There's something to be said for unconventional artists who can still connect to an audience. The band Broadcast funneled oddball library-catalog music through dreamy space-pop. Shabazz Palaces is hip-hop's cubist Sun Ra. Altar of Plagues, which works outside the roots of black metal, knows a thing or two about unconventional sounds. But the Irish band has, until now, strictly been a longform outfit, stretching drones and abrasive tones across sides of vinyl.
Neil Sedaka is synonymous with popular music. For more than 50 years, he's written, performed and produced the soundtrack for America's collective psyche. Sedaka had a string of early-1960s pop hits, and his songs have been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Connie Francis, Elvis Presley and The Monkees, among others.
Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:48 pm
It was 1975 when Emmylou Harris had to figure out how to make a solo album after her classic work as Gram Parsons' duet partner. Her record company told her to "get a hot band." So she got The Hot Band with James Burton on lead, as well as a newcomer, Rodney Crowell, on rhythm guitar and, more importantly, songwriting.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 1:11 pm
"Deep inside the heart of this crazy mess, I'm only calm when I get lost within your wilderness."
That's a key line in this song, "Joy," by Iron and Wine, the project of Sam Beam. Sam is a songwriter who has a way of making the personal very universal. It's also the line that piqued the interest of director Hayley Morris, who made a video for "Joy." Morris writes to us:
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Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. His new book isHelguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work atArtworld Salon and on his own site.
Honky-tonk veteran Dale Watson has an impressive white pompadour and arms that tell his story: flag tattoos of Alabama, where he was born, and Texas, where he lives. Musical notes circle his biceps. And he has an inked portrait of his first musical inspiration — his late father, a truck driver and sometime country singer who passed on to Dale his love of traditional country, from Hank Williams to Lefty Frizzell.