May 17, 2006 With each beautiful and jarring chord change, Paul Simon and unlikely collaborator Brian Eno evoke raging rivers metaphorical and literal. It's easy to imagine this song — one of his best — carrying on for hours, an index of torments natural and manmade.
May 10, 2006 In the roughly five minutes that make up The Fields' introductory single "Song for the Fields," the British quintet maps out musical territory rich enough to sustain a promising career. If it can put together an entire album that sustains this single's level of intensity, it'll be massive.
May 2, 2006 Living With War, the new album from Neil Young, features a 100-voice choir that backs the singer/songwriter's musings on President Bush, the conflict in Iraq and families on the home front.
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April 28, 2006 "New Feet" is one of seven previously unreleased experiments from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts included on a newly reissued version of the 1981 collaboration between David Byrne and Brian Eno.
April 25, 2006 NPR music critic Tom Moon talks with David Dye about Bruce Springsteen's new collection We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. All the tracks on the new album are standards closely associated with folk icon Pete Seeger.
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April 25, 2006 In "Osama Rach," the late Kenyan singer Otieno Jagwasi confesses an obsession with Osama bin Laden. "I am asking President Bush and Osama, 'Why do you have to kill innocent people when you just want to kill each other?'"
April 18, 2006 Herb Alpert and Sergio Mendes, giants of 1960s music, are back. Alpert collaborated with electronica musicians to remix his hits. And rap and soul stars have turned Mendes' work into a variety of new songs... with some mixed results.
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April 7, 2006 Singer and songwriter Neko Case has spent the last few years trying to put some distance between herself and the default description of her music as alt-country.
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April 7, 2006 Over an airy but energetic pulse, Manu Katché's group outlines a simple four-bar theme a child might write. But the skeletal idea becomes a song that isn't cramped by jazz convention.
April 4, 2006 In Gonzalo Rubalcaba's "Lullaby for a Black Child" — written by Amadeo Roldan, known as the first composer to incorporate Afro-Cuban rhythms into orchestral music — the tension lies just beneath a lovely, pristine surface.
March 24, 2006 Tucked right in the middle of the drinking-too-much and not-loving-enough songs on The Little Willies' debut is one unassuming Norah Jones Moment. The song is "Roll On," and the intro, punctuated by brushes on a snare drum, suggests that what's to come will be just like the aw-shucks ambling of the preceding tracks.
March 22, 2006 Just about every successful rock band seems to have a side project these days. This month, an unlikely spinoff of the jam trio Medeski, Martin and Wood arrives -- a family affair known as the Wood Brothers. The duo's first CD is called Ways Not To Lose.
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March 20, 2006 Donald Fagen has always been at his best when the forces arrayed against him have sinister motives and shady backstories. As a lyricist, he gravitates to the unseemly side of things, and when he finds them, he morphs into a crime-novel detective.
March 14, 2006 The stories in Neko Case's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood are the opposite of tidy narratives: They're fragmentary bits that isolate and freeze moments in time. One such episode pops up in the second verse of "Hold On, Hold On," a transfixingly slithering rocker Case recorded with The Sadies.
March 7, 2006 Give it up for this as a peak experience: a stolen moment with some ice cream. It might just come down to that, and that's probably an idea worth savoring. The Wood Brothers, anchored by Medeski, Martin & Wood bassist Chris Wood, combine simplicity with metaphysics.
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