The B+ career: 10 artists who always deliver very good—but never truly great—work

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d…

Mount Eerie, Hot Snakes, and more albums to know about this week

Hot Snakes sound more aggressive than ever on Jericho Sirens, while Bishop Nehru’s Elevators gets a lift from skilled collaborators, and The Decemberists turn in their most divisive album yet. These, plus Mount Eerie’s follow-up to last year’s stunning A Crow Looked At Me in this week’s notable new releases.

The Rapture, Ladytron, and The Streets had the true hits of 2002

To commemorate 60 years of the Billboard Hot 100, Off The Charts revisits each year since it was established to spotlight songs and artists that didn’t make the cut, yet still made a significant impact. Years are chosen randomly and—to make it even harder on ourselves—rules for inclusion are that neither the songs nor…

Here are the 28 most-anticipated albums of March

New releases really ramp up for March, with a glut of offerings from veteran rockers (The Breeders, The Decemberists, Yo La Tengo), underground rap icons and stoner-rap legends (MF DOOM & Czarface, Jean Grae & Chris Quelle, Curren$y, YoungBoy NBA), and boundary-pushing electronic artists (Lost Girls, DJ Taye). Here…

What are you listening to this week? 

I’ve yet to see Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest, Phantom Thread, but over our holiday break, I found myself obsessed with a short musical excerpt from the film’s score that Nonesuch Records published ahead of tomorrow’s full digital release. As with every Anderson film since There Will Be Blood, the soundtrack was…

The Decemberists and Lin-Manuel Miranda team up for a new Hamilton song celebrating Ben Fucking Franklin

Hamilton’s been around for long enough at this point that at least a little bit of the freshness surrounding Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking hip-hop historical musical has inevitably rubbed off. Still, Miranda’s not one to rest on his laurels; a year after releasing the well-received Hamilton Mixtape, he announced…

The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy announces new children’s book with Carson Ellis

On Tuesday, The Decemberists lead singer Colin Meloy announced he’ll publish a middle-grade novel called The Whiz Mob And The Grenadine Kid, set for an October 24 publication. If the title isn’t whimsical enough for you, Publisher’s Weekly reported last year that the novel will follow “an impressionable young American…

An indie reissue, a winter craft project, and a family-friendly outing

The Decemberists’ 2006 album The Crane Wife is one of my all-time favorites, so I was pretty excited when I saw the band announce a 10th anniversary Crane Wife box set with a ton of demos, B-sides, and alternate takes—or at least I was excited up until I saw how expensive it is. Luckily, the band just released a…

I thought they smelled bad on the outside: 8 times characters hid inside animals

The unnamed protagonist of John Irving’s third novel, about two couples who switch partners, extols the patience and forbearance of his Austrian-born wife, Anna. Both her patience and her nickname, Utch (taken from the Georgian slang for “cow”), are traced back to the day in WWII when her mother, rightfully fearing…

Advertisement

The best albums of 2015 so far

Considering we’re only almost to July, 2015 has seen an abundance of musical riches so far. From new albums by old bands to great albums by new bands, there’s plenty of great material to queue up just from the past six months. Below, The A.V. Club runs down a bunch of our favorite stuff, from Sleater-Kinney to…

I can’t hardly wait: 76 of our most anticipated entertainments of 2015, part 1

The short-run musical comedy series Galavant tells the fantastical tale of a knight who falls from grace after his storybook happy ending goes awry. The series features Timothy Omundson—such a reliable comedic presence on Psych—as its villain, the dastardly King Richard, alongside lesser-known heroes. The premise is…