October 22, 2010 They're called Of Montreal but they're from Athens, Ga., and they're barely a "they" — the only constant of Of Montreal's 13-year career has been leader Kevin Barnes, who wrote all the songs and played most of the instruments on the new album False Priest.
July 29, 2010 The Toronto band Tokyo Police Club features a group of young, self-taught musicians. Over the years, their energetic sound has evolved from crude beginnings, and music critic Robert Christgau says their new Champ feels more deliberate and thoughtful — part of a healthy growing process for a constantly evolving band.
July 22, 2010 On her fifth studio album, the neo-soul diva sings often-ambiguous lyrics that move back and forth from her "honey boo" to her career. It's a concept that critic Robert Christgau says is trickier than it appears. While The Sellout might not be a full-scale commercial comeback, it's a spiritual one — complete with Gray's unforgettable voice, a bit less kink and a whole lot of cheese.
February 8, 2010 The Minneapolis rapper known as Dessa doesn't have a typical hip-hop profile, but her talent more than compensates. Maggie Wander graduated from college at 20 and then worked as a medical writer. She's an outspoken fan of Jeff Buckley. And, under the name Dessa, Wander just released a terrific hip-hop album called A Badly Broken Code.
January 13, 2010 Ryan Allen's boyishly urgent vocals and his brother Scott Allen's shamelessly catchy keyboards add to the aesthetic maturity of Thunderbirds Are Now!
January 12, 2010 Merrill Garbus is a ukulele-playing Smith College graduate with a long musical history in folk-based projects. Her recordings under the name tUnE-yArDs reflect her study abroad in Kenya, her work in puppet theater and her experience as a nanny on Martha's Vineyard.
December 8, 2009 Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft are young Londoners who lead an extremely spare band called The xx. They touch on Kraftwerk and The Cure, but never equal their volume. For the coolest kids on the scene, The xx's members sound reassuringly vulnerable.
November 4, 2009 The hard-living Poole sold 102,000 copies of a song in 1931. His work has been covered by the likes of Jerry Garcia, The Chieftains and Tom T. Hall. Nevertheless, Poole remains obscure. Singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III means to change that with a two-CD tribute to Poole called High Wide & Handsome.
July 31, 2009 Astatke is a well-born Ethiopian who fell in love with jazz in the early '60s and has been making music ever since. His most impressive effort, critic Robert Christgau says, is his latest album Inspiration Information, which he created in collaboration with the British experimental funk musicians in The Heliocentrics.
July 8, 2009 Critic Robert Christgau is impressed by the new album from the Malian vocalist, whom he calls Africa's most important female singer. Seya is her first release after a 12-year absence from recording, spent raising a son and running a hotel, farm and other businesses.