December 24, 2012 - When veteran U.K. singer-songwriter Tracey Thorn decided to put together her own Christmas album — a project she'd been pursuing for several years — she opted for a slightly less traditional approach. The Everything but the Girl singer's new album, Tinsel and Lights, has only one very familiar holiday tune, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." The rest of the record is a mix of Thorn's original work and traditional songs that, while still written in the holiday spirit, aren't as well-known as the songs we hear in every shopping mall throughout the season.
December 24, 2012 - From Portland, Ore., stems a global sound that is powerful in its orchestral beauty. Thomas Lauderdale started Pink Martini more than 15 years ago, a fitting name for the colorful and classy orchestra. Lauderdale's mission was to create a sound that would support political fundraisers for civil, environmental and educational causes, among others. Since then, the group has sold millions of albums worldwide.
Commonly recognized as one of the most paramount innovators of ambient music, British musician, composer and producer Brian Eno is back with another successful and carefully crafted ambient installation album, Lux, released November 13. In this album, Eno continues his experiments with ambient music and integrates it with pacifying electro beats.
Seattle’s Minus the Bear is not your typical indie rock band. Since its formation in 2001, the group has been a driving musical force that has withstood constant changes in both musical trends and the record industry. Members Jake Snider (vocals, guitar), David Knudson (guitar), Cory Murchy (bass), Alex Rose (synths, vocals) and Erin Tate (drums) are not afraid to branch out and explore other directions in which to take their music. In fact, the band did just that with its fourth studio full-length album Omni, released in May of 2010. Minus the Bear’s most recent studio album, Infinitely Overhead, goes back to the group’s traditional style of guitar-based rock. The album was released this past August and is arguably the band’s most aggressive and confident creation to date.
Formed back in 2003 in Los Angeles, California, Sea Wolf integrates both an alternative and a folk element to their indie rock. Led by its creator, Alex Brown Church, who took the name from author Jack London’s 1904 adventure novel, the group consists of guitarist Scott Leahy, bassist Eliot Lorango, keyboardist Lisa Fendelander, and percussionist Joey Ficken. Sea Wolf signed with Dangerbird Records in 2007 and released its first EP, Get To The River Before It Runs Too Low, and its first full-length album, Leaves In The River, that year. In 2009, they released their second full-length, White Water, White Bloom. That same year, the band wrote the single “The Violet Hour” for the second installment of the Twilight saga, New Moon. Sea Wolf’s latest album, Old World Romance, was released this past September.
John Fullbright entered the music scene in 2009, performing at The Blue Door in Oklahoma City. The owner of the venue soon became his manager, and in February of that year, Fullbright recorded his first album, Live at the Blue Door. He attended the 2009 Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis immediately after recording. Live at the Blue Door went on to be very successful at WoodyFest, the annual folk festival honoring Woody Guthrie. Fullbright’s musical style fuses together a range of genres, including folk, Americana, and pop. This mixture of influences creates a sound that is truly individual to the Southwest.
With a recently released album Blak and Blu (Warner Bros.) charting at #6 on the Billboard 200 album chart and #1 on the Blues album chart, Gary Clark Jr. is further solidifying his presence in the music industry. Hailing from Austin, Texas this blues singer-songwriter is no stranger to the music scene. Enamored by the guitar at the age of twelve, Clark started to sharpen his instrumental gifts by performing at a variety of musical venues throughout the Lone Star State. Discovered by renowned entertainment promoter, Clifford Antone, Clark’s musical career would skyrocket by having the opportunity to collaborate with rock artists like Jimmie Vaughan. A clear catalyst in his career, Clark continued to flourish and would be invited to perform at major music venues throughout the country. As a result he would be identified as a “Best Young Gun” according to Rolling Stone and would improve his musical resume by recording with the likes of Alicia Keys.
American singer-songwriter and guitarist Josh Ritter has forged a connection between narrator and musician. His lyrics and his performances tell stories to audiences, utilizing an Americana style unique to his music. Ritter is also an author. He published his first novel, Bright’s Passage, in 2011.
Originating in Kelowna, British Columbia in 2005, indie rock band Yukon Blonde did not have its present name until 2008. The quintet originally titled their group Alphababy. However, it was at the suggestion of fellow Canadian singer-songwriter Jon-Rae Fletcher, with whom the band was touring at the time, that they changed their name. The group, now a trio, consists of guitarists Graham Jones and Brandon Scott and percussionist Jeffrey Innes. Yukon Blonde has been based in Vancouver since 2009. Their first EP under their new name, Everything in Everyway, was released that year. In 2010, the band debuted its first album, self-titled Yukon Blonde, and two music videos for the songs “Wind Blows” and “Loyal Man.” That same year, the group was listed as one of the “10 Canadian bands destined to break in 2010.” Their next EP, Fire//Water, was released in 2011, along with a music video for the song “Water.” The band’s music successfully weaves the classics of folk-rock with the craftiness of contemporary pop, much of which came from a full year of writing and testing songs during their reinvention.
December 11, 2012 - A former member of the all-female rock trio The Bangles, Susanna Hoffs has been recently creating significant airwaves on the radio following the release of her third studio album Someday (Vanguard Records) this past July. An album that encapsulates the intersection of music with vivacious beauty, Someday is further grounding Hoff’s presence in the music industry. Inspired by her exposure to punk rock during her time at the University of California, Berkeley, Hoffs started her career in music with The Bangles.