Marc Hogan

writer

Biography

  • Maps & Atlases

    First Spin: Hear Maps & Atlases' Busy, Buzzy 'Fever'

    When Maps & Atlases hit the road early last year with Barsuk Records labelmates Menomena, the pairing was more than clever indie synergy. Like their Portland-based comrades, the Chicago quartet anchors its slightly bent pop tunes with impressively intricate drumming. The first track to surface from Maps & Atlases' upcoming Beware & Be Grateful (out April 17), "Winter," saw the Dave Davison-fronted band taking a more focused approach to its buoyant, fleet-fingered guitar-pop. Latest advance track "Fever" similarly forgoes the occasional Latin-brass or campfire-folk left turns of 2010's Perch Patwork, instead allowing Davison's rounded, distinctive bray to float triumphantly over a direct, breezy concoction that feels, indeed like a fever passing. Pre-order the album here and get a bag of Maps & Atlases coffee to help you keep up with those busy rhythms.

  • Earl Scruggs / Photo by R. Diamond/WireImage

    Earl Scruggs, Bluegrass Pioneer, Dead at 88

    Even if you didn't know Earl Scruggs' name, you'd heard his sound. The bluegrass legend, who died yesterday in Nashville at age 88 of natural causes, "pioneered the modern banjo sound," as his Associated Press obituary aptly puts it. His son told Reuters that Scruggs' health had been worsening for a while. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and four-time Grammy winner, Scruggs perfected a three-finger style of banjo playing that inspired the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia and practically every other banjo player since.

  • Garbage

    Listen to Garbage's Brawny New Alt-Rocker 'Battle in Me'

    Garbage are sticking to their guns. Earlier this month, the alt-rock hitmakers unveiled one song from their first album in seven years, and now the second track to emerge from May 15 release Not Your Kind of People confirms that Shirley Manson, Butch Vig, and the crew aren't veering far from the digitally sculpted "modern" rock that got them here. Although a bit more muscular than the previously surfaced "Blood for Poppies," lead U.K. single "Battle in Me" (via Radio 104.5) offers another batch of explosive hooks, maximal cyber-distortion, and powerhouse drums straight out the group's '90s heyday. "I'll be damned if I'm done," Manson booms. Message received.

  • Watch SBTRKT's Night-Driving 'Hold On' Video

    Watch SBTRKT's Night-Driving 'Hold On' Video

    "As a basic thing," masked London DJ/producer Aaron Jerome told us several months ago, "electronic music is not based on some personal life story. The majority is this imaginary universe of sound." From last year's Drive soundtrack to this week's sudden release of Chromatics' Kill for Love, imagery involving shadowy nighttime car chases has become a bigger part of pop's universe lately, and Jerome's most recent video as SBTRKT is the latest superb example. From SBTRKT's engrossing 2011 self-titled debut album, "Hold On" is a model of the whole project's slinky, emotive charms. Though Jerome isn't shy about deploying deeply reverberant low-end, his house-R&B hybrids have more in common with the work of Young Turks labelmate Jamie xx than with much American dubstep.

  • Damon Albarn

    Hear Damon Albarn's Melancholy 'Dr Dee' Cut 'The Marvelous Dream'

    Don't fear the opera. "The Marvelous Dream," the first track to emerge from the soundtrack to Damon Albarn's latest opera, Dr Dee (out May 8), is a song with an extensive lineage in the Blur/Gorillaz mastermind's band-hopping discography. It's a delicate folk-pop ballad you need no knowledge of Western classical music's rich tradition to appreciate. It's hard to say at this point where "The Marvelous Dream" will stand among Albarn's songs, but it's definitely a worthy representative of the quiet side of his oeuvre, ranging from Blur's Modern Life Is Rubbish's drum-looper "Blue Jeans" to his recent Rocketjuice and the Moon project's funkily pained "Poison." The ache in Albarn's voice adds a nice tension as he harmonizes with himself on delicately pretty, oh-so-English lyrics, backed sparingly by lightly jazzy acoustic guitar chords and a smattering of handclaps.

  • Hear Flaming Lips and Bon Iver's Mind-Bender 'Ashes in the Air'

    Hear Flaming Lips and Bon Iver's Mind-Bender 'Ashes in the Air'

    Pass the vials of Ke$ha's blood. The Flaming Lips' joint track with Bon Iver, from the spacey Oklahoma pop pranksters' upcoming Record Store Day collaborative album, isn't quite as out there as frontman Wayne Coyne's recent declaration that a few copies of the vinyl double-LP will come with samples of the actual red stuff from the Lips' high-profile guest stars. But "Ashes in the Air" (via Consequence of Sound) is still pretty weird. Or, as the Lips glassily intone over rolling snare sounds and flickering electronics in the song's opening moments: "You and me / We're both so fucked up." Whether that's "fucked up in the good way" or "fucked up in the bad," to use the song's memorable distinction that comes next, will likely depend on how far you want to indulge either of the acts involved.

  • Macy Gray Does Her Raspy My Chemical Romance Cover on 'Conan'

    Macy Gray Does Her Raspy My Chemical Romance Cover on 'Conan'

    Since attracting the world's attention with the left-field smash "I Try" around the turn of the millennium, Macy Gray has been trying mightily to achieve a more lasting success, admirably without ever relinquishing her trademark wackiness. Covered, her first album since 2010's guest-laden The Sellout, came out this week, and it finds the raspy-voiced R&B-popsters applying her eccentricities to covers of songs by Metallica, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, and more. Last night on Conan, she gave a horn-spackled piano-pop rendition of My Chemical Romance's bouncy glam-punk sing-a-along "Teenagers." Gray took the stage with wildly upswept hair and a sparkly avocado-green gown, and she was backed by not only an eight-piece band (!) but also, on the last couple of "Hey Jude"-style choruses, some actual kids.

  • Ty Segall & White Fence

    Get Ty Segall and White Fence's Psych-Rock Nugget 'I Am Not a Game'

    Ty Segall and Tim Presley take their basement scuzz seriously. Segall and fellow West Coast one-man garage-rock band Presley, the latter of whom might be better known as White Fence, show just how serious on the ferocious new "I Am Not a Game." It's an advance track from their collaborative album Hair, set to sprout as if by Rogaine on April 24 via Drag City. With musty drums, giddy organ, and madcap-laughing guitar slash 'n' burn, the song suggests '60s psychedelia every bit as much as that LP title, and should please fans of not only Segall and White Fence's recent work, but also like-minded psych explorers as varied as fellow California band the Fresh & Onlys and awesome Aussie crew Tame Impala. Most of the lyrics are obscured in all the screeching and tape-hissing, but the two guys make their point plain enough: "Let's remember noise," they declare at one point.

  • Billy Corgan / Photo by John Shearer/Getty

    Disarm: Smashing Pumpkins Return to EMI for 'Oceania'

    "Even though I pronounced the album dead, I guess I still wanna do another one," Billy Corgan said this past fall when he announced the Smashing Pumpkins's upcoming Oceania. And now, even though he all but pronounced the major label system deceased, Corgan's band has signed a deal with EMI Label Services/Caroline Distribution to release Oceania throughout most of the world on June 19. The world is a vampire, still. The Chicago alternative rock giants' ties with EMI go all the way back to debut album Gish in 1991. As Corgan has said before, Oceania is "an album within an album" and part of the Smashing Pumpkins' ongoing 44-song Teargaden By Kaleidyscope project. Corgan has said the 13-song release, which he produced himself, will run for about an hour.

  • Moonface

    Hear Moonface's Epic Siinai Team-Up 'Headed for the Door'

    Ready for seven-plus minutes of one of Canada's most wonderfully oblique indie-rock yelpers fronting "Finland's greatest krautrock band"? Of course you are! Moonface a.k.a. Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown, Swan Lake) has already unveiled one taste of his upcoming Moonface collaboration with Helsinki quartet Siinai, the sounds-like-David-Bowie, name-checks-Stevie-Nicks ambient-rock chugger "Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips." Krug's latest track with the band behind SPIN Essential album Olympic Games is at once far huger and somewhat smaller: Krug's quavering vocals address a faltering relationship with disarming specificity, but Siinai's spaced-out keyboards and unremitting stomp are big enough for a Hollywood blockbuster (though, it must be said, probably not Appalachian enough for The Hunger Games).

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