When Beth Orton released her debut album, Trailer Park, in 1996, critics dubbed her music "folktronica" for its use of acoustic instruments, singer-songwriter vibe and electronic beats. Whatever it was called, the songwriting and performance were sensational. Orton has experimented with her music through the years, leaning in her recent albums toward the acoustic side — but her newest record, Kidsticks, finds her mostly abandoning acoustic instruments for electronic keyboards and loops.
The Toronto improvisational band BADBADNOTGOOD recently released its fourth album, IV. The instrumental group includes Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, Leland Whitty on saxophone and Alexander Sowinski on drums. The four, most of whom met at Humber College, have become known for their jazz-inflected covers of hip-hop songs and, notably, for their collaborations with Tyler, the Creator.
Public-radio music curators know that a great remedy for the late-summer blues is fall's deluge of new releases. In this month's mix, hear new songs by L.A. art-rock favorite Warpaint, soulful newcomer Ethan Burns, Chicago rapper Noname and more, including a premiere from North Dakota folksinger Tom Brosseau.
Young Gun Silver Fox is a hard-to-resist duo. One member (singer-songwriter Andy Platts) is from California, while the other (multi-instrumentalist Shawn Lee) hails from London; fittingly, the duo's debut is called West End Coast.
One of the best debuts of 2016 so far is from the singer-songwriter Margaret Glaspy, whose new album is called Emotions And Math. A fan of Joni Mitchell from a young age, Glaspy began making music as a fiddler and played in backing bands before taking on the challenge of writing her own songs. She was a Berklee College of Music student — but only for a semester, before financial problems caused her to drop out.
Musically, Yeasayer has never been able to stand still. Its 2007 debut, All Hour Cymbals, with its world-beat pulse and huge choruses, caused some listeners to peg the Brooklyn band as a bunch of flower children. Three years later, Yeasayer changed course with its synth-poppy second album, Odd Blood.
Even if you're not actually on the beach this late-summer Thursday, you can still enjoy this playlist of some of The Beach Boys' classics. With only a few exceptions, each clocks in at under three minutes — it's hard to believe that beautiful songs like "Caroline, No" and "Don't Worry Baby" took so little time to weave their spell.
Dinosaur Jr., formed in 1984 in Amherst, Mass., is well known for its influence in the noisy, guitar-heavy, DIY style that permeated college-radio airwaves in the late 1980s and 1990s. The group, which then included Lou Barlow on bass and Murph on drums, often served as a vehicle for frontman J Mascis' songwriting and guitar work.
Brigid Mae Power's work, which is rooted in the acoustic world of traditional Irish tunes, creeps up on you like a fog. The Irish singer has recorded her music — most of which she's released on Bandcamp — in unique locations, such as old churches. Power's chosen locale for her new, self-titled album? Portland, Oregon. (American singer and songwriter Peter Broderick, who'd met her at a gig, convinced her to travel all that way to record.)
The guitarist, singer and songwriter Steve Gunn has become increasingly well known for his dense, energetic playing. Even when he's not working on his own material, Gunn always seems to have another project going on; most notably, he was an early member of his friend Kurt Vile's band The Violators.