Seattle-based band The Oregon Donor comes out swinging on their sophomore LP, A Pageant's End. With the fury of a popular hometown band on the rise, the band took what was interesting about their debut Somethings and ramped it up a notch. Even more technical, with well-balanced instrumentals and good baselines, it comes across as more tasteful and less noodley than their previous effort. Without having to sacrifice their musical gravitas, The Oregon Donor have made a more accessible record -- an art that comes with more years of practice then they had on their first effort. They have shed their nerd clothing for a (relatively) more seasoned rock n' roll outfit. Not only are they using prog-rock influences such as Don Caballero and early Dischord bands that they grew up on, but they seem to have thrown a little Radiohead and the like into the mix. It is important to note that the progression is more subtle than most jumps from album one to album two; it takes repeated listens to appreciate what The Oregon Donor have accomplished with A Pageant's End.

Recently, essayist Eric Grubbs wrote a book entitled POST: A Book About the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2008. In the book, Grubbs profiles several bands, including genre stalwarts like At the Drive-In, Jawbox, Fugazi and Sunny Day Real Estate. If that book were to continue, Seattle/Tacoma-based To the Waves would be...

Indie-prog rock has never actually been particularly "cool." It has never been hip or in style, and it has always attracted a mostly male audience. And you know what makes an indie-prog band even less cool? Naming the first track on your record "3rd Lvl Wizard." Regardless of what class of...