Le Butcherettes


The Mexican band Le Butcherettes has followed the trajectory of many brilliant artists of that country: Initially unable to succeed in the impenetrable but influential Mexican music scene, its members went abroad, found success, and are now beginning to find recognition back home.

Why is a band this exceptional, with a lead singer as talented as Teri Gender Bender, not celebrated with more gusto on both sides of the border? There’s a lot to write about there — about how the Latin music machine likes its women, and about how Latin rock remains largely the domain of men willing to rebel against everything except machismo. But let’s take this to a positive place, because Le Butcherettes’ members deserve a note of praise and not an expose on the endemic problems of the Latin entertainment industry. This is an amazing band, Gender Bender is rapidly heading to Karen O territory with her vocals and stage presence, and you should listen.

Conor Oberst


You probably haven’t been waiting around for some singer-songwriter to update Harry Chapin’s inescapable 1974 hit “Cat’s In the Cradle,” the slightly cloying tune about the changing dynamic between parents and children over time. And if you did happen to be waiting for such a song, you probably wouldn’t put Conor Oberst, noted sensitive indie-rock soul, in charge of writing it. Let’s face it: Even if you’re an obsessive Oberst fan — a follower of Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos and assorted other projects — this wouldn’t likely rank high on the list of Songs You Wish Conor Oberst Would Write.

Jolie Holland


When she sings, Jolie Holland’s words come out warped and slurred, the notes bent sideways and raw at the edges. When she first emerged as a solo artist a decade ago, Holland set that eccentric delivery against dustily barren old-time arrangements that often made her sound as if she were echoing out of a transistor radio many decades ago. But these days, on the new Wine Dark Sea, she sets it against low, sullenly rumbling arrangements that sprawl and wander ambitiously across the sounds of blues, rock, jazz and soul.

Haley Bonar


Haley Bonar first reached a national audience as a teenager, when fellow Minnesotan Alan Sparhawk heard her perform and offered her a spot on tour, opening for his band Low. At the time, the pairing made sense: Her recordings were sweet and lovely, but also frequently dour. Over time, though, Bonar — in case you were wondering, it’s pronounced “Bonner” — has brightened and polished her sound to a glistening shine.

Nickel Creek


“I think we’re more grown-up now, to use an extremely childlike term,” the violinist Sara Watkins recently told a reporter who asked what had changed in the eight years since Nickel Creek — the trio of Watkins, guitarist Sean Watkins (her brother) and mandolinist Chris Thile — released a studio album. Watkins’ words astutely acknowledged the expectations leveled at the former child prodigies, who wowed bluegrass and country fans with three precocious albums in the early 2000s. In full adulthood, they’ve forged major separate careers, leading bands of their own and earning buckets of accolades. There’s no doubt that the virtuosity and vision of each Nickel Creek member has intensified. But could Watkins, Watkins and Thile, now in their 30s, match the liveliness and brash bravado of those baby-band years?

Thievery Corporation


Every language has words and phrases that elude easy translation. In Portuguese, “saudade” (pronounced by Brazilians as “sow-DAH-djee”) is one of those. Some musicians equate it with the blues; it’s generally associated with melancholy and longing. In its most recent bio, the Washington, D.C., electronic duo Thievery Corporation defines it as “a longing for something or someone that is lost.”

Though countless songs have “saudade” in the title, the condition of saudade isn’t usually conveyed through words. It’s evoked. Its wistfulness radiates through every element of the music — from the sound Joao Gilberto makes humming that iconic introduction to “The Girl From Ipanema” to the yearning melody itself to the precise chop of the rhythm guitar behind the voice. You can’t just order up saudade. There’s no setting for it on a drum machine; no software emulation available. It comes seeping through the music, between the notes, as delicate and evanescent as a May breeze.



There’s nothing wrong with music that doubles as an outpouring of joy: sing-along choruses, ecstatic vocals, outsize emotion — a positive outlook on life, generally speaking. If that’s your thing, Protomartyr is here to spill it all over the front of your nice, new shirt, possibly scalding you in the process.

Protomartyr is a four-piece post-punk band from Detroit, which vocalist Joe Casey paints as a modern-day Mudville over the course of these 14 songs. There are no silver linings on Under Color of Official Right — only overcast ennui. Poignancy and shame rule the day, and it sounds like the meds ran out long ago. Callous, sometimes comical clarity is all that remains, and it’s a brilliant thing to behold.

Tori Amos

ug_press1Tori Amos has been away. She’s been exploring the depths of the seasons, and of festive tradition, a sense-tingling journey captured in her 2009 album Midwinter Graces. She’s been time-travelling through 400 years of classical music, an odyssey that found form in Night Of Hunters (2011), her first release on Deutsche Grammophon. She’s been revisiting her own, two decades-strong back-catalogue, reimagining her compositions in an orchestral setting for her 2012 album Gold Dust.

And Tori Amos has been hiding in the wings, and beetling backstage, and peering anxiously from the gods – the American-born, Cornwall-based singer-songwriter spent much of 2013 co-creating The Light Princess, a musical staged in partnership with London’s National Theatre.

Zeppelin Reborn


Billie Joe & Nora

billiejoeandnorahasin._V368361814_Foreverly is the 2013 collaboration between Green Day front man, Billie Joe Armstrong, and Grammy-winning Pop songstress, Norah Jones. The collection is inspired bySongs Our Daddy Taught Us, an album of traditional Americana songs reinterpreted, recorded and released by the Everly Brothers in 1958. Billie Joe and Norah’s album captures the beauty of the Everly Brothers’ stunning close harmonies to create a moving and powerful testament to these traditional ballads.

Listen to Foreverly now for free!












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