It's fair to say that this music, recorded live at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., is the best new material from Brian Wilson in more than 30 years.That Lucky Old Sun is a song cycle based on a tune with its spiritual roots in slavery. That song is about hardship, but this semi-autobiographical song cycle is about nostalgia. It's what life in California means to Wilson, and what Wilson means to California.
Best known as the prolific and gifted frontman for the country-rock band Bright Eyes, Oberst ventured out on his own this summer. He released his first solo album in more than a decade: an eponymous sketchbook of introspective folk and rock, steeped in Americana. The new collection of songs are the centerpiece of a full concert by Oberst and his backing group, The Mystic Valley Band, recorded live from the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.
Ra Ra Riot's first two years of existence have been difficult, but the band just put out a beautifully polished and inspired debut, The Rhumb Line. Hear the group showcase the album in a full concert, webcast live from the Black Cat in Washington, D.C.
The Athens, Ga., band Of Montreal, led by frenetic frontman Kevin Barnes, has built a reputation on meticulously crafted, synth-driven psych-pop, with flamboyant production and gleeful sonic flourishes. Of Montreal brought this musical spectacle to Washington, D.C., for a full concert, webcast live at NPR.org.
Of all of Sam Phillips' roles as a musician — first as a contemporary Christian singer, later as an ornate pop artist — her latest incarnation is the most alluring. Her jangly, mostly acoustic songs rattle and shake with graceful, noirish tales of broken lives. Phillips is currently on tour in support of her latest CD, Don't Do Anything. She showcased the album in a full concert, recorded live at the Rams Head in Annapolis, Md.
The singer-songwriter took the stage at Los Angeles' club Largo for an intimate, funny show. He played song his new album, Harps and Angels and some old favorites. He told stories about his family between the songs, laughing with the band--easy, warm, charming.
Just when it seemed to be permanently defunct, the British space-rock group Spiritualized returned with its first album since 2003, Songs in A&E. The band is touring in support of the disc, and lands at Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club on July 25 for a live concert, webcast on NPR.org.
The Ting Tings' infectious dance rhythms (and a coveted spot in an iPod commercial) have made the English pop duo one of the year's most exciting and hyped new bands. Hear the duo, featuring drummer Jules De Martino and guitarist-singer Katie White, recorded live in concert, from Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club.
The members of Fleet Foxes like to say they're not much of a rock band, but they are one of the year's breakout acts. The group's self-titled debut, released earlier this year on the Sub Pop label, has earned universal acclaim for its timeless mix of folk, choral and rock. Hear Fleet Foxes recorded live in concert from Washington, D.C.'s Black Cat.
Hear the lead singer for My Morning Jacket recorded live, in a solo acoustic performance at St. David's Episcopal Church in Austin, TX. Jim James gave an intimate show for just a few hundred people, a day after his full band played a sold-out show for thousands as part of the South by Southwest festival. Hear acoustic versions of some of My Morning Jacket's best songs, including selections from their new album, Evil Urges.
Nearly 40 years after first forming in Dakar, Senegal, Orchestra Baobab remains one of the world's foremost purveyors of Afro-Cuban pop. The ten-piece group will play songs from its new album, Made in Dakar, in a full concert, webcast live on NPR.org tonight (Jun. 19). The performance from the Birchmere in Alexandria, Va., will begin online at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET.