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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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Tune in to the XPN Morning Show each Monday to hear Host Michaela Majoun with Assistant Music Director Mike Vasilikos review XPN's Featured Album of the Week. This week's album is....

One of this year's most anticipated records!
~ Bruce Warren, Program Director WXPN

Much like their first two albums, The Suburbs from The Arcade Fire stands as a grandiose musical adventure. Similar to Funeral and Neon Bible, this new batch of songs triumphs with dynamic orchestrations and pure power. Yet, what sets The Suburbs apart from its predecessors is a sense of nostalgia. Where a dark cloud of impending doom may have at times hovered over their first two albums, The Suburbs offers a unique look back at adolescence both in a standalone state and in comparison to our current social state.

For XPN Artist To Watch, Trombone Shorty, measuring success doesn’t necessary seem like it equates to album sales or tangible assets. For Shorty it appears more about creation, collaboration and the excitement of the music he plays. It’s a veteran like perspective, but that’s not surprising coming from the 24 year old virtuoso. He’s been leading bands since the age of 6, long before he arms could even extend the length of his instrument, and even less surprising from Shorty is his inspiring debut album for Verve, Backatown.

We’ve seen a number of artists in the first half of 2010 whose stock continues to rise upon the release of new albums. The best recent example comes from The Gaslight Anthem. More confident and just as powerful the Jersey-based rock band truly breakthrough on their third full-length album American Slang.

As we know is the case for certain artists, the church is the place where some of their earliest musical experiences occur. We know this to be true for Robert Randolph, and his gospel influences have always played a part in his music. While his last record did its best to capture the bands live energy and flash, We Walk This Road accomplishes a more mature musical journey.

For Alejandro Escovedo, his new album Street Songs Of Love serves as a reminder as to how important a voice he continues to be in the world of music. The title pretty much tells the theme of the album. Whether it's a straight ahead rocker like the album opener “Anchor” or a heartfelt ballad like “Down In The Bowery,” Alejandro is rich with the sentiment of love on his latest collection.

A superstar cast of indie-artists that range from Josh Ritter to Drive-By Truckers come together to pay homage to one of the great country/folk songwriters on a new tribute album. Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine is, for the most part, a younger cast of admirers taking a deep look at the songbook of John Prine.

After a listen through Mojo, the new album from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, there is an overwhelming realization that this is more than just another studio album from one of rock's great songwriters and performers. In fact, Mojo is a representation of how dynamic and elite Petty and the Heartbreakers are together as a band.

We all know that sophomore records can be tricky. Especially for young bands who’ve tasted even a little bit of success, expectations grow quickly and often the results don't match. For the San Diego based band Delta Spirit, their new record History From Below bucks that trend and responds with an intensely intimate, powerful batch of songs.

It’s hard to distinguish whether the “unofficial” start of summer was actually Memorial Day weekend or if it coincided with the release of the new album from Jack Johnson. Needless to say, as many folks were taking out the swim trunks for the first time this year, the world’s most unassuming superstar Johnson released his fifth studio album To The Sea.

After taking some time apart to work on individual projects, the tandem of singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney are back together as The Black Keys. The two slip comfortably back into their blues rock grooves on the new album, Brothers. With less of an emphasis on refining the edges, Brothers offers rawness reminiscent of early Black Keys records, which is sure to excite fans.

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