Franz Ferdinand, Wolf Parade, Nada Surf

Better dance music from Franz Ferdinand; Unreleased bonus tracks by Talking Heads; Canada's indie pop quartet Wolf Parade; Ancient China and Appalachia with Wu Man; Home recordings from Charlie Sexton; Pop jazz crooner Jamie Cullum; New York art rock trio Nada Surf; Sonic adventures with The Fiery Furnaces; Brash, bold rock from The Constantines.

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Franz Ferdinand, Wolf Parade, Nada Surf

You Could Have It So Much Better

You Could Have It So Much Better

  • Artist: Franz Ferdinand
  • Album: You Could Have It So Much Better
  • Song: You Could Have It So Much Better

This is a follow-up to Franz Ferdinand's critically acclaimed, self-titled debut. Fortunately for fans, the Glasgow band hasn't suffered a sophomore slump. The new CD is a smart, artful and consistently rewarding collection of rock tunes, crafted with the same urgency and drive as their first album.

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You Could Have It So Much Better
Album
You Could Have It So Much Better
Artist
Franz Ferdinand
Label
Domino

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Apologies to the Queen Mary

Modern World

  • Artist: Wolf Parade
  • Album: Apologies to the Queen Mary
  • Song: Modern World

Wolf Parade is a four-piece group from Canada. The band made its stage debut opening for Arcade Fire. Not long after, Wolf Parade released a self-produced EP that got them the attention of Modest Mouse singer/guitarist Issac Brock. Brock produced this CD, the band's first full-length album.

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Modern World
Album
Apologies to the Queen Mary
Artist
Wolf Parade

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Wu Man and Friends

Night Rider

  • Artist: Wu Man
  • Album: Wu Man and Friends
  • Song: Night Rider

Wu Man is a master of the pipa, a Chinese lute. She's collaborated with the Kronos Quartet, the New York Music Consort and Yo-Yo Ma. On this CD, she marries the ancient instrument's elegant sound with banjo, dulcimer and the bandura, a harp-like instrument from the Ukraine.

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Night Rider
Album
Wu Man and Friends
Artist
Wu Man

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Cruel and Gentle Things

I'd Do the Same for You

  • Artist: Charlie Sexton
  • Album: Cruel and Gentle Things
  • Song: I Do the Same for You

Guitarist, singer and songwriter Charlie Sexton is an Austin, TX native who released his first album in 1985 when he was just 16 years old. He quickly earned a reputation as a gifted guitarist and has played with artists like Bob Dylan, Ron Wood and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Though Sexton appears on CDs by a number of other artists and has produced work for Lucinda Williams and others, this is only his fourth solo CD in 20 years. It's a collection of intimate songs written and recorded at his home. Sexton also played all the instruments on most of the tracks.

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I Do the Same for You
Album
Cruel and Gentle Things
Artist
Charlie Sexton

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Catching Tales

Get Your Way

  • Artist: Jamie Cullum
  • Album: Catching Tales
  • Song: Get Your Way

British crooner Jamie Cullum had a huge hit in 2003 with the CD Twentysomething -- a mix of contempoary jazz and pop. For his follow-up, Cullum offers a mix of original songs and re-worked jazz standards like "I Only Have Eyes For You."

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Get Your Way
Album
Catching Tales
Artist
Jamie Cullum

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The Weight Is a Gift

Always Love

  • Artist: Nada Surf
  • Album: The Weight Is a Gift
  • Song: Always Love

Nada Surf got its start in 1988 and was originally called "Because Because Because." A demo from the band wound up in the hands of Ric Ocasek of The Cars who liked it so much he agreed to produce the band's 1996 debut, High/Low. The album included the song "Popular," which was a hit on MTV. The band says its new CD "answers questions of lust and deception, greed and love, joy and regret and the rites of passage you weren't quite ready to pass through."

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Always Love
Album
The Weight Is a Gift
Artist
Nada Surf
Label
Barsuk

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Rehearsing My Choir

Though Let's Be Fair

  • Artist: The Fiery Furnaces
  • Album: Rehearsing My Choir
  • Song: Though Let's Be Fair

The Fiery Furnaces are a brother/sister duo originaly from Illinois. Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger's music is strange, unpredictable and entirely original. They were first featured on All Songs Considered episode 69.

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Though Let's Be Fair
Album
Rehearsing My Choir
Artist
The Fiery Furnaces
Label
Rought Trade

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Tournament of Hearts

Draw Us Lines

  • Artist: The Constantines
  • Album: Tournament of Hearts
  • Song: Draw Us Lines

Every now and then an album from a completely unknown band comes our way and makes our jaws drop. The opening track to this CD left us agape. The Constantines make passionate, audacious rock with soul. The band from Canada includes Bryan Webb and Steve Lambke on vocals and guitar; bassist Dallas Wehrle; keyboardist Will Kidman; and drummer Doug McGregor.

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Draw Us Lines
Album
Tournament of Hearts
Artist
The Constantines

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