It's fair to say that this music, recorded live at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., is the best new material from Brian Wilson in more than 30 years.That Lucky Old Sun is a song cycle based on a tune with its spiritual roots in slavery. That song is about hardship, but this semi-autobiographical song cycle is about nostalgia. It's what life in California means to Wilson, and what Wilson means to California.
Best known as the prolific and gifted frontman for the country-rock band Bright Eyes, Oberst ventured out on his own this summer. He released his first solo album in more than a decade: an eponymous sketchbook of introspective folk and rock, steeped in Americana. The new collection of songs are the centerpiece of a full concert by Oberst and his backing group, The Mystic Valley Band, recorded live from the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.
Ra Ra Riot's first two years of existence have been difficult, but the band just put out a beautifully polished and inspired debut, The Rhumb Line. Hear the group showcase the album in a full concert, webcast live from the Black Cat in Washington, D.C.
The Athens, Ga., band Of Montreal, led by frenetic frontman Kevin Barnes, has built a reputation on meticulously crafted, synth-driven psych-pop, with flamboyant production and gleeful sonic flourishes. Of Montreal brought this musical spectacle to Washington, D.C., for a full concert, webcast live at NPR.org.
Of all of Sam Phillips' roles as a musician — first as a contemporary Christian singer, later as an ornate pop artist — her latest incarnation is the most alluring. Her jangly, mostly acoustic songs rattle and shake with graceful, noirish tales of broken lives. Phillips is currently on tour in support of her latest CD, Don't Do Anything. She showcased the album in a full concert, recorded live at the Rams Head in Annapolis, Md.
The singer-songwriter took the stage at Los Angeles' club Largo for an intimate, funny show. He played song his new album, Harps and Angels and some old favorites. He told stories about his family between the songs, laughing with the band--easy, warm, charming.
Recorded at Atlanta's historic Fox Theater on July 5, Waits delivers a stunning and epic two-and-a-half hour performance, including songs he says he's never attempted outside of the studio before. Backing Waits is a five-piece group featuring Seth Ford-Young (upright bass), Patrick Warren (keyboards), Omar Torrez (guitars), Vincent Henry (woodwinds) and Casey Waits (drums and percussion). "They play with racecar precision and they are all true conjurers," Waits says. "They are all multi-instrumentalists and they polka like real men."