Chris Witte

Hear New Beacon Track “L1” Now

With a new EP en route entitled L1 due out December 2nd on Ghostly International, Brooklyn ambient-elecronica band Beacon promises to delve further into the complex psychological realm first unveiled in their debut…

Album Review: His Name Is Alive – Tecuciztecatl

If any album this year is vying to carry the torch of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” for best-played alongside a muted version of Wizard of Oz, it’s Tecuciztecatl, the fourteenth…

Album Review: This Will Destroy You – Another Language

For a band, the name This Will Destroy You certainly invokes the expectation of heavy metal or hard rock, yet the sounds of this group’s third studio album, Another Language, couldn’t be anything…

Album Review: Niagara – Don’t Take It Personally

Italian experimental duo Niagara have been turning heads and perking ears since their debut album Otto dropped onto the scene last year. Their follow-up, Don’t Take It Personally, released earlier this month on…

Album Review: Odesza – In Return

When club music veers into alternative territory, splashes through the waters of chillwave and resurfaces amongst the electronica glitter, you get the sound that is Odesza. For sure, the Seattle duo’s first full…

New Track: Trust – “Capitol”

Electronic act Trust will release Joyland via Arts & Crafts on March 4th and has shared a single, “Capitol.” From the moment it unleashes a festering squall of ominous and glitchy tron-esque synths, “Capitol”…

Album Review: I Break Horses – Chiaroscuro

I still remember the first time I listened to the song “Winter Beats” by Swedish dream-pop band I Break Horses; I was only just discovering indie music then and its icy, synth-driven cascade…

Album Review: Nadine Shah – Love Your Dum and Mad

There is a terror and a tenderness to the wildly forlorn, hauntingly seductive sound to London-based artist Nadine Shah’s songs, which are given full berth in her debut album Love Your Dum and…

Album Review: Smith Westerns – Soft Will

Don’t let their Chicago-claimed roots mislead you; Smith Westerns might be the most British sounding band you’ll hear this decade. Possessing only a vague familiarity with this group, it was a good thing…

Album Review: Selebrities – Lovely Things

There are Eighties flashbacks aplenty in the second album from Brooklyn-quartet Selebrities, whose finely-honed expression of new-wave, nu-disco synth-pop keep bringing flickering scenes of late-night mopey teenage-laments to my mind — the kinds…

EP Review: Alex Burkat – Tarot

Out this week on the Los-Angeles based label 100% Silk, Tarot arrives from the mind of Brooklynite musician Alex Burkat. The four-track EP, purportedly inspired by “mysticism and global warming,” loops its way…

Album Review: Polysick – Under Construction

Arriving this week via 100% Silk, the four-track EP Under Construction from Rome-based producer Polysick grooves with all the strange fervor gleaned from its Chicago and Detriot acid-house roots. The snare-kick duo in…

Album Review: Jon Hopkins – Immunity

In the intro of  his fourth solo album, UK electronic musician Jon Hopkins (prominently known for his collaboration with Coldplay) takes us through a locked door and into a lone hallway where the…

L.A. Band Boardwalks Releases New Single “I’m To Blame”

Recently signed to Stone Throw Records, Los Angeles Duo BoardWalk is poised to release their self-titled debut album later this year, and if their single “I’m To Blame” is any indicator, it ought to…

Album Review: Octo Octa – Between Two Selves

Listening to Between Two Selves, the new album from Brooklyn producer Michael Morrison (aka Octo Octa) out on the 100% Silk label, is like stepping into a cool electronic current and letting all…

Album Review: Free Time – Free Time

The self-titled debut album from New York indie-garage group Free Time, headed by Melbourne transplant Dion Nania and out this week via Underwater Peoples, strives for an unhurried, unworried charm with easy melodies…

Album Review: Alex Bleeker and the Freaks – How Far Away

Formed by the bassist of Real Estate, Alex Bleeker and the Freaks drops their second album this week, How Far Away, out on the Woodsist label. Having assembled a motley crew of bandmates…

Album Review: Dirty Beaches – Drifters/Love Is the Devil

Listening to the new double-album Drifters/Love is the Devil from Canadian artist Dirty Beaches aka Alex Zhang Hungtai feels rather like being trapped inside someone else’s mind; particularly someone who suffers from interchanging…

Album Review: pacificUV – After the Dream You Are Awake

After the Dream You Are Awake is the fourth full album from Georgia-based indie-group pacificUV. As its title suggests, the album, which appropriately fuses mellow shoegaze, psychedelic dreamsound, and experimental space-rock, is a…

Album Review: Beacon – The Ways We Separate

With their debut album The Ways We Separate, Brooklyn based-group Beacon has fashioned a wholly original mode of soft electronica. From the press circulating over the album it might be interpreted that The…

Album Review: Lower Plenty – Hard Rubbish

At first glance, Lower Plenty might seem like that local group of reclusive teenagers who got together in their parent’s garage and, having dug up a few rusty guitars and found some pots…

Album Review: Phoenix – Bankrupt!

Though Bankrupt! is officially Phoenix’s fifth studio album, many listeners will likely know this album simply as a follow-up to the synth-rock band’s chart-topping success, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. As such, the main question…

EP Review: Nadine Shah – Dreary Town

The second EP from young, London-based Nadine Shah, Dreary Town, continues to demonstrate the sheer power of Shah’s vocals. Mystical and expressive, mellifluous and melancholic, her voice is tinged with that mysterious near-eastern…

Album Review: David Grubbs – The Plain Where the Palace Stood

Rarely does a title so perfectly evoke the quality of an album’s sound, imagery, and motifs as does the title of the new album from multi-instrumentalist David Grubbs, released this week on the…

Album Review: Odonis Odonis – Better

Better, the latest EP from Toronto-based lo-fi band Odonis Odonis, is a complex and interesting integration of raging punk-rock and noisy shoegaze-surf  wrapped in a steely fold of dark, industrial garage sound. Caked…

Album Review: Born Ruffians – Birthmarks

Birthmarks, the third full-length album from Canadian indie group Born Ruffians, takes its title from the matching birthmarks that frontman Luke Lalonde and his girlfriend share. But before you think it’s purely a…

EP Review: Neon Indian – Errata Anex

Intended as a companion EP for Neon Indian’s 2011 album Era Extraña, ERRATA ANEX (meaning ‘compiled errors’) is a collection of five remixed tracks. Neon Indian’s style is a sort of psychedelic eighties…

Album Review: White Fence – Cyclops Reap

Hopefully you really enjoy sixties flower-pop revival. Hopefully you also really enjoy uniquely bizarre, unpredictably textured psychosomatic sound. Otherwise, unless you wish to engage on a thirty-six minute lysergic misadventure that doesn’t first…

Album Review: Vondelpark – Seabed

Listening to Seabed, the first full album from London trio Vondelpark, can feel a lot like reclining in a steamy sauna. There’s no easy way to pinpoint its sound, which tremulously undulates between…

Album Review: Dutch Uncles – Out of Touch in the Wild

The first thing necessitating mention about five-piece Manchester indie band Dutch Uncles is that they compose their music using multiple time signatures. I am always wary of bands whose publicity seems to revolve…

Album Review: Caveman – Caveman

Brooklyn quintet Caveman’s self-titled sophomore album, out this week on Fat Possum, is what I would classify as “cold rock.” Some refer to it more condescendingly as “Dad rock” because it borrows its…

Album Review: The Cyclist – Bones in Motion

The Irish producer known as The Cyclist has already received a wide variety of accolades for his upcoming LP, Bones in Motion, due to his innovative style of experimental electronica. It’s lo-fi variety…

Album Review: Julian Lynch – Lines

The general consensus amongst those familiar with the longtime work of experimental folk artist Julian Lynch is that his fourth full album Lines is a more focused effort than previous ones. Having not…

Album Review: Brandt Brauer Frick – Miami

When I read about Berlin group Brandt Brauer Frick’s music, described as “techno with the technology,” I was dutifully intrigued. Optimistically anticipating some sort of new-found instrumental techno magic, I  plugged my ears…

Album Review: André Obin – The Arsonist

Boston electronica artist André Obin, who has been large on the touring scene for almost five years, opening for acts like M83 and Washed Out, has finally dropped a full-length album this week. His…

The Woolen Men – The Woolen Men

I have to confess sometimes I do not understand the lo-fi movement. For me listening to a song recorded on antiquated equipment is like watching a movie on an old television–it won’t ruin…

SXSW Day 3 Field Report from Chris Witte

I’m running on three hours of sleep, I’ve hardly changed my clothes, my shoes are worn through, my feet blistered,  my car was towed, and still I’m having an absolute blast here in…

SXSW Day 2 Field Report from Chris Witte feat. Toro Y Moi and Ra Ra Riot

So yeah, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were like, yeah, great, and other big names were abound on the SXSW scene last night, but I secretly pity anyone who didn’t at least stop in…

SXSW Day 1 Field Report from the Mohawk by Chris Witte

Heralding the start of an animated week of world-class musical festivities, Mohawk began its South by Southwest run last night with an enticing line-up of exciting bands that included a special guest appearance…

Album Review: The Mary Onettes – Hit the Waves

Toiling on their sound for the last thirteen years, the Swedish dream-pop quartet The Mary Onettes  have perfected the art of eighties nostalgia with their latest album Hit the Waves. Its near-forty minutes…

Album Review: Herbcraft – The Astral Body Electric

With monikers like “Herbcraft” and “Astral Body,” you know it’s going to be time to darken the room, light some incense candles and roll out that yoga mat for some deep meditative experiences….

Album Review: Bill Baird Spring Break of the Soul

Spring Break of the Soul (Pau Wau Records), a full double LP, is a substantial undertaking by psych-pop artist and Austin-native Bill Baird. Spanning seventeen tracks and clocking in at an hour’s time,…

Album Review: Helado Negro – Invisible Life

There are ghosts in the stereo, and it won’t be long until they are rattling around inside your skull, carting your mind off to vast grey, Latin-tinged dimensions—at least that’s the case if…

Album Review: Popstrangers – Antipodes

Popstranger’s album title Antipodes comes from a geographical term used to indicate the areas of Australia and New Zealand, and which also denotes the opposite of something. The title is fitting, since noise-fuzz…

Album Review: Mister Lies – Mowgli

Not until halfway through the debut album of twenty-year old bedroom producer Mister Lies did I remember and realize that Mowgli refers to the feral boy-character from The Jungle Book. Given the unique…

Album Review: Beach Fossils – Clash the Truth

Ah, the sophomore album—so many expectations riding on the success of your first album. So many voices clamoring about what your sound should be and where it should go. So many inimical hands…

Album Review: Psychic Ills – One Track Mind

One Track Mind is the fourth album by decade-old New York group Psychic Ills, and it continues in the same art-house vein as their previous albums of downtempo psychedelia, grooving across strung-out soundscapes…

Album Review: Eat Skull – III

There’s something to be expected of a band named ‘Eat Skull,’ and this Portland-based group certainly delivers. While perhaps there’s no thrashing metal or hellish yelling, there’s enough macabre imagery, psychedelic stupors and…

Album Review: Crow44 – Crow44

A self-entitled EP, Crow 44 is actually a sampling of songs taken from over twenty-five albums of super-obscure lo-fi bedroom music. Multi-instrumental recording artist James Pants was hunting through cobwebbed corners of the…

Album Review: The Little Ones – The Dawn Sang Along

Los Angeles based pop-sextet The Little Ones claims to love the craft of sixties pop and to draw on music of that era, but their second album The Dawn Sang Along clearly has…

What Made Milwaukee Famous Live at Hotel Cafe in LA

Often you will hear that a band is better in live performance than on their studio-produced album, but it can be a hard thing to believe until you experience it for yourself. The…

Pageants Live at Origami Vinyl in L.A.

Featuring Rebecca Coleman, a former member of Avi Buffalo, the Long Beach trio Pageants impressed me even before they took the stage to perform their engaging variety of beachy, garage-house indie rock Friday…

Album Review: Tom Morgan – Orange Syringe

Singer-songwriter Tom Morgan, whose long-reaching musical history includes writing songs for The Lemonheads, has composed a sympathetic and compelling album here that captures the nature of an aging spirit. Herded by unaffected acoustics…

Album Review: Airstrip – Willing

Birthed from the ashes of Veelee, a lo-fi band that made waves around the local North Carolina Triangle scene, rock quartet Airstrip drops their debut album Willing this week. The project’s creative force,…

Album Review: Feeding People – Island Universe

There’s something about being a teenager that music just captures so perfectly. Even as we grow older and begin to resent that whiny, obnoxious thing we probably once were (“What are you talking…

Album Review: Radar Brothers – Eight

Fans of the Los Angeles indie band Radar Brother will find their eighth studio album (correspondingly entitled Eight) to have a fuller and more diverse sound than previous albums, while yet retaining the…

Bouquet Live at the Smell in LA

 The Smell is a venue that looks like it sounds—a grimy, back alleyway hole-in-wall place in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles, not too far off from the infamous Skid Row. With its…

Album Review: Amor de Días – The House at Sea

As the first gauzy strums of songwriting-duo Amor de Días’s new album began to wash over my ears I instantly regretted my choice of location in an urban coffee-shop, wishing instead I were…

Album Review: The History of Apple Pie – Out of View

London quintet The History of Apple Pie has been seeing the hype pile on for a while. After a stretch of live performances, during which they have been experimenting with and perfecting their…

Album Review: What Made Milwaukee Famous – You Can’t Fall Off the Floor

They are not from Wisconsin, but the indie rock band What Made Milwaukee Famous (the name references a country song which references the slogan of a beer bran—yeah they’re that awesome) has been…

Album Review: Camper Van Beethoven – La Costa Perdida

In the time before ‘indie-rock’ there was Camper Van Beethoven, an irreverent, experimental group formed by singer-guitarist David Lowery, whose eclectic escapades across the genres of folk, psych, and punk rock helped give…

Album Review: Shugo Tokumaru – In Focus?

A prolific multi-instrumentalist and commercially successful Japanese singer-songwriter, Shugo Tokumaru claims to draw the inspiration for his imaginative music from his daily dream diary. If this is the case for his newest album,…

Album Review: Toro y Moi – Anything in Return

The sounds on chill-wave pioneers Toro y Moi’s new album, Anything in Return, glide through elements of pop, indie, hip-pop, house, and funk that are ceaselessly stimulated by itching, festering, fun textures that…

Album Review: Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold

Brooklyn-based indie-basement group Parquet Courts develops a fresh and winning take on slacker punk-rock over the course of their debut album, Light Up Gold. With lazy thrills reigning in their voices and aggressive,…

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