Though the shock value of dropping a sitar into Western pop music has decreased since George Harrison's Hare Krishna days, the metallic, resonant drones of the instrument can still take a normal pop song and twist it into something unexpected. Rishi Dhir, sitarist, bassist and founding member of Elephant Stone, takes full advantage of the juxtaposition.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 11:50 am
Three albums into a thriving career, Ben Folds Five abruptly announced it was over in 2000. Luckily for fans, Folds got the band back together 11 years later and even released a new album, The Sound of the Life of the Mind, this September.
The album is classic Ben Folds Five — at times irreverent, cerebral, quirky, wistful and playful. The Sound of the Life of the Mind peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and the video for the first single, "Do It Anyway," features Anna Kendrick, Rob Corddry and the cast of Fraggle Rock.
Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 12:33 pm
It's not easy to pin a single genre on Calexico. Joey Burns and John Convertino's band blends Americana, Tejano and indie rock music. Burns and Convertino began recording under the name — borrowed from the California border town — in 1996 in Tucson, Ariz., and have released several well-received albums, including this year's Algiers.
Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 2:31 pm
Siblings Ian, Eric, and Brittany Hölljes — three of the four lead singers in the American folk-rock band Delta Rae — first learned the power of a good story when their parents read them mythological tales. In fact, the band's name is inspired by a fictional story the Hölljes' mother intended to write. Flash forward to 2012, and the band has put those lessons to good use.
It's hard to write a biography of an artist with as many career and relationship arcs as Leonard Cohen has experienced in his 78 years on Earth. But that's exactly what celebrated music journalist Sylvie Simmons has done with I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen.
Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 11:28 am
Fusing vintage garage-rock and pop with modern punk, the San Francisco band The Fresh & Onlys has enjoyed a rapid rise, touring across Europe and North America and performing at its hometown Noise Pop festival.
Led by Tim Cohen and Shayde Sartin, the band recently released the accessibly psychedelic Long Slow Dance (Mexican Summer). Listen to two of its songs on this installment of World Cafe: Next, and don't miss the video for "Presence of Mind."
Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 12:03 pm
Father John Misty is a character — literally. A persona invented by singer-songwriter Josh Tillman, Father John Misty is there to showcase Tillman's rock-friendly side. In 2008, Tillman joined the Seattle folk-rock band Fleet Foxes as its drummer. After leaving the band at the beginning of the year, he loaded his van and hit the road.
The New Jersey band Titus Andronicus doesn't shy away from big ideas: It's named for Shakespeare's first tragedy, and its last record (2010's The Monitor) is a concept album drawing on the history of the Civil War. The group's big, shambling rock 'n' roll doesn't mess around with the everyday, opting instead for life-and-death urgency.
Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 2:49 pm
Legendary songwriter and producer John Cale is back with ShiftyAdventures in Nookie World, his 15th solo album and first since 2005. Cale shape-shifts often throughout the record, channeling a discotheque in the Danger Mouse-produced "I Wanna Talk 2 U," picking an acoustic guitar throughout "Living With You" and venturing into folklore in "Sandman (Flying Dutchman)." Post-punk, hip-hop and everything in between comes into play at one point or another.
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 11:19 am
Singer-songwriter Ben Schneider is the creative force behind the rhythmically inventive folk-pop band Lord Huron. The band started out as a multimedia solo project, but it now includes Mark Barry on percussion and vocals, Miguel Briseno on bass and percussion, Brett Farkas on guitar and vocals, and Tom Renaud on guitar and vocals.