Yusuf Islam, a.k.a. Cat Stevens, just completed his first U.S. tour in 36 years, in which he performed music from his just-released album Tell 'Em I'm Gone alongside favorites from his long career. He'd stopped playing the latter for nearly three decades after changing his name and embracing Islam in 1977. In this performance, he plays old and new music alike in a session recorded at Philadelphia's Tower Theater.
He's never lived so far away, yet he's never sounded so much like himself. After a move to London, former Sonic Youth singer-guitarist Thurston Moore recently reclaimed his place as a ranking don of noise-rock while reassembling his band with some true ringers: former SY bandmate Steve Shelley on drums and Debbie Googe of My Bloody Valentine on bass.
Once a pop artist has been working long enough, the Christmas album feels like an inevitability. Soul singer Anthony Hamilton wanted to try it out, but he was wary of falling into cliché and repeating the formulas that have shaped holiday records for years.
Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 1:01 pm
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Christmas is the time of year for carols, presents, festive cheer, and if you were a member of The Beatles Fan Club back in the 1960s, it was the season for a special edition flexi-disc from John, Paul, George and Ringo.
It's been a big month for M. Ward. He just released a new album with Zooey Deschanel (as She & Him), and he's reissuing his much-loved 2005 solo breakthrough Transistor Radio on vinyl with a few bonus tracks.
Ward's fourth studio album, Transistor Radio, solidified his reputation as a major talent, so it was a thrill to host a live performance of its songs. From his recent visit to KCRW, M. Ward performs "Hi-Fi" here.