Folk singer John Fullbright got his start at the age of 16, playing at small venues in his native Oklahoma for tips and the occasional free meal. "I'd stand up there and play until my voice was gone, which sometimes would take three hours. Sometimes it'd take longer," Fullbright says. "But that's where I really learned to scream."
Naturally, the New York band The Henry Millers takes its name from the author, who was famous for creating his own genre of literature out of an assortment of preexisting ones. Miller was also notorious for his books' often-explicit sexual content, which was deemed illicit enough for his work to be banned in the U.S. While The Henry Millers' bright, buoyant songs aren't likely to cause a scandal, the band does share Miller's penchant for drawing from different styles — its debut album, Daisies, is equal parts indie-rock, folk and synth-pop.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 2:58 pm
Gary Clark Jr.'s new album Blak and Blue is his major-label debut, but the blues guitarist is hardly a newcomer. Clark made his first album at 17, and by then he'd already spent several years hanging out in the blues clubs of Austin, Texas.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 3:09 pm
As the peak of the holiday season draws near, Latin Roots explores some sizzling renditions of well-known Christmas classics. Most people are familiar with the traditional "Little Drummer Boy," but many have yet to enjoy a very popular Cuban version of the song, interpreted by the band Los Papines. The band, commonly known as the "Kings of Rumba," uses deep, percussive sounds to tell the story of a child's perspective of the holiday season.
Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 4:22 pm
Singer-songwriter and guitarist Josh Ritter has blurred the line between narrator and musician. Beyond music, Ritter is also an author; he published his first novel, Bright's Passage, in 2011. He bridges the divide between his two occupations in his lyrics and performances, which always have an air of storytelling about them.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 3:24 pm
The physical environment surrounding a band can have a pronounced influence on the songs said band produces, whether it's a sunny beach in Malibu or a craggy, wind-swept hillside in Scotland.
Given that Yukon Blonde calls Vancouver home, it wouldn't be surprising if the group's music took some cues from the perpetually rainy skies that settle over the city every winter. Perhaps as escapism, though, the songs written by Jeff Innes, Brandon Scott, Graham Jones and John Jeffrey have an inherently sunny quality to them, drawing heavily from 1970s American radio-rock.
Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 8:28 am
Forro in the Dark gets its name from the Forro, a type of dance and music that's been popular in northeastern Brazil for more than 100 years. The style's traditional incarnation involves a three-piece band with a triangle, an accordion and a bass-like drum called a zabumba.
Susanna Hoffs, best known as the lead singer of the all-female 1980s pop group The Bangles, has a history of playing well with others. After she and the band's other members parted ways — only to reunite a few years later — Hoffs wrote two solo albums. Soon enough, though, she found a new collaborator in Matthew Sweet, with whom she released two collections of covers.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 8:43 am
The three members of Leagues — singer Thad Cockrell, guitarist Tyler Burkum and drummer Jeremy Lutito — have been known to say that they're inspired not by artists, but by specific songs. That intense focus on individual tracks is clearly put to work on Leagues' debut album, You Belong Here. There's a cohesive sound to the record as a whole, but it sounds like the band deliberately pushed for each song to stand on its own. As a result, the album plays like a collection of singles, each track as catchy as the next.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 3:33 pm
Lianne La Havas has toured with Bon Iver, sung with Willy Mason and recorded her debut album with producer Matt Hales, better known as Aqualung. More than most, she can attest to the benefits of knowing the right people, but La Havas also has heaps of talent on her side.