The Somali-born rapper and singer-songwriter K'Naan can sure pack a lot into a 3-1/2-minute pop song: clever wit, heartfelt angst, a hook you can't shake — and, in the new track "Hurt Me Tomorrow," honky-tonk piano. That's the sort of quirk that helped win K'Naan his earliest fans. All sorts of eccentricities survive on Country, God or the Girl, his most expansive and elaborately produced work to date. Mostly, though, the new album soars with pairings of sharp, confessional rap and catchy vocal hooks.
The Budapest String Quartet has always been my standard-bearer for chamber music. I grew up listening to their recordings, and especially admired not only their gorgeous sound, but also the uncanny interaction among all four players, even when there were changes in personnel. They had a way of playing as if they were speaking to each other, expressing deep and sometimes complicated feelings.
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 10:35 am
Rosanne Cash started out working with her father, the late Johnny Cash, then released her own self-titled debut in 1978. She's since made 11 more records and topped various Billboard charts with 11 singles. Refusing to be held by genre limitations, Cash is known variously as a rock, pop, folk and country performer.
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 11:42 am
After 17 years molding the Los Angeles Philharmonic into one of the smartest and most adventurous U.S. orchestras, music director Esa-Pekka Salonen called it quits in 2009. Among his reasons for leaving the ensemble was to devote more time to composing.
The Minneapolis band Night Moves released its debut album, Colored Emotions, for free online in 2011, setting off a wave of buzz. Its Americana-tinged single "Headlights" became a staple on The Current's airwaves, and the group played the station's seventh birthday party at First Avenue in January of this year.
Rapper Lupe Fiasco is famous for his edgy rhymes and radical politics. For the Tell Me More series "In Your Ear," Fiasco shares some of the songs that motivate him. That includes Johnny Cash's "Man In Black" that inspired his latest album cover.
Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 12:38 pm
On a recent afternoon at an estate sale outside Los Angeles, Lauren White found about 40 photos of the Rolling Stones taken during their American tour of 1965 — completely unclaimed in an unmarked box.
Jason Lytle is the man behind the Modesto, Calif., band Grandaddy. The band released its debut in 1997, but it was Grandaddy's second album — The Sophtware Slump — that broke through with critics and fans. Even David Bowie called himself a fan when he approached the band members after seeing them play.
Every member of Dirty Three has a highly respectable career outside of the band: Violinist Warren Ellis works closely with Nick Cave, drummer Jim White is a sought-after collaborator with an instantly recognizable sound, and guitarist Mick Turner has released a string of gorgeous instrumental solo albums when he's not working as a visual artis