After a three-year stint as a touring pianist with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, California native Aaron Embry struck out on his own. Embry wrote his solo debut, Tiny Prayers, while on the band's Railroad Revival Tour, crafting bare-bones acoustic melodies that recall the work of Embry's past collaborators, including Elliott Smith and Willie Nelson.
With the shoegaze band Slowdive, the country-rock group Mojave 3 and his own solo albums, Neil Halstead has carved out a 25-year career just outside the pop mainstream. When he was only 17, Halstead helped start Slowdive, which morphed into Mojave 3, which then released a string of highly celebrated albums that merge jangly alt-country with dusky indie-pop.
After the pioneering glam-rock band Mott the Hoople dissolved in 1974, Ian Hunter kicked off a solo career that stalled in the '80s. It took the death of Hunter's close friend and Spiders From Mars guitarist Mick Ronson in 1993 to reinvigorate his music career. But one thing has remained constant: Whether with Mott the Hoople or in politically charged albums nearly 40 years into his career, Hunter has never held back.
Bloc Party is back. The British band whose debut album, Silent Alarm, was a sensation in 2006 released its new album Four this year after a lengthy hiatus. The group's latest departs from recent electronic forays and returns to the artful post-punk sound of Bloc Party's heyday.
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 7:06 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 9:05 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 6:40 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 6:33 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.