Slowly but surely, WIDESPREAD PANIC has established themselves as one of America's most popular and consistent live acts. Their recorded output hasn't quite reached the success of their road show, but - with Earth To America - the band has finally gotten their feel and passion properly on disc.
The poignancy and brilliance of the fifth and final installment of Johnny Cash's American series is a lasting testimony to the genius of an American icon. As reported in Rolling Stone magazine, the story goes that the day after his wife June Carter Cash died on May 15th, 2003, Johnny Cash called Rick Rubin - his producer and said to him: "I have to get to work. If you don't have something for me to do every day, I'm going to die." Unfortunately, his life ended too soon.
Zero 7 are the English "sound-design" duo of Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker who debuted in 2001 with their now classic Simple Things album, a collection of warm, soulful and chilled out electronica. The Garden is their gorgeous third release and not too unlike their previous albums, which put them in a similar musical genre wih bands like Royksopp, Air, Portishead. This time around however, Zero 7 have added a more upbeat musical direction to their trademark ambience and finds them mining some excellent & fertile musical ground.
KEB' MO' (born Kevin Moore) is back with his eighth album, Suitcase, and it's another stellar collection of blues/folk/pop tunes that feature his signature tasty, understated guitar licks and hum-along songs.
Call it the musical surprise of 2006 thus far: the Dixie Chicks emerge from a couple of years of turmoil to create one of the most sincere, poignant discs we've heard in some time. It may have been once easy to dimiss the Chicks as some kind of "country-lite" creation, but no more. Taking The Long Way has way too many good songs, harmonies and ideas to dismiss.
ELVIS COSTELLO is one of music's most talented chameleons. Throughout his career, he's constantly explored any and all stylistic avenues - classical, country, punk, R&B, etc. His new album with legendary New Orleans writer/producer ALLEN TOUSSAINT is another chapter in his distinguished quest for musical diversity.
Well, he certainly took his time, but Alexi Murdoch's first full album Time Without Consequence is set for release on June 6. Since we first heard his understated masterpiece 4 Songs in 2002, Alexi fans everywhere have been patiently waiting for some new songs. Time Without Consequence will not disappoint those people.
For his first new album in six years, Paul Simon's Surprise will indeed be a wonderful surprise for his fans. "Sonically enhanced" (produced and co-written) by the legendary Brian Eno, the album bubbles and gurgles and percolates and simmers with the electronic beats, synthesized guitars and sinewy keyboard accompaniments that are trademark to Brian Eno's production style and sonic soundscapes.
Welcome to one of the most engaging rock albums of this or any year. You may already know the back story, but THE WHITE STRIPE's JACK WHITE got together with his Detroit pal, BRENDAN BENSON, and then recruited the rhythm section from Cincinnati's THE GREENHORNES.
Gnarls Barkley So who is Gnarls Barkley? The rumors fly in every direction and remain unverifiable, but with links to underground hip hop artists Danger Mouse
Well, anytime you combine two XPN favorites like MARK KNOPFLER and EMMYLOU HARRIS, there's bound to be more than a little bit of interest. Almost seven years in the making, these two distinctive singers and songwriters have produced a very solid album.
Ever since the Nebraska album in 1982 (and probably earlier for astute Bruce-heads), we've known that Springsteen has has more than a healthy dose of respect for the folk idiom. We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions is not only a salute to the stylings of PETE SEEEGER, but also an acknowledgement of the American tradition of storytelling through song. It's a lovingly detailed album from an artist who understands his roots more than most musical superstars.
On his third solo album - and his first in twenty years since About Face - PINK FLOYD's DAVID GILMOUR doesn't dissappoint those enamored with the Floyd-ian "wall of guitar" sound or his lovely, plaintive vocal stylings. On An Island is a pretty satisfying venture that - while not really breaking any new ground - certainly will fill whatever cravings you have for the classic rock juggernaut that was the Floyd.
The Animal Years is JOSH RITTER's coming of age album. The 29 year old Idaho native has been troubadour-ing it for several years now, and all of his experience and songwriting know-how have been brought together on this new release.
WAYNE COYNE and company - the endlessly endearing FLAMING LIPS - continue their strange and beautiful musical/psychological journey on At War With The Mystics, an album that undeniably rocks, makes you laugh, and provides a musical soundtrack for the proverbial "wonder of it all".
Anyone who's seen or heard James Hunter perform is already hip to his remarkable talents as a singer, guitarist and songwriter. This includes Van Morrison
For his third solo album, DONALD FAGEN continues the patented STEELY DAN sound while exploring some new territory. Morph The Cat is a concept album of sorts that concerns itself with endings of all kinds and retains the cerebral, but biting, lyrical attack that Fagen is so expert in executing.
Nobody thought that combining orthadox Judaism and reggae would result in such an exciting sound. With the release of Youth, MATISYAHU and his band have produced the first big story in music for 2006.
KT Tunstall is a sparkling new songwriter with Chinese blood, a Scottish heart, great legwarmers and a cool name who celebrates classic singer-songwriting with an articulate, accessible, immediate brew of rootsy sass, wistful quandary and after-hours atmosphere. more...
Long time WXPN favorite RHETT MILLER is back with his second solo album, The Believer and - like his first solo album The Instigator - it's a tasty piece of pop music. Miller is actually the thinking-man's (and woman's) pop songwriter. This new album takes on some very challenging subjects (suicide, for one) without being heavy-handed, and it's always presented in a smart and catchy manner.
Bridging all kinds of musical syles effortlessly with her highly emotive, smoky voice, NEKO CASE has created a masterpiece with Fox Confessor Brings The Flood. This Virginian-born, Tacoma-raised alt-diva got her career started in a big way when she moved to Vancouver and joined THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS (with whom she still records and tours). Case brings an inherent understanding of country music an all of its' possible range of feelings to the table on this new disc, but it's in no way a country album (or even an alt-country album, for that matter...). Case is country like DUSTY SPRINGFIELD or TOWNES VAN ZANT was... she's actually more of a country-noir artist than anything else. It's an emotive starting point, but the music in no way stops or ends there.
From the archives of the nationally-acclaimed WORLD CAFE® radio show, comes this series of limited edition CDs. This collection of rare, live performances from the most significant musical artists has created over the past 15 years and today is an absolute must-have for music fans nationwide.
On her latest release The Comfort of Strangers, Beth Orton has managed to present listeners with the most intimate, soulful album of her career. Always able to sonically channel enigmatic '70's songwriters like NICK DRAKE and SANDY DENNY, this new album harkens the ghosts of those artists like never before. Deftly produced by JIM O'ROURKE (who's lately been a part of SONIC YOUTH), Orton composed all thirteen of these new tracks, including a songwriting collaboration with O'Rourke and M. WARD on the title cut.
The former GUIDED BY VOICES frontman didn't wait long after disbanding his long-standing group to unleash his first post-GBV solo album. Pollard is an extremely complex and extremely prolific songwriter who has always managed to delight his fans with a heady combination of intelligent wordplay and pop hooks.
It's easy to get caught up in the splendid idea that surrounds the packaging of this new album... there are two discs in the set: one (the actual finished album) is labeled "Mine", and the other "Yours". The "Yours" disc is a DVD-ROM that allows you to re-mix the entire album using software available online. Pretty cool, and user friendly, too.