Sara Watkins isn't the flashiest of singing stars, but she's already carved out a remarkable career: She got her start as a kid with Chris Thile and her brother Sean in the heavily decorated, platinum-selling Nickel Creek, and has since gone on to perform with The Decemberists,
Bibi Tanga is a true musical globe-trotter. Born in the Central African Republic to a family of diplomats, he spent most of his life following his father around the world. But Tanga says his journey has helped him to incorporate diverse genres into funky, multilingual songs that tackle themes well-hidden behind groovy hooks. Together with his band the Selenites, he is now touring the U.S. in support of his new album 40 Degrees of Sunshine.
Folk-pop singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega appears in this archival edition of Mountain Stage, recorded in December 2007. Vega enjoyed commercial success with hits like "Luka" and "Tom's Diner," which both reached into the Top Ten of pop charts in the U.S. and abroad, earning her a large national and international following.
Allen Stone's smooth voice plays well against the sometimes curiously synthetic beats that characterize his songs. The soul and R&B singer hails from outside Spokane, Wash., where he began his singing career as part of his church choir. After stints in community college and Bible school, Stone brought his talents to bear with his debut album Last to Speak in 2010. The self-proclaimed hippie crafts his songs with socially conscious lyrics, and his commentary on topics ranging from the economic crisis to technological dependence is wittily pertinent.
Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 9:39 am
Merrill Garbus, the mastermind behind tUnE-yArDs, often uses a minimal assortment of resources — a ukulele, some pedals, a bit of percussion here and there — to craft an explosive, unpredictable, worldly, beautiful and utterly inventive sound. On last year's widely beloved w h o k i l l, Garbus' music forms a cut-up collage of coos, howls and bold statements of purpose, but her live shows fan out into epic rave-ups, complete with a pair of saxophonists.
In recent years, the Chicago-based R&B singer R. Kelly has alternated between elaborate ballads and and the more erotic collection of songs and videos for his series Trapped In The Closet. His new album, Write Me Back, may be relatively chaste in its sentiments, but it's by no means without passion.
Despite the slow, twisting, synth-looping style of Polica, the group's album came together in only a few recording sessions. Recovering from the breakup of her folk rock band Roma di Luna and the breakup of her marriage to one of her bandmates, Channy Leaneagh turned to friend and collaborator Ryan Olson, founder of Gayngs. The two worked together on Gayngs' album Relayted in 2010 and they were interested in working together again.