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Formed back in 1991 in New York City, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion puts the American rock and roll into alternative rock. The band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Jon Spencer, drummer Russell Simins, and bass guitarist Judah Baer. For over twenty years, the trio has reconstructed the base of American roots music through experimenting with their own sound and recording techniques. Their style draws upon the influences of many genres, including punk, blues, and rockabilly. Their unique approach to music has allowed the group to collaborate with artists such as Elliott Smith, Solomon Burke, Martina Topley-Bird, Steve Albini, and Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys.
Recently performing the irresistibly catchy single “This Head I Hold” on the Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon, Electric Guest is riding on a noteworthy wave of momentum that is helping the band significantly flourish in the music industry. This Los Angeles based indie band garnered an enormous amount of success with its release of Mondo (Downtown Records/ Across the Universe) this past April. Having well-known musician Danger Mouse produce the entire album, Mondo peaked at #32 on the French Albums chart, #11 on the US Heatseekers Albums chart and #49 on the US Independent Albums chart. It is clear that the band enjoys a rather fervent fan base in the US and abroad. Constantly, touring in North America and in Europe, the band is well on its way to establish firm presence in the music industry.
It’s hard to write a definitive biography of an artist with as many career and relationship arcs as Leonard Cohen has experienced in his 78 years on earth. But that’s exactly what celebrated music journalist Sylvie Simmons has done with I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen.
Father John Misty is quite a character. And he is a character invented by Josh Tillman to hang his rock and roll persona on.
This the 23rd segment in our Latin music series Latin Roots. It’s time for our Latin Roots segment but this time it is a little different as our correspondent Felix Contreras from NPR’s Alt-Latino is actually going to play congas and talk about the drums that are central to so much Latin music.
Songwriting and producing legend John Cale is back with Shifty Adventures in Nookie World, his fifteenth solo album and first since 2005. Cale shape-shifts often throughout the record, channeling discotheque on the Danger Mouse-produced “I Wanna Talk 2 U,” acoustic picking his way through “Living With You,” and venturing into folklore on “Sandman (Flying Dutchman).” Post-punk, hip-hop and everything in between are covered throughout the 12 new tracks.
Singer-songwriter Ben Schneider is the creative force behind the band, which started as a recording project at his home in Michigan on Lake Huron. Two EPs later, Lord Huron signed to IAMSOUND Records and released their first full-length album last month called, Lonesome Dreams.
With a 25-year career spanning successes with shoegaze outfit Slowdive, country-rock group Mojave 3 and his own solo albums, it’s no wonder Neil Halstead has been described by Allmusic as “one of Britain’s most respected songwriters.” When he was only 17 years old, Halstead helped found and fronted cult shoegaze band Slowdive, which morphed into country-folk outfit Mojave 3. Mojave 3 released a string of highly celebrated albums that merged jangly alt-country with dusky indie-pop.
Whether fronting glam-rock pioneer group Mott the Hoople or releasing politically charged albums nearly forty years into his career, Ian Hunter has never been one to hold back.
Bloc Party are back. The British band whose debut album, Silent Alarm, was a critical sensation in 2006 released their new album Four this year after a few years hiatus. The band’s latest, Four, arrived in August, a departure from recent electronic forays and a return to the artful post-punk rock of the band’s heyday. The new album is raw, vibrant and palpably aggressive
After 15 years as Death Cab for Cutie frontman, Benjamin Gibbard has finally released his first solo album. Former Lives often goes beyond the indie pop confines of Death Cab for Cutie, touching on genres including Latin, alt-country, and ‘70s power pop.
Terry Callier passed away on Saturday so we are re-airing a portion of our 1998 interview with him on Friday’s show. David, this begins with him talking: “All of these things are gifts as far as I’m concerned…” You had just asked him about how he feels about songwriting, in particular with the song “Lazarus Man” (which he performs after giving his answer).
One of the leading alternative rock bands in the 90s. The band has only recently reunited for live performances in 2012. One of the most critically acclaimed bands of the 90’s, the Afghan Whigs are Vocalist/rhythm guitarist Greg Dulli, lead guitarist Rick McCollum, and drummer Steve Earle who met while attending the University of Cincinnati. The fourth member, bassist John Curley, was a photographer at the Cincinnati Inquirer and happened to meet Dulli at a friend’s apartment. The quartet formed Afghan Whigs in 1986 and had a dedicated cult following until the dissolution of the band in 2001.
In this 22nd segment of our Latin music series - Latin Roots - Jasmine Garsd from NPR's Alt-Latino talks about Nuevo Cancion, a broad style of Latin music concerning social and political issues. Nueva Cancion means "new song" and it's an audio/ideological style was born in the 60s and 70s when many Latin countries were being ruled by repressive dictators.
Nick Waterhouse made waves with his debut record Time’s All Gone earlier this year, establishing himself as one of music’s most refreshingly rough-around-the-edges soul men. On his debut, Waterhouse draws from the classic sound of ‘50s American pop music with a distinctive voice of his own, shouting and growling throughout the record’s 11 tracks with infectious vigor.
Kinky is a five-member band from Monterrey, Mexico, formed in 1998 and consisting of Gilberto Cerezo, Ulises Lozano, Carlos Chairez, Omar Góngora, and Cesar Pliego. Legendary DustBrother John King, who has worked with Beck, the Rolling Stones and the Beastie Boys, produced their latest album, Sueño De La Maquina (Dream Machine) which was released on September 4.
With his self-titled album entering the Top 5 of iTunes’ R&B/Soul charts last year, soul singer/songwriter Allan Stone has come a long way from not being allowed to listen to secular music as a child. Instead, Stone was exposed to religious music at a young age growing up in Washington because his father was a pastor.
The Wallflowers have reconnected, or 'rebooted' so to speak, to release their first studio album since 2005's Rebel, Sweetheart and with a slightly tweaked line-up they pick up right where they left off.
No one channels the spirit of '80s New Wave as infectiously as George Lewis Jr., better known under his stage name Twin Shadow. Lewis wears his ‘80s pop influences on his sleeve throughout his sophomore album Confess, released on 4AD Records this July. The sleek synth-pop vibe of “Five Seconds” recalls Duran Duran and “Run My Heart” is not unlike many Springsteen power ballads.
Soul legend Bobby Womack was considered a survivor before starting work on his latest album (his first since 1994) The Bravest Man in the Universe, released in June. But after overcoming hospitalization with pneumonia and successful treatment of colon cancer while in the midst of recording the album, Womack has delivered his greatest comeback yet. Womack's first studio record in 12 years is a stunning mix of regretful introspection and hopeful romance, running the gamut from elecro-disco to stripped-down storytelling along the way.
Photo Credit:  Courtesy of Jory Cordy As the favorite to win the Mercury Music Prize in November and a Top 20 phenomenon in the UK, Alt-J is perhaps the most successful British Band of 2012. Alt-J has made its splash with their debut album An Awesome Wave
Photo Credit:  Barbara Anastacio Three years removed from their celebrated record Veckatimest, Grizzly Bear has once again earned critical acclaim with Shields, the band's fourth studio album. Shields builds upon the group's innovative indie rock of the past, mixing melodic pop with lush orchestrations and emotional honesty.
Rodriguez Detroit singer-songwriter Rodriguez's resurrection finally seems complete. Rodriguez had achieved cult status in South Africa, while here at home, he was a relatively unknown artist living in Detroit.
Dwight Yoakam The legendary country singer-songwriter and actor continues to fuse multiple genres in his music with 3 Pears, his first album in five years. Released last month, the record is full of surprises, jumping from Motown and soul to light pop and no-frills rock and roll.
credit Pamela Littky The Divine Fits are an indie rock group comprised of Spoon’s Britt Daniel, Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs, and New Bomb Turks’ Sam Brown. A few years ago, Daniel attended a Handsome Furs concert; he and Boeckner have remained friends ever since.
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