1970's Yé-yé punk pop? An old genre's new sub-genre? Even in this, the heyday of music categorizing snobbery that seems to delight fans, bloggers, and YouTube commenters round the globe, The Better Letters aren't that easy to classify. So fall back for five minutes and...

NYC-based foursome Asobi Seksu -- meaning "casual sex" in Japanese -- released its newest album, Fluorescence, on February 15th. The dream pop escapist melodies are made for cruising the coast with a lover or plunging headfirst into an icy ocean of emotion and despair, making...

The debut LP release by MEN -- JD Samson of Le Tigre's newest project -- released early this month. Known for funky DIY outfits (mouse house hats!) and topical lyrics with the goal of giving a voice to the young and the lesbian, Talk...

Two years ago, I took the train across the bay to Oakland to see José González perform the best acoustic set I've seen to date, while he was touring for In Our Nature. I didn't know much about him really, except that his cover of The Knife's "Heartbeats" was undeniably good, as was the rest of Veneer and his sophomore album. That was all.

So, when Junip, a band González helped formed in the late '90s, began to push Fields singles around the internet, it was admittedly the first I'd heard of them. A few Fields listens deep however, it becomes blazingly clear that Junip's unique sound is not to be overlooked.

 

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Sometimes with music, especially when you're listening to a genre that's not a personal favorite, an album just needs time to grow on you. You may give it a few listens and walk away without much, if anything, to say. When you return a second...

Pretty much everything about Lookbook's newest LP, Wild At Heart -- including their choice of album name -- confirms that they remain deeply enamored with the 1980s. With their synthpop sound under lead vocalist Maggie Morrison's wail, which is most aptly described as a fresh...

A week-and-a-half after returning from SxSW 2010 should be enough time to blend back into mainstream society, recover from strep throat, and map out my SxSW favorites. Yet unlike some of the other REDEFINE writers, who rambled down the West Coast and into the heart of Texas via a leisurely road trip, my trip is best summed up as three-day dance party fueled by free Red Bull and the knowledge that my trip was much too short, ultimately leaving me disheveled and confused. So here they are at their most honest: my Top Five SxSW Picks.

 

5. Polly Mackey & The Pleasure Principle

www.pollymackey.com
Meandering through downtown Austin, Polly Mackey & The Pleasure Principle were rocking out loudly and early, easily luring myself and a slew of other hungover weirdos into a random bar. Once inside, I realized that the band happened to be SxSW showcase openers getting in one last show, so I made myself comfortable between two heavily bearded men. Tip for the solo traveler: sitting between two largish, fully bearded men at a bar is, I've come to learn, the equivalent of going out with eight friends. I assure you: things will get cozy and familiar quickly. Meanwhile, the band was cranking out classic rock riffs with some kind of emo punk sliced in. Their high energy, combined with the multiple pitchers of Bloody Mary's making their way around, equated to an early morning crowd ready to party. What sold the show for me though, was their intriguing vocalist Polly Mackey. A tiny woman wearing the most unimpressed expression stood center stage, strumming her guitar with this huge voice that I overwhelmingly got the feeling she was holding back. Maybe the show was a fluke, or maybe it was all the facial hair in my way, but someone needs to tell Mackey to stop holding back and let that voice rip.

 

Imagine Ladyhawke and The Ting Tings fusing together in an all-too-common late night Canadian disco jam sesh, and you may be envisioning new wave fivesome You Say Party! We Say Die! clad in copious amounts of shiny accessories. The British Columbia-bred group's third album, XXXX, boasts...