The music of multi-instrumentalist Yann Tiersen breaks the constraints of form, yet each track is built around poignant, emotional melodies. Tiersen quickly abandoned the academy training of his early childhood, smashing his violin and adopting the electric guitar instead. He began recording in the summer of 1993, and first found commercial success in his native France with 1998's Le Phare, recorded in two months on the island of Ouessant.
Self-described as "hot, raucous, retro swing for two," Two Man Gentlemen Band lives up to its claim. But, as the name suggests, there's a subtle ridiculousness to the group's sound. Andy Bean and Fuller Condon have made a career of recording old-school, '60s-style folk on vintage equipment, only to pack their songs with parodies, anachronisms and absurdities.
Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 3:11 pm
Becoming a rock star has major implications — just ask John Mayer. The singer-songwriter's personal history and relationships are all public knowledge, thanks to the enormous media attention that the 34-year-old attracts. The attention in turn attracts trouble, but Mayer, who has just released his fifth solo studio album, tries to take it all in stride.
Known for exploring the complexity of human hurt in ways that are both personal and universal, Janiva Magness is a widely praised blues and soul singer. Magness writes from a serious place, and fittingly, her music isn't to be taken lightly: She often weaves a difficult personal history into her songs, but, as her new album's title suggests, Magness pushes through tough times on Stronger for It.
Almost every record you know that was a 1960s radio hit had a secret weapon — a crew of L.A. backing musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew." This group, which included the likes of Glen Campbell, Hal Blaine and Carol Kaye, helped artists ranging from the Partridge Family to the Beach Boys make great-sounding albums.
Joachim Cooder is no stranger to collaborations, nor is he new to scoring soundtracks, yet Cooder's newest project combines his past experiences in an unexpected way. Son of legendary guitarist Ry Cooder, he took to the drums early on, and eventually played in the famous documentary Buena Vista Social Club. He's also worked behind the scenes, writing for the soundtracks of films such as Lars and the Real Girl.
Hailing from Okemah, Okla., with a serious talent for writing Americana music, John Fullbright is often compared to Woody Guthrie. But Fullbright isn't riding on the coattails of the great folk artists who came before him; in fact, he describes himself as a songwriter, not just a musician, because he's determined to play his own music.
Rodrigo y Gabriela plays everything from heavy metal to jazz to acoustic folk. The duo started out in a thrash-metal band in Mexico City, but moved to Dublin in 1999. From Ireland, its inventive instrumental music spread to the U.K., then to Europe and the U.S. before finally finding its way back to Mexico. Rodrigo y Gabriela's big break came in 2006, when the pair's self-titled debut topped the Irish charts.
We've heard from Alt. Latino co-host Felix Contreras in the past, but here we'll hear from the show's other half, Jasmine Garsd. Garsd was raised in Buenos Aires and connected with the Argentine rock scene in her teens. She moved to the U.S.