hate—three volumes and 30 years of comics to enjoy. For those perhaps unfamiliar with what many regard as an essential alternative comic from the ’90s, Hate follows the escapades of Buddy Bradley, whose slacker tendencies are only overshadowed by his odd fits of rage, horniness, helplessness, and, occasionally, ambition.

Interviews

Caroline Williams on “Ten Minutes to Midnight”

Caroline Williams on “Ten Minutes to Midnight”

Jan 22, 2021 Web Exclusive

In Ten Minutes to Midnight, Williams plays Amy Marlowe, a late-night DJ at a tiny but well-loved radio station, who finds herself somewhat unexpectedly nearing the end of her long career. 

Hinds on “The Prettiest Curse”

Hinds on “The Prettiest Curse”

Jan 22, 2021 Issue #67 - Phoebe Bridgers and Moses Sumney

The women of Hinds just needed some time to themselves.

Lists

Under the Radars Top 100 Albums of 2020 Part 1

Jan 15, 2021

So, 2020 was quite an uneventful year wasn’t it? Nothing much of note happened. It was pretty boring. But at least there were some decent records to liven things up. This is the intro to our Best Albums of 2020 list I wish I could be writing. Well… who wants life to be completely boring, but living through actual future history all the time has gotten quite exhausting. Depending on your age, you may have already experienced some living history, such as 9/11, but 2020 will go down as a particularly troubling year. You don’t need me to spell out why, but the two pillars were the COVID-19 pandemic and the most divisive presidential election in our lifetime. Many were financially affected by the coronavirus and the necessary lockdown that followed, but few more so than touring musicians, as venues across the world were forced to shut down most of the year (and some will never reopen their doors). At the outset of COVID-19 several notable albums were postponed a few months in hopes that things would improve, but it quickly became clear that touring wasn’t coming back any time soon and they were released anyway. There are probably some amazing finished albums that were going to come out in 2020, but were never announced and have been shelved until live music returns (hopefully later this year, now that the vaccines are very slowly rolling out). And yet 2020 was still filled with aural delights, including some creative full-lengths written and recorded while under quarantine. 

Before I present Under the Radar’s favorite albums of 2020, I will fully acknowledge that we are late to the year-end party. While I don’t totally understand why some websites insist on posting their best of the year lists prematurely in late-November or very early in December—simply to be first and get more clicks, but without being able to consider any albums that might be surprise-released later in December—I’m aware that mid-January is also a bit too tardy. We have actually been working on this list since November and had intentions of getting it up by late-December, but various factors and other projects derailed those plans. And we also take great care to get our best albums ranking right each year, so it does take a lot of time to finalize everything and get new blurbs written for each of the Top 50 albums.

For list nerds, here’s how it’s done: Each of our writers and editors are encouraged to turn in a list of their favorite 45 albums of the year. Each person’s number one album counts for 45 points, with their number two getting 44 points, and so on down to their number 45 getting one point. They are also allowed to submit up to 15 honorable mentions that count for one point each. In order for an album to make the final list it’s got to be picked by at least three different writers, to give a true consensus, and each album also gets extra points for the number of people who voted on it. Almost all of the albums in the Top 50 were picked by at least four or five people, each of the Top 10 were all picked by 12 or more people, and our number one album was chosen by 17 different contributors. Overall, 22 of our writers and editors (including myself and my Co-Publisher/wife Wendy Lynch Redfern) weighed in. Our Top 100 Albums of 2020 represents Under the Radar’s 2020 coverage very well, with many being artists we interviewed and/or reviewed favorably last year and our Top 2 being the two artists who appeared on the cover of our last print issue (it was not engineered that way, that’s just how the vote played out). 

Here’s hoping that my intro to the Best Albums of 2021 list will be more mundane, although based on the political events of the last two weeks and the continued pandemic that seems unlikely. By Mark Redfern (Senior Editor/Co-Publisher of Under the Radar)

Click here to check out part 2 of our Top 100 Albums of 2020 list, with numbers 61-100.

Blog

Carnage and Malarkey: Viral Politics in the Age of Fuckery Part III

Carnage and Malarkey: Viral Politics in the Age of Fuckery Part III

Jan 20, 2021 By Steve King

In Danse Macabre Stephen King wrote about American horror at Russia launching Sputnik as “Terror—what Hunter Thompson calls ‘fear and loathing’—often arises from a pervasive sense of disestablishment; that things are in the unmaking. If that sense of unmaking is sudden and seems personal—if it hits you around the heart—then it lodges in the memory as a complete set.” President Trump has terrorized Americans in such a profound way, more people voted (during a pandemic, no less) in this election than ever before in the history of American politics.




Cinema Reviews

Sylvie’s Love

Dec 24, 2020 Web Exclusive

Tessa Thompson lights up the screen in Sylvie's Love, a throwback to the classic melodramas of the 1950's.

DVD Reviews

The Ascent
Studio: The Criterion Collection

Jan 21, 2021 Web Exclusive

Larisa Sheptiko’s final film, The Ascent, is one of punishing tragedy in the face of unspeakable horrors rendered with a rawness often not seen in the cinema of war.

Television Reviews

Euphoria: Special Episode Part 2: F*ck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob
HBO, January 24th, 2021 @ 9:00 PM

Jan 23, 2021 Web Exclusive

“F*ck Anyone Who’s Not a Sea Blob” is the second installment of the two Euphoria episodes meant to bridge the show’s first and second season. The first of the two episodes, “Trouble Don't Last Always,” focused on Rue’s (Zendaya) internal struggles after the dramatic cliffhanger on which the first season ended.