It won’t take very long to realize that you’re listening to something special the first time you hear Gary Clark Jr. For over a decade, he has been almost a mythical figure in a vibrant music scene of Austin, TX. Now the 27-year old guitarist is finally set to stretch his talents outside of his hometown. His introduction is a 4 song EP, Bright Lights that gives a glimpse at his tremendous potential and not surprisingly leaves you wanting more.
Too much is often made of an artist’s jump from an indie to a major label. For fear of tainted artistic vision or imposed guidelines, ‘purists’ hold their collective breath in the weeks (or months) leading up to an albums release. But to be fair, there is a recent track record of success when you think of artists like The Decemberists or Death Cab for Cutie who have arguably made some of the best albums of their careers since making such a move. And with that, Iron and Wine is the latest indie darling to successfully make the transition to a major label with his most confident and expansive album to date, Kiss Each Other Clean.
In what just may heralded as Peter Buck's long-anticipated R.E.M. "guitar album", Athens, Georgia's finest let it rip on Accelerate, the beloved band's 14th studio album. As the title suggests, the tunes are faster, more urgent, and sound a lot less fussed-over than a lot of the group's past catalogue.
Jack and Meg White certainly kick up a ruckus on the new White Stripes album Icky Thump. On their sixth album, the duo is louder and bolder than ever before. They try on plenty of previously unexplored American music styles, and the vast majority of it fits nicely. The best news is that it still sounds like The White Stripes.
Around The Sun is REM’s first album since their 2001 studio album Reveal. Throughout 13 songs – on their 13th studio album REM have produced a pensive, mid-tempo collection of songs that recalls the lushness of their best records from the Eighties like Reckoning, Fables, and Lifes Rich Pageant.
Named for the legendary Malibu, California recording studio where it was recorded, Shangri-La is a classic Mark Knopfler album. Including his great body of work with Dire Straits, Knopfler’s signature guitar sound, vocals and intelligent lyrics and songs have made him a favorite artist of XPN listeners and members.
On his new album, Eric Clapton covers 14 of the 29 songs that legendary bluesman Robert Johnson wrote during his lifetime. Robert Johnson has always been one of Clapton’s primary musical influences. “It is a remarkable thing,” writes Clapton in the liner notes to this record, “to have been driven and influenced all of my life by the work of one man. His music is like my oldest friend.” During his career - from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers to Cream and his own solo records