First Listen archive
Read First Listen: Shout Out Louds, 'Optica'
February 17, 2013 – Optica plays like a great '80s mixtape, albeit with modern production and a good deal of subtlety.
Read First Listen: Bilal, 'A Love Surreal'
February 17, 2013 – The soul singer explores the contours of intense emotions with patience and psychedelic insight.
Read First Listen: Deathfix, 'Deathfix'
February 17, 2013 – D.C. musicians Brendan Canty and Rich Morel make great pop full of unexpected turns on their debut.
Read First Listen: 'Son Of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys'
February 10, 2013 – Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Beth Orton, Dr. John and more form a bleak-music Murderer's Row.
Read First Listen: Maxmillion Dunbar, 'House Of Woo'
February 10, 2013 – House of Woo is rooted in unabashed enthusiasm for sound, from techno and house to New Age and R&B.
Read First Listen: Ivan & Alyosha, 'All The Times We Had'
February 10, 2013 – The band writes gorgeous, swelling songs about love and faith, and performs them with real charm.
Read First Listen: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, 'Push The Sky Away'
February 8, 2013 – Cave's songs seethe and surprise, marked by gorgeous strings and grabby, pervy innuendo.
Read First Listen: The Bryan Ferry Orchestra, 'The Jazz Age'
February 4, 2013 – Ferry re-imagines his songs, both solo and with Roxy Music, as the product of a 1920s jazz band.
Read First Listen: Ballake Sissoko, 'At Peace'
February 3, 2013 – The Malian kora player again works with French cellist Vincent Segal in sweet and soulful ways.
Read First Listen: Jim James, 'Regions Of Light And Sound Of God'
January 27, 2013 – On his first full-length solo album, My Morning Jacket's singer seeks something bigger than himself.
Read First Listen: Thao And The Get Down Stay Down, 'We The Common'
January 27, 2013 – Playful but forceful, Thao infuses everything around her with electricity and mischievous boldness.
Read First Listen: Wayne Shorter, 'Without A Net'
January 27, 2013 – The live album features six new tunes from one of jazz's greatest living composers and legends.
Read First Listen: Richard Thompson, 'Electric'
January 27, 2013 – Thompson plugs in and indulges his rock 'n' roll side, complete with solos that qualify as workouts.
Read First Listen: Buke And Gase, 'General Dome'
January 20, 2013 – For the duo, strange instrumentation is merely a means to a raucous, hypnotic, alluring end.