November 30, 2006 Aaron Behrens and Thomas Turner, who perform as Ghostland Observatory, play electronica with the ferocity of great rock 'n' roll. The Austin duo's music presents a beguiling synthesis of new-wave-influenced bands like The Rapture and the progressive dance-floor musings of Daft Punk.
November 30, 2006 The Beatles' original producer George Martin worked on a Fab Four soundtrack to a Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas show, which remixed and combined various Beatle songs. Now, Martin and his son Giles have released a modified soundtrack of that production, an album called Love.
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November 29, 2006 Adam Baker's hushed voice and muted acoustic guitar both help to maintain a back-to-nature vibe, but soon enough, the North Carolina band's pastoral mood turns to surreal instrumentation.
November 29, 2006 What kind of group can combine hip-hop-style samples with other unique musical elements, including one song with vocals from a parrot? Ethel, the innovative string quartet, uses this musical mix on Light, their latest CD.
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November 28, 2006 The Scissor Sisters' members have quickly established themselves as prime camp merchants, plundering the '70s with such glee that they may cause the decade to come back in style through sheer force of will. Even so, "Everybody Wants the Same Thing" is one of the first Scissor Sisters songs to avoid sounding like pastiche.
November 27, 2006 The Alice Rose's noteworthy "West" opens like a modern emo-rocker, but then it dissolves into a simple piano-driven ballad, as if it were a demo tape from Brian Wilson's late-'60s period. With sweetly sincere lyrics, the song simply blooms.
November 26, 2006 Ned Wharton, musical director for Weekend Edition Sunday, offers a collection of recordings offbeat enough to surprise your favorite music lover this holiday season.
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November 24, 2006 On her first solo album, Knives Don't Have Your Back, Emily Haines writes stripped-down folk songs that sound as catchy as they are doomstruck. The Metric singer purges personal and political demons through dark, minor-key melodies and glorious arrangements.
November 22, 2006 Most famously known as Cat Stevens, the folk songwriter returns under the name Yusuf Islam. On An Other Cup, his first album of pop songs since 1978, it's as if the man who wrote "Morning Has Broken" never missed a step.
November 21, 2006 On the new compilation Rhythms Del Mundo: Cuba, modern rock songs are either remixed Cuban-style or re-imagined entirely. El Lele de Los Van Van augments Radiohead's "High and Dry" with soft trumpet and acoustic piano over a slowly paced Afro-Latin rhythm.
November 21, 2006 Jay-Z's new album, Kingdom Come, is his first since he announced his "retirement" two years ago to concentrate his alternate career as a music executive with Def Jam Records. The album is full of ups and downs that may signal the rapper's next retirement may be involuntary.
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November 20, 2006 Few can match Jerry Lee Lewis' reputation, which is where Jones comes in. "Don't Be Ashamed of Your Age" doesn't quite crack the two-minute mark, but in that brief time, two volatile careers intersect, tip their hats to one another and head off again in separate directions, reenergized.
November 20, 2006 Bobby Bare, Jr. grew up in country music's capital, Nashville, Tenn., the son of singer Bobby Bare. His storied upbringing is filled with Music City luminaries like Waylon Jennings and Jerry Reed — both friends of his father's — and he was even nominated for a country Grammy at 5 for a duet he sang with dad. The younger Bare's music, however, is anything but country.
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November 17, 2006 Not content with musical convention, Chris Garneau restricts his soft voice to starts and stutters, as if it refuses to leave his lips. At its most fluttery, it brings to mind the likes of Elliott Smith and Sufjan Stevens, but Garneau breaks free of easy comparisons in "First Place!!!"
November 17, 2006 Thomas Dolby, the 1980s British pop star best known for his hit "She Blinded Me with Science," is back and on tour. Our resident musician, David Was, recently caught his show. He thought it was all right, but admits his opinion might be colored by a negative personal experience he had with Dolby two decades ago.
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