May 31, 2006 "Fear Country" is the sort of polemic that would come off as clumsy in lesser hands, but singer/producer T Bone Burnett smartly juices the song with sinister, shuffling rhythms that somehow maintain the intensity while taking the edge off.
May 31, 2006 Cheikh Lo is from Senagal, but his music is steeped in rhythms from all over the world. In fact, many of the rhythms for his new CD came from work he did in Brazil with producer Nick Gold, known for his work with the Buena Vista Social Club.
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May 30, 2006 El Michels Affair covers a Burt Bacharach classic, stripping the song down to the essence of its rhythmic thump and melodic sizzle. Still, it feels vibrant and vigorous even without the string accompaniment that helped define Isaac Hayes's take.
May 25, 2006 In his new project, Sunset Rubdown, Wolf Parade's Spencer Krug expands his compositional grasp to create a full-fledged rock opera. The jaunty "They Took a Vote and Said No" arrives complete with a hummable chorus and a sinister underbelly.
May 24, 2006 Luisito Quintero's Afro-Latin-inflected "Love Remains the Same" captures the carefree bliss of strolling through crowds on a warm, breezy afternoon, when everyone sparkles with a sun-kissed glow and each hour unfolds with newfound wonder.
May 23, 2006 The English rock band Art Brut erupts with a fireball of adolescent rage on "My Little Brother." Singer Eddie Argos sneers and shouts, with sarcastic, often-humorous observations that mock, yet ultimately glorify, the unique power of rock 'n' roll.
May 23, 2006 Neko Case grew up in Tacoma, Wash., attended art school in Vancouver and performs and records with the Canadian pop-rock band The New Pornographers. As a solo artist, her music has often tended to be more influenced by country and folk music. Her new CD, Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, is her fourth studio album. Our music critic says it contains some of her most complex and beautiful music to date.
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May 22, 2006 The Coup realizes what the best blues and soul artists always knew: Focus on everyday people, and you'll never run out of stories. For nearly 15 years, the duo has provided one of the lone voices speaking to the trials and tribulations of working-class, inner-city black life.
May 19, 2006 Even when she was singing in the poppy punk band Tiger Trap, Rose Melberg had a flair for sad, gentle melodies. During a career evolution that's taken her through stints as leader of Go Sailor and the appropriately named Softies, those melodies have only gotten sadder and gentler.
May 18, 2006 The Little Ones' "Lovers Who Uncover" recalls the work of Built to Spill in more ways than one: It occasionally brings to mind the Idaho rock bands odd sound, but it also spawns a similar sense of excitement and discovery.
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 16, 2006 The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle is best known for his searing songs about troubled souls: speed freaks, co-dependent couples, abusers and the abused. "Sometimes I Still Feel the Bruise" displays his gifts as an interpreter, as well.
May 15, 2006 The London duo Johnny Boy releases a single that's as catchy as its title is long. With a sound rooted in '60s pop, the result is an underground rock masterpiece: Sly and timeless, it works on multiple levels.
May 12, 2006 Every summer has that album: one that defines the season while hearkening back to the mysteries and epiphanies of summers past. The newest incarnation may well be the work of Sound Team, which transforms indie-rock into a meatier, more inventive genre.
May 11, 2006 Jose Gonzalez was born in Sweden to Argentine parents and raised on bossa nova and Joy Division. Haunting and ominous yet seductively heartening, "Heartbeats" finds him reworking a song originally performed by the Swedish electro-pop band The Knife.
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