Cold Specks is the stage name of 23-year-old Canadian-bred singer-songwriter Al Spx, but it's not as if "Al Spx" isn't a pseudonym itself; she created the moniker out of respect for her parents, who don't approve of her music career. The London-based singer started Cold Specks as a small acoustic project to showcase her soulful voice and thoughtful lyrics, but it's only grown from there.
Sidi Touré is a Songhai singer-songwriter from the city of Gao in northern Mali. Though he grew up in a royal family, he sings the blues elegantly and in his own native language; interestingly, Touré has said he'd never heard American blues music until after his first album was released.
Since 2008, the North Carolina band Holy Ghost Tent Revival has been crafting a sound rooted in its members' Southern upbringing. Along the way, it's made the transition from playing acoustic bluegrass and folk to becoming a soul-rock horn band that recalls '60s and '70s classic-rock influences such as The Band and The Flying Burrito Brothers, contemporary indie-rock acts like Dr. Dog, and New Orleans brass-band jazz.
This past July, the prolific indie-rock band Dirty Projectors returned with a new record, Swing Lo Magellan. Just as accessible as the group's 2009 breakthrough, Bitte Orca, Dirty Projectors' sixth studio album places an added emphasis on the songs' concepts rather than just unique pop arrangements.
Chicago's Save the Clocktower formed in 2008 and kicked off its career in earnest the next year, when longtime friends Greg Newton (drums, vocals), Jimmy Shenk (keyboards) and Sean Paras (guitar/vocals) recorded their self-titled EP. In 2011, they released their first full-length album, Carousel, which is available as a free download on their Bandcamp page. Recently, a fourth member was added: bass player and older brother to Greg, Chris Newton.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 10:35 am
The members of the inventive, experimental rock band Animal Collective first met in school in Baltimore County, Md. After collaborating throughout high school and college, they released their debut album as a group, Here Comes the Indian, in 2003. More studio albums followed, including the 2009 breakout Merriweather Post Pavilion.