After 15 years as the singer of Death Cab for Cutie, Benjamin Gibbard has finally released his first solo album, titled Former Lives. The record moves beyond the indie-pop confines of Gibbard's band, touching on Latin music, alt-country and '70s power pop. It largely consists of songs written in the last eight years that never fit the themes of past Death Cab records.
Scott Yoder and Brendhan Bowers formed The Pharmacy in 2002, envisioning it as a garage-punk band before also embracing dance-pop and psychedelic rock. In 2007, classically trained pianist Stefan Rubicz joined the group, which has since maintained a steady schedule, earning positive reviews and touring with Vivian Girls, Matt+Kim and Japanther.
Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 8:06 am
One of the most critically acclaimed bands of the '90s, Afghan Whigs recently reunited for a string of live performances in 2012. Singer Greg Dulli, guitarist Rick McCollum and drummer Steve Earle met while attending the University of Cincinnati; bassist John Curley was a photographer at the Cincinnati Inquirer who happened to meet Dulli at a friend's apartment. They became Afghan Whigs in 1986 and attracted a dedicated cult following that's remained fervent long after the band's 2001 dissolution.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 10:05 am
Nueva Cancion ("new song") is a style born in the '60s and '70s, when many Latin countries were ruled by repressive dictators. The songs were folk-inspired, with guitar-based song forms, percussive elements and socially charged lyrics. The late Victor Jara is seen as the father of the movement, and he comes up in this conversation.
Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 7:40 am
Terry Callier enjoyed one of the most versatile and distinctive careers in the history of American jazz. His 50-year legacy ran the gamut from folk and soul to African chant and, of course, jazz. Few artists have covered as much musical ground with as little fanfare as Callier, who died Saturday at 67.
Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 7:33 pm
Although Nick Waterhouse wears his classic soul influences on his sleeve, behind his Buddy Holly glasses lies a timeless talent for spirited rock and rhythms that anyone can appreciate. His debut album, Time's All Gone, has received positive reviews, as have his raucous, house-party-flavored live shows.
Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 3:06 pm
A quintet from Monterrey, Mexico, Kinky formed in 1998. Dust Brothers' John King — who has worked with Beck, The Rolling Stones and The Beastie Boys — produced the band's latest album, Sueño De La Maquina (Dream Machine).
The band is nominated for Latin Grammy Awards in the categories of Best Alternative Music Album and Best Alternative Song, and is also nominated for Best Latin Artist North at the MTV Europe Awards. Dream Machine mixes hypnotic lyrics with electronic rhythms.
Soulful singer-songwriter Allen Stone wasn't allowed to listen to secular music as a child. At a young age, he was exposed to religious music growing up in Washington state because his father was a pastor. In his teens, he dropped out of bible college and moved to Seattle to work on music. A veteran of the West Coast club scene, Stone has now released two albums, the second of which was recently reissued after he was picked up by a national label.
The Brooklyn band People Get Ready has been combining music and performance art since 2009, when the group first performed at The Kitchen's Dance and Process series in New York. The band released its self-titled debut earlier this month, and it's a fine collection of harmony-rich pop.
Few artists channel the spirit of '80s new wave as infectiously as George Lewis Jr., better known by the stage name Twin Shadow. Lewis wears his '80s pop influences on his sleeve throughout his recent second album, Confess: The sleek synth-pop vibe of "Five Seconds" recalls Duran Duran, while "Run My Heart" evokes Bruce Springsteen power ballads and Lewis' breathy, straightforward vocals convey the swagger of Prince. Lewis' R&B leanings help give Twin Shadow's sound its own distinct, surprisingly modern identity.