July 31, 2007 In Ghana, the '70s was a time of political repression, high inflation, and funky pop music. A young British emigre named John Collins formed the Bokoor Band with locals in 1971. The Bokoor Beats retrospective captures a band full of pride and confidence from Ghana's then-recent independence.
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July 31, 2007 On Dos, the new reggae album from the Culver City Dub Collective, you'll hear contributions from Ben Harper, Jack Johnson and Money Mark of Beastie Boys fame. The album features more serendipitous creativity than hook-laden songs aimed at the charts.
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July 31, 2007 Critic Milo Miles reviews a pair of what he considers rarities — all-instrumental albums that don't belong to a clear school or style of music. But in the case of the band Massacre and the Claudia Quintet, he says that's a good thing.
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July 30, 2007 "In Our Talons"'s pumping accordion and creaky guitars feel as fragile as the bending branches and creeping beetles the song carefully describes. But it soon morphs into a more straightforward lament.
July 27, 2007 An ordained preacher at 15, Keite Young now aims to conquer the sinful world of secular music. At 27, he showcases all the tools on "E.N.S.," including a keening tenor, a sharp falsetto and a thorough knowledge of both the gospel idiom and the school of funk.
July 26, 2007 Nick Drake never bothered with covers on the three albums released in his lifetime. Part of that may have been due to the specific sadness at the core of his music, but the traditional ballad "Winter Is Gone" shows that his melancholy didn't sprout from nowhere.
July 25, 2007 Since the mid-'90s, Imperial Teen has been known for its blend of garage-rock, new-wave and shimmering pop-punk. "Do It Better" follows that formula to perfection.
July 25, 2007 Nicole Willis is a retro soul singer from Brooklyn. Her really tight band, the Soul Investigators, is from Finland. The group sounds like it's from Memphis – and it's one of Oliver Wang's favorites of the year so far.
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July 24, 2007 Fresh Air's resident rock historian remembers soul singer Lorraine Ellison, who recorded a handful of albums and dozens of singles in the '60s and '70s; though she charted a few R&B hits, she never quite broke through to stardom. Her biggest success was with the string-saturated ballad "Stay With Me," which topped out at No. 11 on the R&B charts and has since been covered by everyone from Bette Midler to teenybopper idol Rex Smith.
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July 24, 2007 The first thing that jumps out as The Cinematic Orchestra's "Breathe" begins to unfold is that voice — a voice that sounds weathered by time, with a layer of sultry melancholy. It belongs to Fontella Bass, a soul singer best known for her 1965 R&B hit "Rescue Me."
July 23, 2007 Frequently (and justifiably) compared to a cross between Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake, English singer-songwriter Scott Matthews crafts an endlessly listenable blend of folk, rock and blues.
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July 23, 2007 Recent decades have seen a rise in music from the Gulf states in the Middle East. The musical style is called khaleeji, and the king of that music — Mohammed Abdo – recently released a live album, Al Amaken.
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July 20, 2007 "Runouttaluck," from the Toronto band The Golden Dogs, is the sound of pop nerds engaging in charmingly bratty displays of melodic gamesmanship. Throughout the song, the band tips its hat to pop music that can be quirky and hooky all at once.
July 19, 2007 Brad Paisley is a major country music star in the midst of a huge North American tour, with stops in towns like Syracuse, Cedar Rapids and Saskatoon — and he has a new CD, 5th Gear.
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July 19, 2007 Demonstrating The Wombats U.K.'s firm grip on multi-part harmonies and bouncy choruses, "Backfire at the Disco" represents everything that can go right with melodic guitar pop. The song chronicles a disastrous date from singer Matthew Murphy's perspective.
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