Album Reviews

Steve Gunn
The Unseen In Between

Jan 16, 2019 Web Exclusive

Steve Gunn is indie rock's best kept secret. Across three studio albumsand now a fourth, with his latest, The Unseen In BetweenGunn has resuscitated stylistic elements of guitar playing in a similar vein of J.J. Cale, Jim O'Rourke circa Bad Timing, and a little Jerry Garcia. 

Steve Mason
About the Light

Jan 15, 2019 Web Exclusive

In 2018 The Beta Band reissued some of their catalogue, ready for them to be devoured and delighted in by a new generation. It seems apt, then, that About the Light, the newest record from the band's Steve Mason comes across as his most fully formed, joyful, and downright funky as a solo artist. 

Tallies
Tallies

Jan 14, 2019 Web Exclusive

Canada has given us some fine dream pop records these past couple of years. Alvvays' peerless debut and impeccable follow-up Antisocialites, Basement Revolver's gorgeous debut Heavy Eyes, and the Dumb Angel LP Broken Glass being four that immediately spring to mind.

Classic Interviews

Lydia Loveless on Her New Album, Escaping the Pigeonhole, and Her Love of Classic Rock

Lydia Loveless on Her New Album, Escaping the Pigeonhole, and Her Love of Classic Rock
All Grown Up

Apr 10, 2014 Web Exclusive

When one thinks of Lydia Loveless, Fleetwood Mac isn't the first thing that comes to mind. The 20-something Ohio-born country punk has filled three albums with her own particular brand of Americana-laced rock and roll and, as her blistering live shows can attest, she doesn't exactly hew to the Stevie Nicks style of flowing gowns and mystic balladry.

Interviews

16th Annual Artist Survey: Mass Gothic

Jan 16, 2019 Web Exclusive

For Under the Radar's 16th Annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the last year, plus some fun personal questions. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2018 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

We Were Promised Jetpacks on “The More I Sleep the Less I Dream”

Jan 14, 2019 Web Exclusive

"I think we just got lost." Adam Thompson cannot pinpoint exactly what went wrong in the creation of his band's latest album, The More I Sleep the Less I Dream, except to say that, collectively, the four members of We Were Promised Jetpacks looked up and realized they were sonically lost.

Pleased to meet you

SASAMI Announces Debut Album and Tour, Shares Video for New Song “Jealousy”

Jan 09, 2019

SASAMI (aka Los Angeles based musician Sasami Ashworth) has announced her self-titled debut album and shared a self-directed video for the new song "Jealousy." She has also announced some tour dates.

Lists

Under the Radar’s Top 100 Albums of 2018

Dec 30, 2018

And here we are, the end of another year. The last 12 months tried the patience of anyone who longed for civility in politics, with divisive policies and a president beloved by only his most ardent supporters. Both fueled a cable news cycle that's become one long panel show with continuous "breaking news" about the latest Washington scandal and investigation, none of which are likely to end the Trump presidency much sooner than the 2020 election (if then). As Macbeth once said, it's all "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Many would thus say that 2018's been a bad year, and sure there is much to worry about, including the threat of authoritarian rule across the globe, escalating trade wars, continued income inequality, government shutdowns, immigrant children in detention centers, and more dire unheeded warnings about global warming. But it could also be so much worse.

What of those newspaper music critics who might have wrapped up 1929's best albums, setting up a survey of the year's new music by Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and others with an intro about the recent stock market crash of October 29 and the beginning of The Great Depression? Or the critic writing about 1941's best new music from Lead Belly and Glenn Miller only weeks after the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor? History is littered with truly terrible years: 536, when an extreme weather event triggered by either an asteroid or an Icelandic volcano eruption led to an atmospheric dust veil that cooled the Earth and resulted in widespread famine and drought, 1347, when the Black Death pandemic hit Europe, 1914, when World War I began, 1918, when a flu pandemic began that killed 100 million people, and so on, and so on. 

But was 2018 a good or bad year for music? That's what we're really here to talk about. If you search hard enough can't you always find some worthy new music each year? Still, for me personally (and I've heard this from others too), there were a lot of albums I really liked in 2018 but few I fell head over heels for. My #1 album of 2018 could have just as easily been any of the albums in my Top 10, as I liked them all fairly equally. And if any of my second, third, fourth, or fifth favorite albums of 2017 had been released in 2018 then I think they would've surely topped my 2018 list as I liked them all more than any album released this year.

Under the Radar's Top 100 Albums of 2018 list, thankfully, doesn't just reflect my opinion; instead 27 of our writers and editors (including myself and my co-publisher/wife Wendy) each submitted a list of their favorite albums of the year and were encouraged to turn in at least a Top 45. All-in-all 473 different albums were submitted for the vote, but to make the Top 100 an album had to be picked by at least three or more separate writers (the Top 6, for example, were all picked by at least 20 or more of our writers). We then did a tiebreaker vote for our #1 album between the two at the top, to make sure we were all in agreement on our #1 (the vote was still close, so you could almost call it a tie for the top spot). Then we did another vote to determine the bottom three from a list of 17 albums that almost made the Top 100 (check out our list of Honorable Mentions for 36 albums that came close). For those of you who might complain that this is a very indie rock-centric list, well we are an indie rock-focused magazine and website after all. You wouldn't expect a hip-hop, metal, or dance music website to include albums by Father John Misty, Beach House, and Courtney Barnett on their favorite albums of 2018 list, would you? 

Barring a pandemic, world war, asteroid strike, or another disaster, hopefully 2019 will at least be another average year that's not the worst, but one we can dream is populated with truly classic albums. We'll have to see where we are at in December 2019. For now, here are our 100 favorite albums of 2018.

Live reviews

Flasher and Public Practice at St. Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NY, December 7, 2018

Dec 19, 2018 By Max Freedman

Brooklyn venue St. Vitus Bar is a metal venue, except when it isn't. Artists including Girl Band, an act noisy enough to please many metal fans, and Mitski, who is a decidedly non-metal musician, have played the bar's 300-or-so capacity back room. 






Cinema Reviews

On the Basis of Sex

Dec 28, 2018

On the Basis of Sex tries to be two things: an overview of the life of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and an examination of a case that was formative in her career, impacting both ideology and strategy.

DVD Reviews

The Scarlet Letter [Special Edition]
Studio: Kino Lorber Studio Classics

Jan 16, 2019 Web Exclusive

Produced on a budget of $46 million, The Scarlet Letter was released on October 13, 1995 to blisteringly critical reviews and a crushingly dismal box office.

Television Reviews

True Detective: Season 3
HBO, Sundays at 10 p.m.

Jan 11, 2019 Web Exclusive

Anthology series have become the most interesting programs to watch on television these days, attracting major talent on both sides of the camera. Heading into its third season, True Detective is now headlined by Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali as the lead detective on a new case.