Sleep-hiking Bastard Mountain

Traveling to Edinburgh for just a few days, it was hard to imagine that the namesake for the group Bastard Mountain wasn’t in fact Arthur’s Seat, the city’s highest crag with a patchwork of yellow wild flowers and spotted with bunnies darting from stone staircases, behind broken fences and into the bushes. Or to imagine that […]

Navigate Paris with Balades Sonores

Paris can be an intimidating city when it comes to navigating independent music, especially since there’s really no other city like it in France and “electro” tends to drown everything out. Wandering into the small boutique called Balades Sonores can be like opening the door into another hidden Paris. For one of the biggest cities […]

The Music Tapes’ Traveling Imaginary, In Real Life

The Traveling Imaginary came to New York City for a few nights in September and for a few hours the third story of a chapel became a gateway to another world. A place somewhere in the imagination of Julian Koster and The Music Tapes crew, outside of space and reality, where time stood still. A […]

Bent Shapes and the Art of Feeling Weird

Bent Shapes has strong connections to the band’s hometown of Boston and the music community there. Listening to the record almost drops you right into the streets, brick buildings everywhere and rats scurrying around corners. They’re the kids that worked behind the counter of the local thrift store, hocking treasures and oddities from lost decades. […]

Primavera Sound 2013 Review

A lot had changed for the 13th edition of Primavera Sound, most notably that the festival was no longer “San Miguel Primavera Sound,” but “Heineken Primavera Sound.” The difference is relevant, because a lot of the local Spanish elements of the festival haven’t been as emphasized in more recent years (and the Primavera organization has […]

Greg Mullen and A Tour of Cosmic America

Greg Mullen snubbed out the joint he’d been smoking just as the bus pulled up. He was wearing a cowboy hat with the sides curled in and big white, heart-shaped sunglasses. He was traveling with only a suitcase and a guitar. High and exhausted, he took his seat and the mystical voice of the bus driver […]

Univers: There’s no Fire in Space, but There’s Hail

Spiraling through atmospheric drone riffs and surf rock, Univers’ guitar melodies sound as if outer space were crashing into the ocean. The guttural vocals hold a strange Joy Division ‘80s vibe, but definitely sound like the droning omnipotence of the Universe itself. So, if you ever had one of those weird moments where it seemed like the universe […]

TBJ’s Favorite Records of 2012: Godspeed You!, Griz Bear, Mt. Eerie

There really wasn’t one album from 2012 that owned my ears the same way that Destroyer’s Kaputt and Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor did the last two years. Barring a long-winded tangent about why it’s nonsense for anyone to decide what were the best sounds recorded within a twelve-month period with no criteria whatsoever, suffice it to say that those […]

Pitchfork Music Festival Paris 2012 Wrap-up

The Pitchfork music festival in Paris took place at La Grande Halle nestled on the edge of the Parc de la Villette. Guiding audiences to the festival, the concert hall’s large neon letters bathed the plaza and fountain in front of it in red. Past the gates was a long pavilion with food and drinks outside […]

Haunting Simon Joyner

Simon Joyner’s thirteenth studio album is Ghosts (or sixteenth or so if you count the early tapes) and it’s release marks 20 years that Joyner has been making music. He funded the project with a Kickstarter campaign, in which he outlined some big ambitions for the double album that he called “experimental and sprawling, featuring some […]