Fresh Air: Rock Music
Ex Hex's 'Rips' Does What It Says On The Cover10/20/14
The initial triumph of Rips is that nearly every one of its songs is sing-along-catchy, immediately memorable.
Art In The Age Of Prince
Prince has released two new albums simultaneously: Art Official Age appears under his own name, and PlectrumElectrum is the debut record of a Prince back-up band called 3rdEyeGirl.
Blake Mills' Restless 'Heigh Ho' Is A Roundabout Journey
Pere Ubu's 'Carnival Of Souls' Is A Dreamscape That's Never Dreamy
Led since the late '70s by co-founder David Thomas, Pere Ubu has created something far more rich, experimental, and emotional than the spooky, horror-movie that Carnival of Souls is named for.
The New Pornographers Return With A 'Celebration Record' That's Fun To...
Brill Bruisers is a collection of lushly arranged and harmonized pop. While Neko Case, Dan Bejar and A.C. Newman make moody music individually, there's a brightness when they come together.
At 71, Elvin Bishop Is Still Vigorous, And Can Do Wrong Right
The white bluesman whose corny jokes have made his music enduring and fun has a new album Can't Even Do Wrong Right. He has a raspy chuckle in his singing, and he plays the guitar precisely.
Benjamin Booker Is Raw, Yet Disciplined On Debut Album
The 25-year-old guitarist-singer-songwriter has already served as an opening act on Jack White's recent tour, and he may be ready for headliner status.
At 74, Outlaw Billy Joe Shaver Is Still An Outlier
Billie Joe Shaver has just released his first new studio album in six years, called Long in the Tooth.
Spoon Wants Your Soul
They Want My Soul is another fine Spoon album in a career that has now come to display a remarkable consistency
Jenny Lewis' 'The Voyager' Is An Album To Spend Time With
Jenny Lewis achieved musical fame as part of the indie band Rilo Kiley, which broke up in 2011. Her third solo album announces a new chapter in her career — and perhaps her life.
The Cowboy That Wasn't A Cowboy Sings
A new album from Cowboy Jack Clement has the prolific producer performing many of his best-known compositions with help of Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Rodney Crowell and John Prine.
If Jim Lauderdale Is A Song, More People Should Hear It
Fresh Air critic Ken Tucker says Lauderdale's career is at once admirable and somewhat puzzling.
Strand Of Oaks: Songs Heal All Wounds
If you're going to be downbeat, glum, or morose, it's best to do it the way Timothy Showalter does it
Lana Del Rey's 'Ultraviolence' Has A Firm Grasp On Pop History
Lana Del Rey continues a time-honored pop tradition of developing a public persona that challenges fans to decide what's real and what's not.
Parquet Courts' Misery Is Exhilarating
The quartet has drawn comparisons to the Velvet Underground, the New York Dolls, and Sonic Youth, but rock critic Ken Tucker says this album proves Parquet Courts is an original.
Miranda Lambert's 'Platinum' Has Backyard Swagger
Platinum continues Miranda Lambert's ongoing project to create songs about women who are complex, fun-loving, and assertive.
John Fullbright's Uneven 'Songs' Finds A Way To Fascinate
Songs feels like the work of an artist who's still figuring out who he is, where he wants to go, and what he wants to elaborate upon — or invent anew.
Two New Items From Hank Williams
Williams is commonly considered the most important country music songwriter. Critic Ken Tucker has a review of a newly released CD of radio broadcasts and DVD of TV performances.
Ray LaMontagne Finds The Bright Side On 'Supernova'
The achievement of Supernova is that, five albums in, LaMontagne hasn't settled into a formula or a fall-back recurring mood. Here, the singer-songwriter explores a sunny, psychedelic side.
tUnE-yArDs: Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing
On Nikki Nack, Merrill Garbus worries over the notion that she's just an accumulation of her influences, and she fights back wonderfully.
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