Fresh Air: Rock Music
Leon Bridges Offers Retro R&B With A Twist In...06/25/15
The Texas-raised singer connects to R&B music from the past — and challenges himself to give it an updated sound — in his new album. Critic Ken Tucker says Bridges' album packs an emotional punch.
Shamir Bailey Invites Everyone In, With Plenty Of Pop Star...
The young singer and songwriter lets his voice soar on his debut album, Ratchet. Rock critic Ken Tucker says it's one of the year's most striking collections, full of energy and optimism.
Joanna Gruesome's 'Peanut Butter' Rises Above The Band's...
The Welsh band's name is a play on that of singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom. Ken Tucker likens the group's second album to a high-wire act accompanied by "furiously strummed punk-rock guitar chords."
Country Hit Writer Chris Stapleton Breaks Out On His Own...
The Nashville songwriter has written countless hits for other artists. Critic Ken Tucker says that Stapleton's debut solo album showcases a wide range of musical styles with a distinctive sound.
Nellie McKay Celebrates The '60s With 'My Weekly Reader'
McKay's new album My Weekly Reader is a collection of covers of songs made famous in the 1960s. The range of material is wide — from the Beatles' "If I Fell" to Frank Zappa's "Hungry Freaks, Daddy."
Alabama Shakes Opens New Territory On 'Sound & Color'
Over the course of Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes messes with what had already, after its first album, become its signature sound. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has this review.
Dwight Yoakam's 'Second Hand Heart' Is First Class
Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says the album is one of Yoakam's most stylistically diverse.
The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle Finds Refuge In The Ring
Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says The Mountain Goats' concept album about pro wrestling is filled with a remarkable range of melodies and moods.
There Is A Rich World In Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp A...
Fresh Air music critic Ken Tucker says the rapper's second album has an excitingly adventurous sound.
Courtney Barnett Makes Ennui Vivid On Debut Album
Brandi Carlile's Surging Voice Grounds 'The Firewatcher's...
Carlile has been releasing albums for the past 10 years, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says her new one, called The Firewatcher's Daughter, is her best yet.
James McMurty Is More Expressive Than Ever On 'Complicated...
Complicated Game demonstrates a new range of style and subject matter for McMurtry.
Nora Jane Struthers Is Wide Awake On New Album
Given the content of the songs, the title Wake seems, in part, to refer to an awakening Struthers has had about who she is, what she wants to do, and how she wants to sound.
Mavericks' Singer Raul Malo Restlessly Explores Genres
In the band's latest album Mono, Malo demonstrates how he likes to make music that confounds the usual expectations of what a country hit-maker can do.
Robert Earl Keen Delves Into Bluegrass With A Texan Twang
The singer-songwriter usually follows in the story-song tradition of his forebears Townes Van Zant and Guy Clark. But in Happy Prisoner he brings enthusiastic curiosity to covers of bluegrass greats.
Bob Dylan Looks To The Ageless American Songbook
Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says Dylan both infuses the songs with his personality, while also allowing them to be heard anew.
Sleater-Kinney Comes Roaring Back With 'No Cities To Love'
Few bands re-form with their power as intact as Sleater-Kinney have; fewer still brag about their power, and make the claim something more than a brag.
Ty Segall Goes 3-D On 'Mr. Face'
Ty Segall's new EP comes on two 7-inch discs that double as a pair of 3-D glasses.
D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah' Collapses Years, Genres
Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says Black Messiah is as adventurous as any fan could hope for.
Ken Tucker's Top 9 Albums Of 2014, Plus A Book
Making new sounds while staying mindful of the past is a common theme in the Fresh Air music critic's year-end list.
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