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.