Artist to Watch

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The premier guide for new and significant artists in rock, blues, and folk - including NPR-syndicated World Cafe ®

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24/7 Musical discovery. A unique mix of emerging and heritage blues, rock, world, folk, and alt-country artists.

World Cafe Archives

Join David Dye as he navigates the World Cafe through live performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.

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Folk music radio streaming on the web; Americana, Roots Music, recordings, and stories from folk's best.
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Simply stated, Contra, the sophomore effort from Vampire Weekend does not miss. As a follow-up to their much admired debut, the new album is open to new, adventurous musical avenues all while still harnessing their worldly appetite. Unquestionably, Contra is smart, artistic, and — as you'd expect from Vampire Weekend — catchy.

As the New Year gets underway, we anticipate lots of new releases from some of our favorite artists. However, a new name jumps to the head of the line in this year; a duo from Baltimore named Beach House. Their first album for the Sub Pop label comes out this January, entitled Teen Dream, and may just be one of the albums we're talking about again when we come full circle in 2010.

Since forming, the band Freelance Whales have went from busking on street corners to independently releasing their debut album, Weathervanes, to signing a record deal all in just under two years. The five piece band from New York has had no problem garnering attention. Ambition is a big factor but after spending time with their music it's easy to hear what makes Freelance Whales so irresistible.

Years from now we may look back at Daptone Records as the label that produced the most significant soul music of this time period. And yes, most of the attention comes from the spirited Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings. But on the compilation Daptone Gold we're introduced to the many fine artists that call Daptone Records home.

It's hard to imagine any area on the musical spectrum that Bob Dylan hasn't dipped his paintbrush in. But as the days get shorter, and the first of the snowflakes start to fall so does arrive a Christmas record from the man himself, Bob Dylan.

Before you even put on your headphones, there is something mysterious and luring about the debut album from the South London band, The XX. Maybe it's their name, or the simplicity of a plain white "X" that's planted on the black backdrop of their album cover. Whatever it is that draws you in, expect to be met with a haunting album that is clever and ambitious in its simplicity.

Over the course of five albums, the Canadian twins Tegan and Sara have over and over again delivered concise and catchy pop songs. While slightly altering the formula to their sixth album, Sainthood, Tegan and Sara yet again hit the mark with an uncompromising, infectious set of songs.

It's difficult to pinpoint what exactly makes Reservoir, the debut album from the London-based band and XPN's Artist To Watch Fanfarlo, so endearing. Perhaps it's the robust orchestrations or the imaginative storytelling. Regardless, it's hard to believe this is actually the band's first effort. The songs of Reservoir are sweet and melodic, carefully arranged and refreshingly original.

Where soundtracks often miss the mark is in their inability to capture consistency from song to song as an album. Where the new soundtrack to the film The Twilight Saga: New Moon hits the bulls-eye is in its ability to recruit a wealth of musical talent, resulting with a cohesive set of songs in both atmosphere and ambition.

Much has been made of the forthcoming Norah Jones record, The Fall. There've been forewarnings of a "new direction" and a change in the approach from her previous studio efforts. However, before you brace for the unexpected, the reality is that The Fall is not a seismic shift for the sultry songwriter.

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