Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021  

Album Reviews

Echo

Indigo Sparke
Echo

Mar 03, 2021 Web Exclusive

They say a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and whether Australian songwriter Indigo Sparke is destined to a star-crossed fate or not, her own given name certainly invokes the mood for her Sacred Bones debut.

Who Am I

Pale Waves
Who Am I

Mar 02, 2021 Web Exclusive

Since signing a record deal with Dirty Hit in 2017 there was always something of a dichotomy between Manchester’s Pale Waves visually arresting Nu Goth image and their actual sound. 

Vega Never Sets

Mart Avi
Vega Never Sets

Mar 02, 2021 Web Exclusive

Estonian singer, songwriter, and composer Mart Avi's fifth long player is a challenging yet rewarding listen. 

Classic Interviews

Crispin Glover

Crispin Glover
Actor/director of the new film What Is It?

Dec 01, 2006 Web Exclusive

Crispin Glover has been the epitome of the cult actor since the mid-’80s, when his star-making turn as Marty McFly’s dad in Back to the Future charmed audiences and his portrayal of Layne in River’s Edge guaranteed that he was a performer to watch no matter how big or small his roles. Though his persona has garnered him a devoted fanbase (including early-’90s fanzine, Mr. Density), for the most part, the actor, writer, and filmmaker was and still remains enigmatic to many.

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

My Firsts: Malcolm Middleton of Arab Strap

My Firsts: Malcolm Middleton of Arab Strap

Mar 03, 2021 Web Exclusive

My Firsts is our email interview series where we ask musicians to tell us about their first life experiences, be it early childhood ones (first word, first concert, etc.) or their first tastes of being a musician (first band, first tour, etc.). For this My Firsts we talk to Malcolm Middleton of Scottish duo Arab Strap.

Protomartyr on “Ultimate Success Today”

Protomartyr on “Ultimate Success Today”

Mar 02, 2021 Issue #67 - Phoebe Bridgers and Moses Sumney

Be it the hell’s gate clang of their post-punk musicianship, or frontman Joe Casey’s apocalyptic PSA speak-singing, the sound of Detroit’s Protomartyr has always been nothing short of singular.

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

The War and Peace of Tim O’Brien

Mar 02, 2021 Web Exclusive

Trying to show the essence of a man who fought for his country during one of the world’s most controversial conflicts at a time of immense change, who then went onto become a National Book Award-winning author and lastly, a father in less than 90 minutes is admirable, but perhaps destined to fail. 

DVD Reviews

The Suspect
Studio: Kino Lorber Studio Classics

Feb 26, 2021 Web Exclusive

Similar to his other noir films, Siodmak anchors his tale of deception and murder in a very genuine relationship between two likable people.

Television Reviews

Beartown
HBO, February 22nd, 2021 @ 9:00 PM

Feb 22, 2021 Web Exclusive

A five-part Swedish series adapted from Fredrik Backman’s hit novel of the same name, Beartown is an engaging sports and family drama from HBO Europe.