• Cliff Martinez / Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment

    Cliff Martinez, 'Only God Forgives: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack' (Milan) Review

    Director Nicolas Winding Refn's stoic and blood-splattered 2011 film Drive both revived that peculiar late-'60s/mid-'70s man + car genre (ranging from Steve McQueen-starring Bullitt to Walter Hill-directed The Driver) and proved that Ryan Gosling oozed sexuality even when portraying street-lit alabaster in a Scorpio jacket. Meanwhile, its soundtrack highlighted the icy productions of French-house upstart Kavinsky, as well as Johnny Jewel and his Italians Do It Better crew.

  • Boards of Canada

    Boards of Canada, 'Tomorrow's Harvest' (Warp)

    Right now, throughout the Atlantic Eastern Seaboard, red-eyed cicada nymphs are emerging from a 17-year hibernation to make a deafening amount of natural noise, a phenomenon informally known as "Brood II," as though it's some splatterhouse movie sequel. Of course, that only places the bugs on a scale somewhere between My Bloody Valentine (22 years) and Guns N' Roses (15) in length of hiatus. And further down the scale, somewhere between Daft Punk taking eight years to randomly access their memories and the Knife taking seven to shake the habitual, falls Edinburgh's Boards of Canada.Yet the absence of brothers Mike and Marcus Sandison felt far longer. At least Daft Punk filled that dormant period with 'Ye-list celebrities and box-office bombs, while the Knife had solo projects and the whole of indie synth-pop moving toward their pitch- and gender-bending ways.

  • Photo by Drew Anthony Smith

    DFA's 12th Anniversary Party: On the Scene at James Murphy's Family Affair

  • Wayne Coyne / Photo by Jolie Ruben

    The SPIN Interview: The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne

    In 1983, two brothers from Norman, Oklahoma —Wayne and Mark Coyne — played a punk show in Oklahoma City with mutual friend Michael Ivins on bass, despite the fact that he didn't know how to play. With that inauspicious start, the Flaming Lips were born. And, outside of maybe Fleetwood Mac, no American rock band has been "born" as many times as they have: Even by their first LP in 1986, Mark had left the band and singing duties fell to Wayne with his gruff and gravelly yowl, a sound which defined the Lips during their acid-eaten, garage-gunk days.But by 1991, a funny thing happened to the American underground, and in the wake of Nirvana's Nevermind, The Flaming Lips were signed to Warner Bros., beginning one of the strangest and most rewarding indie-to-major label relationships in pop-rock history.

  • James Blake

    James Blake, 'Overgrown' (Universal Republic)

    You might be forgiven for thinking there were two diametrically separate artists named James Blake. First, there's the dubstep l'enfant terrible who, starting in the summer of 2009 and spanning all of 2010, released a 12-inch transmission nearly every quarter.

  • Devendra Banhart / Photo by Ana Cras

    Devendra Banhart, 'Mala' (Nonesuch)

    Somewhere in Topanga Canyon (or perhaps on Manhattan's Lower East Side), Devendra Banhart sits, musing that he might have been crowned King of Chillwave just as easily as he was dubbed Lord of Freak Folk. The Niño Rojo. The Man Who Would Be (Ariel) Pink. And for wont of huaraches, the kingdom was lost. Yet on Mala, his eighth studio album and first in four years, the man seems content amid broken relationships — freed of all expectations, and engaged, literally (the record's title is inscribed on a ring from his fiancée, photographer Ana Kraš).At the turn of the 21st century, not-yet-21 Banhart was a five-tool player on the New York farm-glam scene: preternatural troubadour, surreal lyricist, nimble fingerpicker, and enigmatic outsider visual artist, all of it topped off with photogenic Jesus locks and stars in his beard.

  • Seeking a Fwend for the End of the World: The Flaming Lips

    Flaming Lips Discuss Their Harrowing, Awesomely Repetitive, Accidental New LP 'The Terror'

    The nine grim, harrowing songs that comprise the Flaming Lips thirteenth studio album The Terror are as much a paradigm shift in the Lips' sound as Zaireeka and The Soft Bulletin before it. Recorded on and off last year at Tarbox Road Studios with longtime co-producer Dave Fridmann in the wee hours between Heady Fwends collaborations, the album finds the Lips favoring heavy-lidded loops and drum machine mesmerism. Traces of Silver Apples, Suicide, Can, Beak>, and Broadcast abound, riding motorik grooves that push everything all deep into Wayne Coyne’s heart of darkness. Or, as he put it from his compound in Oklahoma City, these were songs to be sung "from this despondent futuristic dystopian church."To call The Terror the "follow-up" to 2009's Embryonic is to skip an entire universe of sound the band has spewed forth in the intervening four years.

  • Steve Moore, making the trip from Philly to Long Island

    Various Artists, 'American Noise,' (L.I.E.S.)

    The acronym for ridiculously underground New York City imprint L.I.E.S. stands for "Long Island Electrical Systems," though the land of Billy Joel doesn't quite scan as a dance-music Mecca. It does remain a place, however, where hardcore punk blasts out of basement dens in Northport, and Guinness Record-breaking metal acts like Manowar can sell out two nights in Huntington, regardless of what cooler sounds are buzzing at the westernmost tip of the island (i.e., Brooklyn).

  • Brian Eno, 'Lux' (Warp)

    In 1974, a collapsed lung forced Brian Eno away from rock stardom's precipice soon after the release of his first solo album, Here Come the Warm Jets, leading him to explore the "Oblique Strategies" that would inform the rest of his (and innumerable others') recorded output. The following year, he slipped in front of a speeding taxi, suffering head and back injuries.

  • Flying Lotus, 'Until the Quiet Comes' (Warp)

    When we visited Flying Lotus' Los Angeles home back in July, the man born Steven Ellison was in the grips of some crippling jet lag. He'd awakened at 4 a.m., and nothing could make him fall back to sleep. Swimming laps in his pool, smoking blunts, drinking "lean," popping a pill, even a wee-hours booty call. Nothing could return him to Slumberland.It must have been a surreal experience, as he'd just wrapped Until the Quiet Comes, the fourth Flying Lotus album and the one that most closely resembles a lucid dream state. "I saw this record as a dream lullaby, mystical states, that whole experience of being innocent in this new world that you don't really understand," he explained.

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