First Listen archive
Read First Listen: Blaudzun, 'Heavy Flowers'
January 20, 2013 – Blaudzun's songs boom and swoon, even when they bypass strings in favor of a warm, simple sound.
Read First Listen: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, 'II'
January 20, 2013 – The band's sound shape-shifts through indie-pop, psychedelia, soul and something more alien.
Read First Listen: Rudresh Mahanthappa, 'Gamak'
January 20, 2013 – The new album from the alto saxophonist surfs on information overload without drowning in it.
Read First Listen: Jose James, 'No Beginning No End'
January 13, 2013 – James finds his own voice by paying deep attention to technique without compromising passion.
Read First Listen: Widowspeak, 'Almanac'
January 13, 2013 – Widowspeak is a fount of familiar sounds, but its music possesses a dreamy pop sound of its own.
Read First Listen: Aaron Neville, 'My True Story'
January 13, 2013 – Neville lends his floaty tenor to a handful of unavoidable and unimpeachable doo-wop standards.
Read First Listen: The Lone Bellow, 'The Lone Bellow'
January 6, 2013 – On its debut, the band mixes a catchy roots-pop rumble with emotionally resonant folk-rock belting.
Read First Listen: Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory, 'Elements Of Light'
January 6, 2013 – A German producer teams up with Norwegian percussionists to make a sweeping composition.
Read First Listen: Indians, 'Somewhere Else'
January 6, 2013 – Hear warm headphone music that reaches both the heart and the loneliest reaches of the heavens.
Read First Listen: Erin McKeown, 'Manifestra'
December 30, 2012 – As politically pointed as it gets, Manifestra doesn't lose sight of the singer's springy side.
Read First Listen: Original Soundtrack, 'Hecho En Mexico'
December 30, 2012 – The documentary film features a mix of traditional sounds and modern Mexican alternative artists.
Read First Listen: Broadcast, 'Berberian Sound Studio'
December 30, 2012 – Broadcast's Trish Keenan died two years ago, but she left behind this gorgeous tapestry of sound.
Read First Listen: Sufjan Stevens, 'Silver & Gold'
November 25, 2012 – In nearly three hours of music, impeccable grace never strays far from playful ridiculousness.
Read First Listen: Tracey Thorn, 'Tinsel And Lights'
November 25, 2012 – The Everything but the Girl singer's holiday album is as warmly rendered as it is bittersweet.