July 26, 2012 Ocean has written songs for Beyonce, Justin Bieber and John Legend; last year, his mixtape Nostalgia Ultra attracted mainstream attention. Now, Ocean has released his first major-label album, Channel Orange. Rock critic Ken Tucker has a review of Ocean's album and career thus far.
July 3, 2012 The dB's, led by singer-songwriter-guitarists Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, hasn't made an album with the original line-up in 30 years. Rock critic Ken Tucker says the band's new album, Falling Off the Sky, sweeps aside decades and nostalgia to achieve a vital sound for today.
June 26, 2012 Apple's new album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, is her first in seven years. Rock critic Ken Tucker says the frequently stripped-down sound is a backdrop for her thoughts about the complications of love.
June 14, 2012 Banga is Smith's 11th studio album, her first collection of original material since 2004 and the first record she's released since the publication of her memoir Just Kids. Rock critic Ken Tucker says the music on Banga is marvelously uneven and frequently transporting.
June 6, 2012 Kin: Songs By Mary Karr and Rodney Crowell is a new collaboration between Karr, the bestselling author and poet, and the maverick singer-songwriter. Together, they've written 10 songs, which are performed on the album by a variety of singers, including Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash and Emmylou Harris.
June 1, 2012 Diamond Rugs is a new group formed by members of other bands, including John McCauley and Robbie Crowell of Deer Tick, Steve Berlin from Los Lobos and Hardy Morris of Dead Confederate. Rock critic Ken Tucker says their new collaboration is positively timeless.
April 23, 2012 Snider is a singer-songwriter with a sharp sense of humor, as evidenced by the title of his new album, Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables. Rock critic Ken Tucker says that even Snider's most pessimistic songs have a sense of humor and energy that gives them an exhilarating spin.
April 16, 2012 Over the past four decades, the singer has chronicled his relationships with his ex-wife, the late Kate McGarrigle, and his children, the singers Rufus and Martha Wainwright. His new album, Older Than My Old Man Now, addresses his relationship with yet another family member: his father.
April 10, 2012 Slipstream is Raitt's first album since 2005's Souls Alike, and she's produced most of the tracks herself. Rock critic Ken Tucker says that this return to recording and her renewed control over her music has resulted in one of Raitt's finest albums.