February 28, 2007 The tradition of rock stars singing about the bottom rung of the working-class ladder has been around as long as rock itself. But few did it with such heartbreaking empathy and iridescent beauty as Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane did on 1977's "Heart to Hang Onto."
February 27, 2007 It's audacious to declare the end of an entire musical subculture, and downright outrageous to do so when it's your musical subculture. With "Hip Hop Is Dead," Nas attempts to steer the genre in new directions while reasserting his status as one of its foremost personalities.
February 26, 2007 The Sisters Love wasn't a disco act, but it laid down the sound and rhythm that would influence the style's breakout success in the mid-'70s. The group's members were innovators, but they were also survivors, created by and from former members of The Raelets, Ray Charles' backup singers.
February 23, 2007 On the surprisingly hard-nosed "Crossing Line," Sam Prekop's wispy vocal cadences and phrasing sound comfortably expressive.
February 22, 2007 An anonymous musician takes on the persona of a cartoon bear and releases a new electronic song via podcast three times a week for an entire calendar year. "Fantasy and Denouement" opens in some sort of airport walkway of the future before wending its way into an enticingly fizzy rhythm.
February 21, 2007 Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Lucinda Williams has released her eighth CD, West. The collaboration with producer Hal Willner is mostly a meditation on the death of Williams' mother, and the end of a turbulent love affair.
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February 21, 2007 A gorgeous love song, Sol Seppy's "Come Running" serves as an ideal showcase for Sophie Michalitsianos' alluringly haunting voice. As it progresses, "Come Running" makes the prospect of falling in love sound as thrilling as, well, falling in love.
February 21, 2007 Prolific jazz pianist and composer Uri Caine has a new recording: Uri Caine Ensemble Plays Mozart.
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February 20, 2007 For its contribution to the Band tribute album Endless Highway, Widespread Panic offers neither a faithful cover of "Chest Fever" nor a recasting. Instead, the group takes an approach so obvious, and so unlikely to succeed, that few ever try it: They try to beat the original at its own game.
February 16, 2007 Andrew Bird's new Armchair Apocrypha finds him continuing to prove himself as a performer of significant elegance and depth. "Scythian Empires" amply demonstrates his gifts for marrying obtuse-but-evocative imagery to uncommonly lovely arrangements.
February 16, 2007 Damon Albarn is an increasingly busy British musician whose past projects include the rock band Blur, the pop/hip-hop mutation Gorillaz, and a West African ensemble called Mali Music. His latest group, which has just released their eponymous debut, is The Good, The Bad, and The Queen.
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February 16, 2007 The great African guitarist Ali Farka Toure discouraged his children from following him into the music business. But one of his sons secretly learned to play the guitar anyway. Now Vieux Farka Toure has released his first album.
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February 16, 2007 Lily Allen is pop star with a quick wit and a sharp tongue. After a string of hits in the United Kingdom last year, the 21-year-old artist has released her CD Alright, Still in America. She explains her creative process and inspiration.
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February 14, 2007 While Modest Mouse's "Dashboard" lacks the snaky charm of "Float On," it's a pure pop confection: danceable, uncomplicated and ripe for airplay. Fans too young to remember XTC can draw comparisons to Franz Ferdinand, what with the song's stiff, guitar-driven neo-disco rhythms.
February 14, 2007 The filmmaker has released a new Valentine's Day album called A Date with John Waters. It's a compilation of love songs including Mink Stole's "Sometimes I Wish I Had a Gun" and the late Edith Massey (aka the Egg Lady) singing "Big Girls Don't Cry."
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