Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:50 pm
My two-week stay in Europe ended earlier this week with a stroke of luck: My German father-in-law gave me his beautiful old violin, the one he's played since he was 11. But getting it back safely to the U.S. was more of a problem than I imagined.
Tom Jenkinson, a.k.a. Squarepusher, has been churning out inventive electronic music for nearly 20 years, with his most celebrated works mixing the sounds of jazz fusion with drum-and-bass. But his newest material follows any whim he fancies, which makes Squarepusher's new album, Ufabulum, a true mixed bag; nearly every track looks to push another envelope. "Dark Steering" flirts subtly with the sounds of modern dubstep, mixing them with atmospheric squeals and detailed drum programming.
In the past 15 years, Richard Russell, the owner of the British independent record company XL Recordings, has shepherded his label to more than its fair share of industry success.
Last year the label saw its greatest heights yet, though to be fair, no other label climbed anywhere near as high. That's because 2011 was the year of Adele, and XL is the singer's home. (In the United States, Adele's albums are promoted and distributed by Columbia Records, but she is signed to XL worldwide.)
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For many kids, summer means no homework, playing outdoors and, of course, traveling. Our children's music reviewer, Stefan Shepherd, tells us about a new album inspired by a trip down America's original interstate highway.
Al Spx was studying English Literature at the University of Toronto when she came across a line from James Joyce's Ulysses: "Born all in the dark wormy earth, cold specks of fire, evil lights shining in the darkness." The phrase "cold specks" sparked a fire of inspiration, and Spx knew immediately that she had found the perfect name for the songs she was writing on the side.
Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 11:20 am
Sweet Heart Sweet Light, the new album by the English space-rock band Spiritualized, was recorded while frontman Jason Pierce was undergoing chemotherapy for liver disease. Pierce set out to craft the recordas a clear-cut pop record in between hospital stays, and though he says he isn't convinced he succeeded, most of the album is composed of could-be Top 10 radio hits from the early '70s.
In March, indie-folk band The David Wax Museum spent a week bringing enthusiastic performances, infectious joy and butchered Mandarin phrases to China. This compelling mini-documentary chronicles the band's trip as "cultural ambassadors" at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology. In an email, band-member Suz Slezak explains how the trip came about: